Axel-In-Charge: Bringing "Dead No More" to FCBD, the Original "Civil War's" Legacy
I first discovered the joy of comics in 1980 when some girls on my school bus brought in their father's copies of Wendy and Richard Pini's "Elfquest" and the rest, as they say, is history. Since then, I've written freelance interviews and articles for "Wizard" (going all the way back to the first issue), headed up the Small Press Expo and the Ignatz Awards, served as an Eisner judge and written reviews regularly since 1999 (first for iComics.com, then moving to my own site Read About Comics).
I moved to the Washington DC area in 1974 and have yet to leave. I design and develop training for the Federal government during the day, and I've had both fiction and non-fiction professionally published. In my spare time I train for marathons and triathlons. I've promised my friends one of these days I'll run a race dressed as the Flash.
FIRST COMIC: "Elfquest" #5
FAVORITE CHARACTER: Fone Bone, Captain Britain, Rachel Summers Grey
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Kelly Thompson and Ben Caldwell's "A-Force" #5 "is fun and exciting, even as there are strong character and plot hooks to keep readers coming back."
"Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart place the proverbial cherry on the top of the sundae" with "Hellboy in Hell" #9.
Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky never "lose sight of everything else that's worked so well over the course of the series" in "Sex Criminals" #15.
Dan Slott and Guiseppe Camuncoli "give us a fun new take on Peter Parker and company" in "Amazing Spider-Man" #11.
Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas' "Astonishing Ant-Man" #7 "is a great point to give this title a whirl... This book is too good to let slip away."
Max Landis and Jonathan Case's "Superman: American Alien" #6 is a "strong installment in one of the best Superman stories published in quite a while."
Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez "brought a strong authorial voice to this series... and they go out on a high note" in "All-New Hawkeye" #6.
Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke "acknowledge what's happened in recent continuity... while preparing to change the status quo" in "Batman/Superman" #31.
Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk's "Mockingbird" #2 "bodes well for the series as a whole and shows the creators' versatility."
"If the story doesn't hook readers, the art surely will" in Marvel's new "Moon Knight" series from Jeff Lemire, Greg Smallwood & Jordie Bellaire.
Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Bats Tarr's "Batgirl" #50 "serves as a strong conclusion to their run on the title."
Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta's "The Vision" #6 concludes with "the storytelling equivalent of a mic drop."
Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie's "The Wicked + The Divine" #18 "is divinely fun, but it's wicked we have to wait a month for the next chapter."
Peter J. Tomasi and Mikel Janin's "Superman" #51 is just the beginning of a "strong note for the New 52 Superman to go out on."
"Every new issue is reason to celebrate," and Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples make no exception with "Saga" #35.
Tom King and Barnaby Bagenda's "The Omega Men" "is a smart series that never takes the easy way out and rewards readers more and more each issue."
Christos Gage and Megan Levens' "Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 10" #25 includes "a twist worthy of the original television show itself."
Mark Waid and Adam Kubert's "All-New All-Different Avengers" #7 "is a fun issue that comes in and achieves its goal quickly and efficiently."
Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos and Victor Ibanez kick off "Apocalypse Wars" with "Extraordinary X-Men" #8, "a fun issue."
"Max Landis and Francis Manapul have turned out one of the most definitive Superman comics" in "Superman: American Alien" #5.
Kelly Thompson, Ben Caldwell and Ian Herring's remarkably fun "A-Force" #5 finds the team going up against two refugees from "Secret Wars."
Though Jim Zub and Nelson Daniel's "Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows of the Vampire" #1 begins in the Forgotten Realms, the series takes a group of mercenaries into the dangerous dimension of Ravenloft.
"Hellboy in Hell" #9 enters its final phase as Mike Mignola flashes back to Hellboy's time in Mexico even as our hero prepares to truly embrace his destiny in the underworld.
Tom King, Barnaby Bagenda, and Romulo Fajardo Jr.'s "The Omega Men" #11 gathers its forces and prepares for a final strike against the Citadel as the series prepares for its big conclusion.
"All-New Wolverine" #7 is a rather fluffy issue guest-starring Squirrel Girl, but -- fortunately -- Tom Taylor and Marcio Takara make it charmingly so while moving the book's larger storylines forward.
Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky bring trouble home to roost in "Sex Criminals" #15, where one character starts to lose interest in the central conceit of the comic.
In "Amazing Spider-Man" #11, Dan Slott, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Cam Smith wrap up the fight against Scorpio and the new Zodiac in a way that reminds readers of the necessity of Parker Industries.
As "Darkseid War" nears its conclusion, Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok move pieces into place for next month's climax, but "Justice League" #49's pawns feel less and less like people.
"Superman/Wonder Woman" #28 marks the halfway point of "The Final Days of Superman," but -- even as Peter J. Tomasi's script ties up more super-powered loose ends -- Ed Benes's art falls a little too flat.
Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas bring Scott Lang one step closer to jail in "Astonishing Ant-Man" #7.
In "Superman: American Alien" #6, Max Landis and Jonathan Case remind both the readers and Clark Kent that sometimes a visit from home is needed to snap everything back into perspective.
Jeff Lemire, Ramon Perez and Ian Herring bring their time with Team Hawkeye to a conclusion in "All-New Hawkeye" #6, and it's a thoroughly satisfying wrap-up as both past and present collide.
The first three pages of Jeff Lemire, Humberto Ramos and Victor Olazaba's "Extraordinary X-Men" #9 pull out all the stops, but -- after that -- the story of the junior X-Men's missing year gets a little too rote.
Marguerite Bennett, Mirka Andolfo and Laura Braga's "DC Comics Bombshells" #11 kicks the Battle of Britain into high gear as most of the characters unite to fight against the Tenebrae.
Mark Millar, Chris Sprouse, Walden Wong and Ty Templeton's "Jupiter's Circle" #5 starts to wind things down, but -- even as we get a climactic confrontation -- the story feels unsure and up in the air.
Dan Slott, Michael Allred and Laura Allred's "Silver Surfer" #3 tries to end the specter of Zenn-La within the Surfer's life once and for all, but the story never quite clicks, even with an expanded page count.
Peter J. Tomasi, Doug Mahnke and Jaime Mendoza continue "The Final Days of Superman" in "Batman/Superman" #31, which introduces new foes, follows up on an introduction from the first chapter and ties off a loose thread.
Chelsea Cain and Kate Niemczyk's "Mockingbird" #2 is much more straightforward than its inventive first issue, but it's still a real joy to read.
Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood take Marc Spector out for a spin in "Moon Knight" #1, playing up his madness and calling into question how much, if any, of his career as Moon Knight is reality.
"Uncanny X-Men" #6 kicks off this title's portion of "Apocalypse Wars," but Cullen Bunn, Ken Lashley and Paco Medina's two stories are nothing but backstory and extended setup.