This week’s Comixology (at Amazon) sales include Marvel’s transmedia heroes: Shang Chi and Ms. Marvel (Kamala Khan), plus the original Kree Captain Marvel. DC highlights include Superman, Green Lantern and Jimmy Olsen, while Dark Horse discounts Elfquest.
Where did the New Releases and Sale pages go?
In case you’re having troubles with the new UIX (a LOT of people have been):
(Former) Master of Kung Fu
The Marvel Shang Chi Sale runs through Monday, 6/6.
Shang Chi has a… complicated story at Marvel that involves a lot of “inside Baseball” maneuvering behind the scenes. There are basically three periods to the character:
Period #1 is what we’ll call the “classic” period, for lack of a better term. Master of Kung Fu started out as a licensing deal for the old Fu Manchu novels. In original run, Shang is the son of Fu Manchu, who’s rejected his ways and is working with an elderly Sir Dennis Nayland Smith (protagonist of the novels) and British Intelligence against Fu Manchu’s schemes. When Doug Moench settled in as writer, especially with Paul Gulacy, Mike Zeck and/or Gene Day on art duties, it settled into a sort of pulpy espionage comic with touches of fantasy around the edges. It’s also widely considered one of Marvel’s best works of the ’70s. The series technically lasted past Doug Moench leaving for DC, but only by a couple issues. Moench would eventually return for a Marvel Comics Presents serial (alongside a revival of another 70s cult star, Man-Thing) and a special.
There are two Epic Collections of this run, though the second is probably more representative of the series.
Eventually, Marvel decided to revive the character a little more actively, but in the 00’s, they no longer had the Fu Manchu license, so they updated Shang’s costume to more of a track suit (*cough* Bruce Lee *cough*) and just didn’t talk about his father and/or tried to switch his father to The Yellow Claw, a 50s Marvel Fu Manchu knock-off that appeared every once in a while. In this period, Shang was usually popping up in team books, like Secret Avengers.
Then, a bit more recently (and likely influenced by Marvel Studios), Marvel decided maybe it wasn’t such a good thing to have one of their most prominent Asian characters rooted in the most famous Yellow Peril franchise. So they pulled in heavy hitter Gene Lueng Yang, Dike Ruan and Phillip Tan to relaunch Shang Chi as more of a fantasy adventure hero. An ongoing series followed shortly thereafter. It’s a pretty big shift between eras. If you’re familiar with the character from the films, this is the version you’re looking for.
You Look Marvelous
The Marvel Ms. Marvel Sale runs through Monday 6/20.
This would be Ms. Marvel as in Kamala Khan, not the current Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers. Hmm… it’s like there was a TV show coming out or something? Let’s break this down by volume, since there have been relaunches.
- Ms. Marvel ’14-15 – The original run with G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona as the primary artist
- Ms. Marvel ’15-’19 – How silly is this relaunch? The collected edition number doesn’t even reset! It’s still Wilson and Alphona, although the artist rotate a bit as it goes on.
- Magnificent Ms. Marvel ’91-’21 – Relaunched after Wilson’s departure, this is written by Saladin Ahmed with Minkyu Jung and Joey Vazquez as the lead artists
- Ms. Marvel: Beyond the Limit – The most recent mini-series (only single issues are on sale) by Samira Ahmed and Andrés Genolet.
There’s a selection of Champions, where Ms. Marvel was a member, also on sale.
Recommendations? We thought Ms. Marvel was at its best early in the run, before it got too integrated into the Marvel universe, but that’s just us. Definitely start with Wilson’s run, though. It made quite the mainstream splash.
Speaking of Marvelous…
The Marvel Captain Mar-Vell Sale runs through Monday, 6/6.
Yes, things have gotten complex enough that Marvel is calling him by his Kree name of Mar-Vell. This would be Marvel’s original Captain Marvel, who’s title Carol Danvers took up in recent years… yet, only one of the two series comprising the bulk of the sale is of the original Marvel.
What we’re looking at:
- Captain Marvel ’68-’79 – This being the original run most people think of.
- Captain Marvel ’02-’04 – This being the adventure of the orginal Mar-Vell’s son, Genesis. Written by Peter David with seemingly a different artist for each arc.
Recommendations? If you’re not looking to get the full run of Masterworks for the original run, we’d point you towards two volumes:
- Captain Marvel by Jim Starlin: The Complete Collection – Get this in place of Masterworks V. 3. It also contains the Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel and some other material for a slightly high page count. This is the first Thanos storyline and Starlin’s Captain Marvel is the character’s high point.
- Captain Marvel Masterworks V. 4 – This volume is largely forgotten, but a friend made this magically appear in our Comixology account a couple years back and we enjoyed it. Steve Englehart and Al Milgrim pick up where Starlin leaves off and run with it for a bit. The Supreme Intelligence schemes and Ronan accuses. Not quite to the legendary level of Starlin, but these two volumes are effectively the “Best of.”
Crisis On the Road To Utopia
The DC Road To Dark Crisis eBook Sale runs through Monday, 6/13.
These “Road To” titles always make us think the marketing departments are Bob Hope/Bing Crosby fans…
So, while this is supposed to be a Dark Crisis lead-in sale, the 1000-ish comics in it suggest that might be hyperbole. Or perhaps DC will prove us wrong and the Meg (Princess Diaries) Cabot / Cara McGee Black Canary: Ignite YA OGN is really leading into Dark Crisis?
There’s obvious a LOT on sale, so it’s worth a browse. Recommendations? Sure.
Superman: Man of Tomorrow, Vol. 1: Hero of Metropolis is a bona fide hidden gem. Completely under most radars as a digital first comic, this is a string of connected “classic” Superman tales as a conspiracy unfolds in the background… with the Parasite, Metallo and a giant ape in the mix. It also has a strong sense of humor with a subplot about how hard it is to stash your clothes when changing into costume. Robert Venditti writes it, Paul Pelletier is the primary artist. Probably our favorite Superman in at least a couple years. (Plus, $5.99 is one of the lower price points, here.)
While a little more expensive at $8.99 (but at least you’re getting 12 issues, here), Superman’s Pal Jimmy Olsen: Who Killed Jimmy Olsen by Matt Fraction and Steve Leiber is an instant classic. This is a surprisingly densely plotted screwball adventure that simultaneously calls back to the over-the-top silliness of the Silver Age. As Jimmy Olsen tries to stay alive long enough to solve his own murder, we witness: a drunken marriage in Gorilla City, an ancestral feud between the Luthors and the Olsens, podcast pranks and… look, OF COURSE there’s a giant turtle. A masterpiece.
The first two volumes/season are priced a little lower, but the entirety of the Grant Morrison/Liam Sharp Green Lantern run is now on sale. Morrison explores a lot of tropes in what starts out as exploring the “space cop” aspect of GL. Sharp varies the art with the themes for a different experience than you typically get with a mainline DC character, too. This is essentially one extended story told across two “seasons.”
The Dark Horse Elfquest Sale runs through Monday, 6/13.
This is the classic and pioneering fantasy tale of Elves fleeing when the humans burn down their forest by Wendy and Richard Pini.
The saga, except for the current installment, is collected in very thick omnibus volumes as The Complete Elfquest and 500-600 pages for $5.99 is a good deal!
The current installment is Elfquest: Stargazer’s Hunt, of which the second book isn’t out, but the first is on sale.
Still On Sale
- The Dynamite “The Boys Sale Up to 75% off” runs through Monday, 6/13