Monthly Archives: January 2017

Recommended Read February

This month’s recommended read is one that I just picked up out of curiosity, as I’ve never really read any of the stories and had a limited base knowledge of the character from TV and movies. Some call him “the lost son of Krypton”; to others he’s the son of Jor El. This month, I’m recommending Superman Earth One, Vol 1

I loved this origins-type story instead of the classic older Superman we’ve come know and love over the years. Instead, the writer – J Michael Straczynski – takes the story and transformed them into a wonderful story of a young man trying to find his way and purpose in life. This story begins with Clark Kent travelling to Metropolis. Even though he could easily fly, he chose the train as it gives him time to think about his life. 

Arriving in Metropolis as an awkward but well dressed 20-something, he has a very difficult decision to make. Does he take up one of the many lucrative job offers and live as a gifted but ordinary youngster, or does he take up the mantle of the hero and become the legend that will eventually become known as Superman. The book really helps the reader to understand the decision that the young Clark has to make, even if there is no doubt that he is destined to become the alien hero we know as Superman and use his immense powers to help the less fortunate.

The penmanship by Shane Davis is simply brilliant; it combines superb artwork with vivid colours, which gives an overall stylish feel to the well-paced flair of J Michael Straczynski’s. While this story is certainly not an attempt to reinvent the origins of Krypton’s favourite son, it is a fresh and interesting reimagining of a classic origin story with a Smallville twist. I enjoyed it so much that I have continued to read and collect this series and eagerly await the release of Volume 4.


Introducing the Brothers Marvel Podcast

Brothers Marvel Interview 

Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us what you do.


Hello! We are The Brothers Marvel – your shield-wielding co-host Vinnie and your web-slinging co-host Charlie – two brothers who grew up with Marvel characters and have decided to start at the beginning of the Marvel Universe and talk about how wacky things were back in the 1960s. There’s a bunch of crazy stuff that is best exemplified by ‘unbreakable globules of shimmering syntho-matter’, but we also get to track the evolution of these great characters and of storytelling in the mighty Marvel manner.


When did you start the ‘pod and what was your inspiration for doing so?


We’ve always been huge fans of these characters, and as access to old comics became so much easier with Marvel Unlimited, we thought it’d be great to chronicle our reading of the older issues with a podcast. Plus, how can you read about Spider-Man discovering an alien-invasion plot built around radio repair and not share that with the world? We got started last summer and we’ve torn our way through 40-plus episodes since. Excelsior!


What do you do career-wise when you’re not doing the podcast?


As you might be able to infer from our snazzy logo, Charlie is a graphic designer. He lives in Kansas City – something you cannot infer from our snazzy logo. Our wordy write-ups are done by Vinnie, a sports writer living in Chicago.


Give us a little-known, interesting fact about yourselves.


Years ago, we travelled into space aboard a spaceship, but our ship was bombarded with cosmic rays, imbuing us with fantastic abilities. It was a similar situation to the Fantastic Four, but we merely gained the ability to podcast.


Do you find it harder or easier doing the pod with a family member?


Doing the podcast with each other is easier for the sole reason that we get each other’s jokes, which are often bad. Having someone guaranteed to laugh at your stupid jokes makes things much easier.


What comic-related issue causes the most arguments between you?


Well, in Fantastic Four No. 13, there is a trio of super-powered apes (actually, Stan Lee, only the gorilla and the orang-utan are apes, while the baboon is a monkey). Charlie is of the opinion that these super-powered apes are too silly and a detriment to the issue, while Vinnie is of the opinion that they are hilarious and make the issue infinitely better. They are, after all, SUPER APES!


What sparked off your love of comics? Is it just Marvel, or do you read DC?


When we were kids we watched the Spider-Man and X-Men cartoons (cue the X-Men theme song: BUH NUH NUH NUH NUH, NUH NUH!) and fell in love with all the great Marvel characters. That Spider-Man action figure our dog chewed the foot off is probably still lying around our parents’ house somewhere. As we got old enough to get our hands on comic books, it was great to see these characters in decades’ worth of action. And, of course, we are gigantic fans of the Marvel Studios movies. We aren’t really DC fans, ‘though we have seen all the Batman movies. Charlie loves a few of them. Vinnie thinks they’re a little depressing. But we’re in agreement that the 1960s Batman TV show is fantastic! BIFF! POW! ZOK!


Who is your favourite superhero or character, and why?


We’re gonna have to split up the answers for these next couple questions.


CHARLIE: I have always been a huge Spider-Man fan because Peter Parker, a normal high school kid, is one of the most relatable characters out there. His powers were thrust upon him before he gained his motivation for becoming a superhero, so you get to see what would happen when a normal kid gets super powers. His tragic backstory and sense of humour make him entertaining, and his strict moral code makes him a role model. Also, his fighting style is entirely unique to him. His spider sense and lack of training make it so that everything he does in a fight is made up on the spot. And that makes for some amazing art. Listen bud, he’s got radioactive blood.


VINNIE: Without a doubt, my favourite Marvel character is Captain America. Steve Rogers’ power set doesn’t make him more interesting than any other hero, but his character is unimpeachable. He is always doing the right thing for the right reasons (certain recent revelations aside: cough, cough, Hydra, cough, cough). And while originally a character created to show how awesome America is, writers have shown that he is consistently more awesome than America. Captain America might have a specific country associated with his identity, but I associate him with what is best about humanity in general.


If you could have one superpower, what would it be, and why?


CHARLIE: I would want to have the ability to talk to animals and have them quickly accept me as their friend and leader. Especially moose. I’d like to ride a moose.


VINNIE: While my first thought was to have the ability to teleport anywhere, so as to avoid having to get on an airplane, I do like to rock out during car trips. So I’ll go with mastery over time. That way you would always get enough sleep and could cram plenty of fun activities into one day. And you could pause time right before natural disasters and move everyone out of the way. But you would also be susceptible to your time-control device breaking, as illustrated in that Treehouse of Horror episode.


Where can our readers find you online? (Twitter, Facebook, iTunes etc).


Twitter: @BrothersMarvel or click Brothers Marvel Twitter

Website: Brothers Marvel Website

iTunes: search “The Brothers Marvel” or click Brothers Marvel iTunes

America’s Kingdom Review

America’s Kingdom issues one and two are the latest in a personal favourite style of stories for me – I love stories of alternative history. This particular tale looks at an alternative America – one where they never won the war of independence and, instead of a democracy, they now live in a kingdom ruled by royalty. 

The story of the United Kingdom of America begins in the present day with a strange chase on horseback and capture of a terrorist suspect called Benedictine Arnold.This gives us an introduction to the horsemen who are the king’s official henchmen, called knights, who make sure that the rule of the monarch is imposed – by force if necessary. From this, we learn the history: that from George Washington onwards, there has been a long succession of royals ruling the kingdom from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, which is now called the White Palace. Guns are now outlawed and the knights are experts in archery and swordsmanship.

We join the current prince, Geoffrey, who is waiting to take the crown and begin his rule, He will, however, only become king if his arranged marriage goes ahead. Unfortunately for the young prince, the kingdom he is set to reign over is in chaos due to a rebellion being led by a mystery character known as Peerless Fortane.

This kind of alternative history story is becoming very popular in science fiction and comic books – even featuring in a major TV series – Amazon’s ‘High Castle’. This series continues in High Castles’ fine tradition, with very fast-paced, strong and well-defined art work. The story itself is gritty and in places it has a violent side that gives a vivid impression of what America might be like in the 21st century with a brutal, medieval king at the helm instead of the democratic union it has. Brian Hawkins and the team behind America’s Kingdom are really on to a winner with this new series and I can’t wait to read more of this fantastic story.