By Tom Hairston

Before we begin I just have to say that I’m going to have a little trouble reviewing this film, because I don’t know if it’s physically possible to talk about a movie while jumping up and down with joy. I am of course here to talk about the much anticipated Marvel film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and normally when I review a film I like to keep people guessing as to my opinion, I like to jump between pros and cons, but with this film I have to come out and just flat out say that not only does this movie succeed as a thriller, an action film, and as a pure joy ride, but it succeeds at all of those things better than I thought it possibly could. I’ve been weighing all the parts of this film and I honestly can’t find much in here that didn’t have me grinning and applauding for hours.

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Midtownies! Raph is back, here with three more recent releases you should check out, and to be fair, they are three books from three different comics.

FURIOUS

Written by: Bryan JL Glass

Art by: Victor Santos

Furious is a new serious (Issue #2 was released on Feb. 26th, 2014), from Bryan JL Glass (Mice Templar) that deals with a lot of themes of our pop culture, such as celebrities and their downward spirals. Furious is a new superheroine, and a violent one at that, but she has her heart in the right place. In a world where superheroes don’t exist, the spotlight is white hot on her, and what that spotlight does to a person. We also hear in snippets about the fall of a child star named Cadence Lark, which involved debauchery, an accident and the death of her parents, and (spoiler) how Cadence and Furious are actually one and the same. A thought provoking commentary on celebrity culture wrapped in a superhero shell.

Bryan Glass’ dialogue for Cadence is a bit brusque, but that fits the attitude of our socialite turned would-be hero: she’s not the greatest person in the world, but she’s trying to do some good despite the darkness in her past. Victor Santos’ art is terrific as well, I’m hooked in for this downward spiral that is the life of Furious, and you can expect that her fall will fit her nom de guerre.

HARLEY QUINN

Written by Amanda Connor & Jimmy Palmiotti

Art primarily by Chad Hardin

This book had a controversial beginning, with a poorly timed contest that had artists drawing an image in poor taste, but the quality of the book shines despite that ugly beginning. Harleen Quinzel, former doctor at Arkham Asylum turned psychopath, has be bequeathed a building in Coney Island, replete with tenants from the local freakshow, and tons of space for her extracurricular activities. Harley’s early adventures mostly consist of fairly innocuous things: rescuing animals from being put down, finding a refrigerator to put dead corpses, all with her trusty partner: a stuffed, talking beaver. The humor is a bit reminiscent of early Looney Tunes (the crass stuff that they don’t put on TV because Bugs and co. are for kids now), or even a certain Mouthy Mercenary… but Harley has always been an offbeat, out there character.

Jimmy Palmiotti is a known quantity when it comes to writing. I’m not sure how much I’ve read of Amanda Palmer’s work, but I know that she has drawn some of the best cheesecake in comics, and that includes pieces with Harley. She seems to have a decent grasp of the character, the four issues (zero issue included) were written fairly well and they felt natural to our favorite nutjob. Chad Hardin’s art is pretty evocative of artists like Stephane Roux and Todd Nauck, two artists whom I enjoy greatly. If you were turned off by the whole controversy last year, check the book out, it’s an enjoyable, fun book.

MS. MARVEL

Written by G. Willow Wilson

Art by Adrian Alphona

Another book that got a lot of media attention, Ms. Marvel features the first Muslim-American character in a lead role. What is she like? How is she different from everyone? How much do they emphasize her “Muslim-ness”? Just what is Kamala Khan? Well it’s really quite simple: she’s a normal person.

More specifically, Kamala Khan is a teenage girl obsessed with superheroes. Wouldn’t you be, living in an Avengers world? Kamala’s family is from Pakistan, and she is a second generation American (first to be born here). Her culture comes up almost immediately as she faces discrimination from the popular kids in school, to having a more religious older brother, to the conservative parents. But is that inherently a Muslim experience, or is that more of a universal immigrant experience? I’m also a second generation American, and I could identify with a lot of what G Willow Wilson put into this first issue.

Speaking of G. Willow Wilson, she wrote the fantastic series Air, which I’ve read, and Cairo (which I have not). Her writing is a draw for me, and this series is no exception.  Kamala has a distinctive voice, and her struggle to fit into two worlds (and now a third: the superhero world) is very poignant and feels real. The additional twist of how Kamala gets her powers (spoiler) via the Terrigen Bomb Black Bolt unleashed in the page of Infinity (end spoiler) also adds another wrinkle to this complex character we’ve only barely gotten to know.

Add on top of this the art of Adrian Alphona, co-creator of the Runaways, and you have a dynamic team and a beautiful book. Mr. Alphona’s art has been a favorite of mine since his days on Runaways, and I haven’t seen it often, but I’m glad to see it on a book of this quality. This book is one of the better All-New Marvel Now launches, worth a look beyond the original hype.

So that’s my perspective, definitely give these books a look at, and feel free to comment below, and get a dialogue going. If there’s anything you’d like to put out there for others to check out, feel free to mention it the comments too. Thanks for reading!

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A TV legend, a favorite of tabloids, a Wall Street Wolf, an internet mogul… Doctor Adam Spektor is all of these things and more. He’s also a monster hunter, a spiritualist, and a metaphysicist who has confronted the creatures who dwell in the dark shadows—vampires, werewolves, poltergeists, and more. In spite of his success, though, he feels like something is missing… but when he finds out what it is, he may wonder if ignorance truly is bliss!

By Cliff Biggers for Comic Shop News

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This is your chance to attend a special invite only Q&A and signing with writer Brian Michael Bendis on Tuesday April 8th for his upcoming book The United States of Murder INC.!

Sign up below for your chance to attend. All attendees will be chosen randomly and will be contacted via email with further details of the event.

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The United States of Murder INC.

by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming

From the creators of the Eisner Award-winning, best-selling POWERS comes a brand-new world of crime fiction like you’ve never seen before. In this oversized first issue, you will discover a world in which the families of organized crime never lost their stranglehold on the United States. Today is the day that Valentine Gallo becomes a made man, and it’s also the day he learns the secrets behind the organization he has served since he was old enough to walk. But it is mysterious hitwoman Jagger Rose that will forever turn his life upside down. Be there when shocking secrets of this new world spill out onto the very past page. This bold new vision of crime fiction harkens back to Bendis’ earliest work in crime comics, while also giving you everything you expect from the creators of POWERS, one of the most successful and longest-lasting independent comics in history.

This will be an extremely limited capacity event and each attendee will be checked-in at the door. Due to limited space, we can not offer +1.

SIGN UP HERE:

Midtowners! Recently, Marvel announced the possibility of killing off one of its beloved characters, Wolverine. Death is a bad thing for us human beings in general, and it’s a tough subject to deal with, but in the world of comics, I think it’s a necessary part of a character’s lifespan. Sure, death in comics isn’t like death in real life, but in some ways it is. We’re going to look at death in comics, and see what results afterwards. I think you’ll be surprised as to how well it actually works out.

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by Tom Hairston – Midtown Comics Times Square

Okay, so a lot of you out there might be thinking “I want to start reading the Avengers, but there are so many titles out there, what’s the difference between them? Are they all really Avengers books? Do I have to read them all to know what’s happening?”

Well don’t worry, I’m here to help as I’ve written a breakdown of what each of the “Avengers” titles are currently about, what audience they are aimed at, and of course, answering whether or not it actually is about the Avengers.

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