Eros, aka Starfox, is played by Harry Styles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but in Marvel Comics he’s currently being played by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Valerio Schiti. In the final page of last week’s AXE: Judgment Day #3, the team revealed that the alien superhero may be key to untangling the web of consequences the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals have all gotten themselves into in Marvel Comics’ summer crossover.
This is a pretty typical final page reveal of an event comic. Oooooh, this obscure character might have the ultimate relevance! Turn in next month to find out what happens next! But here’s why I’m intrigued by it: The idea that Eros and Thanos (inspired by the Freudian concept of eros and thanatos) are truly counterparts in any way other than their shared parentage never really flew with me. Sure, Thanos’ presence in the Marvel Universe would be hard for any character to live up to, but Eros is practically a gag character. It has always seemed that “the power of love” is just less interesting and more difficult to conceptualize for comic book writers than “the power of death.”
But this isn’t any comic book writer’s idea of Eros. This is Kieron Gillen, who is all about inventive reinventions of godlike mortals, in a fast-paced story where the Avengers, X-Men, and Eternals seem to have less than 24 hours to make the good of humanity outweigh the bad before an unstoppable space god destroys the Earth.
What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)
AXE: Judgment Day #3
Gillen and Schiti are really making a book called AXE: Judgment Day something I want to read the moment each issue comes out. Each issue checks in with the lives of six regular human beings around the world and how they’re reacting to/affected by the cosmic crisis. This should be corny, or boring, or feel weightless and forgettable, but it isn’t. The odds of all these character dying randomly is very high, given certain plot points of the series, and I will be sad when it happens.
Batman: Fortress #4
I have forgotten who I follow who tweeted something to the effect of: Is Batman: Fortress actually low-key great? And I was just thinking the same reading this issue. The tone of it has been difficult to place, but writer Gary Whitta is settling into a kind of Silver Age Batman, one who’s just as moody and driven but cracks a dry joke here and there and doesn’t think it strange to be on a first-name basis with a space squirrel.
Do a Powerbomb #3
Are you reading Do a Powerbomb by Daniel Warren Johnson? Why aren’t you all reading Do a Powerbomb? Look at this art! I’m not even in the wrestling fandom! I don’t even know what a moonsault is!
X-Men Unlimited: X-Men Green #1
The challenge of translating infinite-scroll comics made for phones into printed comics is a perennial one for services like Webtoon, but an important one for readers who’d like to put their favorite series on a real shelf. I just want to applaud the team behind X-Men Green; if I hadn’t known that the series ran first as an infinite-scroll story on Marvel Unlimited, I never would have guessed from this issue.
Batman: The Knight #8
The last issue of Chip Zdarsky and Carmine Di Giandomenico’s Batman: The Knight possesses a certain bravery. Only a very confident creative team would try to write the definitive story of Bruce Wayne learning to be Batman. Only an even more confident team would jettison nostalgia plays and populate the book almost entirely with original characters. Only an even more confident team waits until issue 8 of a 10-issue series to reveal the comic’s final boss is someone very familiar indeed.
And that’s how you actually surprise a reader with the idea that Ra’s al Ghul will appear in a Batman story.
It came out a little while ago, but I finally got around to reading Faith Erin Hicks’ Ride On and I don’t know if there exists an object more tailored to my affections: a comic book about kids who like horseback riding but aren’t truly brought together until they discover a shared interest in Star Trek.