This Week on Marvel Unlimited: July

Starting today, Marvel is releasing stuff from 3 months ago, rather than the 6 months that they previously waited. Whether this is due to DC Infinite starting up or a lack of books during the Covid-19 hiatus, we don’t know. All I know is I’m getting some comics quicker now.

New This Week
Amazing Spider-Man #44
Avengers #34
Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda #8
Captain Marvel #17
Dr. Strange #5
Empyre #1
Empyre: Fantastic Four
Fantastic Four #21
Ghost Rider #7
Giant-Size X-Men: Magneto #1
Guardians of the Galaxy #4
Immortal Hulk #35
Marvels X #4
Spider-Woman #2
Strange Academy #2
Strikeforce #8
Venom #26
X-Force #10
X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills Extended Cut #1

Notes: Empyre reading order this week: Empyre Fantastic Four, Empyre #1, Fantastic Four #21…Captain Marvel looks to set up a new arc with a bunch of guest heroes (I’ll confirm it when I read it)…Venom begins the Venom Beyond arc…Immortal Hulk and Dr. Strange also starts new arcs…God Loves, Man Kills is for real re-released this week; they split the book into 2 issues for the extended cut…BP and the Agents of Wakanda deal with Fin Fang Foom…

Best of the Week
Ant-Man #5 – Ant-Man and Stinger defeat Macrothrax in the series finale. It took a little while to get used to the broken English of the bugs, but the story was pretty enjoyable. I wouldn’t be against a Ant-Man and Stinger series in the future, although a series of mini’s would be a nice change of pace rather than trying to support a regular series.

Black Cat #11 – Black Cat needs one last piece for the master heist she’s been hired for. Her mark: Tony Stark. The issue was a fun heist (a la the first Ant-Man movie). They had a solid plan and it was executed almost perfectly. The flaw will bring more fun when we get the Iron Cat, which they showed at the end of the issue. I’m in for this book.

Daredevil #20 – This ended the 2 part Inferno story, where the Owl is attempting to destroy Hell’s Kitchen. A reluctant Daredevil dons the mask again and teams up with citizens and Mayor Kingpin. Decent story, but didn’t live up the bar set by Frank Miller and Brian Michael Bendis in their runs. I’ll see where the story goes.

Deadpool #5 – I’ve really liked many of the Deadpool where he’s struggling morally – the Duggan run where they introduced his daughter mainly. The King of the Monster stuff is shaping up to be the same way. Deadpool has to go to mainland New York chasing after a rogue monster. He does everything in his power to defuse the situation without casualties, but it didn’t work. I hope Elsa Bloodstone continues to be a supporting character; she’s almost the moral compass for Deadpool in these last few issues, and her background makes for an interesting perspective for someone who is King of Monsters.

Empyre: Avengers – There seems like there are 2 main stories for Empyre – the uniting of the Kree/Skrulls and that of the Cotati, an plant based alien living on the moon. This sets up the Cotati. Apparently the Kree/Skrull Empire wants to destroy the Cotati and the Avengers are there to protect them. This issue also brings back the Swordsman, who isn’t the same version of the characters that was an Avenger. It’s an OK set up, but I don’t have high hopes for the series (mainly from spoilers I’ve heard).

Excalibur #10 – Jamie Braddock sends Excalibur to an alternate reality and we get 4 new Captain Britains – Jubilee, Rictor, Rogue, and Gambit. This sets off Otherworld as they don’t recognize any of the 5 Captain Britains as the real one. I was really confused reading the issue, since it just starts with Britain being at war with Krakoa. I don’t recall them setting this up in the last issue. Really, this is the weakest of the Dawn of X Books and I’d drop it if it didn’t have impacts on the X of Swords story that is currently in the printed books.

Ghost-Spider #10 – What a time to jump into this book…as it’s the last issue. Gwen, who has a symbiote like costume, is betrayed by the Storm Siblings and is blackmailed into stopping as a hero in New York. Sue and Johnny are much different than their 616 counterparts; that’s one of the more entertaining parts of a multiverse. We get their origins here and it’s really different than what we know. It’s well written issue; I’m probably going to go back and read the full series based off how this ended.

Hawkeye: Freefall #6 – Clint takes on Bullseye, with Clint in a Bullseye costume while Bullseye is dressed as Ronin. Bullseye is set to destroy Clint’s reputation while he’s dressed as Ronin, attacking other heroes. Clint gets him in the end, and also takes down the Hood. The story shows Clint is a flawed character, and while there were some definite issues with his behavior, it’s setting up where he’s headed. I really enjoyed this series.

Miles Morales: Spider-Man #17 – Miles has to deal with the fallout of Outlawed while still trying to live his life. He’s struggling to fight crime and stay off the radar. There is a touching moment where he helps out a bullied kid, which really drives home the point that a little kindness can go a long way. I really haven’t read much of Miles, but it’s all been pretty good. I’ll keep with this title, at least through Outlawed.

New Mutants #10 – More mutants go to help the team from the previous issue, and those mutants also get stuck in the black hole of a distraught mutant that hasn’t made it to Krakoa. To add to the issues they are facing, the anti-mutant government is ready to take down everyone involved. Compared to the first 2 arcs, this seems kind of stagnant.

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #3 – This is a convoluted mess. Bossk is fighting Valance to find out where their bounty is. The story has so many people involved it’s hard to follow at times. The art is OK, but it’s not enough to save it. If this didn’t have Star Wars in the title, I’d have probably given up already. I’ll stick with it though because I have this compulsion to read anything Star Wars.

Thor #5 – The King of Asgard and Herald of Galactus takes on the Black Winter, a villain that can destroy the universe. I’m jumping in right in the middle of the arc, but I didn’t feel that lost. The Black Winter almost destroyed Galactus the last time they met, so Thor is helping him prepare for the battle. During the showdown with the Black Winter, we learn that Galactus is actually his herald. I’m curious to see where this goes.

Retro Review: X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
I recently bought this and read it for the first time; I don’t know why I waited, since this was a pretty important story in X-Men lore. The gist of the story is the Purifiers are religious zealots who believe Mutants are abominations and need to be destroyed. Their leader is Reverend William Stryker; he’s not a field leader, but rather the face of the movement who keeps himself publicly away from the violence. After a TV debate with Professor Xavier about the human/mutant dynamic, he abducts the Professor, Cyclops, and Storm. The remaining X-Men, with the help of Magneto set to rescue their teammates and stop Stryker’s crusade.

The story feels very dated; the dialogue specifically is from the ’80s. The idea of it is still relevant though. The X-Men were created to show a super-hero version of the Civil Rights Movement, with mutants representing African Americans. Unfortunately, the issues of African Americans are not where they should be 50 years later.

Stryker is important here because of the movies; Stryker was changed from a preacher to a military man in the Fox Film universe and has been used in multiple movies. The comics left Stryker alone for years until the New X-Men series and again in Second Coming. The change in the movies was needed because there is a segment of society that wouldn’t like to see a preacher as the leader of a hate group, although his Stryker’s Crusade could be seen as a precursor to the Westborough Baptist Church in real life.

There are some stories, no matter when they are written, that can still have an impact due to their hidden meanings. Maus and the Death of Captain Marvel fit this, and I feel that God Loves, Man Kills could be right there with them. It’s also one of the must-read X-Men books.

The art, like the dialogue, is very dated. Brent Eric Anderson’s style fits into the ’80s template of X-Men books. It was really good at the time, but advances in technique and technology have made this art prehistoric.

Don’t forget, the Krakoa Mutant Tracker is updated weekly as new books come to Marvel Unlimited.

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