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AICN COMICS!! TalkBack League Of @$$Holes Reviews!!

Published at: Oct. 17, 2002, 3:02 p.m. CST by staff

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

It never rains here at AICN unless it pours. Here’s more comic review-y goodness for you to savor.

Greetings, comicphiles! Vroom Socko here, giving you another helping of @$$hole goodness. Normally Cormorant or Quixote would be doing this, but they’re busy trying to talk down Buzz Maverik. See, last night someone finally told him that Gail Simone is leaving Agent X, and he’s been on the roof of the @$$hole Clubhouse with a Purdy shotgun ever since. They almost had him down this morning, but when Cormorant said that her new project was going to be Birds of Prey, Buzz apparently thought they meant that TV show.

Meanwhile, the place is still a mess from the party we hosted. I’m still missing one of my switchblades, and nobody’s bothered to clean up the monkey blood, but we made plenty of money, and that’s the important thing.

So anyway, here’s the latest slate of reviews from the TL@. We have STRAY BULLETS #26, THE PATH Vol. 1, BLACK PANTHER #50, JLA: TERROR INCOGNITO, MARVEL ENCYCLOPEDIA, SUPERMAN/BATMAN: WORLD’S FINEST, UZUMAKI Vols. 1-3, ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN #609, and a review of KILLRAVEN #1 that can only be described as “petite.” Oh shit, I think I just heard a shotgun blast. I’m hitting the send button and taking cover.

STRAY BULLETS #26

David Lapham

El Capitan Books

reviewed by: Lizzybeth

The title: “Wild Strawberries Can’t Be Broken; or Don’t Blame God Your Dog’s Dead (a psychological thriller)”. It’s not very descriptive of the plot, but it perfectly captures the spirit of this spectacularly nutty tale, another installment of David Lapham’s highly respected crime series Stray Bullets.

It takes some motivation to pick up Stray Bullets sometimes; the series is fairly depressing, following characters who range from damaged to depraved. Unlike many works of crime fiction, SB tends to focus on the dirty details, the everydayness and the effects of brutal violence. The almost overwhelming cynicism and the unrelentingly twisted fates in store for the SB characters can wear down my interest after awhile, and I really haven’t been able to sit down with the series for more than a small pieces at a time. It leaves me with the urge to wash my hands afterwards, honestly. For a crime series, this is in my view entirely appropriate; I respect this more than I would a glamorous depiction, which is to say that I respect Stray Bullets more than I am actually entertained by it.

With that in mind, I enjoyed this issue quite a bit. It’s not as heavy as other issues have been, but just as warped. Somewhat of a change of pace from recent installments, “Wild Strawberries” manages to attach Lapham’s casually devastating tone to a story that skips between space fantasy and a much more grim potential reality, creating a darkly comic, surreal adventure. Trying to describe the plot would be futile and beside the point, since the swerves are most of the fun. Even more so than usual, this issue is smartly constructed, and just oozes with the confidence of a writer completely at ease with the madness of his material. The format is chopped up into concise and individually titled chapters, sort of like an especially obscene episode of Frasier, and zips along similarly. “Amy Racecar” is an interesting SB heroine, and her response to a classic sci-fi dilemma is both amusing and disturbing, taken in different contexts (“I know who I am. I know what’s real. I cling to it like a life raft. You have to in this crazy world.”). Lapham’s artwork has the economy of his writing: not deeply detailed, but not one line is wasted. In short, this issue is a good example of David Lapham’s storytelling ability and the high quality work he has achieved with this series.

No well-rounded comic collection is complete without at least a few issues of Stray Bullets. Assuming, that is, that we are all adults here. Certainly not everyone will appreciate David Lapham’s relentless parade of innocent lives shredded by violence, but serious comics fans owe it to themselves to read his work for a taste what a talented and confident creator can do with the form. Each issue of Stray Bullets can stand on its own as an individual story as well as in the larger drama of the series, so it’s pretty friendly to new readers. Stray Bullets has a brand-new official website where you can read a full issue online, a twisted early tale called “Victimology” – check it out.

THE PATH VOL. 1: CRISIS OF FAITH (TPB)

written by Ron Marz

art by Bart Sears, Walter Simonson, Mark Pennington, Michael Atiyeh

published by CrossGen

reviewed by Buzzshido Maverikatana

Samurai very brave / They eat raw fish / They fight a lot ...

Oingo Boingo

The oboe may be better breedin'...

Huey Lewis & The News

Now it's time for another episode of SAMURAI COMIC BOOK REVIEWER!

"Good morning. I was just walking by and I saw your sign. You review comic books?"

“Ai!”

"What about trade paperbacks?"

"Ai!"

"I was wondering what you thought of CrossGen's THE PATH VOL. 1: CRISIS OF FAITH, which collects the preview issue of THE PATH plus issues 1-6."

"Oju! Hakai!"

"Oh, right. Sorry. You've gotta make a living. Let's put this on Visa."

"Domo! Shakara cuomo shannarra! Dojo miyagi noriyuko pat morita!"

"So this is a samurai comic series set on an alternate world? And writer Ron Marz is doing an incredible job keeping all of the intrigue and sense of magic going? What about the artwork by Bart Sears?"

"Okidog! Pachinko pikachu peekaboo pacino!"

"Wow. So it's bold and moody? Lots of power, eh? It's great to hear that Sears is an artist who considers himself a storyteller first and foremost."

"Kirin?"

”Yeah, sure. I could do with a cold one. Whoa! That's a big beer!"

"Ai! Chakakhan chakakhan larrihama!"

"Let me get this straight. THE PATH is about a monk named Obo who lives in a country similar to feudal Japan. Obo is from a noble house and his brother Todosi was the Emperor's greatest warrior. But the Emperor, a boyhood friend of the brothers, is either mad or possessed by demons and ordered Todosi to lead an attack against a more powerful neighboring country for no reason. Todosi calls on the gods, who mock him. When Todosi is killed, Obo claims the Weapon of Heaven given to Todosi by the dark gods. Obo also obtains the power of the Sigil, something in the CrossGen universe equivalent to the locnar in the HEAVY METAL movie. Obo vows vengeance against the gods."

"Ai! Kriskringo eastabunni toofari mistasanmansenmeadream!"

"Oh? So Obo finds himself in real trouble because his demon-ridden Emperor wants the Weapon of Heaven and so does the evil Emperor of Shinacea, the evil empire? And there's a hot concubine named Yoko or something, who is really a crow demon who is playing one emperor against the other? Obo ends up defying everyone and his only allies are a Viking named Wulf and a female samurai babe named Aiko. He turns to his holy order for help and one of the monks strongly resembles the actor Mako who played The Wizard In The Mounds in CONAN THE BARBARIAN. I thought that character was called Akira in CONAN THE DESTROYER."

"Aiiieeeeee!"

"Wait! Wait! There's no need to commit seppuku! I hated CONAN THE DESTROYER too. We'll never speak of it again."

"Ocheerio brillo corolla corona oprah!"

"Now that's interesting. You're saying that THE PATH is another example of a modern comic book series that is ideally suited to trade paperback form because it is one, long, building story and not just single episodes with the exception of the fill-in story with Walt Simonson art. That episode centered on Wulf the Viking, appropriately."

"Cameo waah waaah waah waah!"

"And there's a hilarious, unbilled cameo by a character in chapters 3 and 4 ?"

"Hakaaaiii."

"It's really not necessary to commit hari-kari just because you thought that the book ended without anything resolved, a flaw in modern trades and storytelling. You would recommend THE PATH?"

"Ai!"

"Well, I have to be going. Whoa! All those drums of Kirin have left me a little woozy!"

Stay tuned for scenes from SAMURAI DESIGNATED DRIVER.

Title: BLACK PANTHER #50

Writer: Christopher Priest

Penciler: Dan Fraga

Inker: Larry Strucker

Publisher: Marvel

Reviewer: Ambush Bug

I haven’t purchased a BLACK PANTHER comic since issue #40 of the current series. The comic that once gave me interesting, humorous, and socially relevant writing on a monthly basis had petered off into one lame guest star issue after another. The title had been suffering from low sales and, instead of upping the writing ante to gain new readers, writer Christopher Priest relied on shameless guest appearances by Power Man, Iron Fist, Brother Voodoo, the Falcon, and the like to boost sales. The problem was that any character the Black Panther had gained in his own series was overshadowed by the obligatory appearance of the guest star of the month. The last straw for me was when I heard that the next arc featured guest appearances by Wolverine and Iron Man. At that point, BLACK PANTHER was taken off my pull list. Ten issues later, I decided to take a peek at what was going on with T’Challa and Company. I knew issue #50 was the start of a new arc, but that was about it. Boy, was I surprised.

I always thought that, with a name like BLACK PANTHER, this book, more than any other, should be socially relevant and speak to an African American audience. There aren’t too many comics out there with an African American star, but T’Challa was never your typical African American super hero. He’s not even African American. Sure, he’s black, but he’s the filthy rich monarch of a technologically advanced nation. What does he know about the life of an average African American? So far, Priest has milked the super-hero version of COMING TO AMERICA angle for all its worth. Issue after issue, we’ve seen the Wakandan King come into conflict with American ideals. It’s an interesting angle to look into, but a formula that has grown tired over the years. It was time for a change and it looks like Priest realized this.

From the beginning of issue #50, we know this is not T’Challa behind the Panther mask. The Black Panther we know and love doesn’t dive through the air John Woo-style with 45 caliber handguns blazing. The Black Panther we know and love doesn’t keep a sawed off shotgun under his trench coat where it can be easily drawn if he’s backed into a corner. The Black Panther we know and love is in control at all times. He’s a man of few words. He’s got gadgets galore. He usually deals with threats to national affairs, not street level crime. This is not that Black Panther.

Issue #50 may as well be a number one issue. King T’Challa is rumored to be dead. There’s a new Black Panther in town and everyone wants a piece of him. It’s a plot that has been done to death: an all-new, all-different character steps into the shoes of a fallen hero. Usually, this big change lasts for a little while and then everything returns to status quo. Sometimes, this big change actually sticks. Sometimes, the new character turns out to be more interesting and more popular than the past incarnation. BLACK PANTHER #50 introduces us to Kevin “Kasper” Cole, a suspended police officer who stumbled upon a Panther suit during a routine bust. After reading this issue, I hope this new Black Panther turns out to be more like permanent replacements Wally West and Kyle Rayner, and less like temporary replacements, USAgent, Thunderstrike, and War Machine.

For the first time ever, the Black Panther has the potential to represent average African Americans. I’m not saying that every African American has to worry about paying the electric bill or has to deal with drugs and crime on a daily basis, but this is far more representative of the struggles one may face as a middle to lower middle class African American in New York City today. Kevin “Kasper” Cole has real world problems. His father (an ex-cop) is doing time in prison. His girlfriend is pregnant. He’s been suspended from the police force. He has been brandished with a racist nickname, not from white racists, but from other African Americans who label him “Kasper” because of his light skin. These are problems T’Challa didn’t have to deal with. This new Black Panther is far more accessible than any incarnation of the Black Panther before him because his problems are on a more human level.

Not only does Kevin Cole have problems that readers can relate to, he also has a high moral code and represents a positive role model for African American readers. Even though times are tough for him, he doesn’t sink to the level of a criminal. He has a chance to take drug money after busting up a deal, but instead, he turns it over to the authorities. He wouldn’t have had to worry about savings for his unborn child or the electric bill had he pocketed the cash, but he chooses the higher ground. In just a few pages, Priest gives Kevin Cole more humanity than T’Challa had in all forty-nine issues prior. T’Challa has always been an enigma. People talked about him, but we were never given the chance to get into his head. This issue is all about Kevin Cole and Priest makes it very interesting.

I think I’ve seen Dan Fraga’s work on WOLVERINE. He does a good job in this issue. The camera angles of some of the action scenes look like stills from a John Woo flick. Very dynamic. Very stylized. He makes Kevin Cole look like a recognizable character immediately. There’s room for improvement here. At times, the people seem stiff, but with a few issues under his belt, he could be a great artist.

Those die hard Panther fans may be up in arms with this change to the status quo, but for one who was growing weary with the adventures of King T’Challa, this new Black Panther offers a lot of promise. Having taken a break from the series, I come from the unique perspective of knowing a bit of what has happened before, but not knowing why T’Challa is thought to be dead. This missing tidbit of info didn’t hurt the story at all. In fact, it added to the mystery. I’m willing to give BLACK PANTHER a chance again and that’s saying a lot since my comics list is pretty full these days. I doubt T’Challa is gone for good, but I think Marvel should consider retiring the King and giving this new, more accessible character a real shot. I challenge you all. Take a look at this series. One may be put off when they see the Panther with firearms, but look a bit deeper. Priest has put an awful lot of interesting stuff into this new Panther character. He’s done a total three-sixty with this title, changing the focus from political adventure to street level crime. I’m sticking with the title to see how it all works out. This bold new era of the Black Panther is worth reading.

JLA: TERROR INCOGNITO (TPB)

written by Mark Waid, Chuck Dixon, Scott Beatty

art by Mike S. Miller, Bryan Hitch, Darryl Banks, Cliff Rathburn, Paul Neary, Dave Meikis, Wayne Faucher, David Baron, Laura DePuy

published by DC Comics

reviewed by Buzz Maverik

Don'cha hate it when the Martians attack? I know I do. All the black gas, tripods, mind control, instant Martians and girls heads grafted onto the bodies of Chihuahuas.

I think the part I hate the most about a Martian invasion is trying to rally my friends to do something about it. "You'll approach their mound in two-by-two formation on each side, drawing their death ray fire while I parachute into one of the vents. With any luck, all I'll need is a flame-thrower."

And my friends just look at me and say things like, "That is just your opinion, man." And "Why are you so hung up on Martians."

J’onn J’onzz doesn't have that problem in JLA: TERROR INCOGNITO. His friends are the Justice League of America and they are ready, willing and able to kick some White Martian butt. White Martian? Sounds like a cocktail made with Kahluah, milk and Uranium-238. Anyhow, the book collects JLA # 55-60 and it features some great action and double-crosses mostly written by Mark Waid, and some superb artwork lead by Mike Miller and Bryan Hitch. And it has Plastic Man.

There's a story with the JLA battling Dr. Polaris (sort of a loser version of Magneto and a male version of ... uh, Polaris, I guess) who has been infected somehow with the Joker. This was evidently part of one of those nifty, company wide crossovers that drive you to read indie comics until the story arc is over. And there's a story where Plastic Man tells a non-believing tyke about Santa Claus joining the JLA. I say, you should read this book anyway.

So keep the home fires burning because fire is one of the few ways to really stop those Martian bastards. Germs and Slim Whitman music are other ways that come to mind. To find out which one I used in the last Martian invasion, you'll have to read TL@: TERROR LA BOOM DE AYE.

MARVEL ENCYCLOPEDIA (HC)

Writers: Matt Brady, Mark Beazley, Jeff Youngquist

Artists: Various

Reviewed by Cormorant

More like the Marvel En-SUCK-lopedia!

Bwahhahaha!!! Sorry, folks, hadda get that out of the way – gut reaction an’ all.

No, the truth is that the MARVEL ENCYCLOPEDIA is one of the most slickly-produced and attractive $30, hardcover ads I’ve ever seen.

Did I say “ads”? Yep, that’s right. Whereas the old, information-dense MARVEL UNIVERSE handbooks of the 80’s were meant as reference guides for both longtime fans and new, and featured both popular characters and utterly obscure ones (Zzzax, anyone?), the latest, overpriced chunk of infotainment from Marvel is almost exclusively a lure for the next generation of Marvel geeks. Actually, it’s even more specific than that, focusing very narrowly on the characters precisely as they exist now, under the somewhat radical regime of Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Joe Quesada, and Marvel President, Bill Jemas. With that kind of focus, I suspect it’ll have many points that are outdated in a few years, no doubt paving the way for a brand new $30 hardcover. It’s also riddled with nitpicky problems, but I’ll get around to those in a bit. Right now, let’s check out the format:

Printed on crisp, white paper, this 240-page book is divided up into seven major sections: Avengers, Fantastic Four, Marvel Knights/Marvel MAX, Spider-Man, X-Men, Ultimate Marvel, and The Call of Duty. That last entry - really just a one-page promotion for the series - is perhaps the purest example of why this book is pretty much dated upon release (the series is going nowhere fast), and if you’re looking for modern entries on characters that don’t fall into those categories, well, you’ll have to look elsewhere. There are no entries to be found on teams like the Defenders or Alpha Flight, who haven’t been given huge promotional pushes in the last year or two, or for lower-tier characters and characters who haven’t appeared very recently (e.g. Hercules, Count Nefaria, and Cloak & Dagger). Indeed, emphasis is placed on only the most modern and/or popular characters. Thus an entry on Ant-Man is devoted exclusively to the second Ant-Man – Scott Lang – who’s gone back into action in a recent AVENGERS story. And there are entries on Morlun and Ezeckiel, recent AMAZING SPIDER-MAN players created during J. Michael Straczynski’s run. Old Iron Man villains like the Titanium Man are out, and flash-in-the-pan creations like Iron Man’s “sentient armor” (from an, *ahem*, Joe Quesada story) are in. Fans of Ron Zimmerman’s ultra-unpopular Al Kraven (the Hollywood-wannabe son of the original Kraven) will be pleased to know that, yes, he dominates most of the “Kraven” entry, and yes, he gets an image while his father – one of Spider-Man’s longest-running foes – does not. Ol’ Al’s another character you can expect to never hear from once his current miniseries wraps and he fades into painful memory.

Oops, got to nitpicking when I was supposed to be focusing on the format. Sorry, but they make it so easy. Back to basics:

Each character entry features a breakdown on basic physical features, a few paragraphs of history more or less comparable to the old MARVEL UNIVERSE write-ups, a list of powers and weapons, and a color-coded chart ranking the character in categories like Intelligence, Strength, and Energy Projection - all accompanied by character clip art. The clip art is taken from sources ranging from covers to interior panels to painted pin-ups, and while some characters get only an image or two, a big-name character like Iron Man or Captain America might have three or four major images. Because the images are all taken from pre-existing art of the characters in action, gone are the stiff, formalized poses of the old MARVEL UNIVERSE handbook, and as a result, the entries project a lot more energy and vibrancy. That much I like, and some of the art is pretty great, including several inspired Alex Ross entries, lots of John Romita Jr. art, lots of Frank Quitely, and the likes of John Cassaday on Captain America. It’s borderline wrong that classic Marvel artists like Kirby, Ditko, and Buscema have zero representation beyond the occasional cover reprint, but this is clearly meant to be an entry point for modern readers, so I guess I can understand focusing on only the most modern depictions.

But there’s also some baaaad art. Magneto’s entry stands out because it’s got no less than four images, and everyone of ‘em’s a stinker, from Joe Madureira’s ultra-muscled opener to the other follow-up three images that look like the worst Jim Lee knock-off’s of the 90’s. Flip a few pages past it, and you’ll hit a legit Jim Lee image in the entry for the Shi’ar Imperial Guard…only to discover that it’s one of the weakest images from his run on UNCANNY X-MEN, looking downright amateurish next to work by Frank Quitely. And while Romita Jr. has some great moments, his art for the Lizard, seemingly culled from his uninspired work in the 90’s, is pretty atrocious. Even the Jarvis entry is bizarre. I know for a fact that legendary artist George Perez drew the character dozens of times during his recent AVENGERS run, but Marvel chooses to go with a terrible close-up from Jarvis’s one-page appearance in ALIAS, as drawn in the noirish, angular tradition of Michael Gaydos! Good lord, man! I just defended Gaydos in my review of ALIAS last week, but one thing the man ain’t is a pin-up artist! Marvel’s had so many great artists working with them in the past several years, that I figured the one place this Encyclopedia would absolutely dominate is in terms of art. Alas, several missteps trip the whole thing up, so while there are some high highs, there’s no missing the low lows.

As mentioned, this book is pretty much exclusively for Marvel newbies, and so it comes as no surprise that the “Essential Reading” listed for every character or team is taken from Marvel trade paperbacks that are currently in print. So, for instance, under the Hulk’s entry, you’ll find listings for a few ESSENTIAL HULK volumes (the Lee/Kirby material) and recent stories by Bruce Jones and Brian Azzarello, but…no mention of Peter David’s epic run? Sheeeit, kids, I’m not even a real fan of David’s Hulk work, but he *absolutely* had a definitive run on the book during his 12-year run! There are many more such omissions, but if it’s not in print, apparently it’s not “essential.” Hey, I’m as big a fan of trade paperbacks as they come, but if anything defines the MARVEL ENCYCLOPEDIA as a purely promotional machine with no attempt to capture the characters’ full history, it’s the inane “Essential Reading” lists.

Lastly, I have to take a moment to mention some of the book’s bizarre inconsistencies and universe-blending. Remember all the hullabaloo that came about recently about Marvel weighing the possibility of “Ultimizing” all their characters? Jemas has since dismissed the idea, but this book certainly gives credence to the notion that they were considering it: several entries for mainstream X-Men characters also feature art of their “Ultimate” counterparts! And then there are the wonky blendings of the Marvel Universe with Marvel MAX, Marvel’s distinctly “mature readers” line. Look at Luke Cage’s entry: the text represents his classic Marvel Universe depiction, but the art is strictly from the ultra-blaxploitation, ultra-R-rated Marvel MAX miniseries, CAGE. Nick Fury’s entry has the encyclopedia’s lone piece of retro clip art (a Steranko image), but the main image is from Garth Ennis’s decidedly out-of-continuity miniseries, FURY, also about as R-rated as they come. Shang-Chi: main image taken from his appearance in ULTIMATE MARVEL TEAM-UP, secondary image from his Marvel MAX title, text per his classic Marvel Universe incarnation. War Machine: entry and art based exclusively on his Marvel MAX appearance with no mention of the Jim Rhodes from the regular Marvel Universe. My favorite has to be the Blade entry, though, which correctly lists his first appearance as TOMB OF DRACULA #10 (from 1973), then ignores that history completely in favor of the continuity from the Blade movies! The “essential reading”? How about the BLADE II MOVIE ADAPTATION, kiddies!!! Couldn’t possibly go with an ESSENTIAL TOMB OF DRACULA, because the yokels at Marvel cancelled it a few months back. Out with legendary creators Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan, in with movie adaptations that completely changed the character in question. Do I understand that Marvel is tailoring this exclusively for the modern customer who isn’t familiar with Marvel’s classic stories? Yes. Do I think they’re massively fucking up any semblance of Marvel Universe coherency in the process? Oh hell yes. And here I thought encyclopedias were supposed to clarify facts…

Final judgment: If you’re somewhere between 13 and 20, just discovering Marvel, and want to read biographies that will be dated in a few years time (love how Captain America’s entry concludes by mentioning his “re-energized” focus after 9-11), then this book ain’t bad. But if you’re old enough to own the original MARVEL UNIVERSE handbooks, or have access to the vast Marvel resources already available for free online, or realize that entries on SOLDIER X, AGENT X, and WEAPON X will become irrelevant when these books are likely cancelled in a few months, I’d suggest a pass. Wait for Marvel to wise up and put future encyclopedias on CD-Rom, with updates available yearly for small fees. That might be worth it. What exists is just an overpriced ad with some pretty pictures.

SUPERMAN / BATMAN : WORLD'S FINEST (TPB)

written by Dave Gibbons

art by Steve Rude, Karl Kesel, Steve Oliff

published by DC Comics

reviewed by Buzz Maverik

Tonight on @H1's IN FRONT OF THE CAPE, a look at the World's Finest team of Superman and Batman.

Bats: "When I first met Clark, I thought the same thing about him that I'm sure everyone thinks. Namely, how can I use this big lug in my obsessive campaign of revenge against criminals. Then, I wondered how I could destroy him if it became necessary."

Supes: "The thing you have to understand about Bruce is ... well, Bruce is insane."

Green Arrow: "I know I didn't appear in this trade paperback, but it's like I said shortly after I came back from the dead in my own series, the Big Two kind of give me the creeps."

The Midnighter: "That Superman! Yum-mee! What? What'd I say? I can't help if I go for god-like, solar powered heroes."

Supes: "At one time, Bruce and I were best friends. And Robin was our best friend. In those days, you had to always include Robin as an equal partner. He's not in this collection by Dave Gibbons and Steve Rude. We're not exactly best friends here but at least Bruce isn't burying me under the Bat Cave like I heard he did in one recent future version of our relationship. I know I'm here to talk about WORLD'S FINEST, but that Miller thing really cheesed me off ... can I say cheesed off ? ... It really cheesed me off. Like I'd really let Luthor get me by the short hairs ... can I say short hairs? ... that way."

Bats: "I kinda like this version of us. It's not the 50s and we're not Boy Scouts or anything, but we're also not borderline criminals either. Some of the versions of me... let me put it this way, I'd have to take myself down...which I have a plan for, by the way."

Lex Luthor: "The way I'm portrayed in this so-called book is a travesty. I'm suing. I've retained the services of Matt Murdock from the Marvel Universe. He never loses."

Joker: "These two lesbians walk into an electrolysis studio..."

Commissioner James Gordon: "No comment regarding Lex Luthor. He's not a suspect. However, I can assure you that the GCPD will apprehend the Joker and return him to Arkham."

Supes: "Some people say I have a lame rogue's gallery. What people don't understand is that with an enemy like Luthor, yes, I could reduce him to a stain on the pavement with a flick of my wrist, but that's the ONLY way I could decisively stop him. Working within the law, there's not much I can do to him. Can you appreciate my predicament? My greatest foe goes around doing terrible things, but either stays within the law or the protection of the law. It's not like when Bruce goes up against the Joker."

The Joker: "...and the parrot tells the blonde, 'Maybe later, honey. ' "

Perry White: "What you're doing here is not journalism, young man."

Bats: "I guess maybe Gibbons and Rude were going retro with their portrayal of the Joker. Luthor is above the law, which makes him a great foe for Clark. I mean, Clark is supremely powerful physically, completely invulnerable, and also highly intelligent, despite recent portrayals, but none of that has any effect on Luthor. It's not the same with the Joker and me. He's a mass murderer, a convicted psychopath. I don't have to let him go."

Lois Lane : "Get yer goddam hand off my knee."

The Joker: "...and Johnny says, ' I am, Mom. I am.' God, I kill me! And you!"

Supes: "There's a great introduction by writer Dave Gibbons. He talks about growing up a comic book fan in the U.K. and his feelings about the comics from his childhood. He drew THE WATCHMEN...what was up with them?"

Barbara Gordon: "Yes, I'm happy with the chick from STARSHIP TROOPERS, who also played Joey's girlfriend on an episode of FRIENDS, playing me. Now, get yer goddam hand off my knee."

Bats: "I enjoyed the cover gallery and preliminary sketches by artist Steve Rude

Readers Talkback

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  • Oct. 17, 2002, 3:57 p.m. CST

    Steve Rude rules.

    by Hyde01

    Dave Gibbons is up there, but Steve IS the man. Or, the Dude. David Lapham's pretty decent- he's been looking at Dan Clowes a lot, evidently. His dialogue doesn't transition well. It's very choppy sometimes, as if some linking phrases were left out. But it's great to see someone reaching for something beyond the mindless, masturbatory punch-fests that make up the bulk of American comics. Not that this is a bad thing. But variety is needed, and Lapham is providing it. I still love Rude's classic take on various superheroes, though. His Romita-esque Spidey from that "Lifelines" miniseries was tops. That's the Spidey I remember from my Trapper-Keeper in 6th grade, and it was fantastic to see him back again. He's a man of integrity, and a class act, is the Dude. Also, I have to put in a plug for Mike Allred. His "X-Statix" work is fresh. People dub it retro, and it does have those elements. But calling it "retro" limits it. Puts in a small box. "Retro" is a stunt, like Eric Larsen trying to do a Stan Lee/Jack Kirby "Fantastic Four." Good for a one-off, but isn't self-sustaining. Allred is something altogether different, a fusion of elements into something new.

  • Oct. 17, 2002, 7:05 p.m. CST

    Where the mule?!??

    by Ambush Bug

    So we get a decent talkback going about Elseworlds and such and the damn think disappears. I blame Enron and Bill Jemas.

  • Oct. 18, 2002, 10:23 a.m. CST

    WAAAH! grumble* system maintenance*grumble*

    by Psynapse

    Damn, this Talkback (as the @sshole ones usually are) was funny as hell.

  • Oct. 18, 2002, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Buzz! Come Down! The TV People Are Here!

    by Gail Simone

    You don't want to shoot yourself in front of Katie Couric! You guys rock. I love this group. How do I become an honorary a*****e? Gail

  • Oct. 18, 2002, 1:06 p.m. CST

    Hey, the talkback was fine this morning on my computer

    by JonQuixote

    And now I come to work and it's all messed up, just like Cormorant said. Oh jeez, Corm, I'm sorry I called you a liar and a sodomite (I stand by the jabbering drool-monkey comment though).

  • Oct. 18, 2002, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Gail, Yer Not Just An Honorary Member, You're Our Patron Saint.

    by Buzz Maverik

    But I am going to shoot myself on national T.V. because my WORLD'S FINEST review got cut off before Jimmy Olson could tell me to get my hand off HIS knee!

  • Oct. 18, 2002, 1:17 p.m. CST

    It's Gail Simone!

    by JonQuixote

    Hi. (No, no you doofus. You can't come up to a writer like Gail Simone and just say 'hi.' You have to be more eloquent than that.) okay...Salutations! (oh, good one Charlotte, that didn't sound forced. C'mon Quixote, you're supposed to be smoother than that.)uh...hey, how YOU doin'? (Oh, perfect JQ. Now offer to buy her a cosmopolitan and ask her what her major is. Christ, Jon, be cool.)hmm...Yo Gail, wha'sup? (That's it. You're not allowed to watch any more beer commercials. Just relax, take a deep breath and tell her how much you admire her work)Uh...um...uh...Mschl bhfoh bubu taah. (That's it. I quit.)

  • Oct. 18, 2002, 1:18 p.m. CST

    If You're Wondering Why Our Column & Talkback Are Messed Up, We

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...to take drugs than do anything else.

  • Oct. 18, 2002, 1:26 p.m. CST

    Quixote! Quixote! Quixote! Remember What We Talked About!

    by Buzz Maverik

    Never be yourself and you'll do fine.

  • Oct. 19, 2002, 1:05 p.m. CST

    I knew I should have posted this sooner...

    by Aaron Weisbrod

    ... cuz if I did no one but Buzz would have seen it. Damn. Oh well... here it goes. *Ahem.* Buzz, your review of THE PATH (TPB) was quite possibly the funniest review ever. There. I said it and now it's off my chest... but I still don't feel any better. Damn... maybe a cold shower will help...

  • Oct. 19, 2002, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Why no Dreamwave comic reviews???

    by megatronrocksX

    Hey, I noticed that you guys never seem to review anything that isn't centered around Marvel, DC, Image, or a few of the "fanboy approved" indies. If there is anyone out there who likes good sci-fi titles, Dreamwave -- AND NO, I AM NOT AN EMPLOYEE -- has a couple new ones: FATE OF THE BLADE and a action/anime hybrid called ARKANIUM. These are DAMN COOL and I seriously reccomend these to some folks who want to read some good comics... that's my say... J

  • Oct. 19, 2002, 3:47 p.m. CST

    Isn't anyone else worried about what those HACKS are doing to AR

    by UTellEmSteveDave

    They are now drawing him with less freckles! Surely this is some sort of Harry Knowles influence--an attempt to legitimize RED-HEADS!