It’s always exciting, as a kid, to discover the origins of your favorite characters. What is even better is when you can identify with these characters. Greater still is when the messages with the stories are optimistic ones. Marvel Action: Origins #2 delivers all of this.
Hope is a common theme throughout the comic book medium. It allows us to accept when a deus ex machina happens and offers to let us believe that the good guys can always come out on top. Some stories try to stick to a realistic approach, showing a bleaker image of the world, but it’s the ones about hope that can stick with us.
Previously on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy and the Scoobies dove into a portal after Willow, only to find themselves in a very different universe (They have shrimp!), albeit retro world. While they make it back okay, it would seem that some issues linger longer than a trans-dimensional jaunt can fix.
Basilisk #1 is the foundation for a new story, new characters, and a new world from the mind of Cullen Bunn (one of the best horror comic book writers currently writing in the genre) and artist Jonas Scharf (whom I’ll speak more of shortly). Bunn’s Harrow County absolutely blew me away with its scope and character-focused story lines. That started small, focusing on a single character getting swept up into something beyond their control and built outward. Basilisk gives us a few things: an initial event that occurred some time in the past, two characters coming to a head, and a villainous family. Even beyond that, there are plenty of elements introduced. This is giving us hints of who the multiple characters are, and instead it’s giving a wider vision of this world and all the things our two female protagonists might run into along the way. And because it’s probably a five to six-issue story arc, as many BOOM! titles are, there’s a need to get to it!
According to Julie Andrews, a very good place to start is at the very beginning, so let's start there. 35 years ago, I was 5. Reagan was in the White House, New Coke was making its way to market, and late one moonless night, Dark Horse Comics was born. That brings us to today. Now that we're caught up, let's talk The Worst Dudes.
When I reviewed Jalisco in 2019, I was unaware that the plucky, determined young dancer would be the first member of a superhero team representing young women from different countries and backgrounds along the Latinx spectrum. Phoenix Studios saw the need for more representation in the genre (and they are not wrong!), and I presume loved Jalisco so much that one book wasn’t enough for her story. Santa and Loquita are the latest additions to this universe where young women possess powers to change the world, often through connecting to their cultural roots and loving their familias and compatriots.
Every now and again, I’m reminded that I live during a time in which we have been able to enjoy wonderful people and experiences like David Bowie, Robin Williams, and Star Wars. There are so many things that I could add to that list, and while reading The Last Ronin, one of those items is the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Maybe if I had been born in the '20s and '30s, I would have felt this way about Errol Flynn or Charlie Chaplin (who died a year before I was born and is one of my comedy and filmmaking idols), but during my youth, it was all about TMNT. As a kid, it was the indie comic (made more for adults). Then, as a pre-teen, it was the cartoon (made for kids), and as I became a teenager, it was the movie made for teenagers, and so on and so forth. I played every game. I had every poster hanging on my wall. I knew every lyric to every theme song (and still mostly do.)
I “squeeeed” when I saw that a new issue of Something Is Killing the Children was coming out. During lockdown last year, this was one of those things I was looking forward to every month, like a dog waiting for a milk bone. The lead of the story, Erica Slaughter, hit every single note that makes a character worth following: She was capable; she was emotionally affected by the violence around her; she was a bit unsteady mentally; against the worst of odds, she wanted to do the right thing; and even though we knew all of those admirable things, she also remained somewhat of a mystery.