Axel-In-Charge: Navigating the "Civil War II" Landscape, Bringing DMC to Marvel
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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Steve Orlando, ACO and Hugo Petrus' "Midnighter" #9 is "a startlingly clever and exciting comic."
Tara Butters, Michele Fazekas and Kris Anka "blend old and new elements in a genuinely pleasing way" in "Captain Marvel" #2.
"Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu tell a story that uses the visual language of comics with great success" in "Black Canary" #7.
Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo's "Batman" #48 "takes the double-cliffhanger from last month... and makes both situations even tenser."
Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque's "Huck" #3 "is another charming issue... [with] art that quietly steals the show."
Max Landis and Joelle Jones' "Superman: American Alien" #3 "is a perfect example of everything that a relaunch should give its readers."
"Renae De Liz and Ray Dillion breathe new life into an old tale with 'The Legend of Wonder Woman' #1."
In Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang's "Paper Girls" #4, "there's a level of skepticism and wariness that feels refreshing and real."
Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo find "a good approach that keeps things appropriately weird but don't lose sight of its menace" in "Doctor Strange" #4.
Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta's "The Vision" #3 is "brilliant in how well it still fits in with... the rest of Marvel's comics."
The conclusion of Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips' noir Hollywood mystery series "The Fade Out" will "hit you like a ton of bricks."
Kelly Thompson and Corin Howell's "Jem and the Holograms" #10 "is another victory for a series far more enjoyable than one might have ever thought."
Tom King, Barnaby Bagenda and Ig Guara's "The Omega Men" #7 "blows its competition out of the water."
Nick Spencer and Ramon Rosanas' "The Astonishing Ant-Man" #3 "is another strong issue in a fun series."
Charles Soule and Ron Garney's "Daredevil" #2 "is an issue fans will appreciate more and more with every read."
Frank Miller, Brian Azzarello and Andy Kubert's "Dark Knight III: The Master Race" #2 "moves in an intriguing and entertaining fashion."
"As soon as you finish reading G. Willow Wilson and Takeshi Miyazawa's 'Ms. Marvel' #2, you'll want to start it again."
"Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr infuse some realistic elements alongside those a bit more in superhero tradition" in "Batgirl" #46.
Max Landis and Tommy Lee Edwards' "Superman: American Alien" #2 "will make readers wish that every Superman comic was this good."
"The mixture of character conflicts and supernatural threats is utterly engrossing" in Gilbert Hernandez and Darwyn Cooke's "The Twilight Children" #3.
As the second half of "The Bronze Age" continues in "Detective Comics" #49, Peter J. Tomasi and Fernando Pasarin settle into the title as more statue-inspired murders move through Gotham.
What starts as a simple mission to steal an alien gun quickly spins wildly out of control in Steve Orlando, ACO, and Hugo Petrus' "Midnighter" #9, which introduces a foe who might just be able to stop Midnighter.
Michele Fazekas, Tara Butters and Kris Anka provide thrills and intrigue as an abandoned spaceship looms in "Captain Marvel" #2.
The Savage Dawn crossover continues into Greg Pak, Aaron Kuder, Ardian Syaf, and company's "Action Comics" #49, where a new scion of Vandal Savage appears and Superman's abilities go wild when exposed to Kryptonite.
"Hellboy Winter Special 2016" has some interesting winter-themed stories from a variety of creators, but almost all of them feel like they aren't quite the right length.
Gene Luen Yang, Howard Porter and Ardian Syaf continue to explore the nature of Superman's heroism in "Superman" #48, where the Man of Steel fights to win even with no powers.
The Quietus arrives and the band rallies to stop it in "Black Canary" #7, where Brenden Fletcher and Annie Wu use the language of comics to best show its rampage.
Jeff Lemire and Victor Ibanez launch a new storyline in "Extraordinary X-Men" #6, where the team travels to Weirdworld with a renewed sense of purpose and direction.
"Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Deadshot and Katana" #1 offers up two full-length stories by Brian Buccellato, Mike W. Barr, Viktor Bogdanovic, Richard Friend and Diogenes Neves, but neither are as compelling as they could be.
Wonder Woman appeals to her godly brethren in Peter J. Tomasi and Doug Mahnke's "Superman/Wonder Woman" #25, but it's only Eros' appearance that ultimately gives this book a bit of a spark.
Azrael attempts to take down the Order of St. Dumas with the help of Red Robin and Red Hood in "Batman and Robin Eternal" #16.
The Living Nightmare returns in "Astro City" #31, but this time Kurt Busiek and guest artist Jesus Merino take Samaritan's foe and show the confrontation primarily from the villain's perspective.
Batgirl attempts to infiltrate the GCPD with the help of Spoiler and Bluebird, but not everything is as it seems in Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher, Eleonora Carlini and Moritat's "Batgirl" #47.
Cullen Bunn, Greg Land and Jay Leisten's team of mutants faces another setback in "Uncanny X-Men" #2, and so far we're seeing very little competence from this group of characters.
Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo and Danny Miki unleash Mr. Bloom's fiendish plot on Gotham even as they give us a chilling meeting between Bruce Wayne and the Joker in "Batman" #48.
Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque continue their cheerful, upbeat story in "Huck" #3, even as those around our hero try to exploit him and his abilities.
Tom Taylor, David Lopez and David Navarrot's "All-New Wolverine" #4 continues to mix things up as Laura and her sisters go to Doctor Strange to save Zelda's life.
In Mark Waid and Adam Kubert's "All-New, All-Different Avengers" #3, the team comes together to save the planet and stop Warbringer.
"Robin War" #2 brings the story to a slightly rushed but overall satisfactory conclusion, as King, Randolph, Martinez, Fernandez, Di Giandomenico, Pugh, McDaniel and Owens give us a story about rising up in the face of adversity.
Max Landis and Joelle Jones's "Superman: American Alien" #3 oozes charm with a simple but excellent story where Clark's mistaken identity touches on the problems with money and power.