Comics

AICN COMICS REVIEWS! 5-PAGE PREVIEW OF POTTER'S FIELD! NEW AVENGERS! FABLES! STRANGERS IN PARADISE! AND MORE!

Published at: June 20, 2007, 5:39 a.m. CST by Moriarty

#8 6/13/07 #6
Logo by Ambush Bug

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) POTTER’S FIELD #1 with 5-page Preview NEW AVENGERS #31 FIRST BORN: FIRST LOOK SUB-MARINER #1 FABLES #62 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #541 BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #6 STORMWATCH: POST HUMAN DIVISION #8 NOVA #3 Indie Jones presents STRANGERS IN PARADISE #90 Indie Jones presents…

POTTER’S FIELD #1 Plus 5-page preview

Writer: Mark Waid Artist: Paul Azaceta Publisher: BOOM! Studios Reviewer: Ambush Bug

A mysterious detective solving unsolvable cases with identity-less victims. That’s the premise for POTTER’S FIELD, formerly solicited as JOHN DOE from BOOM! Studios. BOOM! has put out quite a few books in their short life as a comic book publication company, but few of their books are as good as this one is. From the first five pages (previewed throughout this review), I was hooked.
I guess what got me was the fact that this is a book filled with mystery from cover to cover. The motivation of enigmatic detective John Doe is as much of a mystery as the cases he solves. He doesn’t leave fingerprints. His stone cold exterior never cracks. And even the associates he utilizes to solve these cases know next to nothing about him. Writer Mark Waid has created a complete cipher--a character that at times can be a bore in normal stories, but in this one heaped with mysteries, it only adds to the fun. Waid shows his mastery of pacing a good suspense story by following John Doe every step of the way in uncovering a case of an unidentified victim. Even though the crime itself turns out to be pretty damn gruesome, it was fun to follow Doe as he pieces together the puzzle of how a young unidentified girl died.
And the coolest thing of all is that it’s all there in one single issue. This is one nicely-paced, perfectly-packaged, one and done mystery in one single issue. In a day and age when crossovers and interconnectedness are the norm, this was a refreshing thing to see. Waid even adds a nice little cliff-hangy hook in the very last panel to tease us until issue 2.
Paul Azaceta handles the art chores and he does a great job of heaping on the mood. His shadowy panels never fail to keep the action rolling and convey a dark and mysterious tone. His work reminds me a lot of Charlie Adlard’s atmospheric drawings, which is a compliment indeed. Azaceta does a great job of bringing John Doe to enigmatic life.
With POTTER’S FIELD, BOOM! has another hit. Waid has created a memorable (albeit mysterious) detective with an equally memorable motivation. The cliffhanger ending has John Doe heading into another unsolved case. Since the intro of this issue states that Potter’s Field is full of unsolved crimes, I can only hope that there are many more issues of this series to solve them.
If there are, I’ll be sure to read them.
Highly recommended.

NEW AVENGERS #31 and various Skrullated issues

Writer: some Bendis guy Artist: Leinil Yu Publisher: Marcel Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

I have to say that, up until now, I have been very underwhelmed by the current storyline. I’m used to the classic Avengers, where they take on threats like Kang, Ultron, the Squadron Supreme…not ninjas. Last issue, I couldn’t believe the mundanity of the cliffhanger: “Dr. Strange has been stabbed!” Holy crap, it’s fricking ARMAGEDDON! Not.
But with this issue, we are seeing the tip of an iceberg that goes all the way back to issue #1. More on that in a minute. For now, I liked that banter-war between Spidey and “Ronin”; I liked the action; I liked this issue’s cliffhanger. I don’t like the fact that there seems to be no clear field leader – de facto, it’s Wolverine’s position, but that’s really not something you want to leave up to a mid-battle referendum.
It also seems that Yu’s artwork has become increasingly sketchy and confusing. I would blame the inker, but that’s Yu, too. And it’s not just the hashmarks on everyone and everything. Some of these characters have feet so big, Yu seems like the second coming of Gene Colan (who always drew some monster feet). Check out Spiderwoman’s gunboats on page 14 – makes me think she’s a Skrull, too. When Yu first began on this series, his art was crisp and stylish. Now, it seems rushed. It’s still nice, but harder to follow. Just my opinion – “but am it art?” is a question I can’t answer for anyone but me.
As for the ending: so how long was Electra actually Skrullectra? And what is the deal with Jessica and the baby? I don’t think I’ve ever seen the word “breastfeeding” even as a throwaway line in Avengers, so clearly there is some issue about Skrulls and lactating. We know they can, but I won’t even hazard a guess as to which one of them is a Skrull.
But I will offer a full spectral analysis for frequent (and casual) readers on the significance of this reveal, and why I’m excited about it. For me, this answers a lot of questions.
Possible SPOILERS Ahead!
1) We never did find out who was the mysterious party that hired Electro to bust Lykos out of prison in the very first issue. Oh sure, it was the Savage Land Mutates, who somehow gained the expertise to come over to the US and negotiate backroom deals. And SHIELD put them up to it? Or they put SHIELD up to it? I don’t believe either. There is a mysterious party pulling the strings. I’m guessing it’s the Skrulls (but this DOES beget the question of why Lykos was SO important that his return to the Savage Land was necessary. I mean, that one action drives the first six issues).
2.) In issue #6, more evidence of this with the screwy “splinter cell” business, where Yelena Belova issues the odd line throwaway line “this is not a world of men.” In the same issue, “Saaron” survives a headshot due to picking up Wolverine’s powers (which is not how Lykos’ powers work), even though Wolverine stays conscious after his power feeds Sauron (which IS how Lykos’ powers are supposed to work, but do not) and then fries Belova (before she can talk) with a flame blast from his mouth (which he has never done before, to my knowledge.). Both Skrulls? I dunno.
3.) In issue 12, we learn that whatever has corrupted SHIELD has also taken over Hydra. Guess who?
4.) Now we see that there is a good possibility that the Hand has also been taken over, or infiltrated at the very least. Since Ms. Marvel has Kree origins and a presence in the Avengers, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that her recent troubles with AIM are Skrull related, or “skrullated” to coin a word.
It all seems to point to a massive Skrull takeover, and somehow they are no longer susceptible to detection by smell, psionics, or even magic (perhaps due to Prof. X’s and Dr. Strange’s brief capture by the Skrulls?). This would explain why Nick Fury is so far underground – he may have suspected this as far back as his Secret War. It explains why Maria Hill was appointed director of SHIELD, even though there were 75 other more qualified candidates – someone hoped she would be too inept to see what was going on. It explains why Tony Stark signed on so quickly to the Registration Act – as we saw in the Illuminati series, he saw a need to create a way to quickly mobilize a huge fighting force. Not only has the Act done that, and provided training as well, but it also gave him a way to keep tabs on all the capes. So maybe he isn’t the world’s biggest jerk – or he’s a jerk trying to save the planet, and guided events (that were already in motion) to help move the need for a global meta-militia forward.
It also explains why we keep seeing references to Skrull activity in other places. Hulkling of the Young Avengers was recently dealing with Skrull throne issues. Heroes for Hire recently busted a Skrull organ harvesting ring. Where were all those Skrull organs coming from? It also explains why Bendis has had so many “Kree/Skrull war” references and odd lines in this book, i.e., Dr. Doom hasn’t washed his cape since the Kree/Skrull war, etc. He’s got Skrulls on the brain.
So, who is a Skrull and when were they replaced? Well, Skrullectra obviously. Since the Hand was infiltrated, she was probably replaced just before or just after that nasty “Enemy of the State” business when the Hand resurrected her. Bendis has said to look for people who are out of character or have shaky resurrections. Mar-Vell immediately comes to mind (shaky). Hawkeye, too, but he seems like the real deal to me. But (out of character) Tigra? Skrull. And Orka, who seemed to die too ignominious a death for a 40 year old property, if the Skrulls have learned of some special way to occasionally avoid changing back into Skrulls upon death. If that is true, then maybe Bill Foster isn’t dead either (though that would raise the ugly, but not insurmountable, specter of why Skrullectra DID revert back upon her death).
I haven’t reread the whole CIVIL WAR, but I would look for anyone who seemed uninterested in the fact that lots of heroes could die by their actions, or perhaps manipulated loved ones into combat (cough*Shroud*cough).
And one more person that I can think of – Professor X. In the ILLUMINATI issue where they were captured by the Skrulls, they said that the Prof’s DNA would be the easiest to analyze. Then an ailing Tony Stark takes on half-a-dozen warrior shapeshifters and beats them up? Really? No – they were deliberately allowed to escape. And if you look carefully when the Prof is rescued, there is another Skrull on his knees saying “stop…no…”. My guess is that this was the Professor, on his knees, left behind.
So it will be interesting to see where this goes. In my opinion, this is not a retcon of the past two years of plots. Not at all. It’s an overreaching arc, and one that I can appreciate. In my own fiction, I want people to pick up stuff on the second and third reading and see the clues that were dropped along the way. Bendis has said that this is exactly what he is doing, and so I totally dig it. Some stuff was planned from the beginning. Other events, he has woven into the overall scheme of things. I know some people can’t stand Bendis, but I really appreciate what he is trying to do, and the fact that he has been working toward this for so long from so many angles is nothing short of impressive.
So let’s see how this all plays out. I, for one, am hooked.

FIRST BORN: FIRST LOOK

Writer: Ron Marz Artists: Stjepan Sejic Publisher: Top Cow Comics Reviewer: Prof. Challenger

The Witchblade was, in fact, the male offspring of the universe's primal forces . . . the Angelus and the Darkness. The Witchblade was conceived as a balance, meant to keep the fragile peace between the eternally struggling light and dark.
I have a confession to make. How do I put this? Think, think, think: Oh yeh. Until this weekend, I had only read one issue of WITCHBLADE in my life.
Until this weekend, that wouldn't have been a "confession" but more of a "badge of honor." See, I was under the impression that WITCHBLADE was a trashy little T&A low-rent Buffy rip-off comic whose deepest considerations revolved around how quickly the gravity-defying boob-ridden heroine could get all her clothes ripped off while strategically hiding nipples and other *ahem* dirty parts. Call me a snob, but while I have the utmost appreciation for the idealized female form, I don't need or desire to get off on a crappy little comic book filled with pictures of almost-nekkid girls.
But I confess that I was wrong about WITCHBLADE (at least since it fell under the guiding hand of writer, Ron Marz). TOP COW hit me up with a chance to check out the "First Look" at this WITCHBLADE summer mini-series they're calling FIRST BORN. Yes, the same "First Look" available at your local comic store this week for only 99¢. So, for me to provide you, the reading and buying public, an honest and informed write-up about that "First Look," I have spent the last three days reading Ron Marz’ entire run on WITCHBLADE. Why? Because it all leads right up to the FIRST BORN mini-series.
Now, not only was I just completely wrong in my preconception about WITCHBLADE, but--oh, this hurts my self-righteous pomposity to admit, but I am actually a fan now. Owch! That hurt!!! WITCHBLADE goes on my list of must-buys for the foreseeable future. Kicking the ass of most DC and Marvel corporate/licensing nonsense, WITCHBLADE is smart, clever, mature and completely engrossing. Yes, there's some skin and sex, but the story and the characters are the appeal. The hot pin-ups are just added bonus from my perspective.
Over the course of, oh, I guess 2-3 years now, Marz has developed the character of Sara Pezzini, the wielder of the Witchblade, into a character with classical heroine written all over her. She's tough and smart, yet also vulnerable and sexual. Marz also has taken to moving her story forward rather than just spinning wheels in the mud. Her life experiences real change. Characters die and stay dead. New characters come in and spark a whole new round of story and development. At Marvel and DC, because of the corporate/licensing mindset, everything is grounded in the "illusion" of change. Which is why it is so rare that jaded comic fans are ever really surprised by anything that comes out of the former House of Ideas or the Disturbed Competition. Marz seems to have been given a free hand to take this character and change and evolve her as necessary to tell her story.
Marz has hinted at a millennia's worth of backstory and history for the Witchblade that basically sets this title up as one that can logically go on forever and even franchise out. He incorporates other Top Cow continuity, such as The Darkness (basically the mirror-image of the Witchblade) in such a way that it enhances the scope of the WITCHBLADE comic book while not getting mired into continuity quicksand. In Marz's most recent story arc, Sara finally passed the Witchblade on to its newest bearer, college girl Danielle Baptiste. The motivation for Sara giving up the Witchblade is her inexplicable pregnancy - the driving force behind the FIRST BORN mini-series. But more than just Marz improving his writing from issue to issue, the new era of Danielle as Witchblade is artistically marked by a pointed transition from traditional comic book line art, as used with Sara, to fully painted art now.
In the "First Look," you will get just the smallest of glimpses of the artistic power of Croatian artist Stjepan Sejic. When I study his art, I see glimmers of Alex Ross inspiration in some of his technique. However, he exceeds Ross in certain areas of fine detail and sheer luminosity of color. With Ross, who excels at texturing and lighting, he often just hints at the finer details in his panel work whereby the reader subconsciously fills in those details - a traditional trained illustration painter's technique. Sejic brings the detail and he seamlessly transitions back and forth between the mundane, the sexual, and the horror. How he can put that much effort into each page and get these books out fairly quickly is incomprehensible to me. I can't wait to see the full FIRST BORN book just to see Sejic's art.
The only criticism I have of this "First Look" is that, while the sketchbook stuff is great, the preview pages focus entirely on a character other than Sara or Danielle. To me, they are the draw of the WITCHBLADE comic and I would have expected them to be spotlighted in the "First Look" more than a pin-up or two. And can I just ask something that's been bugging me for years (triggered by his pin-up in the "First Look")? Does the very talented Marc Silvestri, creator of Witchblade, know how to draw feet? Just wondering because I don't think I've ever seen a pin-up by Silvestri that includes the character's feet. The legs either fade down off the page or the shins disappear into rubble or smoke or something. But I digress.
It would be so easy for Marz to slip into a post-modern self-referential Buffy-style for WITCHBLADE with the characters quipping back and forth with obscure and esoteric pop-culture references (which works fine for Buffy). Instead, Marz takes a more mature route in his story-telling and hits a bullseye each issue. Maybe Marz should be our new go to guy for strong female leads. How about WONDER WOMAN? As popular as Gail Simone (upcoming WW writer) is, compared to her BIRDS OF PREY stuff Marz is writing rings around her on this title. I respect Marz for what he's accomplishing here and if any longtime super-hero comic fans want to be reminded of why they fell in love with comics in the first place, WITCHBLADE is a must-read series. And FIRST BORN is required summer reading. It's now on my own list. Thanks, Top Cow, for a great summer surprise.

SUB-MARINER #1

Writers: Matt Cherniss & Peter Johnson Art: Phil Briones Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

Is it a part of the MMC (Massive Marvel Continuity)?
Yes.
Does it have one of those front page recaps that some love, some hate, and either way, still won’t do much for a new reader?
Yes.
Is this a beautifully drawn and well-told story with a few genuine “Golly, that was cool” moments?
Yes.
The style of art is a little Byrne, a little Willingham, consistent and detailed. Maybe one too many splash pages, but hey, it’s a comic book – some people actually LIKE pictures more than plot. Fortunately, there’s plenty of both. And I like the fact that Namor is not all bluster and indignation, traits that I find endearing in no one. For instance, Tony Stark catches him off guard, and the strained relationship of their Illuminati years shows it was an actual relationship. I liked that.
So who is the shadowy figure with whom Namor confers? My guess is another monarch, and since Black Bolt isn’t the greatest conversationalist outside a game of Charades (“Okay. Three words. Rhymes with ‘Beth to America…’”) then that leaves one other monarchy guy, but who knows?
Bottom line: this is a good read.

FABLES #62

Writer: Bill Willingham Penciller: Mark Buckingham Inker: Andrew Pepoy Publisher: DC Vertigo Reviewer: Jinxo

How is this book not getting more attention here? Seriously, doing a search on AICN, this book has only been mentioned a couple of times and it’s a damn shame because it’s a hell of a book. Coming in late I’ve been buying the trade paperbacks and time and time again those trades would be the best part of my pull. I’d save my latest trade to read last; often, as I’d be reading through some “meh” title, I’d be chomping at the bit to get to those FABLES. Now that I’m caught up it’s a two edged sword. On the one hand, I’m up to date; I can read the newest stuff. On the other hand I’ve been spoiled. I’ve been getting to read 6 or 7 issues at a pop, only limited by how fast I wanted to buy the trades. Now? One frickin’ issue a month! Come on!!!
So what’s so good about FABLES? It’s an adult spin on classic fairy tale characters. And by “adult spin” I don’t mean smutted up and whored out. I mean smart and cleverly plotted for ADULTS. For anyone who hasn’t ever checked out the book, the premise is that all the lands from every fairy tale, fable or fantasy book exist. All the fairy tales happened. Then, long ago, a mysterious evil force began to invade and overrun all those lands. All the fable characters that could escaped and many of them are now living secretly in New York among us mundanes (mundys), either in a complex in New York City or, in the case of the animal characters, on a farm upstate. Amnesty for past misdeeds has been granted to all Fables willing to live by the rules. While living in exile the Fables continue to try and figure out how they can retake their homelands.
And as goofy as the idea of “Snow White and friends” living in New York might sound, it totally works. The idea is that quite a lot of time has passed since the old stories were told. Those characters have changed and evolved. The Big Bad Wolf is still big and bad but reformed. Hansel of witch killing fame? Turns out that early adventure became a calling for him.
Even in the book itself the will to keep things evolving is key. At the start of the series things were set up in a way that it could have stayed very static and worked. Bigby Wolf (Aka The Big Bad Wolf in human form) is the Fables “cop”, Snow White helps run Fabletown, Jack (of Jack and The Beanstalk, Jack and Jill, etc) was the troublemaker...all the characters had set roles they could have been left in that the comic could have kept running with. But instead the characters’ roles constantly change. Bigby, the apparent “star” at the start, leaves the book entirely for a time. Snow changes jobs, others step in to fill their void for better or worse. Things change. The fact that I would ever in my life say something as crazy as, “Man, Little Boy Blue is a badass,” and mean it ought to tell you something.
The current arc centers on Flycatcher. Fly was the Frog Prince but since reaching Fabletown has acted as janitor. Up until now he’s been sort of a nice, dopey nerd. Nice enough guy but with looks that say, hey, this guy used to be a frog. But, again, this book evolves. After 60 issues as a cute background character, Fly suddenly is stepping to the fore. It seems he has been blocking the memories of what happened to his loved ones back in the homelands. We still don’t know what happened to them but it clearly ain’t good. Likewise, in the Fabletown city offices there has been forever hanging (and I do mean hanging) the armor of the “Foresworn Knight”. Up until now the knight has just been a plot element, occasionally groaning out mystic warnings of bad things coming in the future. As with Fly, The Foresworn Knight becomes more than expected. We get to discover who he was. And it all kicks ass. I am really enjoying the transformation of these characters.
I would say though to newcomers, start with the back issues in trade paperback. Not that you have to know the past issues to jump on board but, more than with any other comic I can think of, to miss the start of the story? What a waste. I mean even though the identity of The Adversary who took over the fable lands has long been revealed, I can’t bring myself to mention his identity so as not to spoil it for new readers. But he is a sick twisted bastard though who, up until FABLES, you knew and loved.
Seriously, check out this book. It’s one of the most enjoyable comic book universes out there right now.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #541

Writer: Joe Michael Straczynski Artist: Ron Garney Publisher: Marvel Comics Guest Cog Reviewer: Loodabagel

To my surprise, I did not hate this comic. Spidey’s still a d-bag, but he never attempts eye gouging or ball kicking. He’s still not a passable tough guy, but now he’s got a lot of stubble, so he’s getting there. Maybe he’ll buy a leather jacket next issue. Garney’s art seems to have gotten better too. There’re a few moments where it looks a bit like Michael Lark. Mary Jane’s not in it enough to appear annoying and bitchy, Aunt May’s unconscious, so she can’t dispense nuggets of advice we’ve already heard, and Spidey almost looks tougher than Mr. Fantastic. Was this my expectations dropping? Or was I just trying to be optimistic? Goddamnit, I believe this issue was an actual improvement on the last two. A big improvement for sure. I can’t recommend it, since if you took my advice, you wouldn’t have read the last two. Plus, you could always be spending money on SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE, or maybe GI JOE, like that one guy’s always saying. I don’t know why Kingpin would want to leave prison. This guy’s got it made. He gets a fern, a portrait of himself, furniture stuffed with money, and a Lobot phone. Shit man, I don’t have a Lobot phone or money furniture. What a bitch. He even got to pack his goofy diamond tipped cane into prison. Don’t they know that thing shoots lasers and poisonous gas?
Spidey has one more hella lame speech to make this issue, but it’s not as awful as they’ve been the last two times. It even makes sense. Spida-Man takes a thug down into the sewers and has some rats crawl on him. In my professional opinion though, I bet those rats would have ran at the site of Spidey. Rats are a lot more timid than they’re made out to be. Clearly, JMS has never been to a real sewer. What a flake. He should try to learn his goddamn sewer animal science. Very unprofessional. But in his defense, he shouldn’t have to deal with that bullshit. Rats suck.
The best part of this comic? Aunt May’s a Skrull. The real one died in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 400. But then she came back to life because Thanos had to resurrect her so he could get her piece of the Omega Stone. Then she became the intergalactic warrior Silver Surfer. But a Skrull killed her and took her place since she was so jealous of Aunt May’s good looks. Don’t worry about the details. This will all be cleared up later this year in Marvel comic’s mega-event “Aunt May: Intergalactic Warrior.” This crossover will hopefully span more titles than ever before, including DAREDEVIL, RUNAWAYS, and PUNISHER MAX.
Next issue of Spider-Man look like it’ll be a big fight between Spider-Man and Kingpin. So if you like to see fat guys get beat up (Yes, he really is fat. It’s not 90% muscle like he said in the cartoon.) I’d advise you to flip though it. And if your shop is likely to sell out quickly, hide it behind an issue of NEW EXCALIBUR or AQUAMAN. They aren’t going anywhere.

BATMAN CONFIDENTIAL #6

Writer: Andy Diggle Artist: Whilce Portacio Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

I wanted to like it. Really. I loved Portacio’s pencils the first time I saw them, waaaay back in STRIKEFORCE: MORITURI (a series I adored up through the third generation of Morituri.) And Portacio is coming back. But it’s not happening quite yet.
Back when Portacio helped form Image, he was the bomb. But after a diabetic coma in 2000, he is still struggling to return to form. So I can appreciate WHY there are no backgrounds to almost any of the characters, why there are so many large head shots. This is still hard work, and done during a year where he has personally struggled with diabetic-related health issues. I’ve seen some of his advance pencils on upcoming WETWORKS projects, and they’re great! So don’t let this issue fool you. Portacio is a talented artist and a hard worker.
As far as the story goes, Andy Diggle certainly has the chops to tell a good story. But I’m not sure I buy the ability of Batman to sneak into the main facility using a robot as a Trojan horse – I mean, really, would YOU leave a man-sized hole inside every robot of YOUR evil lair? Of course you wouldn’t.
I get what they are trying to do, and it’s what many fans have asked for: stories that are not steeped in several decades of multi-versed continuity. But just because they are made for new readers doesn’t mean they should be set to the level of non-readers. There should be a happy medium, right? Somewhere between massive continuity and sophomoric, there could be…I dunno. Sophistication?
Let’s see what the next arc brings.

STORMWATCH: POST HUMAN DIVISION #8

Writer: Christos Gage Penciler: Andy Smith Publisher: Wildstorm/DC Comics Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

Every time an issue of this series comes out, it feels a bit more like coming home.
As recent events have played out (see CAPTAIN ATOM: ARMAGEDDON) and as you can tell by the cover, some of the more beloved and, uh, "deaded" characters from STORMWATCH past are back and kicking again. And that's what this particular issue is about; a little revisiting of the past, an idea of where the team is heading in the future, and, oh yeah, one hell of an unexpected cliffhanger.
I'll have to admit, I'm actually really excited to see most of the old crew alive and kicking again, though a large part of me wants to see them remain as tertiary characters. Christos Gage has put a good lot of effort into this new batch of misfits he's created, and this issue along with the past couple have also done a lot towards getting much more warmed up to them. Now that we're getting more insights into their personalities and watching them mesh a bit (though still keeping their petty grievances or instances of grandstanding) they've become a lot more entertaining to watch in action.
I also like how Gage is keeping the StormWatch organization grounded as well. It doesn't really make sense to have a team on the street if you have an orbital station monitoring the planet. Keeping the team more Earthbound is a good call overall methinks. I'm not terribly sure how I feel about the new Weatherman though. One part of me can't help but think it's way too obvious and coincidental and just a cheap trick, but a part of me thinks this will make a great "train wreck in waiting" as we all wait and wait (and hopefully wait) for him to flip out just like his predecessor did, if he ever does (wherein lies the rub of it all). I'm enjoying watching John integrate himself into the roll of leader with each passing issue too, setting himself up almost as a Golden Boy with how unbelievably well he's adapting to his situation and how well things have fallen for him and his team despite the odds. I can't help but feel/assume there's going to be a big fall in his future though, and it'll be interesting to see how things play out for him, especially in the wake of those last couple pages (though I have to wonder, uh, why is the one medic apparently administering CPR on a head shot victim? Is that really going to do anything? Ah well).
Joining the creative crew this issue (and for how long, I don't know) is artist Andy Smith, and considering the more "retro" look this book is taking he fits in very well. What I'm saying is that since this book is kind of taking on the same feel and even cast it had back in its glory days with Warren Ellis on writing task, this art style fits in very well with guys like Tom Raney and even Bryan Hitch. It's a much softer look, one definitely suited to a high action, tights and spandex book. Oh, don't get me wrong, I love Doug Mahnke and will welcome him with open arms if/when he returns to this book, but this art job of Smith's definitely captures what they're going for. It might not be perfect--sometimes the facial expressions of his characters are a little too exaggerated at times or too minimalized at others--but I'm sure that's just growing pains while getting acclimated to this book and characters. I'm excited for when the time comes where he'll get to cut loose on some full blown action sequences on this book and how those turn out.
This book is coming along much better than I could have expected. It's not the best book I read each month, but it consistently provides a high level of entertainment and helps fill my "colorful characters" quotient when it does arrive. Like I said earlier, I like how this book is establishing itself more like the taskforce of old it was, just as long as it doesn't come at the expense of this new batch of characters. I want to see Fuji and Winter kick ass as much as the next STORMWATCH fan, but they had their day in the sun (sadly that can be taken literally too). I honestly don't know what to expect with this next issue after how this one ended, hopefully Gage is just taking us for a ride since I assume the new Weatherman is going to be the prime suspect, but I expect more from him. I'm in a genuine state of anticipation mixed with uncertainty for this next issue, and that's a welcome combination of feelings right now at a time where I typically feel nothing but apathy towards the majority of books I look over at on the shelves.

NOVA #3

Writers: Abnett and Lanning Artist: Sean Chen Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

This book is just a solid hit. Rich runs into the New T-bolts and pretty much hands them their heads. The way he and Worldmind worked together, the give and take…loved it. I’m sure there is a faster way to communicate in battle, and this does beg the question of how Nova accesses his powers if Worldmind is offline (or is it ever?) but for now, I liked the effect.
Did I mention that the art is still top notch? It is. Sean Chen doesn’t do “sultry” females like some of the more well-known artists, nor is he big on manly iconic poses. To me, that’s great. I think his style works very well for this book, simply BECAUSE it’s really not an eye-candy book. Don’t get me wrong, the art is beautiful, and Chen has a great range of facial emotions. The artwork is so well done that it’s not always reminding you that it’s a comic book. And that is hard to do.
Back to the story: after the T-bolts deal, Nova almost gets into a pissing match with Tony Stark (again) and is able to take and stay on the higher ground (again.) Loved it. I really would have liked to see Nova wipe the floor with Iron Man, at least for a few panels, but I suppose Tony’s surprise at seeing how powerful he is in combat is good enough.
I also wish the alone time with the former Speedball were a bit longer, but I think Nova’s response is appropriate. Bottom line is, Nova has gone from a self-absorbed kid with the power of…uhn, a human rocket…to a full-on combat veteran of immense capabilities, and it shows. (Isn’t it a nice feeling to be PROUD of our heroes for a change? Gosh, I’ve missed that.) He’s a man (not that he can’t be occasionally petulant, but not too much, I hope) and a pretty confident one, at that. He wants to make a difference, and there’s just no way he’ll make much of a difference in the mire of the current socio/political climate of Earth.
So he leaves. And the first thing he does? Looks for something important to do, a place where he can make a difference.
The MAN called Nova. I freakin’ love it.

STRANGERS IN PARADISE #90 (Last Issue)

Writer: Terry Moore Artist: Terry Moore Publisher: Abstract Studio Reviewer: Jinxo

Really? It’s over? Well… okay I guess it is time. Only so many times around the love triangle you can go I guess. But I will surely miss STRANGERS IN PARADISE.
Just after the comic book crash, this was one of the titles that helped keep me actually reading comics. Just after Marvel launched its umpteenth X-Men book with the first issue having 75 different collectible covers, I just gave up on the heroes books. To read all the X-Men books alone each month was getting too costly. I was so annoyed I stopped buying all my standard “hero” books. I ended up with just a couple books left to buy. It came down to just THE MAXX and some comic books titles that were tie-ins to TV shows. The thing is, I wanted to buy comics ,but nixing the hero books I had to find something new to read.
Every time I would go into the comic shops I would see STRANGERS IN PARADISE with these girls on the cover drawn…differently. They weren’t comic super-vixens. They were cute but flawed. The one was kinda chubby, the other was short (nobody in comics is short!) and with a glint of trouble in her eyes. And it sure looked like they were more than friends, but not in some out and out porno way. Next thing I know the SIP trade paperbacks were part of my regular buys. That was it. I was hooked. Relationship stuff bouncing off of mafia madness, comedy crosscut with almost girl on girl…relationship stuff. And all of it done in Terry Moore’s unique art style. It helped keep me reading.
But now it’s the end of the road. After years of Katchoo trying to get out of the tangle of the mafia, of trying to sort out her romantic relationships with her would-be girlfriend Francine and her would-be boyfriend David, for better or worse, all the pieces finally fall into place. Given the book’s balancing act between crime drama and personal drama, it is kind of odd that the book should end the same month as “The Sopranos”. Not that they are the same by any means. Unlike Tony Soprano, Katchoo never wanted that sort of life, had no illusions it was an okay way of life. Still, odd. The final issue is also similar but utterly different. The Sopranos resolved some plot points, left others dangling and then left many viewers feeling emotionally/dramatically ripped off at the end by shockingly slamming the door shut. No more. Get out. F*** off!!! STRANGERS IN PARADISE ends by resolving most everything you would want resolved. Katchoo, Francine and, in a way, David, find a way to come together. Like “The Sopranos” it isn’t an ultimate, final ending. These characters will go on. The potential is there we could follow them further. But, again, like “The Sopranos” that door to their future is closed to us. But not slammed closed rudely. Closed in a way that says, “Thanks for visiting but it’s time for you to go.”
Dammit! Probably just when all the hot sexiness was gonna happen too. DAMMIT!!!
Seriously, I will miss this book and look forward to Terry Moore’s coming work on SPIDER-MAN LOVES MARY JANE.

THE ZOMBIE PROJECT #1 Jam Packed Productions

Man, we’ve got a crypt-full of zombie books this week. This little ditty centering on the zombie apocalypse takes place in a school filled with ne’er-do-wells and little punks. Some zombie books are fun for the clever writing. Some have a different hook that separates them from the herd. Although this book follows some well tread territory, it’s the way the zombies are drawn that makes this book stand out to me. Artist Matthew Petz turns in some amazingly fun and gruesomely detailed zombies for this serving of horror. There is much flesh-chewing and zombie grue to be had in this gorefest of a comic. It’s enough to satiate the appetite of any zombie gorehound. The danger the children of the school are in is all the more palpable with the frightening faces of Petz’s zombies after them. This was a blast to read as authority figures galore are chomped on and converted into the zombie masses. Within this book lies zombie nuns, school principals, and a whole lotta fun. – Ambush Bug

THE BLACK DIAMOND #1 AIT/Planet Lar

It pains me to say this, but while I was really looking forward to it, this first issue of THE BLACK DIAMOND really didn't do much for me. Now, I'm sold on the premise, that being the unusual but intriguing idea of a transcontinental roadway designed to keep all the miscreants, misfits, ne'er-do-wells, and other unseemly types separated from your everyday Joe. Sounds fun, sounds like it could make for some damn fine explosions and adrenaline tapping sequences right? Yeah, but none of those are present here because this particular issue is pretty much just set up. Somewhat uninspired set up too. And the worst part of it is that, while I fully expect next issue to ramp everything up and put the lacking energy levels of this issue behind, I absolutely cannot stand most of the art on this book. I don't know how this was created, it's a process unknown to me to make it come out the way it was, but it's downright laughable at times. The lifeless eyes on the characters, and these weird cheeklines and mouths that make every character look like they've had a botched collagen job, the faces on the characters in this book are just ugly. There is a silver lining, though: the vehicles and highway shots we actually do see in this look pretty fantastic, and since I expect/hope most of following issues of this mini to be nothing but balls-to-the-wall car chases and action sequences I might not have to be exposed to faces that look like they belong to Sloth from “The Goonies”. I hope so, because I had very high hopes for this series when I first saw it solicited, and I've come to trust AIT/Planet Lar very much as a publisher. – Humphrey Lee

XOMBIE: DEAD ON ARRIVAL OGN & XOMBIE: REANIMATED #1 Devil’s Due Publishing

I didn’t know what to expect when I delved into the world of XOMBIE. In the foreword, the author gives a brief explanation as to how this idea came to be. Pieced together from late night ghost stories from his childhood, this story written by James Farr is a sweet and gruesome tale about a little girl who wakes up during the zombie holocaust and is rescued by a zombie with a soul. What I loved the most about this book was that this wasn’t your typical zombie story. This wasn’t just a tale of the initial outbreak and the human struggle to stay alive. This story focuses on what comes after we realize that the dead walk. The nations unite to fight an army that grows as their own number dwindles. DEAD ON ARRIVAL is a novella with pics scattered throughout and goes into great detail on not only what it’s like to be a zombie, but what it’s like to survive in a world that has long gotten used to the fact that the dead walk. REANIMATED is its sequel in comic book form for the first time. Apparently this property has been around for a while in one form or another (websites, cartoons, etc.), but this is my first time hearing about it. Now that I know about it, though, this is definitely a zombie comic that is different from the rest and worth reading. – Ambush Bug

HARD-BULLIED COMICS FEATURING BILLY BLACKBURN, P.I. #4 Goodbum Studios

This comic gets better and better in quality as the issues progress. Reading this series has been a pleasure to see the people attached to this book grow and mature into better artists and writers. Steve Earnhart has created a world where detective noir meets sci fi meets super-hero kickassery. This issue starts out with two exciting chase sequences that collide into one another. The cast comes together for a pretty brutal brawl and the whole mystery comes to some form of resolution. Rudolf Montemayor has improved as an artist as well. His lines are more distinct and characters more loose and dynamic. This issue also has a great moment where one lucky reader of the book gets to be decapitated on panel. There aren’t too many books that can promise that to its fans. HARD-BULLIED COMICS is at times exposition heavy, but so were the noir films it’s emulating. It’d be worth your while to check this book out. – Ambush Bug

RISERS #1 Alternacomics

Wow, this was a depressing read. Good, but depressing as hell. Yes, it’s another zombie book, but don’t look for a group of people hiding in a warehouse boarding up windows and fighting amongst themselves in this one. This is a much more personal tale about death and how it disrupts life and affects those you leave behind. There is a lot of personal turmoil in this first issue. Annette Thomas died in a car accident; shortly after her burial, she rose from the grave and returned to her family. Turns out this is somewhat of a regular occurrence in the world this comic resides in. When a person is killed before their time and has unresolved issues, sometimes they are given a chance to come back and rectify some past mistake before passing on. It’s a nice concept, one that I’m sure many of us who have survived loved ones wish would be a reality from time to time. And although it’s not the most chipper of material, writer Martin Fisher does a great job of handling the material in a thoughtful and mature manner. To top it off, there’s some really moody pencils and inks from the art team of Kurt Belcher and Steve Farfan, making this a spooky read as well as a thoughtful one. Too many zombie books out there treat the zombies as lifeless husks and forget that at one time they were human beings with families and lives. This book remembers that. It’s a different, more soulful and caring take on the zombie genre and I’m looking forward to finding out just what business brought Annette back from the dead in future issues. – Ambush Bug

THE SUPER NATURALS #1 & 2 Jam Packed Productions

This offering from Jam Packed Productions was a quick read, but a fun one. The action moves at a rapid rate as the narrator explains that the earth as we know it no longer exists. Extraterrestrials have populated to earth and captured or killed most of the humans AKA Norms. Jay is one of the Norms being hidden by his alien mother, a pink, four-armed fish lady. When the “New Mankind” authorities find Jay in the secret bunker under his house the action starts and does not stop until the very last panel of issue one. In very few panels, this book had me interested in the story and invested in the characters’ outcome. There are some pretty inventive alien designs at work here by artist Jamie Briggs but it’s writer Tony Tapia’s rapid-fire pacing that makes this book stand out. Diego Candia picks up the art reigns for issue two, but the momentum doesn’t stop rolling along. A few Norms are hand picked by the New Mankind authorities for some mysterious reason and are being transported to an equally mysterious location. This is a fun and exciting yarn where humans are the outcasts in a world of monsters. Worthwhile reading, for sure. – Ambush Bug

THE HOMELESS CHANNEL OGN AIT/Planet Lar

One of the things that I have admired about AIT/Planet Lar is the fact that not one book published by them resembles another, and yet the one thing that ties them all together is that they are all spectacular reads. THE HOMELESS CHANNEL is the perfect example of this. This book sets its sights on an up and coming television producer whose idea to form a channel that revolves around the homeless sounds crazy, but it may just be crazy enough to work. With fully realized characters, this slice-of-life book shows that you don’t have to have capes and eye-beams to make a good comic. But it isn’t the plot or the characters that make this book stand out as one of the most impressive reads I have peeped on in a while; it’s the way writer/artist Matt Silady puts his panels together and utilizes the space within the panel in imaginative ways that are rarely seen in modern comics. Silady takes control of your eyes and guides you in the direction that he sees fit. With subtle paneling, he communicates even the most minute of movements and details (such as a wonderful scene where one character, who unscrews the lid of a sugar shaker only to have the shaker pour its contents into another character’s coffee a few panels later). These are visual subtleties that the average artist wouldn’t be able to pull off, but Silady does it with ease. Although the art is heavily photo referenced, it doesn’t look staged or posed like many photo referencers do. These shots seem natural. The characters are comfortable and Silady captures a broad range of feeling and emotion with very few lines. Although visually pleasing, this book also has a huge heart. It’s genuinely funny and has a very real sense of good about it. The characters are trying to help the homeless, but make mistakes along the way. I found myself rooting for the characters to succeed as this one played out. Check this book out. It’s not your typical comic book and not your typical subject matter, but I liked it just the same. – Ambush Bug

Remember, if you have a comic 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.

Check out the @$$oles’ ComicSpace AICN Comics page here for an archive and more @$$y goodness.

Readers Talkback

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  • June 20, 2007, 5:52 a.m. CST

    First?

    by rock-me Amodeo

    My first ever! And now, off to work!

  • June 20, 2007, 5:59 a.m. CST

    First!

    by stones_throw

    Will Potter's Field be my first BOOM! Studios book? I'm betting yes!

  • June 20, 2007, 6 a.m. CST

    Rock-Me Amodeo

    by stones_throw

    @$$hole.

  • June 20, 2007, 6 a.m. CST

    Skrulls

    by Boondock Devil

    First one that comes to mind is Winter Soldier. Very easy way to keep Bucky dead if Marvel wanted to go in that direction. Does the Alicia Masters being a Skrull from years back also tie into everything going on? It'll be interesting to see how this plays out.

  • June 20, 2007, 6:13 a.m. CST

    fables

    by darwinwins

    the story of Fly in Fables can be explained fairly well by this set of illustrations by james jean -- the cover illustrator for fables since day one -- he's by far one of the best illustrators working today: http://www.jamesjean.com/illustrations/fablesogn1.html , http://www.jamesjean.com/illustrations/fablesogn2.html , , http://www.jamesjean.com/illustrations/fablesogn3.html , http://www.jamesjean.com/illustrations/fablesogn4.html , http://www.jamesjean.com/illustrations/fablesogn5.html , http://www.jamesjean.com/illustrations/fablesogn6.html , http://www.jamesjean.com/illustrations/fablesogn7.html , http://www.jamesjean.com/illustrations/fablesogn8.html -- all from www.jamesjean.com

  • June 20, 2007, 6:33 a.m. CST

    Dammit

    by Jinxo

    It figures. The only Fables book I still have yet to buy, that's where Fly's backstory is told. Still I actually kind of liked not knowing since the mystery of what the hell happened was almost worse than knowing the truth. But not by much because, damn, it sucks to be Flycatcher. Going frogger at the worst times.

  • June 20, 2007, 7:06 a.m. CST

    Loodabagel

    by raw_bean

    ...sounds like someone who's read too many Vern film reviews and is trying to emulate his style.

  • June 20, 2007, 7:28 a.m. CST

    like that one guy’s always saying...

    by BizarroJerry

    You could be reading G.I. JOE. Hey, I think that one guy's me. I'm famous! Oh, and by the way, you could be reading G.I. JOE. One step closer to a review... #25 is coming soon, folks. Get in on the start of the war and review it, @$$holes! It's coming on the 4th of July, same day we'll be seeing that other 80s property on the big screen.

  • June 20, 2007, 7:30 a.m. CST

    Witchblade pre-dates Buffy by two years or so...

    by Sledge Hammer

    ...so calling it a Buffy rip off, regardless of what you think of it quality wise, is really kind of stupid. Of course you can play your technicality get out of jail free card and say you were talking about the original Buffy movie, but honestly no one talks about the Buffy movie when they are making such comparisons. As for the title itself, its an okay book, but it's not 'all that' as the kids say.

  • June 20, 2007, 7:49 a.m. CST

    Boondock Devil

    by stones_throw

    Why the hell would Marvel want to erase one of the BEST Marvel stories of recent years with this whole Skrull get-out? There's a lot more pressing concerns - Aunt May, Elektra, asshole Iron Man, Cap surrendering then dying, Spidey's secret ID, Gwen's babies. Another reason to hate Joe Quesada - Newsarama asked him whether Marvel was using this as a Crisis-type get out of jail card, and his response was "Well a crisis alters space and time". Way to dodge the question.

  • June 20, 2007, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Last first and Batman

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Ah, you know, the whole first thing...I was and AM a fanboy of this site, have been for years. But I don't get any special access or insights on posting, except that it happens sometime Tuesday night, and its waiting for me like quarters from the tooth fairy when I awaken Wednesday morning. When I saw my chance...I took it. But now that I contribute, I guess I should rein back on my fanboy glee. damn. So I hereby bequeath all the rights and privileges of being first to stones_throw. </br> </br> Regarding Batman, a keen-eyed observer informed me that Batman was actually inside an ammo barrel that he emptied last issue, not one of the robots. So what do I know?

  • June 20, 2007, 8:45 a.m. CST

    Fables

    by brassai2003

    Flycatcher's past was explained in the last Trade. 101 nights of winter I think. If not that one then the Arabian one. Wouldn't be awesome if all the people who initated Civil War were Skrulls.

  • June 20, 2007, 8:48 a.m. CST

    lactating skrulls

    by RenoNevada2000

    Didn't John Byrne do a story in his Fantastic Four run about the skrulls who Reed turned into cows way back in FF #2 and how their milk was affecting some little town in upstate NY? Or am I misremembering an old ROM story?

  • June 20, 2007, 9:15 a.m. CST

    RenoNevada2000

    by stones_throw

    Sounds like Grant Morrison's miniseries Skrull Kill Crew, which this whole New Avengers thing really follows up.

  • June 20, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Yay! Default!

    by stones_throw

    I was only joking, Rock-Me baby. You'll always be first to me.

  • June 20, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Delicious breast milk

    by MikeTheSpike

    Interesting, Reno. Could it be that Jessica is bottle-feeding Luke Jr. some pre-prepared formula because she knows her breast milk would be hazardous to his health? The issue *was* brought up with Wong earlier...

  • June 20, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Err... right...

    by MikeTheSpike

    She'd be doing this because she's a Skrull, I should probably mention.

  • June 20, 2007, 9:48 a.m. CST

    saving the breast for last

    by rock-me Amodeo

    see, that's what I can't figure out, either. If Jessica is a Skrull, and we know skrulls can lactate, then she COULD breastfeed the little critter. If she won't, then it might be to give him non-contaminated milk (maybe skrull milk affects infants much quicker and that would blow her cover.) But then why is the baby making skrull eyes at the end of the issue if he's drinking non-skrull milk? Maybe the breast-feeding Jessiskrull noticed the baby getting a case of skrull-cap and just STARTED giving the baby non-skrull milk so as not to blow her cover....

  • June 20, 2007, 10 a.m. CST

    Platinum Studios Is Evil

    by strangq

    It has nothing to do with today's reviews but all creators... Stay away from Platinum Studios and any Work for Hire contracts if you feel attached to your creations. I feel as though I signed my soul over in a deal with the devil. I wrote a comic book for them a horror spoof entitled WEIRD ADVENTURES IN UNEMPLOYMENT. I signed a work for hire contract being naïve and took the little money they gave me up front to write four issues because I was happy to achieve my dream that I was going to be published into a real comic book I can put in my long box next to my beloved Batman collection. That and I would get royalties on the back end when it hit the shelves. To do so I signed the rights to my character Wrigley Barnes trusting them because of the editor in chief there at the time was Lee Nordling, a stand up guy I worked well and got through what was asked ahead of schedule. After artists mysteriously came and went on the project it was over two years before the thing was actually getting drawn and had a projected solicitation. The first issue was nearly complete and then Lee left the company and the project was shelved. I heard later after many months from an insider that under new management they were kicking me off my comic and going in another direction and that I was being replaced by another writer. I thought that was shady not telling me anything when I regularly emailed about updating me on news about the project and replacing me on MY CREATION. After a few strongly worded emails they told me that they’d at least release my version of the first issue, the only one that was already drawn on Drunkduck, something I have little interest in, no offense to other web comics, my dream had a long box in it. I’ll also see no money on it. No loss for them, and it was the VERY LEAST they could do for me. When I wasn’t getting updates on even that, I contacted the artist in fears of more monkey business and they told me I was fired for insubordination. Funny, I thought I already was canned, but Dan Forcey VP of Development used that as an excuse to finally separate me from my creation along with saying I was responsible for rewrites that I was never made aware were requested or even given an opportunity to correct. I signed my characters over to them trusting the line they were selling about respecting creators. Scott Rosenberg himself the Chairman of Platinum Studios helped build Image Comics which is based on creator rights. HE responded to one of those strongly worded emails and told me that they would only replace me if I could sleep on it. But apparently either he was lying or Dan Forcey doesn’t care because I said I couldn‘t sleep on that because artistically how could I be satisfied with a creator credit on someone else’s work but plans are still going forward without me. If they didn’t like my scripts fine, I can deal with it. Dump it, I won‘t do anything with them anyway. I’d even give them back the $1000 you paid me for the rights and writing the scripts. Don’t take the property I created and put my heart into and tell me I’ll no longer be needed on it‘s future plans. I don’t get the satisfaction of my own comic and the money I’d get would divide my small share into an even smaller nothing. Call it “business, not personal” as Dan Forcey told me. I call it morally wrong and STEALING. Any man on the street outside of the industry would too. When your business is based on using other people’s dreams for your own financial gain, you may not realize it but that is personal. I was perfect prey, inexperienced and naïve who didn‘t understand the full ramifications of what he actually signed. Out of the millions of properties out there hopefully nothing may ever come of Weird Adventures in Unemployment. In theory Platinum Studios could make zillions off it though and I get peanuts for it, all because I wanted a comic of my own published. The lead character was based on me and even looked like me so I LITERALLY signed my soul away! I’m totally beating myself up over this and give up on comics as just another victim of the dark side of the entertainment industry.

  • June 20, 2007, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Platinum Studios dispatched henchmen on me!

    by strangq

    My blog war with one of Platinum Studios shills dispatched to take me down! http://comixtalk.com/strangqnever_sign_a_work_for_hire_contract_with_platinum_studios

  • June 20, 2007, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Wishful Thinking...

    by Mal Carne

    Hate to point it out, but not having enough breast milk is not exactly disturbing. My wife had a lot of trouble. I hate the La Leche League with a passion... But I digress. Skrulls did it all? Yeah, wouldn't it be pretty to think so. Wishful thinking, guys. Marvel does, indeed, suck. If it is ture, get ready for that explanation to be trucked out so many times that we'll get more sick of it than "Superboy punched the wall!" as an excuse for bad writing.

  • June 20, 2007, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Terry Moore on SMLMJ

    by Shigeru

    um... WH WH WHAAAAAAAAAAT??! <br> I am really out of the loop! That's fucking FANTASTIC news. <br> Though I still miss Miyazawa.

  • June 20, 2007, 10:46 a.m. CST

    couple of things

    by Shigeru

    Rock-me Amodeo: next time put that Namor review in the cheap shots column. Seriously. <br><br>Looda: you're still reading ASM? lol.

  • June 20, 2007, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Fables is feh

    by sgt.spoon

    Fables is a piece o' overblown shite. Don't get me wrong. It's OKAY. but it doesn't deserve NEARLY as much praise as people are giving it. Willingham basically stole the If-People-Believe-Then-They-Exist concept from Gaiman, and even then it wasn't original. "Instead of gods, why don't I just do the same thing to literary/folkish characters?" If this is a comic that I'm supposed to take seriously, then I have serious qualms with the fact that the majority of characters aren't even Fables at all. Hell, the treacherous Ichabod Crane is a character from 1790 for godsakes. in AMERICA. Fables are from the 6th century B.C. at the earliest. Many characters seem to have unexplicably developed personalities, such as Prince Charming, who was a coniving douche-nozzle at the beginning of the series but is now a somewhat-concerned mayor? Granted, he only ran for mayor so that he could gain power, but suddenly he developed a conscious? after how many centures? I dunno. I dug the Gepptto-as-The-Adversary thing, and it isn't a horrible series, but I liked this series better when it was called Sandman and wasn't so much done by ear. At least Sandman has literary and geniune relational value to it. If this series is as great as people are making it out to be, I think I should leave every issue with a feeling more than just "ah, that was neat"

  • June 20, 2007, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Fables is feh Pt. 2: Electric Boogaloo

    by sgt.spoon

    Spelling error corrections: Conniving and Conscience. my English degree fails me. but then I guess that's what alcohol and the internet does to a person.

  • June 20, 2007, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Willinghamis an asshat?

    by Catullus85

    Really? Damn. Love Fables though and as long as his politics don't enter overtly into his work I really couldn't care less what he does in his free time. I mean, Orson Scott Card is a super convervative (gay-hating?) mormon, but that doesn't make Ender's Game any less entertaining.

  • June 20, 2007, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Don't blame Rock Me for the short Sub-Mariner review...

    by Ambush Bug

    Since we didn't have a cheap shots section in this column, but one for the indie jones section, I formatted the review to fit with the rest rather than just having one cheapie.

  • June 20, 2007, 11:27 a.m. CST

    am i the only one?

    by waggy

    who saw the last page of Avengers #31 and thought it went all the way back to Elektra's first ressurection after Bullseye stabbed her? I was so happy after I saw that image, but it seems that not only was that not the intention, but not a single other person on the internet interpreted it that way. I didn't read the issue in question though, just flipped to the back in the store, so maybe it wasn't as ambiguous as i thought.

  • June 20, 2007, 11:29 a.m. CST

    stones throw..

    by RenoNevada2000

    Could be, but SKC is one of the few things by Morrison I haven't read yet.

  • June 20, 2007, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Shiggy-pop...

    by loodabagel

    <p>I have a subscription, so I'll be getting the next few issues anyway. I've had the thing for the past hundred issues, but I'm seriously thinking about dropping it now. After a decade of dedicated Spidey reading. I figure it's time to say goodbye to Amazing and spend some quality time with my kids Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane and Ultimate Spider-Man. </p> <p>Raw_bean, I'm not a Vern emulator. I'm Vern-esque. Me and Vern are birds of a feather. We're in a group that also includes Massywyrm. Sometimes he can get away with it. Sometimes it sounds like a Vern ripoff. It just seemed more Vern-esque this time because I said shit more than I did last month. Looking back though, I see your point. This review was written in about 20 minutes, at 2AM, so I wouldn't call it my best work. Next one will be awesome. I promise. PLus, if I was really trying to emulate Vern, I probably would have said fuck more often and mentioned Die Hard or David Defalco a few times.</p>

  • June 20, 2007, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Wow can you imagine a baby with Skrull AND

    by Borgnine JR

    Luke Cage powers! And Attitude! Wow that's the hero of the future right there.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:19 p.m. CST

    no mention of the art on Fables?

    by Bagheera

    maybe that's because it's passable at best. James Jean's covers and the story more than make up for it, but whenever I pick up Fables, the contrast between the cover and the interior makes me cringe. I get that it's a mainstream comic and they have to pump those babies out, but honestly.

  • June 20, 2007, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer....

    by Err

    1.) A cloud? 2.) A shaddow of Galactus' helmet and a small visual of Galactus' face in the fire of his ship? 3.) Silver Surfer blows up Galactus? 4.) Johnny is Super Skrull? <br><br> BULLSHIT!!!!!

  • June 20, 2007, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Comparisons between FABLES and SANDMAN are just silly.

    by SleazyG.

    They're written in completely different styles for completely different reasons and have virtually nothing in common. As somebody who read and loved SANDMAN, I find FABLES' lack of pretention to be quite appealing. There's also nowhere near as much use of the characters to make A Statement About American Society, which is nice.<p> And as for complaining that Willingham is going to the same well as Gaiman: even if it were true, I'd have no choice but to point out that SO DOES GAIMAN. Hell, that guy's been to the same well...what, three, four, five times? From NEVERWHERE to AMERICAN GODS to ANANSI BOYS to THE ETERNALS over at Marvel, he's telling variations on the exact same story over and over and over. It's grown tiresome, frankly, and he really needs to find some new material as quickly as possible or even the goths will get burned out on his stuff. Just ask Anne Rice.

  • June 20, 2007, 1:53 p.m. CST

    where's the graphic novel review sect?

    by kirttawesomio

    AICN should have a solo graphic novel review section on your comics review page. I mean reviewing the single issue stuff is cool but there really should be a solo gn section too. GN's and webcomics(although mostly crappy now) are were the comic industry is going to go.

  • June 20, 2007, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Read these DC Comics in THIS order this week...

    by Squashua

    If you read them at all:<br> Flash<br> JLA<br> Countdown - not required<br> Brave and the Bold<br>

  • June 20, 2007, 2:29 p.m. CST

    New Avengers, Skrulls and Fables

    by Homer Sexual

    I had a big hurdle to jump with New Avengers, since I just despise Wolverine being in this group (He's here, he's there, he's EVERYWHERE). But the book is interesting, and has become my total favorite CW-connected comic. The whole Skrullocaust thing has been upgraded from "lame" to "We'll see." <p> Like, when I heard Mary Marvel would be seduced by Jean Loring/Eclipso, Thalya advised a "wait and see" perspective. Now I find her the best part of Countdown, but probably because it's Black Adam, not Jean Loring, influencing her. <p> I always hate to hear about conservative writers. I am sure some readers hate to hear about liberal writers. In any case, Fables has never seemed to be preaching conservatism, so I have no problem with it. I enjoy the book, but it's not one of my top 10 monthlies, that's for sure. It's good, but not great. Not even. Y the Last Man is waaay more better.

  • June 20, 2007, 3:06 p.m. CST

    Ichabod and other Fables

    by Jinxo

    Ichabod Crane is out of bounds and violates the idea of Fables? That's just silly. The title might be Fables but really the concept of the book is any and all Folklore. One of the things I dig is the way they took Jack of "and The Beanstalk" fame and tied him into several folkloric "Jacks" including one from American folklore. Just because Ichabod Crane or... Paul Bunyan or a dozen other American tales are more recent doesn't mean they don't fall into the same tradition. The WIzard Of Oz, Narnia and others are all actually more recent creations but are included (or implied to be included to avoid copyright issues). As to the creator's personal politcal views, as long as he isn't preaching at me I prefer to judge the work on the work. Now if he shows up with that freaky preacher dude protesting the funerals of gays and soliders? Okay, that might ruin reading the comic for me.

  • June 20, 2007, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Actually...

    by Jinxo

    ... now I'm just curious. With such venom and ass-hattery (a long forgotten profession. Ass-haberdashery is a lost art) being flung about with such intensity that people would actively avoid Bill Willingham's work based on who he is, I actually thought, wow, this guy must be really a piece of work. He must be throwing kittens under buses while laughing maniacally every other Tuesday. He must be really be outspoken about some really jerky beliefs. So I started Googling, curious as to how major his malfunction was and to discover exactly what brand of evil he was endorsing. But looking around... all I can find online about him is essentially his comic book resume. So, no fooling, all you talkbackers who hate Bill Willingham so much, could you tell me in specific terms what he has done or said to garner such anger? You know, aside from the kitten thing. And I have it on good authority those kittens had it coming. They were spies or not neutered or something.

  • June 20, 2007, 3:59 p.m. CST

    I hate kittens.

    by SleazyG.

    They turn into cats, and MAN do I fuckin' hate cats. And I hate the lolcats/loldogs/lolbots craze online right now almost as much. Seriously.

  • June 20, 2007, 4:14 p.m. CST

    Al's best day...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...was the day he did the "me decade" bit on SNL. And that was funnier than anything P.J. O'Rourke has ever done. But I do get what you're saying.

  • June 20, 2007, 4:20 p.m. CST

    strangq thanks...

    by new alien

    for the info on what you went through. Sad that there are still some publisher types acting like comic publishers or the mid to late 20th century. I thought most of them grew up by now. Have to really watch what you sign these days!

  • June 20, 2007, 4:48 p.m. CST

    what the fuck is a skrull?

    by blackthought

    and why does the word make my pants uncomfortable?

  • June 20, 2007, 5:03 p.m. CST

    SleazyG...

    by Jinxo

    My Grandfather was a kitten!!! That's it. I will never read anything you write ever again!

  • June 20, 2007, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Those weren't kittens Willingham killed...

    by Ambush Bug

    yup, you guessed it.<br><br> Skrulls.

  • June 20, 2007, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Nooooo!!!

    by Jinxo

    My GRANDMA was a Skrull!!! That's the only reason any of us look even remotely human after her affair with my grandfather Flopsy McWhiskers. Well, that's it. He's right off the pull list.

  • June 20, 2007, 5:19 p.m. CST

    A frigg'n cloud..

    by kirttawesomio

    ...awesome, totally awesome opening page to this section.

  • June 20, 2007, 5:22 p.m. CST

    Still if a GN sect was categorized...

    by kirttawesomio

    I'd be stoked since I've pretty much abandoned reading singles and only read graphic novels or comics online. Graphic Novels also meaning compilations of mini-series or cross-overs, what have you.

  • June 20, 2007, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Willingham

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Actually, I disliked Willingham back in his Elemental days, when he used to engage his fans with some oddly venemous statements. But even he will say that he has grown up some since then, and if I myself were judged by all the dumb things I said twenty years ago (or even yesterday) then I would be in a heap of trouble. Suffice to say, I just didn't realize that labels were SO important (sarcasm here) to being able to enjoy a writers work, even when he is not actively proselytizing. I mean, if you say you don't like him because he leave plotlines dangling or sentence fragments or writer-y stuff, that is one thing. But to say you don't like him because of the way he votes? Might as well peg him for religion, sexuality, shoe size, eating habits...please, will someone enlightened tell me other writers we should stay away from? Cause I guess I'm too dumb to discriminate.

  • June 20, 2007, 6:28 p.m. CST

    Skrull predictions.

    by Johnny Smith

    Charles Xavier. May Parker. Tigra. The child of Jess and Luke. Half of the Wolverines running around. Flash Thompson. Mary Jane Watson-Parker. Sally Floyd. Michael Bloomberg. Betty Ross. General Thaddeus Ross. Maya Lopez. Mister Sinister and/or Gambit and/or Exodus. Henry Peter Gyrich. Corsair and/or D'Ken.

  • June 20, 2007, 6:41 p.m. CST

    Also

    by Johnny Smith

    Hawkeye.

  • June 20, 2007, 6:43 p.m. CST

    Also also

    by Johnny Smith

    Agatha Harkness.

  • June 20, 2007, 7 p.m. CST

    Runaways and Skrulls

    by Z 008

    I want to see how it plays out with a member of the team being a Skrull. and I'm calling Hill as a Skrull. Its fun to read old issues of NA knowing about the Skrulls.

  • June 21, 2007, 2:54 a.m. CST

    Bart Allen died like a prison bitch

    by TallBoy66

    If they wanted the character to go out with less dignity, they could have had Captain Cold shank him in the back in line at the caff. Hell, I don't even relly read DC and it seems like kind of a shame.

  • June 21, 2007, 3:50 a.m. CST

    Looda...

    by stones_throw

    Stop! You said everything you needed to in your first Spider-Man review. By buying and reviewing the next ones you're just watering down the message.<p>I was looking forward to JMS coming off AMAZING but then I heard that the reason behind Marvel poaching Steve Wacker from DC is so they could make AMAZING SPIDER-MAN thrice monthly. BUT, they're cancelling the other two Spidey titles, while Amazing will presumably have a different writer and artist each week of the month. So basically it's a con to get you to buy two extra books per month and to compete with DC on 52 and COUNTDOWN.

  • June 21, 2007, 12:42 p.m. CST

    Less Dignity for Bart Allen

    by Squashua

    They could have revealed that he was raped by Dr. Light. <br><br> That's not my line.

  • June 21, 2007, 1:39 p.m. CST

    "grandfather Flopsy McWhiskers"

    by SpikeTBB

    Too funny. Seriously, got a good laugh out of that one. So is "It was a Skrull" the new "A wizard did it"? That awful fight between Wolverine and Punisher where Punisher ran over him with a steam roller and shot his face off with a shot gun? They were both Skrulls, and so was the writer. See? It works!

  • June 21, 2007, 2:31 p.m. CST

    looda

    by Shigeru

    subscription to Amazing? I know that's gotta be nostalgic as all get out (is that a phrase?) but seriously dude give up. :(

  • June 21, 2007, 2:37 p.m. CST

    anyone read the last ish of Sockmonkey: Inches Incident

    by Shigeru

    The comic drawn by the little girl in the back of this last one FREAKED ME THE FUCK OUT!

  • June 21, 2007, 2:40 p.m. CST

    triple post! (WW Hulk)

    by Shigeru

    I read WW Hulk #1 and was like "Cool! I'm enjoying a mainstream Marvel comic! How weird is that!" And then I got to the end and looked at that checklist of all the tie-in books.... it just left a sour taste in my mouth. Ugh.

  • June 21, 2007, 2:51 p.m. CST

    Baby Rape... subtle

    by Jinxo

    Dude, the whole point of my post was that I could not find anything online that pointed to some crazy out of control comments or beliefs on this part. People just kept grumbling he was a horrible jerk without backing that up. Well, it's easy to just say something like that but I have had times in the past where someone says things like that and when you get to why they think X person is a jerk, sometimes its for some reason that makes you go, "What?" Like if an author is an anti-social jerk. Okay, he's not a people person. He has issues. A lot of artistic types do. That can be why they get into writing or drawing or whatever, to work their crap through. On the other hand, if he takes a nickel from every issue of Fables sold and donates it to Nazi's For The Anti-Christ... well something that insane might merit tip toeing the heck away from that book on the shelves. You pointing out at least SOME of what your problem with him is what I was asking for in the first place! I would like to check out that article. But, dude, you're accusing this guy of being a jerky irresponsible ass and you establish your own moral high ground by flippantly joking about him raping babies? I mean, the guy could very well be a douche but if he is the easy way to prove that is to nail him with his own words. And as for using it as a smack to my lack of caring, I've SAID if he did something truly vile, that would be very different.

  • June 21, 2007, 5:32 p.m. CST

    Shiggy

    by Squashua

    "sour taste in my mouth. Ugh." <br><br> I promise to shower beforehand next time.

  • June 21, 2007, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Too bad about Bart Allen.

    by Homer Sexual

    I have no idea what happened to him, but apparently he died an ugly death. I always liked his character, ever since he was Impulse. I think part of the problem is that DC apparently feels that any male speedster has to eventually become the Flash, even though "The Flash" keeps getting cancelled. Boomerang Jr. better be careful, he could be next. <p> I never found Flash interesting when he was Barry Allen. Wally West was way more intriguing, but the main draw was still the Rogues. I never gave the latest revamp a chance because I thought making Bart Allen the Flash was LAME! And apparently I was right, since now Flash is cancelled (again). <p> Still, too bad it had to go this way. Bart could still be in the Titans, where I enjoyed his character quite a bit.

  • June 21, 2007, 7:30 p.m. CST

    so sam jackson is playing nick fury...

    by blackthought

    nick fury is half black right? i always forget his background.

  • June 21, 2007, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Sam Jackson Fury is based on The Ultimates

    by TallBoy66

    And that is a frickin' cool ass idea, actually.

  • June 21, 2007, 9:03 p.m. CST

    On the Flash...

    by Thalya

    1) Mark Waid apparently has the weight of the world on his shoulders now. He'd better write the hell out of All-Flash #1. Or else. <BR><BR> 2) I loved Marc Guggenheim's run on Flash: FMA, but dude, @#$% you and your editorial edict to make me hate the Rogues! @#$@#$!!!!! Even Piper and Trickster, for shame! <BR><BR> 3) If it can happen, I still want a Countdown spinoff book dedicated solely to a de-grim'n'grittied Flash's Rogues gallery. Hey, Green Lantern gets two books, why not Flash?

  • June 21, 2007, 9:05 p.m. CST

    And also...

    by Thalya

    I think now that DiDio has exhausted killing all the light and happy characters in the JLI, he's now moved on to Young Justice. Look out Robin and Wonder Girl!

  • June 22, 2007, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Bart Allen deserved better...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    And I was just getting to like the book, too. We barely had a chance to enjoy the new and mostly mature Bart, and now he's dead. And this was a character that has been around for 13 years as of this month. </br> </br> And I know who the death-flash really is - Carmine Infantino. He always appeared at the end of a comic book series. Just off the top of my head, I know he killed the original Flash series, the original Ms. Marvel series, the original Nova series...

  • June 22, 2007, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Y'know..

    by Thalya

    You can kill Ted Kord, you can kill Superboy and Bart Allen, you can turn Fire into a reluctant killer, you can even kick Krypto, but once you start sleazing up the Rogues, now we've got problems, DC. Would that I could get Pookie back from the repair shop and some actual frickin comments on Issue #2 because I have a very strong urge to fanfic..

  • June 22, 2007, 12:45 p.m. CST

    That image of Galactus

    by johnnykool

    It looks like he AND his crotch are speaking. FTW.

  • June 22, 2007, 7:33 p.m. CST

    But...

    by loodabagel

    I have only once bought a Spider-title crossover. And I was 9 years old then. I 've since learned my lesson. But I kept deluding myself into thinking it would get better. After "The Other" I assumed things would get back to basics, but I was instead bombarded with 10 consecutive Civil War issues. After Back in Black, I will have one issue remaining. If it's not any good, I'm gone. This is the final straw. Something I used to all my friend, and now I've grown further and further from it. I don't want to say goodbye. I want the title to improve. I want Dan Slott or Jeph Loeb to finally come on to the book like they've been saying since forever and knock my socks off. I'm a very forgiving person, but if things don't turn around in three issues or less, I'm gone.

  • June 23, 2007, 5:09 a.m. CST

    My problem with Back In Black...

    by stones_throw

    So now Spider-Man's costume is dictated by how he's feeling? Just like a Care Bear I suppose. What was the thought process behind that? "Damn you Kingpin! I'll kill you! KILL YOU!!...Just let me pick out my threads. Nah, classic red and blue ain't gonna cut it for this one. Ah, here we go, Black Suit! Looks suitably menacing. Now where were we?"<p>Actually, seeing as how his last black suit was the alien symbiote, does that mean he sat down to stitch a new one before rushing out to avenge Aunt May? You'd have thought he'd have got tired of her hanging around for so long anyway. I'm just looking forward to a green Spidey on St Patrick's Day, blue "I'm feeling down" Spidey...

  • June 23, 2007, 10:06 a.m. CST

    what does AC/DC have to do with comics?

    by blackthought

    back in black what?

  • June 23, 2007, 11:20 a.m. CST

    I've just been banned from the Bendis Board...

    by stones_throw

    ...for indirect use of the word "moron" when someone suggested Marvel's decision to put Spidey in the black suit was unrelated to the movie.

  • June 23, 2007, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Well done, stones_throw!

    by SleazyG.

    Rock on, m'man. Unless you're gonna imply someone might, potentially, be intellectually impaired, in which case I'm having you banned from teh intarwebs.

  • June 26, 2007, 4:10 p.m. CST

    After attending a screening of FFROTSS...

    by loodabagel

    I can honestly say "Hey, that was alright. It wasn't the best superhero movie ever, but it was pretty good. If they want my quote on the DVD, I'll say "I was pleasantly surprised by Fantastic Four 2." However, it seems that Mr. Fantastic's powers just don't translate that well to the big screen and often just creep people out. Including myself.