What the Fresh Hell May 2019: Free Comic Book Day, Comic Book Men, and Orange Cassidy Part 1.

Hello and welcome back to the monthly column in which I discuss the media I consumed in the past month that did not get it’s own post. There’s a lot of carry over from last month, so lets’ get right to it.

This is Part One. To read Part Two click HERE.

Free Comic Book Day happened at the beginning of May and I was lucky enough to receive many of the titles for the day. I wrote about many of them in their own posts but in order to get into other topics here’s a quick rundown of the rest of the titles that I read:

Avengers plus Savage Avengers.

When I started reading comics, West Coast Avengers was my gateway to the greater Marvel Universe. I loved the Hawkeye led team and through it I began reading Solo Avengers, the main Avengers title, and expanding further out. No one cared about the Avengers then. West Coast got away with a lot of in depth character story arcs because no one was paying attention to these characters. The Avengers disassembled right before issue 300 and I started reading then when it was like starting over but with the issue numbers continuing.

Now every couple months is a new number one and I finally came around to it. This is one story, with issues numbered accordingly, and the next arc or next writer begins a new tale. Thus the deep Marvel Universe pulls for this issue didn’t phase me. I don’t know what the hell is going on, but I also know I don’t have to read hundreds of issues to get caught up. All I need to do is pick one Avengers team that intrigues me and buy their book. The team from the past, the team in the future, the ones fighting underwater, the ones fighting in the snow. Or the team featuring the most dangerous killers barely on the side of angels in all of Marvel. There are no answers in this comic, only teases of larger stories. But every one of them could pull me in for a six issue or so arc and I’ll see if I want to stick around for the sequel.


Two stories inside here. One is set up for the big Spider-Man story this year, the other is a great one and done mentor story.

First, Carnage will return not only to torment Spider-Man, but also to go after anyone in Marvel who has ever touched the symbiote alien that birthed Venom, Carnage, and many more. There’s talk of aliens and gods and DNA and all sorts of craziness. It doesn’t matter. Here’s the quick rundown: the alien thing that is the Venom costume has mutated and replicated and been cloned and passed to other people and all sorts of stuff since it made it’s debut. Every single person that has touched one of those over the years still has a “piece” inside. Carnage is going to collect all those pieces to reach a new level of evil power. Most likely by killing the former hosts. Maximum Carnage was a great summer event way back in the 90’s and this has the same feel a generation later.

Also, Peter Parker Spider-Man and Miles Morales Spider-Man are having a heated debate over who has the best pizza in New York. They try each other’s favorites, they battle a bad guy, and in the end Parker spins out some wisdom. No matter how good the pizza is (or the comic) it will never taste like the pizza you ate with your family when you were a kid. “It tastes like home.”  I’ve been living in my current town for 10 years and still my favorite pizza here is not as good as my favorite in my home town. I like it, I would eat it right now, I’d be excited and happy for it. But it can never be the same. I like the comics today, I’m excited to read new issues, I’m happy for every moment in a comic book store. But it will never replace walking downtown after school on a Wednesday and buying that week’s new issues.


Speaking of adult things.

I’m well familiar with the concept of Vampirella, but never read an issue before. I’m simplifying a lot but take the 1950’s black hair gothic pin up of your choice in the tiniest outfit with actual vampiric powers. The first story is a very messed up tale setting up her current comic. Vampirella is now more than an individual, she is an icon in modern times and there are those who feel inspired by her who want to be her to varying levels of success or sanity. Vampirella seems at times guilt ridden over her own existence but she’s not about to end it.

The second story is a reprint from 1993 and comes off like an EC Comics era morality tale. Vampirella passes through a small town fighting off some sort of monsters. She does some investigating and discovers who the true monsters are. It’s an old school Twilight Zone style twist, familiar but really well written and amazingly drawn. I never thought of the character as such an archetype she can be placed in any situation, in any type of story, and lead but this comic proved me wrong. I’ll definitely be exploring more tales in the future.

DC Year of the Villain.

This is going to be just insane. Taking much of DC’s past and using it to launch into new tales and new characters. The best way I can put it, this is a video game sequel. Readers are familiar with the characters and the rules from what came before. The first game in this analogy. So you play as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc. and you learn how your character defeats the bad guy at every stage. Maybe sometimes the game has a 2 player mode and you have to team up, but for the most part you learn how to defeat the game and beat the bad guys. Year of the Villain takes all those bad guys and levels them up. Now the familiar tactics don’t work. The lessons of the past no longer apply. When you barely beat a bad guy at an 8 how will you defeat him at a 10 or higher? Granted, I have a reading history of comics but everything I needed to know was in this book.

I’ll get back to leveling up and preparing for any opponent in part 2.

The Tick

From the cartoon to the Fox live action series, to the Amazon also live action series. The Tick has been around for years but the comics don’t get the cross over appeal that the shows have. Which is a damn shame. The Tick is always hilarious and over the top super heroics. In this brand new story the Tick and Arthur have dinner with a fan and shall-we-say “things aren’t quite how they seem”. I didn’t need a free comic to be on the Tick bandwagon but I wasn’t going to skip it either.

Bob’s Burgers

Yes, there’s a Bob’s Burgers comic too. Honestly I think there’s more comics for more franchises now than every before. This issue features a fun story where the kids realize one of the rides at the Wharf gets enough G-force to affect time on a watch. The logical kid mind conclusion is to continue going on this ride enough to stop time. Of course. A crazy tale ensues and this was just fun. Get a kid reading and interested in comics level fun.

Somehow in this pile I ended up with three comics that weren’t FCBD but were previews and recaps of other things:

Marvel Previews spotlighting Captain Marvel came out when the movie was debuting. A couple preview pages of a few graphic novels featuring Carol Danvers. For anyone unfamiliar to the character it gives a good basic 101 on her history. This would be a perfect comic for any shop to have a stack of right at the movie theater. Here you go, free comic, if anything looks good come into our store where we coincidentally just stocked up on all of these titles and would like to sell them to you.

I also have a Star Wars Marvel Preview that does the same and came out for May 4th, Star Wars Day. I read the Dark Horse Star Wars comics in the early 90s. Back when they weren’t touching anything from the at the time three previous movies, instead coming up with whole new characters and ideas that were in the universe but apart from the movies. They were good tales, but not what I wanted out of a book with Star Wars on the cover. This is what I wanted. A story that takes place inside the new Disney theme park Galaxy’s Edge, a Boba Fett tale, and if I have to read about an all new character at least it’s one connected to the main story – and I now have a copy of Doctor Aphra in my to read pile.

Finally, Archie #699 showed up which is a recap before the anniversary 700th issue. For those unaware, your classic Archie and the gang still exists. However, a couple years ago Archie also started a new tale with these iconic characters that was all teen drama, character development, heroes and villains, and consequences. This is what got the attention of people and the CW show Riverdale was inspired by this take. This issue is narrated by Archie, giving the reader a crash course catch up on all that came with. While I’m curious, I would rather read the actual issues than this. It’s too much information too fast with none of the character development that would make me want to read more.


Wow, we’re this far and only just now finished talking about comics! This month’s Fresh Hell will now be split into two posts.

Read Part 2 HERE.

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