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AICN COMICS REVIEWS STEPHEN KING'S THE DARK TOWER! BLACK ADAM! CRECY! PUNISHER! AND MUCH MORE!

#14 8/1/07 #6
Logo by Ambush Bug

Greetings Faithful Talkbackers, Ambush Bug here. Just wanted to toss out another quick reminder that there will be a handful of @$$Holes at this year’s WIZARD WORLD CHICAGO at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL just north of Chicago on August 10th, 11th, and 12th. Humphrey Lee, Sleazy G, and myself will be out and about, circling the booths and hobnobbing with stars and fans alike. So if you’ve got a booth or a book you’d like us to stroll by and take a look at or if you just want to chat it up about comics, be sure to contact us. It’s sure to be a fun con this year with all sorts of surprises.
And now…
…on with the reviews.


The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) An @$$Hole Two-In-One Review of BLACK ADAM: THE DARK AGE #1 THE PUNISHER #50 GODS OF ASGARD GN STEPHEN KING’S THE DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN #7 THE ANNOTATED NORTHWEST PASSAGE OGN THE NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI #4 ROYAL FLUSH MAGAZINE ISSUE # 4 JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #8 CRECY One Shot CHEAP SHOTS!

BLACK ADAM: THE DARK AGE #1 (of 8)

Writer: Peter Tomasi Penciller: Doug Mahnre Inkers: Alamy and Rapmund Publisher: DC Comics An @$$Hole Two in One Review by: Rock-Me Amodeo and Jinxo

Jinxo here with Rock-Me Amodeo with an advanced sneak peak at DC Comic’s new BLACK ADAM mini-series. The series details exactly what happened between the end of 52 where we saw Black Adam de-powered and the start of COUNTDOWN where he showed up powered up again and sharing his tainted power with Marvel Girl. Instead of a typical review Amodeo and myself decided to do discuss what we thought of the new book. So, Rock-Me Amodeo?
Rock-Me: The one thing I really appreciate is that Black Adam is not some kind of tortured noble soul. He's a killer and an SOB, and he's being written that way. He'll lie straight faced to anyone if it furthers his goals.
Jinxo: Interesting. I wouldn’t use the word "noble" in there either but I do think “tortured soul” fits. Maybe a damned tortured soul. Did he lie? I mean, you know, aside from the people looking to catch him? He came across to me more like a sort of cult leader sort who actually puts his wants and needs ahead of his people and their safety. That said, it didn't seem to me he lied to them about what he was up to but instead somehow convinced them that his goal was worth them potentially getting dead for.
I liked that even though this is a comic book about people with super powers it wasn't a "super powers" book. Yes, super powers, magic and stuff are in there, but they really take a back seat to more real world gritty action and characterizations. And I have to say, growing up I always sort of looked at Black Adam as one more "exact opposite of the hero" villains. The evil opposite number to Captain Marvel. Which works and all, but really, you end up defining the bad guy off of the hero counterpart. Now though, I think Black Adam stands on his own as a character, separate and not defined by the Big Red Cheese. I like Captain Marvel but I'm finding Black Adam a more compelling character. Creepy but compelling.
Rock-Me: Well, I thought it was particularly ballsy to rant about the evil that Black Adam caused his country, knowing full well that he was the one who did it.
I mean, I looked at it again to see if it was cleverly disguised self-loathing (which might have been seemed "poignant" and "deep," but ultimately "trite") but it wasn't. It was more than that. He seems to have almost sociopathic tendencies whilst in pursuit of his goal. Sure, that goal may be a greater good in his mind, but it's the dark side of Nietzsche, fer sure. And we see that "end-justifies-the-means" thing played out even further as he nears his goal (i.e., his choice of sustenance, for example).
Jinxo: See, I just view the anti-Black Adam rants as too freaky. You want to get to point X, the only way is to say certain things, you say 'em. I think if it was a WWII era Captain America trying to sneak into Germany undercover, he'd say whatever crap he thought they'd want to hear.
Ah, I forgot about the fine dining menu. And I'm not so sure he has anyone's greater good in mind except his own. He figures it's him against the world so then the world be damned. Actually Adam reminds me of Harold from Stephen King's THE STAND. The kid starts off creepy and wrong. Then he gets this one shot at saving his soul, becoming a good guy and doing the right thing. But then it all just goes wrong and he falls further, becoming more broken, just plain irredeemable and almost pitiable.
Rock-Me: Damn Nadine!
No, like you said, he’s not the opposite number of Marvel, nor is he some kind of limp anti-hero. He's somewhere between driven and evil and he's becoming more and more a character in his own right. I don't think I would want to read 100-200 issues of "The Irredeemable Black Adam" but it's a very compelling and thought-provoking read for the nonce. And it should certainly evoke some strong mental images of recently fallen real-world tyrants. At least it did for me.
Whadja think of the art? I was really impressed with how well it fit the mood.
Jinxo: I liked the art quite a bit. Again, even though it sort of sticks to the classic hero-book style in general, I think it had a nice real world, dirty lived-in (and died-in) look. Black Adam's sort of Rasputin-after-a-bad-car-accident look I quite liked.
I actually just wish DC hadn't been in such a hurry to get COUNTDOWN up and running. One of my complaints with Countdown was that Black Adam just pops back up good as new with no explanation as to how he got his powers back. Yes, this book will spell that all out and I can't wait to see what happens.
But I think the flow of his story would have been better if DC handled it better. You have 52 end, then you just let Black Adam fall off the radar for a month or two. Then when the readers are good and curious you start this book. Then, finally, AFTER this tale is told go have him handing out bad power mojo to innocent little Marvel Girls. I know, I know, they wanted to do the evil Marvel Girl thing ASAP but I just think skipping over his tale and then going back steps on the pacing of Black Adam's tale just a bit. Still looks to be a good story I just personally think DC screwed up the flow a bit.
Rock-Me: Yeah, the Mad Mary Marvel might have been a better story if SHE (not Black Adam) had just suddenly shown up, with HER powers, claiming she was fine. Then we would have watched her spiral to "the dark side...", which would given them time to do the Black Adam story (in bi-weekly installments, even) and then give the Big Reveal of Adam as her benefactor toward the end. Ah, well, I'm sure when DC is hiring writers and editors, they will invariably seek one or both of us out.
But one thing is clear: Adam is a bad mamma-jamma, and if the life span of his loyal henchman is equal to that of any girl who gets engaged to a Cartwright, it’s got to be even worse for the people who piss him off. He's so ruthless, I'm not sure one could even call him a protagonist.
Bottom line for me is, with a few minor nits, this is a very readable and beautifully drawn story that may make you cringe several times over before it’s all said and done.
Jinxo: Agreed. The path ahead looks dark and twisty (or twisted) but it also looks to be a hell of a ride.

PUNISHER #50

Writer: Garth Ennis Art: Howard Chaykin Publisher: Marvel MAX Reviewer: Ambush Bug

So issue fifty comes around and what does Garth Ennis do?
Does he do a retrospective issue where the Punisher gets locked in a freezer with Sam the Butcher and they swap stories of ridding the world of scum and banging Alice on that teeter totter Bobby and Cindy used to play on?
Well, no. Maybe Garth is holding off for issue #100 for that one.
Instead, Garth writes the hell out of a new arc for the Punisher--one that looks to be full of surprises, thrills, and wanton kick-@$$$ery.
I’ve been a staunch supporter of this series since the MAX relaunch. Little by little, Garth Ennis dropped the Spacker Dave and the Russian schtick and took the character seriously. Now, Ennis is writing some of the best Punisher stories ever, peeling back the hard shell that the Punisher has built around himself after the death of his family long ago.
For the last few years, this introspection of the Punisher’s psyche has been only hinted at. A lot of times, the inner monologue we get to read only comes at the beginning and ending of these arcs, but in issue fifty, an issue which begins the new arc entitled “The Long, Cold Dark”, we get an entire issue dedicated to the thoughts of the most notorious vigilante in the Marvel U. And while the issue might drag a bit in the middle when Frank gets all “PUNISHER ARMORY” on us and gives a vivid description of the weaponry he chooses to carry, the action moves fast and furious with double and triple crosses on top of manipulations and lies.
This issue also features the return of what looks to be the Punisher’s new arch-nemesis, Barracuda. I’m a big fan of the big guy. He seems to be a truly formidable foe for Frank. And let’s face it, he’s the only guy besides Jigsaw and the Kingpin who has faced the Punisher and lived, so that makes him pretty tough. Barracuda’s appearance is hot on the heels of his own oft-times, over-the-top miniseries that was penned by Ennis as well. I don’t mind seeing the B-Man return in this issue (it truly is a stellar return at that as Barracuda reads the Punisher like a pre-school book and sets him up for capture pretty easily), but I wish the powers-that-be at Marvel would have waited a tiny bit before tossing him at the public again. I’d hate for such a cool character go the mundane way of Venom, the Joker, and Sabretooth, who all lost their bite when they were forced into each and every comic book month after month. Especially with a guy like the Punisher. I don’t want to see him go, but it’s going to be either the Punisher or this Barracuda that loses its bite if both walk away from this one.
Although I wasn’t a fan of his recent work on HAWKGIRL with his focus on tearing off the poor heroine’s shirt to reveal a lace bra in every issue, I must admit Howard Chaykin did one hell of a job with this issue. The art is slightly more stylized than the usual art we’re used to seeing in this series, but Chaykin’s panels, highlighted with grimy glee by the talented colors of Edgar Delgado, really makes this an enjoyable story to look at. Chaykin pays just enough attention to the hardware, depicting them with accurate, even fetishistic precision. The action sequence when the Punisher finally meets Barracuda is equally impressive, depicting complicated camera movements and shots without losing this reader.
Ennis has set the stakes high in this issue. The Punisher is trapped by an arch-nemesis, but it’s suggested that there is yet another character pulling the strings. Could that be the first-time-being-written-by-Ennis appearance of the aforementioned Jigsaw I see on the horizon? Not sure. But this book is as good as ever and some of the best if you are missing the Garth Ennis serious action/drama writer from his old PREACHER days.

GODS OF ASGARD GN

Creator: Erik Evensen Publisher: Studio E3 Reviewer: Dan Grendell

"These are the gods as I see them…sometimes tragic, often fallible, but always powerful, they populate the mythology as complete, well-rounded characters.”
Norse mythology has been drawn on often in comics and fantasy, and it’s not hard to see why. Hard-fighting heroes, clever villains, items of power, tales of romance -- it’s all there in a rough and ready style. Other mythologies are certainly fascinating, and have a draw of their own, but no gods feel as much like real people to me as the Norse. It’s that connection that has made stories about characters like Thor more innately interesting to me than characters like Hercules (and yes, I’m aware that the superhero versions of those gods far from represent the mythological versions. Not my point).
That same interest led me to take notice of this upcoming graphic novel, where instead of using the Norse myths as a launching point for a book, Erik Evensen searches the ancient Eddas and retells those myths in all their exciting and captivating glory. Granted a Xeric Award to self-publish the book, Evensen shows that he definitely earned it by going from Creation to Ragnarok and all places in between in stunning fashion. Strong lines and a panel layout that focuses as much on what’s happening between panels as it does on what’s happening in them create a focused storytelling technique that draws the reader into each myth, and each individual panel is a treat as well, with a practiced use of shadow and blacks and a natural feel to the lines.
By telling a variety of different myths, Evensen is able to explore who many of the gods are as people, not just as stereotypes or forces, and that understanding makes the entire mythology stronger. From a tale of Freya’s obsessive love to an attempt by Thor to avenge a humiliation, most of the stories are not world-shaking events or attempts to explain natural phenomena, but stories about the lives of the gods and how they lived. Whether you look at these through the eyes of a Joseph Campbell reader, a comics fan, or just someone looking for an enjoyable story, you have a thrill coming your way.
I can only hope that others take up this trend and we begin to see more graphic novels like this. Virgin Comics is doing a series of comics about the Indian gods, but that is focused more on each individual deity. I know I would like to know more about how they interrelate, and if someone did a Celtic or Japanese version of GODS OF ASGARD, I’d be all over it.
This is an advance review -- this book is not scheduled to release for another month or so.

STEPHEN KING’S THE DARK TOWER: THE GUNSLINGER BORN #7

Script: Peter David Art: Jae Lee and Richard Isanove Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

All not versed in the ways of Mid-World, turn ye back now. For those what are, listen close if ya will. With issue number seven the first DARK TOWER comic translation draws to a close. Only seven ain’t lucky for nobody this time around, ‘cept maybe for those who appreciate reading about vile deeds and seein’ such deeds depicted in pretty pictures.
The tales as it’s been tellin’ has concerned the first adventure of the young Gunslinger Roland and his ka-tet, that bein’ his friends who have joined him on this fateful mission. Roland shouldn’t be on a mission at ‘tall. He hurried too soon to embrace his place as a gunslinger, was sent off on this mission into the world likely too soon. Having done that he made the foolish mistake of fallin’ in love with the wrong girl in the wrong place at the wrong time when his head should have been on what he was supposed to do, do ya ken it?
But life happens as it will and there’s nothing for it. As the final chapter of this tale starts, Roland’s ka-tet is set to unleash violence and destruction on thems that deserve it. And such violence this reviewer has not seen in many a day. By knife, by shot or by doom more horrible than there are words for, there is vivid death enough for all. Horrible but pretty as a paintin’ if you please.
But as I say seven ain’t lucky for none and that goes for Roland and his ka-tet as well as for villains. For as he moves to take the lives of hundreds of evil men, an evil woman moves to take the one life Roland values as high as his own and yet has left less well guarded than is wise. Watch ye the dreamlike images of death wrought onto men what have it comin’ but also watch death wrought on them what don’t. And watch as the face of Roland the still summit innocent boy hardens into that of Roland the forever damned man.

THE ANNOTATED NORTHWEST PASSAGE OGN

Scott Chantler: Creator Oni Press : Publisher Vroom Socko: King of the Wild Frontier

I have to admit something right out the gate: I’m an annotation junkie. I’m a massive fan of this site of comics annotations, not to mention the various times I’ve cracked open FROM HELL, only to read Alan Moore’s notes in the back. So NORTHWEST PASSAGE gets points from me right with the title.
Of course, I’d already read the initial issue of this story, of which this volume collects parts one thru three, so there were points there already beyond a written history of the Hudson’s Bay company. I had the build-up of the saga of Charles Lord, governor of remote Fort Newcastle in 1755, well in hand. His friends among the Cree, his subordinates in the Company, his enemies among the French, and let’s not forget his son. I knew them all, but not where their journey led to. Well, it leads to ass-kicking.
This is apparently Chantler’s first published written comic. The way he manages to juggle character, plot, action and all around badassness, you’d think he’d been writing for decades. This story works, not because of the badass elements, but because the characters are so strong and clearly defined and everything else hangs off of that. That is what’s known as great writing.
This book is a blast, and the promise of a follow-up is a welcome one. I simply must see what Lord and his cohorts decide to do with themselves after the events of this volume. I’m especially curious to read more of René the French mercenary, as well as John Blackmoon, that mad cross between Daniel Boone and Snake-Eyes.
This is a wild, crazy frontier ride. It’s fun, thrilling, and smart. It’s chock full of background notes and is wrapped up in a perfect package. Do not miss out on this one.

THE NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI #4

Writers: Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Reed Penciler: Jim Cheung Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

Hey! A story where the Illuminati are not acting like total tools! Almost, but not quite. Kinda nice.
I have to say I enjoyed the hell out of the start of this book in particular. Bendis real world talk at its best. Anyone who has to deal with meetings at work knows that often meetings are preceded by friendly and stupid pre-meeting banter about stupid minutiae. Seeing that the most powerful men in the Marvel universe are prone to the same pre-meeting BS was funny as hell. Seriously, I would not have guessed Dr. Strange was internet savvy either! Also good to know that the big guns are just as clueless about women as the rest of us.
The main body of the story was also a nice change of pace. Instead of just shooting people into space, the guys debate between a moral and immoral solution to a problem and decide to go with the moral solution! Go figure. I really enjoyed the flow and logic of the story as the Illuminati tried to find a solution to dealing with young Noh-Varr’s world crushing desires. It was thoughtful, involving and not bone-headed at all. Odd since I thought bone-headed decisions were required in the Illuminati’s charter.
The art for the issue is top notch too. The story relies both on big images of landscapes and battles and on smaller images of more subtle facial expressions, both of which are well done. Sub-Mariner smirking or kicking ass, Noh-Varr seeing worlds through others’ eyes and looking into his own soul…it all worked really well.

ROYAL FLUSH MAGAZINE ISSUE # 4

Publisher: The #Number Foundation Reviewer: Dan Grendell

At first, as I opened up the pages of ROYAL FLUSH and began reading, I was a little confused as to why they had sent me a copy. It’s sort of like Rolling Stone if it was written by the guys who work at Maxim, without the focus on T&A. You know, sort of blue-collar, goofy humor, with a focus on music, though unlike Rolling Stone, ROYAL FLUSH really seems to have a more indie feel to it and the bands it covers and artists it focuses on aren’t ones you would think to see in headlines. Regardless, there didn’t seem to be much for a comics reviewer to see.
Then I started taking a better look at the articles I was seeing. These weren’t slick pieces filled with headshots and whatnot. These articles were filled with bits of artwork, some from comics artists, some not, but all hip and all much more interesting and individual than mere photos. That’s more like it, I thought. I wasn’t personally too interested in the contents of the articles, many of which seemed to be a bit out of date, but the artwork was turning me on. Hell, even the ads were filled with cool artwork, not at all the slick crap I was used to seeing.
The real payoff, though, came when I hit the actual comics section. It took up roughly a quarter of the 136 page magazine, all in full color, and featured funky indie jams from the likes of Steve Chanks, Josh Bernstein, Shannon Wheeler, Erik Rodriguez, Ryan Dunlavey, Harlan P. Cress, and John Reis. Ranging from Too Much Coffee Man to a Hitler-hammering Jewish combo named the Mitzvah 4 to the frenetic Hispanic Batman, there was nothing but energy and creativity on those pages and they actually seemed a bit out of place alongside tired Michael Jackson jokes.
Overall, I found ROYAL FLUSH to be a mixed bag. The comics were cool, with an energy all their own, and the art throughout the magazine gave it its own vibe, but there was a strange dichotomy between lame humor and actually interesting articles about bands like the Dresden Dolls. The comics stuff alone makes it worth a look, though if they can figure out what kind of magazine they want to be this could be a great read.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #8

Writer: Geoff Johns Penciller: Fernando Pasarin Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

I have to say, I really am enjoying Geoff John’s run on JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA. I’m not sure he’s everybody’s cup ‘o tea but I really enjoy his style. I like that beyond the characters having super powers and running around in tights, he actually really treats them like people. The classic hero trope is that everybody has their vulnerability, their weakness. Superman has kryptonite, Green Lantern can’t effect anything that’s yellow, Batman has that bad peanut allergy…but Geoff John’s gives his heroes real human vulnerabilities. His heroes might be powerful heroes but beyond that, their lives can be just as messed up as ours are. Heck, theirs can be worse. I’d be tempted to say, oh, he’s taking the Marvel heroes tack except I think maybe his heroes have even worse times of it. I mean, Spider-Man feels a need to make his dead Uncle Ben proud. But Citizen Steel gets to feel overshadowed by and unworthy of his family legacy while also having no ability to physically feel others AND having to wear tons of armor just to mute his powers. With Peter Parker you can go, yeah his life is rough, but he gets to be Spider-Man. Citizen Steel? Wow, his whole life is a struggle.
The latest issue focuses on Liberty Belle and Damage. On the face of it, they would seem on the opposite ends of the spectrum. Damage is actually physically – and through that mentally – damaged. Liberty Belle seems to be, as the book states, perfect. But as the story unfolds, we see that Liberty Belle’s life, like nobody’s life, is perfect. Liberty Belle might not have had a soul crushing life as Damage has, but it clearly ain’t been a bed of roses. I’m not familiar with all the DC heroes and until now I didn’t really know or care a ton about Liberty Belle. I mean, I’ve read stories featuring her but she never made an impression on me. But with this issue, I now feel like I have a vested interest in her. More than that, I like her.
And I feel quite a bit of pity for Damage. He sums up his pain with one particular line concerning things he will never have again given his facial deformity that was for me pretty moving. It hit me as the sort of pain someone might keep inside but would rarely say aloud. And as to heroic vulnerabilities, if someone was to say to most people, “You can be a superhero, but the trade off is you can never have this thing again,” I think most people would take a pass on the whole hero thing.
Next issue: Green Lantern suffers from halitosis and Hourman copes with the heartbreak of psoriasis. Oddly enough, if that were true, I think Johns would actually have me giving a damn.

CRECY One-Shot

Story: Warren Ellis Artwork: Raulo Caceres Publisher: Avatar Press Reviewer: Sleazy G

A couple of years back, Warren Ellis established an imprint at Avatar called Apparat. Its intent was to allow him a place to publish one-shots in a wide variety of genres and tell stories that wouldn’t ordinarily reach a more mainstream audience. Unfortunately, his first batch of Apparat titles sold out so quickly I never got the chance to read them, making CRECY my inaugural Apparat title. Now that I’ve read it, I can see why the imprint was necessary: CRECY is a story that wouldn’t make sense with most other publishers. It could certainly be stretched out to a miniseries, or at least a full-length graphic novel, but it would have been unnecessary and excessive. At 44 pages, it feels just right--like Ellis had something to say and knew when to stop.
CRECY retells the tale of a legendary battle that took place on French soil in August of 1346. Ancient history, to be sure, and a story reminiscent of the Spartans’ stand at Thermopylae, only instead of a handful of soldiers defending their homeland it’s actually about a small but brutally effective squad of British soldiers as aggressors, devastating a far larger and better equipped French army. As was the case with the Spartans, the numbers sound as if they’ve been aggrandized in the telling—a couple hundred British men lost while taking out thirty thousand Frenchmen seems unlikely at best. Still, it’s the kind of macho asskickery that makes history more interesting for the telling, and while the numbers may seem a bit off it’s still a grimly inspirational story.
I don’t know if I’ve ever heard the tale before or not, to be honest—I don’t recall it from my Modern European History classes in high school, but then again, that was long enough ago to be considered history itself. But this story of a British people so fed up with getting their asses kicked by the French for so many generations that they take the fight to them—and do so with a savagery and brutality completely at odds with the chivalrous traditions of the times—is definitely one that deserves more attention. Ellis tends to do an awful lot of research into his subjects, and the real focus of this book is on the strategy and weaponry of the times. It’s almost a primer on medieval warfare, explaining how weapons were made and put to use in the field. Some of it was familiar—the different types of arrowheads used for different purposes and the vital role of excrement in battle, for example—while some of it was a bit surprising. While everyone is aware of the use in Southeast Asia this century of traps made by hiding pits filled with wooden spikes, I had no idea the British had used it 600 years earlier, and it’s piqued my interest enough to make me want to look into the subject further.
There are times where the book feels a little like a textbook as it lays out the above information; the book is narrated by one of the soldiers as if he’s talking to a modern reader directly rather than being told as a story that gradually unfolds. That said, Ellis isn’t one to do a dry educational manual by any means. The book is full of era-appropriate vulgarities, and being English our narrator is merciless when talking about the French. Still, they’re not the only ones to get the short end of the stick: the Normans, Scottish and Welsh all get their fair share as well. And once the battle finally kicks off, we get our fair of battlefield butchery.
I’ve not seen Raulo Caceres’ work before, but he definitely impresses here. The artwork is black and white, with a detailed style that at times resembles etchings. Caceres does well with all of the details, from facial expressions to accurate depictions of the weaponry. Even potential trouble spots for black and white work like rain and evening scenes are handled well with only one or two minor exceptions. It’s a style that’s well suited to the subject matter, and Caceres is a name I’ll be watching for in the future.
If you’re looking for something new or have an interest in historical battles, this one is definitely worth checking out. For those of you who are already Ellis fans, not to worry—his signature attitude and style are here, just presented in a different manner than you’re used to seeing. Which is a good thing, as far as I’m concerned—seeing a writer stretch himself and push in new directions is always worthwhile. CRECY wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was an interesting and entertaining read, and one I’m glad I decided to try.

SHANNA THE SHE-DEVIL #1 Marvel Comics

Ignore the dag nasty Frank Cho miniseries. THIS is one awesome Shanna tale. This issue has pirates, sea monsters, dinosaurs, mobsters, and of course, a barely clothed jungle goddess. Whereas the former miniseries focused on purely fluff and cheesecake, this series actually has a nice story wrapped around all of the jiggly jungle boobies. Action-meisters Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray supply the writing and team up with their former HEROES FOR HIRE artist Khari Evans. Evans does a great job during the panels where Shanna goes apeshit on some raptors. Heads fly, machetes and knives swing, and the blood splatters. There were a few panels that seemed a bit rushed, but the money shots in this book were superb. This is starting out to be another fine miniseries from Marvel. – Bug

COUNTDOWN #39 DC Comics

Something just occurred to me with this issue of COUNTDOWN. One of this book’s big problems is that it never seems to build any momentum. Each issue you only get a few pages for each of the continuing stories, not enough for any of the stories to build up any steam. It just hit me that there is no reason for this. 52 had to work with the conceit that each issue equaled one week of time in the DC universe. So there was a need to really keep all the stories in play week to week. Every week something had to happen to almost every character. But unless I missed a memo, COUNTDOWN is not tied to the same one issue equals one week formula. So there is no logical reason that we have to touch base with EVERY plot every week. I’d much rather have twice the Rogues story in a given issue, take a miss on Jimmy Olsen and then the next issue have the reverse happen. As it is, each issue just jumps around too much between seemingly unconnected plot threads. –Jinxo

BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS: FIVE OF A KIND – NIGHTWING & CAPTAIN BOOMERANG JR. #1 DC Comics

Man, I know one of these days someone is going to come along and write a good Outsiders story, but the current series and this, the first of five one-shots, isn’t it. I couldn’t get past the ludicrous, clunky, and contrived way this issue was set up in the first few pages and it kind of ruined the whole book for me. The fact that Batman simply states his intentions to pit one team member against another to vie for a position on his team in a page-long discourse instead of just doing it shows rank amateur storytelling. But oh well. I guess making the story interesting to read isn’t a goal here. I’d much rather see the first few pages full of Batman lecturing the Outsiders as if they were amateurs (including heavy hitters and old timers like Katana and Metaporpho) than have the book dive right into the action. The story itself? Something is amiss in space as the scientific lab studying Bludhaven-destroyer Chemo appears to be not responding. So of course, this is a job for Nightwing and Captain Boomerang Jr. Batman shows that he can still be a total dick in this issue and also can make some pretty brainless decisions as far as strategy. Instead of sending Metamorpho, an elemental manipulator who may be better suited for a battle with a sentient mass of chemicals, Bats sends the two least powered members of his team. The reason? Well, it’s two-fold. First it’s so we, the readers, can enjoy a mountain of angst for most of the book as Boomer Jr. tries to redeem himself for his pop’s mistakes and Nightwing waxes about his vendetta against Chemo for destroying the city he was protecting. The second reason apparently is that Bats, the whole time, is setting Boomer up as a double agent in Waller’s Suicide Squad. The suspense as to who makes it onto the team is shattered, though, since DC’s solicits have been advertising the new line-up for a few months now. So to recap: clunky writing, soap opera angst, dickhead Batman, bad issue. - Bug

METAL MEN #1 DC Comics

Doc Magnus turned out to be my favorite character to leap from the pages of 52 and this miniseries continues to paint the troubled scientist in an interesting light. Artist Duncan Rouleau tries on his writing hat as well and proves to be quite formidable at both. The designs of the Metal Men and their technological foes are fluid and imaginative. This story does a good job of setting an ominous tone, while maintaining a light-hearted flavor while the Metal Men are on stage. This is one 52 spin-off I can get behind. – Bug

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  • Aug. 8, 2007, 4:07 a.m. CST

    Hey Robert Anderson...

    by Horace Cox

    You are a douche.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 4:27 a.m. CST

    Those Rollover Ads...

    by Dr Uwe Boll

    Are really fuckin' pissing me off.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 5:25 a.m. CST

    I hate to say it, but...

    by stones_throw

    AICN Comics is in danger of losing its distinctive personality. Most of these reviews don't say much more than "it's good"/"it isn't". Then again maybe that reflects more on the dull comics coming out now.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 6 a.m. CST

    Again and again I'll press this point,

    by DuncanHines

    MARVEL has to turn SAM WILSON, THE FALCON, into The New Captain America. I know some other @$$holes are with me on this... Can you petition the EIC with talkbacks?

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 6:02 a.m. CST

    French getting their ass kicked

    by TheBloop

    Who would have thunk it?

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 6:25 a.m. CST

    METAL MEN were the starscream in 52

    by messi

    fucking awesome

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Fuck I was looking for this black adam series

    by messi

    couldn't find where it started or if it had yet to start.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 6:26 a.m. CST

    Final Crisis= End of the DCU/Resolution of Fourth World

    by messi

    Bet on it.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 6:30 a.m. CST

    Black Adam #1 comes out today

    by Jinxo

    We got an early sneak peek to do the review.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 7:53 a.m. CST

    Dark Tower......

    by BangoSkank

    I love me some Dark Tower, but this series reminded me of a really bad audiobook abridgment. The kind where they strip a 600 page novel down to two cassette tapes. The best parts of the series were the back-up stories by Robin F...... Pretty pictures too, I won't knock the art. A decent novelty item for Dark Tower junkies, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else. <p> Now how about some action figures? I want an Eddie with optional junkie monkey. Or maybe a Bloody Stumps Roland with lobstrosity. Each could come with one part of a giant bear figure, collect them all you've got yourself a Shadrack Guardian. Thinking cap included.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 8:42 a.m. CST

    DuncanHines, I agree...

    by -=Shin=-

    I'd love to see Sam Wilson step into Captain America's boots. Winter Soldier is great fun, but Bukcy isn't Cap and I pray to god they don't try to shoe-horn Clint Barton into the role, even though he still had the uniform, last I checked... It's gotta be Sam, baby!!

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 8:54 a.m. CST

    Outsiders vs. JSA

    by Bluejack

    Why am I sticking with the Outsiders? Someone please tell me why? Robin stinks. Nightwing stinks. Outsiders stinks. JSA has been a solid read, and I agree with the review. However, the focus is lost a bit when there are sooooo many characters. They should have waited a few issues before bringing in some of these folks. DC is ruining Nightwing. He is a whiney bitch. That is all.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Ignore the dag nasty Frank Cho miniseries?

    by cathartist

    What kind of crack are you smoking? Cho's Shanna was a great mini. Cool babe on raptor action accompanied with beautiful Cho artwork all centered around a busty jungle queen! Sounds good to me.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 9:22 a.m. CST

    A Gunslinger Born is great for King haters

    by RealDoubleJ

    throwing my 2 cents in: I know a ton of Dark Tower fans are upset with what got cut out (reminds me of all the Harry Potter fans bitching about the films) but personally, if it weren't for these comics my bro would still be staunchly hating anything Stephen King writes without reading it. He's not a horror fan so he never took me seriously about the DT series but after these comics, he really wants to catch up with me lol It's like Mike Carey's adaptation of Gaiman's 'Neverwhere' for Vertigo a year or two ago, if you've read it you're probably gonnna nitpick. If you're new; you're gonna love this new world you found.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 9:34 a.m. CST

    I knew Crecy had hooked me when...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    ...I went on the internet to see if Edward the Second really died the way it was depicted. And sure enough, though scholars disagree, it was listed as a possible cause. <br> <br> I was also pleased that Ellis didn't mention a very popular gesture and phrase (falsely rumoured to have originated) at that time as well - the old "Pluck Yew!" story. The two-fingered salute, though, is very much like today's one-finger salute. But I know one thing for sure - I'll remember the battle of Crecy from now on.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 9:55 a.m. CST

    Just read the Wolverine entry on Wikipedia...

    by rev_skarekroe

    So Wolverine, Sabretooth, Feral, Wild Child, and Wolfsbane are all related to Roman age werewolves or something? And Wolvie cut off Sabretooth's head with a magic sword? The hell?

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Correction BangoSkank

    by SavageDragoner

    That's Shardik, not Shadrack. It never went in a fiery pit with Meshach and Abednego. (And yes, I know that one is spelled Shadrach)

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Dunno, rev...

    by Ambush Bug

    Dropped WOLVERINE a while back along with all other X-books except X-FACTOR. As soon as Wolvie regained his memories, I tuned out. Ring it up to bad writing, over-exposure, and the awful taste X-MEN 3 left in my mouth. Haven't looked back and don't have any regrets for the decision. Considering doing the same for Spidey, but it seems as if the Spidey books are going to be refocusing really soon, so I might stick around for the time being.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Cho's Shanna...

    by Ambush Bug

    was awful. Read the first two issues and had no interest in reading the rest of the miniseries. I don't think it was actually even Shanna herself in that one, just some mute clone of the jungle girl or something like that. It was all pin-ups and no story other than finding new situations for Shanna to squat down and show her thong and cleavage. Sure, the new series had Shanna do some ridiculously pin-up girl poses, but at least Palmiotti and Gray is giving us a good story as well. I like a little substance with my cheese, thankyewverymuch.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 10:40 a.m. CST

    ILLUMINANTI #4 Was HIlarious And Spot On

    by LaserPants

    All the banter about the heroes women problems was great! Stark's comment about Clea's hotness was perfect and perfectly in character for the power-holic playboy; for him, its all about surfaces, he doesn't get attached, he just plucks the fruit he wants and discards it. (Of course, later on in the book (the last page, really) its implied that Stark, staring in to the reflection of his helmet, is actually quite lonely and would love to connect, but can't -- that sort of emotional angst being what really drives the character to do such terrible (some might say 'dickheadish') things like, for instance, becoming a fascist and sending half his friends to the Negative Zone SuperGitmo).<br><br> Also great was the banter between Namor and Richards in regards to Sue. Reed: "Oh, I know where she goes..." Next panel, a mute serious faced Namor glares at him. Dudes, I know its subsequently denied by Namor, but he TOTALLY banged Sue. Clearly Sue wants Namor bad. Richards is just the stability and paycheck; Namor brings the meat.<br><br> Of course the coup de grace for all this was Black Bolt pretending to make himself throw-up and laughing at Stark in his mind, then signing that Medusa never lets him get a word in edgewise. Haha! I should hope not what with all the cataclysmic destruction that would ensue! Haha! Great stuff.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 10:41 a.m. CST

    ...

    by blackthought

    uh

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Final Crisis= End of the DCU/Resolution of Fourth World

    by Shigeru

    ...the fuck?

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 11:05 a.m. CST

    ???

    by LaserPants

    huh

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 11:13 a.m. CST

    blackthought and laserpants sum it up

    by Shigeru

    <br>

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Yeah, its the emperors new opinion.

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Doesn't everyone see it? It's so bold, so pithy! Everyone gets it.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 11:26 a.m. CST

    I agree with you Laserpants with everything except...

    by Ambush Bug

    The Black Bolt thing. I liked the back and forth between the guys at the beginning, but the Black Bolt bit was over the top and completely out of character. I hate it that Bendis reduces Black Bolt's participation in this series as little more than an excuse for humor. But given the fact that Bendis' characters blab so much, it doesn't surprise me that he doesn't know what to do with a mute character.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 11:27 a.m. CST

    But I really DID like Illuminati #4

    by rock-me Amodeo

    oh yeah, that Clea's a babe! Oops. <br> Snort!

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 12:46 p.m. CST

    WOLVERINE is retrarded right now

    by Donald Trump

    so here's the breakdown (and I haven't been purchasing, just reading) <p>wolverine has recurring dreams of these ancient fighting wolf-men. <p> goes on a quest to find out about wolf-men. <p>fights sabretooth, is recovered by Storm and black panther and they just happened to know a archaeologist in wakanda who just found some wolf-men bones/artifacts <p>wolverine finds out that he is descended from line wolf-men, and so he's related to anyone with wolf-like powers, such as Sabretooth, Feral, Wild Child, Wolfsbane, And SASQUATCH(?!?!retarded). <p>there is this guy Romulus behind it all, he's the wolf-man in charge or whatever and he is evil. <p>wolverine also finds out that there is a prophecy about two wolf-men rising out of the group as rivals, one blond, one dark-haired. (wolverine and sabretooth, duh) This is a ridiculous thing for the prophecy to be specific about; hair-color??! Why not have them be at odds because they both strive to be the greatest, and they won't tolerate competition? No, they are at odds because one has dark hair and the other is a blondie. <p>Jeph Loeb is a TERRIBLE Wolverine writer. This whole story is a very bad idea.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 12:54 p.m. CST

    and Wolvie killing Sabretooth was very discontinuitous

    by Donald Trump

    Here is normal continuity: <p>in X-MEN, Rogue wants Sabretooth on the team. So he is in the X mansion. <p> in WOLVERINE, Wolvie runs into Sabretooth in the X Mansion and they fight. and he kills him. with the magic sword. <p> But in X-MEN, Sabretooth goes off with Rogue and company on their mission. Mid-mission he escapes (he was sort of an XMen captive) and he hasn't been in a book since.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 1:04 p.m. CST

    sooooo....

    by Ambush Bug

    I did a good thing to stop buying Wolverine. Thanks for the recap and affirmation. Oh yeah, and I guess that means...<br><br> Wait for it...<br><br> Sabretooth's a Skrull then, I guess. Cause they'd never kill him otherwise.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 1:06 p.m. CST

    So, was Werewolf By Night included in this list...

    by Ambush Bug

    of Wolf Men?<br><br> Well, was he? If not then I call shenanegans.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Re: Romulus - I predict...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    that before it's all said and done, there will be ANOTHER mysterious string-puller. And his name will be Remus! Wow! And one of them will be blond, and the other will be brunette. Or whatever manly way you say "brunette."<br> <br> Arghh. I can't stand it. <br><br> Ooooh, nice call on the skrullage, Bug. I bet you're right.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Acually Ambush...

    by nofate

    Dick Johnston's Lying in the Gutter column says Wolvie's son Dakken (gayest name ever) is slated to take over as Sabertooth.<br> <br> Miss me much? I see you've eased up on the Bendis bashing. Picked a good time to start checking your column again.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Mahnke...not Mahnre

    by arsonistradio

    Just sayin'...

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 2:35 p.m. CST

    The problem with the Darkk Tower comics is...

    by DanielKurland

    it's all too rushed. I loved the books to death, but only having 40 or so pages is not enough. It makes it seem ridiculous to have Roland risk so muc hfor Susan, and fall in love with her, when it appears in the comic that they barely know each other, and all the internal stuff is lost. I still am enjoying them a bit, but had I not read the books, and this was my first experience with the "universe", I think I'd fail to see what all the fuss was about. A new story would be much more entertaining.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 3 p.m. CST

    Dark Tower

    by Jinxo

    I don't know that I'd call it rushed. They do sort of blur by elements from the book admittedly so that maybe some of the internal logic is missing. But I actually think the execution sort of matches the style of the art. When I read that book I never feel like I'm watching the story literally happening before my eyes but more like I'm watching it through the hazes of time or in a dream. A heightened yet simplified version of the events. The myth rather than the reality of it. On that basis I think it works and I don't think it will be offputting to newbies. Existing readers know things are missing and feel it, newbies won't. We don't see Roland and Susan's relationship in detail but we don't need to. They're classic archetypes. They're the young starcrossed lovers. They're Romeo and Juliet only amazingly even more doomed. I'm not sure for this take on their story you need much more. You know he's a good if young man and she is a decent girl who if not for Roland will live a very sad life.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Re: Black Adam?!? That murderous SOB...

    by Jinxo

    Actually "Black Adam That Murderous SOB" would be a good title for the book. This series doesn't look to be painting Adam as any sort of hero.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 3:10 p.m. CST

    rawkken with dakken

    by sonnyhooper

    seriously? wolverine's son is named after an 80's hair metal band? O.K. technically the band was named "dokken" but still, thats pretty horrible.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 3:15 p.m. CST

    sounds like a sitcom, actually

    by rev_skarekroe

    This season of Fox - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is "Black Adam: That Murderous SOB"!

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Funny review of WOLVERINE; good site to keep up w/Xmen

    by Donald Trump

    www.thexaxis.com <p> funny wolv review http://tinyurl.com/3xh42c <p>I subscribe to the guy's weekly-emailed reviews, so I can keep up with all things X, without having to buy the stuff. <p>he's a great writer and the email is something I look forward to each week. <p> I'm not knockin' you @holes, cuz I understand you guys gotta cast a wide net regarding what you review for your audience. He gives me my X-fix and you guys give my the rest. And the multiple perspectives on a book are nice as well.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 3:20 p.m. CST

    I never bashed Bendis...

    by Ambush Bug

    I just criticized his work.<br><br> Still do, since...well...that's kind of what I do here.<br><br> Criticize comics, that is.<br><br> But you're right, nofate, I do seem to be liking more and more Bendis stuff since he left DAREDEVIL. Although my criticisms that the thought balloons are out of control in MIGHTY AVENGERS and the cast talks like gay hairstylists (no more "Oh no you di'int!"'s please) in NEW AVENGERS and the aforementioned misuse of Black Bolt in ILLUMINATI still stand. I think that Bendis may be realizing, after having written for the Marvel U for a while now, that there is, in fact, a history there before he came on board and I see his respect for that surface in almost every title he writes; especially in ILLUMINATI which retro-casts the crew into each major event of the Marvel U since the Kree Skrull War, yet still manages to fit the characters into that history by adding to it and not ignoring it.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 3:30 p.m. CST

    latest Wolverine arc, Bendis thought balloons, etc…

    by The Heathen

    I have the latest arc and yeah, it's one of the worst things I've read in the past few years, but also one of the most unique looking, which is why I decided to get it in the first place. Still… wrong move on my part. It's just horrible. Worse than HoM, not as big or as important as The CW was, but equally as bad on a smaller scale. <br> <br> Also, I hate, hate, hate the thought balloons at the end of the dialogue boxes in Mighty Avengers. It's like Bendis decided that that one book was going to be his thought balloon experiment. I may drop it because of that. <br> <br> No matter how pin up pretty ASBAR is, I can never ever pick that title up while Miller is writing it. Having read "Goddamn Batman" about five times on one page is one of about a hundred (literally) reasons why. <br> <br> I finished Deathly Hallows. Was why I took a break from the site. Didn't want it spoiled. Good column @$$es.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 3:52 p.m. CST

    Yeah, those thought balloons...

    by Ambush Bug

    Annoying as hell. The reason for the thought balloons in the first place were to offer the audience a chance to see the inner monologue of a character or maybe it can be used to help catch up the reader without having the character awkwardly explaining what has happened before OR it can even offer the reader a chance to view a character in a different light. There are definitely ways to use these thought balloons effectively. I think the death of the thought balloon in favor of the more concrete text boxes (which I believe was started right about the time of Miller's first WOLVERINE miniseries although I could be wrong) was a sad thing. And I was excited to see their return. But the problem is that Bendis has nothing really important to say in these boxes. We aren't given any insight into the characters and there are so many thought balloons from so many different characters it makes them all look pretty bad since each and every member of the team is speaking in doubletalk and never saying what they mean. The main problem is that this thought balloon experiment may work in a title centering on one person, but doing this with every character is excessive, painful to read, and only serves to dissolve any focus the story may have and any trust in any of the characters because they never fully state what they mean. IN a way it's just another way to tear the heroes down by opening a window that paints them as liars or those afraid to state what is really on their minds.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 3:56 p.m. CST

    You went too far Jinxo

    by prunkhaft

    Your review was ruined by excessive pecos bill style southern twang. Which doesn't really match up with the Mid-World dialect anyway. I'm a huge fan of the books but haven't checked out the comic series; might have to know.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Southern... really?

    by Jinxo

    I mean, I'm not saying I nailed the Dark Tower style by any means but... that read as "Tall Tales" Southern to you??? Really??? "It sounded like crap," I could understand but Waylon Jenning's narrating the Dukes Of Hazard not so much.<br><br> Really???

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Geez, I kind of, um, like the current Wolverine

    by Homer Sexual

    I mean, it's not one of my top 10, but I found it interesting. I admit that I'm not a particular fan of Wolverine, probably due to his total overexposure. But somehow I got onboard during the Guggenheim/Ramos era and stayed after they left. I find the idea of them all being related entertaining, Romulus and Remus entertaining idea, albeit totally ridiculous. Same for Dakken becoming Sabretooth. Sabretooth as a good guy is just putrid. I'd like him to be a dead bad guy. He'll probably return, though. Wolverine is one of those characters who is so over-used and omnipresent that continuity isn't even a concern for me. <p> Now, what book did I read recently and love so much? GLI-Deadpool Summer Special. Squirrel Girl has defeated Marvel's baddest, including Thanos and Doom. But wait...."that stories can't possibly have occured in continuity"..could they? That was super! Squirrel Girl also summarizes why Marvel's current direction sucks donkeys with her talk to Robbie Baldwin/Speedball/Penance, pointing out that he is so full of angsty self-pity when other heroes have done everything he did, and then some, and are able to move on. God, I hate what's become of Speedball. GLI/Deadpool was fresh, funny, fast-moving, continuity-reference heavy, but still accessible for my non-comic fan friends to enjoy (while in the loo, but they still read it and liked it).

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 4:23 p.m. CST

    good review jinxo!

    by prunkhaft

    I might have been harsh with the southern thing. But it WAS distracting.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Heheh

    by Jinxo

    I can totally see the style getting distracting. Just trying something. Really wasn't even offended by the idea I went too far. Just really thought it was funny if that sounded Southern. If I heard people talking like that in the South, I think I would freak out and run the hell away.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 5:28 p.m. CST

    Can anyone explain why 52 TPBs aren't available yet?

    by willydevon

    What the hell is the point of releasing spin-off after spin-off, when the DAMN ORIGINAL ISN'T AVAILABLE?! Does DC even care anymore?

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 5:49 p.m. CST

    wolverine...

    by blackthought

    is retarded.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Dark Tower Books

    by Jinxo

    The Dark Tower books are good reads but the finish could be considered lacking. EVen King seemed to know not everyone would be satisfied with it. It's a case of the journey being more enjoyable than the final destination. For me the journey was enjoyable enough to make it worthwhile.

  • Aug. 8, 2007, 8:58 p.m. CST

    Hello? World War Hulk? Anyone?

    by BetaRayBill07

    I must have missed something somewhere. You'd think WWH and the main Hulk book are currently, you know.....relevant? Hulk Smash? No? Hello, is this thing on?

  • Aug. 9, 2007, 5:25 a.m. CST

    Don't forget Bendis has a co-writer on ILLUMINATI

    by stones_throw

    He's probably the one who researches all the history and continuity, then Bendis comes in and adds Black Bolt gags. And really, I find retconning hidden agendas and writing over classic stories just as arrogant and disrespectful as ignoring them.

  • Aug. 9, 2007, 7:35 a.m. CST

    on the Dark Tower books

    by rev_skarekroe

    I enjoyed every one of them, but a lot of people really hate the last three. Certainly the series suffers from any creative work that takes 25-30 years to complete, in that the creator is not the same person when he started as he is when he finished (see also Cerebus, Star Wars).

  • Aug. 9, 2007, 1:59 p.m. CST

    World War Hulk #3

    by Homer Sexual

    After a smashing start (literally), WWH #3 was a solid issue, but did not bring the excitement of the earlier issues. <p> This was probably inevitable. It would be hard to top the adrenaline rush many readers felt reading/seeing Hulk beat down Iron Man, King of Assholes. <p> With issue 3, we see the writing on the wall. Obviously, Hulk can't really kill some of Marvel's most prominent characters. So the seeds are being planted to turn Hulk back to the (relatively) pro-Earth/humanity side. We see that some of the Warbound are actually rather shady, and Hulk's oldest, truest friend, Rick Jones, is back on the scene. Additionally the Hulk's human friends are around (including a possible future Giant-Man?) and the young genius (7th smartest in the world. How do they make these rankings?) who may or may not be on the up-and-up is featured prominently. This is all good, but doesn't quite resonate like the first issue did. <p> World War Hulk is great! I am not a regular reader of Hulk, and both WWH and Incredible Hulk are on the top of my stack now. But honestly, the only way I could be fully satisfied is if the Hulk really did kill the Illuminati in a brutal manner. Since that is obviously not going to happen, the ending can't possibly live up to the beginning. For me, at least. But I am probably a sick and maladjusted individual, wanting to see Reed Richards and Tony Stark put down for good.

  • Aug. 9, 2007, 3:32 p.m. CST

    I know what you're saying, Homer...

    by Ambush Bug

    I'm really liking WWH, but the event lost momentum in the second issue for me which I found to be repetitive and unfullfilling. Hulk stomps along, runs into some super heroes, one tries to reason with him, then he either smashes them (as he did with She-Hulk) or shoves them out of the way (as he did with Rick Jones). In this issue, he does the same with Ross and Doc Strange. I actually found this issue to be more pleasing than #2 simply because it showed how much of a grudge Ross had with the Hulk and how far he's willing to go to take him down. The failure of Doc Strange's intervention was telegraphed a mile away though. And I don't really want to see the entire Illuminati pay. Just Reed and Tony. I just felt sorry for Black Bolt and Doc Strange for some reason.<br><br> I'm not sure where they are going with this, but the readers know (even if the Hulk and Thuinderbolt Ross don't know it) that Betty is alive and as usual, she will be the only one able to calm him down in the end.<br><br> I actually wouldn't mind seeing them go the Ultimate Marvel U route and cage the Hulk in the end and make him work as an Avenger where he can be watched. Everything Ultimate U is going mainstream these days anyway, it's just a matter of time for them tog o that route.

  • Aug. 9, 2007, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Wolverine & Hulk...

    by DuncanDisorderly

    I agree about Wolverine being basically, well... crap! There are so many flaws with X-Men continuity and characterisation at the moment that it's almost Marvel and 20th Century Fox have jointly colluded to kill off the X franchise! As for World War Hulk- what can I say? Marvel have a potential classic on their hands here, what's the betting they fuck it up, too?

  • Aug. 9, 2007, 10:02 p.m. CST

    On the 52 trades...

    by dan grendel

    The first two ARE available. The next two are coming out over the next couple months.

  • Aug. 9, 2007, 10:59 p.m. CST

    Thought Balloons

    by Buzz Maverik

    Thought balloons are something most comic readers would have never thought about if comic pros hadn't started telling us they were old fashioned and defunct to begin with. I agree that Bendis is now experimenting with them, and while I haven't seen the results, you've gotta admire Bendis for experimenting. I've had a few debates with people who have mostly read modern comics (say the last 5 years) who were very uncomfortable with thought balloons. One guy suggested a different colored box for each characters thoughts, which is okay until you get X-Men vs. the Brotherhood. Wolverine gets black, Cyclops gets red, Nightcrawler gets grey, the Blob gets puke green, Storm gets silver...Comics, like prose, have the ability to tell us each character's thoughts and perspectives. With film or TV, we would be limited to annoying voice overs. I'm not a voice over fan. So I'd probably dig a comic without thought balloons or the first-person boxes. Just show me. But if we are going inside the character's heads, balloons seem to be a better tool. Less pretentious. You know, yer reading the DEFENDERS and you've got:<p>DOC: "My companions do not know their souls are at risk and I dare not tell them."<p>VAL:"Insufferable men!"<p>NAMOR:"I long only to be in Atlantis, yet once again I must ally myself with surface dwellers."<p>HULK:"Beans give Hulk gas. Where can Hulk get beans?"

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 12:01 a.m. CST

    ...

    by blackthought

    goal!

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 1:39 a.m. CST

    Congratulations muthafucka... (!!SPOILER!!)

    by loodabagel

    It's a bitch. Man, Barracuda could skull-fuck a puppy and I'd still love him. I got the punisher trade Tuesday in Spokanne, along with (finally!) my missing issues of All-Star Superman and Daredevil and the second Ultimates 2 trade. Between them, I was the happiest kid in the world. Then today, Punisher 50 is in stores and Barracuda is kicking ass yet again. He's like the unforgiveable guy and Kimbo rolled into one.

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 4:34 a.m. CST

    I like thought balloons.

    by stones_throw

    Captions work when one character is narrating prose style, but since thought balloons fell out of fashion most writers aren't using captions any differently. I don't get why having a character's thoughts in a box next to their head is any better than having them in a bubble. Also, not every story NEEDS to be narrated. Captions are becoming a cliche. Thought balloons give the reader that sense of immediacy and in the moment-ness and therefore they're a lot more reflective of how people actually think, and don't slow the pace of the story down. When you've got 3 or more characters narrating it just becomes messy.

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 4:36 a.m. CST

    Worst Bendis use of a thought balloon:

    by stones_throw

    One character thinks "...", therefore signifying the character is thinking NOTHING.

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 7:39 a.m. CST

    Yeah, stones_throw, that was a gag.

    by rev_skarekroe

    It was supposed to make you chuckle a little, not make you mad. I'm not sure whether that's Bendis' problem or yours, though.

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 8:06 a.m. CST

    Uh...I'm not mad.

    by stones_throw

    I do get that it's a joke, it's just a kind of unnecessary bit of text.

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 11:06 a.m. CST

    Ah.

    by rev_skarekroe

    See, I figured the all-caps indicated ANGER!

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 11:53 a.m. CST

    "Robin, what have I done to you?"

    by Thalya

    I think that Superdickery quote is all that's needed to demonstrate the effectiveness of thought balloons. <BR><BR><BR>Realistically though, I think that tool needs to be used but sparingly, not to provide commentary on a scene unless it's a humor piece, and more of an elegant shorthand to explain motivations and actions or un-dialogue-worthy reactions. Like a character thinking "Gotta be the painkillers.." in reaction to and otherwise unreasonably tolerating another character's out-of-left-field dialogue. Or a character obliquely narrating a flashback in caption boxes while the action for a specific flashback panel shows the character having a thought balloon more explicitly stating his motivations.<BR><BR>I haven't read it, but it sounds like Bendis is using thought balloons for the sake of thought balloons and to be "cool" and "different." That said, I thought Meltzer's use of multicolored captions in Identity Crisis worked really well, while later stuff in JLA, not so much.

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Spider-Man Thought Balloon

    by Buzz Maverik

    "Sooner or later, somebody at the chemists where I buy the ingredients for my web fluid will put two and two together..."

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Iron Man Thought Balloon

    by Buzz Maverik

    "I mean, who's really against freedom here? Is it me or is it some generically British comic book writer who has restricted an entire fictional universe and everyone else who writes/draws and reads the stories?"

  • Aug. 10, 2007, noon CST

    Wolverine Thought Balloon

    by Buzz Maverik

    "I could really use a smoke about now."

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 12:03 p.m. CST

    WWH and DC Crossovers

    by Bluejack

    What the hell is this with repeating the stories six hundred times in separate comics? I already BOUGHT this story before, dammit! I agree that WWH lost a lot of steam. I do like the Herc/Namora/Angel/Amadeus team and I would be willing to give that a slot in the space of the Outsiders which has been so awful lately. Another thought: what happened to how Hercules talks? Has his speech patterns caught up to the present?

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Mr. Fantastic Thought Balloon

    by Buzz Maverik

    "Illumanati? Ah, the comic book people have gotten into conspiracy theory stories approximately 15 years after prose, television and movies."

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Hulk Thought Balloon

    by Buzz Maverik

    "Hulk is tired of fighting now. Hulk will go wander in the desert talking to himself."

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Invisible Woman Thought Baloon.

    by Bluejack

    "I wish I looked as good as Jessica Alba so I'd be the ultimate MILF."

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Captain America Thought Balloon

    by stones_throw

    "..."

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 2:42 p.m. CST

    Silver Surfer thought balloon...

    by loodabagel

    Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuttin ta fuck with! Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuttin ta fuck with! Wu-Tang Clan ain't nuttin ta fuck with! The RZA! The GZA! Ol Dirty Bastard! Inspectah Deck! Raekwon the Chef! U-God! Ghostface Killah! And the Method Man! Last week me, Eric and ten party people I had never seen before all simultaneously broke into Wu-Tang Clan rhymes. It was nuts.

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Galactus thought balloon...

    by Jinxo

    "The entire universe hates me because of my eating habits! Hey, I have a big appetite. I'm sorry but if untold billions must die because I need to binge, that's how it's gotta be. But if word of my bullemia ever gets out they are seriously gonna hate me. I'm so sorry your population died for nothing Omicron Zeta Five. Huuuuoooorrrrrk!!!!"

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Bendis Thought Balloon

    by Buzz Maverik

    "I am so meta! By now, they all think thought balloons are stupid...except when I do 'em, so I'm free to do thought balloons that ARE stupid. And if you said the term meta-fiction to 99.999% of 'em, they'd think you meant meta-human."

  • Aug. 10, 2007, 9:06 p.m. CST

    Thundra thought balloon

    by Mr Squirrel

    "Tigra looks so nice tonight... those long, furry fingers, those whiskers... NO! STOP IT Femizon, remember the Comics Code. Go beat up Grimm again!"

  • Aug. 11, 2007, 12:42 a.m. CST

    Warren Ellis thought balloon...

    by loodabagel

    Shit! I forgot to mention the multiverse in last month's Fell!

  • Aug. 11, 2007, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Robin Thought Balloon

    by stones_throw

    "Has Bruce ever had a girlfriend? Maybe I'll move over here a little."

  • Aug. 11, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST

    My favorite use of a thought balloon...

    by stones_throw

    ...is in one of the CRISIS ON MULTIPLE EARTHS volumes reprinting JLA stories from the 60s. Basically, the evil Johnny Thunder of Earth A is preventing all the heroes from ever coming into being, ie diverting Superman's rocket, making sure Abin Sur never reaches Earth etc. Then he gets to Batman's first appearance but just gives him a swift punch on the jaw, so Bruce Wayne thinks "Oof! Where'd I ever get ths crazy idea?!"

  • Aug. 11, 2007, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Flash Thought Balloon

    by stones_throw

    "Which one am I again? And for how long?"

  • Aug. 11, 2007, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Flipping through Planet Hulk....

    by Detective_Fingerling

    I found the story to be garbage from what I could piece together. I've been buying the WWH books as they've come out (along with the Illuminati stuff) but as with all my current Marvel stuff of the past year , it's been put on hold while I either find my first and third issues of Civil War, or find some variants for a decent price on ebay. Long story short, I went away May of 06 to go to school out in Seattle, while I live in Maryland and didn't buy any comics up unill about May of this year... thus missing out on the whole civil war/ 52 epics. I did however just get through 52 and have been pro DC ever since. Anyone else patiently waiting for the next issue of Guttsville to come out?

  • Aug. 11, 2007, 7:36 p.m. CST

    Didn't Waid use thought balloons in X-Men?

    by Mr Squirrel

    I remember them all fighting some monster accompanied by thought balloons, and Wolverine's internal monologue consisted of 'beer.' I like word balloons too, bring them back and draw the Human Torch properly with all the black lines while you're at it.

  • Aug. 12, 2007, 6:35 a.m. CST

    Try Whedon, Mr Squirrel.

    by stones_throw

    Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch to take over FANTASTIC FOUR, the characters Millar fucked up the most in CIVIL WAR. (http://tinyurl.com/yvqdr4) Although having said that the FF are my favourite Marvel characters and it would be great to see the huge invention and action of their golden days return, something I still rate Millar pretty highly for. It should be interesting to see if he can work within the continuity and characters of the established MU, something I've yet to see him do.

  • Aug. 12, 2007, 6:37 a.m. CST

    Superman Thought Balloon

    by stones_throw

    "Everyone thinks I'm hard "to get". C'mon, I'm a pretty simple guy. I like girls, tight fitting, bright clothes, the sun. Either that or I'm too powerful. How's that bad?"

  • Aug. 12, 2007, 8:39 a.m. CST

    Stones Throw's picks of the week!

    by stones_throw

    BATMAN #667: Man, that was good. Morrison puts Batman into a situation where he'll have to use all his brains and strength. It's not exactly original but it brings out the best in Batman, and the "International League of Heroes" was just cool. Grant Morrison's best issue so far and my favourite Batman comic since, uh, Paul Dini's first issue on DETECTIVE, which J.H. Williams also drew. Maybe he should draw every comic then I wouldn't have any complaints.<p>DAREDEVIL #99: More goodness. Brubaker and Lark are a triumph for traditional, fast-paced superheroics that never feel the least bit campy or retro.<p>GREEN LANTERN #22: This story kicks ass! Geoff Johns is the one writer who can make a comic using established names feel like a mega-budgeted blockbuster movie without losing sight of continuity, history or the characters. If only Hollywood could do a Green Lantern movie this spectacular.<p>SPIDER-MAN & THE FANTASTIC FOUR #4: This was a disappointment. I've been enjoying this MARVEL TEAM-UP-esque miniseries but this issue was basically wrap-up with way too many conveniences. I also didn't care for the portrayal of the Impossible Man's race or what happened to them at the end. I'd imagined them all to be just as crazy and off-beat as him. Still, Jeff Parker's a good, functional writer when it comes to one-liners and action.

  • Aug. 12, 2007, 1:34 p.m. CST

    amen

    by blackthought

    to gl.

  • Aug. 12, 2007, 4:35 p.m. CST

    The Watcher Thought Balloon

    by stones_throw

    "What's even the point? All these idiots do is sit at their primitive computers making up unfunny thought balloons for characters no one in their right minds cares about."

  • Aug. 13, 2007, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Watchers (n)

    by stones_throw

    One of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's most enduring creations from FANTASTIC FOUR, the Watchers are a highly advanced, bald race who have appointed themselves as passive observers/recorders of all life in the universe. Although they have taken an oath never to interfere Uatu, Earth's Watcher, has repeatedly aided the Fantastic Four in their adventures. See also: celestial peeping toms, Stan Lee characters who inexplicably speak in Shakespearean English.

  • Aug. 13, 2007, 12:08 p.m. CST

    Sound effects...

    by stones_throw

    ...now there's an unnecessary feature of comics.

  • Aug. 13, 2007, 2:42 p.m. CST

    I have enjoyed sound effects now and then...

    by loodabagel

    One way to enjoy them is to read them aloud. It's awsome. Humberto Ramos (I believe) made some good use of sound effects back in his Spider-Man days, where the sound-effect word would be something like "web" or "throw."

  • Aug. 13, 2007, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Green Arrow thought balloon...

    by loodabagel

    Shit, I wish I was as cool as Aquaman and king of 70% of the motherfucking WORLD.

  • Aug. 13, 2007, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Batman Thought Balloon

    by Buzz Maverik

    "Good soldier? I don't talk like that. No one in the history of talking has ever talked like that."

  • Aug. 13, 2007, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Mike Wieringo has died.

    by stones_throw

    44 years old. I love this quote from Karl Kesel on Newsarama.<p>"The last time I talked to Mike we agreed that both he and I drew "action" not "violence" and, unfortunately, that limited our commercial viability in today's market. Mike commented, a bit bewildered, that only a few years ago his style was "The Look" that all the editors wanted to give their characters, but somehow, suddenly, that had changed. I'd been thinking about that a lot, even before I got the news about Mike, and this is what I decided-- this is what I was going to tell Mike the next time we talked: "Mike's art was about hope, not hopelessness. He drew heroes, not martyrs. And if that was wrong, thank you Mike for never being right."<p>Man, Wieringo was one of the greats...

  • Aug. 13, 2007, 5:26 p.m. CST

    that blows...

    by blackthought

    unexpected.

  • Aug. 14, 2007, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Mike Wieringo

    by Bluejack

    His characters seemed happy despite the big feet. What a sad loss for his friends and family at only 44. Strange that Bart died only a short time before the definative Impulse artist did.

  • Aug. 17, 2007, 8:05 a.m. CST

    true.

    by jimjom

    true.