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AICN COMICS REVIEWS HILLS HAVE EYES Contest/Preview/Review! HELLBLAZER! ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST! FLASH! AND MUCH MORE!!!

#9 6/20/07 #6

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) THE HILLS HAVE EYES: THE BEGINNING OGN Contest/Review/Preview HELLBLAZER #233 ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST PROLOGUE #1 MYSTIC ARCANA: MAGIK #1 FLASH #13 Big Eyes for the Cape Guy presents ZOMBIE POWDER VOL 1 Indie Jones presents SCAR TISSUE TPB Indie Jones presents GOTHIC CLASSICS - GRAPHIC CLASSICS VOLUME FOURTEEN Indie Jones presents GENIUS J'S TECHNICOLOUR ALMANACK OF GRAPHICAL WONDERMENT CHEAP SHOTS!

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here. Before I dive into my review of THE HILLS HAVE EYES: THE BEGINNING from Fox Atomic Comics , I want to alert you to another AICN Comics contest. Last time we had you guys whip up some logos for us and it turned out pretty damn sweet. This time around, fellow @$$hole Jinxo came up with a pretty gruesome concept that seemed to fit the tone and subject matter of this book. We have five copies of THE HILLS HAVE EYES: THE BEGINNING OGN (a massive, almost 100-page book that goes for $17.99 regularly) for the winners this time around. Click on the pics for larger pages from the comic.
All you have to do is the following:
As a young child, I used to draw some crazy @$$ drawings with crayons and markers. It’s a wonder my parents didn’t have me committed with all of the Crayola pics of grue and carnage I used to hang on the refrigerator. Word around @$$Hole HQ is that I wasn’t the only one. Now, I know not all of you are artists, but the good part about this contest is that you don’t have to be. We want you to draw your best demented crayon masterpiece drawn in the style of a slightly-twisted child. We want pics that would make a child psychologist cringe. Lopped off heads, stabbings, murder, mayhem, scenes from your favorite horror films or comics…all done with childish glee (bonus points if they are actually drawings from your childhood!). So scan and send your “horror as if drawn by a batshit crazy kid” etchings to us here and the top five will get copies of the book I am about to review. Good luck, ghouls.

THE HILLS HAVE EYES: THE BEGINNING OGN

Writers: Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray Art: John Higgins Publisher: Fox Atomic Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

THE HILLS HAVE EYES was one of those movies that struck a raw nerve with me when I saw it as a child (we’re talkin’ about the original 70’s Wes Craven flick here, folks). It wasn’t one of those slick horror films. It was gritty and dirty. The actors weren’t squeaky clean. And the violence was as brutal as you could get. Seeing the Hill people attack and slaughter your typical American family made me squirm because, back then, my family occasionally took long road trips for vacation in a rented mobile home, so the terror of the tourist trap rung home. When I saw the recent remake of the film (I’ve yet to see its sequel), I was pleasantly surprised in that, although it could never live up to the gritty brutality of the first film, it did hold its own as a bloody tale of survival. I ended up liking the flick and have watched it a few times on cable since (something I cannot say for most of the other shitty remakes that have wasted space on movie screens in recent years).
This comic, surprisingly, although a direct tie-in to the more recent movies, seems to borrow some of the more effective themes of the original film. In fact, I’d say that THE HILLS HAVE EYES: THE BEGINNING is much better than its remade predecessors. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray are responsible for writing this origin story of the people in the hills. They are no strangers to horror adaptations since they are currently writing a solidly entertaining FRIDAY THE 13TH series over at DC/WildStorm. In this book, the Hill mutants are referred to as the Sawney Bean Clan, a simple group of miners (not minors) who many years ago were approached by the military and told that they had to leave their land. Apparently, the place they called home was a prime spot for atomic bomb testing. Being a stubborn set of individuals, they were less than compliant with the military and when they refused to leave, they were attacked by the military and forced to retreat into the mines deep under the city as the bombs dropped. After many years of bomb testing, the military finally moved on, but the Clan survived. Unbeknownst to the survivors, though, the radiation of the bombs changed them radically. Through the generations, the Clan became mutated and deformed into the freaks that faced those unfortunate families in the movies.
The thing I liked most about this book was the fact that it carries on the theme of family in turmoil from the atomic age. In the original film, a family is under attack by creatures spawned form atomic bomb testing. It was a nice political metaphor about the threat of nuclear war as this typical nuclear family comes under attack by a family directly birthed from a bomb. In this book, the same type of story is told, although the metaphor is much more literal in that there is an actual bomb threatening to destroy a family. This book flips the POV and casts the monsters as the people in peril. You sympathize with these freaks for all of the shit they had to endure and end up admiring them in a way because of their strength and fortitude for survival against all odds.
This is a gory read--one not for the squeamish and more suited for those gorehounds out there (you know who you are, you sick pups)--but it’s a well told yarn, made all the more effective with art by John Higgins. Done in a clean style, yet shaded and toned heavily for a more visceral effect, Higgins knows how to frame action and keep the camera angles shifting for dramatic effect. He shows a great range, from brutal battles between the military and the mutants to a gorgeous and almost romantic scene where the mother of the Sawney Bean Clan gazes out into an irradiated sky.
Textured and perfectly paced, this is one helluva good read. And it’s a girthy bastard too weighing in at 89 pages with additional production notes from the artist and a trio of nice pinup pages from Bill Sienkiewicz, Tim Bradstreet, and Greg Staples. All in all, this is another slick production from Fox Atomic Comics. These guys have been churning out some pretty impressive books with this and their previous offering 28 DAYS LATER: THE AFTERMATH. I look forward to seeing what this company has in story for us in the future.
THE HILLS HAVE EYES: THE BEGINNING OGN shambles out of the caves and into your faces next week.


HELLBLAZER #233

Writer: Andy Diggle Artist: Leonardo Manco Publisher: DC/Vertigo Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

If you haven’t jumped on board yet, you better hurry up. As one character used to say, many, many issues ago: “It’s the bollocks, man.” And he meant it in a good way.
I remember when Constantine came on the scene, back in the pages of Alan Moore’s SWAMP THING. Delano ran with it when Constantine got his own book, and Ennis fleshed him out—and creeped US out—giving birth to one of the best developed characters in comic book history.
But somewhere along the way, this character was drained of any enthusiasm or vigor other than a will to survive, and even THAT was just barely. He was always a creature born of pain and cynicism, but after so many losses and draconian wins, reading him was wearying exercise, so I stopped. Constantine used to bring a smarmy bit of style with him. He was the highest of the low class and the lowest of the high class, but he had some kind of class one way or another. Remember when John once had to charm himself up a necktie just to enter a certain underworld establishment? Yet for a long time, he barely seemed to bathe, let alone carry himself with any dignity, lurching along from one tragedy to the next.
Well that, my friends, has changed. Andy Diggle is a few issues into his run, and it’s obvious where he wants to go. John Constantine is not a do-gooder, never will be, but he always racked up style points even in a bad situation, and he always had a sense of justice. This is Diggle’s Constantine, and he’s on form. For the rest of this run, I expect to see him taking chances not out of desperation, but just because he’s Constantine, and that’s what he does—and rolling out more sarcasm, rudeness, and occasional brutality than one would expect from a man wearing a blue pinstripe suit.
Manco gets style points, too. His art drives the book in a gritty, macabre manner that is part illustrator, part cinematographer, with those odd angles that show up so often in British movies. It works very well. I’m big on backgrounds; I like they way that their presence storyboards a comic like a movie, and their lack leaves a subliminal emptiness. No worries here. Manco leaves nothing out.
If you have enjoyed this series before, but felt it had become a bit tired and mired, then check it out. To paraphrase John, it’s good, and he’s back.

ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST PROLOGUE #1

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning Art: Mike Perkins Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

The coolest mainstream crossover of last year was not INFINITE CRISIS or CIVIL WAR, it was ANNIHILATION, the brainchild of Keith Giffen starring almost all of Marvel’s cosmic characters. In the past ten or so years, I have been all too unimpressed with Marvel’s cosmic characters, mainly because they were almost all written by Jim Starlin, who granted kicked a good amount of @$$ with his DC miniseries MYSTERY IN SPACE, but left me feeling hollow and unsatisfied with his INFINITY CRUSADES and WARS and GAUNTLETS and WATCHES. Last year, though, Keith Giffen and a handful of writers reinvented the cosmic crossover with a threat from a power-mad bug named Annihilus and his army of insectoid destroyers, who lead a seemingly unstoppable wave of destruction across the universe. A small group of heroes, including Super Skrull, Nova, Drax the Destroyer, Ronan the Accuser, and the Silver Surfer, banded together to do battle with the evil creepy-crawly. What I admired most about the way ANNIHILATION was set up was that it started out small with a miniseries focusing on Drax the Destroyer, then teased us with a prologue (ANNIHILATION: PROLOGUE), then dove into four miniseries that spanned across the galaxy and told the tale from different perspectives, and FINALLY came together with the ANNIHILATION miniseries. This event took a lot of patience to coordinate and in the end, paid off. It was a tightly packed, exciting epic space tale filled with drama, holy shit moments, and acts of true heroism. While DC was confusing their universe with multiple earths and Marvel’s earth-bound heroes were fighting amongst themselves, the true heroes were fighting for and sacrificing their lives in the stars. Readers, do yourselves a favor and buy some of the ANNIHILATION trades. You’ll be in for a good time and you’ll be fully prepared for the subject of this review.
Yes, one year later, Marvel’s cosmic heroes are at it again against a new menace. And if this PROLOGUE issue is any indication, it’s going to have something that the first ANNIHILATION event didn’t have…

HOT INTERSTELLAR LESBIAN ACTION!!!

Without revealing much of the plot (it’s pretty cool) or becoming too much of a sexist pig (too late), I have to admit the star of this issue (the new Quasar who is the daughter of Captain Marvel and brother of the most recent Captain Marvel) is one fascinating character. Like ANNIHILATION before it, at the heart of this event is a hero in search of purpose. Out of all of the characters in the previous miniseries, Nova was the one who emerged as the most heroic and most improved. He jumped into the war a kid and ended the war as a man. The new Quasar seems to be following suit. She’s got Wendell Vaughan’s Quantum Bands, a heroic lineage, and did I mention…

HOT INTERSTELLAR LESBIAN ACTION!?!?!

in the form of hot girlfriend, Moondragon (the bald cutie from old issues of THE DEFENDERS). Quasar’s arc seems to be the heart of this war and I’m interested in seeing her grow as a character and…

AS A HOT INTERSTELLAR LESBIAN!!!

Although I won’t reveal who the new evil beings threatening the universe are here, I will say that old school readers will get a kick out of who they are since they have ties all over the Marvel Universe and certainly do pose a serious threat. Although the threat is quite similar to STAR TREK’s Borg Assimilation routine, the retro factor makes up for that. Kind of the same way the design of the Brood makes you forget that they are an Alien knock-off.
There are other cool characters in this book; one in particular may prove to be the cult hit of the year, Star Lord. Peter Quill dropped the name Star Lord long ago and now fancies himself as a grown-up who doesn’t need a superhero name. He’s the Han Solo of this space odyssey; the dashing rogue who flirts his way in and out of trouble. He’s also the star of the upcoming STAR LORD miniseries which stars Shi’ar warrior Deathcry, Micronaut Bug (no relation), and the one and only Rocket Raccoon, among others. This miniseries alone seems to have such a fun cast that only an idiot would pass it up. Abnett and Lanning write a pretty good Star Lord here, but I can’t wait to see what Keith Giffen is going to do with the character and the supporting cast.
Aside from the tie-ins to the regular NOVA ongoing, this book also spawns a miniseries called WRAITH, but neither of these characters are featured in this book. ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST seems to be following the plan of its predecessor. That event started out with a set of miniseries to help you get to know and become invested in these cosmic characters. Once the main event started, you already knew who these characters were and cared about their roles in this intergalactic space opera. The people behind this event seem to be doing the same thing and it is a mode of storytelling that was effective with the last series and seems to carry the same potential with this one. Only time will tell, but so far ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST looks good. The set-up is tight. The villains are vicious as hell. The heroes are set into motion. And lest we forget the inclusion of…

HOT INTERSTELLAR LESBIAN ACTION!!!

With all of that going for it, ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST looks to be a sequel that lives up to and surpasses the original. I can’t wait for these miniseries to begin.

MYSTIC ARCANA: MAGIK #1

Writer: Louise Simpson(Part 1)/David Sexton (Part 2) Penciler: Steve Scott (Part 1) Inker: Kris Justice (Part 1) Colorist: Pete Pantazis (Part 1) Art: Eric Nguyen (Part 2) Company: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

I have to say, when I saw the cover to this issue, I got jazzed. Back in the day I was a big fan of both THE NEW MUTANTS. I liked the different take on mutants they had from The X-Men. The idea of kids as heroes who, really, weren’t even supposed to be out being heroes. A few years back when Marvel revived THE NEW MUTANTS, I was in. Then they went and changed them into X-Men group million six and I was out again. I also loved the solo story of their member Illyana Rasputin. A young girl raised in a hell dimension, turned into a sorceress, 3/5ths of her soul corrupted yet she fights to stay good. Actually a lot of elements being worked by Hellboy today.
So I see MYSTIC ARCANA: MAGIK on the stand with Illyana on the cover in her New Mutant togs, I open it up and see Illyana and her teammate Dani Moonstar running around and I think, kickass, some old school storytelling with some of my favorite old school characters. Clearly it was a story from back in the day so it must be a “lost tale” sort of deal. I plopped down my money and was really excited to check out this issue.
That’s when things fall apart. It is sort of a “lost tale” and, you know, could have stayed that way. MYSTIC ARCANA is a four part series exploring the “four corners” of Marvel’s mystic world. Based on this issue… seeing the one corner was plenty, thanks. Based on this issue, the format would seem to be this: each issue will focus on a different magic-based Marvel character in a standalone story and a secondary continuing saga story that ties all the standalones together. Only this first standalone…it sets in place elements clearly needed for the “big story” but as a story on its own it’s kind of “so what.”
First, the story is set back in Marvel continuity. We are told up front this story takes place during NEW MUTANTS #32 when Magik and Dani were lost in time. As big a fan as I am of the NEW MUTANTS, hell if I can remember exactly what was going on in that issue without dragging those back issues out of storage. Not that it matters to the story. They cover their asses in terms of how it fits into continuity while nobody really knows about it. Part of that involves knocking Dani Moonstar right out of the story. That’s okay. Hey, a good Magik story. Fine. Only then it turns out to be more of a so-so Magik story. With limited time they try to give some personal meaning to the adventure for Magik but it still didn’t feel of any deep import to the characters IN the story. It felt more like a quick one-off role playing game adventure. Like nobody but “Todd” showed up to play so the guy running the game makes up a quick one day solo tale. And then Todd, being a dick, screws things up by finding a way to skip over half the story. Because that’s also a problem that happens in this story. Paraphrasing…
“Illyana, you must face myriad dangers and horrors and…”
“Hey, the back door is open, can I go in this way?”
“Uh… sure.”
“Hooray!”
The story is just sort of “eh” on so many levels. It doesn’t stand well on its own. It is mainly there to serve the connecting story. So then, how is that story? Is it worth the time and trouble the Magik story takes setting things up? Maybe by the end of the series, but for this issue alone I’d say no. 22 pages of story setting up to put a couple mystic plot points in place that an 11 page second story then sorta kinda touches on. Clearly these points will become important down the road but not in this issue. The secondary continuing story concerns a mystic named Ian McNee as he journeys to the four corners of the Marvel mysticism looking for talismans (set up in the main stories) while trying his best to look like John Lennon In The Sky With Diamonds.
I wanted to care. I wanted to like this comic. The art in each of the stories was solid. Enjoyed the old school New Mutant vibes from the first, appreciated the funky palette of the second. But the stories behind them for me didn’t gel. Maybe by the end of issue four everything will come together and be totally satisfying. But I wouldn’t know. I’m out. Marvel, call me for the next New Mutant revival. Or, you know, get Ilyana all demon magiked up again in a series of her own. Then I’m in.

THE FLASH #13

Writer: Mark Guggenheim Art: Tony Daniel, Jonathan Glapion, & Marlo Alquiza Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

By now, you probably all know about this issue, but in case you don’t, I’ll go ahead and slap a SPOILER tag on this entire review.
Bart Allen as the Flash, we hardly knew ya, brother. Like the Spoiler’s all too brief run as Robin, Bart Allen was cut down way before he should have been. He was an established and well-liked character, and I must admit that Bart’s death in this issue left a pretty rotten taste in my mouth. It’s not so much in the way that the book was written or drawn, but at the missed opportunities for good stories that now will probably never happen.
Yeah, looks as if Mark Waid is returning to write the Flash in an all new series, but if you’ve read JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #10, ***SPOILER II***you already know that he’s not going to be writing about Bart, but Wally West who returns from the void.***END SPOILER II*** Waid had better be on his game for the next adventures of the Flash. To kill off a character like Bart, he had better have the funnybook equivalent of a beer and a blowjob in store for all of us.
It doesn’t surprise me with the relaunch. It’s not as if this book didn’t have its problems, but I wouldn’t fault low sales on the character of Bart Allen. The writers who made this story about the fastest man alive the slowest moving read on the racks are the ones to blame. From issue one, this series started out with a fizzle. Sure, when Guggenheim came onto the book things started to pick up speed a bit, but by that time, I fear that it was too late and many readers had already jumped ship.
The issue itself isn’t a half-bad read. Bart Allen, powerless, fights the Rogues and distracts them long enough for his scientist girlfriend Val to destroy a construct that was threatening to kill thousands. Unfortunately, distracting the Rogues meant succumbing to their attacks, so Bart sacrifices his life to save the day. In the end, Bart goes out a hero. Guggenheim amps up the emotional drama with some flashbacks to some conversations between Bart and Barry Allen (his granddad and the second Flash) and some tender moments with his grandma Iris. But these scenes fall short of interesting and actually serve to unbalance the story (especially the odd scene where Bart has to knock out his own grandmother). Guggenheim does pull through in the very end as he cuts across the DCU as Bart’s friends and family find out about his death. These pages alone make this book worth buying. They are silent pages and the artists do a great job of conveying shock, disbelief, and sadness in the faces and actions of the characters in the panels.
Sidenote: Liberty Belle AKA Jesse Quick needs to change her costume a bit. Those old puffy pants she wears are not flattering. They make her look like an extra on a Sir Mix-a-lot video or a character from a Larry Stroman comic.
There’s an especially effective page as Robin finds out about Bart’s death. With the death of Bart, that makes three significant people in Robin’s life that have died (Superboy, Robin’s father, and now Bart). Unfortunately, Robin’s book is so freaking awful and in need of a reboot itself that I doubt this plot thread will be resolved with any quality or depth any time soon.
And that’s the overall problem with way too many titles at DC. It appears that, out of all the death and change that has come from IDENTITY CRISIS/INFINITE CRISIS/52/COUNTDOWN the real tragedy is the fact that there are a whole hell of a lot of DC books that I used to love, but now don’t give two shits about. HAWKWOMAN, WONDER WOMAN, AQUAMAN, ROBIN, TITANS, NIGHTWING, FLASH…all of these titles simply and thoroughly suck since all of these big events started. In the past, these were some of my favorite reads and characters. Now I don’t care at all about a giant chunk of the DCU. With Gail Simone jumping onto WONDER WOMAN and Waid due to reboot FLASH, this is a step in the right direction, but DC needs to start focusing on their big characters and stop with the events. They need to learn that when their core characters are lacking in quality, this is going to reflect on the entire DCU. I’ve always been a strong supporter of the DC icons, but I have to be honest that, right now and for the first time in many, many years, I care more about what’s going on at Marvel than at DC.
Back to Bart. The real shame is that we won’t be seeing issues dedicated to Bart trying to get into the Justice League or taking on some of the Flash’s major foes or see him grow into a heavyweight like so many witnessed Wally West do after the first Crisis. This is a missed opportunity. It saddens me that such fun stories and such a fun character had to go because the wrong writing team was assigned to the title and DC had to rush out with a piss-poor title rather than wait for the right team to come along. So while Bart’s passing in this issue was indeed sad, I fear that it was necessary. There needs to be a few shake-ups (and no, this doesn’t mean death every time) to get the DCU back in order. I want to love the DCU again. Here’s hoping Waid and Wally West can help rekindle those feelings, but I’m still going to miss Bart.

ZOMBIE POWDER VOL 1

Written and Illustrated by: Tite Kubo Published by: VIZ Media (Shonen Jump Manga) Reviewed by: superhero

When it comes to manga there's not a lot that's too different about ZOMBIE POWDER. It's a seemingly post-apocalyptic world inhabited by protagonists with spiky hairdos and wielding wildy impossible weaponry. Yes, it's true that ZOMBIE POWDER really offers nothing truly unique or different in these pages but I will say that, despite that, it's still a pretty fun little read.
Now before you get all excited over the prospect of a new comic featuring zombies I hate to let you down. ZOMBIE POWDER has no masses of the lurching and hungry undead in it. At least not in this volume. It's more about a small group of characters on a quest for a mystical concoction that will bring the dead back to life or possibly grant immortality to the already living. The problem is that in order to obtain it an individual must first acquire twelve rare and magical rings called the Rings of the Dead. Needless to say, these rings aren't the easiest things to come by and that is the quest that the heroes of this book find themselves engaged in.
See, like I said, nothing too original here but it is entertaining. Much of this has to do with the storytelling skill of creator Tite Kubo. Many of you out there may know Kubo as the creator of the smash hit manga BLEACH. While I've never read BLEACH, I do know of its popularity and if it's anything like ZOMBIE POWDER, I can see why it's got such a large fanbase. Artistically speaking, ZOMBIE POWDER doesn't offer up the most detailed manga artwork (far from it actually) I've ever seen. But for what Kubo lacks in detail he makes up for with an energetic storytelling style. There's a lot of action in ZOMBIE POWDER and Kubo amps up the pace of the combat on almost every page. Sure most of the story itself is about as deep as a rain puddle but the characterizations in the book combined with the somewhat humorous and kinetic action sequences pretty much make up for any lack of depth.
If you're looking for something that's a pretty straightforward read that's just outright entertaining you could do a lot worse than ZOMBIE POWDER. I think fans of stuff like TRIGUN or even NARUTO will find something to like in these pages. ZOMBIE POWDER's just a fun little read and sometimes that's enough, right?

SCAR TISSUE TP

Writer: J. Andrew Clark Artist: David Wachter Publisher: Dial R Studios Reviewer: Dan Grendell

"I don't know what came over me. I'm not really myself right now."
The hook for this series is a great one. Ben, who has a congenital heart defect, is waiting for a heart to come along so he can get a transplant. When he finally gets one that's compatible, it turns out to be recently deceased supervillain Lord Grundoom's. With the city's superhero the Compatriot under investigation for Grundoom's death, there's nobody to help Ben and his family when another villain comes calling, looking for the power that heart holds. Just as dangerous, Ben is starting to exhibit powers of his own, memories that belong to Grundoom, and hearing voices.
This is a story about what it means to be a hero, and what it means to be family. Clark does an excellent job of making each character into their own person and making them feel like a real person, with believable motivations and fears. His dialogue is also natural and entertaining. Wachter performs ably on art, portraying action and emotion equally well. His backgrounds, where many artists tend to skimp, are well done and interesting. It's especially interesting to watch the improvement in both writing and art from issue to issue. Clark and Wachter both improve quickly, so that it's hard to believe that it's the same team on issue five that started the series. Special mention should be given to Brent Wachter, who joined David Wachter in really bringing the book to life.
I found myself very much enjoying SCAR TISSUE, and I find it hard to believe that it hasn't found a publisher yet, but it's true. The trade is being self-published right now, and will be available for sale after San Diego Comic Con at Scar Tissue.

GOTHIC CLASSICS - GRAPHIC CLASSICS VOLUME FOURTEEN

Publisher: Eureka Productions Reviewer: Squashua

Being the uneducated heathen that I am, I never read any classic gothic tales. Heck, I'm sure those individuals who hang around the mall wearing black eye makeup and black clothing never read any classic gothic stories either, so I can't be damned for it, but I will say that GOTHIC CLASSICS might just be the thing to get them interested.
GRAPHIC CLASSICS are anthology trade paperbacks depicting classic stories illustrated in black and white by modern comic artists. And those stories, being classic in nature, probably shouldn't be reviewed at all, least of all by someone with modern sensibilities. Then again, I've never admitted to being a sensible person.
“I've A Pain In My Head” Writer: Jane Austen Artist: Molly Kiely
Easy to miss, this single-page poem is found across from the contents page. It's a goofy ditty, and as an oddly worded period piece, I'd never have figured out that it involves a hangover without the humorous illustrations accompanying it.
“Carmilla” Writer: Joseph Sheriddan Le Fanu (adapted by Rod Lott) Artist: Lisa K. Weber
When I hear "gothic", I can't help but think of vampires, or rather White Wolf's pretentious "Vampire the Masquerade" game and an unhealthy pile of Anne Rice paperbacks. And hot Goth girls. Yum. And thanks to this book, I've discovered that "Carmilla" is probably the story to blame for all of the dark and sexy nosferatu chicks infesting raves back in the late 90's. A young, innocent girl is thrown into a world of excitement as her father is asked to board a strange, sickly girl. I guess this was the norm back then; people just dropped their daughters off with families they didn't know and promised to be back to pick them up in a month or two, hopefully without a bun in the oven.
The story is somewhat predictable, as the basic ideas and clues have been re-used in countless media since, but back in the day (or as one's first exposure) this story could have been a nail-biting mystery. Characters are drawn in a cartoon-y manner: exaggerated heads with enormous eyes, reminiscent of Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride". None of the panels appear to be inked, but rather shaded heavily in pencils, which makes for an appropriately somber tone for a dark tale. It's an excellent start to this volume.
“The Mysteries of Udolpho” Writer: Ann Radcliffe (adapted by Antonella Caputo) Artist: Carlo Vergara "Udolpho" is the meatiest story in the book, about this plain girl who goes into and out of various people's lives with extreme frequency, and everyone has a back story and there are tangents and mysteries that aren't followed up on until way later, and you're not sure if they're talking about the past or the future or the present and if it's referring to someone else who's been presented earlier or a new character altogether, or if the main storyline is progressing or if we're still discussing the main character.
I'll be honest - I would never have read "The Mysteries of Udolpho" if it hadn't been presented to me here in comic book fashion. It just goes on and on from tangent to tangent, and yet, I stuck with it because I felt so invested in it by the time I got part of the way through it, I had to see it through. With the dozens of storylines that are being juggled with “Udolpho”, I'm impressed that it was able to be properly adapted and that it ended up being completely readable, though there were a couple of missteps.
Though quite detailed, the hair styles on the characters were somewhat reminiscent of one another at times, with either black or uncolored hair being swapped, which caused a bit of confusion and head scratching, as I lost the ability to identify certain individuals. If the pages had not been black-and-white, but colored, this story might have helped in that regard. I also felt that certain "important" scenes were not emphasized enough. For example, there's a scene, infamously referred to later in the "Northanger Abbey" story, where the protagonist lifts a sheet and faints, then cuts to a discussion of her life in the castle. The sheet is referred to again, and had been completely forgotten, until the very end of the story when it's referenced as a very important plot point. I'm sure I should blame the author, but I feel that lack of graphic emphasis on something with such later importance is misleading to the reader.
“The Oval Portrait” Writer: Edgar Allan Poe (adapted by Tom Pomplun) Artist: Leong Wan Kok A Poe classic delightfully rendered in a cartoon-y manner and yet the final panel does not fail to evoke a shiver down the spine.
“Northanger Abbey” Writer: Jane Austen (adapted by Trina Robbins) Artist: Anne Timmons
The "other" long story in this book is “Northanger Abbey”, which reads as though the main character is trying to emulate the adventures of the girl from “Udolpho”. Reading the bios in the back of the book, I realized that “Northanger” is a goof on “Udolpho” and stories in kind, it's genre, and as such a tale, it succeeds. It's another entertaining and more straightforward yarn about a girl who goes off to live with people who aren't her family, falls in love, has angst about the love interest, etc. Essentially, I'd never have read it if it hadn't been presented to me as a comic; I don't think I could have made it through the book.
As with “Udolpho”, “Northanger” suffers from "look-alike-itis", where it's easy to get similar-looking characters mixed up. When you have two men, a blonde and a brunette, and the brunette suddenly has somewhat blonde hair, it tends to distract from the story. Though the eyes rendered for most every character here reminds me of those creepy Precious Moments figures and occasionally a face will drift towards "Archie Comics" quality, the art is generally finely detailed, and the backgrounds and clothing (and "finery") are well rendered.
“At the Gate” Writer: Myla Jo Closser (adapted by Tom Pomplun) Artist: Shary Flenniken
If you ever owned a dog, or even thought about owning a dog, or even wanted a dog, or petted a dog, this story will make you cry. I can't believe I have never read it before. It's a sweet tale about man's best friend waiting for his master, and thinking of my own dogs, it brought a tear to my eye. The interaction between the talking dogs is adorable, and they are lovingly rendered with clear emotions and intentions able to be perceived without even having to read the words. "At the Gate" was definitely my favorite story in this book, if not moved into one of my favorite stories of all time.
In all, I'd say that the stories in GOTHIC CLASSICS are a little more geared towards young teenage girls than anyone else, but the book is certainly an entertaining, unique, and easy way to read through the classics. I'm very impressed with the presentation and care that GRAPHIC CLASSICS took in adapting these stories to the comic medium. It's quite obvious that they appreciate the stories that they approach, and as a Cthulhu Mythos aficionado, I feel confident enough to order their earlier H.P. Lovecraft volume (GRAPHIC CLASSICS Volume Four) without a second thought.

GENIUS J'S TECHNICOLOUR ALMANACK OF GRAPHICAL WONDERMENT

Writer: J. Andrew Clark Artists: Victor Cabanelas, Enzo Pertile, Art Grafunkel, Jason Whitley, David Wachter, KOEB, Chris Fason, Josh Hagler, and Jonathan A. Rector Publisher: Dial R Studios Reviewer: Dan Grendell

Wherin things begin and summarily end, the past catches up to the future, strange creatures are bought and sold, Freud is discovered to be more wrong than not, and other wondrous events of happenstance happily chance to happen in stances.
As a general rule, I'm not a fan of anthology books. Usually I find myself liking a couple stories out of the bunch, and that really isn't a good enough success rate for me to feel satisfied. GENIUS J's is a happy exception. Part of that may be the linking factor of J. Andrew Clark's writing, which I find to be imaginative and clever and fun to read whatever the subject, but another part is very much the strong array of artists gathered in this collection. Not once as I read this did I feel disappointed by what I read, and that's quite an accomplishment. There's a serious pile of talent between these covers.
There's also a wide variety of stories. The book opens with a creation story with a twist, and Victor Cabanelas' use of a scratchier technique for the early gods and a more refined look for the created Earth and its animals worked quite well. The next story, a wartime love-lost set in World War Two France, was effective at setting mood and evoking emotion and was well drawn in both early and later years by Enzo Pertile. The one page poetry of heartbreak done as a two-tone sketch by Art Grafunkel is evocative and meaningful, fitting the words perfectly.
Following that comes a western that shows why you should do your research before you rob a train, with some great action and blood n' guts by Jason Whitley. Clark is really the focus of the next piece, as it's a creepy prose bit about teenage kids, but a couple color illustrations from David Wachter (from SCAR TISSUE) really set it off nicely. Next up is a beautiful watercolor painted style by KOEB, which perfectly fits a story about dreams. Really just some lovely work.
A more animated style by Chris Fason is after that, in a fun quick tale dealing with a private detective who can see ten seconds into the future. My favorite story of the collection came next, though it was hard to choose, about a Spanish missionary who encounters a pagan holiday. What really blew me away on this one was Josh Hagler's incredible art. An almost minimalist style, seemingly sketchy but actually well developed, his use of painted browns, blacks, blues, grays, and reds for color struck me and just wouldn't let go. Beautiful. The final story, about a guy who is shopping for a monster to terrorize his wife, was just plain fun, and Jonathan Rector drew those classic monsters with loving care. I love monsters, and that story just made me happy.
Like SCAR TISSUE, this book hasn't found a publisher yet somehow, but it will be available to order from Dial R Studios after San Diego Comic Con.

FALLEN SON: SPIDER-MAN Marvel Comics

So here we are, the fourth stage of grief: Dickheadedne…errr…Depression. So let’s see: Spider-Man is depressed because Captain America is dead, so he makes his daily visit to the cemetery where Uncle Ben is buried. The minute he sees the Rhino there as well, he jumps him and starts beating the shit out of him…even though the Rhino wasn’t doing anything wrong and was just standing at his mother’s grave (which Spider-Man ends up trashing—real nice, Spider-Jagoff). The Rhino asks to be left alone and asks why he’s getting beat up—fair question, considering what an asshole Spider-Man’s being. Instead of stopping and realizing he acted like a douche, Petey instead loses his mind and starts flashing back to beating up the Hulk with Cap. Thankfully, he manages to put down that big bad Rhino—that’ll teach him to visit his mother’s grave! Then, the same Wolverine who invaded an entire SHIELD Helicarrier and injured who knows how many in Chapter One of this story shows up to give Spidey some words of wisdom on how to cope with the loss of a loved one—something we’ve always seen Logan handle so well in the past. Yup, yet another phenomenally well thought out Spidey/CIVIL WAR tie-in. Y’know, it woulda made a lot more sense if the writer or editor had realized this was supposed to be the fourth stage of loss—Depression—and not Wolverine’s chapter on Anger. Hell, it’s not like mopey depressed Peter Parker hasn’t been around this summer—why not have him show up in the right place for a change? - Sleazy G

THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: CUT! #1 DC Wildstorm

Will Pfeifer takes a "stab" at that famous cannibalistic family from Texas. No, not the Bush Family, the Sawyer Family from the TCM flicks. This one-shot is tied to the original films and not so much to the newer remakes (although Leatherface is still missing his arm) and is set in the present. It's nice to see the demented Cook get some panel time in the comics. This well-paced thriller proved to be slightly predictable, but entertaining enough to whet my ghoulish appetite. It’s a trite entry in a series that is better than it should be. - Bug

GHOST RIDER #12 Marvel Comics

Two minutes, twelve seconds. That’s how long it took me to read this book. Despite loving the character, I haven’t picked up this book since the last overblown and overdrawn fiasco, maybe a year or two ago, where the demons were good guys and the angels were bad guys (wow! No one ever thought of THAT before!). But since we were tying into WORLD WAR HULK, I thought, “How bad could it be?” Well, the cover is the best thing about the book, and the quality drops off asymptotically after that. There are two sorta “gee whiz” panels in the whole book: one has you thinking “just how long IS this guy’s chain?” and the other has the Hulk, who has no speaking parts other than what you have heard him say before in every other issue of WWH thus far. But for a book that is mostly art, I would expect more. And other than that, we have about 90 seconds of dialogue between Blaze, a demon, and Ghost Rider: “Serve vengeance!” “No, save innocents!” “Tastes great!” “Less filling!” If I have a spare two minutes, I’ll read the next one in the aisle, just for grins, but after that, wake me if anything happens. – Rock-Me

MOON KNIGHT #11 Marvel Comics

I've just about had enough of this title. It jaunts all over the place for no real rhyme or reason. Flashbacks and inter-cutting scenes are done as if the writer has a distinct picture in his head as to how to the scene would play on a television or movie screen, but has little or no knowledge of how to translate that into comic book form. I wanted to like this title. I love the character of Moon Knight, but writer Charlie Huston's lack of knowledge of the medium (and the character) is hopelessly apparent throughout this entire mess of an issue. On top of it all, the covers of this book are misleading as hell. Iron Man doesn't show up in this book even though he’s featured on the cover. Hell, Tony Stark appears in one single panel. They pulled this a few issues ago with the Punisher and Captain America. This is a hype book that's full of hot air. The plot crawls, the covers lie to you, the art is sketchy and warped making Marc Spector look odd and brutish, and Huston's ugly rendition of the main character makes me wonder why the hell I liked Moon Knight in the first place. Bad, bad comic booking going on in this title. And it’s a damn shame since Moon Knight is a character with such potential at Marvel. - Bug

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #10 DC Comics

***SPOILER WARNING*** I enjoyed Brad Meltzer’s first arc on JLA, and was cautiously optimistic regarding the big crossover with the JSA, one of my favorite ongoing titles. But by the end of this issue I found I was disappointed with the outcome of the storyline for a lot of reasons. The first is that as much as I had enjoyed the Wally West-era FLASH for years, I was actually disappointed to see him back. I’ve always liked the Bart Allen character, and really felt he was treated poorly over the last years’ worth of FLASH stories. I’m annoyed that he was killed off, I’m annoyed that Wally’s back already and in this manner—but I just realized what I’m most annoyed at: that Bart’s probably still alive, but going to the 31st Century with the Legion Of Superheroes. Look: the book was pretty lame with Supergirl in it, and throwing Bart in there isn’t gonna help one bit. Moving characters that work well in the regular DCU as far away from it as possible isn’t going to help a book full of characters most people don’t know or like. In fact, I was so annoyed by the LOS grabbing Bart and leaving with him that it actually made me realize how bored I am with LOS, and I see it getting dropped in the very near future. Here’s hoping the next couple of issues of JLA are a return to form. - Sleazy G

THE SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN #38 Marvel Comics

This was a creepy little read by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, a writer who has a damn fine ability to amp up the scares in mainstream superhero books. In this issue, a coincidence that you'd only find in a comic book appears (Eddie Brock happens to be admitted in the same hospital as the gunned-down Aunt May), but the tale is so creepy, this contrivance can be forgiven. Brock plans his revenge and he's clearly insane because he still speaks with the costume even though it has moved on to merge with the Scorpion over in THUNDERBOLTS. That doesn't stop Brock from ordering a cheap Black Spidey mylon costume and plotting his revenge on Peter Parker. The horror of this book is palpable and the overall sense of dread hangs in every panel. Lee Weeks provides the moody art as the cancer-ridden Brock moves ever closer to the oblivious Aunt May and Mary Jane. This story has a more down to earth scary vibe to it, partially because Brock is in such a sickened state and partially because the writer does a great job of framing and unfolding the drama. This is psychological horror in the style reminiscent of KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT. Aguirre-Sacasa has been making this Spidey title one of the few that is worthwhile reading on a regular basis. - Bug

HEROES FOR HIRE #11 Marvel Comics

Count me among the people glad to see Zeb Wells getting more work from Marvel; I think he’s got a lot of potential, some of which is reflected in his recent work on HFH. It’s nice to see Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy around, and I was pleased to see Derek Khanata, recently of AGENTS OF ATLAS, back on the scene. It’s also cool to see that what was touted as a WORLD WAR HULK crossover is only tangentially related and continues to set up ongoing stories for our characters. All that said, though, a quibble: in recent issues we’ve had Orca get a hole blown through his chest, while stammering nice-guy schmuck Humbug has been ripped apart and put back together as a dismal badass who speaks in riddles. Does everything have to be grim and gritty? Can’t anybody be fun anymore, even as the one sidekick who serves as comic relief in a title full of angst? I’m still enjoying the book, but man…somebody get Marvel a prescription for some Happy Pills, stat. - Sleazy G

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 27, 2007, 2:25 p.m. CST

    HOT INTERSTELLAR LESBIAN ACTION!!!

    by Stuntcock Mike

    nice.

  • June 27, 2007, 2:26 p.m. CST

    Not first

    by imsamfu

    ...

  • June 27, 2007, 2:35 p.m. CST

    Squasha...

    by Abin Sur

    Please let me know what you think of the Vol. 4 Classic Graphics - as a fellow Cthulhian (I just made that up) I love seeing the big guy and all his toadies in any medium, as long as it's done well.

  • June 27, 2007, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Ordered Today; Graphics Classics r INEXPENSIVE @ $10ea

    by Squashua

    Seriously, that is a lot of bang for the buck. I'll review it when I can. <br><br> Oh, and it's "SquashUa", Abin. I don't go around calling you "Abin Sr" now, do I? That's your father.

  • June 27, 2007, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Ha ha, SquashUa

    by Abin Sur

    The fingers, once again, are faster than the brain. Don't call me BIG Sur either. ;)

  • June 27, 2007, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Sleazy G - The LoSH didn't get Bart Allen...

    by Squashua

    ...that's Barry Allen they have trapped in that lightning rod. <br><br> I'll put $5 down on it. <br><br> Plus, in case you hadn't noticed, that's the Earth-2 LoSH. Bart belongs with the Post-Reboot LoSH.

  • June 27, 2007, 3:20 p.m. CST

    I read Hellblazer in trade...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...so I haven't picked up anything from Diggle's run. But I have to ask - why is the Joker shouting at John?

  • June 27, 2007, 3:28 p.m. CST

    wow

    by Shigeru

    "Sleazy G - The LoSH didn't get Bart Allen... by Squashua Jun 27th, 2007 02:59:35 PM ...that's Barry Allen they have trapped in that lightning rod. I'll put $5 down on it. Plus, in case you hadn't noticed, that's the Earth-2 LoSH. Bart belongs with the Post-Reboot LoSH. "<br><br>and one wonders why I don't read mainstream books....

  • June 27, 2007, 3:28 p.m. CST

    *ahem*

    by BizarroJerry

    Hey, @$$holes, and everyone else. G.I. Joe: America's Elite #25 arrives next week. It's part one of the second comic book storyline this summer called "World War III". This issue will have a wraparound cover of every member of the team ever. The story will actually start showing us Cobra is starting trouble all around the world at once. Serious shit is going down. Even if you just used to be a fan back in the say, the cover alone is worth it. I think it's got a foldout poster of the cover inside, too.

  • June 27, 2007, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Superhero: Zombie Powder is very enjoyable....

    by RealDoubleJ

    But I think people should be aware though that it is an unfinished work. They have released all the Zombiepowder stories in 4 volumes (inc. some very cool extra stories & info) but Kubo himself admits he doesn't know when he'll be able to return to it, what with Bleach rivalling Naruto for #1 current manga/anime, and that he has a project closer to his heart he's more keen to work on (the origin story of which is published in volume 3 of ZombiePowder as an extra). If you enjoyed it, I reccomend trying Bleach, my preferred cup of macho-Jappo-action...o, otherwise try DEATH NOTE (phenomenally entertaining thriller), KUROSAGI CORPSE DELIVERY SERVICE (intriguing take on the afterlife) & LOVELESS (WARNING! Heterosexuals check your masculinity at the door before cracking open) if you already haven't.

  • June 27, 2007, 3:36 p.m. CST

    So Constantine is a fag???

    by jojo-pimp

    Did i read that correctly on wikipedia?

  • June 27, 2007, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Bart Allen...

    by buster00

    ...has always been a stupid idea anyway. Fuck 'im. He was the most convoluted and unnecessary comic book character since Cable.

  • June 27, 2007, 4:11 p.m. CST

    Robin's Reaction...

    by Pogue__Mahone

    Almost two years ago I got a phone call at work from my best friend's sister. She told me that he - almost a brother - had passed away suddenly in an accident. Numbed, I dropped the phone on the floor and kind of sank to the floor against the wall. Although never a huge Bart Allen fan, Robin's reaction resonated with me as someone who's experienced that EXACT loss. I teared up and thought of Kevin. In a merely average comic, thanks for making something emotionally real. There's far too littl of that in the industry today. Kudos on those last few pages.

  • June 27, 2007, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Nova: The Ultimate Superhero!

    by glodene

    Dang! I remember back in 76 when Marv Wolfman and John Buscema sprung the 1st issue out. That was damn good comic back in the day before they handed the art reign over to the worst artist of all time Carmine Infantino. JEEZ LUWEEZ, he couldn't draw to save his life.

  • June 27, 2007, 4:18 p.m. CST

    Carmine Infantino rocked!

    by Kamala

    Not! Your right, he sucked. They almost gave the title to a young John Bryne. Nova might have really taken off then.

  • June 27, 2007, 4:31 p.m. CST

    RE: JLA 10, Barry Allen

    by Marvel1967

    It's a guess, but couldn't that have been Barry Allen, not Bart Allen, brought back by the LOS? Bart Allen was an 8 time retread and needed to go.

  • June 27, 2007, 4:33 p.m. CST

    Another reason Fallen Son Spider-Man Sucked

    by Marvel1967

    The flashback shows Cap knocking out the Hulk with a punch? Maybe this is from an actual comic I missed, but repeating the idiocy should be cause for a kick in the balls. Creating this ridiculous flashback should be cause for 2 kicks in the balls.

  • June 27, 2007, 4:39 p.m. CST

    Kudos to the header artist this week!

    by Thalya

    Who made it, btw? I don't think I caught a name underneath it..

  • June 27, 2007, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Read "Sinestro Corps" this week.

    by Squashua

    It's DC's answer to Annihilation, and was pretty entertaining, if nothing else.

  • June 27, 2007, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Southland tales prequels

    by PVIII

    Any else pick these up? They get progressively better as they move along, and overall they're really quite great and well put together.

  • June 27, 2007, 5:04 p.m. CST

    actually, robin has had..

    by sonnyhooper

    ...FOUR significant people in his life that have died: bart, superboy, his dad and HIS MOM! hate to be a nit picky fanboy about it, but it just bothers me when the ladies get the short end of the stick. it's kind of like saying that bruce wayne only lost his father, martha wayne was there too, but almost nobody (writters or fans) seem to pay any attention to the fact that bruce lost her as well. never mind the fact that the loss of his mother is what defined tim drake having a tragic loss in his life to begin with, it was a defining moment in his journey to becoming robin in some ways.

  • June 27, 2007, 5:07 p.m. CST

    what's with the Zombie explosion?

    by tonyd1411

    Can anyone explain the sudden overwhelming obsession with Zombie comics appearing EVERYWHERE?! I read the marvel zombies comics and was mildly entertained. I like Walking Dead although it is really depressing and I prefer to read for entertainment. I also really like the new Xombie comics from Devil's Due based on the web cartoons (well worth a look). However, the market is just too saturated with them right now. I think that zombies' power comes in their number and the sense of isolation and claustrophobia that they create, but this isn't exploited nearly enough in these new books. Am I alone with this thought?

  • June 27, 2007, 5:19 p.m. CST

    I heard those Dial R guys are a bunch of...

    by GrantChastain

    ...nice gentlemen. And believe me, knowing them, that's the scariest, most offensive thing to say about them. They come off all rough, but they're really kitten-petters and old-lady-across-the-street-helpers.<p>Kudos on the books, guys! Hopefully you won't be without a pubber on Scar Tissue for much longer. That's some quality stuff right there.

  • June 27, 2007, 5:33 p.m. CST

    Sinestro Corps

    by Tito Trinidad

    Have to second the love for this book. It actually made me smile as I read it. *****SPOILER**** the splash page with the Cyborg, Superboy Prime, Parallax and Sinestro actually made me feel fan boyish

  • June 27, 2007, 5:35 p.m. CST

    Batmans parents

    by Tito Trinidad

    Have to disagree with the person who said that the focus is mostly on Batmans dad. I have read plenty of books that talk about both his parents and at least one that demonstrated that Bruce was tempramentally most like his mom.

  • June 27, 2007, 5:54 p.m. CST

    Flashes and Skrulls and Tales from the Southland...

    by The Heathen

    I liked the Flash stories in the Lightning Saga and Flash: FMA #13. Bart went out wrong mainly because Bilson and Demeo sucked so horribly bad. So bad that DC had to kill Bart? I don't think so, but who knows? Flashes usually stay dead long, but that isn't really true with Wally coming back so soon is it? And yeah, it was Barry Allen in the LoS lightning rod thing. I don't follow anything to do with Legion of Superheroes, so I don't know what earth or where or who all of them are really. Oh well. <br> <br> I have a feeling that the Skrulls are going to be the same thing for Marvel as it was for Dc when Superboy Prime punched that wall that rewrote time. Thing is, even if the Skrulls are doing everything it's still really, really 'loose' to say the least of how everything happened and why it happened you know? That said, it's still kind of interesting what's going on at Marvel despite the utter suckage of HoM and The CW. World War Hulk #1 was really fun. Yay! <br> <br> I read the first Southland Tales book, have the second one, but I didn't get the third and I didn't even know if it was out yet. I'm interested though. Wish that movie would come out someday. That'd be nice too.

  • June 27, 2007, 6:14 p.m. CST

    Ender Smites Foes...

    by Ambush Bug

    Could it possibly be that those reviews were written by two different people? I can't believe there are still people out thee who think one person writes all of this...

  • June 27, 2007, 6:15 p.m. CST

    It was me, Thalya...

    by Ambush Bug

    I did the header. Actually, I'm a Skrull impersonating Ambush Bug, but I did in fact do it. Forgot to add an identifyer this week.

  • June 27, 2007, 6:43 p.m. CST

    Sleazy, nobody like the Legion of Superheroes...

    by thecomedian

    I have yet to ever meet a LOS fan. Nothing is more boring than a bunch of bland squeeky clean cardboard cut outs running flying around a utopian future. The only legionaire I ever liked was Dawnstar (for obvious reasons) and eventhough they're bringing her back I still could give two shits enough to ever pick up an LOS book.

  • June 27, 2007, 6:52 p.m. CST

    Actually Robin has FIVE

    by Lukecash

    Close people die on him. Superboy, his mom, dad, Bart and his girlfriend Stephane AKA: SPOILER. Of course this is covered in Robin quite well <br> Between Titians and his own book, Tims emotions are covered really well, they just don't want his book drowned in emotions

  • June 27, 2007, 7:06 p.m. CST

    In the hands of a good writer...

    by Ambush Bug

    Robin is ripe with material. Not only is his job to help Batman see the more lighter side of the good fight, but with all of this death around him, Tim's main conflict should be not to take the darker path that Batman has taken. Adam Beechan has been trying to touch on this in the title, but he ain't hacking it. Tim needs a new direction. His comic has been awful for over 60 issues and the only reason it is still being published is because the Bat-guys buy it because of its ties to Batman. I don't want Tim dead. But there needs to be some kind of shake up with the title be it a new writer, artist, or whatever, but this can't go on any longer.

  • June 27, 2007, 7:12 p.m. CST

    anybody know of a good comic

    by The_Comedian

    anybody know of a good comic torrent sit eot get single issue new releases, not the dcp packs. I usually use Demonoid but its down this week

  • June 27, 2007, 8:10 p.m. CST

    re: batmans parents

    by sonnyhooper

    if you happen to remember the story where it showed that bruce was more like his mom, please let me know, because i would love to read it. while i agree that most of the time the focus is on BOTH of bruces parents, i find that sometimes the focus is tipped towards thomas and not martha. just little things that batman says, like "...i remeber my father" doing this or that or when talking about the manor "..even now i think of it as my fathers house". to me it seems he is always going on about his father being a doctor and helping people and any flashback to bruces childhood is usually directed towards his dad. in over 20 years of reading batman comics i only can recall one of the LODK one shot "specials" by loeb and sale that had bruce reflecting and thinking about his mother specifically. to me that seems a bit unbalanced. <p> also regarding robin, i totally forgot all about spoiler. makes it seem that tim *should* be a seething cauldron of rage that would make jason "whinney" todd look tame in comparison. but the whole "i don't want to be like batman" thing has been around for a while now (i think dick passed that down to him like a hand-me-down winter jacket) and it seems to me that the more tim keeps telling himself that he will NEVER be like batman, the more likely he will probally end up just like bruce. because DC seems fully intent on heaping tons of tragedy on the poor kids shoulders.

  • June 27, 2007, 10:47 p.m. CST

    Killing Bart Allen?

    by superninja

    Right into the toilet with these guys.

  • June 27, 2007, 11:23 p.m. CST

    superninja..

    by Thalya

    I agree it's a low and icky thing DC did, but darn that all to heck if you've seen the All Flash #1 preview on Newsarama. If you can get past the Byrne-stealing discussion, I've never seen such consensus in my life: everyone thinks Karl Kerschl should be the main artist on the return to Wally's series instead of Daniel Acuna and I profoundly agree. If there was a person born to draw the Flash (he nails the tone in his art), it would be Karl. Now I have to go back and read Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #3 to get a fix again.

  • June 27, 2007, 11:51 p.m. CST

    Why does Michael Turner continue to get work?

    by Pops Freshemeyer

    Somebody must feel bad because of that cancer thing and keeps hiring him so he can pay his bills. Has he ever seen a real woman in his life? The guy seems nice and all, but his work is horrible. Horrible horrible even.

  • June 28, 2007, 12:30 a.m. CST

    here's a suggestion

    by Bagheera

    The "Big Eyes for the Cape Guy" section I think is good, it promotes non-prejudice of foreign comics that deserve equal attention from all comic readers, so why doesn't the Anime AICN column have a "Normal-sized Eyes for the DBZ Guy" or something to that effect.

  • June 28, 2007, 1:53 a.m. CST

    Texas Chainsaw Massacre - Sawyer family

    by Boondock Devil

    I think it's great that they finally have decided to go back to using the "real" Leatherface and clan but do they explain why he's missing an arm in the book?

  • June 28, 2007, 2:36 a.m. CST

    HFH WWH tie in was my first, quite dug it

    by TallBoy66

    I enjoyed the book, but I like how its WWH tie-in is going to not be all about "how these chaps got smacked around by Hulk" but, instead, takes a different route and foucses on A) the evacuation and B) a nifty twist with the Brood and Miek as the baddies of the storyline in something like outta Aliens. As someone who's read every issue of Planet Hulk, I'm digging a different take on these alien characters. Hopefully it'll be interesting stuff, leading right up to the tentacle porn of issue #13!! Oh baby, tentacle porn.

  • June 28, 2007, 5:16 a.m. CST

    Actually, Robin has had SIX people close to him die...

    by stones_throw

    meep

  • June 28, 2007, 6:54 a.m. CST

    Constantine's not actually gay...

    by rev_skarekroe

    He's just not fussy. He's a switch-hitter. He straddles the fence. He's got an open mind. He crosses the aisle. He's AC/DC. He's a two beer queer. You get what I'm saying?

  • June 28, 2007, 7:51 a.m. CST

    maybe this is a dumb thing to say...

    by BizarroJerry

    but if a dude likes to do it with another dude, he's gay. Whether or not he likes women, too, is irrelevant. I have no problem with either, but to me, exclusivity has nothing to do with it.

  • June 28, 2007, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Yes, BizarroJerry, that was a dumb thing to say.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Akin to saying that one of those black and white cookies is a black cookie. No, it's a black AND white cookie. Dig?

  • June 28, 2007, 8:20 a.m. CST

    well, I did figure it was dumb

    by BizarroJerry

    but my point is, if a friend of mine told me he was bisexual, my reaction would be, "Wow. So, you're into dudes, huh?" Ah, I'm just bored and feel like explaining the inner workings of my brain to absolute strangers, anonymously. Don't mind me.

  • June 28, 2007, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Actually, Constantine SMOKES fags...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    because, you know, that's what they call cigarettes...and that's where the confusion comes in. Damn British terms. <br> <br>Of course, he seemed oddly fussed and frustrated after renting "Free Willy", so one never knows...

  • June 28, 2007, 9:20 a.m. CST

    New Joe Fridays! Quesada comments on H4H #13!

    by stones_throw

    ...NRAMA (chuckles): Now Joe, some silly people have got a little too excited about a *(groans)* silly little comic book cover. Joe, why are these people silly? JQ (winks suggestively): You know me Matt, I'm a pretty straight-up sort of guy! I mean, I hadn't even heard the word "pornography" before today and I'm still not entirely sure what it means! So when I saw that cover for the first time *(sees cover for first time)* I...ah...I mean there's, ah plenty of...uh...I mean, it's not like there's no MEN on the cover! Just look at Shang-Chi's, ah, arm. I mean, uh, look over there! *(goes off on lengthy, unrelated ramble)*...so in conclusion there's absolutely nothing wrong with the cover and anyone who says otherwise is a silly ninny who's also wrong. I fully expect our fanbase of adolescent boys and immature men to lap this up, and frankly I couldn't give a fuck about the chicks! Besides, it's not like you can blame us. The Brood have tentacles for lady-groping and Black Cat has slimy boobies. Our hands were tied. NRAMA (grabs ankles): Joe, it wouldn't be very journalistically integral of me to say this, but you are, absolutely, 100 per cent right. And may I say rather attractive too? Now on to some reader mail. Here's one from Marvel_Zombie98. "Joe, why are you so awesome?" JQ: Well, Marvel_Zombie, I think the answer has something to do with me being awesome. Just the other day I was polishing my Man of the Year award and thinking how DC...

  • June 28, 2007, 10:30 a.m. CST

    Thayla

    by superninja

    I don't read comics anymore, but Flash is a legacy character and when you start killing off Flashes, it just kind of stinks. I like having all of the different Flashes around. Of course, I wouldn't want this for every superhero (Superman and Batman come to mind) but it's kind of a nifty little thing with the Flashes and killing of Bart seems cheap.

  • June 28, 2007, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Somehow I don't think...

    by Thalya

    Bart's story is anywhere near done. -Dead is never dead, potentially not even for Barry Allen anymore. -DC's got another crisis coming. -He went out in too weak a fashion, even for most heroes. DC loves stirring up outrage like this only to pull a "fooled ya!" months down the line, so I'm definitely waiting and seeing.. <BR><BR>The character damage done to the Rogues, however? Grrr...

  • June 28, 2007, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Damn.. Power Girl's Tits are Big!

    by Lolthien

    I mean, in that cover her tits actually look like they come OUT of her costume, and bouncily thrust up above the top of the opening before being constrained in just the nick of time by the rest of her costume. I can't wait until she gets pasties... awesome.

  • June 28, 2007, 11:52 a.m. CST

    One of these days..

    by Thalya

    I'm thinking about going to a con dressed as Peege. Although I think I'd need a bit of help..

  • June 28, 2007, 12:25 p.m. CST

    Yes, Lolthien...

    by BizarroJerry

    A significant portion of DC's storylines last year were based around the fact that PG has huge breasts. She's also become a favorite in fan art cuz, well, y'know, big boobies.

  • June 28, 2007, 12:33 p.m. CST

    JLA Movie Update

    by Abin Sur

    http://tinyurl.com/ynlgev - that's the Variety link. Seems like Warners really likes the first draft of the script. Good news for sure! As long as they've got Hal Jordan...

  • June 28, 2007, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Hey! I am a lifelong LOSH fan!

    by Psynapse

    Anybody else remember those over-sized digests DC and Marvel were so big on on the late 70's? (Hell, that's where Spider-Man and Superman first met each other) There was a Legion one with this BADASS 2-page splash of the entire team in flight around the Cockrum redesign of the headquarters. That said, the 'New Earth reboot' version has been THE. LAMEST. version yet and I may drop it from my pull list. This is major when you consider that I've had legion on my pull list since I opened this last subscription with my LCS back in 1991. 16 FREAKING YEARS of unwavering loyalty about to get flushed.

  • June 28, 2007, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Actually, Psy, this is the first time I've liked LSH

    by Ambush Bug

    MAybe it's because I got in on the ground floor of this current version. I never liked any of the other versions because I had no idea what the hell was going on. I loved the costumes and the recent JLA/JSA crossover proved that some of Cockrum's designs still in fact to kick ass and I think I picked up a few issues of the old early 80's series because of that simple fact: cool costumes cool lookin' heroes. But this recent LSH seres has me caring about heroees I never knew existed. I also dug L.E.G.I.O.N. with Vril Dox, Lobo, and Captain Marvel bakc in teh day as well.

  • June 28, 2007, 1:14 p.m. CST

    *skitters out of nest*

    by Thalya

    *places obligatory once-a-month fanfic link* <BR><BR>http://tinyurl.com/2kyrpp <BR><BR>Has it really been two whole months since I've finished this thing? I just can't believe all the continuous fanfare and begging for more...<BR><BR> *skitters back to her nest and sobs*

  • June 28, 2007, 1:51 p.m. CST

    B@stards

    by rook187

    I can't believe they killed Bart! Them bastards! They never gave the character a chance and now we'll have to wait 10 years for the next DC reboot before he, Suberboy, and Robin will have a chance to kick around Young Justice style again. :( Bastards.

  • June 28, 2007, 1:57 p.m. CST

    rook187

    by Thalya

    Who says DC's finished with their latest reboot?

  • June 28, 2007, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Anybody know a good comic book artist?

    by GreatWhite

    I'm trying to launch a comic book series in the general vein of Hellboy and The Goon, and I'm looking for an artist. If you're interested, or know somebody that might be, feel free to get in touch with me through my rather pathetic myspace page at http://tinyurl.com/3yhop4 Thanks!

  • June 28, 2007, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Finding an Artist

    by Squashua

    Let me tell you - you want to find an artist? Go check out the rpg.net forums.<br><br>A ton of artists who want to break into the industry are there, including some RPG art pros. Many will do commissioned work for cheap.

  • June 28, 2007, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Karl Kerschl on Flash

    by The Heathen

    T, I wouldn't read Flash: FMA #3 again, but definietely look at the purty pictures. Kerschl does great work, but he never stays on anything longer than one or sometimes a short string of issues. His longest run I can remmeber in recent years was on Adventures of Superman, since then he's only done a fill in issue here and there. I think he's awesome, but I like Acuna's work too and he seems to put it out in a timely fashion as well. His work on Green Lantern has been nice. I think he'll be fine on Flash.

  • June 28, 2007, 4:32 p.m. CST

    But if I had to choose…

    by The Heathen

    Frank Quitely would draw an awesome Flash book wouldn't he? Then there's always Cassaday, but these are only if you could freeze time and put out an issue every other month at least. ; )

  • June 28, 2007, 4:40 p.m. CST

    Kerschl. Is. Perfect.

    by Thalya

    Q.E.D.

  • June 28, 2007, 5:06 p.m. CST

    I'm an artist....

    by Psynapse

    See?: http://tinyurl.com/3dhzlq**<p> Though I confess that A) I'm a pin-up artist mainly and B) am in the process of getting a queer-themed fantasy pin up bizness up and running.<p> I could do some BADASS covers though......

  • June 28, 2007, 5:39 p.m. CST

    Hey..uh..FAKE ME...

    by thecomedian

    STOP STEALING COMICS...amongst other things...But seriously, I guess imitation is the most sincere for of flattery and blah, blah, blah. I guess two Comedians can coexist. As long as you keep it cool like Rhodie and not fuck up like Azbats.

  • June 28, 2007, 7 p.m. CST

    We finally agree on something for once....

    by Beeslo

    Brock's revenge is surely a sleeper hit this summer but man what a fantastically scripted issue with spine-chilling art. Can't wait til the concluding issue next month. The thing I dug the most was how insane Brock has become and how he no longer views MJ and May as "innocents." I do wish on the side that the powers that be will give Brock back the symbiote so that he can be the badass Venom we all love....and not this current hack, Gargan.

  • June 28, 2007, 7:37 p.m. CST

    I wouldn't call the Scorpion a hack...

    by loodabagel

    I mean, did you read the new issue of Thunderbolts? *SPOILER* That muthafucka bit off Ollie Osnick's arm! I really like Thunderbolts. I think it might be Ellis's best comic of recent memory. But, yeah. The way things are playing out, Gargan will definitely lose the suit sometime in the near future. He keeps getting bigger and meaner everytime I see him. Poor 'ol Mac's gonna die.

  • June 28, 2007, 8:13 p.m. CST

    Squashua

    by GreatWhite

    Thank you! I just registered on rpg.net and put up a posting on the Other Media page. Appreciate the tip.

  • June 28, 2007, 8:34 p.m. CST

    i'm betting that bart allen isn't gone for good

    by sonnyhooper

    ....after reading JLA #10, my guess is bart is gonna end up with the legion back in the 31st century. where he actually came from originally if memory serves.

  • June 28, 2007, 8:41 p.m. CST

    forgot to add...

    by sonnyhooper

    ...that basically i agree with what sleazy said in his cheap shot, that bart is going to end up with the legion. but i disagree with him that it's a bad thing. because like i said i think barts origin was that he was born in the 30th century and travelled back to our time. so basically, (even though it's the 31st century now) bart is pretty much "going home", so to speak.

  • June 28, 2007, 11:19 p.m. CST

    Psynapse, very cool art

    by GreatWhite

    It's not quite what I'm looking for, but it's cool. I really loved that red dragon. I'm looking for more of an American style, though, not manga. But keep it up, you're good.

  • June 29, 2007, 5:11 a.m. CST

    SUPERGIRL CASTING

    by doctordoublex

    I understand that Krisi Ballentine from Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model Search, Lingerie Bowl, and Deal or No Deal, and a brief cameo in Disturbia, is being considered to play Supergirl on Smallville. She's also up for a lead role in Baywatch the movie. http://youtube.com/watch?v=nkkxdPCM8ng

  • June 29, 2007, 8:45 a.m. CST

    I like the Gargan Venom.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Only good thing to come out of Millar's Spider-Man, really.

  • June 29, 2007, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Joe...

    by BizarroJerry

    Yep, more from me about G.I. Joe. Why not? Now, I know there's a lot of hate for Wizard magazine from some comic fans, but they've made G.I. Joe their Book of the Month. So, don't consider this just some silly book being promoted by some lone weirdo on AICN...<p> http://tinyurl.com/25q522

  • June 29, 2007, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Role Playing Game Artists

    by Squashua

    Glad to be of help, GreatWhite.<br><br> Many famous artists/writers got their start with role-playing game stuff.<br> Alex Ross and Ben Edlund to name two.

  • June 29, 2007, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Ben Edlund!

    by Thalya

    Spooooon!<BR><BR>We worshipped her first!

  • June 29, 2007, 1:12 p.m. CST

    The Zombie stuff is out because

    by kirttawesomio

    "30 Days of Night" and "The Walking Dead" were successful. Zombies became a legitimate money making genre and so the whole industry had there take. Their making a "30 Days of Night" movie right now. The most interesting zombie book to me sounds like "Robots vs Zombies" by the dude on the scene Ashley Wood.

  • June 29, 2007, 7:22 p.m. CST

    No. Bug. Not the current LSH.

    by Homer Sexual

    It's not that Waid can't write anything. He's done some great work...didn't he do Kingdom Come?...but he is too staid to do LSH. <p> I have read the Legion as long as Psynapse, and sometimes it's been great (Darkness saga, Karate Kid's death storyline, good vs. Evil Ranzz family), sometimes it's been pretty good (Abnett/Lanning/Coipel) but sometimes it's just bad. Lots of times, actually, including the latest relaunch. <p> My brother used to defend LSH as "candy," junk food for the brain. Compliment. The latest relaunch was so boring, I quit buying, and every time I check in, it's still boring: Like putting in Supergirl. Some people may like it, but that is just dorky to me. <p> So I bet it is Barry Allen, because if Bart Allen went back to the future, I would be interested. Barry Allen, I would be rolling my eyes so hard my sockets hurt. The Lightning Saga was promising but ended up being weak. Bringing back Impulse, in whatever form, would redeem that one and the allegedly lame death of Bart. (Don't want to read it after what I've read). <p> Geez, Barry Allen and Hal Jordan back....despite having crossed the 40 line myself, I find that just wretchedly lame. I don't dig on that 1950's-era sensibility thing.

  • June 30, 2007, 12:50 p.m. CST

    I might as well be the first one to say it, but...

    by Thalya

    It's starting to feel like Summer 2005 all over again. Sinestro Corps, much?

  • July 1, 2007, 12:27 a.m. CST

    Having read the first eight issues of LoSH...

    by loodabagel

    Those I enjoyed. Maybe you're all too old to enjoy it and Waid and Kitson were actually marking it to a teen market, which, in fact, would be really lame.

  • July 1, 2007, 1:40 p.m. CST

    And another thing...

    by Thalya

    BLUE BEETLE!!! Rivals Sinestro Corps as best book this week! Countdown crossover my foot! Now that's how you do a stand-alone! Will make you go "Now that's a fun comic!". Spread the word!

  • July 2, 2007, 12:36 a.m. CST

    Gee, I'd love to...

    by loodabagel

    but I just don't have the flow. Maybe I'll read it in the store.

  • July 2, 2007, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Why the 'new' LOSH SUCKS (IMHO)

    by Psynapse

    1. 30 issues, 1 (sorta) dead Legionnaire, 2 galaxy-wide wars, 1 time-lost 'Super' returned to membership and it's been ONE. LONG. YAAAAAWN. (Seriously, it's been boring as all fucking get out)<p>2. Sorry but not only returning full bore to the old codenames (Worse yet: "Atom Girl" & "Micro Lad"-What the syphilitic fuck, Mark, where you drinking THAT heavily when working on this?!?) was fucking retarded, Waid.<p>3. The "Youth versus the Aged" plot backdrop is just a bad idea for a plot frame in this circumstance. The Legion is sci-fi fantasy at it's finest. While I can appreciate using the story to examine 'real world' issues that particular one hobbles the story rather than props it up.<p>4. Barry Kitson is a very accesible artist with some of the cleanest line work on the stands. HOWZEVAH, his fashion design is just plain boring. His redesign of the Legion outfits is nothing more than a mishmash rehash of several previous designs and ultimately ends ups being blander than pablum.<p>That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.....

  • July 2, 2007, 10:18 a.m. CST

    BLUE BEETLE!!!

    by Thalya

    I'm tellin' ya. The big reveal with regard to eponymous characterization? Well, you need to read it to believe it. And how the bad guy gets beaten? Heh.

  • July 3, 2007, 1:05 p.m. CST

    Ya know what I liked?

    by loodabagel

    The Spirit. That was a good issue.

  • July 3, 2007, 9:26 p.m. CST

    ..

    by blackthought

    goal!!! ay, colombia you are destroying me in the copa here... comic related stuff... sinestro corps rocked... food is good too.