superheroes

Dec 21, 2017

Matt Wagner's comic Mage: The Hero Discovered, originally published from 1984 to 1986, is a personal work that also taps into universal stories and themes. The main character, Kevin Matchstick, is modeled on Wagner himself (in the sequel series, Mage: The Hero Defined, published 1997-1999, Kevin Matchstick's hairline has receded much like Wagner's has) and the depression he speaks of in the first issue is the frame of mind Wagner was in when he began the comic. But that's where real life ends and fantastic heroism begins.


Kevin Matchstick, lonely, angry, feeling unimportant in our world

Nov 3, 2016

The pursuit of a set purpose by logical means is the way of tyranny; this is the vision of my creator. Of Ultron.


The pursuit of an unobtainable purpose by absurd means is the way of freedom; this is my vision of the future. Of our future.


Whoa. Wow.


On its face, Little Worse Than a Man appears to be a superhero comic. It's certainly a story about a superhero. But it's about a superhero trying not to be super, trying to live a normal life. More significantly, it's a story about an artificial intelligence trying to live a human life. Trying to be human. Trying to become human by

Swarm

By Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan, Deborah Biancotti
4
Rated by Josh N.
Oct 29, 2016

In Zeroes we were introduced to a group of teens with unusual, mostly subtle superpowers who find themselves in an increasing amount of trouble with both drug dealers and the police, using the very powers that got them into trouble in the first place to get them out again. I liked the novel a lot, so when I found out about the sequel, I was very excited.


My excitement was not misplaced. Like Zeroes, Swarm gets into the action quickly, but unlike the first book, we don't need to get to know the main characters, so the plot moves even faster, the tension ratcheted up. It's also nice to see

Axe Cop, Volume 1

By Malachai Nicolle
5
Rated by Chris K.
Sep 27, 2016

This concept is absolutely genius and the execution is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read.


A few years ago, Ethan Nicolle was playing with his five-year-old brother Malachai and decided it would be fun to take Malachai’s imagined play and illustrate it as a superhero comic. It all started when Malachai took a toy police officer and added a firefighter’s axe. They grabbed another figure and the nearest weapon-like implement at hand—a recorder, which led to Axe Cop’s first partner, Flute Cop—and went to chop off the heads of dinosaurs and other sundry bad guys.


In his book Killing

Deadpool (DVD)

By Tim Miller
5
Rated by Rachel C.
Jul 15, 2016

Deadpool finally gets his due. A far cry from his last portrayal in the dreadfully off-mark X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this Deadpool is the "Merc with a Mouth."


For those unfamiliar with Deadpool, this is the story of a mercenary, Wade Wilson, who falls in love, is diagnosed with cancer, and goes off the deep end, not necessarily in that order. When his experimental "cure" leaves him looking like leftover roadkill he goes hunting for the man responsible with gleeful enthusiasm and a lot of murder.


For those familiar with Deadpool, there's a lot of little details that aren't accurate (it's

Zeroes

By Scott Westerfield
4
Rated by Josh N.
Dec 11, 2015

In general, I like my superhero stories epic and idealistic. The "fresh take on superheroes" idea is getting pretty worn out, and I've grown tired of people deconstructing superheroes and trying to apply the genre to "real life." But Zeroes pulls it off and really does seem fresh and original, even when relying on some standard clichés of both superhero and YA fiction.


It doesn't hurt that I've always loved teen superheroes. Spider-Man, the X-Men, Teen Titans, Legion of Super-Heroes, the Young Justice animated series--the strange, transitional feeling of being a teenager mixes well with the

Apr 21, 2015

I love superhero comics, but I must confess, I don't like a lot of contemporary superhero comics. The trend has overwhelmingly become oriented towards grim and serious. There are some terrific, well done stories, full of high imagination and smart storytelling, but there's a distinct lack of whimsy and unabashed optimism.


Jeff Smith, mostly known for his critically acclaimed comic Bone, wrote and drew Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, a sort of reboot mini-series of Captain Marvel and his Marvel Family that eschews the grim, "adult" cynicism of most contemporary superhero comics. His

Dreams of the Golden Age

By Carrie Vaughn
4
Rated by Lisa J.
Dec 21, 2014

Continuing the story of Celia West following the death of her superhero father and the retirement of the superheroes of her beloved city, Celia continues to look out for the best interests of her city and has carefully been watching the grandchildren of the superheroes waiting to see if there is a new generation of powerful superheroes in the making.  Two of these new superheroes may be her own daughters Anna and Bethy but so far they aren't exhibiting any signs of superpowers or at least they're not sharing with her if they are developing powers. 


Meanwhile, Anna is having trouble figuring

The Middleman: The Complete Series

By Javier Grillo-Marxuach
5
Rated by Josh N.
Mar 12, 2014

Great Caesar's ghost! I missed this series when it aired on ABC Family in 2008. Heck, I'd never even heard of it until a couple of weeks ago when I randomly stumbled across it. And boy, am I glad I did!


The Middleman (his real name is never given in the series) is the agent of an organization so secret, even he doesn't know who he works for. He's charged with saving the world from all kinds of amazing threats: alien invasions, mad scientists, zombies, ghosts, vampires, and super-intelligent gorillas. When he destroys a giant, tentacled beast and saves completely unfazed receptionist (and

Vicious

By V. E. Schwab
5
Rated by Bethany T.
Jan 2, 2014

Victor Vale and Eli Cardale are brilliant calculating risk-takers and the smartest pre-med students at their prestigious university; they also happen to be best friends.  For a class project, Eli decides to research the so-called E.O.'s--extraordinary people who seem to demonstrate abnormal abilities not unlike superpowers.  What's more, during his research, Eli realizes that he might be able to synthesize an E.O., and he wants to try it on himself.  What happens next leave both him and Victor changed forever.  


Fast forward ten years.  Victor has just escaped prison with his intimidating