Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 4/19/17

We try to stay up on what’s going on at Marvel, but we can’t always dig deep into every issue. The solution? Our weekly round-up of titles coming out of Marvel Comics. Today, we’re discussing Captain America: Steve Rogers 16, Daredevil 19, Doctor Strange 19, Moon Knight 13, Ms. Marvel 17, and Royals 2. Also, discussed Secret Empire 0 on Thursday and will be discussing Silk 19 on Monday so come back for those! As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

slim-banner4 Captain America: Steve Rogers 16

Ryan D: All eyes are on Captain America with Secret Empire kicking off, but I can’t help but feel like the past few issues of Cap’s solo title have been moving pieces into place, then redundantly explaining or checking in on them, ad nauseum to set up the big cross-over.

Writer Nick Spencer tries very hard in this issue, but there’s just too damn much crammed into these thirty-two pages with very little actually happening. It’s hard juggling four separate plot lines. I can appreciate the 1945 flashback scenes with their poster-esque coloring and art style trying to clue the audience in on the psychological underpinnings of Rogers as he sets to betray his friends and government, but I have found very little of that thread to be enjoyable or dynamic. The Zemo and Barnes bit felt underwhelming and low-energy, and I thought was undermined by uneven art: the big page with Zemo staring out the door, his revenge in action, looked badass, but most of the shots of Bucky while he lay strapped to the rocket looked scratchy and vague. Artist Jesus Saiz seems to waffle between styles so much it confuses me. The panel of Faustus, backdropped in startling red with shadows on his face, full of life and vitriol, looked beautiful, then the next page looks chunky and muddy, like a poorly-done John Romita Jr. impression.

This issue to me feel like a bad ending to a WWE RAW go-home show which should be selling the big Pay Per View main event coming that weekend: in true pro-wrestling style, we see the bad guy get on the mic (Cap’s concluding monologue) and stand tall over the good guys to help sell the hopefully epic main event (Empire) wherein the heel will hopefully get their comeuppance, but the issue itself was a slog. I was extremely excited with the narrative potential of Cap’s turn, but I’ve wished over the past few issues that it could be simpler, allowing it to be more ideological and showcase its rich contemporary, political allegory. Perhaps that’s what we’ll get from Secret Empire, but I find Captain America: Steve Rogers 16 to be too much of a slog featuring only a few pages of story, full of plot holes. Heck, Taskmaster and Black Ant were my favorite part. I’ll leave you with the only page which really seems to matter in this issue, and all you really need to know, heading into an issue #0 which will invariably catch audiences up on everything which happened in this title:

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Daredevil 19

Spencer: It’s got to be hard to create new stories for a character as old and beloved as Daredevil. You’re expected to bring something new to the character, yet you can’t betray what came before, and every disparate take on the character throughout their history only complicates the task. I can’t speak for Charles Soule, but I imagine that his journey to discovering the core of his Matt Murdock was pretty similar to the journey Matt himself takes in Daredevil 19.

Under the thrall of the Purple Man, Matt is tasked with figuring out what the worst thing he could ever do would be. Soule and artist Marc Lanning depict his internal struggle as a battle royale between every prominent past incarnation of Daredevil, which is a brilliant idea not only because it makes what could have been a dry, talky sequence visually exciting, but because it visualizes (and thus clarifies) Matt’s current state of mind. Unable to be Daredevil or a lawyer, Matt’s lost his sense of self, and it takes analyzing every past stage of his life and figuring out what each had in common for him to figure out what would hurt him the most, and thus what’s most important to him: “The entire world goes to hell, I know about it, I have the power to help, and I do…nothing.”

Matt’s process is depicted as all the past Daredevils combining together into Soule’s black-suit version, intrinsically tying his take on Daredevil to Matt’s revelation. I can’t help but imagine Soule going through the same process when planning this run — pitting every past take on Daredevil up against each other until he comes to the core trait that unites them all. This trait is Matt’s answer — using his abilities to help others is by far the most vital need in Matt’s life — and thus it’s not only clear now why Matt decided to sacrifice so much to regain his secret identity, but why Soule decided to base his entire run with the character around this decision. I don’t necessarily think it’s a decision that needed to be justified in real life, but Matt’s need to justify it in-universe betrays his guilt even while showing how this may have been something Matt had to do on some level. That’s a wonderfully complex status quo for Soule to mine in the future.

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Doctor Strange 19

Taylor: By the very definition of his name, Dr. Strange is unknowable. Something is said to be strange when it is hard to understand or unusual and nothing could be more true of Stephen himself. While I usually take this moniker as a reference to Stephen’s chosen line of work, it had never occurred to me before that it actually refers more to his personality than anything else. In issue 19 of Doctor Strange, Jason Aaron posits that what makes Stephen unique is not his magical abilities, but his inability to love others.

The issue explores this facet of Stephen’s personality through the conflict with Mister Misery, who has taken Wong hostage by inhabiting his body. Knowing Wong’s thoughts, Mister Misery waists no time in hurting Stephen by telling him that Wong loves him the way a father loves his son. This hurts Stephen and forces him to take drastic measures. To defeat Mister Misery and exercise him from Wong’s body, he must admit that he doesn’t love so Mister Misery will inhabit his own body.

While this saves the days, it calls into question just what type of person Stephen. Afterwards he does claim that he said he didn’t love Wong because he wanted to save him, but there’s no way to know if that’s true or not.

If it’s true that Stephen doesn’t love Wong, Aaron might be showing that Stephen is actually a monster. Aside from Mister Misery, an actual monster, living in his body, the possibility that Stephen doesn’t care for someone who has taken care of him selflessly for all these years would make him a figurative monster. What’s troubling about this is, is that it might be true. While part of me wants to believe Stephen cares for other people, another part of me can’t forget that he also used to be, and maybe still is, an egotistical jerk.  Whatever the case may be, currently it’s hard to know exactly who Stephen is and just how monstrous he may be.

Now that’s pretty strange.

 

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Moon Knight 13

Mark: It was the brilliant 2014 Moon Knight run by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Jordie Bellaire that made me start paying attention to the character. Their Marc Spector was inscrutable, but that suited a book powered almost exclusively on bravura set pieces and inventive, relentless action. Ellis, Shalvey, and Bellaire’s Moon Knight arc is a seminal work.

As Jeff Lemire and Greg Smallwood’s run (with Jordie Bellaire continuing her stand-out color work) reaches its penultimate issue, I have come to appreciate their centering of Moon Knight as a character. In the beginning, Marc Spector was as unknowable as ever because Marc himself didn’t know what was true or not. But over the course of their 13 issues we have come to understand Marc more and more as little bits of information have been revealed, culminating here in Moon Knight 13 with Marc finally realizing that this whole time he’s been trapped inside his own mind.

It’s not the most shocking revelation, given what’s come before, but what I love so much about Lemire, Smallwood, and Bellaire’s Moon Knight is that for all its twists and turns and psychedelic splash pages, it all boils down to a classic Moon Knight story about a guy who’s just trying to make good for the wrongs he’s committed…and who somewhere in his mind thinks he’s working on behalf of the Egyptian god of vengeance.

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Ms. Marvel 17

Patrick: We can all identify the problem: anonymity makes people mean on the internet and that makes people meaner IRL. That’s been the thrust of the “Damage Per Minute” story arc on Ms. Marvel, and much like the real world problem, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of concrete solutions. The only real power that Ms. Marvel and her friends have to combat the cyber troll Doc.X is their basic empathy, patience and kindness. That, and Ms. Marvel’s embiggened fists. That’s right, after 18 pages of sewing seeds of positivity and peace and empathy and generosity, Ms. Marvel is driven to clocking the bad guy in the face. It works, but the victory is short lived and hollow, tagged with the normally cheesey “THE END?” Here though, the be-question-marked ending feels quite a bit more dire – of course that’s not the end of trolling and shitty behavior on the internet.

But, y’know, you gotta try, right? The first four pages of this issue show all of those positive traits required to overcome this kind of bullshit on the internet. Zoe’s friends all pour on the support and stand with her in public, even if they don’t have anything particularly constructive to say. The kindness, it would seem, is enough. Also, goddamn, I love to see Mike’s approach to this, which is to simply do the nice thing without asking Zoe if she needs anything. If there’s one thing you don’t need when going through something difficult, it’s having to write prescriptions so other people know how to help you.

Mike’s not a “let me know if there’s anything I can do” kind of girl.

I do like the comparison to how kindness feels within World of Battlecraft. In person, of course you’re going to hug your friend and try to help them with sweets and board games, but on-line? Pfft. That space ain’t real. That’s the disconnect this story is trying to bridge. It helps that artist Takeshi Miyazawa makes literally no distinction between the world of the game and the real world. It’s kind of a bummer that the dudes in the Iron Legion are already talking about how their going to return to their less scrupulous way of playing just as soon as this cycle of kindness is over. But… baby steps, I guess.

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Royals 2

Do or do not, there is no try.

Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Drew: While I’m not sure I fully understand the philosophy of the Jedi, the sentiment that there are no dress rehearsals in life certainly resonates for me. We might prefer to define our life by our intentions, but it’s what we actually do (or don’t do) that matters. That’s certainly the case with comics, where an aversion to retcons means that even some of the most regrettable developments are still enshrined in continuity. So: there’s some pressure to get it right. I’m not exactly sure if Yoda meant to put Luke under that same pressure with that line, but it never felt all that reassuring to me. Of course, he actually does have the freedom to try — there’s no real consequence if he fails, since he’ll be in the same circumstance with out it. That is, he might not have been under enough pressure. Royals 2 asks Flint to do a similarly impossible (actually, quintillion tons more impossible) task, but gooses it with a life or death situation.

Flint moves Pluto

And that’s how Flint’s able to move Pluto when Luke can’t even lift a measly X-Wing — he’s got a whole Chitauri swarm breathing down his neck. Artist Jonboy Meyers amplifies that tension, allowing his panels (and their focus) to slowly drift to the right, stretching them thinner and thinner until they explode into that splash. It’s a beautiful effect.

Of course, the pressure of the situation is a proving ground for basically all of the characters. Both Medusa and Gorgon cast their medical conditions aside to help. Black Bolt, meanwhile, cowers from the fight, which tips Medusa off that this isn’t Black Bolt, at all. That Maximus the Mad had faked his way on board opens up a whole slew of questions, from where the real Black Bolt is (presumably on Earth, but in what condition?) to whether that figure from the future we’ve assumed is Black Bolt might actually be Maximus. That’s a twist that might have more immediate impact than last month’s, which functionally just gave Medusa a haircut. I’m certainly excited to see where it goes next.

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The conversation doesn’t stop there, because you certainly read something that we didn’t. What do you wanna talk about from this week?

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4 comments on “Marvel Round-Up: Comics Released 4/19/17

  1. Black Panther – World of Wakanda: The last issue of this actually ended up being the best, due to a better choice of collaborator. As always, Coates has given a black writer from outside of comics the chance to write a comic, and Rembert Browne is actually up to the task. It is a simple story, of old Black Panther supporting cast member Kasper Cole/White Tiger struggling to balance his life between his work as a police officer and as a vigilante, and how being the White Tiger gets in the way of his quest to make enough money to support his son. The story is typical, exactly what you expect with that premise and the name ‘Death of White Tiger’, but it works.

    A final mission, showing both why he should be celebrated and why it is time to put down the suit and retire, while placing him in a new status quo that acts as a new beginning as a supporting member of the main book. A nice last hurrah to a character I never knew existed

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    Captain America: You know what? Just like you, Ryan, I was extremely excited with the narrative possibilities of Steve’s turn, and am still excited for Secret Empire, even if the Secret Wars 0 left me slightly nervous.

    But I think it is fair to say that this book has been a failure. The first issue was fantastic, but I think it really has suffered from the fact that literally every issue has been set up. Even the flashbacks, for some reason, have their final payoff incredibly poorly placed in Secret Empire 0.

    If I think back to Hickman’s Avengers, it is amazing how while that concluded, feeling like an ending, even as the next story was about to begin. It didn’t just tapper off like this trying to set everything up, it gave us the grand finale of the Iron Man/Captain America conflict that had been brewing throughout the entire run.

    But how many payoffs did this run actually have? Maria Hill. Anyone else? Zemo, Bucky and Red SKull got conclusions, but that was after a majority of their story was down in THunderbolts and Uncanny Avengers. Selvig technically does, but he never really got to have an arc. Meanwhile, how much stuff never got a payoff in this book?Freedom Spirit is set up to be a major character from the beginning, then spends most of the run sitting at Jack Flagg’s bed before disappearing. Taskmaster and Black Ant appear, only to instantly become henchmen. A big deal is done about stuff like the mysterious Bob, who ends up being a meaningless piece of Secret Empire 0 – I would much rather have that be a big reveal in Steve Rogers than to treat it as a ‘reveal’ in the pages of a sequence where there are literally a hundred more important things going on in Secret Empire 0. So has a big deal been done about assembling a new HYDRA and a new Masters of Evil, but they matter little to anything except set up.

    With the exception of some of the Civil War II stuff, this book has failed to be a working narrative by itself, and is primarily just setting things up. Completing lacking payoffs throughout, to keep everything in reserve until Secret EMpire, leading to a ‘final’ issue that completely fails to feel like a conclusion, to the first part of the HYDRA Cap story, and instead feels like more table setting
    At least we have finally begun the actual story

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    Daredevil: This issue is full of good ideas, that fails simply because Soule struggles to inject that humanity into it. Same issue I always have with him. For example, look at Kilgrave. His whole approach is a bit ‘tell, don’t show’. Part of this comes down to the art, a different approach in the art would be much better, one that showed Kilgrave as more of a slave to his whims. But too much of it comes down to him just that ‘tell, don’t show’.Imagine if, instead of just describing how his new thing is ‘getting people to do the thing they think is the very worst’, we saw Kilgrave workshop ideas, never satisfied, until suddenly having a eureka moment that the best thing would be to ask Daredevil to choose the worst thing possible. Seems small, but this just reflects the issues inside Matt’s head

    Soule uses a range of different Daredevils to represent different eras, but they never feel like more than a stereotype of their era. Miller Daredevil, in the Man without Fear outift, goes for the dead girlfriend. 90s Daredevil is nothing but 90s excess, complete with the use of the word Extreme. Nothing to it except an easy joke on 90s comics. Original costume Daredevil is nothing but an idealised idea of a simpler time, back when Daredevil was first published. All very simplistic depictions (on the other hand, Waid’s Daredevil is depicted as a overly simplistic character who has nothing to him except being happy, so is pretty consistent with Waid’s Daredevil). For a psychological look into Daredevil, it ends up being disappointingly simplistic. Hell, the choice to make it about costumes and trends in comics means you divorce most of this comic from the actual content of the Daredevil books, and what they mean to Matt (which is probably why Miller Daredevil works best. It isn’t tied into the early 90s comics that the costume came from, but the specific events of Miller’s work in the 80s).

    The payoff was perfect, but suffers from the fact that the humanity is so lacking it doesn’t matter. A shame.

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    Doctor Strange: Taylor, I interpreted the issue a bit differently to you. I think it is impossible to say Doctor Strange doesn’t love anyone, everything he did for Wong this arc shows a great love, as does the emphasis on how long their relationship has lasted. Instead, the admission was instead Doctor Strange confronting his greatest fear. His misery came from the idea of having to truly confront the fact that he may have disconnected himself so far from humanity to have lost the ability of a true connection. I think Wong is right, and there is plenty to prove it.

    Strange truly shows guilt, this idea that he has failed his duty as a friend. He does love them, so actually makes amends, doing what he can to make things up to Zelma and Wong. He makes a mistake with Wong’s meal, but this effort is proof. Because what is love, other than a willingness to commit to the welfare of others? Strange may not do it well, but he certainly commits.

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    Invincible Iron Man: The story of Riri is ultimately a Coming of Age story. It is all about Riri finding her place in the world. So after establishing herself as a hero, she now has to make decisions. And that’s what this issue is about. She is offered three different choices. With Stark Resilient, with MIT and with the Champions (run away from the Champions, Riri. Didn’t you see what Waid did to Viv Vision? He’ll ruin you to). Each future offers its own path, and Riri is forced to truly make a choice. Stark Resilient provide Riri with infrastructure, everything she needs. MIT provides a community to help her build the future. And the Champions, they offer nothing but the chance for Waid to screw everything up. In seriousness, the Champions offer Riri a voice.

    A truly meaningful choice, the sort of choice that is actually rare in comics. This book really is Bendis at his best. I love it

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    Ms Marvel: I have always loved Ms Marvel’s askew approach to superheroics. An approach where superheroics is about community activism, and not punching. THe fact that Kamala’s true power is not her ability to punch a bad guy, but her ability to address the underlying social concern is her best feature. However, I think I’m too cynical about humanity for this issue to work on me. Or at least too close to the topic

    The problem is that Doc.X is too big. Kamala defeating the Inventor by solving a generation’s feeling of worthlessness is great, because she is only dealing with a small group of kids. Kamala dealing with Cyber Harassment by making the entire internet go good for a day is a step too far.
    The solution is perfectly Ms Marvel, but it reaches the level of being too unrealistic on a psychological level that Ms Marvel would be able to enact that change. Nadia starting the group hug, or Mike’s ‘let’s play Settlers of Catan’ works a lot better than somehow turning an entire MMO good for a day. To think that the same solution of ‘just be nice and others will reciprocate it’ ignores the fundamental problem of Cyber Harassment – the way the internet dampens our ability to be empathetic.

    Honestly, if the scale was smaller, and Doc.X was infecting a local network environment instead of the world (imagine Doc.X trapped in the school intranet), you could pull this off. Goign this big just feels the wrong sort of unrealistic. If we could get the internet to be nice for a day that easily, we wouldn’t have to deal with GamerGate, the alt-right etc

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    Star Lord: I’ve seen some theorise a big reason why Fast and the Furious is now one of the biggest franchises on the planet is its approach on family/fambly. It isn’t just that Fambly is the big theme, or that it is always treated with complete and utter sincerity (though don’t get me wrong, sincerity is the most important element. THey a stupid, but sincerely stupid). But it is the sort of Fambly depicted. The Fambly of the Fast and the Furious movies is not a traditional Fambly, but specifically nontraditional. It is that a bunch of people can bond with each other, love each other so much, that they become a Fambly, even without being a legal Fambly. They are brothers and sisters by choice.

    Which is why I liked the ending of Star Lord, which is about a non traditional idea of home. Peter has been lost, aimless. But the secret isn’t because he abandoned Earth. It is because his home is a spaceship. His home is cruising between planets in out of space. It was because he was stuck on Earth that he felt so aimless.

    Things did work out as Peter planned, and he regrets his failures. But he’s learned a lot about family and home. Including, most importantly, that that is a space ship.

    I was a bit disappointed with this series in total, but it is one that has lots and lots of good stuff. Exceptionally designed, just needed an extra spark of humanity.

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    Telltale’s Guardians of the Galaxy – Tangled up in Blue: So, Telltale did a great Batman game, taking everything great about the comcis and approaching it with a fresh, new direction that created something unique. Telltale also did a truly fantastic comedic, pulpy sci fi game, that combined a band of crooks with sensational use of music with Tales from the Borderlands. So they were basically born to do a Guardians of the Galaxy game

    So, a Telltale game is like an interactive movie, where you play the lead character as they go through events, influencing their personality and, to a limited degree, the plot. You get to choose the dialogue of the main character, and make choices that influence the story to different degrees.

    And with Guardians of the Galaxy, they do a great job at doing what they do so well. FInding complexity in franchises by looking straight at the canon, and using it to create characters with histories, complications, grey areas. Psychologies. The game doesn’t begin too well, feeling like a remix of the movie. On a planet that feels the Morag, Thanos is trying to get a superweapon. The Nova Corps call for the Guardians help, and they go off to fight Thanos. Peter is playing music. Rocket carries a gun that is basically the Hadron Enforcer. Even the soundtrack feels like Tyler Bates’ movie soundtrack. Everything feels a bit too familiar.

    Until you realise that is the point. What is supposed to be a run of the mill adventure changes everything. And it changes everything in the most anticlimactic way possible. And that’s the point. The story is supposed to be generic, until Star Lord changes everything. He actually kills Thanos. Which leads to the big idea of the game. What happens to the Guardians of the Galaxy, once you remove the thing that unites them?

    From here, everything changes. Even the music shifts into a more original take ont he Guardians. They return to Knowhere to party, and to celebrate being the Galaxy’s greatest heroes. Peter even uses Thanos’ superweapon as a cup. But Gamora warns Peter that the Guardians are only a family because of him, and Peter is going to have to work to keep them together. And the group is full of tensions. Drax, fulfilling his life’s purpose, now suffers an existential crisis. His family have been avenged, yet he can’t move past them, because there is nothing else. Rocket has always been an arsehole, and without Thanos, his worst elements are getting the best of him. And Groot’s loyalty to Rocket is means where Rocket goes, he goes. Meanwhile, Gamora’s distracted by her other family issues. With her father dead, she wants to reach out to her sister. Try to patch things up with the sister who never did fully turn against Thanos.
    Oh, and Gamora and Rocket are arguing over what to do with Thanos’s body, as Gamora wants to give it to the Nova Corp and Rocket wants to sell it to the Collector. And the fight is getting ugly.

    With the Guardians’ all suffering like this, the one thing that unites them now is the seed to tear them apart. As Peter said in the movie, ‘You know what I see? Losers. I mean, like, folks who have lost stuff.’ But they come face to face with a new villain who also has lost stuff. Hala the Accuser, one of the last of the Kree, wants the superweapon that the Guardians have. Desperately trying to get back what they lost, Hala will do anything she can for her people. She ends up being a compelling villain, with a unique complexity. But more importantly, she also reveals the power of the Guardian’s new superweapon, the Eternity Forge. It has the power to give the Guardians back what they lost. The one thing every Guardian wants, something that could actually lead the Guardians to betraying each other.

    The set up for a great Guardians story. Not as exciting as their Batman game, but does what made the Batman game great. Find the perfect twist to see how everything changes. Kill Thanos, and see the Guardians be pulled apart by the thing that unites them.

    And ti also creates this great thing, where such a key part of the story comes from things like hanging out in a bar. It is all about Rocket trying to tell Drax that Drax didn’t kill Thanos, it was Peter with Rocket’s gun. It is about Rocket trying to get all the credit, caring more about his self-aggrandisement than giving anyone, even the guy who killed Thanos, any credit. It is Groot trapped in the bathroom the morning after, hungover, puking… something into the toilet. THough I think my favourite part of that scene is Gamora by the door, away from the festivities, talking to Peter on his communicator because parties aren’t her style.

    There are some flaws. The game struggles with action sequences, which is a shame considering what Telltale have done before. After seeing them do this, it is a shame that they struggled with the action.

    Hell, the opening credits should have been better. Yeah, it had to feel like a remix of the movie, but between the fantastic Opening Credits of the movie, and what Telltale did with Borderlands, it should have been easy.

    There are a couple of other small issues. Humour is a bit of a problem. The humour is similar to the movie, which causes problems. A few too many jokes feel too similar to the movie. There are some truly fantastic gags, that feel like they belong in the movie but are completely original, but others feel like a movie joke rewritten.

    And there is some weird stuff from an backstory standpoint. The game is very reverent to the movie, using movie backstories primarily, and saving comics stuff for background references (like Guardians of the Galaxy villain Universal Church of Truth getting small references, or Gamora and Draw looking like their comic selves). Which works very well. But there are some weird differences. The fact that the Kree race are so unknown that the Guardians don’t recognise them means they can’t have come up against Ronan the Accuser, which means that despite the game wanting you to use the movie to fill in the blanks about backstory, Guardians’ history is very different to the movie.

    Still, there is so much great little stuff. Peter’s room is a lovely bit of character design, finding new ways of showing Gunn’s depiction of Peter. Draz eating Oreos while dealing with existential crises is the sort of character moment you play Telltale for. Nebula’s small cameo so easily builds a richness to Gamora she doesn’t get to have often. Peter’s history, specifically around his mother’s death and Yondu, is changed in a beautiful way that makes Peter’s backstory deeper and more complex. I could go on about the little things, because this is a great start. I can’t wait to see what happens next game, now that we have a brilliant set up, and the chance to see a truly unique twist on these characters.

    Because the question of ‘What happens to the Guardians, if you strip away everything that keeps them together?’ is a great start. Can’t wait to see what happens

    • Actually, writing that stuff about movie backstory v comics backstory got me thinking of something.

      What the hell is Peter Quill’s backstory in the comics now? I know Humphries did an update where he basically did the Yondu stuff, just with Peter as an adult. Does that mean the Master of the Sun stuff no longer happened? If so, does that mean that Peter never had Ship? Because without Ship, you don’t have Star Lord sacrificing Ship to defeat the Fallen One, and therefore screwing up a lot of the stuff during the Annihilation era, which is where he formed the Guardians of the Galaxy in the first place

    • Captain America: The art was so bad in the non-flashback sections that I wasn’t even really sure it was Selvig who killed himself (that WAS Selvig, right? Your comment seems to confirm it, but I wasn’t 100% sure)

      Honestly, the Zemo/Bucky stuff worked best for me despite not having read Thunderbolts. The implication that HydraSteve helped orchestrate Bucky’s first “death” by handing him over to Zemo is possibly the most chilling aspect of HydraSteve (even if we really don’t get enough time to examine ANY of HydraSteve’s relationships — why did he partner with Bucky, why did he partner with Sam, why does he actually love Sharon?), and I love the whole fake news comparisons with Zemo choosing to believe the narrative that best suits his agenda even if he knows it may not be true.

      • Yeah, the Zemo stuff worked the best, a proper payoff to Zemo’s arc in this story. Full committing to Steve’s ‘Fake News’ story, finally getting the revenge Zemo has always craved by rewriting his own history so he can get that satisfaction in the first place. But it is sad that this happened after Thunderbolts told a decent majority of his story. Same with Uncanny Avengers and Red Skull. I just really wish that the Steve Rogers book, as it set up Secret Empire, found space to tell a story like Sam Wilson, Thunderbolts and Uncanny Avengers did. To have actual conclusions, to have real payoffs instead of just being issue after issue of table setting.
        Because yeah, it would have been great to explore Steve’s relationship with Sharon, why he still loves her. Or his relationship with Bucky (his relationship with Sam is nonexistant. While HYDRA!Steve befriended Bucky in his memories, his friendship with Sam was, according to Steve, only developed when the Allies changed reality, before Kobik reverted him). So much could have been explored as part of a tale of the Rise of Captain HYDRA, but we spend so much time with other stuff. That’s why things like the Zemo scene stick out.

        It is a shame, as there is so much thematic depth that can be explored in the best stuff, like the fake news comparison with respect to Zemo. I wish Steve Rogers could have been a book that truly explored that, instead of setting things up so that we could finally get the proper exploration in Secret Empire,

        And yeah, the art was bad. Reminded me of the current Thunderbolts, and the art was atrocious in that

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