Spider-Man has gone through a lot of changes during his over-50 year run. Peter Parker has graduated high school, college, gotten married, lost his powers, got them back again, then lost them again. There was even a time where we thought he would have a child. But then it was decided that an adult family-man Spider-Man went against what Spider-Man was all about so they reverted Peter Parker back to being a 20-something and got rid of the character of Mary Jane Watson all together. This story The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows is a big What If story about what would have happened if Peter wasn’t reverted back to being a 20-something, was still married to Mary Jane and they had a child together.
This run of comics highlights everything that makes Spider-Man such an endearing and long-lasting character. Peter Parker isn’t just a guy that has an insane sense of responsibility that dresses up as a spider and beats up bag guys, he is also a person with real-life issues. Renew Your Vows is also about living life as a lower middle class family in a big city. While half of the book involves the spider family beating up bad guys, the other half focuses on them dealing with real life struggles such as Mary Jane’s small business and Peter trying to make ends meet with his photography job all while they are both trying to raise their daughter Annie (who also happens to have super powers).
Using tech scavenged from when Peter fought a previous big bad guy, he was able to make a suit that shares his super powers with Mary Jane so that she can help crime fight with her husband and daughter, it has a very Incredibles-esque dynamic of a family fighting bad guys together. There are some very interesting conflicts that Peter has to wrestle with that most parents will also find themselves reflecting on. It is ok to let your children fail and get hurt because it is how they learn. This message is one that Peter has an extra hard time with because he wants to protect his family but he also has to let them fend for themselves and be independent. The conflicts and themes are effectively woven between the bad guy fight scenes and the scenes when the characters aren’t wearing their super suits.
I recommend The Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows to anyone that has wished for a married Peter Parker to return to comics, or anyone that thinks the idea of The Incredibles-meets-Spider-Man sounds like a really fun read. It is well-written and a lot of fun for comic book readers of all ages.
If you loved your experience watching Avengers: Endgame when it came out back in April and you want to learn more about the Villain of the film, Thanos, then I have great news for you. The Davenport Library has a plethora of resources that you can sink your teeth into.
The Infinity Gauntlet is the original graphic novel that inspired the events of both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.
If you are more into a recent comic that features Thanos fighting the Avengers, we have you covered there too. Infinity is a graphic novel that came out in 2014 that follows Thanos and his invasion of Earth while the Avengers are fighting an intergalactic conflict at the same time and earth’s mightiest heroes are spread between the two conflicts.
If reading novels is more your thing, we also have the novelization of the film Avengers: Infinity War written by Liza Palmer that covers all of the events from the movie entitled Destiny Arrives.
If you want to learn more about Thanos as a character, there is also the graphic novel Thanos: Titan Consumed available to check out. This graphic novel follows the origins of the Mad Titan from when he was young until he begins his quest for the Infinity Stones and gives insight into how the character became the galaxy-conquering destroyer that we see in Endgame.
All of these resources and many more are all available at your Davenport Public Library.
The final season of Jessica Jones is about to be released on Netflix on June 14th. If you have an interest in reading the graphic novels that inspired the show, Brian Michael Bendis’ run on Alias is a great place to start. You will be able to check out the full run of Bendis’ take on Jessica Jones at the Davenport Public Library.
Alias follows Jessica Jones, an ex-superhero as she works as a private investigator in New York city. When she is given a suspicious case from a shady client, she falls down a rabbit-hole of controversy and intrigue that implicates some of the biggest heroes in the Marvel universe.
Brian Michael Bendis does a phenomenal job of making the dialogue feel real and giving each of the characters a distinct voice and personality. Bendis has been known for writing a wide range of characters, from Moon Knight and Miles Morales to Superman, he is one of the leading writers of super hero comic books from the past decade.
Alias is a great book to get started if you are unfamiliar with the Marvel universe too, it doesn’t require any background reading and the reader can just jump in and enjoy Jessica and her many adventures as a PI with super powers. If you are also interested in catching up on the Jessica Jones TV show that was based on this graphic novel, the Davenport Public Library is also a place where you can check out the show as well.
Marvel seems to be switching up plot lines every couple years, but the one that is all over my radar right now revolves around the inhumans. Do I have a basic understanding of what’s going on with the inhumans? Yes. Do I feel qualified to explain it to someone else? No, not really, but I can certainly muddle my way through and look up a good explanation. Since I’m not a fan of having to rely on something else to fill my knowledge holes, I decided to look up inhumans. I struck gold.
I discovered Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur, a juvenile Marvel graphic novel, about Lunella Lafayette, a preteen genius who also happens to be an inhuman. Lunella, aka Moon Girl, wants to change the world and is using her genius to create inventions that are helping her. Slight problem though. Ever since Lunella discovered that she has a latent inhuman gene, she’s been terrified of the terrigen mist cloud that is encroaching on New York City that will change her into something inhuman, something she isn’t even remotely prepared for. Lucky for Lunella because she has a plan. She has been chasing something called an omni-wave projector and she thinks she knows where it is.
Everything seems to be working out for Lunella until she finds the omni-wave projector and then a giant red-scaled beast, a devil dinosaur, is teleported from the pre-historic past to today! to a bustling New York City. With the devil dinosaur comes the Killer-Folk, prehistoric savages that want the Omni-wave projector too. Lunella finds herself battling monster hunters and the killer-folk at the same time as she is dealing with school and her parents. Getting into a good school and changing the world is proving to be more difficult than Lunella thought it would be!
Captain America is a widely loved and widely known superhero, one who fights for good against evil while decked out in red, white, and blue. The origin story of Captain America is fairly well-known following Steve Rogers’ journey to ultimate patriotic superhero. Movies both starring Cap as the major protagonist and also as a supporting character backing up the Avengers helped bring up his popularity.
What happens when Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, becomes too old to fight? All-New Captain America, Volume 1: Hydra Ascendant follows the story of Sam Wilson, formerly known as Falcon, as he assumes his new role as Captain America. Sam is selected for this role after the original Captain America Steve Rogers is robbed of his strength and vitality, leaving Steve to pick from a pool of viable candidates to find the next Captain America. Sam is chosen. He must learn to hone the skills that he developed as Falcon in order to become the best Captain America he can be, one that has the power to stand up and fight without being weighed down by emotions, revenge, or vendettas.
Cap finds a sidekick in his friend, Nomad. They work together to combat Hydra, only to discover that Hydra has infiltrated every aspect of society around the world. Nomad and Cap must rush to figure out Hydra’s ultimate plan, battle the Sect of the Unknown, and try to combat old villains as Steve Rogers’ band of villainous enemies start coming out of the woodwork to take down the new Cap and join Hydra. Sam and Nomad battle against the new generation members of Hydra, working out their battle techniques and trying to figure out what massive world-dominating plot this far-reaching network of super villains has in store. Once they figure it out, will they be able to stop or will this new band of fighting heroes be relegated to the sidelines as the public clamors for its original superheroes to come back and save the day? This new graphic novel definitely caught my interest and has me wanting to learn more about this new Captain America and his comrades.
I’m forever looking for graphic novels beyond the usual scope of muscle-bound, male-centered superheroes out to save the world. With the influx recently of all things Deadpool related and then subsequently all things Batman vs. Superman related, I needed a comic palette cleanser. My dilemma quickly fixed itself when I found copies of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Volume 1, Squirrel Power on the shelves(I’m in the midst of reading volume 2, as volume 1 quickly caught my attention).
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Volume 1, Squirrel Power introduces readers to Squirrel Girl, a very upbeat superhero who just happens to have partial squirrel blood running through her veins. If the thought of having to introduce yourself to yet another new superhero sounds a bit daunting, never fear! Squirrel Girl was actually introduced to the world in 1992 with her current creators paying homage to her previous comic book life by including Marvel Super-Heroes vol. 2 #8 as the very last issue in this trade paperback. Readers are given a look inot how the original creators envisioned Squirrel Girl and are also privy to the previous art styles and drawings of characters like Iron Man and Doctor Doom, since Squirrel Girl is out seeking a partner. Current creators, North and Henderson, are sure to reference back to her origins throughout their new reiteration of Squirrel Girl, talking about her first encounters with Iron Man as she is currently involved in new hijinks.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Volume 1, Squirrel Power follows Doreen Green, Squirrel Girl’s alter-ego, an alter-ego she adapts so that she can become a regular college student. If you’re looking for more background information about Squirrel Girl, she kindly provides that for you within the first few pages of this book by singing her theme song (Wondering what tune it’s sung to? It’s the Spider-Man theme song!) Squirrel Girl has the proportional strength and speed of a squirrel and, of course, the giant squirrel tail that she has to tuck into her pants in order to appear normal. Doreen is trying to balance school, boys, dorm life with her roommate Nancy and Nancy’s cat Mew, battles with super villains, and the fact that she can both talk to squirrels and they can understand her. This first volume is a fun introduction to an incredibly upbeat and dynamic female superhero who is struggling to find her place between two very different worlds.
Ant-Man is a Marvel creation that most recently came out as a movie starring Paul Rudd as Scott Lang and Michael Douglas as Dr. Hank Pym. Dr. Pym was the original Ant-Man, the one who discovered the Pym Particle, a substance that had the ability to shrink items, most importantly a suit. He became Ant-Man and his wife became the Wasp. After a devastating accident, Dr. Pym hid away the formula and the process to find the Pym Particle, locking the suit away.
Flash forward to the present and viewers are introduced to Scott Lang, a burglar who has just been released from jail and is trying to turn his life around so that he can be in his daughter’s life. His roommate and a few friends approach him with the chance of a lifetime: they heard about a rich man who has a safe in his basement and if Scott can crack it, then they will be set financially for a long time. This heist changes Scott’s life and puts him in the sightline of a very powerful man, former Ant-Man Dr. Pym. Giving Scott a chance to reform his life and atone for his past crimes, Dr. Pym presents him with the opportunity to protect the Ant-Man suit and the formula from a group of scientists who wish to harness the power for dubious reasons. Dr. Pym mentors Scott in the ways to use the suit and how to harness all of its powers, while Scott works to change his life for the better. This movie is an excellent introduction to the background of Ant-Man and provides viewers with some pretty spectacular effects, while also keeping the mood light yet fill of action and adventure.
Moving further down the timeline is Nick Spencer’s Ant-Man. In this volume, Ant-Man is older, somewhat more mature, and has worked with a variety of other superheroes. Just because he’s older doesn’t mean he has become a better superhero though. Throughout this graphic novel, it’s pointed out to Scott that he isn’t even the best Ant-Man and that some people still think he’s dead.
Scott is still trying to better his life and provide for his daughter, something that this graphic novel shows has not been without some significant difficulty. Scott thinks he has it made when Iron Man calls and offers him a job, but quickly realizes that he’s only one of many candidates and just because he’s worked with Iron Man before doesn’t mean he is going to get the job. The realization that his ex-wife is moving with his daughter to Florida and a rumble with an old foe throws Scott off-balance, leaving him to try a new business venture that takes Scott and his family down a dangerous path where he is forced to see that what he thinks is right for his family and what is actually right for his family are two very different things.
What I liked best about this graphic novel is that if you are confused about something that is happening, the writers have written in explanations and have also provided you with the issue numbers of the different graphic novels that will help you to fill in the holes. Plus Scott does a lot of reflective thinking, so that helps. It’s brilliant! Check out this graphic novel for a more sarcastic and humanized approach to a superhero who is just trying to get his life together.
If you think of Marvel, chances are the first name you think of is Stan Lee. He has become the face and name most closely affiliated with Marvel and rightfully so. Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir is Stan Lee’s memoir and it’s not like your traditional memoir. This book is a fabulously illustrated graphic memoir done in full color that gives you a birth until present glimpse into the life of Stan Lee.
With Marvel just recently celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary, the release of this graphic novel comes at a high point when Marvel is once again at the center of awareness. Stan Lee is the most legendary name in the history of comic books and this graphic memoir will answer questions about his life and work history that anyone from comic newbie to comic guru may have.
Following Lee’s life from a small boy in an apartment to his current venture of traveling and speaking in venues around the world, this book gives readers a glimpse into the life of the comic legend and co-creator of Spider-Man, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, and many, many other superheroes. Stan Lee changed the superhero game by insisting his superheroes/villains/other characters were complex characters, dealt with personal issues and used wit in order to give readers more relatable superheroes. He read other characters as flat portrayals of the age-old story of good vs. evil and wanted to bring out the human qualities of these superhuman heroes. This graphic memoir illustrates the life and times as Stan Lee as he first broke into the comic industry and effectively changed comics as the world knows them today.
This book is chock full of advice for writers, readers, illustrators, and anyone else who has a dream that they want to follow, despite what other people may be saying to them. Believing in yourself and not giving up are two of the main themes that are consistent throughout this memoir, reminding readers this through speeches and also through the stories of the superheroes that he created and was able to successfully launch into the mainstream public. Whether you’re a comic fan, love Marvel, or are wanting to learn more, I highly recommend this graphic novel as a look into Stan Lee’s past and the overall history of both Marvel and the cast of superheroes that he created.
So if you’re not aware, a major event has unfolded in the Marvel Universe resulting in the Spider-Verse, the biggest Spider-event in history. In Spider-Verse, this November 2014 debut event began with Morlun announcing the Great Hunt, where he and his family would hunt down and kill every Spider-totem/Spider-creature in the Multiverse. As numerous Spider-themed superheroes were being killed, they realized that they needed to band together, so Spider-Man decided to create a team to help fight against all of the villains. This event launched multiple storylines with villains across the different universes launching their own nefarious plans to take down the different Spider-heroes in their own specific universes.
All of this background information leads to Spider-Gwen, Vol. 0: Most Wanted. In an alternate universe, Earth-65 to be exact, Gwen Stacy is alive, having never been thrown off the Brooklyn Bridge by the Green Goblin. In Earth-65, it isn’t Peter Parker that is bitten by the radioactive spider, it is in fact Gwen Stacy, who then becomes Spider-Gwen, also known as Spider-Woman.
Spider-Gwen, Vol. 0: Most Wanted focuses on the life of Gwen Stacy after the death of Peter Parker. Gwen is wrestling with Peter’s death for two reasons: 1) he died in her arms and 2) everyone is blaming Spider-Gwen for his death when in reality, it wasn’t her fault at all. In this universe, Gwen is in a band called the Mary Janes, and shortly after becoming Spider-Gwen, Peter Parker experiments and in trying to become more like Gwen, he becomes the Lizard, which ultimately leads to his death. A man-hunt begins with everyone looking for Spider-Gwen and J Jonah Jameson leading a giant smear campaign against her in the papers and with Gwen’s own father, Captain George Stacy, leading the hunt to capture Gwen.
This first volume is especially intriguing to read because in addition to all of the superhero problems Gwen is facing, she is also dealing with the drama of being in an all-girl rock band and trying to find a balance between her personal and private lives. I highly recommend you check out this graphic novel because it will go more in-depth into Gwen’s world and will allow you to compare the “normal” Spider-man universe with the universe where Gwen has the spider powers.
Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man is a graphic novel that introduces the world to a brand new Spider-Man. In this world, Peter Parker has been killed in a major superhero-villain brawl and everyone is left in the lurch, mourning the loss of Spider-Man, dealing with the fall-out of learning his identity, and coming to terms with the fact that they don’t have a hero anymore. Along this same storyline, runs the story of junior high student, Miles Morales, and the various happenings of him and his family.
Miles lives with his parents and has his name entered in the lottery to go to a charter school, instead of a public school. After learning his school fate, Miles heads to his Uncle Aaron’s apartment, his dad’s brother, the one person that he is constantly told to stay away from. Once there, Miles is bitten by a spider with a number written on its back, a spider that escaped from Norman Osborn’s laboratory in Uncle Aaron’s bag while he was robbing the place. Everything seems normal until Miles runs out of the apartment and discovers that he can turn invisible. With that one discovery, his life is turned completely upside-down.
With his roommate, Ganke, being the only person who knows he has spider-like powers, Miles wrestles with what to do. Was he given these powers for a reason? Should he become a new Spider-man since the old one is deceased? What will his dad, a vocal non-supporter of any kind of mutant activity, think of him? How will he balance fighting crime and being a normal every-day junior high student? These questions and more are answered in this collection as Miles begins to fight crime, is introduced to Nick Fury and various members of the Avengers, and as he struggles to deal with balancing family, school, and his brand new superhero life. The author has added in some twists that are guaranteed to make you question everything that you think you’ve learned about the old Spider-Man and the new Spider-Man.