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AICN COMICS REVIEWS ALIAS! B.P.R.D.! WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?! AND MORE!!!

#50 4/12/06 #4

The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)

ALIAS OMNIBUS
DESOLATION JONES #6
YOUNG AVENGERS: SIDEKICKS TPB VOL. 1
B.P.R.D.: THE UNIVERSAL MACHINE #1
Indie Jones presents WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? SOME PEOPLE NEVER LEARN – ONE SHOT
CHEAP SHOTS!

ALIAS OMNIBUS

Brian Michael Bendis: Writer
Michael Gaydos: Artist
Mark Bagley: Artist – Flashbacks & Dreams
David Mack: Artist – Covers & Diary
Marvel Comics: Publisher
Vroom Socko: AKA The Guy Who Likes Bendis

If you’ve never read the misadventures of Jessica Jones, private investigator and ex-D grade superhero, then this is the must buy book of the season. If, on the other hand, you have every 28 issues of the series, or the four previously published paperbacks, then you’re still going to want this book. Not only does it collect the best Marvel work of Bendis’ career, not only is it an artistic phenomenon, but in a pinch it can be used to kill small animals.

Yes, at just under five pounds this sucker is the second heaviest Bendis book on the market. (The heaviest being the Barnes & Noble Ultimate Spider-Man collection, at just over five pounds.) And yes, there are some instances where the artwork gets lost a bit in the binding, the most egregious example being the two-page spread of a billboard in the runaway girl story. “Rebecca, please come home. We love you.” instead reads “Becca, ease come me. Love you.” Which, if taken out of context, sounds particularly nasty.

But still, what you have here is a magnificent collection that, at $70, is only a couple bucks more than the cost of the four TPB’s. And those volumes don’t have the splendid extras that this thing has. Stuff like the original pitch for the book, alternate artwork, cut scenes, sketches, and – mother of mercy – all of David Mack’s work created for the diary of the aforementioned runaway. That more than makes this worth the cover price.

And then there’s the way Bendis plays with storytelling in this series. The way he uses Mark Bagley to tell some balls out superheroics, while Michael Gaydos gives depth and gravitas to the deeply human drama that is Jessica Jones. There’s the issue where Jessica is hired by J. Jonah Jameson, which unapologetically goes against the standard rules of comics and manages to make it work. And my favorite, the conversation between Jessica and Luke Cage that takes place on the other side of a door from an issue of DAREDEVIL.

That, I think, is the real reason Bendis has twice now stopped writing this character. Her story is all about defeating her demons and becoming a better person. Now that this has happened, there’s nothing really to write about. What’s Jessica going to do next, join the Fantastic Four? Please. Her story is told, and thankfully Bendis knows it. That’s what helps to make this such a masterpiece.

Is there anything here that doesn’t work? Well, there is the inclusion of that dreadful vanity project called What If Jessica Jones Had Joined the Avengers? Not only is the repeated backstory even more annoying when presented at the end of the story in totality, there’s also the truly wretched referencing of Bendis’ ode to despair and hopelessness known to us as Disassembled. I’d much rather have waited an extra month or two and had an un#%&@-ed version of the four Gaydos issues of THE PULSE included instead. Of course, then there’d be people wondering why, if at the end of ALIAS *SPOILERS* Jessica is three months pregnant, and at the end of THE PULSE she’s delivering at six months, when in between there’s been a year of DAREDEVIL, the six months in between Disassembled and NEW AVENGERS, and the whole of the SECRET WAR. Or am I the only one annoyed by writers who act like continuity isn’t supposed to make sense just because it’s comics?

Bottom line, the whole of ALIAS is Bendis at his very best. It’s a masterpiece, unequaled by any of his other work from the House of Ideas. People often talk about realistic, adult superheroes, as if Spider-Man or the FF could ever be that sort of thing and continue to work. This, this is realistic. This is adult. And if you haven’t read it yet, then shame on you.


DESOLATION JONES #6

Writer: Warren Ellis
Penciler: J.H. Williams III
Publisher: Wildstorm/DC Comics
Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

Well, this is it. It's been a little over a year and now the very first arc of DESOLATION JONES is in the bag. The mystery is over and everything has been wrapped up in a neat little package. If your "neat little packages" contain murder on an absolutely brutal and somewhat disturbing scale. There's no joking around this time. There's no cute little bits of British humour about, there's no touching little conversations with worn out ex-porn stars, and there's no "oh look at burned out old skinny guy." This is about closing the case and being as visceral with it as possible.

And I loved every page of it...

Like I said, this is the end of the line for the little bit of mystery that had us following along Mr. Jones for six issues. Good old DJ finds out exactly who all the players were, what their roles were, and how they played the game out...

And then he quietly and calmly executes every last one of them. The pacing has been absolutely pitch perfect, as it has moved at such a deliberate and well-played clip. It just serves as a great build of anticipation as we watch Jones do his thing and let us all in on just who did what and why. And he's so calm and disconnected about everything he does that it almost makes you feel dirty as the book moves on and the scenes play out. DJ has proven himself to be one of the most truly unique characters in a comic book today. And of course, the story itself is interesting enough. I mean, you can't really go wrong with pretty much putting “The Big Sleep” into comic book form, but again it's the cast of characters that makes this all very special to observe. And, of course, there's the art...

If this issue is anything, it's another example of why I praise J.H. Williams III's art to the point where I named him my artist of the year for our little @$$ies dealie. That much vaunted pacing that I mentioned earlier pays a lot of respect to how Williams works his magic with his panels and transitions between them. Close ups and widescreen shots in just the right places, plus delicate insertion of actual painted art, put emphasis in all the right places. I've been scanning all the news boards recently looking over the announcement that JH here will be doing some work on Paul Dini's Batman stint, and I'm really quite taken aback at how many people are totally unfamiliar with his art. It's almost as heartbreaking as the ending of this story. How anyone with so much talent can go so unrecognized in this field while so many with lesser skill are getting pushes on the big hype books is beyond me. I'm just glad to see the man is finally getting his day in the sun.

So to all you uninitiated in the ways of JHW3, go and pick all the issues of this up, and see what the hype is about. And while you're at it enjoy one of the most moody, suspenseful, humorous, and just downright entertaining comics on the stands. If you love great comics, then you really can't lose.


YOUNG AVENGERS VOL. 1: SIDEKICKS

Writer: Allan Heinberg
Artist: Jim Cheung (pencils) & Various (inks)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Prof. Challenger

I really hate rip-off comics. You know the type where one publisher has success doing something so its rival starts copycatting and then they get into this endless back and forth ripoff pattern? Where have we seen this before? Well, DC had themselves a big sales success when they relaunched the TEEN TITANS a good 2 1/2 years ago, so of course Marvel would sit back and ponder how they might be able to leech some of that audience away from DC. Only problem is that other than Bucky and Toro back in the 40s, Marvel just hasn’t been a friendly home to the concept of superhero sidekicks. In fact, Marvel hasn’t been very friendly to either of those original sidekicks either, most recently with the revelation that Bucky didn’t really die heroically near the end of WW2 but instead became a bitter brainwashed Commie assassin. Even as a kid I noticed the absence of the kid sidekicks at Marvel but I never sat around and pondered why. But apparently YOUNG AVENGERS writer Allan Heinberg did.

I remember groaning when the first press releases came out about this comic book. “Teen Hulk?” Thor’s son? A new “Bucky?” Frickin’ “Iron Lad?” C’mon! This is Silver Age DC not 21st century Marvel…and I’m not much of a fan of Marvel overall these days but c’mon! Then that first issue came out and I thumbed through it with pompous disdain and noticed that it kind of looked good, but I knew I was strong enough not to get suckered by pretty pictures. Then here at AICN a hilariously negative review of that first issue hit online and I just smugly sat back self-satisfied that I was right once again.

But then a funny thing happened. Each month that went by I would catch wind about what a “surprise” YOUNG AVENGERS is. I even started noticing that the reviews here at AICN started shifting quickly to positive. I mean even Sleazy G started raving about this book. A good 4-5 months into this comic and I was suddenly starting to think….maybe I should just try it out? But no. I stood firm as I reminded myself of the putrid distaste I still have in my brain from buckling in to fan and critic pressure to actually purchase and read an issue of JIMMY CORRIGAN, THE WORST COMIC BOOK EVER. Yick. Still, I would see Kang the Conqueror staring out at me from the comic shelf beckoning me….buy….buy…buy. . .

Well, Kang finally broke my will…sort of. I’m not usually one of those “wait for the trade” kind of guys, but I thought “Grief! Marvel always churns these trades out practically the week after the final issue in the arc. I’ll just pick up the first trade and see whether it’s really worth jumping in on the series.” But nooooooo….YOUNG AVENGERS turns out to be the one series that Marvel decides to wait a whole freakin’ year to put out the first collection and even then they first put it out in hardback which meant I had to wait even longer for the tradePAPERback. So, finally, last week, I got to pick up that YOUNG AVENGERS tradepaperback. Finally.

You know how a Hollywood actor will “go against type” in an attempt to show his range and hopefully gain an extra measure of success (usually those narcissistic awards they all give each other)? Marvel went “against type” by publishing a Marvel Universe title featuring characters who for all appearances are sidekicks to the most powerful and prominent four Avengers, Iron Man, Capt. America, Thor, and Hulk. And they succeeded. Way beyond any level of expectation on my part, they succeeded.

Heinberg uses this initial story arc to tell a grand time-twisting adventure involving Kang the Conqueror. His use of Marvel history is very skilled for someone who, if I remember right, is a bit of a novice to the world of comic book writing (although he has had some success in Hollywood before comics). There seem to be two large camps of writers out there when it comes to continuity and they are: (1) Everything must be obsessively interconnected and explained ad nauseum or (2) if continuity and characterization interferes with the story I want to tell, then screw it. Then there are the more “thoughtful” writers out there who use continuity simply as a story-telling tool to tell their story. But working within continuity, these types of writers can take even the stupidest idea from the past and mine it for story gold.

An example would be how Heinberg used that troublesome, and cynical in pure concept, “Black Capt. America” mini-series TRUTH and rather than ignore it uses this mostly forgotten story as inspiration for a new and much more interesting character, Patriot, the grandson of the “original” Capt. America. And thankfully without the anachronistic doo-rag. Heinberg also brings in a character I also loathe, Jessica Jones, and portrays her consistent with her overly-dependent-self-image-dependent-upon-her-boyfriend characterization in ALIAS. But here I don’t loathe her. Within this context, where she finds herself the inexplicable inspiration for a number of teenagers, she becomes an interesting person to me for the first time.

I liked the way he started the story out with this new team of heroes appearing on the scene and J. Jonah Jameson demanding to know who they are. Heinberg and Cheung show Jonah in all his angry glory with the brushcut hair and the black vest. Loved the little wink and nod about how old Jonah must be to have wished he were Bucky. I don’t think anyone out there expects that Jonah is in his 70s, but I thought it was a clever nod to the early days when characters like Jonah, Reed Richards, and Ben Grimm were around during WW2. But rather than just a clever wink to the reader, Heinberg added something special to our understanding of Jonah as a character. For many years, the letters pages of Spider-Man would regularly question why Jonah hates Spider-Man so much. After awhile, one Spider-Man writer attempted to round out Jonah’s character a bit by establishing that his hatred was rooted in jealousy. I never really bought that. But Heinberg brought something new to the table. Jonah’s experience as a wide-eyed child idolizing Bucky and fantasizing about being a hero’s sidekick? Then having reality come crashing down on him when Bucky was killed? Those types of experiences are hard to shake and make for a much more believable reason why he hates Spider-Man, and really pretty much all super-heroes: He doesn’t want them to expose other kids to the danger that killed Bucky and the disillusionment that follows in that wake.

Heinberg’s use of Iron Lad as the impetus for the story and the formation of the Young Avengers reminded me in barebones concept of the founding of the original Avengers. The originals brought into being through manipulation by Loki and the Young Avengers brought into being because of manipulation by Kang…or at least the man who might be Kang. With a good dash of the old fading photograph bit from BACK TO THE FUTURE, Heinberg deals with the certainty/uncertainty of the future and carries it through to its logical, and bittersweet, conclusion. This was the one time I wondered about whether Heinberg is a “screw continuity” kind of guy because I thought it was well-established after MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #50 that in the Marvel Universe, changes to the past do not affect the present or the future of the time-traveler but instead create an alternate universe where the changed past progresses on its merry way. Then again, maybe that’s a plot point he’s going to pick up on in a future story arc.

Throw in a great new character in this Kate Bishop, who goes and mixes Mockingbird and Hawkeye’s costumes together and shoehorns herself onto the team, mix well with Cassie Lang, the daughter of the recently maybe dead, but probably not, Ant-Man/Scott Lang, then stir in a little Hulkling and sprinkle on some Asgardian and this comic has the most interesting group of teen heroes since THE NEW TEEN TITANS.

Asgardian, of course, is the kid who dresses like Thor and Hulkling looks, well, like a teen Hulk. Cleverly, though, neither character has any true relation to Thor or Hulk, but they are told that they do have some sort of relationship with the Avengers. Considering that Heinberg brings in the Vision early on as the source Iron Lad uses to track down the individuals who will form his team to fight Kang, my fanboy speculation sense starts tingling. I haven’t read any other YOUNG AVENGERS comics other than this trade, so any blithering speculation I make may already be proven wrong, but so what, I’m gonna toss out there that the implication to me is that both Asgardian and Hulkling may be the children of the Scarlet Witch and Vision. The two kids that were shown to have “never existed.” I’m gonna say they did exist and here they are. But I could be very wrong also.

Gripe time: I don’t really understand why “Asgardian” changed his lame name to the even lamer “Wiccan” and “Giant-Girl/Ant-Girl” changed to…ugh….”Stature.” In a team with a member willing to be called “Hulkling” what is the point? I know I know that Wicca is the ancient practice of nature worship and wielding of magic blah blah blah but…guh…everyone has GOT to recognize that whether the bloody warlocks like it or not, Wicca is essentially viewed by the public-at-large as a primarily female group of religious nuts. So, saddling this teenaged boy with a name like that is really just…wrong. Asgardian wasn’t much better, but at least it was better than “Magni,” which was Thor’s son’s name in the old Norse mythology. Why not call him something like “Mystic” or simply “Warlock”? Warlock has a proud Marvel history as a name and it’s not like anybody’s really doing anything with Adam Warlock or the Warlock from New Mutants. But Wiccan? Bad choice. And Giant-Girl/Ant-Girl had a quaint charm to it that also tied into Marvel history very well, but “Stature” is extraordinarily forgettable. Reminds me of “Nudge” and “Grunt” from the recently cancelled DOOM PATROL or “Shift” from THE OUTSIDERS . . .names I also experience a visceral hatred for simply because they don’t come off as names that anyone would actually choose. Instead they sound like a comic book writer with a yellow pad scribbling down different names and coming up with the best of the lot that hasn’t been used yet. If we’re gonna follow the pattern of changing Giant-Girl to Stature, maybe we should just go and change Wiccan to “Wisdom,” Patriot to “Patriotism,” Hulkling to “Strength,” and Iron Lad to “Armor.”

Run away villains! It’s Stature, Wisdom, Patriotism, Strength, and Armor!!!!!!!

Minor complaint though. Silly names and super-heroes go together better than chili and rice. Don’t believe me? Try it. All I know is that most of what Marvel publishes makes me want to just flush it all away, but books like THUNDERBOLTS, THING, heck even this ANNIHLATION CROSSOVER, but especially YOUNG AVENGERS remind me that there really is still a spark of creativity and old-fashioned fun that can be perfectly meshed with 21st century sensibilities when the right writer and artist team works together. And I mean it about the art, Jim Cheung is an outstanding storyteller and artist. I suspect that he’s also a pretty tight penciller since his work here was inked by 3 different inkers and I never once noticed a change in or drop in the quality of the art. Consistently excellent from the first page to the last. Outstanding job. YOUNG AVENGERS may be the best ongoing series published by Marvel right now.


B.P.R.D.: THE UNIVERSAL MACHINE #1

Writers: Mike Mignola and John Arcudi
Artist: Guy Davis
Publisher: Dark Horse
Reviewer: Sleazy G

Those of you familiar with HELLBOY should already be familiar with the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, the branch of the U.S. government whose job is to research the bizarre and terrifying. We were introduced to the organization in the pages of HELLBOY back when he still worked from them, and those affiliated with the BPRD make up the bulk of Hellboy’s supporting cast. A few years ago (our time—only a few months in series continuity) Hellboy parted ways with the BPRD and this series of one-shots was spawned to keep up with the other characters the fans had come to love: people like fish-dude Abe Sapien, firestarter Liz Sherman, ectoplasmic medium Johann Kraus, and so on.

The first few miniseries took a little while to get things moving, allowing us to gradually meet more new characters—including resurrected (but disturbingly scarred) military captain Ben Daimio—as well as getting to know the old favorites a little better. We’ve spent some time learning more about the background of Liz, for example, as well as a good-sized chunk of Abe’s past being revealed. Over the last few miniseries, though, things have really started to move along at a rapid clip now that we know who all the players are. In recent storylines a massive plague of demonic frogs has turned up as the sort of advance force preparing the field of battle for big, nasty Lovecraftian horrors—you know the type. While fighting the bad guys off, BPRD agent Roger the Homunculus was killed—blown to bits, the biggest piece being his limbless torso and his head (well, most of it anyway…). This is actually a pretty big loss for the series, because Roger provided some crucial storytelling elements. His sweet, innocent nature provided both some pathos as well as some welcome levity, so it’s no surprise so many fans were hit pretty hard by his loss.

Roger’s loss was deeply felt by the members of his squad at the BPRD as well, so Roger’s death is the driving force behind THE UNIVERSAL MACHINE—or, more accurately, the hope that he can be restored to life yet again is. Johann is poring over old books that had been found along with Roger in the hopes of finding an answer. Meanwhile, Kate Corrigan (the team’s consultant for all things occulty and academic) departs for a small village in France trying to track down one of a few copies of an ancient text called the Flamma Reconditus, or Secret Fire. It apparently is subtitled “A True Record of the Workings of the Universal Machine”, so Kate thinks it might reveal a way to bring Roger back. Her trip takes her to an odd little occult bookstore up in the hills of France, where the shopowner is revealed to be much more powerful and devious than previously believed. The trip Kate takes with the newly introduced Andrew Devon is another great character showcase for these miniseries: it gives her a chance to display her deep knowledge of all sorts of occult oddities, but we quickly see her greatest strength is also a terrible weakness in the hands of somebody who knows how to use it to their advantage.

HELLBOY and BPRD are Mike Mignola’s babies, and there’s no question he deserves all the credit for an iconic character design, quirky but fascinating characters, and a distinct and unique voice. The only criticism I have of his work would be that, well, he’s not the fastest gun in the business. What he turns out is always impressive, but we often see extended absences before the series come back. Bringing John Arcudi onboard to cowrite the BPRD titles and Guy Davis to handle the art was a fantastic idea, because it’s allowing the fans to get the stories we want much more quickly without sacrificing quality. The storylines we’ve seen in the last few miniseries have their roots in stories Mignola first told well over a decade ago, and it would have been a shame if it took another decade or two to see where Mignola was taking all of this. By working with a cowriter and another artist on BPRD we get to have pleasure of Mignola written and drawn HELLBOY stories without sacrificing the forward movement of the overall arc he’s trying to tell in the original series and here in BPRD. Arcudi seems to have a strong handle on Mignola’s goals and writing styles, and Guy Davis’ moody, evocative art feels perfect for the characters and stories Mignola created. If you’re somebody who drifted away from these characters a while ago, it’s worth coming back as things have really started to heat up. If you’ve never read any of Mignola’s HELLBOY-related series, this is actually a good spot to give it a try: the new storyline is pretty self-explanatory, and Kate’s trip is crammed so full of fun little occult stories and artifacts that it’ll hold new readers’ attention. I was a little unsure for a while there about whether I should stay with the series or not, but with the upswing over the last few miniseries I’m definitely glad I decided to stick around.


WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? SOME PEOPLE NEVER LEARN – ONE SHOT

Writers: Keith Giffen, Mike Leib, Andrew Cosby, John Rogers, and Chris Ward
Artists: Basil Wolverton and friends
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Reviewer: Ambush Bug

MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 in comic book form. A funny version of KUNG PAO: ENTER THE FIST as a comic. That’s the best way I can describe this book. Last year, Keith Giffen came across an old war comic and thought it’d be kind of cool to erase the words balloons and add his own, keeping the old artwork, but flipping the story on its ear. The result was an often hilarious and conceptually genius book called WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Now Keith is back and he’s brought BOOM! Studios writers John Rogers of BLUE BEETLE and RUSH HOUR III fame, Andrew Cosby, writer of Sci Fi Network’s EUREKA, and a few others to throw words into the mouths of four color characters from eons ago.

First and foremost, you have to admire the production that went into this. I won’t try to say I am an expert on paper stock, but this book looks amazing. Although it’s made to look like something you’ve unearthed in the back of your great grand uncle’s attic with it’s yellowed and worn hues, the paper quality is excellent here and in most of BOOM! Studios books. BOOM! Really goes out of their way to make this book look authentic, shading and fading the new word balloons to fit into the old panels.

One of the minor complaints about the first WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? Was that word balloons were often cramped and crowded or too sparse because too many or too few words were being fit into a balloon that wasn’t made to fit that many or that few words. The results proved to be detrimental to the authentic look of the book. In this new one shot, that doesn’t seem to be a problem. Giffen and Co. have learned from their mistakes and adapted their writing style to fit their story within the space the original word balloons provided. It’s a much cooler look when everything fits.

But enough with aesthetics. Does this book bring the funny?

Well, let’s start out with the first line of the entire book…
”It came to be known as the Great Dump of ’06. Those unfortunate enough to be outdoors at the time would never forget the day it rained ALIEN TRASH!”
If that made you laugh, this yes, this book brings the funny.

Giffen and Co. heap on the funny throughout this entire issue. Giffen and his writing partner Mike Leib start out the book with a story about a perfectionist superhero facing Alien Trash dumpers. Next up is a Freudian trip into the mind of a bored billionaire. Then we are introduced to the Last Fast Food Empire, White Castle, which survived because all of their restaurants were made out of stone castles. An alien visits a young George Lucas. And a hypnotist gets revenge on a street talking playboy. All of the stories are light and quick reads and every one of them produced at least one chuckle or three.

Another thing I noticed as I read through this book was how much fun these writers and the fellas at BOOM! seem to be having making these books. I’ve covered quite a few BOOM! books since this Indie Jones column was re-started. All of these books seem to be labors of love, firmly enveloping themselves in the comics genre and taking advantage of the fact that in comics the imagination has no boundaries. This is a comic book company that, in very little time, has produced some very entertaining products and by the looks of the ads in the back of this book, seem to be intent on continuing this trend into the near future.

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING? SOME PEOPLE NEVER LEARN is one such cool reads from BOOM! It’s innovative. It’s funny. And it showcases some very old work that hasn’t seen the light of day in years. It’s a great tribute to those old comics and a fresh take on funny books. Giffen was really onto something when he came up with this concept. With a library of ancient and obscure comic book stories littered throughout flea markets and attic boxes, the possibilities for this series of One Shots is limitless. Highly recommended for those with a sense of humor and those who would like to grow one.

Remember, if you have an Indie book you’d like one of the @$$holes to take a look at, click on your favorite reviewer’s link and drop us an email.


NIGHTWING #119
DC Comics

Meandering. That’s a word you don’t want to associate with a comic book, let alone one of the most energetic and exciting characters in DC’s stable. And yet, that’s the best word I can use to describe this second issue of Bruce Jones’ “One Year Later” arc of NIGHTWING (speaking of which, if this cover sports the OYL logo for the second month, does that mean another year has passed?!?). Former Robin Dick Grayson moves to New York to start fresh (let’s not mention that Dick did this exact same thing a year ago on this title…oops sorry, I just did). He’s been laying low and not wearing the Nightwing costume in the last year, so Former Dead Robin Jason Todd decides he might as well dress up as Nightwing and start killing criminals. The issue starts out with a decent fight scene between the former Robins (surprise, they don’t really like each other), but then swirls down the bowl of monotony leaving smears of lame as Dick Grayson stumbles into a career as a male model and Jason Todd follows suit. A pair of albino twin mobsters are plotting something and a rich debutante with super powers has interest in both Dick and Jason. All interesting plot points if handled correctly, but sadly, Jones doesn’t do this. This book is an uneven read which screeches to a halt as soon as the costumes come off and Jones decides to throw in a predictable sitcom-like twist like having Dick deliver a package to a modeling agency and being discovered and put into a Tarzan outfit. Yawn. Looks to be another snooze-inducing run from the former (Not so) INCREDIBLE HULK scribe. - Bug

LOVELESS #6
DC Vertigo

Issue six of LOVELESS treats us to a self-contained story of Atticus Mann, former slave and Union Soldier in the Civil War. And it's a nice shift of pace from what we've seen so far in this book. Don't get me wrong, the story has gradually shaped up and is shaping into a hell of a tale, but it does have a very unusual sense of pacing, so much so that I honestly am not sure if I don't want to just wait for the trade from now on. But it's great to just get a full story in just one issue, and to get some gaps filled in on the background of one of the books major players. And it is a very good story. If anything this book has been a great Civil War era period piece and his handle on the situation of Mann's after he escaped from his owner seems dead on and serves as a helluva reminder of just how screwed up the racial and social climate of this country was back in that time. Sure it's a bit of a stylized version, but the point still remains the same and is presented well. Singles or trade, either way you buy it, this is some damn fine reading. - Humphrey

BATMAN: SECRETS #2
DC Comics

Y’know, the first time someone wrote a story where the Joker is redeemed and set free from prison, I kind of liked it. It was a good way to challenge Batman and in some ways cast him as this stalker who just knows that this criminal isn’t redeemable and highlighted Bats’ need to be a vigilante and lack of faith in the system, as he is forced to to wait until the Joker proves him to be right. But after so many stories like this, you have to wonder if there isn’t a revolving door at Arkham and just how qualified the staff there is to continuously deem the Joker sane and allow him to walk free with a clean slate. The story is stale, but who’s to blame DC for letting the talented Sam Keith do whatever the hell he wants as long as he provides some of the creepiest and most deranged looking Batman/Joker imagery since Morrison’s ARKHAM ASYLUM. This is one of those books that you buy for the pretty pictures alone. Keith pulls off some fucked up moments in this book (especially the ending where an obsessed fan of the Joker’s allows him to beat her in the head with a baseball bat), but the structure with which the story is built upon is seriously flawed, making it only enjoyable on the sheer eye-candy level. - Bug

ULTIMATE EXTINCTION #4 (OF 5)
Marvel Comics

Some of Ellis’ detractors suggested the earlier ULTIMATE NIGHTMARE series was stretched a bit thin, and while I saw their point I felt it was more likely paced slowly to gradually build a sense of foreboding and impending doom. Any of those worried about not getting enough bang for their buck need not worry in the pages of ULTIMATE EXTINCTION, though. This series has ripped along issue after issue, packing in the Ultimate X-Men, Fantastic Four, and…ummm…Ultimates working to fight off the impending arrival of Gah Lak Tus. We’ve got a sweet-assed reworking of Captain Marvel, the sassy and cybernetic Misty Knight, and a new take on the heralds of Galactus that depicts at least one of them as the leader of a doomsday cult who has chosen to name himself after the buddha of compassion (always a good way to sucker the New Age crowd, eh?). We’ve got the impending end of the world, a Silver Surfer who has four menacing rows of teeth, and a plan from Reed Richards that sounds like it’s more of a stop-gap measure with the potential for some horrible fallout. I’ve enjoyed Warren Ellis’ excursions into the Ultimate universe in these series and UFF more than almost any other writer thus far: he’s crammed them full of great ideas, dialogue and twists on mainstream Marvel concepts. I’m really looking forward to the final issue of this series, but I’m bummed to know it’s the last of the work he’ll be doing in the Ultimate Universe. Still, his move from the Ultimate U. to the New Universe this summer is something to look forward to. Sleazy

AMERICAN VIRGIN #2
DC Vertigo

When I read the first issue of this series, I was about to write it off as one of the new DC Vertigo titles that wasn’t really for me. I could admire the concept. The youth abstinence issue is definitely a topic rich with story potential. But it wasn’t until the kick-to-the-nutz ending that I started to like this book. This issue has Adam reeling from the shockeroo ending from last issue and making a frantic trip to Africa to reclaim the body of the girl he was saving his virginity for. Again, as I read through the beginning of this second issue, I was teetering on washing my hands with the sereis because I felt as if it didn’t really hold my interest and failed to speak to me as, say, the downright amazing-icity feel I get with every new issue of THE EXTERMINATORS (another new DC Vertigo title)…that is, until the last few pages as Adam sets foot in the African camp and sees what his ex-girlfriend had to deal with there. As much as my wallet doesn’t need another monthly title to feed, I may stick with this series for a few more issues to see how the first arc turns out. The first two issues alone have been entertaining enough and if writer Steven T. Seagle keeps with the twists and shockeroos, this may be a new ongoing that I’ll follow. Still on the fence, but liking what I’m seeing so far. The Frank Quitely covers, though, are damn cool. - Bug

Readers Talkback
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  • April 20, 2006, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Foist

    by jimmy_009

  • April 20, 2006, 5:07 p.m. CST

    2nd!! And now for something completely tasteless!

    by Psynapse

    Q: What do Caviar and Michael Jackson have in common? A: They both like to come on little white crackers!

  • April 20, 2006, 5:09 p.m. CST

    VIRGIN

    by Nairb The Movie

    AMERICAN VIRGIN is a really amazingly fresh book with really awsome art and it seems it'll only get better... and better... and better. With Y winding down... this will be a perfect replacemen.

  • April 20, 2006, 5:16 p.m. CST

    Psynapse

    by El Vale

    Awesome. I demand more!

  • April 20, 2006, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Is the new Next Wave out this week?

    by chrth

    Or next?

  • April 20, 2006, 6:02 p.m. CST

    Next Wave This week

    by Heisenberg85

    This week. And the Alias Omnibus is only $44 on Amazon.

  • April 20, 2006, 6:07 p.m. CST

    By your command Vale.....

    by Psynapse

    Q: What's the difference between Michael Jackson and acne? A: Acne doesn't come on your face until you're teenager.

  • April 20, 2006, 6:08 p.m. CST

    Yep, ALIAS really is that good.

    by Mr. Anderson

    I didn't start reading the trades until last summer, because it actually took me a while to figure out that it wasn't just a cheesy companion to the TV show. I have all four trades on my shelf, so I won't be picking up the new Doorstop Edition, but this is one time when an AICN gushing blowjob of a review is actually dead on.

  • April 20, 2006, 6:10 p.m. CST

    "AICN gushing blowjob of a review "

    by Psynapse

    I believe you may have just coined another catch-phrase Mr. Anderson.....

  • April 20, 2006, 6:15 p.m. CST

    Really? Cool!

    by Mr. Anderson

    Should I charge royalties?

  • April 20, 2006, 6:49 p.m. CST

    The random Jimmy Corrigan shot?

    by sideshowbob

    "Worst comic ever"? Going by a critic who hated Jimmy Corrigan and loved Young Avengers, I'd say there's a 99% chance I would hate Young Avengers.

  • April 20, 2006, 6:57 p.m. CST

    I love YOUNG AVENGERS *and* CORRIGAN.

    by SleazyG.

    How 'bout that?

  • April 20, 2006, 6:59 p.m. CST

    I've officially given up on Azarello's comics!

    by nofate

    I mean, 100 Bullets started out strong but, after issue 50 or so, it really lost me. Who's working for who? new minute men? really? after over 70 issues, there's still more of these guys. What's Lono's purpose? Also, Azarello's run on Superman stunk and Loveless was pimped as a comic version of Deadwood, but is more like the Adventures of Brisco County! HACK!!!

  • April 20, 2006, 7:16 p.m. CST

    Dammit, Sleazy

    by sideshowbob

    Yeah, I should check YA out. Being the cheap bastard I am, I thought for sure that book was going to get the digest treatment and was holding out.

  • April 20, 2006, 7:19 p.m. CST

    Azzerello...hack?

    by sideshowbob

    I can understand if his style isn't your thing, but hack? I wasn't a fan of his Batman or Superman either, but 100 Bullets and Loveless have some of the best dialogue in comics, better than Bendis, actually. And his Hellblazer run was great. And his Banner series was great.

  • April 20, 2006, 7:25 p.m. CST

    AZZERELLO...HACK!

    by Nairb The Movie

    Azzerello is really blown out of proportions... Remember his Batman arc that revealed the last thing Bruce said to his parents was I HATE YOU... Yeah.. well I hate someone...

  • April 20, 2006, 8:04 p.m. CST

    Azzarello...hick?

    by El Vale

    You know it to be true.

  • April 20, 2006, 8:07 p.m. CST

    Young Avengers

    by Rupee88

    This book get the award for comic that I most thought would really suck, but turned out to be absolutely delightful

  • April 20, 2006, 8:26 p.m. CST

    Ult EXTINCTION has some of the best action out there!!!

    by George Newman

    Fighting the Silver Surfers in the last 2 issues has been awesome. Captain Marvel and Sam Wilson(Falcon) are my 2 new favorite characters in the Ult. Universe. I never thought I'd like Falcon. He is awesome as the Spec Ops kind of character like Hawkeye and Widow. In issue 3 when he soars down from the skies with submachine guns blazing...It was a sight to behold. And with the Captain Droppin' the People's Elbow(or shield) on Silver Surfers' heads,,,, I can't get enough!!

  • April 20, 2006, 8:47 p.m. CST

    Azzarello....HECK!!!

    by Toxic Frog

    I got nothin...

  • April 20, 2006, 8:54 p.m. CST

    Toxic Frog

    by El Vale

    You get an A for trying.

  • April 20, 2006, 9:28 p.m. CST

    Re: "What Were They Thinking"

    by themikejonas

    Keith Giffen must've gotten plenty of practice by essentially doing the same thing to Battle Royale and ruining the manga for all the fans of the movie and novel.

  • April 20, 2006, 10:08 p.m. CST

    i like my...

    by blackthought

    chili with rice as well...and my comics with ads too...er...azzarello huck? huck finn? er...need liqour now...

  • April 21, 2006, 12:58 a.m. CST

    Azzarello...who?

    by Psynapse

    Seriously....

  • April 21, 2006, 1:11 a.m. CST

    I'm with Prof. on Jimmy Corrigan...

    by superhero

    I bought the book and couldn't finish it. Bored me to tears. But some of the best art and design I've ever seen in my LIFE.

  • April 21, 2006, 1:22 a.m. CST

    what the... My ALIAS review

    by vroom socko

    There's a paragraph missing! The following should come right after the DD reference and just before the bit about how Bendis keeps cancelling his Jessica Jones books. ** Honestly, this book feels like a complimentary storyline to the work Bendis did on DD. That story was about a hero whose life is turned upside down, and has all the hope in his life cut away from him by inches, until in the end he asks if he has any hope left. (My take: he does, but only just enough.) ALIAS, on the other hand, is about a woman whose life is turned inside out, and at the beginning has no hope left at all. What we get to read is how her hope is rebuilt, inch by inch, until she has enough to confront the thing that destroyed her life and move on. ** In the interest of completeness...

  • April 21, 2006, 7:29 a.m. CST

    For those that can't even spell 'Homoerotic' correct

    by Psynapse

    Stick to kissing my ass...

  • April 21, 2006, 8:03 a.m. CST

    Alias is the sort of thing Bendis should be doing

    by rev_skarekroe

    Stuff on the periphery of the superhero world, not right in the thick of it. I'd like to see him do a Damage Control series.

  • April 21, 2006, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Young Avengers

    by rev_skarekroe

    You've talked me into it. I'll buy the trade when I go to the store this weekend. But if it sucks... (shakes fist menacingly).

  • April 21, 2006, 9:21 a.m. CST

    J.C. bored you to tears, supes?

    by sideshowbob

    Felt the opposite, that it was really absorbing. It was all I could do not to finish that book in one sitting. Why is it when the @$$holes recommend something like Young Avengers everyone in the talkbacks checks it out and when they recommend something like Mouse Guard everyone in the talkbacks acts like someone just farted?

  • April 21, 2006, 9:30 a.m. CST

    hmmm

    by blackthought

  • April 21, 2006, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Mouse Guard

    by rev_skarekroe

    I picked this one up on my own, no @$$hole recommendation. Loved the art, but otherwise it was just ok. I don't know if I'll continue buying it or not.

  • April 21, 2006, 10:08 a.m. CST

    The reviews were worth the wait!

    by vagrant's choice

    I

  • April 21, 2006, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Mouse Guard

    by Shigeru

    I bought this after reading the B&W preview ages ago on Newsarama. I think ish #2 comes out next week maybe? And Frankenstein #4 finally does too. In other news, how about that Shaolin Cowboy? Holy creezus.

  • April 21, 2006, 10:26 a.m. CST

    They should have stuck with Teen Hulk

    by Squashua

    because that's such a cool homage to the character from Marvel's old Crazy Magazine.

  • April 21, 2006, 10:29 a.m. CST

    re: Mouse Guard

    by nofate

    Ditto. I also picked this one up based on the listing on Previews. The art looked/is awesome and the story had a nice Lord of the Rings feel to it. Though the bi-monthly schedule and $3.50 cover price might force me to wait for the trade. MICE WITH SWORDS AND ENGLISH ACCENTS. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT?

  • April 21, 2006, 11:40 a.m. CST

    That's totally cool...

    by superhero

    Jimmy Corrigan wasn't for me that's all. Like I said, visually and design wise it's like the freakin' tops. Story-wise I couldn't get into it. OPTIC NERVE on the other hand...man I love that book! As far homo-erotic superheroes go...nothin' wrong with that! I'm straight but guys in tights beating the shit outta each other certainly does excite me! Actually...depends on how good the writing and art is on the guys in tights beating the shit outta each other book. Not every guys in tights beating the shit outta each other book is worth it's weight in gold y'know? Has anyone read THE WAITING PLACE by Sean Mckeever? Is it any good? I'm curious after reading his MARY JANE stuff. Please let me know.

  • April 21, 2006, 11:50 a.m. CST

    Mouse Guard is great

    by The Heathen

    And Darrow's work on Shaolin Cowboy is truly a sight to behold. I'd prefer it without the dialogue, if you can call it that

  • April 21, 2006, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Not an anti-Marvel rant, but

    by vagrant's choice

    When asked about the @$$hole

  • April 21, 2006, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Joey Q and Marvel are fans of the column...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...when the column says something nice about them. That is all.

  • April 21, 2006, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Nice quote!

    by vagrant's choice

  • April 21, 2006, 1:10 p.m. CST

    What Rev_Skarekroe said.....

    by Psynapse

    WORD.....When it comes to the Joey Q era at Marvel the one word that consistently springs to mind is 'facile'.

  • April 21, 2006, 2:05 p.m. CST

    In his defense, it's not just Joey Q...

    by SleazyG.

    ...there are some us around here (not naming names, but I'm one of them) who have given negative reviews to one DC review while being quoted in promos for another. Odd? Not really, if ya think about it: Does Universal not use any quotes from Ebert just cuz he didn't like some of their movies? Of course not. You use the good stuff and ignore the bad, which is no different from what a lot of us readers do at the comic book store, right? Of course, only Buzz has thus far accomplished the ultimate achievement for a reviewer: writing a negative review from which a positive quote is extracted and used from promotional purposes. I hope to get there someday, though. After all, a man can dream...

  • April 21, 2006, 2:08 p.m. CST

    And besides, who cares what Joey Q thinks?!?

    by SleazyG.

    This is the guy who designed a new costume for SPIDER-Man and came up with something with SEVEN limbs instead of EIGHT. Then, when called on it, he said he liked the third, middle-mounted limb cuz it reminded him of The Scorpion's costume--which is fine, since, y'know, scorpions have an ODD number of limbs, which, uhh, spiders don't, since they have an EVEN number. Sheesh. Nitpicking? I THINK NOT. Oh, and my Wolverine, Nick Fury and Thing still smoke cigars, but not a single woman in my Marvel U. smokes tobaccy at all, cuz it's just gross. How am I supposed to make out with Black Cat if she tastes like Camel Lights? Ick.

  • April 21, 2006, 2:28 p.m. CST

    what did joey q...

    by blackthought

    do again to attain his lofty position? was it banning smoking at marvel hq? or was it something of actual value?

  • April 21, 2006, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Joey Q...

    by Ambush Bug

    uhm...helped design AZRAEL...uhm...did ASH. Kind of ironic that he created ASH and now is against smoking. Or maybe not, since Ash was a fire fighter. Maybe JQ is afraid if fire. Like Frankenstein and the Mummy and my cat.

  • April 21, 2006, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Petty comments about Wolv: Origins #1

    by vagrant's choice

    This comic is a good read by Daniel Way and great art by Steve Dillion. I have two petty comments to make though. The Shiva robot that appears looks nearly identical to a Dreadnought so I say just use a Dreadnought. How long has it been since one of them appeared? If this Shiva robot is based on a Dreadnought design then I withdraw my statement. Second petty comment that no one will care about but me

  • April 21, 2006, 2:44 p.m. CST

    i just read a fantasty novel...

    by blackthought

    where the main villain outlaws fire...so maybe that was joey q?

  • April 21, 2006, 3:12 p.m. CST

    actually about Joey da Q

    by The Heathen

    it was Chris Bachalo who designed the first 'Iron Spidey" costume, Joey da Q just thought it was 'kewl' and then he did do the other stupid scorpion things and what not with it. And of course Wolverine, Nick Fury and the Thing smoke!!! But, in my world the Avengers actually avenge too. Go figure.

  • April 21, 2006, 3:18 p.m. CST

    SleazyG

    by vagrant's choice

    Your analogy is a little faulty. The head of Universal hasn

  • April 21, 2006, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Additional Love for Mouse Guard

    by vagrant's choice

    Based on what I read here I picked up the 2nd printing of Mouse Guard #1. It

  • April 21, 2006, 4:48 p.m. CST

    there's an iron spidey?

    by blackthought

    what does he have to with avenging now?

  • April 21, 2006, 5:16 p.m. CST

    The Great and Secret Show from IDW

    by Psynapse

    Phenomenal art, and a truly faithful adaptation of one of the BEST novels I have ever read. READ IT NOW (Bitches).

  • April 21, 2006, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Quesada Should Pay Me Money, Cigars & Shotguns...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...because if he meets my price, I'll follow him around and when he says, "Who cares what those @$$holes think?" I'll pop up and say, "Not me!"

  • April 21, 2006, 5:23 p.m. CST

    I said NOW bitches!!

    by Psynapse

    That is all.....

  • April 21, 2006, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Make me!

    by El Vale

  • April 21, 2006, 6:03 p.m. CST

    WasntGiffnsOrigIdea (stupid new title restrictions)

    by Towelie

    I remember seeing some Lee/Ditko monster story reworded for laughs in some UK Marvel back in the 70s. That new Spidt suit sucks bigtime and I've dropped that crummy Daredevil Father too, so boo to you Joe Q.

  • April 21, 2006, 6:19 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah Vale?

    by Psynapse

    Apparently someone has forgotten about those photos. or the bodies. Don't fuck with me son, I said NOW. (Bitches)

  • April 21, 2006, 9:31 p.m. CST

    The Waiting Place

    by BayouWilly

    I forget who asked about this, but it was an excellent read. I was kind of bummed that they didn't do more than three trades worth, as it could easily keep going. Oddly enough, I got the recommendation through Warren Ellis and his book "Come In Alone", which is also highly recommended.

  • April 21, 2006, 11:35 p.m. CST

    All this Mouse Guard love...

    by sideshowbob

    And Dave Farabee isn't around to see it. Life can be cruel sometimes. FWIW, I tend to agree with Rev though... I liked Mouse Guard but likely won't buy the next issue.

  • April 21, 2006, 11:38 p.m. CST

    Yeah, what DID Joey Q. do?

    by sideshowbob

    Let's see...Marvel had turned into a huge piece of shit, and he came in with Jemas and made it good again. Yeah, he hasn't done anything. Of course, since Marvel is fast becoming a huge piece of shit again, a better question would be: what should Joey Q. do next?

  • April 22, 2006, 6:24 a.m. CST

    jimmy corrigan blows!

    by Darth Kal-El

    err...am i late again?

  • April 22, 2006, 6:33 a.m. CST

    This is a sexist comment

    by vagrant's choice

    Giant-Girl or Ant-Girl are clearly in the old school superhero tradition and much better than the uber-lame Stature, although

  • April 22, 2006, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Ambush Bug

    by vagrant's choice

    I

  • April 22, 2006, 6:35 a.m. CST

    WWJQD?

    by Darth Kal-El

    HoM

  • April 22, 2006, 7:19 a.m. CST

    darth...

    by blackthought

    nice

  • April 22, 2006, 7:59 a.m. CST

    Loveless is Listless

    by cromulent

    Reminds me of 100 bullets where I don't know what's going on. The art adds to the confusion, when all the people look the same, and I don't know who's who. Dropping this with 100 Bullets. Maybe I just don't get Azarello. American Virgin on the other hand is really good and an enjoyable, if not fucked up read.

  • April 22, 2006, 8:53 a.m. CST

    vc...

    by Ambush Bug

    I don't really have the time to do something like that, but someone else did... http://www.fourhman.com/ambushbug/index.html

  • April 22, 2006, 10:48 a.m. CST

    The Great and Secret Show from IDW...

    by Psynapse

    Are you reading it? Don' make me warm up mah bitch hand! (Bitches)

  • April 22, 2006, 12:25 p.m. CST

    WWJQD?

    by The Heathen

    Make those now, Kal-El! Ha,ha!

  • April 22, 2006, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Black Hole

    by The Heathen

    Are you reading it now, Darth? *** I just began 100% last night

  • April 22, 2006, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Heath!

    by El Vale

    Did you finish Black Hole yet? Did we already have that discussion? What's going on, really?

  • April 22, 2006, 1:49 p.m. CST

    dave is now the editor at marvel...

    by blackthought

    some coup or something...these rumors i got my from tea leaves this morning...so i'm not sure how valid they be.

  • April 22, 2006, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Vale!

    by The Heathen

    We did have this dicussion. In fact, it was the catalyst for Kal-El to pick up Black Hole! backthought, if Dave were at Marvel, Slott would be writing a lot more and Bendis would be edited and hopefully he's take care of those Pharell Ice Cream ads or whatever they are.

  • April 22, 2006, 2:33 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah!

    by El Vale

    Lapsus. Anyway, it is slow in here, gonna post my IC review now, i guess.

  • April 22, 2006, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Vale's extra terrific and completely valid IC review!

    by El Vale

    I open the first issue of IC and already on the first page I see something I don

  • April 22, 2006, 2:45 p.m. CST

    In my defense

    by El Vale

    That review looks much better in its intended Microsoft Word form, with separations between paragraphs and such. Oh well, you work with what you have.

  • April 22, 2006, 3:22 p.m. CST

    Okay

    by The Heathen

    "but alas, those scenes, it appears, were only poignant if you knew everything there was to know about the characters and the Crisis because the narrative itself did not convey the urgency that was needed to allow everyone else to join the club." I'll use this as an example because I feel all of us here can relate to it: Imagine coming into the Empire Strikes Back and wondering why it's such a shock that Vader is Luke's father or why is everybody sad because some guy named Han just got frozen in carbonite? Hell, even use Episode III as an example when Obi-Wan picks up Anakin's lightsaber. WE know that he's going to give it to Luke years later. That makes it an emotional scene. But, if you hadn't scene the original trilogy it would have been just another shot. I guess that's the only thing I can think of to say to that part of your review Vale. It helps if you know your history somewhat. "I went in clean, I went in expecting to read a good superhero epic and be entertained." Well, to be honest I think you said either here or in email that you thought that you would more than likely be disappointed by IC and not hate HoM nearly as much as everyone else did. That, to me, at least sounds like you had some sort of preconceived thoughts about the two titles. To each his own though. Of course I disagree with a shitload a your review, but we know that already, and if you ripped this title up for all of it's faults big and small I CANNOT WAIT for your HoM review. Seriously, I can't wait.

  • April 22, 2006, 3:23 p.m. CST

    yeaaaaaaaaahhhh............

    by blackthought

    um...how much did bendis pay you?

  • April 22, 2006, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Dude, asterixes...

    by MrBoinfoint

    shift 8 *** What a luverly paragraph break it makes.

  • April 22, 2006, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Actually, Heathen

    by MrBoinfoint

    Throughout the course of Empire, the viewer begins to identify with Luke and Han, and Vader is shown to be a ruthless badass, and Obi-Wan's ghost explains that Vader killed Luke's father. So by the time of Han's carbonite freezing and Vader's paternity test, they would come as a meaningful developments even to someone who hadn't seen Episode 4. But c'mon, who hasn't seen Episode 4?

  • April 22, 2006, 3:46 p.m. CST

    i meant coming in like halfway

    by The Heathen

    Empire is brilliant of course and does a good job of making the audience feel for the characters even if you were in a coma and hadn't seen Episode IV, but I meant if you walked into Empire like right when Luke got the vision that Leia and everyone was in trouble. And even if there's still some loophole with that, you got what I was trying to say right? Right? The Episode III example is easier to understand, use that one then! And speaking of Star Wars, Bendis just rotated around in his swivel chair and said, "Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen."

  • April 22, 2006, 3:56 p.m. CST

    haha

    by blackthought

  • April 22, 2006, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Heath

    by El Vale

    I said that here, and it was mostly a joke, but there was some truth behind it: See, i don't know as much about DC as i do Marvel, so i knew i was in for some major head scratching when reading IC (and HoM not so much), but i really did want to enjoy it, i can not stress that enough, because fuck, who doesn't want to enjoy what they read?! To give you some perspective, i also really wanted to enjoy Alan Moore's 1963, and i didn't, i also felt it was tedious and a chore to read, and you know how much of an Alan Moore fan i am. Same thing happened with IC and even then, i really enjoyed some aspects of it. Like i said, i think it's how you tell it that gives it gravitas, not previous knowledge. Those scenes from Empire strikes back you mention are perfect examples of this, because even if you didn't know, the way it was all built was magnificent and that's why those scenes are so powerful and memorable. The prequels, not so much, because having seen the original trilogy, you knew some of those prequel moments were important in how they related to , well, the future, but it was all so poorly told that you just didn't really give a shit, and in fact, you would rather not know. You know?

  • April 22, 2006, 4:01 p.m. CST

    Blackthought

    by El Vale

    You should've waited for my HoM review to say that buddy. Plus, what the fuck, you didn't even read it.

  • April 22, 2006, 4:06 p.m. CST

    Oh and Heath

    by El Vale

    Dude, using one sentence you said it better than i could using like a million: Ic, to me, felt like walking into Empire like right when Luke got the vision that Leia and everyone was in trouble. and bear in mind IC isn't even remotely close to being as good as Empire.

  • April 22, 2006, 4:18 p.m. CST

    I know.

    by The Heathen

    You know? : ) Does anybody feel like watching Empire Strikes Back now? I sure do. How far along are you with HoM, Vale? And do you ever think you'd revisit DC's mega event by reading the original Crisis, Identity, Countdown, etc., etc? Just wondering. You know what you said about stories being able to stand alone? Well, I think you're right, but I feel that comics are in many ways like soap operas. Bare with me. They're episodic in nature and have a great history. A huge factor for that history is that continuity ties things together for all those years, it's part of the charm too I think. Even stand alone stories like She-Hulk #4 have a history that ties into the over arcing issues. Shulkie got her gamma changer in #4, but she uses it in #5 which is another arc. Do you get where I'm going? I love comics

  • April 22, 2006, 4:34 p.m. CST

    Sorry

    by MrBoinfoint

    Didn't get that you meant walking into Empire halfway through. I agree. I'd just be thinkin', "That broken robot the walking carpet is carrying is annoying and whiney, and that Cloud City dude is one smooth-ass motherfucker". I didn't think that while reading IC, I just thought it was possibly a bit too rushed and cluttered, with references that I didn't get, but fun nonetheless.

  • April 22, 2006, 5:43 p.m. CST

    How's this for cluttered?

    by The Heathen

    http://tinyurl.com/f4gyu *** good grief my eyes hurt after dissecting/inspecting those!!!

  • April 22, 2006, 7:51 p.m. CST

    Vale, we need your HoM review

    by The Heathen

    this tb is dying

  • April 23, 2006, 3:39 a.m. CST

    Heathen, I'd hate to be the poor bastard...

    by superhero

    that has to color those Infinite Crisis covers. Damn, that would suck. Oh, yeah, it would.

  • April 23, 2006, 6:09 a.m. CST

    i agree about IC

    by Darth Kal-El

    growing up as a marvel zombie i really had very little idea of who anyone outside the big 3 where and their histories.you talk about c,d,and even z listers? a lot of the people in IC are U listers to me,as in UNKNOWN.but you know what,im loving the hell out of it.i didnt read any of the lead in minies except for the one shot thing where ted kord bought it but im feeling this story.i think a lot has to do with the fact that ive felt more and more alienated when it comes to what "THE HOUSE OF IDEAS" is doing in the sense that i find it hard to care.ive stated before i love ultimate marvel and i still do but 616 is convoluted crap!im seriously bugged that i have to stop reading new avengers and young avengers for a few months while they do "YET ANOTHER GROUND BREAKING-EARTH SHATTERING EVENT TO END ALL EVENTS,trademark marvel comics,aka the house of Ay Dios!see you next summer kids!"so to me id rather take the time to maybe learn about some characters i had previously ignored than get all involved in what magneto and his kids are up to and what reality is being altered YET AGAIN!so yeah to the point, when i read IC the characters where mostly unfamiliar to me, but i took it as a breath of fresh air after reading boring stories with familiar characters.

  • April 23, 2006, 6:14 a.m. CST

    Ay Dios!

    by Darth Kal-El

    just to clarify when i used the term Ay Dios! as a rip on the house of ideas. its a latin thing-when we were growing up if me or my brother or my sister where running around silly as fuck,bothering my mom and acting like retards she would roll her eyes and say "Ay Dios!" which basically means "Oh God".spanish 101 courtesy of your friend Kal the Last Man

  • April 23, 2006, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Just one point...

    by Psynapse

    When telling a story that encompasses your entire universe AND your entire publishing history just how 'stand alone' can it be? Not much unless the story is going ot be the size of a phone book.....(AAAnd neither COIE nor IC were ever meant to be stand alone in the 1st place, DC has never lied to us about that)

  • April 23, 2006, 11:09 a.m. CST

    very very true psynapse...

    by blackthought

    and not "every" story has to be stand alone...i don't see the harm in having to know or seek supplemental material. goodness...so close to monday...jack bauer power hour.

  • April 23, 2006, 11:16 a.m. CST

    "DAMMIT!!!" *boop* *beep* *boop* *beep*

    by The Heathen

    good point Psy. And I was thinking the same thing about coloring those covers superhero! Shit, inking them would be maddening enough, Ay Dios!!!

  • April 23, 2006, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Ay dios, adios, audience

    by MrBoinfoint

    Funny that you bring up 24, as it's impossible to follow what the hell's going on in that show unless you've been watching it for the last four years. Or at least the last 12 episodes. I missed hour 4 or 5 because my VCR crapped out and I've been fucked ever since.

  • April 23, 2006, 12:06 p.m. CST

    very true MrBoinfoint

    by The Heathen

    that's why I'm addicted to it

  • April 23, 2006, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Not stand alone?

    by El Vale

    Not my thing. By the way, "telling a story that encompasses your entire universe AND your entire publishing history" in 7 issues is fucking retarded. Also, "the harm in having to know or seek supplemental material" is i don't want to fucking do it! I stated many times in my review that i didn't feel IC was for me, i felt it wasn't the kind of story EYE wanted to read, and it didn't fit into the kind of stories EYE consider to be good. Wait, what? Yes my darlings, this is all subjective. If you're trying to tell me that my not liking IC was all my fault...you're absolutely 100% right, that's how it works with these things: You're either interested or you don't give a shit about the noise and all you care about is reading a good concise story. Oh and even though it's not stand alone, IC certainly TRIED to be, ask my Exposition Detector. HoM review forthcoming, i have to write it =P

  • April 23, 2006, 2:22 p.m. CST

    soul patch tony..

    by blackthought

    :(

  • April 23, 2006, 2:40 p.m. CST

    heh, heh

    by The Heathen

  • April 23, 2006, 3:04 p.m. CST

    word

    by blackthought

  • April 23, 2006, 3:22 p.m. CST

    I was saying EYE

    by El Vale

    Waaaaaaay before i read IC, you can check past talkbacks for proof.***Also, i understand all that, and all i can say is, 150 issues? Ew.

  • April 23, 2006, 3:31 p.m. CST

    Aye!!!

    by The Heathen

    I love me some pirates!!! Yeah, I think you have said that before, just joking anyway

  • April 23, 2006, 5:19 p.m. CST

    So, I saw the Ultimate Avengers movie

    by The Heathen

  • April 23, 2006, 6:43 p.m. CST

    My House of M review

    by El Vale

    And now we present: "Vale's House of M review, or Boy do i feel out of touch with you guys, or Fuck asterixes as pragraph breaks". Here goes: Let

  • April 23, 2006, 6:55 p.m. CST

    New Avengers

    by kuryakin

    You know, for the last couple of months I have said I will NEVER read this again and I keep picking it up - partly because I had the same reaction to Bendis' Daredevil last year. I kept saying I would quit and never did. Turned out to be a good decision for me as it was a slow burning grower and is now one of my top reads each month. Don't know how I feel about the ending with The Punisher getting himself arrested although I loved the look on the cop's face when he saw the logo on his shirt - bet he wished he'd called in sick that day, the poor bastard! Anyway back to the topic - can ANYONE please explain what Wolverine's motivation is in joining the Avengers?? I suppose I could try looking back through my comics for inspiration but that would mean opening the closet of doom and being faced with a teetering pile of unsorted comics and possible death when they all fall out on top of me. Anyone? I mean I get why Spidey would join - hero worship of Stark, gets to be part of a group, improved public image... but what about Wolverine? It really just makes no sense to me

  • April 23, 2006, 7:13 p.m. CST

    House of M

    by kuryakin

    Vale I only read the first one and I never continued because of it. You know why? It wasn't that I thought the writing was particularly bad or that I thought they were fucking with characters or any of that shit. It was two things. Number one - the ending. As soon as we saw Spidey wake up beside the blond I knew where it was going and I lost interest. I wasn't offended, I just didn't care. "Oh this shit again" type of thing. But the second thing was what what REALLY turned me against it - that splash page, the one with just about every character in it, just before they discuss whether to whack Scarlet Witch. They're supposed to just all be in this room, milling around waiting for everyone to get there, Anyway, one of them (might be Capt. America) has his foot on a chair. Not in a relaxed, feet up kind of moment but in a David-Brent-from-The-Office type way where he's standing but posed with his foot on a chair. I don't know why but man I just hated it. I mean it really annoyed me more than is reasonable. They're all facing one direction, in uncomortable poses, looking like they're waiting to get their photo taken??? I dunno why I was so offended but it just seemed so contrived and fakey - I thought if that splash shot was contrived, how would the rest of the series be?? I never went back and it looks as though I didn't miss much. Plus I feel like more than ever there is no difference between the regular Marvel U and the Ultimate one. If there was at least consistency between books I would feel less like I was getting shafted for cash by Marvel but there isn't any. Eg Wolverine flipping out like a crazy motherfucker in his own book then just sort of standing around scrathcing his balls while Luke Cage (of all people) makes a speech for TV cameras in New Avengers.

  • April 23, 2006, 7:27 p.m. CST

    I didn't see that coming, no really!!!

    by The Heathen

    Bendis swivels around in that chair again, "Everything that has transpired has done so according to my design. Your friends, up there in the Cog Mansion, are walking into a trap, as is your Colombian fleet. It was *I* who allowed the @$$holes to know the location of the next ten years worth of Marvel's scripts. They are quite safe from your pitiful little band of Cogs and @$$es. An entire legion of my best Bendii awaits them. Oh, I'm afraid the scripts will be quite operational according to me, when your friends arrive. Heh, heh, ha, ha, HA, HA, HAA, HAAAA!!!!!!"

  • April 23, 2006, 7:29 p.m. CST

    kuryakin

    by El Vale

    Yeah, annoying things aren't annoying. Me, i never stopped to think about that scene. People tend to look at different things, you know? One thing tho', i never read a first issue that grabbed me by the balls. Never EVER! Well New X-Men #114 did, so there...one issue. If my review doesn't make you want to read HoM i guess nothing will, it's just not your thing.

  • April 23, 2006, 7:32 p.m. CST

    ARE annoying

    by El Vale

    Sorry!

  • April 23, 2006, 7:50 p.m. CST

    Point. Counter Point.

    by The Heathen

    Oliver Coipel

  • April 23, 2006, 7:53 p.m. CST

    I'm going to retire for the evening

    by The Heathen

    g'night folks.

  • April 23, 2006, 8:46 p.m. CST

    Vale

    by kuryakin

    totally - it just is or it isn't with comics, that's what a lot of people don't get. You either enjoy a book or you don't. There's a lot of argument on these boards with people trying to convince each other that one book is better than another - Just chill out for Christ's sake. You know, whenever I try and talk to my wife about comics her eyes glaze over. It doesn't matter whether I'm talking about DC or Marvel, whether it's a main player or an indie, it's all the same reaction - shut the fuck up! I mean we can argue over plot points or annoying moments all day but basically if you aren't into something you aren't into it. Anyway, assuming everyone here likes good reading, did anyone read the "Special" Ex Machina this week??? - what a fucking book. If I was a comic writer I would hate Vaughan so much. He is one supremely talented bastard. You had me at "My name is the Great Machine"

  • April 23, 2006, 8:51 p.m. CST

    That's what i wanted Heathen!

    by El Vale

    YAY discussion: First of all, Coipel. Loved his art, all the others you mentioned are really good too. The deal with his characters being "Boxy" is the same argument about Quitely's people being too ugly, or having big chins...it's completely stylistic and it doesn't bother me one bit. I had a hard time reading IC mostly due to the fact that Jimenez' art was muddled crap. HoM? not so much***I really tried to be careful with my HoM review in terms of trying not to mention IC because i didn't want to give people the impression that i was judging one based on the other, you know? I didn't want people to think i was saying HoM is good because IC is bad, because that's not how i feel. Ok so one grandpa moment against another, one that was creepy and one that i just did not get. Who's supposed to be who's grandpa? I have no idea. I loved the colors in HoM, i really did, i thought they were wonderful throughout, look at those Genosha moments in the first issue, they look gorgeous. I love the way there's always one color that's prominent depending on the mood the scene calls for, which is something that never happened in IC, where, like i mentioned, the scenes are either dark, with every color thrown in for good measure, or light, with every color thrown in for good measure. In fact, reading these two series back to back really taught me the importance of good coloring and how much it can improve or take a shit on someone's art. I never actually said i loved the dialogue in HoM, but i did quote and paraphrase some good lines. I also quoted some really bad ones. Just like i did with IC. "The skies darken with the corrupted technology of his mentor" is a horrible line, no two ways about it. So in the end, if my reviews are almost mirror opposites, what does that say about the way Marvel and DC are handling their events? And are my reviews all that different from yours? For months all i heard around here was "IC good, HoM bad", mine's just reversed but essentially the same. I think it's cool that we can be Cogs and fully disagree on things like these. It's what makes this board a great place to hang out.

  • April 24, 2006, 12:45 a.m. CST

    great reviews vale

    by Darth Kal-El

    and yes this board rules

  • April 24, 2006, 6:53 a.m. CST

    no comment

    by blackthought

  • April 24, 2006, 8:03 a.m. CST

    I haven't read Young Avengers yet

    by rev_skarekroe

    But I did read the new New Avengers, and it's an on month for Bendis. Right up until the end. If the Collective has his powers for the reason I think he does, that's pretty stupid says I.

  • April 24, 2006, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Since you're being such a pissy bitch...

    by Psynapse

    Now I have to point out that review one story BEFORE it is finished and the other AFTER doesn't just smack of bias, it REEKS of it.

  • April 24, 2006, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Okay so I posted a little hasty....

    by Psynapse

    so I retract the pissy bitch comment but NOT the bias (which isn't really bias, you are most certainly allowed to like what you will). We just agree to disagree. HoM made me mad for the money I'd spent. IC hasn't, that's all it is for me.

  • April 24, 2006, 10:31 a.m. CST

    PS-

    by Psynapse

    Olivier Coipel is THE SHIT and has been since his Legion days.....

  • April 24, 2006, 11:16 a.m. CST

    Da Fug!

    by Shigeru

    I'm gone for 2 days and Vale explodes with review-ness. I don't have a lot to say really... we will agree to disagree. *** Coloring: I hate the HoM ORANGE world. Everythin is ORANGE. ARG! *** Art: I don't get the Jiminez hate... yeah the pages are busy but I still think it flows really well. Look at the first page of ish 6. That is more panels than the average bear but I don't get lost. I do NOT like his Power Girl rendition though. She looks terrible... like a mutant saggy-breasted weight lifter. Anyways.

  • April 24, 2006, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Anybody reading Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane?

    by Shigeru

    I unabashedly love this series. I got this week's issue early (cause I'm cool like that) and it's soooo good. What a great cliffhanger.

  • April 24, 2006, 11:56 a.m. CST

    Jimenez's Power Girl...

    by Psynapse

    is THE ugliest tranny weightlifter in comics....

  • April 24, 2006, 12:11 p.m. CST

    the problem with his PG

    by Shigeru

    I think it's the fact that Phil tries to draw her, um, realistically. So: huge muscles (even though she doesn't need them, just like superman doesn't need them) and giant, realistically-weighted no-bra boobies. I don't get why he doesn't just draw her like Wonder Woman.

  • April 24, 2006, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Thank you

    by vagrant's choice

    Thanks for the link Ambush Bug! I think I'm most interested in the Giffen written/drawn appearances.

  • April 24, 2006, 12:30 p.m. CST

    still pleading the fifth

    by blackthought

  • April 24, 2006, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Whoops

    by El Vale

    Too late for that Psynapse! Man i tell you...bias...everyone's fucking biased (Bitch)

  • April 24, 2006, 12:32 p.m. CST

    Jimenez' PG

    by El Vale

    Love it! I think it's unintentional, but even tho' he draws her with THOSE boobs and THAT costume, she still looks like the ugliest bitch alive. Ew.

  • April 24, 2006, 12:57 p.m. CST

    No one kicks ass like Vern kicks ass

    by El Vale

    "Warning: there is dancing in this movie. Whenever people talk about the Matrix sequels, they start ranting about what they call "the rave scene," where the humans decide that since they may be about to die fighting for humanity against an army of machines, they might as well spend their last night doing human things like dancing, sweating and fucking. To me it's a nice touch but to literally every person I've ever talked to about the Matrix, it is the worst thing that ever happend to America including when Greedo touched Hans Solo's balls under the table or whatever the deal was."

  • April 24, 2006, 5:59 p.m. CST

    Jimenez's PG = old and busted

    by AstroThunder

    She does looks really foul. Creepy ass smile if I ever seen one, but she'd be right at home in a deranged cabaret show somewhere. George Perez, however, draws a pretty keen Power Girl for the cover of JSA #87 ** http://tinyurl.com/kk8q8

  • April 24, 2006, 6:19 p.m. CST

    It's all fucking Alex Ross's fault....

    by Psynapse

    Ever since that dipshit made her into Steroid Woman in Kingdom Come, that look has somehow become definitive for certain artists. Which is fucking retarded. Oh working professionals in the art field? Ginormous tits are ALWAYS cool on a chick. Ginormous muscles are not.

  • April 24, 2006, 6:25 p.m. CST

    **Disclaimer**

    by Psynapse

    Yes, I have a shitload of Alex Ross art framed on my walls (try 8 prints in all including that big-as-fuck Crisis one with Perez. And yes, I do like every other rendering I've seen from him BUT (BUTBUTBUTBUT!!) his Lesbian Fantasy Power Woman is THE. WORST. REDESIGN. OF. ANY. CHARACTER. EVER. in the history of comics in my opinion. Y'hear that Mr. Ross?? YOU FUCKED THAT ONE UP, SON.

  • April 24, 2006, 7:01 p.m. CST

    vale, it is indeed the worst

    by Homer Sexual

    I can think of several f-ed up moments in the Matrix sequels (Trinity dies on a rebar, for example) but you are so, so right. The rave scene is an abomination. One of the most f*ed up things I've ever seen. It just reeks on every level. Humanity was just a bunch of hemp-clothes-wearing idiots. Yuck! P.s., I have no problem with roid rage Power Girl. Kind of like it, in fact.

  • April 24, 2006, 7:27 p.m. CST

    Homer that's because...

    by Psynapse

    To quote Austin Powers "That's a MAN, baby!"

  • April 25, 2006, 1:34 a.m. CST

    The history of Power Girl's boobs...

    by superhero

    Hysterical...http://tinyurl.com/cdq7k

  • April 25, 2006, 11:57 a.m. CST

    That was awesome Superhero

    by Psynapse

    Almost awesome enough to keep me from shipping those 3 cases of Exploding Kid Flash action figures to your home. We'll see....

  • April 25, 2006, 12:40 p.m. CST

    hmmmm....boobs....

    by blackthought

    that is where real character developement is...well...developed.

  • April 25, 2006, 2:37 p.m. CST

    New issue of JUSTICE:

    by Shigeru

    I was all like, "Look! It's non-corpse Sue Dibny! Look! It's Jean Loring saying she'll do anything to get her husband back...... waitaminute!"

  • April 25, 2006, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Where

    by vagrant's choice

    What happened to the 4th Rail? The first two reviews (DD & Battle for Bludhaven) I read both had typos in them. Needless to say I didn

  • April 25, 2006, 6:11 p.m. CST

    new issue of justice

    by Darth Kal-El

    in a perfect world this comic would be an ongoing bi weekly series.

  • April 25, 2006, 11:41 p.m. CST

    is monday over yet?

    by blackthought

  • April 25, 2006, 11:42 p.m. CST

    We're not perfect, vagrant's...

    by SleazyG.

    ...or is that choice? Point is, we're not paid, we're volunteer, and as far as I know there isn't an editor within miles of this site. That said, yeah, I go through and edit everything by hand and use the grammar and spell checkers at least 90% of the time unless time doesn't allow. Do mistakes slip through? Sure, just like with novels and newspapers. Oh, and comic books. Hell, now ya know how I feel when I read a Bendis book. Go ahead and put us up against any other column on this site, though (including those of the head honchos) and then come back and talk to us. Oh, and one of the things I learned about names back in preschool? Ya capitalize 'em. Like, say, Vagrant's Choice, for example.

  • April 26, 2006, 8:01 a.m. CST

    SleazyG

    by vagrant's choice

    My comment was about The 4th Rail website and not AICN specifically, but either way typos prevent me from enjoying what I

  • April 26, 2006, 11:36 a.m. CST

    100%

    by The Heathen

    First, I want to thank Dave F and Gus Nukem for introducing me to the world of Paul Pope. I hadn't read or seen anything of his until his issue of SOLO (rip) and recently his Batman: Year 100. And to be honest, I'm having a hard time getting into Year 100, and that's even colored by Villarubia too. But 100% is amazing. It's brilliant in it's simplicity and just so very well done. I loved the holy hell out of it. Haitous - that's my man right there. My favorite character of the book. He's so sincere and good willed. There were points in the book where I thought okay now this is going to happen right? Cause that's what normally would happen in a plot at this point, but no

  • April 26, 2006, 11:45 a.m. CST

    Astro by Nils Hamm

    by The Heathen

    Wimsical. Beautiful. Scary. Bizarre. Psychodelic. Has anyone seen this? It's the craziest thing out on the stands right now. It's a single story with no written dialogue and painted art that looks like it could from a children's book. It's about a space guy who escapes from the cluthces of something in space and finds himself on a planet that looks like one big trip from some one on some nifty drugs. Astro is even 'offered' some at one point and he nicely refuses. But, apparently he got a whiff of something because the following dream like scene is crazy. I can't really explain this book, but I think it's worth checking out for the fact that it's so different from the other books on the stands. I also think that this would be great to show younger children because whoever is reading it to them could actually fill in the dialogue with whatever they seem fit. Worth a thought. Check it out.

  • April 26, 2006, 12:02 p.m. CST

    New Avengers #18

    by The Heathen

    Gues what?

  • April 26, 2006, 4:58 p.m. CST

    A Legion Of My Best Bendii Await You...

    by Buzz Maverik

    Well, that shouldn't take long. Let's just send one of the new guys up to tell 'em to get the hell out of the way while we kick back and smoke a couple of bowls, and then if their still around when we're done, one of us can give 'em a ride home.

  • April 26, 2006, 5:10 p.m. CST

    Sleazy & Vagrant Had Parents Who Could Afford Preschool

    by Buzz Maverik

    Mine could barely keep liquor in the bar! Instead of pre-school, they shipped 4 year old Buzz to Viet Nam to stay with his older brothers. I was with my brother, Cav Maverik, first. Cav was the inspiration for Colonel Kilgore in APOCALYPSE NOW. I remember riding around, sitting on a flak jacket so my little dinker wouldn't get blasted off. Cav was a good brother. He once wiped out an entire village just so I could make sand castles on the beach. Of course, he dumped me with our other brother, Spook Maverik, who had been reported killed in Cambodia. Sure, Spook scored me some of the best local herb, but he was also on a mission to assasainate our brother, Che Maverik, the only commie the Maverik family has ever produced. Che was living with the Cong, training them to one day run donut shops and take standardized tests. I liked Che and the Cong and I didn't like spook, so I did the only thing I could to stop the killing. I threatened to tell Mom. After that, I was in Spook's care, which was fine. He took me Hanoi to see Jane Fonda perform BARBARELLA on stage. I didn't get the show, but I hung out with Jane's niece Bridget, who was just my age. She had her Barbies and I had my GI Joe, and we read some CASPER & WENDY comics, so it was fun. After I got stateside again, I took some time off before starting Kindergarten to ride with the Hells Angels. Heady days. Heady days indeed, my friends.