Top of the Pile: Axis, Saga, Captain Marvel

The comic book pile has grown large over the last few weeks, partly because I was busy with family and work, partly because I knew I’d have time to catch up during Christmas week. Topping it is Marvel’s crossover event Axis, in which the Red Skull (augmented by Charles Xavier’s brain … I kid you not) tries to take over the world.

Making the pile even larger are graphic novels: Image’s Saga by Brian Vaughn and Marvel’s Captain Marvel Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue Deconnick.

The telepathic, Xavier-brain powered Red Skull is one of Marvel’s more bonkers villains (and that’s saying something). He first showed up in Uncanny Avengers, which was the “unity squad” of mutants and Avengers formed in the wake of Avengers vs. X-Men (aka AvX). For the last year or so mutants have once again been reappearing around the world thanks to a rekindling of the mutant X gene by the Phoenix Force. Red Skull is using his new telepathy to unite the world in hatred against mutantkind, and as Axis opens he’s created mutant concentration camps in the broken ruins of Genosha (by turns a utopia powered by mutant slaves, and then a sovereign mutant nation that was subsequently nuked by a supervillain).

Yes, there’s a lot of backstory. And yes, it probably doesn’t make a lick of sense to anyone who hasn’t been reading Marvel for the last few years (ok, decades). I’ve got nine issues of the mini-series waiting for me to read, plus another dozen or so tie-in books.

Next up on the pile is Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga. I’d previously read Vaughan’s runs on Ex Machina and Runaways, and when I saw Rob Bricken’s io9 column “10 Reasons You Should Be Reading Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga
I knew I needed to ask for it for Christmas. Fortunately, my parents obliged with the Volume 1 hardcover.

Finally I’ve got Captain Marvel Vol. 1: Higher, Further, Faster, More by Kelly Sue Deconnick. Actually, it’s my daughter’s; Santa brought it for her for Christmas because he’d heard she was looking for comic books with women who kick butt. Captain Marvel (aka Binary aka Carol Danvers) certainly fits the bill. I’ve been reading Deconnick’s earlier run on Captain Marvel (call it Volume 0; I have no idea what Marvel’s numbering scheme is any more) on Marvel Unlimited and thought StarGirl would love it. I wasn’t wrong; she enjoyed it, particularly when the Guardians of the Galaxy showed up. I’m looking forward to reading it and talking superheroes with my daughter over breakfast.