A big week for folks with lightning bolts on their chests.*

§ February 27th, 2019 § Filed under this week's comics § 12 Comments


As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, either here or on the Twitters, due to my recent eye travails my ability to read at the pace I’m used to has been somewhat curtailed. I can read, but it takes a lot longer to get through a comic book than it used to. As such, the “to-read” pile at the secret Mikecave headquarters is beginning to pile up a smidgen, which is why I haven’t done a “this week’s comics” post on the ol’ site here in a while. By the time I get around to some of these comics, it’s more like “last month’s comics.” Which, granted, on Monday I did talk about a comic from a few decades ago, but, y’know, that’s different.

Despite all that, I have been trying to keep up with some comics…I’m current on all the Superman books, for example, and I’ve been reading the Detective issues leading up to #1000, and all the Hellboy stuff (though I think I’mm getting lost on some of the ongoing plot details again…I mean, I just reread ’em all back in 2013, guess it’s time for another go), and some others. And there are those I let stack up a bit before plowing through a bunch in a row (oh hello Flash).

But one comic I definitely kept up with was Mage: The Hero Denied (as you may have guessed I was leading up to, as per the image above), which would be the first on the stack to read every time a new one was unleashed over the last purt’near two years. Just when I got used to having a new one every few weeks, it’s gone again.

And even though it does come to a conclusion, I know I’m going to keep expecting a follow-up series in a decade or so. As I neared the end of this final issue, I kept expecting, I don’t know, something that stood out as a hint at more Kevin Matchstick adventures in our future. There’s a bit a dialogue that suggests, hey, maybe, but I’m pretty sure we’re done with Mage comics. BUT I’M STILL GONNA HOPE GOSH DARN IT.

So is it a satisfying conclusion? I think so…pretty much everything’s tied up, a plot point from earlier in the seies I kept waiting to come back to the forefront finally does, and all questions are answered about as much as you can expect them to be. And yes, there’s a fold-out. Wouldn’t be the last issue of a Mage series without one.

It’s hard to believe…I was going to say “hard to believe it’s over,” but it’s more than that. When I read the first Mage series, I was in high school. When the second Mage came out, I was managing someone else’s comic book store. This third Mage came out when I owned my own comic book store. I think it’s more like “I can’t believe something that was released and periodically returned during distinct phases of my life over a period of decades continued in a consistent and enjoyable manner and came to a conclusion on its own terms.” Not pithy, but it’ll do.


Okay, in fairness, I haven’t read this yet, but man oh man look at that cover by Michael Cho. That’s pretty swell. Even so, it was a hard choice to make as to which cover I wanted, since the “regular” cover was all Mister Mind-riffic:


I love the fact that the “serious” versions of Mister Mind DC cooks up still evoke the original design:

As to the series itself…it’s fine. Cap’s creator C.C. Beck would hate it (he hated pretty much all modern comics except Axa), but as far as current superhero comics go, it’s fun enough, and I liked the ongoing thing about Billy trying to come up with a superhero name for himself that isn’t just “Shazam” — a feeling I relate to since I really don’t like that’s what the character’s called now, as perhaps I’ve mentioned only about a hundred times on this site already.

But still…just look at that cover.

* Also, Flash came out this week…he’s got a lightning bolt on his chest, too. And there’s probably somebody else I’m forgetting. Look, there are lots of superheroes, I can’t remember them all.

12 Responses to “A big week for folks with lightning bolts on their chests.*”

  • Your Obedient Serpent says:

    I don’t know why they just don’t roll with “Captain Thunder.” It’s a nice nod to the character’s history, and worked great for the Flashpoint version.

  • Jer says:

    Captain Thunder is the obvious correct choice. The only reason not to use it is because someone else has the trademark on it, but if that’s not the case they should be using it.

  • philfromgermany says:

    Regarding your “next big reread”, did we ever find out what book this turned out to be?

  • Chris K says:

    “Axa,” Ha! I remember CC Beck’s Comics Journal interview in the mid-80s where Gary Groth tried to pin him down on his endorsement of that book, and Beck just straight-up said “because they paid me to,” leaving Gary to basically respond “OK, then!”

  • @misterjayem says:

    I came here to suggest “Captain Thunder” but clearly I have nothing original to contribute.

    — MrJM

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    My recommendation is “Gouda Guy.”

    See, it’s like a double joke, because he’s a good guy, and he’s also the Big Red Cheese…

  • And yet you failed to mention the publication of Black Lightning: Brick City Blues featuring my 1995 stories with Eddy Newell and the black-and-white Kwanzaa tale we did a couple years later. I now have to give more weight to the “ruin” part of your blog. Still friends?

  • Mikester says:

    Chris K. – Oh yeah, I remember that interview. Been years since I’ve read it (but that mag still remains in the No-Longer-So-Vast Mikester Comic Archives). Man, I miss C.C. Beck.

    Tony – boy, is my face lightning-red! It’s a better week for bolt-chested folks than I even realized!

  • Jack says:

    Wait Mage is finally done?

    Wow.

    I was seventeen years old when I discovered Mage early in its run, at the first comic store I found in my area. It was in a mall that was already pretty run down in 1984, and by about 1990 or so, someone tore down everything but the anchor stores, and then those were torn down in 2000. Mage, along with the Elementals and the Robotech adaptations from Comico, were some of my earliest leaps into independent comics after spending a long time as being a largely Marvel reader. (Got into DC around a year before that, actually. I was serious about Marvel then.)

    So you can say I have a soft spot for Mage.

    I’m fifty-two now. Live in the same city, only a few blocks away from the house I lived in back in 1984. I went through something like five different comics stores from 1984 to 2015, when I stopped full time buying individual comics and switched to buying trades, and even then not as many as I used to. The store I bought Mage from is still open, in a different location, and an oddity in that it remained in baseball cards and STOPPED selling comics in 1990.

    And Mage is finished.

    Wow.

  • Andrew-TLA says:

    I’ve been saying DC should go with Captain Thunder since that time they stuck Freddy with the Shazam! name.

    Because, beyone Flashpoint, they weren’t afraid of the name back in 1974, when Superman met Cap. Thunder and his alter identity of William Fawcett.

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Surely people understand that the time when DC is LEAST likely to rename a character is when a big movie about that character, using his current name, is about to come out.

    And, if the movie is a success, there will be a sequel, and the name will not be changed for that.

    So, those of you who want him to become Captain Thunder are required to hope that the movie bombs.

  • Thom H. says:

    Remember when Matt Wagner started that serial The Aerialist for Dark Horse Presents and everyone was talking about it…? Okay, maybe it’s just me.

    Anyway, it was a world where everyone was gay and the super sporty protagonist was a straight guy just trying to be himself! I could never figure out if the story was really progressive or kind of reactionary.

    Either way, Wagner only finished two installments and then it disappeared. I really wanted to see where it was going, but that’s probably not going to happen. But now that Mage is over and if Wagner’s still in the mood to finish old stories…*crosses fingers*

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