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AICN COMICS! RUNAWAYS! 7 SOLDIERS OF VICTORY! BIGFOOT! SHE-HULK! AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!!!

#40 2/16/05 & 2/23/05 #3

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here, still trying to get the champagne out of the formal dress that I wore to last week’s @$$ie Awards Column. The rest of the gang have returned their tuxes and are ready for another year of reviews. This week we have a ton of entries for all of you to enjoy, so let’s get right to them and see what’s in this week’s pull.


Table of Contents
(Click title to go directly to the review)

ESSENTIAL LUKE CAGE, POWER MAN VOL. 1
BATMAN #637/THE OUTSIDERS #21
LIVEWIRES #1
SEVEN SOLDIERS OF VICTORY #0
BIGFOOT #1
SHE-HULK #12
BATTLE HYMN #1
SOLO #3
RUNAWAYS Vol. 2 #1
CHEAP SHOTS!

ESSENTIAL LUKE CAGE, POWER MAN VOL. 1

Written by Archie Goodwin, Steve Engelhart, Tony Isabella, Len Wein, Billy Graham, Bill Mantlo
Art by George Tuska, Billy Graham, Ron Wilson
Published by Marvel
Reviewed by
Buzz Maverik



In this volume, you will read Marvel's best Bronze Age origin story. Luke Cage's origin ranks with Marvel's greatest origin tales, period.

If you read up on the history of comics, you'll come across the word blaxploitation in reference to LUKE CAGE, POWER MAN. Blaxploitation can be considered a beloved genre when the term is used by some of its' greatest fans, such as Quentin Tarantino or Harry Knowles, or by its stars and creators. Usually, the term is used by the Politically Correct as a misguided slam against a crime or action story, usually from the 1970s, featuring a Black protagonist. If this protagonist is not boring, tame or a "role model", if the protagonist lives outside the law, as most noir characters do, then the stories featuring the character are condemned as blaxploitation.

LUKE CAGE, POWER MAN was blaxploitation like THE FUGITIVE was whitesploitation. If the superhero angle was set aside, POWER MAN could be a noir from the '40s starring Alan Ladd or Robert Mitchum. We have a hero with a gangster past who has left the life behind and is about to marry a good woman. We have his ex-partner -- Willis Stryker , the original Diamondback -- rising in the rackets and a damned sight meaner than our guy, who desires the good woman. We have a frame up and a good man going to a brutal prison -- Seagate, known as Little Alcatraz -- for a crime he did not commit. Inside, he's threatened by other cons -- Shades and Comanche, who'll menace Luke throughout his hero career -- but he's too tough for them. He's beaten and tormented by sadist guards -- the racist Rackham and Quirt. Meanwhile, the girl he loves -- Reva -- is killed when Stryker uses her as a human shield. The dream of revenge is the only thing keeping our hero alive.

A reform minded warden and a good scientist still willing to experiment on human beings offer Luke his chance. If he'll expose himself to a chemical bath, he'll have another shot at parole, provided he survives. The evil guard, Rackham, has other ideas. Rackham sneaks in and monkeys with controls in an attempt to broil Luke alive. Instead, Luke gains super strength and invulnerability enough to smash his way out of the tank. Rackham starts to shoot him, Luke tries to slap him away, but strikes like a sledgehammer. Fearing he's killed the guard, Luke smashes his hand against the wall in frustration, only to have the wall crumble. He punches through the prison walls, takes a volley of rifle fire that results only in a few bruises and disappears into the bay. Six months later, Power Man debuts on the streets of New York, crushing the rackets to drum up business for Hero for Hire. And this is all in the first issue.

Superhero noir.

Yes, Luke charges for his services ... most of the time. Most of us charge for our services. The only people who do things for free are sluts, superheroes and comic book reviewers.

This series is a semi-forgotten gem. You will be surprised how genuinely well done these stories are. Writer Archie Goodwin, himself one of the greats that no one talks about any more, tells his hard boiled superhero tales with grit and surprisingly little pose. He isn't preaching or moralizing, he isn't trying to talk authentic jive, he's just writing a good comic. The Hero for Hire angle made for good plots at a time when most Marvel characters didn't have much mission or purpose.

Aside from the perfect origin story, standouts include a Christmas issue with Cage against a mad bomber, an obligatory battle with Dr. Doom, an arc that featured a second run in with Shades, Comanche and Rackham, the Stiletto and Discus stories (Warden Stuart's law and order crazed sons donning superhero gear and weapons to bring Cage to "justice"), and a fight with Black Goliath over the affections of Dr. Claire Temple. Best of all, issue 21 in which the original Power Man, Erik Josten, a broken down super-villain, attacks Cage to reclaim his super-name ...yeah, Cage has the same reaction you or I would, before he kicks Josten's ass.

The art ... well, I have a few of these issues in old Marvel Treasury Editions and GIANT SIZE POWER MAN # 1. Let's just say, this art looked better in color. A standout is any work penciled or inked by Billy Graham, who heightened the realism while enhancing the drama. Graham is best known for his BLACK PANTHER work. With his talent for motion and drawing freakish villains, I can't help thinking that we missed out on a great BATMAN artist.

The dialogue contains fewer instances of "Sweet Christmas!" and "Motherloving..." than you'd think. C'mon, we all know what Luke would be saying, and unless we're 12 year old white wussies, we've all heard the real words more times than we'd ever want. You won't find as many attempts at street talk as we've all heard about over the years.

LUKE CAGE, POWER MAN was ahead of its' time in many ways. It had a cinematic quality to its' storytelling that comic-makers are still striving to attain today.

Casting? Let's forget a modern movie. I want a 1970s LUKE CAGE movie. Jim Brown, as good as Lee Marvin as the proto-Parker in THE SPLIT, would have been the perfect Luke Cage. Yaphet Kotto as Willis Stryker. Teresa Graves as Claire Temple. M. Emmett Walsh as Rackham.


BATMAN #637

Writer: Judd Winnick
Artist: Doug Mahnke



THE OUTSIDERS #21

Writer: Judd Winnick
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Ambush Bug



Judd Winnick has received quite a bit of criticism here at AICN Comics. I should know. I’ve been one of the guys doing a lot of the criticizing. But I’m not the only one. People really seem to loathe this guy. There have been moments during Winnick’s stints as writer on GREEN LANTERN and GREEN ARROW, where I feel as if I’m in church. As if all of Winnick’s characters speak in the same “Beuller? Beuller?” Ben Stein voice droning on as if they were reading straight from a free pamphlet and had a soapbox permanently grafted to their feet. That’s not knocking the causes Winnink has chosen to write about. Child abduction in THE OUTSIDERS, AIDS in GREEN ARROW, gay-bashing in GREEN LANTERN. These aren’t taboo subjects that shouldn’t be addressed in comic books. But it’s just the execution of these themes, the way Winnick shoehorns size twelves into a size eight shoes, that grates on my last nerve and makes me want to scream that this guy is the worst thing to come to comics since Chuck Austen and Ron Zimmerman.

But that’s not the case. When toned down. When he pulls back the “keepin’ it real and talking the feel” tactics that are much better suited for badly produced after school specials. We he tells straight up, action oriented super hero stories, the guy ain’t half bad.

Case in point. Or cases, to be more specific. DC unleashed two Winnick-helmed comics last week and both of them proved to be pretty alright. BATMAN #637 has some really fun action sequences and some memorable moments of fanboy-ism. Batman and Nightwing face an outdated Amazo android. We get some nice panels with Batman and Nightwing meticulously taking apart the rampaging synthesoid with some nice inner monologue from Nightwing about the difference in their fighting styles. Peppered throughout are some great interactions between villains Black Mask, Mr. Freeze, and the new Red Hood. Drawn by the fantastic Doug Mahnke, this issue was an enjoyable read from cover to cover and proves that when not being distracted by the cause of the week, Winnick can do super-heroes.

Case number two is THE OUTSIDERS #21. Although this series has been known to be preachy with its child abduction storyline that ran through the last few issues and the cramming of a morally ambiguous John Walsh down our throats, this issue showed Winnick’s skill to build up tension in a scene. I won’t give away the big reveal in this issue, but the way Winnick selectively doles out the information in this issue until it builds to a nice cliffhanger is really well done. Winnick misleads the reader and his characters throughout the issue, using past and present relationships and staying faithful to character and continuity. The big reveal is a doozy, but it is so much more because of the slow build that comes before it. I put this issue down and I was honestly surprised at how well executed this issue was.

But the old Winnick is still around. GREEN ARROW is painful to read because in every issue since Speedy donned her tights, we’ve had to plod through a discourse of how strong Green Arrow’s HIV infected sidekick is, justifying her right to be a hero. It is just too much and screeches the flow of the story to an abrupt stop. The pages of a comic book, especially those in the super hero genre, are the perfect stomping grounds for allegory and metaphor. Powers and adventures can have such deeper meaning, speaking to masses and communicating messages that can be understood without the help of a guy at a keyboard holding a spoon in front of our faces and pinching our noses. We don’t like to be preached at or force fed. It’s insulting to the reader and it fails to take advantage of this marvelous genre that is only hindered by the writer’s lack of imagination. Knock it off, Judd. You’ve proven that you have the ability to write some good stuff. Take three seconds when you have another cause you want to support and try to write it with a little less literality. The stories will be much more bearable to read.


LIVEWIRES #1 (of 6)

Writer: Adam Warren
Artists: Rick Mays & Adam Warren (layouts)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewed by Dave Farabee



I know it’s bound to happen, but it’ll be a shame nevertheless when some Marvel fans pass on the first issue of LIVEWIRES because they’re put off by the manga-style art. A shame because LIVEWIRES is that rarest of creatures we often pine for but rarely seek out: a genuinely new idea from the company sometimes billed as the “House of Ideas.”

Truth is, I don’t begrudge fans being tentative about new ideas at Marvel or DC. They’re already pretty big, expansive world settings – bloated, even – so why would anyone be anxious to see new characters crowding into the party? But I still gotta figure that every decade’s got at least a few new characters and ideas worth bringing in. The New X-Men, Punisher and Thanos in the ‘70s; Beta Ray Bill, Rogue, and Cloak & Dagger in the ‘80s; and in the ‘90s…

Well I’m sure there was something, it’s just escaped my mind.

Sleepwalker?

Hmm.

More recently, in any case, I think the Runaways have stepped to the plate as a worthies, and the robots of Project Livewire just might have the potential to join ‘em.

Yep, robots. And if that doesn’t sound new, read on…

In a giddily surreal opening, a young girl wakes up in the back of a Humvee speeding into a high-tech complex that’s blasted up enough to pass for downtown Fallujah. The Midwestern guy driving the Hummer tells her she’s in a dream and to brace herself for upcoming dream logic. Good thing, too. When she leans forward, she sees that the crunchy stuff he’s been gobbling is apparently some kind of synthetic flesh he’s peeling off the face of the deactivated Terminator-esque robot sitting next to him. Munch, munch.

Quite possibly the grossest scene in a mainstream comic this year, robot skin or no.

And, yes, it seems our driver’s a robot, too, codename of “Cornfed” (“Something t’do with my Midwestern probable-Lutheran cornhusker-offensive-lineman extreme Caucasianness.”). Between bites, Cornfed goes on to explain that his fellow robot’s “facial exoshell” is the highest value mass of nanotech smartware on his body. Cornfed’s belly just happens to house a nanofactory that can recycle his brother robot’s virtues with a bit of literal cannibalizing and…

Good lord, we are well and good beyond “Doombots”, aren’t we!

And that’s a big part of what I really enjoyed about LIVEWIRES #1 – seeing the stranglehold finally, finally broken on the ‘50s/’60s sci-fi traditions that have pretty much defined sci-fi in superhero books in every decade since. Writer Adam Warren is one of the few comic book writers who’s not Warren Ellis to really embrace cutting-edge sci-fi, one of the few to mine more than just nanotechnology from the ‘80s/90s cyperpunk boom. I mean, sure, he breaks out the nanotechnology too, but in LIVEWIRES he takes that ball and runs farther with it than any other superhero title I’ve seen.

Inside the complex, Cornfed drops off our unnamed female lead, now resigned to the dream logic of robot cannibalization and more. Cornfed hooks her up with the other members of Project Livewire, all humanoid robots putting their specialties to the test against some mighty cool fire monsters. Locking in the Marvel Universe setting, we learn these monsters are the results of research on the original Human Torch robot from the ‘40s – research gone amuck! (Okay, Warren’s not above some sci-fi conventions.) Techno-babble flows freely, but it’s pretty cool techno-babble:
“The original Human Torch, circa WWII, was a pyrokinetic android. This program acquired an old sample of his body’s thermogenic cells…and attempted to weaponize them into a pyronanotech semisentient virus.”

More specifically they’re molecular hive machines designed to “run hot,” generating their massive waste heat into deadly blasts and more. If you’re thinking it all sounds like a need to over-explain the existence of a decades-old fire-robot, remember that our expository protagonists themselves are robots. And their job, we learn, is to seek out and destroy the very ultra-secret R&D programs that led to their own existence! I think that’s pretty damn cool. In the Marvel Universe, with all the hi-tech agencies, A.I.M. splinter groups, and scammed alien technology, it just seems to fit that an organization like Project Livewire would exist to keep the really scary shit in check.

Not that the motivations for Livewire are wholly revealed in the first issue. Hell, the robots could actually be working for someone like Dr. Doom or Ultron…but they seem nice enough.

What might throw some readers in this first issue is that there IS a ton of exposition interwoven throughout the assault. As our lead is bounced between the members of Project Livewire – robot babes and hunks with names like Social Butterfly, Gothic Lolita, Stem Cell, and Hollowpoint Ninja – they all seem weirdly able to fill her in on their own abilities and the increasingly dire situation…even as they fight flame monsters and blast the crap out of everything in sight. But there’s an explanation to be had, so fret not. Ties into the whole “dream logic” thing from the opening. Somewhat less forgivable is the Joss Whedoneseque quipping. You can’t spit without hitting that kind of dialogue these days, making it the only thing that actually feels outdated in a book as progressive as LIVEWIRES.

The art on the title is by Rick Mays, who does a quite credible anime pastiche. His work actually seems a little “airy” for my tastes, a little weightless in its animation cel linearity and minimal spotted blocks, but it’s buoyed by its kineticism. That and the strong design work on the Livewire ‘bots themselves, though that’s actually the work of Warren himself, one of the most talented of the growing pool of Ameri-manga artists. You can check out more character designs and an interview with Warren here.

That article also has the most promising quote from Warren about this very promising series: “…we steer well clear of the equally tiresome trope of the whiny, pathetic 'Pinocchio-bot who wishes to be a real human.’”

In the words of Sam Jackson in PULP FICTION: “Shit, Negro, that’s all you had to say!” Superhero sci-fi, welcome to the 21st century.

7 SOLDIERS OF VICTORY # 0

Written by Grant Morrison
Art by J.H. Williams
Published by DC
Reviewed by Buzz Maverik



Marvel Zombie Who Hates Research Alert: This wonderful comic no doubt contains some old time DC characters whom the reviewer won't recognize because he wouldn't touch a DC Comic until he became far to old to be reading comics in the first place. He also won't recognize the characters because he's too lazy and stoned to research them. The geekier among you may start heaping your insults now, as the reviewer has flipped you off in advance.

Gimme a cigarette, because I just finished 7 SOLDIERS O' VICTORY # 0 and my mind is still scrambled from the awesome read.

Grant Morrison seems energized by his return to DC. He's always been great, starting with his ARKHAM ASYLUM hard cover (so good that DC chose it over Alan Moore's ARKHAM pitch). He's deserved accolades for his INVISIBLES, DOOM PATROL, ANIMAL MAN, etc. People love his NEW X-MEN (didn't read it myself, don't intend to read it, either) and THE FILTH. To me, his FANTASTIC FOUR 1-2-3-4 was the real ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR and an interesting step away from the usual Lee / Kirby pastiches we get with those characters.

But it seems like, since leaving Marvel behind, Mr. Morrison is doing better work than ever with WE3, SEA GUY, VIMANARAMA, and now 7 SOLDIERS O' VICTORY.

It's funny in a way that maverick, envelope pushing types like Mr. Morrison are always the ones who have the deepest, broadest knowledge of comic book history and continuity. When I read a work like this comic, I get the feeling that the writer cares about his art, his characters and his medium. Mr. Morrison has clearly thought a lot about the concept of "the superhero" and his perspectives are presented with a subtle touch. He's going to do something different with the concept but he's not going to trash it. This is how one loves superheroes without being retro or serving up nostalgia.

Teamed with PROMETHEA co-creator J.H. Williams, Mr. Morrison launches us on our journey with a trip that might just as well be down the River Styx but is actually through Slaughter Swamp. Is the shadowy oarsman Death? Are those vicious little mosquito riding fairy folk real or is the whole thing some sort of simulation? Is this whole thing virtual or mystical? Whom or what is this Priory of Zion type secret society screwing with the mind or life of Thomas Ludlow Dalt, alias the Spider.

Fortunately, we move on to the story of a superheroine who could have been called Bondage Queen but who goes by the name The Whip. She's the granddaughter of an old west type hero and she's not sure if she's the real thing. We follow her through Mr. Williams sweeping, often wide screen visuals. Our Whip longs to move beyond being a vigilante hero. She hopes to move into real superherodom by joining a super team.

Luckily, an aging, time displaced former western hero with ties to the Justice League, is putting together such a team to battle a monster spider in Arizona. The spider could be mutant or demon, presuming there is a difference. The team is well drawn, distinct and subtle -- aging heroine Gimmix, more interested in the convention circuit. Boy Blue, a kid in a super suit with a power horn. Dyno-Mite Dan, who bought his powers online (an idea also used in a recent POWERS arc) and I, Spyder (our Mr. Dalt from the intro) an archer with experience killing giant spiders.

I have a feeling that Native American legend and DC history are merging here with the battle taking place near Miracle Mesa. A process called The Harrowing begins and our six heroes disappear into what could be a portal to hell. It would appear that our creepy, DARK CITY secret society that began everything simply walks away.

Where is this going? Hell if I know, but it looks like Mr. Morrison has big plans, with seven four-issue series and a Special epilogue in the works. I'll be checking out SHINING KNIGHT # 1 and GUARDIAN # 1 (characters I know, yay!) in a few weeks.
I hate to sound like I'm advertising, but this book simply great. It's intriguing and intelligent and best of all, it makes you want to read on!


BIGFOOT #1

Writers: Steve Niles & Rob Zombie
Artist: Richard Corben
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: Ambush Bug



I don’t know why, but I find Bigfoot humor to be some of the funniest damn humor around. There’s a horrible joke (well, to be more honest it’s more like a corny pun that really makes no sense) that I tell at bars that usually instills a chorus of groans not unlike a pack of Bigfeet during mating season and it goes a little sumthin’ like this. Mind you, this is usually thrown out after many illicit substances both legal and not-so-much.

“Hey, you know about Just for Feet, right? The shoe store? Well, right next to that place is a store called Just for Lil’ Feet. Which is a store for kids. But do you know what’s next to that one?”

“JUST FOR BIGFOOT!!!”

Then I say, “Thank you, try the salmon.” as silence blankets the room and a lonely coyote is heard howling in the distance.

All hilarity aside, Bigfoot has always been a fascination to me. I don’t know how many times I have gone on family road trips, driving by dense forests, looking out in search of the hairy beast. When I was ten, I remember thinking I caught a glimpse of Bigfoot’s face through the trees while parked at a rest stop somewhere in Georgia. Turns out it was just my Uncle Harry who we used to Uncle Hairy Harry taking a dump in the woods.

More Bigfoot humor. Sorry.

Anyway, writers Steve Niles and Rob Zombie and legendary artist Richard Corben have cobbled together quite a story about our hairy friend. It’s funny, after reading quite a bit of Niles’ work and after seeing Rob Zombie’s videos and films; it’s fairly obvious to distinguish which idea is coming from which collaborator. Niles has a more subtle, classical way of telling intriguing tales of the macabre, while Zombie is much more “in your face” with the thrills and chills. This story starts out as a typical monster tale. A couple and their son are staying in a cabin in a forest. In the middle of the night, after the boy is asleep and the couple is about to make love, Bigfoot bursts through the wall, kills the father, and abducts the mother right in front of the child’s eyes. It is a thrilling scene, filled with intensity and fear, since the violence is seen through the eyes of a child. The setup and pacing of this scene is nicely done. It remind you of a good old time horror movie with a modern and more sophisticated feel, much like Niles other horror work. But later, the boy has a dream where he is searching for his mother and finds her in a cave. This scene is a shockeroo and not for the squeamish. It is especially distasteful since this is happening to the boy’s mother. This is pure Zombie.

But this mix isn’t a bad one. Most horror movies are either too tame or too over-the-top. The collaboration between these two writers seems to have the best of both worlds. The build-up to the scene is very well done. Niles knows how to make one feel a sense of unease, and when the scene reaches a crescendo, Zombie is there to blast you about the neck and shoulders with something that disturbs you to the core.

The true highlight of this book, though, is Richard Corben’s amazing artwork. Like R. Crumb, Corben draws caricatures that are firmly anchored in a gritty, ugly reality. Today’s artists rush out to develop a style before they know the basics or fundamentals of fine art. To me, that’s cheating. You should be able to draw first. Be able to draw feet and hands and backgrounds and landscapes and still lifes. Be able to make images look exactly the way they do in real life. Only then should you have the permission to distort it any which way you see fit. Corben’s art is this way. He clearly knows how to draw just about anything. The finely-textured detail of each and every panel is a testament to this. So when he distorts and caricaturizes his images, there is still a level of reality that weighs it all down. Corben’s depictions of the horror that happens in this comic are especially gruesome. This ain’t no Harry and the Hendersons. Corben’s Bigfoot is a rampaging, powerful beast. Truly awe-inspiring artwork.

I liked this introductory issue because it made me squirm like a good horror comic/movie should. It’s horror. You’re not supposed to feel safe or comfortable. And that’s what this comic did to me.


SHE-HULK #12

Dan Slott: Writer
Paul Pelletier: Artist
Marvel Comics: Publisher
Vroom Socko: Smashed



I remember a year ago when this series first debut. Man, you couldn’t pay me to read a SHE-HULK series. The recent “Search For She-Hulk” arc of AVENGERS had left a bitter, bitter taste in my mouth, and I was just not in the mood to see what sort of nonsense Marvel had planned for green gal next. But then I was won over by one of our own reviews, (the last one, I think, before Jon Quixote and Superninja took that cruise through the Bermuda Triangle…) So I gave it a look. Just one issue, I told myself.

And here we are, twelve issues later. And I find myself (temporarily) saying goodbye to one of my favorite Marvel books to see print in the Quesada era.

Dan Slott gets the Marvel Universe like no other writer at the company today. I’m sure it could simply be said that he gets superheroes, but that isn’t the half of it. Oh sure, he has a flair for bringing out the best in larger than life characters without having to make them look like chumps, loons, or out and out bastards. He knows just how to balance the wacky with the weighty. Sure, he can write superhero circles around just about anyone. But there’s a moment in this issue that’s so perfectly Marvel, so… well, let me spoil it for you.

A group of Eltingville-style geeks are berating one of Jen’s associates over the screwed up continuity in the comics detailing her recent trip to space, (remember, Marvel publishes non-fiction in the Marvel Universe… Did that make sense?) claiming that the story got the Soul Gems all wrong. (Infinity Gems, you dork!) The associate, Stu, just lets loose on these guys for being such @$$holes, saying that when he was young, fans had respect, goddamnit! They didn’t try to tear apart the stories they read, and if there was some sort of conflict in continuity, they made an effort to make sense of it. And that’s when Stu reaches into his coat…

And pulls out an honest to God No-Prize.

What a glorious, insanely beautiful moment. And that’s only one of many in this issue, including some great Awesome Andy action, a sweet setup for Southpaw, and an ending that promises a whole lot of fun when this book returns. Yes, this book is getting cancelled, only to re-launch again in a few months. From as far back as X-STATIX to the recent return of RUNAWAYS, Marvel re-launches have done well numbers-wise, yet seem to lose an intangible something on the creative end. I’m relatively confident that won’t be the case eight months from now, yet I’m still a tad concerned.

But that’s something that won’t be settled until the book returns. Until then, there are twelve amazing issues out there that are well worth reading again and again. If you haven’t read any of them, snatch up the two trades then get in line for the re-launch. The line starts right behind me


BATTLE HYMN # 1

Written by B. Clay Moore
Art by Jeremy Haun
Published by Image
Reviewed by Buzz Maverik



Is anything left to be deconstructed?

BATTLE HYMN marks approximately the 87th time Golden Age heroes have either been deconstructed or made "real." DC even had a series called THE GOLDEN AGE. In the 90s, Marvel had that CAPTAIN AMERICA mini written by Fabian Nicieza. We've had ULTIMATE CAPTAIN AMERICA. Even THE WATCHMEN had the Comedian getting in on World War II.

BATTLE HYMN has superb artwork by Jeremy Haun, but other than that, it has doppelgangers of World War II era superheroes wearing the thinnest veils I've seen yet. The Artificial Man, an android created by Professor Cloud? He looks a little like Golden Age Sandman in the gas mask, but other than that, he's the original Human Torch. Quinn Rey? He's the Submariner and Aqua-Man re-imagined as the Creature from the Black Lagoon, which Ellis and Cassaday already did in PLANETARY. The only difference is that instead of plucky, surface dwelling girlfriend Betty who was a reporter, I believe, the Rey has alcoholic, surface swelling girlfriend Betty who is a hooker, I believe.

As for whatever they're calling Captain America, the Flash/Whizzer, Hour Man, the problem is that all three characters are the same kind of smarmy fakes.

Gee, superheroes and their supporting casts swear, smoke cigarettes, drink liquor, have sex and fight dirty. That's shocking ... oh, wait, thought it was 1986 for a minute.

The next time somebody wants to deconstruct superheroes from a certain comic book era, I dare them to try the mid-80s. Show us screwed up versions of THE KILLING JOKE, THE DARK KNIGHT, BORN AGAIN and THE WATCHMEN. Now, that'd be really sick.


SOLO #3

Writer/Artist: Paul Pope
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewed by Dave Farabee



I haven’t made much in the fan communities of this title, but if you think about it, it’s actually a startlingly innovative feather in DC’s cap. For all that comics are a visual medium, SOLO nevertheless represents the only artist-centric monthly comic I’ve seen in my lifetime. It’s an artist’s playground, a 48-page title whose every issue highlights a series of vignettes from the best artists in the biz, sometimes featuring DC characters, sometimes not. Most notable from my point of view is that the series has thus far highlighted what I’d call “artist’s artists,” those cartoonists admired by their peers, as opposed to ultra-popular fan favorites like the Jim Lees and Bryan Hitches of the world.

So before we get into any specifics, I’d just like to salute DC for trying out something so risky. Artists like Richard Corben, Paul Pope, and Howard Chaykin aren’t the names you see on “Top 20” books, so it’s clear that this project is more an artistic venture than a purely commercial one. Coming from a mainstream publisher, that damn well deserves respect.

So how’ve the stories been?

Err…uhh…

Geez, I didn’t know you guys were gonna put me on the spot.

So I gotta be straight with you: uniformly great visuals ever since Tim Sale kicked off that first issue, but the vignettes themselves? Mostly quite forgettable – just sort of airless genre exercises and instances of artist whimsy.

And maybe that’s okay.

Because I just read and loved SOLO #3 featuring art and stories by Paul Pope, finding its entries the best the series has seen, but viewed objectively…well, he’s kinda just doing the same thing everyone else has been. Unlike Corben and Sale, though, some of whose stories were written by others, Pope takes the book’s title to heart and goes it solo all the way. It’s what he’s been doing most of his career – artist and writer – and maybe that just makes him a more comfortable fit.

The cover: Click here to check it out. Typical artsy-cool from Pope: a guy with a black eye, wearing a suit somewhere between “animal mascot” and NASA astronaut. I think it’s Pope himself, as per the suit’s patch. A little egotistical, but the book is called SOLO. Anyway, lovely drawing, typical of Pope’s Picasso-meets-Kirby aesthetic. Note, too, the snazzy SOLO logo, with its tribute to the base colors – magenta, yellow, cyan, and black – used in printing processes.

First story: “The Problem in Knossos” – Pope gets off on a good foot with this unusual retelling of the myth of the Minotaur. Comics have traditionally embraced the superheroic aspects of Greek myth, but Pope cuts to the darker side of things and the cruelly quixotic nature of the Greek gods. I enjoyed Pope’s oblique telling of the story, his inky images zeroing in on Greek vases, the macabre sight of the Minotaur as a newborn, blueprints for the monster’s famous labyrinth, and even the ball of string given Theseus to find his way out of the maze. You can glimpse Pope’s style in this four page preview of the story. It doesn’t do justice to the art (including Jose Villarubia’s moody colors), but it’ll give you an idea of how Pope’s writing and art make an old story feel new.

Second story: “Are You Ready For the World That’s Coming?” – Straight-up Kirby tribute here, actually recreating the origin of Kirby’s wonky ‘70s creation “OMAC – The One Man Army Corps.” I’ve never read OMAC, but I’ve read his KAMANDI stuff from the same era, and it’s got that same trippy social criticism couched in futuristic action. In fact, Pope’s sixteen-pager might even be adapted straight from Kirby’s original script with lines like this: “I’m being fed strength from some unknown power source! My job is to stop your evil activity!”

Third story: “Life-Sized Monster Ghost” – Autobiographical snippet here, and a hilarious one at that. Remember those cheesy old comic ads for Hercules wrist bands, X-ray specs, and yes, “life-sized monster ghosts”? Pope does, having apparently mailed away for the latter as a kid, and the juxtaposition of his expectations and the painful reality is both nostalgic and amusing. Check out his writing, too, as he imagines himself commanding the ghost:

“A menacing phantasm of necromancy and fear…I will control it from up to one hundred feet away!”


And in a follow-up shot of the young Paul Pope walking through a firefly-dotted field…

“July turned to August and I waited and waited. The fireflies and cicadas came before my monster ghost did.”


Fourth story: “En Esta Esquina (On This Corner)” – This one’s the highlight of the collection, a showcase of Pope’s love of human interaction. It’s a sort of “day in the life” of the people living around and passing through a bar on a New York street corner on a particular day and evening. Rich with sensual detail, it’s almost free verse poetry, reminding me of nothing so much as the urban answer to Alan Moore’s beautiful evocation of the natural world in SWAMP THING – specifically the issue where Swamp Thing and Abby make love and readers join them in experiencing the connectivity of living things.

Final story: “Teenage Sidekick” – Fans of Golden and Silver Age Batman stories will enjoy this look at Robin. This is the boisterous, iconic version of the character, a young Dick Grayson whose youthful verve is very at odds with his situation: captured and being dragged by gangsters to be executed before their boss – the Joker. After the OMAC story, it’s the most kinetic piece in the issue, emphasizing both Robin’s physical vulnerability and his ability to reverse that vulnerability into a one-two punch to some thug’s face. In this story, as in the rest, I love how Pope integrates vibrant, organic sound effects directly into the art, manga-style, and the coloring by James Jean (guy what paints those great FABLES covers) is just stunning in its virtuosity. Only minor downside is that the narration fell a bit flat for me with its mixture of Stan Lee intimacy with the reader (“Then there’s this guy. What a face!” the narrator tells us of the Joker) with some overly familiar psychological observations about why Batman took Robin under his wing. Pretty minor complaint, though, especially when Pope draws such a hideously Caesar Romero-esque Joker, such a scrapper of a Robin, and such a memorably thick-lipped Batman.

You know, all Pope’s character’s seem to be thick-lipped. I kind of like it.

Net result: the first truly great outing of SOLO, an instant nominee for “favorite single issue” in next year’s @$$ie Awards, and a recommended title to any and all who’ve ever liked the work of “artists’ artists.”

RUNAWAYS Volume 2 #1

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Penciler: Adrian Alphona
Publisher: Marvel
Reviewer: Sleazy G



As you may have noticed from our little awards ceremony last week, RUNAWAYS is a pretty popular book around here. I tried to throw my support behind in its initial run because it seemed like it was getting the attention or readership it deserved. I was pretty disappointed when it was cancelled, but it went out with a bang and Marvel promised it would be back. I was a little trepidations, worried that the book might suffer from the break.

It turns out there was nothing to worry about. The first issue of RUNAWAYS comes out swinging, giving readers plenty of material to chew over. It’s also completely accessible to new readers, telling you everything you need to know to get in on the new series. We start out with an action sequence that reintroduces the kids and their abilities. Seeing the kids take the Wrecking Crew by surprise and licking them handily is a pretty entertaining opening, and it’s good to have some action before we get to the meat of the story.

There was a lot of discussion online before the series started regarding the identity of the new group Excelsior, a collection of second-string heroes and villains from across the Marvel Universe brought together for reasons that aren’t yet clear. Well, now that the issue’s been out a while it’s no longer a secret. Vaughan hit on a completely unique reason to bring these characters together, and it’s one that provides a lot of options. Excelsior is actual an AA-type assembly of former heroes and villains which exists as a support group for people trying to turn their backs on the caped lifestyle and integrate into normal society. It’s a handy way to introduce characters with a quick little blurb and then get off and running with the story. It also allows for a little humor and social commentary along with everything else. The rest of the issue sets up several A and B stories to run through at least a few years’ worth of stories, including a conspiracy attempting to manipulate Excelsior and a visit from a future version of one of the Runaways with dire warnings about a villainous threat they must thwart.

Just as with the previous series, RUNAWAYS is a fast-paced book with characters that are all very distinct from one another, with differing personalities and attitudes. Too often in team books the same general types are fallen back on, with little diversity to hold your interest. That’s never a problem with this book. It’s also interesting to note that it’s the most girl-heavy superhero book on the market. The gang is now comprised of four girls and only one guy, but it’s far from a detriment. It’s actually sort of refreshing to see a book that is this strongly written and this action-packed that also happens to be full of girls. They’re not just written as guy characters with longer hair and skirts, either—they feel and sound like real girls without getting obnoxiously “Sex and the City.” Vaughan has a great blend of characters and motivations in this book that makes each issue a joy to read.

If you’re one of those people who wasn’t on board for the first series and you haven’t tried the digests yet, try and track down this issue. It’s not gonna be easy, since the thing sold out all over the place, but I’m pretty sure Marvel will be making another of the exceptions to their reprint policy on this. Vaughan created the best new group of characters to come out of Marvel in a decade, maybe longer, and you should really jump in as soon as possible. This is a title that’s so much fun to read and so great to look at, that if you’re missing out, you’re really doing yourself a disservice.


MANHUNTER #7 - There's some great courtroom drama to be had in this issue, with the JLA testifying in the trial of Shadow Thief. Marc Andreyko's approach to superheroes and the courts is almost the Bizzaro-version of Kurt Busiek's work in ASTRO CITY: LOCAL HEROES. While Kate Spencer, the titular Manhunter, is still more of an enigma than I'd like, the story she's become wrapped up in is quickly becoming a compelling read. -- Vroom

SPIDER-MAN/HUMAN TORCH #2 (of 5) - The finest compliment I can pay this action and wit-packed series is that it reads as something that could actually have been written by Stan Lee in his heyday, with Ty Templeton turning in a pretty credible John Romita Sr. pastiche! Some might find it corny, but for those who grew up on or enjoyed reprints of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN in the ‘60s and ‘70s, it’s like a return to the glory days. In this ish, Spidey and the Human Torch swap “jobs” on a dare, sending Spidey into the Negative Zone with the FF while Torch takes on Spidey mainstay, Kraven the Hunter. And would ya believe Slott even breaks out a “Maggia” reference?! Someone’s been reading his back issues! - Dave

JLA: CLASSIFIED #4 - Keith Giffen, J. M. DeMatteis, and Kevin McGuire re-team for another misadventure starring the Not Ready for Justice League Players. Not much by way of action happens in this issue, but I really don’t give a fig. It’s fun to see these characters I grew up with still bickering and bantering their way from one panel to the next. Sure some of the jokes fell flat and the writing style (reminiscent of an old MOONLIGHTING episode) may be outdated in this day and age when Bendis-speak is the catch of the day. But it’s refreshing in a sense that these guys are the ones who started it all and they can still do it after all of these years. There’s a HIS GIRL FRIDAY kind of vibe to the dialog. Quick, tense, and to the point. Kevin McGuire continues to draw the best facial expressions in a comic book ever. His style has evolved though. Expression-wise, what once took many lines, now only take a few. The result is a cleaner representation of the complex emotions McGuire is trying to communicate. The story? Pretty straight-forward. Former villain moves in next door to the Super Buddies (ugh, still hate that name, why oh why Hanna Barberra, couldn’t you have let them use SUPER FRIENDS?!?), conflict ensues between the villain and Sue Dibney (yes, that Sue Dibney, this book occurs out of continuity, so those who bitched about her death in IDENTITY CRISIS can still get your Sue fix here), between Booster and Beetle, between Sue and Ralph Dibney the Elongated Man, and just about everyone else in this book. Biggest treat of the book? You knew it had to happen sooner or later. Guy Gardner returns. This book is about to get really good again. - Bug

STRANGE #4(of 6) - Marvel must want Keanu Reeves to play the Sorcerer Supreme in the eventual movie. Why else would they have written his latest series as an amalgam of CONSTANTINE and THE MATRIX? Besides, this series is so unimaginative, uninspired, and pointless that it seems like it could only come from Hollywood. -- Vroom

THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #3 - Gah! Mother of mercy, it turns out I hate Mark Waid’s schticky sense of humor just as much as I hate Peter David’s when he lays it on thick! Beyond that, a middling issue focusing on Triplicate Girl adjusting to the Legion with some unusual dating techniques. I like that Waid tweaked her origin such that she’s not precisely from a planet where everyone can do what she can. That hook to so many Legionnaire origins always seemed like a misstep (“So everyone from your planet has superpowers? And you’re special…how?”). Aside from requesting a moratorium on gags, my biggest request for the series is that it drop that “We’re so sick of it, we could scream” capsule origin from the credits page. I love capsule origins on books like FLASH and BATMAN, but that stinker was dead on arrival. - Dave

WOLVERINE #25 - Well, Mark Millar’s first arc is over and done with. A decent run even though the thought captions littering JR Jr’s superb artwork proved to be more than annoying. I’m not a huge fan of the way Millar wantonly killed a pretty major character in the Marvel U in this issue. Hopefully, this hero won’t be forgotten in favor of the next big event and given a proper send-off since the guy has been around for about thirty years and made some pretty big news a while back for his particular taste in sexual partners. I do have to give Millar credit for writing a high octane thriller that embraced the entirety of the Marvel U, but I have trouble believing that a feisty little brawler with claws could be such a threat to each and every major super hero in the Marvel U. Sure he’s the best there is at what he does, but he made every other hero in the Marvel U seem ineffective and chump-like the way he sliced through the likes of Elektra, Daredevil, the Fantastic Four, and SHEILD with ease, only to be taken down with a firm slam from Captain America’s shield in the end. If he can withstand a clobberin’ from the Thing, getting skewered by Elektra’s sais, and the full scale teamwork of the X-Men, why does Wolvie go down so fast and easily when he’s slapped with Cap’s shield? Seems a bit contrived to me. I dunno. Comic book logic, I guess. Great arc. Can’t wait to see where Millar will take Wolvie next. - Bug

LOSERS #21 - In the 1950s, when people around the world were routinely suggesting that young Prince Charles was the model for Alfred E. Neuman, MAD MAGAZINE recieved a letter from England stating: "No, it's not me. It's not. Charles P." It may have been authentic. I'd have to say the same thing about the nutcase who has declared himself king of an offshore rig in LOSERS # 21. "No, it's not me. It's not. Buzz M." Yes, the character is big on booze, smokes and Purdey shotguns, but therein lies the proof. I've never actually owned a Purdey shotgun. I've never even cradled one in my arms. One of my greatest fears is that I never will. Purdey shotguns are not just weapons. They are works of art, custom made to fit the body of the shooter. Each costs thousands and thousands of dollars. Some come inlaid, etched, engraved and baroquely adorned. They say that a Purdey will make you a better shooter. The best way to get a Purdey is to have a movie studio buy one for you, in addition to your monster screenwriting / directing salary. It must be hand delivered in a limosine and you need a full day to look at it and hold it before you'll reluctantly set it down and get to work on their stupid movie. Purdey shotguns and declaring oneself king? No, it's not me. It's CONAN THE BARBARIAN writer/director John Milius. - Buzz

CONAN #13 - Watching sales on CONAN at my comic shop, it appears numbers remain far, far above average for a non-superhero title, but I definitely noticed a drop off in readership after the first six months. Maybe a little Conan goes a long way? Maybe the stories had a little too much story and not enough Conan disemboweling people? Whatever the case, I seriously recommend that casual readers return to the book for the current storyline which began in the previous issue. It sees Conan teaming up with a new player who has one of the roughest backstories I’ve ever seen in a comic, and a threat that exudes palpable menace. In this issue Conan continues to serve as escort to a priest’s caravan toting a man infected with vile magicks that infest his skin with beetles and cause him to vomit insect swarms. It’s freaky, dark stuff, more akin to the adult-themed CONAN magazines Marvel used to put out than Marvel’s more “general audiences” monthly. - Dave

BIRDS OF PREY #79 - I really enjoyed the ROSE AND THORN miniseries Gail Simone did last year. It featured an interesting approach to the character that was reflected through using a different penciling style for Rose than for Thorn, doing a great job showing you the kind of emotional world each of the two characters inhabited. I’m glad to see Rose back in this issue, as I think she’s a character with a lot of great potential. Dropping her into a book full of the toughest, most resilient female characters in the DCU was a perfect match. Having those characters empathize with her but still want to take her down is exactly the right way to play it, and once again Simone is able to use the plot mechanics to reveal a great deal about the characters while keeping the action coming. It’s also great to see Black Canary face down Batman for messing with one of her friends. Another really strong issue from one of the best series DC is publishing. - Sleazy

ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE #1-5 - Well that was pointless. -- Vroom

100 BULLETS #58 - After a seven-issue story arc that took its time lazing about the Big Easy giving us a lot of backstory on Wylie, Graves, Shepard, Dizzy and others, this issue is a standalone issue that comes out guns blazing. It’s neck-snappingly paced, with a lot of big changes kicking in very, very quickly. The issue has some real surprises, including the unexpected end of a major player. This is a fast, brutal, important issue that lays the groundwork for some big, big changes. It’s like all at once we’re being served notice that the plans that were being laid for the last five years are now in motion, and things are gonna get crazy. If you’ve been a casual follower of the book and felt the pacing was a little slow, try this issue on for size. - Sleazy

Readers Talkback
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  • March 2, 2005, 12:56 p.m. CST

    pope's OMAC story

    by Xandr37

    You are correct, the OMAC story uses the exact dialogue word for word from Kirby's original story.

  • March 2, 2005, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Not a big week for me...

    by Fuzzyjefe

    I read and enjoyed 7 Soldiers. I hope I can actually afford to buy this little experiment. Conan continues to please, and the Ultimate Nightmare review pretty much said all that needs to be said. Who wants to bet that ultimate Galactus will look eerily like Joe Q? "Now that I've sucked the life out of the Marvel U, it's YOUR turn!!"....there was something else.....what was it?.....oh yeah, Fallen Angel's back this week. Boo-yah!

  • March 2, 2005, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Millar's Wolverine

    by -=Shin=-

    I do see the point about it being suprisingly easy to take him down with just a slam of Cap's shield, but to be fair, WOlverine was taking a beating and trying to escape at that point. I'm not a huge Millar fan, but I've loved this arc and it reminds me of comics I read when I was a young kid in the mid 80s. It was just plain fun and didn't mind having Wolverine actually (gasp!) killing someone, or in this case, a lot! Millar's restraint in not showing Wolverine mangle Shield agents was appreciated at the same time.

  • March 2, 2005, 1:09 p.m. CST

    Seven Soldiers

    by AlgertMopper

    Seven Soldiers as fucking amazing, and they didn't disapear at the end, they got ripped to shreds. And for Ultimate Nigthtmare, you could have only read the first and last issue and not missed a damn thing

  • March 2, 2005, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Legion

    by UES

    Couldn't disagree more about Legion of Superheroes. Some of Waid's jokes are groaners, but this is the first take on the book in DECADES that is fresh and interesting. Fer chrissake, he made me enjoy a TRIPLICATE GIRL story. If you don't know anything about the Legion's backstory, you can actually jump into this book fairly easily, but for longtime readers, it's a fresh take on a history that has been done to death, dug up, then done again. This is the ONLY book I am buying now. Waid is also building to an all-out Galactic War in a few issues, so it should get zippy fast. I haven't touched the Legion since 1992 because of crap writing, I pick this series up ASAP every month.

  • March 2, 2005, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Everything.

    by Fantomex

    I'm not sure which Wolverine arc you just read, I loved seeing Wolvie get his ass handed to him by the Fantastic Four, I loved seeing Rachel summers get the best of him, and by the time Captain America smacked with his sheild he had already got the crapped beat out of him. No need for "comic book logic" here, just common sense. Sleazy said everything that needed to be said about 100 Bullets, but that last line needs repeating, If you

  • March 2, 2005, 1:53 p.m. CST

    That was a great Ultimate Nightmare review!

    by chrth

    LOL

  • March 2, 2005, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Winnick's Batman

    by bizarromark

    I, too, found myself enjoying the latest issue of Batman...despite my usual aversion to All-Things-Winnick. I'm not a regular Batman reader, but the promise of seeing my old pal AMAZO again was just too much to resist. My enjoyment of "Villain with All The Powers of (fill in the blank)" still endures, and any chance I get to see the Super-Skrull, Super-Adaptoid, the Mimic, Composite Superman or, yes, Amazo....I'm there. Despite Winnick's talky reputation, I found this issue impressively focused story, with ample action and sharp writing. I might quibble over how relatively easy it was for Batman and Nightwing to overcome Amazo...or AN Amazo (didn't know he was mass-produced)....but the thrill of seeing the big pointy-eared, skull-capped lug in action again....especially in these oh-so-sophisticated Kool Kat times....more than made up for Batman's fairly easy win. Doug Mahnke's art is perfectly suited to Batman's universe, much moreso than it was to either Superman or the JLA. He did some great stuff in those books, but Batman is more up his alley (no pun intended).

  • March 2, 2005, 2:39 p.m. CST

    substance vs. medium

    by bizarromark

    Here's the line from Dave's "Livewires" review that intrigued me: "I know it

  • March 2, 2005, 2:47 p.m. CST

    The Average Judd Winnick Story usually has..

    by cookylamoo

    about fifty people being ripped to bloody shreads and yet, at the same time, he gets all weepy about gay bashing, child molestation, and aids sufferers. He obviously believes that one death is a tragedy, but 100 deaths are a badass romp.

  • March 2, 2005, 2:58 p.m. CST

    But Seriously, Folks: Legion vs. The Fantastic Four

    by bizarromark

    Dave on Mark Waid's "Legion of Superheroes": "Gah! Mother of mercy, it turns out I hate Mark Waid

  • March 2, 2005, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Ultimate Nightmare 5 was great!

    by ChorleyFM

    Admittedly 1-4 were pretty pointless, and could have been told in an issue.

  • March 2, 2005, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Issue1 - 2 of Ult. Nightmare was a wank. 3-5 were about the hor

    by Tall_Boy

    the big "reveal" is something we A) all guessed when we first annouced. B) you do a big End of the Fuckin World story, you don't do it in 2 issues. Anyway, the reveal was just a McGuffin to get the plot moving, this was a horror comic.

  • March 2, 2005, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Ultimate Nightmare should've been 3 issues.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Combine 1 and 2, and 3 and 4. 5 stands on it's own. Unfortunately, I suspect the next two series in the trilogy will be similarly paced.

  • March 2, 2005, 4:19 p.m. CST

    LIVEWIRES & ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE

    by Buzz Maverik

    I was going to do the LIVEWIRES review, but I found I had very little to say about the book. Like Dave, I was glad to FINALLY see some new characters in a Marvel comic. I liked the denouncement and I liked the all-action issue, but I found the constant exposition to be clumsy and obvious. I also enjoyed the art and normally I don't like anything manga oriented. As for ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE, I quit reading after issue 2. Simply put, why can't the end of the world be in 2 issues, if you only have 2 issues worth of story? I'm not going to pay for stuff that isn't there. Buying ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE was like buying a new product called Lifesaver Centers. Air. I peeked at # 5 in the shop. The fight between Cap and a guy I'm assuming to be Ultimate Red Guardian was cool, but that's about it. We can't keep giving Marvel slack on stuff like this. We can't keep giving them money for nothing.

  • March 2, 2005, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Anyway, the reveal was just a McGuffin to get the plot moving, t

    by JonQuixote

    One would hope that the plot would be moving before issue #5 of anything. 110 pages, $15-20, just to establish a McGuffin? Hitchcock is spinning in his grave. And we all know the sillhouette - that takes some serious force. If you're being told that you need a whole bunch of breathing room to make something scary, to show the end of the world, to establish a freakin' McGuffin...you're being lied to. Maybe you're the type of fan that's so forgiving or enamoured with the good stuff that you don't mind a fifth of your comic devoted to establishing shots and busy work, and that's fine, but don't act like it's necessary to build mood or establish McGuffins. It's not.

  • March 2, 2005, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Important Runaways question.

    by vroom socko

    When did Julie Power get those tits? Isn't there a Power Pack series coming out next month where she's still ten years old? I'm all confused.

  • March 2, 2005, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Ultimate Nightmare

    by stoogeling

    Pointless? They introduced the vision and Galactus to the Ultimate Universe! Yeah, they took 5 issues to say what they could've in 2-3, but the payoff was worth the scenic route...

  • Anyway... I've been wondering if the 6 semi-losers in 7 SOLDIERS don't represent everything Morrison thinks is wrong with comics. The fanboy who bought his powers speaks for itself. The "Whip" clearly stands for everything wrong with the way females are portrayed in comics. The Spider is the jackass wolverine/batman-style hero everyone seems to worship. Hell I don't know. Maybe its Morrison saying "Over the next 28 issues I'm giong to tell you seven stories the way comics should be." Although if that is what he was doing he'd have put a character suffering from schizophrenia who takes everything literally and can't understand the hidden meaning behind Seaguy.

  • March 2, 2005, 5:27 p.m. CST

    lots of comments

    by Homer Sexual

    This was an excellent batch in reviews, and I spent a correspondingly large amount of cast at the comic store last week, so I have a lot to say. Love Luke Cage, have since the 70s, but b&w--no thanks, tried to deal with Tomb Of Dracula b&w and just couldn't do it, read about 30 of 200+ pages. Livewires sounded good until I read the word "robots." Then I stopped reading. I loved Seven Soldiers, didn't know the characters but felt like Morrisson developed them well before axing them. Morrison is up and down for me, loved X-Men, hated SeaGuy, but this is definitely an "up." She-Hulk went out on a relatively weak issue but I look forward to the relaunch. OTOH, the "new" Runaways was excellent but not as good as the original series, I hate seeing "future selves." and the first run was soo outstanding it's about impossible to live up to, New Runaways still best series running. I like the Strange book, despite it's being derivative. And I agree with the review of the new Legion as boring. Not bad, but not interesting. A lot of people like it though, just not me. Finally, regarding Wolverine--why not spoil it? The book came out last week and the review seems to hint that Northstar gets killed, which would bum me out to see the only gay Marvel hero now gone for good.

  • March 2, 2005, 5:38 p.m. CST

    isn't the beast gay?

    by Shigeru

    not including Trish Tilby? Shit was that her name?? Was that a Morrison thing to have him light in the furry loafers?

  • March 2, 2005, 5:48 p.m. CST

    No, Beast not homo

    by Homer Sexual

    Beast said he was gay at one point in Morrison's run just to basically represent another persecuted group in addition to mutants, but he is straight.

  • March 2, 2005, 5:54 p.m. CST

    The man's last name is spelled WINICK, not Winnick

    by BrashHulk

    If you're going to bitch about something or someone, at least get the spelling correct, @$$holes. Geez.

  • March 2, 2005, 6:20 p.m. CST

    My bad, BrashHulk, but do you have to be so...brash?

    by Ambush Bug

    I'm just saying is all.

  • S'funny. Morrison's work is so idiosyncratic that's it's almost impossible to imagine any other writer taking over his characters when he's done with them, isn't it? It's like *he* can evolve superheroes, but does anyone expect the industry (and fandom) to evolve along with him? In that sense, something like SEVEN SOLDIERS seems very tangential to the DCU - almost to the point that one wonders why it should take place there - but for me, at least, the ride is worth it. And I'll tell ya...pretty cool when a writer can make an old-fashioned giant spider *scary*! Oh, and I like Fantomex's theory on the subtext. Not bad.

  • March 2, 2005, 6:51 p.m. CST

    Batman 638-I've seen it

    by Heywood Jablowme

    Winick introduces the Red Hood and its...the President of Greenpeace. He's pissed at Bats because his "wonderful toys" are not hybrid eco-frindly California emission electro cars/planes. As he procedes to thrash Batman he procedes to lecture him (us) about the dangers of not recycling, acid rain, not giving a courtesy flush, and why we should adopt one of those African kids for 60 cents a day (come on, you know you have the money-how do you buy your funny books?). The review was right on point. Can someone make sure he gets the fucking memo? Oh yeah, Ult. Nightmare would have been worth the build-up had I not waited 8 months for it. By the time I got #5 it was, eh, so what. I'm out.

  • March 2, 2005, 6:56 p.m. CST

    I Dig The Ultimate Universe, But ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE Sort Of Expo

    by Buzz Maverik

    A series full of wasted space is not necessary to introduce a character who was INTRODUCED APPROX. 38 FUCKING YEARS AGO! Tacking the word "Ultimate" in front of the name doesn't change the fact. And if it's in the interest of readers new to comics ... they won't give a shit about Galactus anyway! My friends, we all love comic books here! We all admire the writers and artists! But we don't owe them anything and they DO owe us something! If you can see it as slow and dragging, you need to say something somewhere! They're selling you air! Let's say that some band...we'll say Green Day, for some insane reason decides to do an album of cover tunes. But it's a big deal because it's a modern band doing 'em so they have to make it a big event and they put out a two-disc set. This is discounting downloads, so don't go all au courant on me. They put out a two disc set of cover tunes. But they're only recording nine songs. The rest is silence, and it's not some John Cage or Yoko Ono kind of weirdness. It's because it's a big fat honkin' deal. So are we gonna say that it's worth two discs of mostly dead air to hear the equivalent of the ultimate version of BLITZKREIG BOP? No, we're gonna say we're gonna download the song and screw the two discs. We love our comic pros, but you know what? They don't love us. They don't even know us. It doesn't make them bad people, but Marvel suits know they wanna put out a trade and Ellis or whomever knows he wants to get paid for five issues, even if he has a two issue story. You don't need to support Warren Ellis (nothing against him personally; any of these bozos, I just picked Ellis because he wrote the dog in question)! Make him earn his money. And no, just because he's earned it in the past on other projects, that doesn't mean he doesn't have to earn it every time he writes a comic for you to buy.

  • March 2, 2005, 7:05 p.m. CST

    You had me at "au courant"

    by Fantomex

    how about "it sucks, don't buy stuff that sucksc"

  • March 2, 2005, 7:13 p.m. CST

    Rough month for gays at Marvel

    by Dave_F

    (SPOILERS FOR SOME MARVEL BOOKS AHEAD...READ ON AT YOUR PERIL) Okay, so we've got Orsen Scott Card on ULTIMATE IRON MAN this week, and if you've been hitting an comic message boards over the last few months, you've probably seen the link to his "keep it in the closet" essay, "The Hypocrites of Homosexuality." I've heard talk of boycotts, but I don't think they'll realy come to fruition. Then there's poor Northstar, Marvel's only gay superhero of note, offed like an extra in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN just to give some edge to Wolverine's rampage. Kind of sad. I hate to dabble in anything resembling political correctness, but y'know, I actually think Northstar *should* have been untouchable as Marvel's lone gay superhero...at least until such time as he wasn't the sole frickin' representative! (Sidebar: the New Mutants chick doesn't count - not only is she even lower on the recognition totem pole than Northstar, but we all know that lesbianism gets a special pass because it plays into male fantasies). And let's keep in mind something else: Northstar was *already* non-politically correct because he was such a douchebag asshole! This was no Judd Winick saint - this guy was the jerk of the mutant world. Of course, the word is that the Hand's gonna resurrect him as an assassin, and maybe that'll somehow turn into a real resurrection. You can never tell in the superhero community, can you? Anyway, from my perspective, kind of a shitty thing to off him in the first place. Be nice if these writers so eager to kill off characters with the abandon of Renny Harlin would do a little work to *create* some characters first. ******** The real sin of "Wolverine: Enemy of the State," however, was simply that it's finale wasn't a finale so much as a transition into the next storyline. Six issues and we basically get a "to be continued"? I call foul! That said, the arc had its moments and I gave 'em their due in reviews. I did like Millar's portrayal of Rachel Summers in WOLVIE 25, another example of the pattern that the guest stars were more interesting than the lead this go-round.

  • March 2, 2005, 7:35 p.m. CST

    The Reason Wolverine went down with one hit of Captain America's

    by PaulyFunk

    Ambush Bug - Even though i haven't read wolverine in years, i'm guessing why Cap's shield took him down in one hit is because it too is made out of adamantium. Please don't tell my girlfriend that not only do i know this fact, but that i also felt a need to share it with the public.

  • March 2, 2005, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Sorry Bug, I gotta be true to my name. And about Orson Scott Ca

    by BrashHulk

    That Mormon asswipe should be led out behind the outhouse and shot in the ass with some triple-aught buckshot. And Marvel should be getting it in the ass right next to him for hiring him. The bad taste of such a publicity stunt aside, Card's extremely volatile views on homosexuality, ethics, and morality set the time machine back to the Dark Ages. Who is Marvel going to hire next? Rush Limbaugh? Jerry Falwell? Pat Robertson? Feh.

  • March 2, 2005, 7:56 p.m. CST

    Good reviews, guys.

    by Elliot_Kane

    Dave caught my feelings on Livewires pretty well. Bug - sorry but 'the dead X-Man' is very minor, and has never been anything else. Buzz - agree on 7S. It's a good start. Vroom - See what you mean on Strange. It's reading more and more like a movie pitch all the time. Shame, coz it has been good in places.

  • March 2, 2005, 8:03 p.m. CST

    I don't see the point in Northstar, Dave...

    by Elliot_Kane

    He was just 'The Token Gay'. Did the poor guy EVER get to have a relationship? At all? Just about all the X-Men have dated at some point except for him. What is more, I do not think that ANY character should be untouchable because of their race, sex, orientation or anything else. Making characters into special cases is ALSO discrimination.

  • March 2, 2005, 9:41 p.m. CST

    The lone voice of praise...

    by sideshowbob

    ...for Ultimate Nightmare here. I haven't read the conclusion yet, but I liked the first 4 issues quite a bit. It delivered as a slow-burning horror story as far as I'm concerned, which is how I like my horror. Steve Niles (a writer I find to be VERY overrated) has been praised for slower-moving work, with IDW charging double the price at that. So why the hate for this series?

  • March 2, 2005, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Bizarromark versus The Sacred Comic Traditions of The East

    by Dave_F

    Bizarromark asks: "Can a story *really* connect with a consumer in a presentation style or medium that simply does NOT connect with that consumer?" Bizarromark, the simple answer is "no." ******* What, you wanted more of a fight? Nah, I actually agree with your general assertion. S'why I merely said it was a "shame" that you folks still living in fear of the Yellow Peril would miss out on LIVEWIRES ;^) But if it's not your thing...not a workable idiom for ya...nope, I don't think you'd plug into it. I can think of a few manga that might prove the exception even to doubters - okay, one - and that's NAUSICAA, which actually blends a good chunk of Euro tradition into the Japanese standards. But that's about it. Truth be told, I think LIVEWIRES would've been more appealing to even me without the manga overlay. I think someone like RUNAWAYS' Adrian Alphona would've better suited my tastes, and that guy's art has only the barest flavor of manga. I *can* see why they went with the manga look, though, robots being to Japanese culture what superheroes are to American culture. ***** To Homer Sexual: if you stopped at the word "robots" in the review, you should retrace your steps. Adam Warren turns the cliches on their ear, and as noted in the review, explicitely promises no Data-style robots longing to be human. Dismissing LIVEWIRES on the basis of its leads being robots is like dismissing an X-Men title because its leads are mutants. Sure, the concepts are overused - something that could be said of the superhero genre as a whole - but you take a good writer and everything old is new again, capisce? Warren is to robots what a Morrison or Whedon is to mutants.

  • March 2, 2005, 9:48 p.m. CST

    great reviews as always guys

    by Darth Kal-El

    ...and thanks for getting a 100 bullets plug in there! Hoepefully it will spark more interest in the series the way your previous reviews got me on fables,walking dead and gotham central.

  • March 2, 2005, 9:51 p.m. CST

    comics overseas, a small anecdote

    by sideshowbob

    I haven't read any new American titles in a month now, so I can't comment on these reviews except that I'm *dying* to read the new Runaways. Anyhow, I spent last week in Japan. Of course I went into some manga shops, and it was very interesting. The stores were huge, and looking around, I was shocked at the variety of genres here...action, sci-fi, horror, drama, sports, romance, comedy, crime, directed at both genders and all age groups, and at least a third of it wasn't pornographic! When talking with a Japanese friends who love manga, I bring up that I love American comics. "Oh, Batman and Spiderman?" they say. I try to explain that there's a lot more than that, but sadly, it seems that it's just Batman and Spiderman sometimes. I even pulled my Fables: Storybook Love trade out of my bag to show one guy. The first thing he did was flip it over and cry out "18 dollars! That's too much!"...this coming from someone who lives in a country where it costs $7 for coffee and toast. Yeah, there's something wrong with American comics, I'm afraid. *** On another note, I got to see Miyazaki's new film, "Howl's Moving Castle" and it is a masterpiece of animation.

  • March 2, 2005, 9:54 p.m. CST

    Fair point, Sideshow...

    by Dave_F

    We 'Holes have been debating decompression amongst ourselves lately, and one of my points in defending it is that, while it doesn't work for every story (slam-bang FF hoo-ha, fer inst)...while there are certainly excesses (Bendis can usually stand to chop at LEAST an issue from a given arc)...it's still a TREMENDOUSLY effective tool for certain situations. And certainly conveying horror is among those situations. Whether NIGHTMARE veered into excess with its slow-burn approach might be arguable, but at the minimum, I think the theory behind its pacing was sound.

  • March 2, 2005, 9:59 p.m. CST

    Sideshow, you whore.

    by Dave_F

    You've seen HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE? Son of a -- ! So, hey, should I read the book it's based on first or what? I'm all on a Miyazaki high over the last days, having nabbed the just-released DVD's of NAUSICAA and PORCO ROSSO. And did anyone see in that We3 Morrison interview when he mentioned that Quitely had based the visuals of the project supervisor on Miyazaki? Morrison said they'd change his name into something Japanese for the trade so as to fit the unexpected features Quitely gave 'im.

  • March 2, 2005, 10:01 p.m. CST

    My Wolverine #25 is defective

    by Mr_Furious

    It doesn't feature the death of a major character, just Northstar. www.theletterd.blogspot.com

  • March 2, 2005, 10:06 p.m. CST

    the howl book

    by sideshowbob

    I'm currently reading it, and it is a splendid little fantasy yarn directed at the young adult sect. Should you read it first? Not sure. Miyazaki's fascination with the trickster archetype is used more than ever in this film, so it may ruin some neat surprises to see characters switch forms and switch sides in the film, if you've read the book first. So I say no, but have it ready to read after. Of course, I saw the movie in Japanese, a language I understand about 12 words of. So I merely gazed at the beautiful animation, made my own conclusions about the story, then picked up the book.

  • March 2, 2005, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Significant MARVEL character introduced during the '90s: DARKHAW

    by Ribbons

    No wait...SLAPSTICK! No! Wait, yes! No, wait! Let me think! Umm... hmm... was Bishop introduced during the '90s? No? Yes? What about Carnage? He's killin' you 'CAUSE HE CAN!!! Ah, screw it.

  • March 2, 2005, 10:24 p.m. CST

    what was the big reveal?

    by Darth Kal-El

    I skipped ultimate nightmare because it looked dumb and im actually a fan of the ultimate universe.i just figured thered eventually be a trade and id check that out at barnes and noble some lazy afternoon. so what was the big reveal? also,i just stopped by the comic shop on my way to work and picked up ultimate iron man(im a sucker for foil covers) whats the deal with orson scatt card?ive never read anything about the guy and like i said just bough the comic because it looked cool.

  • March 2, 2005, 10:25 p.m. CST

    mr furious that was hilarious...

    by Darth Kal-El

  • March 2, 2005, 10:26 p.m. CST

    I dont know about significant...

    by Darth Kal-El

    ...but i loved the hell out of new warriors back in the 90s

  • First off, Northstar's early years weren't defined by his sexuality *at all*, since Byrne played it coy about revealing it. His far more defining characteristic was that he was an assholish cold fish, sort of a Canadian Sub-Mariner I suppose (much like our own Jon Quixote). Not a great character, but he always had potential, and THAT'S what the writers should've been looking to tap. Take the John Stewart Green Lantern as an example. If I'm not mistaken, he was something of a token "angry black man" in his earliest appearances, but look at him now - great stuff happening with him in GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH, and for thousands of kids watching the Justice League cartoon, he's THE Green Lantern, period! True story: a kid in my comic shop saw Hal Jordan on the cover of an issue of GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH the other day, and offered up an incredulous, "It's a *white* Grenn Lantern!" Pretty funny. And kind of cool. It would appear DC has transformed the John Stewart GL into a truly viable superhero, one which I've got to believe will serve as a real inspiration to young black kids watching his adventures. And that's the opportunity with a character like Northstar. God help me for saying this, but comic pariah Chuck Austen *almost* tapped into that potential in his earliest issues of X-MEN. He actually made the character interesting and had Xavier setting him up in a leadership role at the school. If memory serves, Xavier specifically thought his openness about his sexual orientation would make him a positive role model for the students. ****** As for making characters untouchable because of minority status...yes, I know it's such a big dramatic bugaboo, but Jesus H. Christ, when there's only one...fucking ONE!...member of a certain minority, show a little restraint, writers! Readers routinely enter into such compacts in reading superhero comics, absolutely aware that the likes of Captain America, Spidey, and Batman are untouchable! So let's not pretend we're all such pure devotees of drama that we'd allow writers to do *anything* with these characters. We're not and we wouldn't. We know Wolverine's utterly safe, we know Superman's never gonna get raped by a big Japanese tentacle monster, we know... okay, I'm derailing here, but you get the idea. If you accept that there are rules of hero-protection you tacitly approve of any time you read a Marvel or DC comic, then maybe you can see why those rules should've applied to lone queer representative, Northstar. ******* Of course, Northstar might be revived in the very next issue of WOLVERINE, but what the hell...the discussion's worthy, I think. Under a good writer, Northstar could be as strong a character as John Stewart. If nothing else, maybe he should've stuck around as a "placeholder" minority until a more interesting character could be created to bring a little sexual diversity to the Marvel U.

  • March 2, 2005, 10:39 p.m. CST

    Oh, and I liked the Amazo issue of BATMAN, too.

    by Dave_F

    Cool art, good action. Winick had Batman mention that the Amazo-bot might've been an older model or a prototype, lending a bit more credibility to the fact that Bats and Nightwing weren't instantly steamrolled. Amazo's definitely old-school cool. So is Starro. So is Professor Ivo. And Eclipso. But NOT Despero. That guy's a punk.

  • March 2, 2005, 10:42 p.m. CST

    gayness

    by Darth Kal-El

    wasnt there a little bit of questioning colosus sexuality over on ultimate x-men last issue?i thought it was weird only because it came out of left field what with the way he was kinda flirting with longshot.or was that just me?

  • March 2, 2005, 10:43 p.m. CST

    Good to see Adam Warren is back in the saddel...

    by RickSlamu2

    Warren was one of the reasons i picked up GEN13 and then the idots at Dark Horse decided to kill it as it was getting intresting. Actually my greatest comic book fantasy, ( becides being traped with various X-Women on a uncharted tropical island) Was to let Adam loose on the X-men and hopefully have him repair some of the damage Morrision did during his migraine-indusing run.

  • March 2, 2005, 10:45 p.m. CST

    Orson Scott Card

    by Ribbons

    There's probably someone who can tell you something more significant about him than me, but Mr. Card wrote a series of sci-fi books, the first(?) of which, "Ender's Game," is required reading in a lot of American high schools. He's a pretty big celebrity in his respective circle (which is, I guess, sci-fi authors), so Marvel landing him baffles me. Maybe he's a fan. In any case, it's a big deal. I picked up "Ultimate Iron Man" today as well, though I haven't read it yet. On a similar note, I think that Andy Kubert pencils too many limited series.

  • March 2, 2005, 10:48 p.m. CST

    More praise for Livewires...

    by Elliot_Kane

    You know how Iron Man is still stuck with a 60s idea of high tech that makes the whole idea look completely outdated? Well, Adam Warren is far closer to cutting edge. Livewires is a proper modern idea of high tech, and well worth the read. Anyone who looks for something truly unusual and very well written should check this out :)

  • March 2, 2005, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Death in comics...

    by Elliot_Kane

    Is it ever a good idea to kill a character in a superhero comic? Permanently, I mean? Any character, written well, has potential. Not talking supporting cast here, but the actual heroes and villains. The number of times it's been done WELL and then stuck amounts to, oh, 'The Death Of Captain Marvel'. So really - where's the point?

  • March 2, 2005, 10:57 p.m. CST

    Mark Waid's Def Comedy Jam

    by Dave_F

    B-Mark, every situation is different. I remember defending some of Waid's humor in his earliest FF issues, but it eventually wore on me, so I'll take this opportunity to rescind my approval if I didn't already do it in a review at some point. At the time I thought the FF, having spent the last decade with dialogue about as stale as week-old Tostitos, was a good candidate for a little hipster humor to bring back da kiddies. And maybe it worked. Certainly sales recouped a bit. But I wasn't that familiar with Waid's stuff at the time, and as I've seen more and more projects from him that I've disliked over the years, his quippy humor has severely worn on me. Too bad, too. The first LEGION was a'ight, the second I thought was excellent, and based on that trend, I was almost ready to get behind the series. But now it's back to the lab for more testing. We shall see.

  • March 2, 2005, 11 p.m. CST

    thank you ribbons

    by Darth Kal-El

    ive actually heard of the novel enders game before but dont really know what its about.i havent read ult.iron man yet tho as soon as i get home i expect to.what i meant about card was,i gathered from some of the earlier posts that hes conservative right wing?anybody know his story and how it affects his writing?i was looking forward to ultimate iron man because of the art but not if im going to be preached at...

  • March 2, 2005, 11:12 p.m. CST

    You won't be preached at with ULTIMATE IRON MAN, Darth Kal...

    by Dave_F

    Whatever I might think of Card's social views, I think he's also professional enough to keep 'em in check during a story. So no, no homophobia in the first issue of ULTIMATE IRON MAN, nor do I expect it to surface at all. In fact, the biggest danger is that the issue might simply *bore* you. It's very much the definition of "slow burn," and for me, not wildly compelling.

  • March 2, 2005, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Ok, I just read Livewires #1...

    by lousypunk8

    Manga art? I can deal with that. Concept/Execution? Has potential. BUT. The use of the phrase "lol" as dialouge on TWO seperate occasions by two different characters is simply inexcusable. I'll take a pass here.

  • March 2, 2005, 11:29 p.m. CST

    Cap's shield isn't made of adamantium.

    by JonQuixote

    While the OFFICIAL HANDBOOK TO THE MARVEL UNIVERSE makes mention of Cap's shield being made of an experimental Vibranium/Adamantium alloy, this overlooks the fact that Adamantium wasn't really invented until Cap already had his shield. I think it's "officially" made of a Vibranium/Iron Alloy or something. What always gets me is that if the Vibranium allows the shield to absorb impact - meaning Cap can take a blow from the Hulk without having his bones liquified - how does it actually *hurt* somebody (or bounce off walls). Shouldn't *that* kinetic energy be absorbed as well? And though I write this from a computer in my basement, I swear it is located in a house that *I* and not my parents own.

  • March 2, 2005, 11:29 p.m. CST

    OMGWTFBBQ!

    by Dave_F

    Hey, Lousypunk8...wasn't at least on of the uses of "LOL" just a character using a nickname for "Gothic Lolita"? That is, it wasn't mean't to be the internet abbreviation for "laugh out loud," but just an abbreviation for "Lolita"? Same principle as calling Captain America "Cap"? I don't have the issue in front of me, so I can't say for sure, but I seem to remember that was the case.

  • March 2, 2005, 11:30 p.m. CST

    JQ...

    by Dave_F

    Cap throws his shield REALLY hard.

  • March 2, 2005, 11:46 p.m. CST

    More on Orson Scott Card

    by SleazyG.

    "Ender's Game" started out as a short story. Then he expanded it to a novel, then a trilogy, then rewrote the original from the other side's perspective...yeah, kinda one-trick. The short story was solid with a bit of a "Twilight Zone" twist for an ending. The novel seemed less good, and after that I walked. He has another series set in an alternate America around colonial times that I never bothered with either. I think he also wrote a mediocre airport giftshop-level horror novels. In retrospect I don't feel at all badly about mostly ignoring the guy, since I later found out his Mormon beliefs led him down the road to homophobia. His essays on the subject (yes, he actually wrote essays for publication) are deeply flawed and offputting. The one thing that can be said is that the one I read had him insulting, criticizing and judging homosexuals but he made it very clear that they should not be attacked physically. Which, really, just isn't enough. He does have a serious problem with anybody who accepts, much less defends, people who happen to be gay. Where that kind of bigotry exists, I find myself wondering if he also tends to look down on the blacks, latinos, asians, etc. that populate our nation and aren't covered under his guiding tome, The Book of Mormon. It's not the most inclusionary text or religion, so what does this guy really think of all the people who don't follow The Path or aren't getting into his idea of Heaven? It's just kinda offputting. that said, I bought the issue just to see what I think and whether it earned the foil cover. If I can buy stuff from left-leaning artists I don't necessarily agree with, I should give the righties a try too--fair is fair.

  • March 3, 2005, 12:17 a.m. CST

    Lol is indeed Gothic Lolita...

    by Elliot_Kane

    And only used in that context, IIRC. *** JQ - I always figure Cap's shield is layered, with the surface being adamantium and he inside layer closer to cap being vibranium. That gives you impact on the outside but not the inside :)

  • March 3, 2005, 12:21 a.m. CST

    It's not the plate of Lehigh, it's the plate of Neefigh!

    by Ribbons

    Don't you see?

  • March 3, 2005, 12:40 a.m. CST

    That is very surprising to me about Oson S. Card...

    by Fuzzyjefe

    given that the themes in some of his later Ender novels were about the acceptance of an alien race whose religious practices seemed almost like atrocities to humans. Guess you never can tell.

  • March 3, 2005, 12:57 a.m. CST

    Northstar

    by Fantomex

    The problem wasn't the character choice, the problem was it was shoehorned in by Millar in an attempt to add some cheap weight to the story. This is a problem he's had over and over, and this is one of the worst offenses. As for Northstar's worth, Andrew Sullivan said it best when commenting on the oddity that Republicans/Conservatives love to watch WILL AND GRACE: "Doesn't suprise me a bit, that's just the way conservatives like their gays, either completely non-sexual or flaming to the point of comedy" (paraphrased). Simply having a character calling themselves gay isn't bold or shocking. Unless you're acurately portraying the lifestyle, all you're doing is tokenizing in an attempt to get some cheap press. Then again, I'm mostly going off Chuck Austin's portrayal of the character, so maybe my criticism doesn't apply.

  • March 3, 2005, 2:22 a.m. CST

    thanks for the insight on card

    by Darth Kal-El

    i will still read the iron man since i already bought it(damn you foil cover!) but it better blow me away if im going to be buying issue 2.and before you all jump to tell me,i know me not buying a book doesnt bankrupt a writer but i feel uncomfortable supporting the work of someone who has those kinds of leanings.as for the northstar thing,i havent read it yet because(wait for it,here it comes)i was gonna hold out for the trade so i cant say one way or the other but is he really the only openly gay characheter in all of comicdom?

  • March 3, 2005, 2:24 a.m. CST

    Wolverine Spoilers

    by JonQuixote

    It has been suggested that in subsequent issues of Wolverine, Northstar will be resurrected and villainified by Hydra. If this turns out to be true, Millar would have actually done a boone for Marvel U diversity by making their one *big* gay character a key player in a very popular book. *** Even if not, I'm pretty happy with Millar's WOLVERINE right now. Maybe Northstar got punked (and too bad, 'cause he was different and interesting), but the rest of the 'guest stars' have been treated with wonderful, exciting respect. Millar has done wonders in regards to bringing back the type of Marvel Universe - full of big, beautiful characters with connections tenuous and tight - that I grew up with.

  • March 3, 2005, 7:33 a.m. CST

    No, there was at least ONE other

    by Ribbons

    Not counting Ultimate Colossus, that one cowboy comic book that Zimmerman dude wrote was about an openly gay character. I don't remember the name and I never read it, but I'm sure it sucked.

  • March 3, 2005, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Gay characters

    by Fuzzyjefe

    Don't forget Apollo and the Midnighter, both of whom will kill your ass.

  • March 3, 2005, 9:11 a.m. CST

    It was Rawhide Kid....hehe.

    by Shigeru

    Yeah it was under the Jemas run. I miss Jemas actually. Oh and "THE HARROWING OF MAN!" made me pee myself.

  • March 3, 2005, 9:13 a.m. CST

    That would be "Rawhide Kid", Ribbons

    by rev_skarekroe

    And speaking of homosexuals, you think Ultimate Jarvis will show up in Card's "Iron Man"? It could be interesting if nothing else...

  • March 3, 2005, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Ult. Iron Man is going to suffer from Doc Spectrum-itis

    by Shigeru

    AKA-- I don't want to pick it up cause it's probably not all that good, and I love the regular series so much I don't want anything or anybody sullying my view of the character. Does that make me a dick?

  • March 3, 2005, 10:50 a.m. CST

    ultimate nightmare

    by Petro45

    I agree with some of the posters above that Ultimate Nightmares 1-4 were crap, but #5 was great. Was the payoff worth the long slog to get there? Tough question. As some people had said, many of us had a guess re the big surprise by issue one, but to be honest by the time issue 5 came around I had completely forgotten about that, since the series seemed to be going in a different direction. I thought issue 5 closed the loop brilliantly, and I was actually surprised and delighted by the big reveal. This might be the type of series that's better as a trade -- the slow going of the first four issues wouldn't be as annoying if you don't have the month-long wait in between.

  • March 3, 2005, 12:36 p.m. CST

    If they had to kill off an asshole mutant speedster...

    by mortsleam

    Why not keep the gay guy and get rid of Quicksilver? Or did he buy it in Avengers Disassembled? I'm out of touch. Either way, Northstar has the hotter sister, who was always meant to mentally imbalanced and not retconned that way forty years after her creation, and I like women with severe emotional problems, so for that reason alone they should've spared him. Also, with Livewires and the faux-anime thing: it would be interesting if only the robots were drawn as anime, and everyone else was drawn traditionally.

  • March 3, 2005, 1:14 p.m. CST

    Wolverine's victim

    by Petro45

    If they had to kill him off, fine (even though I enjoy the character and wish they hadn't) But the way they killed him was complete horseshit. I'm not saying that he deserved his cliched "moment of heroism" before dying, but the guy is supposed to be one of the fastest characters in the Marvel Universe. Wolverine growls, leaps at Kitty, and Northstar just stands there waiting for the claws to pop into his gut? It's idiotic. If they wanted to go with the "shocking and sudden" death idea, Wolverine should have hit him from behind, with Northstar having no idea it was coming and thus, no chance to get out of the way. Other than that, I disagree with the review in that it suggested that Millar made the other characters (Elektra and Daredevil in particular) look like punks during this story. Elektra actually kicked the crap out of Wolverine. Daredevil beat Wolverine AND a horde of Hand ninjas. If anything, Millar made those characters come off as particularly badass. (I missed the FF issue, so no comment on how they were portrayed. I do agree that at least some of the X-Men, Havok and Northstar in particular, were treated like shit).

  • March 3, 2005, 1:22 p.m. CST

    wolvie thoughts...

    by Shigeru

    This last "enemy of the state" issue would have been received a lot better if Millar had just dropped the 6 issue story name. Pretend that "enemy of the state: part whatever of whatever" was not on the cover and it makes more sense. Of course then Marvel could not sell heaps of Enemy of the State trades. And I like seeing heroes offed, personally. You'd think with Wolvie fighting all these heroes and his weapons being foot long razor sharp claws, more people (not just faceless SHIELD agents) would have died. It's the reason I love those early Allred X-Force issues: Extremely high mortality rate in the superhero biz.

  • March 3, 2005, 2:44 p.m. CST

    The suggestion that Millar made the other heroes look like punks

    by JonQuixote

    Agreed, Pedro. I think Bug missed the mark here. I mean, Daredevil practically killed Wolverine. The FF knocked him to hell (in very cool ways, I might add: The Invisible Woman making Wolverine's retinas invisible so as to render him blind was very, very cool...though I do wonder how the other FF members are able to see when she camoflauges them in entirety). In both cases, Wolverine only *barely* escaped thanks to his Hydra-technology upgrades. Hell, even Rachel Summers was made out to be very, very cool and powerful and handed Wolvie his butt. While I've criticized Millar's love of the easy deconstruction in his past work, ENEMY OF THE STATE showed little but love for the characters and the Marvel U. I also appreciate his downgrading of Wolverine's powers - I much prefer the incarnation whose healing factor didn't make him invincible enough to survive a shotgun blast to the face or a cruise through the sun. A shot to the back of the head from Captain America to an exhausted and battered Wolvie *should* knock him out. It's Wolverine...not the Hulk.

  • March 3, 2005, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Agreed, Wolvie got the snot beat out of him...

    by Ambush Bug

    but he also survived major conflicts with all of those guys. It was just a hasty issue for me. I didn't feel as if Wolvie were exhausted or frantic because Millar didn't want to focus on his character. I planned on doing a full review of WOLVIE 25, but ran out of time. I guess what really bothered me is that Wolvie was barely a character in this entire Universe-spanning epic. He was basically a mind-controlled assassin. There wasn't a lot of his character present in the entire arc, just Mr. and Mrs. Strucker bickering in his head. This proved to be both distracting and annoying to me. To have an arc featuring Wolvie losing control of his own body (a conflict the character has had since his inception as a slave to his own berserker rage) and not even have Wolvie in there to offer his two cents on the situation is not being fair to the character. Plus, did anyone take offense to the fact that Baron Strucker died at the end of this arc? Sure it wasn't on panel, but him kneeling in front of the Gorgon with his sword drawn suggested that he was beheadded. Let's not bring up the fact that Strucker is playing a major role in THUNDERBOLTS. But what about the fact that Nick Fury's oldest foe is disposed of without him even being directly involved. I just don't like it when writers come in and wipe the slate clean by slaughtering long-standing characters in a panel or two for shock value. Northstar and Strucker in this arc. Nomad and Mother Night in Brubaker's CAPTAIN AMERICA. These are characters with loads of potential and deserve better than being sheep for some typing abbatior.

  • March 3, 2005, 3:22 p.m. CST

    And oh yeah, Northstar...

    by Ambush Bug

    I'm glad he's coming back later in the series, but now the only gay character in the Marvel Universe is going to be a villain. If there was only one African American or Asian or Hispanic hero in the Marvel U and he or she was killed only to be brought back as a villain, I think there would be more of an uproar. I'm just saying that there were other characters wasting space in the X-Mansion that would have been better suited to be killed off so relentlessly. Psylocke is brought back, Gambit continues to waste space, hell even Stacy X and Maggot are still kicking it. But the only gay character in comics gets a one panel send off and is then resurrected as a bad guy. Just doesn't feel right. Then again, both Aurora and Northstar have been screwed over so much lately that they don't resemble their original inceptions at all anymore.

  • March 3, 2005, 3:44 p.m. CST

    Lack of Wolverine's "two cents"

    by Petro45

    Ambush Bug, I actually liked the idea that we didn't see much interior monologue from the "real" Wolverine. Rather than having Wolverine thought bubbles saying "oh no, what am I doing," even Wolverine's thoughts were purely evil. I think this was an effective way of showing the depths of his brainwashing - they were controlling him body and mind. Also, this made it all the more effective during the few times that Wolverine's true personality tried to assert itself (such as in his confrontation with Rachel). I agree that we definitely need to see Wolverine's reaction to the carnage he caused, but I'm hoping that Millar deals with this in the next few issues. Assuming he does, I have no complaints. I'm generally not the biggest fan of his work (and not a fan of the Wolverine character at all), but I thought that, overall, this was a great and surprising series that avoided and subverted the typical cliches in "mind control" storylines. That said, Northstar shouldn't have died a punk death, and Strucker's death is a bloody waste (especially when he's being used so effectively in T-Bolts). I did hear that Millar chose Northstar for the chopping block because of Wolverine's connection to Alpha Flight. I might forgive this choice if it turns out it wasn't random, but rather part of a plan to lead-in to a Wolverine-Alpha Flight story.

  • March 3, 2005, 3:54 p.m. CST

    It ain't an arc if it just moves in a straight line...

    by Ambush Bug

    I understand what you are saying that Millar may be dealing with this later in the series, but isn't there supposed to be some kind of character development in a story arc? Basically, Wolvie was mind-controlled at the beginning and in the end he's a vegetable in a stasis tank. That's six issues without the character who's name is on the cover. If I were to buy the trade and read it from start to finish, I would be pissed because there was absolutely no resolution to the conflict posed to Wolverine's character. Just (as Dave *I think* pointed out earlier) a "To Be Continued" blurb at the end of this issue. It used to be that there were six issues of an arc and stuff actually happened in the first and last issues. Now we don't even get a resolution in six issues. Kind of a rip-off in my opinion.

  • Just pretend it wasn't an arc and is an ongoing storyline...as an arc it wasn't too sucessfull. But as an ongoing storyline it has real potential. BTW--haha you just said Nomad had loads of potential...

  • March 3, 2005, 4:11 p.m. CST

    Brubaker sucks on Cap...

    by Elliot_Kane

    He has NO idea at all of who Steve Rogers is, and he's basically writing John Walker instead. If the guy wants to write USAgent - fine. Give him a USAgent title. Or Ultimate Cap, or whatever. But some of us still want to read about Steve Rogers, thank you very much...

  • March 3, 2005, 4:20 p.m. CST

    My ULTIMATE IRON MAN # 1 Review Will Run Next Column

    by Buzz Maverik

    I hadn't heard about Card's viewpoints but I'm not surprised. I knew that he's a Mormon. His writing about tolerance for alien religions is probably more about tolerance for his religion. I was put off about the use of Tony Stark in the issue (like he hasn't been born yet) but I decided to review what was on the page and I gave it a pass, although I couldn't stand too many issues or too many comics like it. I wouldn't change my view on the comic because I disagree with Card. His views also don't change my high regard for ENDER'S GAME. It's a great book, but I think that it would have had more of an impact on me if I'd read it when I was between the ages of 12-15 instead of reading it six months ago.

  • March 3, 2005, 4:24 p.m. CST

    I actually liked Fabian Nicienza's NOMAD

    by Ambush Bug

    I thought it had a lot of potential with it's wandering Lorenzo Lamas/Lone Wolf and Cub feel. Aside from Bruce Jones' failed run on the HULK, Marvel doesn't have to many "wandering hero samurais." It was released right around the same time as TERROR INC. And for those of you who don't know TERROR INC, he was one of the coolest characters to come out of 90's Marvel. Horror/detective noir. A series ahead of its time.

  • March 3, 2005, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Hey Buzz.......

    by Fuzzyjefe

    With all this new info coming out about Card, I'm inclined to agree with your assessment of the themes in his other books. Especially since it deals with how the Xenomorphs (aliens) deal with their dead, and the new, "higher" existances that they go to. It has a very "Just because you're outside and don't understand someone's beliefs, doesn't make them wrong" vibe. I just read those books about 6-8 months ago, and ENDER'S GAME did rock. ENDER'S SHADOW, the book that tells the same story from another "student's" side is pretty good too. Too bad I can't remember his name. It was the little guy. Anyway....the new WALKING DEAD rocks, FALLEN ANGEL is good as ever, and my comic shop was shorted on the RISING STARS finale, so I don't have it yet, dammit.

  • March 3, 2005, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Ender's Sidekick's Name Was Bean

    by Buzz Maverik

    Card has also written a series of Bean novels. I haven't read them but I think they may have gone in the direction that the fans and Card himself wishes ENDER would have. I understand that Card never really intended ENDER'S GAME to be published and wanted to start the series with SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD. If that had happened, only more serious science fiction readers would know about the series. I stopped with SPEAKER because I just didn't care. ENDER was exceptional. But I didn't care about an adult Ender. I think Bean was created to show Ender Wiggin treating another cadet with the cruelty that his first commander Bonzo had treated him. Bonzo beat up Ender, Ender beat up Bean, although he later made amends. ENDER'S GAME would make a great Sci-Fi channel mini series. Just don't let Card cast it. He wanted Jake Lloyd for Ender Wiggin and Dakota Fanning for Petra Arkadian, who should have be a crazy little tough chick also able to stand up to Bonzo's beatings. Anyway, read ENDER'S GAME even if you're not a big science fiction nut. It's more like LORD OF THE FLIES and A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA (kids as ruthless bastards genre).

  • March 3, 2005, 5:02 p.m. CST

    I don't feel ripped by the ENEMY OF THE STATE lack of resolution

    by JonQuixote

    ...because it wasn't as though Millar was dicking around in his issues. Each one was nicely structured, clearly defined, independently important, and kept the story going (Well, maybe #23 was a little worthless). So basically we're reading ONE 12 part storyline, with two different subtitles above the 12 different individual titles. It's a pretty arbitrary distinction, and one that's becoming more and more common as six issue compilation trades become more and more important. *** As for Wolverine needing character development...again, pretty arbitrary. How much did his character "develop" over the previous six issues? The previous six to that? Etc. How much *can* a character develop before we can safely look at him and go "okay, he's developed"? Ongoing superhero comics rarely move in character arcs - they tend to be plot driven supported by strong character exploration. I think the relish in which Evil Wolvie took over was a neat exploration of the character's dark side. Besides...it's not as though we're suffering for lack of Good Guy Protagonist Wolvie. I think we have enough Wolverine on a daily basis that we can start exploring different roles for him - antagonist, supporting character, narrator - from time to time, and yes even in his own title. In fact, I'd say not only *can* we do that, but that it's probably become necessary in order to keep the character sparking after 25 years of oversaturation and 'I'm the Best At What I Do'. So casting Wolverine as the antagonist versus a revolving cast of Marvel's biggest and brightest as protagonists...yeah, there's nothing inherently wrong with that. And we get to see a different (if somewhat altered) side of Wolverine than we do in his other 15 monthly appearances. I can get behind that, done right. *** Not that ENEMY OF THE STATE really was any kind of brilliant. But boy it sure was fun. And, in the long run, probably pretty inconsequential. *** And Northstar as a villain 'causing outrcy? What's wrong with a gay villain? And who's to say it's permanent? It's far too early to bring out the picket signs. Besides, why must a minority character be given special treatment, protection, etc.? If Judd Winick did or said that, wouldn't be be at his throat? While I really like Northstar and thought he got a little bit punked out in Issue #25, there is something truly progressive about him being treated as any other character, rather than a token minority representative, protecting that token representation at all costs. As long as his 'whacking' had nothing to do with his sexuality, of course. Which, thus far, we've seen nothing to lead us to believe that it did.

  • March 3, 2005, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Gail Simone Has Called Wolverine Marvel's Last Icon.

    by Buzz Maverik

    I tend to agree. And I agree with JQ. A 30 year old character has already been developed. I didn't read ENEMY O' THE STATE but I will read some of AGENT O' SHIELD. I don't like a lot of what has been done with Wolverine. I think he's a hard character to get right. It's not hard to make fans like him because we'd all like to be the tough guy, but that's the problem. Wolverine has become a wish fulfillment character. We'd all like to be the toughest man in the room ... but when Wolverine is really portrayed well, we see how many problems being the toughest man in the room actually brings. Even the movies got him wrong, although what could they have done, cast a 55 year old Harvey Keitel? I know in an upcoming SPIDER-MAN, we'll see Wolvie hitting on Mary Jane. Sorry, the dude is not suave, he's not Jackman handsome. He's a little, hairy, ugly weirdo with a bad disposition and the soul of a saint. Chicks hate guys like that. Sure, some chicks like the rough trade but not too many and usually it's because that's all they can get, let's be honest. Any time I see Wolverine kissing Jean Grey on a cover, I say "Wish fulfillment". The Wolverine/Jean thing was so brilliant initially because it was the ultimate unrequited love. Probably the best Wolverine story proved that Wolvie was willing to die for her even though he knew she'd never love him. That was in the DARK PHOENIX storyline, in which Wolverine has been almost drowned in sewage by the Hellfire Club. The next issue, he carves up a cadre of their mercenaries and sets out through their mansion to save Jean, even though he knows that for Jean it will always be Scott. He'd do it for any X-Man, but there was something more in his motivations there. Also, you'll notice that all the other X-Men entered the Hellfire Mansion through the front door, in fine evening wear, after arriving in limosines. Not Wolverine and Nightcrawler. They had to come in through the sewer. Today, we'd get a metaphor but back then, it had more to do with character.

  • March 3, 2005, 5:25 p.m. CST

    Sorry JQ...

    by Ambush Bug

    it wasn't an "exploration of the character's dark side" because that wasn't Wolverine clawing around in each issue, it was Baron and Baroness Strucker squabbling the whole time in his head. My problem is that the dark side of Wolverine wasn't explored. And I don't expect a major shift in character by the end of the arc, but if it's called an arc, there should be some arcing going on and when the focus of the book isn't on Wolveine, but a puppet, then it feels like I've been gipped. I liked the series. It had good action throughout, but I think a writer of Millar's supposed caliber should have actually done a little characterizing of the title character in there somewhere.

  • March 3, 2005, 5:27 p.m. CST

    Agreeing with Jon & Buzz...

    by Elliot_Kane

    Nothing to add, mind. Just agreeing :)

  • March 3, 2005, 6:24 p.m. CST

    I dunno...

    by AshFett

    ...that stuff with Wolvie lusting after Rachel and comparing her to Jean didn't seem to be the Strucker's talking. That seemed a great example of the "dark side" of Wolvie; Normally Wolvie might make a quick mention that Rachel looks like her mom. Here we saw the ickier side of that. Good stuff.

  • March 3, 2005, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Agreeing with AshFett

    by JonQuixote

    Big ol'agreement fest going on here. 'Cept for poor Bug. *** Yeah, there was the squabbling. But Wolvie's thoughts - his *in character* thoughts were there too and they were dark. That wasn't Strucker. That was Wolvie, the beast unleashed. Reminded me a bit of that great WHAT IF...THE X-MEN HAD LOST INFERNO, where a little bit of demonic tinkering and Logan's eating babies and skewering Spider-Men.

  • March 3, 2005, 6:48 p.m. CST

    "if it's called an arc, there should be some arcing going on "

    by JonQuixote

    Well, actually there was. As a matter of fact, in the same "straight from McKee" style I was just bitching about in our group email. 1st issue - 1st act: introduce the set-up and the problem (being "Wolverine has been captured and turned into an Agent of Hydra and has to be stopped) 2-5 - the tension builds, Wolverine goes about putting together this great machiavellian plot piece by piece, stealing FF technology and kidnapping Elektra, and then the plot revealed - To Kill The President! Then we had our third act & climax in the last issue, we see the payoff for the FF issue (the terraformer bomb, how Khan), the attempt on the President's life, and the defeat of our bad guy & resolution to the problem (The Brainwashed Wolverine *has* been stopped, the plot to kill the President averted). That, my friend, is a standard, by the book (Two books actually: STORY, Robert McKee or SCREENPLAY, Syd Field.)three-act ARC. The nice thing about it, as opposed to the titles I was bitching about, is that Millar actually took the time to strongly define and 'arc' each of the chapters as well, giving them individual heft and a stand-alone episodic feel.

  • March 3, 2005, 7:04 p.m. CST

    Arcing...Or Why Buzz Didn't Make It As A Screenwriter.

    by Buzz Maverik

    LOW-LEVEL LOW LIFE ASSOCIATE PRODUCER WHO HAD TO SUE FOR THAT CREDIT: "You have no character arc." SMART ASS BUZZ: "I don't writing character arcs, dude, I write characters." ... They didn't have Robert McKee when I was trying to learn screenwriting, but the maniac I learned from always referred to Mr. Field as "Syd Fucking Field". As in, "Throw up on your Syd Fucking Field book, you son of a bitch! You know that plot point that begins your third act? Use it to begin your second act and throw the rest of it out! Yeah, maybe my movie was a third rate horror sequel, but at least I got a movie, you hermorphradic, syphillitic..." God, I miss that guy!

  • March 3, 2005, 7:08 p.m. CST

    Considering a good number of homos buy comics, why the shabby tr

    by Homer Sexual

    I have always wondered this, because based on my own anecdotal experience, homos read comics in a bit higher proportion than the general populace. Perhaps because of the art, perhaps because of the "differentness" that we relate to. I don't know. But I even remember back in the 80s or whenever, when it was very, very clear, but not explicitly stated, that Northstar was gay, suddenly his big secret wasn't his love of d!ck, but that he was...AN ELF! I remember feeling really insulted by that. And now he's dead. How very 2005 for Marvel to kill it's token gay and hire an anti-gay Mormon (repetitious phrase?). Oh well, other than not buy Wolverine or Ultimate Iron Man, what can one do?

  • March 3, 2005, 7:08 p.m. CST

    on wolverine

    by Darth Kal-El

    sounds really cool from what im hearing and now i cant wait for the trade!as for ultimate iron man i enjoyed it quite a bit and i will be back for issue 2.the story was told with nary a hint of mormonism or homophobia which i appreciated.all in all a pretty cool begining. and someone above,i think it was petro said they should have had wolverine take northstar from behind which i thought was pretty funny considering who it is and all...get it he might have liked it? no? hows the salmon,ill be here all week

  • March 3, 2005, 7:12 p.m. CST

    Since I Always Like To Comment On Stories I Haven't Read...

    by Buzz Maverik

    When characters have been around a long time, I see no problem with presenting them different ways. Nothing wrong with Wolverine as a puppet, as long as we don't see that again for a long time. Because Wolverine is still going to be around. It's like the whole heroes not appearing in their own books thing. A dumb move for new series, but when Jones did it in THE INCREDIBLE HULK everyone liked it at first ... it was only after we realized that this was going to be the new formula for EVERY Hulk story that we had a problem. I think a mind controlled Wolverine could be funny. "Logan, mix me a martini. Ooo, too much vermouth. Claw yourself!"

  • March 3, 2005, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Buzz Maverik sir

    by Ribbons

    I have to respectfully disagree with you as far as Wolverine being the last Marvel icon goes. I'm not sure how you define an icon, but I'd say that Spider-Man, for me at least, is still capable of the appeal that his character held during the formative years. I do think that both he and Wolvie -- in different ways -- have become perversions of their former selves, which is a shame. A big part of the reason Wolverine gets to be loved by the ladays is because schmucks like us identify with him (it's also arguably the same reason Peter ended up with a supermodel wife, although he's got a little more going for him in the looks/personality department than Logan does). I prefer the Logan who made people uncomfortable but essentially meant well to the one who makes out with Jean Grey and Storm.

  • March 3, 2005, 10:47 p.m. CST

    Rising Stars has Finally Ended?

    by KryptonsLastSon

    Back a few years ago when I still picked up comics occasionally I remember picking up the first of the issues, I think there were supposed to be 25 right? Then I remember waiting months between issues and ended up just picking up the first two trades, with plans to pick up the rest when it ended. So how did it end? Back at the beginning? I always thought it would be wickedly cruel to have the last of the Specials go back in time in an effort to destroy the "flash" that gave them all their powers, but instead end up back then and turn out to be the "flash" that gave them all their powers... It seemed like a good way to wrap it up, but of course by the end of the second trade he seemed to be going more towards benevolent rulers of the Earth, with a bit of fascism mixed in, rather than the killed one by one route they were originally on. So how did it end?

  • March 3, 2005, 10:53 p.m. CST

    Best...Column...Ever!

    by IRuleAll

    I hates that I always get these late but I'm always busy Wednesday nights. Conclusion to Wolverine...kick ass. Done in one 100 Bullets...kick total complete JLO ass. Paul Pope? He rules. Runaways? I believe in it so much I ordered 30 more after our original 18 at the comic shop I work at. Sometimes, chums, it's great in this medium. Oh, and by the by, groups.yahoo.com/group/theaholeinthewall.

  • March 3, 2005, 10:58 p.m. CST

    hey iruleall

    by Darth Kal-El

    dont feel bad im always late in here too.i have to do this in between calls from angry homeowners at my call center.its a good way to pass the time tho

  • March 3, 2005, 11:32 p.m. CST

    They Always Card Me In Buckhead...

    by IRuleAll

    get it? Anywho, I don't think anybody should boycott Wolverine or Ult. Iron Man. Millar is as big of a leftie as they come and actually got in trouble with his local Catholics over his gay-relationship subplot in the Authority. As for Card, I have as much respect for Mormons as Trey Parker and Matt Stone do, although I am admittedly somewhat rightleaning and a lapsed student of Catholicism. However, I don't think one should boycott for personal beliefs, as if one were to boycott Alpha Flight or Authority over their comfort or lack of with homosexuality. I know a rightwing nut who wouldn't buy Authority at my shop because of that and we all laughed at him for being an ass. So righties, don't be an ass and tolerate beliefs, and lefties, don't be hypocrites and boycott comics written by Bush lovin' WASPS. We're all nerds underneath it all. I'm out like a deadbeat dad!

  • March 4, 2005, 3:26 p.m. CST

    boycotting for personal beliefs

    by Darth Kal-El

    i think if cards ultimate iron man had been overly preachy as far as homophobia or mormonism i would have ended up boycotting because it would have taken me out of the story completely. since this was not the case and i enjoyed the story and the art i will continue to give this book a try. obviosly its everyone's personal choise to follow or boycott a writer's or artist's work and i feel that personal beliefs do play strongly into it. for example,jerry falwell could be putting out the sweetest comic on the market but id probably not rush to read it because my personal beliefs conflict with his and while those 2 lines may run parallel to each other for a while further down the road they might cross.also theres the issue of financial support.i know a 3 dollar comic is not going to put someone in a bentley but basically i look at it this way: if we were sitting in a bar would i buy this person a drink?

  • March 4, 2005, 3:39 p.m. CST

    AoA

    by Darth Kal-El

    and now back to comics: can someone clue me in to the Age of Apocalypse thing from the 90s? I remember seeing them on the stands but this was during a time when i was transitioning out of comics so im not sure what went down.just picked up the new one shots that got released and they were pretty cool so im trying to get some background on this

  • March 4, 2005, 8:36 p.m. CST

    Con-scribes

    by IRuleAll

    I was using that just as an example, but if I had to name some, the aforementioned Card and I believe Garth Ennis has many right-leaning beliefs. If pressed, maybe Beau Smith, John Byrne maybe? I'm sure there are more out there. And I trust in Card seeing as how Joe Q and a majority of Marvel seem to be leftleaners, so for them to hire Card would not be a thoughtless action.

  • March 4, 2005, 9:31 p.m. CST

    Age of Apocalypse

    by Ribbons

    I think the deal was that Xavier's son Proteus wanted to impress Dad by going back in time and killing Magneto, but he accidentally killed Xavier in the process, which made the present into some crazy sort of dystopia. I was only sort of vaguely aware of the event at the time too, so I don't really know. All I know for sure is that that Shadow King guy was in a lava lamp.

  • March 4, 2005, 9:40 p.m. CST

    thanks ribbons

    by Darth Kal-El

    sounds pretty decent from your description.i guess they have the whole age of apocalypse on 4 massive trades that are coming out so i think im going to pick them up.

  • March 4, 2005, 11:57 p.m. CST

    AoA was OK...

    by Elliot_Kane

    But tends to be seriously over rated in hindsight. It's basically a huge 'What If...?' story. Quite a good one to be sure, but it probably won't rock your socks off. I'd read through a bit of it in the store before buying if I were you, see if it's quite your thing.

  • March 7, 2005, 8:46 a.m. CST

    if anybody's still reading this...

    by Shigeru

    people should really check out the Grant Morrison interview over at www.suicidegirls.com...Ignore the emo porn and scroll down. Pretty interesting. I will post this on this week's column too in case nobody checks this.

  • March 7, 2005, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Morrison interview, right wing creators

    by Homer Sexual

    Of course that suicidegirls site is blocked from my job, so can't check it out yet. But I think Ennis definitely has some right wing and some left wing beliefs. Basically, he is a super macho dick-swinger and would be lefty on things like drug laws and righty on things like social services. Probably lefty on religious issues, maybe righty on war issues. I don't think most writers are very political, or at least not obviously so, excepting "heart-on-the-sleeves" types such as Winick. My favorite writers, off the top of my head, are JMS, Slott, Vaughan--can't identify any political leaning on them. I like Morrison and Millar, who are both purported lefties, but I don't see it in their work.

  • March 7, 2005, 11:58 a.m. CST

    AoA

    by Homer Sexual

    If AoA is being released in 4 different trades, then some of them will definitely be better than others. Generation Next and Astonishing X-Men were both excellent. Gambit and the eXternals, not so much. Factor X, not so much either. I can't believe it was ten years ago that all came out. Oldie, moldy me.

  • March 7, 2005, 4:03 p.m. CST

    AoA

    by Darth Kal-El

    I think based on what elliot_kane,and homersexual posted ill probably just end up reading them at barnes and noble.thanks for the info guys!

  • March 7, 2005, 4:17 p.m. CST

    regarding Con writers

    by tombseye

    The only one with conservative leanings is Orson Scott Card who can best be described as being a Joe Lieberman type Dem as he is a Democrat. Garth's from Northern Ireland and appears to be as liberal as most people from the British isles. Byrne's apolitical and Canadian so... His conservative views have more to do with how characters are handled in comics as opposed to actual polictics. Much of this info. is available on wikipedia.

  • March 7, 2005, 4:23 p.m. CST

    homer sexual about the writers

    by tombseye

    I think most of 'em are pretty liberal actually. The writing reflects it. Which is cool with me at any rate. I really don't know what conservative writing would constitute. Alan Moore's said on many occassions how much he loathed Thatcher and the Tories just off the top of my head and he clearly didn't like Nixon or Raygun for that matter. Nor could one call Miller's Raygun take in Dark knight flattering. Hell, Millar's gone easy on Bush in the Ultimates I'd say even though some people seem to think that book is anti-con, which I don't see except Thor is clearly a leftie.

  • March 7, 2005, 4:32 p.m. CST

    I've always found the Winick-hate on this site amusing consideri

    by The Garbage Man

    Sure that was in the Grayhaven days, but still...

  • March 7, 2005, 6:53 p.m. CST

    Garbage Man...

    by Buzz Maverik

    This column is not affiliated with Grayhaven in anyway. We're the guys the head Grayhaven called "yeast infections" and we wear that badge proudly and wish him well and yes, we'll have fries with that! As for Winick-hate, or Bendis-hate...we don't have a hate policy. If an AICN comic reviewer likes or dislikes the work of a particular comic pro, they are free to say so. For example, some of us have been highly critical of some of Brian Bendis' work while others have praised it ... both groups managing to piss off the Bendis Board.

  • March 9, 2005, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Kinda off topic...

    by SlowBurn

    but it was my understanding that JLA: CLASSIFIED #4 was still in continuity. It just takes place before Identity Crisis but after Formerly Known as the Justuce League.