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Reviewing the Ultimate Universe

Posted by Seb Patrick at 10:35 on 30 Jun 2015
Reviewing the Ultimate Universe
While it's difficult to take any of the events of Secret Wars - that is, the destruction of Marvel's entire continuity - with any serious conviction until the series ends and we learn the new post-relaunch status quo, one thing that seems a pretty safe bet is that the Ultimate Universe experiment is finally, fifteen years after it began, coming to an end. Of course, we've been here at least twice before - both Ultimatum and Cataclysm were pitched as events that were going to bring things to an close - but it really does all feel rather more final this time, particularly with the confirmation that Miles Morales is going to join the regular Marvel U.

And so it seems as good a time as any to look back over the past decade-and-a-half of revamped, alternate-universe Marvel stories. And to do so in as much punishing detail as possible, by examining the merits of every single ongoing and mini series published under the imprint.

Is Spider-Gwen the most important new comic of 2015?

Posted by Seb Patrick at 20:30 on 27 Feb 2015
Is Spider-Gwen the most important new comic of 2015?
It's a sign of the desperation that pervades an awful lot of comics industry strategy that we're so frequently told that a particular comic is going to be a hit, or something that we absolutely should read, before we know much else about it.

This is, of course, the very nature of media publicity in general - but there just seems to be something particularly acute about it in comics. Genuine, industry-shattering hits are rare - and ones that break through into the wider consciousness all the rarer - and so for that reason, the publishers seem determined to make sure that they, and not the readers, are the ones to identify which ones they'll be, so that they can be accordingly prepared to deal with them.

The Avengers react to Spider-Man joining the MCU

Posted by Seb Patrick at 11:13 on 10 Feb 2015
The Avengers react to Spider-Man joining the MCU
Tony just really, really wants someone he can build that Iron Spider costume for.

Fifteen year plan to introduce Miles Morales to the Marvel Universe finally reaches conclusion

Posted by Seb Patrick at 20:51 on 28 Jan 2015
Fifteen year plan to introduce Miles Morales to the Marvel Universe finally reaches conclusion
So "Ultimatum" wasn't the end. And "Cataclysm" wasn't the end either. Turns out they were waiting for something even more literal: "The End" will be the end.

To be honest, if anything killed the Ultimate universe - aside from a lot of really, really bad comics by people who weren't Brian Michael Bendis - it was the movies. The MCU Avengers have made the Ultimates look as dated as they once made the original Avengers look. It's hard to say any of them will be missed, now. Especially Ultimate Cap. We hate that guy.

But if you're asking, we'd like to keep Gwen Stacy and Jessica Drew, in addition to Miles. And maybe Ganke, at a push.


One Line Reviews Of Every Comic I Have Bought Since We Last Posted An Update

Posted by Seb Patrick at 10:04 on 09 Dec 2014
One Line Reviews Of Every Comic I Have Bought Since We Last Posted An Update
Hello. It may not have escaped your notice (or it might have completely escaped your notice) that things have been a bit quiet around here lately. We've had a few work and personal related commitments that have meant that we've fallen a bit behind in keeping up with posts. Sorry for the inconvenience, if it is indeed an inconvenience at all.

Regular service should be resuming shortly, and we also have some exciting plans on the podcast side of things to hopefully tell you about soon, but in the meantime, I thought I'd catch up with what's been going on in comics in the time that we haven't been posting. So here's a list of every comic I've bought (either on Comixology or in print) since our last new post, and a quick comment on what I thought of each them. I make no apology for the lack of intense scrutiny or in-depth analysis contained within, but at least in terms of sheer volume of comics it's decent value for money... right?

The 5 Best Things From NYCC 2014

Posted by Seb Patrick at 19:38 on 12 Oct 2014
The 5 Best Things From NYCC 2014
This weekend past saw the ninth annual New York Comic Con take place, not in San Diego as expected, but in the surprise venue of New York. One half of the main PanelBeats team (James) was there; so it makes perfect sense for the half that wasn't (me) to be the one to do a round-up of what happened. So in a completely unfocused and to be honest somewhat ill-informed manner, here are my five favourite things that were announced, or otherwise happened, at the convention.

10 Superhero Comics of the '90s that were Actually Good

Posted by Seb Patrick at 10:58 on 07 Oct 2014
10 Superhero Comics of the '90s that were Actually Good
It is a truth universally acknowledged, as Jane Austen once said, that comics in the 1990s were shit. Just Google "90s comics" and you'll find a plethora of articles with titles like 10 Reasons Why Comics Sucked During The 90s, Why I Fear The 90s Revival Happening, The 10 Most Asinine 1990s Characters and Reasons the 90s Almost Killed Comics. Some of them even get the apostrophe in the right place.

While many of the criticisms offered by this kind of article are more than valid, it's long seemed to us to be somewhat unfair that the entire decade gets written off as filled with excessive, gimmick-driven, pouch-laden dross. It could just be that we started reading superhero comics ourselves (mostly) in the '90s, or it could be that there were genuinely some absolutely terrific comics produced in that decade amid whatever fiasco Rob Liefeld was involved with that week. Even putting aside the obvious likes of Sandman and Preacher, if you look specifically within superhero comics you can find things that are capable of standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the preceding late '80s age that draws so much acclaim.

So to prove this, we've come up with a list of ten superhero comics that all began publication in the '90s (and ended it, if not within the decade, then close enough to the end of it) that we think are genuine, un-ironic, bona fide classics.

Amazing Spider-Man 2's Mistreatment of Electro

Posted by James Hunt at 10:54 on 07 May 2014
Amazing Spider-Man 2's Mistreatment of Electro
Spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man 2

I am a nerd on the Internet, and I had a problem with Amazing Spider-Man 2. It's fair to say I'm probably not the first. But unlike most, I'm not going to complain about the fact that they changed Felicia Hardy's hair colour, or that they made Harry into the Goblin before Norman, or that Gwen Stacy died in the wrong way. My problem is a less superficial one, and it's with the film's primary antagonist, Max "Electro" Dillon.

Comixology Sale Picks: Amazing Spider-Man / Big Time

Posted by James Hunt at 11:17 on 02 May 2014
Comixology Sale Picks: Amazing Spider-Man / Big Time
Earlier this week, we got a sale that covered the start of Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 1. Now, we get the very end of it (although for reasons best explained elsewhere, it's listed as "Vol. 2" on Comixology). On sale until Monday: Dan Slott's "Big Time" run. This is where Slott began his solo work on the character, having previously been a a permanent member of the rotating writing team during the "Brand New Day" era. These 56 issues eventually lead into Superior Spider-Man and set up multiple parts of that status quo along the way, but there are also some great issues in between. Here are our picks for what you should buy.

Comixology Sale Picks: 1960s Amazing Spider-Man

Posted by James Hunt at 09:34 on 28 Apr 2014
Comixology Sale Picks: 1960s Amazing Spider-Man
Once you've read Comixology CEO Chip Mosher's hilariously evasive interview over the changes to their app over at CBR (apparently his initials also stand for "Company Man") you can at least be comforted that it's business as usual on the sale front. This week's Marvel Monday is a huge chunk of early Amazing Spider-Man issues by Lee, Ditko and Romita. Let's have a look at what's worth getting. And remember, you can still browse and buy these issues as before if you use the Marvel app, rather than the Comixology reader.