The Ethics of Art Theft

Is there a blurry line between stealing and celebrating art?


Earlier today, Jordie Bellaire (whose incredible coloring work seems to appear in every other book in existence these days) called out a website for art theft. The ensuing Twitter saga ultimately led to the conclusion that the site itself was actually a bizarre scam presenting Google image search results in lieu of actual products, but “WallpartPosters” is hardly the only place one might go when trying to secure wall-sized prints of comic (or other) art. As Bellaire noted, “It’s just ugly, lots of artists are just tired of it. It’s happening all the time and no one cares to stop.”

It’s hardly the first time I’ve seen artists perturbed (understatement much?) at attempts to profit freely off of their hard work; last month I was introduced to Hiba Khan by virtue of some sleazy entrepreneur’s attempts to claim her work was public domain — by virtue of its existence on the Internet — and then sell products emblazoned with it.

The obvious problems of theft notwithstanding, cases like these have led me to wonder whether (and where) there is a place for custom-designed products featuring others’ work. In Khan’s case, someone was actually trying to make money off of her painting, and she expressed intent to sell shirts of her own, featuring that work, once it was finished. The damage to her is thus fairly clear. But what if she never intended to sell those shirts, and you wanted to wear her design? In days past, you might have bought iron-on transfer paper and printed out an 8 x 10 to DIY it. Would that have been unethical? And if not, is it any less ethical to order a custom shirt or poster made with the image file an artist (or their employer) has already made available, especially if they don’t sell shirts or posters?

These aren’t rhetorical questions. I recognize that people — perhaps including the artists mentioned here — might simply say “yes, this is unethical.” And insomuch as the work is theirs, the conversation might just as well end there. However in a world increasingly rife with fan culture, edits, and other creative undertakings, intellectual property ethics aren’t always in keeping with intellectual property law, and assumptions of ownership seem to be cloudier these days than they were ten or twenty years ago. Just look at what has happened with the Suicide Squad trailer from SDCC. What once might have been looked at as free viral marketing (and, heck, is looked at that way by many other companies) was perceived by Warner Bros. Pictures as despicable piracy (read: theft) and damaging besides.

This all sort of hit home for me last night, as I spent an hour or so fruitlessly trying to track down a poster I was sure must exist but evidently does not. I wanted to add Sara Pichelli’s cover art from last year’s Ms. Marvel #1 to my wall, but it does not appear that I will be able to do so since neither Marvel nor Pichelli sells such a thing. In the grand scheme of things, this is a trivial concern. But if I’d wanted to express my love for the book just a tiny bit more than I do, I might have ended last night trying to upload that image to a site just like WallpartPosters, not to earn or take any money from the people who created the art but simply because there was no viable way for me to give them money for the product I was seeking.

Are fan culture and artists’ rights inherently at odds with one another? Is it actually unethical to seek services for creating posters or shirts to celebrate something you love when those posters or shirts aren’t otherwise available to buy? Is it truly reprehensible for websites to exist to provide those services? Why don’t larger companies (such as Marvel) simply run their own version of these services (so that the covers or panels they own can end up on the bodies and bedrooms of their fans)? I’d love to hear what you think.

NG Secret Wars Primer

Give Marvel credit. After years of ostensibly earth-shattering events that ended up changing nothing, Secret Wars actually seems to be living up to its own hype. The final page of Secret Wars #1, heralding the death of the 616 and 1610 universes, felt momentous and chilling, perhaps because it broke the fourth wall and gave us extradiegetic start dates to the worlds we’d just watched end.

Last weekend, numerous panels at San Diego Comic-Con suggested that the 616 isn’t quite so dead as all that, though precisely how it will be resurrected, and which of the cataclysmic events we’ve witnessed over the past months will remain canonical remains to be seen. The numerous tie-in books under the Secret Wars banner thus carry with them a sensation not typically ascribed to alternate universe or what-if stories, because any or all of them may be “real” (perhaps, more accurately, remembered) when the crisis ends and a normal existence resumes.

Presumably, this means that even if you like “this” version of, say, Kamala Khan, you’re also hoping that “our” version of the young Ms. Marvel will return despite her not being one of the select few 616 survivors who made it onto Reed Richards’ raft. Meanwhile, if Secret Wars has resurrected a long-dead character you loved (or introduced alterations that you’re pretty fond of), you’re worrying that come October the character will be lost again for good. And it does seem that both the hopes and the fears are warranted; though true clarification will come down the line, for now it sounds like who stays and who doesn’t will be a matter of mere editorial caprice.

Nevertheless, it sounds like Marvel is being very intentional about making this autumn’s #1 issues more legitimate jumping-on points for new readers than ever before, and with the magnitude of the events of Secret Wars and the wild divergences occurring in the various Battleworld and Warzones titles I’m prepared to actually believe them this time. If you take a step back from these miniseries you’ll notice that they have a truly transitional spirit: just similar enough to what has come before that if you’re an established reader you’ll recognize the characters, but also new enough that even if you’ve never read these characters before you don’t feel like you’re missing decades of backstory.

Below, I’ve described the few Secret Wars books I’ve been trying to keep up with; trying being the operative word, since I have to wait for my monthly shipments to come in and thus I’ll be pretty behind on most of these. If you happen to be reading any of these and wouldn’t mind loaning me digital redemption codes, I’ll review them as they come out and send you my codes when I get my shipments!

Secret Wars

7.17 Secret Wars

Few things entice me quite as much as Alex Ross covers, and I’d be lying if I said that wasn’t part of what got me to decide to pick up the first issue of the main event book. Yet it’s Hickman’s truly gripping story, combined with stellar art from Esad Ribic, that kept me coming back. From page one, Secret Wars feels meticulously planned and executed. Doom is both surprisingly human and shockingly cruel, and his godlike sway over “good” characters makes for intriguing confrontations between people who would normally be working together against him. If you’re following Marvel at all right now, this is a book worth reading; and if you aren’t, consider this a neatly-contained eight-issue miniseries showcasing some of the company’s highest quality work.

Secret Wars: Battleworld: Inhumans: Attilan Rising

7.17 Attilan Rising

Other than a couple Inhumanity issues and the obligatory tie-ins with Ms. Marvel (and, more lately, ABC’s Agents of SHIELD), I honestly know very little about Inhumans, which makes Attilan Rising one of those books I went into rather blindly. I’ve really been digging John Timms’ art, but what truly hooked me was the neo-noir vibe of the story Charles Soule is telling. Black Bolt is operating a rebellion from the basement of a rather classy speakeasy, and Medusa has sent her spies to infiltrate and shut down the operation. Toss in 1602 Matt Murdock and an adult version of Kamala Khan, and you have plenty of excuses to at least give the first issue a shot.

Secret Wars: Warzones: A-Force

7.17 A-Force

This book probably already has sufficient fanfare, as it was prematurely trumpeted as an all-female Avengers book well before it was treated as a Secret Wars tie-in. Probably anyone who has looked at the cover of the first issue already knows whether they want to be reading this book, as love for these ladies is the driving force of the title. Perhaps the other best reason to try out A-Force is its new character (thus far unnamed) who is both comically silent and cosmically powerful. Solicits suggest that this character (and the mysterious portals opening around her) will continue to matter post Secret Wars, so there’s that, too. I should note that the art has been hit-or-miss for me, but on the whole it’s decent.

Secret Wars: Warzones: Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows

7.17 RYV

Certainly the title that makes me most nervous, Renew Your Vows promises to see Peter Parker and Mary Jane back in the throes of marital bliss, only to shatter their world immediately thereafter. The verdict is still out on whether this book ends up being the epitome of “be careful what you wish for,” but the prospect of supporting a title that reunited a marriage that never should have been broken up in the first place has been missing for years was enough to rope me in. Of course, it’s being written by Dan Slott, the guy who has been helming Spider-Man books for a few years, so if you’ve read anything spidery anytime lately you already have a sense of what you’re getting yourself into.

Secret Wars: Warzones: Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps

7.17 Carol Corps

Doom’s word is law across the domains of Battleworld, or so we are told in so many of these books. But while the sovereignty of the erstwhile villain is merely window dressing for several books, it is the crux of this one. Carol, stubborn as ever, oversteps her orders a bit too much, and what she discovers forces her to question not only the chain of command but the very nature of her existence. The banter between her team of flying aces is classic Kelly Sue DeConnick, but surprisingly the plot is actually surpassing the characters for me right now.

Secret Wars: Warzones: Giant-Size Little Marvel: AvX

7.17 AVX

Do you hate joy? If so, move along. If not, then GSLMAVX is worth your money. Skottie Young’s delightful chibi-esque versions of Marvel characters have graced variant covers for years, so if you’ve ever smiled or laughed at one of those just amplify the sensation tenfold. The book technically takes place in yet another region of Battleworld, though in reality it remains a place unto itself, a perpetual schoolyard showdown between the two eponymous cliques. GSLMAVX is cute and frequently laugh-out-loud funny, and rewards fans with a self-awareness typically reserved for the likes of Deadpool; the first issue ends with “twins” arriving and both the Avengers and X-Men claiming ownership.

Secret Wars: Warzones: Inferno

7.17 Inferno

I’ve never read the original Inferno story, so I can’t speak to how well Dennis Hopeless is capturing the essence of the event this title homages, but the story of Colossus and a crack team trying to rescue an Illyana who may not actually seek rescuing has been pretty entertaining. The art is spotty and sometimes goofy, at times seeming at odds with the darker themes and events, but the overall feel is still solid. I’m also a fan of seeing Domino just about anywhere, and with Cable recently thrown into the mix it almost feels like an X-Force reunion. Just, you know, in hell.

Those are all the Secret Wars books I’ve been following. Are you reading these too? Have any questions? Any books you think I ought to have on this list but don’t? Let’s chat!

Prelude to NG #3 (of 3): Taste

Prior to officially “launching” Novelly Graphic (you know, talking about new comics and the industry) I wanted to discuss a few loose ends from my earlier comic-based writing endeavors to transition into a new era. This is Part One.

In the spirit of charity I’m exhorting my fellow fans to pursue, I want to make it clear that this is not going to be another soapbox blog, another vent steaming with livid tirades. I want this place to be a celebration of what I enjoy, with full recognition that there’s not always accounting for taste and that “I don’t like this” never means “this is bad.” To be sure, some things ARE bad, and it is possible that I will take some time to discuss bad things. But poor plotting and coloring are not the sort of bad I feel is worth my ire. Misogyny and racism and phobias? Those are worth talking about, though probably I (white, straight, cis, Christian, male) am not going to be the best spokesperson to tackle them.

I’m hoping that eventually this blog can feature guest articles, reviews, or essays, to fill in the many things I don’t read, or know, or care about. Talking about books I don’t have the time or money to be reading, or getting a second opinion on ones I do, seems like it would be a valuable addition to this site. It’ll be a while before I’m prepared to get that ball rolling, but by all means let me know if you think it’s something you’d be interested in being a part of.

I intend to review comics here. This blog will not, however, feature ratings. To begin with, a blog written or curated by a single person with a limited budget cannot reasonably be expected to include books I anticipated disliking, which means there’s already going to be a bias towards things I enjoy (read: high ratings). Moreover there’s the matter of taste. If I love a book because of some aspect (say, art) that you hate, what value is there in giving it a 10/10? Seems more worth both our time for me to just tell you what I liked or didn’t, give a strong recommendation where something is particularly enjoyable to me, and let you draw your own conclusions. I’d rather discussions on the blog deal with what happens in an issue than with how I scored those happenings.

There are plenty of excellent (or at least dependable) places for comic reviews. I frequent Comic Vine, Comic Book Resources, and IGN when I’m curious to see how something I was on the fence about turned out. But I sometimes vehemently disagree with the verdicts, and I imagine that were I to assign ratings to things I like that some of you would similarly disagree. And so, as the reviewing begins here, be prepared for more words and fewer numbers. Hopefully you’ll see fit to add some words of your own!

Prelude to NG #2 (of 3): Humanity

Prior to officially “launching” Novelly Graphic (you know, talking about new comics and the industry) I wanted to discuss a few loose ends from my earlier comic-based writing endeavors to transition into a new era. This is Part Two.

Previously, I discussed the discovery of parasocial relationships as an explanation for why I (and many others) become angry when bad things happen to characters we care about. However, justification of the root of my vitriol is not justification for how I chose to funnel it in 2013. And over the last couple years I have grown increasingly displeased with how I conducted myself back then.

There was no grace or compassion in what I wrote. My words were merely conduits for unbridled rage, and I slung them anywhere I could. Axel Alonso, Joe Quesada, Dan Didio, Dan Slott, and Dennis Hopeless all received personal attacks from me, though Hopeless received them the most because he had the unfortunate position of being the author of the book that most directly threatened characters I deeply cared about.

It is incredibly easy, especially as a new reader, to lose sight of the bigger picture whenever a decision is made which frustrates or enrages. Add in the very real emotional ramifications of such decisions — studies have demonstrated that when a character you love dies, you experience the same physiological grief as when an actual person you care about dies — and it makes sense that the immediate impulse is to lash out at the people responsible for what you despise. Of course, it’s fairly clear that Dennis Hopeless was not singlehandedly responsible for ruining everyone’s lives. Editorial directives on various levels turned his pitch for one thing into something else entirely.

And you know what? He was new. Can you imagine the thrill of finally getting a chance to write for a company like Marvel, and trying to deal with that kind of creative intrusion/oversight (which has famously driven many people away from the company), while also trying to do right by some characters you love and offering new ones… only to have people calling for your head before a single word of what you’ve written has even seen the light of day? Remember, it was editorial that got fans riled up. It was advertising that prepared readers for the worst. Judgments about Avengers Arena, and thereby about Dennis Hopeless, were formed before anyone ever interacted with his work at all.

And even if you remain convinced that there are very real flaws in that work, it’s worth asking: isn’t that inevitable? Not everyone passes the road test the first time. And talk about terrible driving conditions. Over the past couple years I have become convinced that I was too shortsighted in my criticisms, and too myopic in my reception of what was being written. The fury became license to hold Arena under a magnifying glass to which I have never subjected any other creative endeavor. Every week became an excuse to call out one panel or page and get upset all over again. Time slowed to a crawl and suddenly Arena went from a year-long publishing experiment to a seeming lifetime in hell.

I think many of us acted like a proverbial Gary King, immaturely refusing to accept that we’re never getting the band back together and bringing a wave of destruction upon ourselves because of that denial. While living in a fantasy where the Runaways was going to come back, it became natural to view Avengers Arena as the Thing Standing In Our Way. If it weren’t for that misguided hope of a reunion, wouldn’t we have more seriously considered the “at least these characters are showing up in something” perspective? Were the changes in characterization truly that much more extreme than when any creative team takes up the mantle on a character we love?

Maybe not. Or maybe so, and if so, then it makes sense again that we responded badly: we felt like we didn’t recognize our friends anymore, and that sense of loss, of not being able to go back to the good old days, left us reeling.

What I do know is that today, I really love a lot of what Marvel is doing. I see characters whose writing I have complained about in new hands. I have seen creators whose work I used to hate start making things I actually enjoy. Heck, I’m pulling Inferno, by none other than Dennis Hopeless. He has been writing for Marvel for a couple years now. And like anyone who cares about their craft and puts time into practicing it, he has gotten better.

What we seek in our fiction (and our fictional relationships) is going to differ wildly. We are entitled to have strong reactions to things, and there is a place for those reactions to be voiced. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past few years of comic book reading, it’s that the relationship is only going to be as toxic as you allow it to be. Something happens that you dislike? Someone writing or drawing a character in a way you can’t stand? Identify that emotion. Respect its origins.

But then don’t permit yourself to fixate on it. Move on to something else, and be ready to check back in on the character in a few months, or in a year. Remember that even though we read comic books one at a time, they are often telling stories over the course of half a year or longer, and sometimes things we couldn’t get behind with 1/6 of the story are fine when we have the whole thing.

Perhaps above all, remember that there are actual people on the other side of the fictional ones, and that generally speaking they are not intentionally trying to torture you. Some of them will make mistakes, and you need to learn to forgive them. Others have problematic ideas about the world, and you need to focus on challenging those ideas rather than on the fact that they come out in the creator’s work.

But in all things, preserve charity. They may be in a unique position to help or hurt someone you have come to care about — and reminding them that with that power comes responsibility is obviously fitting — but they are also a person doing something they’ve always dreamed of doing, hoping for the best, dealing with a lot of different people’s ideas of what needs to happen, all on a pretty tight schedule.

There are many blogs in which writers and artists are minutely criticized and castigated. Novelly Graphic will not be one of them.

Prelude to NG #1 (of 3): Parasocial

Prior to officially “launching” Novelly Graphic (you know, talking about new comics and the industry) I wanted to discuss a few loose ends from my earlier comic-based writing endeavors to transition into a new era. This is Part One.

Two years ago I was furious. I’d only been reading comic books for a few months, but I was already on the cusp of stopping. Likening books like Marvel’s Avengers Arena and reboots like DC’s New 52 initiative to an abusive relationship, I noted that fans of comics masochistically cling to something that routinely and even predictably doles out emotional sucker punches like they’re going out of style. Frequently it seemed that the more love and time you poured into the relationship, the more likely you were to be hurt, and hurt deeply, as a reward for your devotion. Ultimately it became clear that I would keep reading comics, but I perceived this less as a decision for perseverance and more as a result of being too weak to cut toxicity out of my life.

Common during the spring and summer of 2013, during which I unfurled a quiver’s worth of bile-soaked arrows at the industry, was the question from those far less upset than I was: “Why do you care so much?” I was reminded that the characters I lamented or mourned were after all fictional, and the assumption followed that real-world emotional responses to unreal events were uncalled for.

With a background in English and Theatre, I was able to point out the inherent absurdity of criticizing emotional response to fictional drama. Obviously narrative art depends upon eliciting real emotions for its power. This is likely all the more true of any serial art: a story which must sustain your attention and devotion for months or years needs you to invest in its characters, and if you don’t care about the characters after an episode or issue you have no special reason to look into the next one.

Yet in the back of my head a small worry continued to gnaw, that my emotional outpouring was indeed uncalled for, and that I and the few who replied favorably to my battle cry were in fact manifesting a pathologically unsound attachment to fantasy. I could stare at the fact of fictionality without flinching, but it didn’t lighten the weight of my affections. I wondered from time to time whether my caring was the product of some social or psychological malaise; if, perhaps, these imaginary people were my refuge from real-world isolation, and I depended on them as if they were real friends simply to compensate for the day-to-day absence of actual people.

Only through early discussions with my graduate advisor did I find out that my questions were already fairly common, and in fact already had some promising answers. It turns out the human brain regularly ascribes human traits to the inhuman. It’s why we see faces in rocks and clouds and landscapes. It’s why we talk to our pets as if they understood us. It’s why we name our cars and computers.

And it’s why we naturally develop emotional attachment to people with whom we’ve never actually interacted, be they celebrities who aren’t aware of our existence or, that’s right, people who don’t even actually exist. Ultimately, we form relationships with people and characters in the media that are, psychologically, just like our actual social relationships. They’re parasocial relationships. We can tell the difference. Our brains…not so much.

Perhaps even more freeing than finding an answer to the question — Why do you care so much? — was learning that research into parasocial phenomena had also pretty thoroughly tackled the question of pathology. A series of studies in the 1970s and 1980s attempted to demonstrate a link between loneliness/friendlessness and a tendency to develop parasocial relationships. Not only has that link not been found; some studies have even suggested the opposite.

Which makes sense: if your brain doesn’t differentiate, then you’re either good at caring about and connecting with other people (fictional or otherwise) or you aren’t. Hopefully you’ll find that relieving; I know I did.

In any case, I thought it worth pointing out that this blog fully endorses a passion for characters and the intensity of expression such passion typically produces. Our brains think of them as friends, so let’s treat them as such.

Blame the Lazarus Pits

If I’ve learned anything about American mainstream comics over the last two and a half years I’ve spent reading them, it’s that death is pretty much never permanent. Fitting, then, that I’m resurrecting this blog; it was almost inevitable that I’d come back, as long as my name wasn’t secretly Uncle Ben.

I’m keeping all the old posts, the old false starts and rating systems and attempts at direction, mostly because WordPress tells me I still get a handful of hits here each week despite my silence and I’d hate to take my old words away if they’re still potentially useful to someone. But, reader beware, everything beyond this point in history reflects a different, younger me. I can’t say for sure that I had a vision when I first snagged this blog title, but if I did it has most certainly changed thanks to my time in graduate school.

Over the next week or so, paddling desperately on the waves of San Diego Comic Con, I will give this site a relaunch proper, so you know what to expect, what expect. For now, just know that I’m back, and I’m ready to write.

Weekly Pull #8. Ish.

Two weeks ago I bought a rather large stack of comics. I was home sick, and had the issues sitting there at my side, but ended up more interested in watching television instead. It came to pass that by the time last Wednesday rolled around, I hadn’t even finished reading the previous week’s buys. A certain drive that had previously been consuming me, driving me to follow comics news daily, seems to have evaporated overnight. But it took me a couple weeks to recognize that passion was gone.

Today I picked up my pull and was disappointed to discover that Diamond had failed to ship my LCS this week’s Astro City, the conclusion to an arc several issues in the telling. That used to be the sort of thing that would be a big deal to me. But today I just shrugged, bought the other books, and walked out to my car. I read today the way one reads for class — enjoying some of it immensely, but unsure that I’d have chosen to do it of my own volition. I was reading like I needed to read for someone else, rather than for me.

That’s the way it works with the buying, too, I’ve realized. I started adding books to my list so that I could have a consistent account. I wanted to develop a good relationship with the store. But with a pull, there’s a sense of obligation — a sense that once it’s ordered, it must be read. It means I have to make decisions not about what I feel like reading now, but what I’ll feel like reading a month or two from now. If I decided to stop reading today, I’d still feel compelled to buy comics for the next several weeks. On principle. And if I buy them, I may as well read them. But it’s going through the motions. It’s not what it once was.

That puts me in a weird position, as I have over a dozen subscribers to this blog who ostensibly have enjoyed what I have to say about comics. And when I do read, and I do enjoy, I do like sharing that with people and hearing back from them about it. But I can’t do that just for other people. And as I start to look at my current life, and especially my current and coming finances, at my desire to continue to own a car, and my desire to eventually have a girlfriend, the sheer magnitude of the comics portion of my budget, time, and thoughts just looks way too big. So I need to cut it.

The first cut is easy, it’s the one where I cut out anything I just added because it looked kinda fun but am not really invested in. But the second cut, the cut that I need to make to make a tangible impact on the budget, is the one where I drop books I’m enjoying but that don’t offer me lasting satisfaction beyond the moment — the ones that I will probably never read again, or lack back upon fondly. The many books which are good, but are not great. The books I may decide to read somewhere down the line in collections, or may never get around to reading at all.

I do not know how many comics I will actually read going forward. But I know it won’t be enough, often enough, to sustain this blog. Which is weird, and kind of hard, because this is the first thing in almost a decade of public writing that has actually generated any real kind of attention from people before. And like so many New 52 series, it’s getting cancelled after eight issues.

This week, I bought six comics. These are my thoughts:

  • All-New X-Factor #4. This book has been fun. Peter David is building it slowly, adding members to the team at a pace refreshingly slower, but more reasonable, than most team books. That said, this particular issue seems to have been slightly less spectacular than its predecessors. Still one of the highlights of ANMN, in my opinion. 4/5
  • All-New X-Men #24. The Trial of Jean Grey continues. It’s fun to see the interactions of so many characters (Starjammers + Guardians + X-Men is pretty neat), but for an “event” that seems so large, it still ends up feeling pretty small and skeletal. I can’t put my finger on what, but something is missing here. 3/5
  • Batgirl #29. I think it’s safe to say most people will not see the ending of this miniature “Silver” arc coming. I can’t imagine how others will feel about it; personally I wasn’t impressed. That said, Strix is a fun character to have along (even if she just reminds me that DC refuses to bring back Cass), and the Alex Garner covers continue to be one of the series’ best selling points. That said, I’m about done with this run, I think. 3/5
  • Ghost #2. This is a really weird book. Seeing your heroes team up with demons to face other demons is always a novel experience, and Kelly Sue DeConnick has definitely brought these characters in with full doses of personality. The art is great, the intertwining plotlines being developed are intriguing enough — I’d say if you’re in the market for something different you should give this recently-relaunched title a try. 4/5
  • Revelations #3. It’s so very odd reading this Jenkins & Ramos mini and remembering they’re the same team that brought me FairyQuest. This is a foul-mouthed, cynical, cigarette-butt-hurling tale about corruption and death in the Vatican. What intrigues me is the question of what kind of book this actually is — there are so many ways it could go, but I’m still not sure whether it will. Kind of like the question of how supernatural True Detective was willing to get. But with more British slang. 4/5
  • Captain Marvel #1. So I adored what I read of the previous Captain Marvel run and was excited for Carol’s return. It’s nice to see her return, to see her attitude as sharp as ever, and to see that her cast has indeed remained relevant, even if they’re going to be taking a backseat for at least the first arc or two of this series. Unlike with so many other #1’s I’ve read in the last few months, this book feels like homecoming — so I can’t know what it’d be like to read this as your first Danvers book. That said, if you’re looking for my opinion? You need to go back and read more Danvers stuff anyway. Because it’s awesome. 5/5

Going back a little earlier, I have three thoughts: Tomb Raider #1 was disappointing, Gothtopia‘s ending was okay, and Moon Knight #1 was probably my favorite first issue out of any Marvel Now/ANMN issues I’ve read.