Illustrated by Greg Smallwood and Jordie Bellaire
Marc Spector wakes in a mental hospital, where he has obviously been thoroughly mistreated, judging by the black eyes and a number of other bruises. His psychiatrist, Dr. Emmet, is dismayed by the lack of progress he's made, especially in that he continues to talk about his other personas. He often slips in and out of his mind to talk to Khonshu, his patron god, who is also disappointed that Marc hasn't seen through the lies and broken out of the hospital yet. Marc starts to recognize some of the other patients - Frenchie, Gena, Marlene, Crawley - as people who have been helpful or important in his life. The facade of the hospital starts to crumble, and Marc begins to see the hospital staff as agents of Ammit, with crocodile heads and very foul tempers. Marc struggles to escape the hospital with his friends and maintain a handle on what he knows to be true, while slipping in and out of his other identities: Steven Grant, the successful Hollywood producer; Jake Lockley, a scrappy cab driver; and Moon Knight, the Fist of Khonshu and protector of travelers at night.
Illustrated by Lee Garbett
Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme of Earth, is murdered in cold blood in the entryway of the Sanctum Santorum. But, Stephen Strange is a crafty man. He has contingency plans for his contingency plans. His younger self arrives as part of a fail-safe he set in place years ago in case his affairs wouldn't be entirely in order. And he's not the only people to arrive upon the death of one of Earth's mightiest protectors - several invaders from other dimensions and realms set up shop on Earth, and they're all fleeing a magic-devouring baby-shaped monster with three "mothers" that scout for places to "eat". It's now up to his younger self to solve the mystery of his murder and keep everything from becoming baby food.
Stories by Cullen Bunn, Michael Fleisher, Doug Moench, illustrated by Don Perlin, Bill Sienkiewicz, Ibrahim Moustafa, and Matt Horak
Several of Moon Knight’s adventures are collected here in this volume. The first story is a two-issue arc from Werewolf by Night, where Marc Spector is employed to capture a werewolf and bring it back to a live, captive audience for $10,000. In the next adventure, Spider-Man and Moon Knight team up to infiltrate the underground of crime families. The last adventure is a journey through time with Keng the Conqueror, with both Keng and Moon Knight them chasing sacred artifacts of Khonshu that could re-write reality itself.
Vol 1: Before the Storm, translated by Greg Pak, illustrated by Keng, lettered (English edition) by Joe Caramagna
In an extremely non-linear plot line, we are introduced to Lei Ling, also known as Aero, a hero in Shanghai who has control over the air. When she’s not flying around her beloved city, Ling is an architect who designs homes for Shanghai citizens. Aero is currently battling animated buildings, some of which she designed, and desperately trying to stop a floating city from crashing into Shanghai. In the alternating scenes, we see glimpses of Ling’s past, where she and her boyfriend dine at a fancy restaurant just before he might get the courage and opportunity to propose to her, but she has to sneak away to save some folks trapped in a cyclone on a ferry. And then we meet Aero’s mentor, Madame Huang, who Aero is battling in the present while past Ling meets her for the first time.
Vol 1 (2021): Only Death is Eternal, illustrated by Esad Ribić, colored by Matthew Wilson
The story opens up on the resurrection of Ikaris, the last of the Eternals to be “woken” again. He is given instructions to release Sprite, an eternal who caused a lot of problems for the Eternals recently and has been “reset.” The two travel to the main city of The Eternals and soon find Prime Eternal Zurus has been murdered. This isn’t a majorly big deal because he’ll be resurrected soon, but then they find out The Machine, the system that keeps Earth alive and maintains The Eternals, has been sabotaged, including the mechanism to revive Eternals. There’s no shortage of suspects who would want to bring down Eternals and/or destroy the Earth. Together with Sersi, Thana, Ikaris, Sprite, and a few others try to track down the traitor while keeping humans safe and alive.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2014), Vol 1: The Parker Luck, illustrated by Humberto Ramos
Peter has finally retaken his body after having his brain swapped with that of Doc Ock for several months. He “reawakenes” to a completed Ph.D, his own research business, Parker Industries, a girlfriend who isn’t Mary Jane, and loads of other surprises. Black Cat is completely ticked off at him for being caputured and humiliated; Electro’s powers are going wonky, and he blames the experiments Spider-Man (Doc Ock) ran on him. J. Jonah Jameson has to resign as Mayor of New York and blames Spidey. So, there’s a lot going against Peter! An encounter with the beings who killed the Watcher gives Peter a peculiar insight - the spider that bit him and gave him his powers also bit a girl, and she’s been holed up in a bunker for ten years, unable to leave under the threat of Morlund coming back and destroying everything. But, she just might be the one to get Peter out of this grave predicament with all these people wanting his hide!
Penciled by Olivier Coipel, inked by Tim Townsend, Rick Magyar, John Dell, Scott Hanna, colored by Frank D'Armata
This story follows the events of Avengers Disassembled and Planet X, but if you don’t have those, don't worry - there’s a summary at the beginning of this book. Scarlet Witch is mentally breaking down after what she did to some teammates in the previously mentioned storylines. The X-men and Avengers come together to figure out what to do with her, and Pietro thinks this meeting is about whether they should kill her or not. He runs off to warn her, and the next thing we know, reality has shifted into a world where mutants are the regular, sapiens (non-mutants) are almost extinct, and every hero pretty much has the life they’ve always wanted. The problem is, Wolverine remembers everything, and so does a little girl, whose mutant powers can help unlock the subconscious of other people and help them remember the way the world was. They have to confront Wanda and make her put everything right, but this leads to an even bigger disaster!
Black Widow (2014), Vol 1: The Finely Woven Thread, illustrated by Phil Noto
Natasha takes odd jobs in between missions for S.H.I.E.L.D. because she needs the money. She and her lawyer discuss the intricate web of safe houses as well as the trust funds she has set up that she must pay to maintain. Natasha is doing all of this to atone for her passed actions, so the implication is she is paying into trust funds that benefit the families of those she assassinated. She accepts various jobs to rescue folks, foil assassination attempts, and other feats of espionage, but she’s gotten too comfortable. She’s started to miss signs of danger, signs that someone has it in for her.
Shang-Chi (2020), Vol 1: Brothers & Sisters, illustrated by Dike Ruan and Philip Tan
Shang-Chi is holding down a normal job in a Chinese bakery in San Francisco’s Chinatown when remnants of his past life break in and demand he be pulled back into the cult of his father. Sister Hammer, Shi-Hua, recently killed the Supreme Commander of the Five Weapons Society, but rather than put her in charge, the flame of their father’s spirit alights on the Fist. Enraged that her father’s spirit would pick her brother, Shang-Chi (especially after Shang-Chi practically murdered their father), Shi-Hua sets a plan in motion to kill her brother and finally become the rightful Supreme Commander. But, two others oppose her usurpation. Brother Sabre and Sister Dagger seek out Shang-Chi and help him regain the strength and will to take his rightful place as leader of the Five Weapons. Shang-Chi is sent down his path to confronting his destiny and the family he thought he left behind.
Vol 1: Little Worse than a Man, Vol 2: Little Better than a Beast, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta, colored by Jordie Bellaire
Vision, his wife Virginia, and their twins Viv and Vin, move into a house in the suburbs of Washington DC. Vision is to become advisor to the President on Avengers matters. Virginia is a house wife for the time being until she decides on a career. The twins start at the local high school where they are supposed to learn social skills since they can memorize any fact presented to them. Vision admits freely that he created his family members - Virginia received memories and personality traits from Scarlet Witch, which the twins were created to grow and evolve in a more similar timeline to human children. Vision wants nothing more than all of his family members to maintain an air of complete normalcy. One night while Vision is away, the Grim Reaper shows up, claiming that none of the family members are real and demanding vengeance for the use of his brother in creating Vision. The fight becomes the turning point in which none of the family members can sustain the veneer of "normal." Virginia's self-preservation and maternal instincts kick in to too-high of a gear; the twins' school life is threatened; and, a glimpse into a possible future shows Vision betraying his friends. The Avengers send in Vision's half brother, Victor Mancha, to intervene, but this may well have set all of the future events into motion they were hoping to avoid.
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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