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AICN COMICS REVIEWS HEROES! ANNIHILATION CONQUEST! THE UN-MEN! AND MUCH MORE!!!

#27 11/7/07 #6
Logo by Ambush Bug

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) HEROES HC TPB ANNIHILATION CONQUEST: STARLORD #4/ANNIHILATION CONQUEST #1 DYNAMO 5 V 1: POST-NUCLEAR FAMILY tpb THE UN-MEN #1-3 THE NEW AVENGERS ILLUMINATI #5 WHY I DIDN’T BUY COUNTDOWN PRESENTS THE SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER: RED RAIN #1 (a rant about all things COUNTDOWN) RUNAWAYS Graphic Novel #1: PRIDE AND JOY SUPERGIRL #23 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

HEROES V.1 HC Graphic Novel

Writers & Artists: Various Publisher: DC Wildstorm Reviewer: Ambush Bug

I wouldn’t call myself the biggest HEROES fan, but I do watch the series on a regular basis. I find the TV show to be entertaining although I do think that there’s nothing new going on there. It’s just mainstream WATCHMEN/RISING STARS stuff. Any avid comic fan will recognize the cliches. I can appreciate the fact that comic/geek culture is now part of the mainstream, but I won’t jump up and down about a series that exploits all of the best aspects of the medium as if it were brand new. It’s fun to watch, though. I find it funny to see people treating this subject matter as if it were revolutionary entertainment when us comic readers have been enjoying these types of stories for ages.
The first HEROES HC graphic novel collects the online comics that are advertised at the end of each HEROES broadcast during its first season. I never checked out these webcomics, so all of this is new material to me. It’s a collection of short 5 to 6 page snippet stories, each highlighted by a cover/splash page by the uber-cool Tim Sale. Each of these images by Sale is memorable and iconic, reflective of scenes from the TV series. This is a well-put together piece of fiction, presented on the best paper. Cover to cover, you aren’t going to find a better looking graphic novel.
The stories themselves are pretty fine reads as well. Most of the names inside are foreign to me, but that doesn’t stop them from making some really great short fiction. Sure, a lot of the stories seem like throw away tales (the best of which was a short about Hiro’s collection of comics and what he does with ACTION COMICS #1) and there may be a little too much attention paid to Wireless (a character who can read emails and texts out of thin air). But it’s evident that the writers obviously know the characters from the series and utilize them to their fullest potential here. Everyone from Sylar to the Horned Rimmed Glasses Man to fan favorite Hiro are present with at least one or more stories dedicated to them.
In the interview in the back of the book with the series’ creators, the question was raised if the TV show can be enjoyed without reading these tales. Of course, the answer was yes and that the stories serve to enrich the experience. But I’m fairly certain after reading this book that you have to be a fan of the television series in order to enjoy this hardcover to its fullest potential. The book doesn’t do a great job of introducing or distinguishing characters. If you know the characters, you won’t have a problem. But if you’ve never watched an episode of HEROES, you’re shit out of luck, my friend. Sadly, I don’t think the non-fan was taken into consideration when this book was made.
It’s a shame, because this could have been rectified so easily. I don’t want to venture too far into “here’s what I would have done” territory, but I think it would have been a great idea to place a brief synopsis of each episode that aired before the webcomic was published in order to keep the reader up to date as to the sequence of events. This would have clued the new readers in as to what’s going on and given us readers who have seen the series an idea when the comic was published and what was going on with the show at the time. Some of the stories were easy to place; others functioned out of continuity. I saw the entire series, yet even I found myself wondering about the timeline as I read the book. Plot synopsis and air dates would have helped this and made it more inviting to those new to HEROES.
I don’t want to rip into this book too much. Like I said, it looks great. The stories are fun and often extremely well written and the art is pretty damn keen too. There are a lot of bells and whistles that will satisfy any HEROES fan. And really, that’s who this book is for. This book will have no problem satisfying the appetites of the hungry HEROES fans, but it may be a hard meal for non-fans to swallow.

ANNIHILATION CONQUEST: STARLORD #4 (of 4)

Writer: Keith Giffen Penciller: Timothy Green II Inker: Victor Olazaba Publisher: Marvel Comics

ANNIHILATION CONQUEST #1

Writer: Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning Penciller: Tom Raney Inker: Scott Hanna Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

All three of the ANNIHILATION series began with great promise, but two ended with the mark a bit lower than expected. WRAITH never cashed in on its promise of mystery and terror in the hearts of the Phalanx. What began as a trippy story about a dangerous Kree-with-no-name ended with a blue guy named Zak-Del who still thinks of himself as a Kree with no name. Sure, he’s still dangerous, but now he’s like that guy you meet at a party that always refers to himself in the third person. Ittle-lay it-bay ierd-way.
QUASAR came closer to sustaining itself, but Puff the Moony-Dragon left me kinda cold, and knowing that we had spent four issues setting the stage for “HIM!” left me feeling a little cold AND a little gypped. It was like when a reunited Led Zeppelin took the stage and launched into Kashmir at the end of Atlantic Records 3-hour 50th Anniversary celebration. Sure, I was happy to see them on the stage, but think of all those previous acts, fine in their own right, realizing they had suddenly been reduced to Zeppelin’s opening act. I think Quasar deserved better than just opening for Adam Warlock.
Only STARLORD seemed to have a good idea where it was going and actually got there with style to spare. We began with pain-in-the-ass for hire Peter Quill being forced to bear the mantle of Starlord once more, and handed the reins of a ragtag suicide squad. After the deaths of two teammates (one fortunately permanent, one fortunately not) the team continued to swashbuckle its way through the remaining issues to a satisfying conclusion here.
After reading this issue twice (the middle moved almost TOO fast) I have to say I can’t believe no one ever thought of using Mantis as a comic foil. And who would have known that the Uni-force could also double as a passable straight man? Yet with the stakes clearly mapped out in previous issue, the comedy never felt forced or cheap.
Green’s pencils also lent class and gravitas to the entire series. The lack of pratfalls and funny faces made the funny lines funnier and the tension…uhn, tenser. I REALLY hope to see him again.
The first issue of the longer CONQUEST series began with a bang. More specifically a blast. That’s one cool thing about this little corner of the 616: you never know who you’re going to run into. In this issue, we catch up with Blastaar (one of my all time favorites, since I read his original terrifying appearance in the FF, back when Kirby was the man and Perez was in diapers). We also catch up with Korath, Ronan, Super Skrull, Wraith (if you care), Xemnu, our favorite hot interstellar lesbians (hey, I didn’t coin the phrase!), Warlock (no surprise from the end of QUASAR) and a few other folks.
It’s a veritable “who’s who” of “who cares” and “holy cows!” Somethin’ fer everyone.
The art is fun. I can’t remember the last time I saw Raney’s pencils, but I’ll remember this issue. There were some particularly neat angles and wide lens shots that had me looking past the main action and admiring the details.
But I think what I will remember most is that this is the day Warlock stole Mary Marvel’s costume (no skirt, though, thank the High Evolutionary.) Also, here’s a game you can play at home – how many characters actually have eyes, and how many just have glowing holes where their pupils ought to be? I suppose having eyes that glow (or at least one, like Quasar) is like “jacks or better to open” in the cosmic soap opera business, but what do I know? My eyes don’t glow.
And don’t turn to the last page until you’re sure you are absolutely ready. This was a surprise I really appreciated, especially in light of how this may impact another version of the same character being highlighted in another Marvel book. How do the two characters co-exist? Will the different teams of protagonists cross paths? I would be ecstatic if they did, but they don’t really need to. This outpost of the Marvel universe is self sufficient, and somewhat insulated from non-Phalanx agents of contamination.
After all, they might be in danger of annihilation, but at least they escaped the civil war.

DYNAMO 5 V 1: POST-NUCLEAR FAMILY tpb

Writer: Jay Faerber Penciler: Mahmud A. Asrar Publisher: Image Comics Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

A book that has had a good bit of positive rumblings as of late, the first TPB of Jay Faerber's DYNAMO 5 has hit the shelves at a price that should snag the attention of even the most discerning of readers. I don't know why it took until now for me to try this book out; I can only assume that it was one of those cases of that even though I've heard typically praiseful things about Faerber's other most notable work, NOBLE CAUSES, I hadn't read any of it so I for some reason I just ended up ignoring this. But thanks to some positive reinforcement on the behalf of some of my more trusted comic related sites and such (thank you primarily to Ron from iFanboy) I took the plunge with this first volume and it was definitely a great endeavor on my part.
Now, what really worked for me in this book was the way it indulged itself in its premise. That premise, for those of you that don't know, is that one of the world's most powerful and popular superheroes, Captain Dynamo, had more than several affairs during his illustrious career, some even producing children. Upon his death his lawfully wedded wife finds some records of his extramarital affairs and takes it upon herself to recruit these offspring (now all young adults) and unleashes their latent powers (each being a segment of Captain Dynamo's full capabilities) thus birthing the Dynamo 5. Now, as for my lead in comment about indulgence, what I mean about that is I like how Faerber takes that pretty high-concept twist to your typical super book and hits the ground running with it. There's no five issue build up to the team's first outing, there's no taking an issue each to show Captain Dynamo's widow (one Maddie Warner for the record) recruiting each member individually: the book starts with the team kicking some ass and taking some names (and of course, making some mistakes) and fills in a little of their pasts and recruitment gradually through the pilot issue.
Besides the natural thrills that come with a book about super powered people and the collateral damage that follows them, what is really great about this book is that the hits keep on coming too. Just as the pilot issue is done giving you the low down on who's who, bam! the first issue gives you a twist that changes the dynamic in a way you didn't expect. And just like how I dug how Faerber was already playing on some old plot archetypes and giving it a new shine, I like how he mixes up some of the character ones too for the team dynamic. One of the characters here is a cute, pale little waif of a goth type chick, who you automatically assume is probably the "chick with the mind powers" but instead ends up being the team's tank. And on the other hand you've got the big football jock with the telepathy and whatnot, which is a great little twist and also very practical from an action standpoint because instead of having a person who's typically as useful as a sign post in a fight where their mental powers don't work, instead this guy is already capable of causing some pain the old fashioned way if need be. Sometimes the littlest of things can mean so much...
As for the characters and their personalities, those I admit are a little typical. You've got your standard Joking Jock, your Loveable Loser, your somewhat self-loathing Gothette and so on, but there are layers here to explore and it’s made apparent we'll see more of that depth coming in the future. This first arc does such a good job of keeping the twists going, that you don't mind the wait and gladly take what little fleshettes you get here and there about these characters, whether it come from dialogue between groupings of them, or glimpses of their lives outside the spandex and spirit gum masks.
Going over to art chores, I'll say that Mr. Asrar here is quite the talented find. He's got a really great eye for the superhero form but does a nice job of mixing figures up so there's a good enough differentiation between them: simple things like variations in musculature or even accentuation of the hips on the female figures and so on. And the physical conflicts throughout this book are quite the treat. Everything is very kinetic and impactful when the fists and debris start flying, and it just goes a long way towards giving the book that extra rush. Though I have to say, there could be a bit more consistency when it comes to the non-smashy moments. What I mean is that, while Asrar has a really great range of facial expressions and features at his disposal, some of his close up shots don't come out so well. Sometimes it's a set of eyebrows set up way too high above the eyes, or eyes set too wide, or simply just a completely bland blank stare that's really not supposed to be so. When everything is detailed right, it's absolutely great, but when things are off it's really noticeable and actually kind of distracting. But this is another case of the good far outweighing the bad here and the art overall is definitely another win for this book.
This really is a title worth checking out, especially given the bargain of seven reprinted issues for ten measly bucks. I hate to compare this to another Image superhero title INVINCIBLE (because it's the obvious one to make) but this book has all the makings of being Image's next big hit in that vein. Both books have a similar tone and style and even some themes, but DYNAMO 5 is definitely its own book. It emphasizes more the family gathering aspect and the gelling of the characters more than INVINCIBLE's more "great power and responsibility" roots and Mark Grayson's growing into his abilities of that book. But, really, if you want to compare similarities between these two books, you really just need to focus on the fact that like its predecessor, DYNAMO 5 is as well-written, action packed, and full of surprises as any pure superhero book on the market. The fact that it's doing it all on its own merit is just icing on the cake.

THE UN-MEN # 1-3

Written by: John Whalen Illustrated by: Mike Hawthorne Published by: Vertigo Comics Reviewed by: superhero

It's pretty much a given that the idea of human aberrations has been a popular one throughout the history of comic books and popular culture in general. Many would argue that the Batman comics are as compelling as they are not because of the protagonist but more because of his freakish rogues gallery. At the same time, what made the X-Men books so popular for so many years was the idea of being a genetic abnormality, separate and isolated from all of the so-called "normal" humans. It's also no coincidence that Tod Browning's FREAKS, considered one of the creepiest horror movies in the history of cinema, mines the utter fascination so many have had with people who are outside of the norm. Even going past that classic1932 film, circus attractions and sideshow carnivals have always played upon the everyday morbid curiosity that so many of us have always had with those who are physically different than the rest of us.
But imagine a place, much like the TWILIGHT ZONE episode “Eye of the Beholder”, where to be outside the norm is the norm. A place where Illustrated Men walk alongside one armed angels with wings. A place where gumshoe albinos investigate the wrongdoings of disembodied mad scientists. This is the type of place where the events in the Vertigo series THE UN-MEN unfold and it's a uniquely entertaining place indeed.
THE UN-MEN offers a glimpse into a society that is seemingly familiar to the pages of comic books and yet wholly original. This series takes place in the obviously fictional city of Aberrance and it's a city unlike any other in comicdom. In Aberrance the Batman's roster of misfits would probably be right at home and probably find themselves feeling somewhat normal. Writer John Whalen has created a fantastically dark world within the pages of THE UN-MEN and I was sucked into it from the moment I opened the cover of the first issue. The idea of Aberrance and its inhabitants is a fantastic one and Whalen and his artist breathe gothic life into the pages of THE UN-MEN that Tim Burton himself couldn't help but be impressed by.
But while the city itself is a unique construction its inhabitants are disturbingly fantastic as well. Whalen and Hawthorne do such a great job with both characterization and character design that each player in the pages of THE UN-MEN comes across as a fully fleshed out creation of its own. And boy do they make THE UN-MEN worth reading. Each character in THE UN-MEN is unique in its own way and it was really great in my opinion to see such an amount of original character ideas in the pages of this book. The creators of this book seem to have worked very hard to make their world something new and intriguing and it really pays off.
As far as story goes, THE UN-MEN is pretty much your average sort of noir-ish detective tale. There's nothing really new in a story about a government investigator looking into the corrupt dealings of large corporations and city government. But when the individuals being investigated are a man with a small, foul mouthed dwarf sticking out of his back and a mad scientist who happens to be a disembodied head with a German accent…well, you can see that THE UN-MEN is a book that's a bit different than your run of the mill detective story.
In recent months I've become a comic collector who's become accustomed to waiting for the trade. I know it's pretty much sacrilege among die hard comic fans but these days I'm finding myself with less time to get to my favorite comic shop as well as balking at the continuing rising cost of the pamphlets. When THE UN-MEN came out I had noticed it on the stands and decided I would wait for the trade. But since I got my hands on these first three issues I may have to pick up these books on a regular basis. I enjoyed THE UN-MEN that much and the story was interesting enough for me to want to follow up on finishing at least the first story arc. In a comics market where I'm finding myself less and less interested in reading weekly books I think that's the best kind of positive praise I could ever give this book.

THE NEW AVENGERS ILLUMINATI #5

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis & Brian Reed Art: Jim Cheung Inker: Mark Morales Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

And thus ends the series, with an issue that many people (myself included) have been breathlessly awaiting. Just so you know up front, one of them is a Skrull (at least one, in my opinion) and no, I’m not going to spoil it here, so you can keep reading.
The art is an easy place to start. I love Chueng’s style and have loved it since YOUNG AVENGERS. Not too showy or full of itself; the art is in service of the story. I can’t wait to see what he’s drawing next. His characters, while retaining their iconic heroism, still radiate humanity. Even ol’ Shellhead seemed like just another guy in a very powerful tin suit.
The story, too, was excellent, both a well-executed ending and a tantalizing beginning. Great, and I mean GREAT, dialogue in this issue, and not just cutesy stuff about how hot Cleo is in Stark’s eyes. This was solid, clever stuff.
But some were troubling, so I have a few items in the “please tell me” department: First off, please tell me that WW HULK was not completely moot, since it looks like everyone survived! Wait, you mean the ending of WW HULK we’ve been waiting for is not going to change everything forever? Say it ain’t so! (This is called sarcasm, boys and girls. Another example would be: “Next thing you’re gonna tell me is that Peter Parker never married Mary Jane!”)
Please tell me that Stark has not mastered wireless nuclear energy. Please tell me that he brought Skrulectra to this location because it’s got a power grid built into the ground, and he radioed for power to be diverted there. Whew! Thought so. But even Mr. Fantastic was scratching his head.
Please tell me that Namor is not a Skrull since he references his lost kingdom (therefore this book happens after his miniseries) but flies in with wings on each of his ankles. Maybe I’m misinformed as to the timing of it all. And of course, Black Bolt shows up simply black instead of black-and-blue (at the hands of the Hulk) so maybe everyone is just a fast healer. (And hey, weren’t we at SILENT WAR with the Inhumans just a while ago? Ah, fugetaboutit…)
And please tell me that Xavier is not a Skrull (and I STILL think he is) since he managed to somehow survive a huge blast that knocked the collective wind out of every other non-Skrull there. And then there was this exchange:
“Monster!” says Xavier. “Monster?” says the Skrull. “I am you!” Could Xavier not know he’s a Skrull? Hmmm…
Continuity gaffes aside, however, it was an overall great mix of action, Bendialogue and plot advancement. I’m looking forward to the next chapters, though I know I’m going to be sick of the “who do you trust” phase before it’s even begun.

WHY I DIDN’T BUY COUNTDOWN PRESENTS THE SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER: RED RAIN #1

A rant about all things COUNTDOWN by Ambush Bug

ENOUGH!!!

If I could print it in bigger letters, I would.
I’ve been patient with DC Comics for the first half of COUNTDOWN. I know following up the pretty tightly packed yet mildly flawed maxiseries 52 was a tough order, and I have to accredit the guys for putting out a weekly comic and still staying on schedule. And blah, de blah, de blah…
No.
Fuck that.
I’m sick of giving DC credit for putting a product out on time like they should and better yet, I’m done giving them a pass for having to do it too. Guess what folks? I shit on a regular schedule and I don’t see any accolades for it. And that’s what COUNTDOWN has been so far…
Utter, glorified, fly-ridden, camel shit.
I’m a big fan of the DCU. I’m invested in the characters and admire the new DCU that Geoff Johns, Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Keith Giffen, and Co. have whipped up over the last few years. For a while there, they had me. One might categorize me as a DC Zombie, for lack of a better term. They had me with the expansive storyline, the interesting characters and character developments, and the “oh shit” moments peppered throughout. But since the inception of the COUNTDOWN series, my interest has been decreasing exponentially.
There are many problems with COUNTDOWN proper. Most notably, it’s the inconsistent art. Occasionally, you’ll get your Olliffe’s or your Califiore’s. But in order to make the weekly schedule, DC has enlisted no names and artists who may in the future be someone of note, but are definitely not the caliber of what is to be expected in what has been touted as “the spine of the DCU.” The art, for the most part, has been amateurish and is an immediate distractor to me when trying to read the story. You may try to get all highbrow on me and say “But it’s the story I care about, not the art.” Then I say to you, “Fuck right off and go read a book.” If I see a comic, I take both story and art into consideration. If one lacks in quality, the whole thing suffers.
Art aside, there are still problems with COUNTDOWN. The fact that each of the multiple storylines gets about three pages per issue to advance the plot is maddening in that it slows plot-advancement to an inch-crawl. Weeks pass and literally nothing happens. There’s an inkling of an idea there for each of the main characters, but really, has there been any advancement from issue #52?
Jimmy Olsen is investigating the Death of the New Gods and is experiencing weird powers. Mary Marvel has succumbed to the Dark Side after receiving new powers from Black Adam and being tempted by Eclipso. Trickster and Piper are on the run and chained together. Donna Troy, a rogue Monitor, and Douche Robin have been popping around the Multiverse in search of Ray Palmer (the only development there is that Kyle Rayner has joined them). Karate Kid (filling the infinitely dying and sick hero role, played much better in 52 by The Question) is sick and dying.
Now looking back on that paragraph, you may say, “Hey, those are some pretty good ideas.” And I would agree with you. Problem is that that’s all they are. These plots haven’t evolved or advanced or changed in any real way since the first issue and we’re halfway through the damn series!?!?!?! Ray Palmer’s still missing. Karate Kid’s still sick. Mary Marvel’s still dark. Piper and Trickster are still on the lam. And Jimmy Olsen’s still experiencing power fluctuations.
Have you ever been out drinking all night and found yourself famished at the end of the night? So you get the bright idea of buying a huge burrito and stuffing it into your drunken mouth at 4:30 AM only to wake up around noon the next day and find yourself parked, legs asleep, toilet paper in hand, dropping logs for the entirety of the next day?
Well, folks, that’s what this is.
COUNTDOWN is a long, drawn-out, late-night burrito morning shit.
The idea of it all sounds good at the beginning. But after that, the outcome takes way too long to play out and quite frankly, it smells.
Two poop references in one review. Hrmph…
So we have a series where we can’t provide consistently good art and the plot doesn’t advance an inch. I have a great idea! Let’s toss out some unnecessary spin-offs to suck more money out of the pockets of these idiots! They’ll buy anything!!! Mwoo-ha. Mwoo-ha. Mwoo-ha-ha-ha!!! Now, where’s my chowder made from the souls of the penniless!?!?! - a blurb swiped directly from a board meeting at DCU (not really, except for the part about the chowder)
Last week, was the showstopper for me. I looked at the comics on the shelves and counted seven books spinning off of both COUNTDOWN and 52. Don’t believe me? Well, here you go.
COUNTDOWN #26 COUNTDOWN PRESENTS LORD HAVOK & THE EXTREMISTS #1 COUNTDOWN TO ADVENTURE #3 COUNTDOWN TO MYSTERY #2 52 AFTERMATH: THE FOUR HORSEMEN #3 52 AFTERMATH: THE CRIME BIBLE #1 DEATH OF THE NEW GODS #2
This week, I counted four titles.
COUNTDOWN #25 COUNTDOWN PRESENTS THE SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER: RED RAIN #1 52 AFTERMATH: INFINITY INC. #3 COUNTDOWN: JIMMY OLSEN (a reprint)
Ok, that’s just effin’ insane. There isn’t even a big event or anything going on in COUNTDOWN. This is just a big bunch of spin-offs piss-poorly made to swipe my money. Sure there are some quality reads in there. I’m loving Starlin’s DEATH OF THE NEW GODS. Liked Rucka’s CRIME BIBLE and even find myself somewhat interested in Giffen’s THE FOUR HORSEMEN. But to hit a DC reader with this much crap all at once is too much punishment.
I guess the sensible person would say, “Well, you don’t have to buy it all, moron.” And to that, I say, “You’re right, but being the completist that I am, I want to buy it all to experience the entire scope of the story. When I see a spin-off and I’m invested in the story, I want to read it. But reality dictates that I just don’t have the cash to fork over the money to read the whole thing. So you know what I find myself thinking? I would rather check out from the whole damn thing than read only part of the story.” That’s what I find myself thinking.
And unfortunately, that’s what I’ve done.
The worst of the spread-thin plot offenders is the SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER series of books. Basically, Ray Palmer has the Golden Ticket or something like it that holds the answers to all of the recent problems the DCU has been having with the Multiverse. What this solution is hasn’t been made clear and why it’s Ray Palmer with the answer isn’t really clear either. This plot exists simply to take the reader on a tour of the Multiverse. A rogue Monitor has gathered three cosmic anomalies--Donna Troy, Jason Todd (Douche Robin) and now Kyle Rayner--to look in every nook and cranny of the Multiverse for Ray Palmer. Along the way, Jason Todd and Kyle Rayner beat their chests over Donna Troy and many different versions of the DCU are explored. So far, we’ve got two SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER one shots: THE CRIME SYNDICATE (focusing on the Jokester who was subsequently killed soon after) and WILDSTORM (wandering through the WildStorm Universe that features characters from WETWORKS, STORMWATCH, GEN13, and THE AUTHORITY). I understand what DC is doing with this series of one-shots. Basically, they are trying to guide us through the Multiverse with the so-called Challengers of the Beyond acting as tour guides. Hopefully, we’ll see some characters we like and maybe there’ll be another spin-off to be sold or the WildStorm Universe will get a few more readers. And that would be ok, if this were taking place in COUNTDOWN. And it is taking place in COUNTDOWN too. So why should I buy these spin-offs if basically the same story is being told in Cliff’s Notes version in COUNTDOWN?
I don’t know the answer to that one either.
Sure, characters are given more screen time and a chance to develop, but if you’re going to assign no name talent to these books, I’d rather not partake in it, thankyouverymuch. Tossing out these throw-away one shots (in which the Jokester was introduced, fleshed out, then quickly killed and forgotten, for example) with no real function but to have another number one issue on the rack reeks of X-MEN/90’s Marvel oversaturation.
So why didn’t I buy COUNTDOWN PRESENTS THE SEARCH FOR RAY PALMER: RED RAIN #1? Well, aside from the above reasons, I also have a strong disliking towards Elseworlds books. I learned early on that, like WHAT IF?, all Elsewords books basically tell one story. Something different happens or some new element like time or place or person is introduced, but basically the same things occur in Elseworlds stories over and over again. The different elements from the mainstream story prove to be moot and the same old origin story plays out (Batman as a caveman, his parents are killed by a sabretooth tiger, so he dons the hide of a tiger to avenge their deaths, only to be tormented by a crazy tiger with a scary smile).In the end, the story always ultimately unravels into a horrible scenario and everyone dies. This telling and retelling became so ponderous that I quickly realized that the little Elseworlds symbol on the cover was a clear indication that I wouldn’t be buying it no matter how crazy-revolutionary the concept was. In the end, I was after the now cliched stories that matter and Elseworlds stories just weren’t it.
RED RAIN is such a concept, albeit a concept conceived by some pretty creative people. I can admire the work of the talented Kelley Jones. I just can’t get into another story that matters that ultimately doesn’t matter to anyone but the guys at DC who count all of the money we waste on their thinly-spread product.
My advice to DC: Tighten your shit up. You’ve got a fanbase. You’ve got a great cast of characters. You’ve got our attention somewhat with this weekly comic thingeroo you’ve got going. But quit spreading yourselves so thin and pay attention to the products you are hocking. Lately that product looks and reads like crap. Fans will put up with a lot of shit, but sooner or later, they’re going to realize that the shit sandwich you are serving us with the COUNTDOWN logo on it is nothing but a shit sandwich no matter how you slice it (three poop references, I’ve got to seek help).
So that’s it. I’m done. From now on, when I see the words COUNTDOWN on the cover, I’m staying away. These days, to me, the COUNTDOWN logo might as well read: I FUCKED YOUR MOTHER IN A MEN’S ROOM STALL LAST NIGHT. And although it may be written by top names, have characters I hold near and dear to my heart and sometimes (but not all the time) have some pretty pictures, I would rather turn my head and pretend it just didn’t happen than witness it.

RUNAWAYS Graphic Novel #1: PRIDE AND JOY

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan Pencils: Adrian Alphona Publisher: Marvel Comcis Reviewer: Jinxo

Okay, most of you are going, “What the hell? Did I miss something? Is there a new Runaways graphic novel out? Didn’t this come out quite awhile ago?” Yes, this is an old release with seemingly no good reason for a review today. But stick with me anyway.
Actually, if you’re a long time RUNAWAYS fan, you can actually excuse yourself and just move right along to the next review. There are two groups of people I’m really wanting to talk to: the new Runaways readers who came in when Joss Whedon took over – i.e. the rabid Whedon fans – and the fine folks at Marvel Comics.
Let me address the Whedon freaks first. I know loads of you started reading RUNAWAYS because of Joss Whedon’s involvement. I did. I had heard about the book but never found a good reason to add it to my pull. Whedon taking over seemed like a good reason. Get on board at a big moment, at the start of a new story instead of in the middle… perfect. And jumping in right then the book reads fine. It’s a lot of fun. But, folks, you’re actually really really missing out. Having just started ripping through the early issues of the book, getting the backstory, it only makes reading the Whedon stuff more enjoyable.
Let me put it this way. All Whedon fans here: have any of you had a friend who got into watching “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” way late? They fell into watching it on cable and, that being the case, didn’t come in at the start. Maybe they came in somewhere in Season 5 with Glory. And they love it. But you just sit there laughing going, “dude (or dudette), that’s nothing! You’re coming in so late! You missed tons of good stuff! Stuff that, if you watched it first, would make Season 5 more fun to watch.” You have to pity the poor fool for what they’re missing out on. Well, if you came in late on RUNAWAYS, that pitiable fool is you. For instance, I knew part of the back story on the characters was that they were all the children of supervillains who fled from their evil folks. But that description of the story is like summing up Buffy and Angel by saying, “Yeah, Buffy had a boyfriend who sorta turned into a jerk.” It’s so much more involved and so much more entertaining. For instance, the kid’s parents formed a band of criminals called The Pride. Initially I assumed they were just some new random group of bads. But the conceit is they’re an old group of bads and they’re so good at being bad that, unlike your Kingpins or Doctor Dooms, they’ve managed to actually stay off the heroes’ collective radar. Instantly explains why you’ve never heard of them and gives them some creepy badass credibility. Sweet.
So don’t be a schmuck, grab the back issues in graphic novel form and get your ass caught up. The collections aren’t in the comic book sized graphic novels but instead in the more digest sized books, just so you know what you’re looking for.
Now here is the real bitch of this thing. The fly in the ointment, really. When I went out to start buying the books, I actually had to buy a used, slightly dog eared copy of Volume 2. The girl at the counter explained to me that, actually, the RUNAWAYS books were out of print. So, yes, I’m extra crazy because I’m telling you folks to search out out of print books. But do it. Marvel may not be currently cranking out new copies but you should still be able to find copies out there without too much trouble.br> The fact though that these books currently ARE out of print though is why I would also like to address the folks at Marvel. Could you…could you come over here where we can talk quietly? Don’t worry. I just want to talk, quietly and civilly. Okay, you listening? Good. SMACK!!!! What the HELL is wrong with you?!?!? Are you IDIOTS!!! Having these books out of print at this particular time is one of the biggest bonehead moves I’ve ever heard of. I mean, you’re Marvel Comics. I may fault you for a lot of things but the one thing you have always had a flair for is marketing and exploiting your characters to make as much money as possible. I just sat through a summer’s worth of Spider-Man “Back In Black” nonsense in the name of you promoting the latest Spider-Man movie. I’ve watched Peter Parker unmask, Captain America get killed, an annoying Civil War…all of it done in the name of raising the media profile of the comics and hopefully moving more issues. Now pimping isn’t something I’d normally give kudos for but, hey, you guys do seem to enjoy it. And yet, here is a case where you could use your pimpy powers for good and you…you utterly drop the ball! I mean, you have Joss Whedon, a guy with a devoted fan following, take over RUNAWAYS. Clearly the hope is he’d do a good job and bring more eyes to the title. But at the same time, his issues of RUNAWAYS haven’t been coming out on a regular monthly basis. There can be quite a wait between issues.
So, you have a brand new audience for the book sitting and waiting extended periods of time for new issues of the book. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to have back issues of the series available for the book’s brand new readers who are getting restless waiting for new issues? At the minimum you could have the graphic novels available and promote them. If you really want to go crazy you could republish the old issues as RUNAWAYS CLASSIC or some such nonsense. If there’s no new issue for them to pick up this week, give them a reprint they can walk out of the store with. You make extra sales, the readers get to get caught up on the book, appreciate it more, get more devoted to it…it’s win win. So, why would you not take advantage of this situation? Whedonites: hunt down these books. Marvel Comics: get off your asses and get these books into the Whedonites’ grimy mitts already!

SUPERGIRL #23

Writer: Kelley Puckett Artist: Drew Johnson Inker: Ray Snyder Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

Folks, we may finally have us a SUPERGIRL book.
I’m not going to dig through my back issues, but if memory serves, we first began with the all new, all naked Supergirl (though that may have been SUPERMAN/BATMAN, actually. All I remember is that the book began in a flourish of cheesecake).
Then we had the dreamworld, “kill Kal-el” Supergirl, and the angst-ridden, boy-crazy Supergirl. Don’t forget the don’t-know-who-I-should-be Supergirl. And finally, we had the pawn-of-the-DC-editors Supergirl who has been an uber-loser instead of an uber-mädchen regarding her involvement with the Amazon war. And don’t get me started about the artwork over the past year.
But this issue, we get a Supergirl who has a puzzle. Is shown somewhat twisted affection by someone close and reacts appropriately. Is called to assist and reacts instantly. I absolutely loved those pages.
Then Supergirl gets a quick sit-rep and dives into the action. This part was so abrupt and moved so quickly that I was half-wondering if it wasn’t the kind of cheap dream sequence, the kind that seems to worm its way into this title about every third month. But the action was legit. So okay, I’m buying it.
Then there were the ten pages of nothing but art. And as beautiful as Johnson draws, I was really digging it for the first few pages, and then I wasn’t. And then I thought “I’m going to finish the book before I get off the toilet!” And lo, I did. Standard rule, folks – the average comic should take longer to read than the average trip to the john. I know you female readers are absolutely shocked to learn that men use the bathroom as a reading room, but it’s true. No, we never forget which hand to use for toilet paper, and yes, we’ve heard that line a thousand times and no, you didn’t manage to make it funny, either.
Still, as disappointed as I was in the last half of the book (and why did the tesseract generator thingy not melt in her hand? Is it an adamantium/M&M hybrid?), I’m absolutely encouraged by the first half of the book. Great dialogue. Quick to the action. Neat plot. And all we need is for Supergirl to carry this book on her own without cameos from her more famous cousin and more famous “uncle.” Check out this issue, and don’t be afraid to pick up the next one either if it has “Puckett/Johnson/Snyder” in the upper left corner.

LEFT ON MISSION #5 BOOM! Studios

This is one of those final issues some would describe as pulse-pounding. Writer Chip Mosher works expertly with artist Francesco Francavilla to create a series of silent pages that make the heartbeat race then break. I know it’ll sound weird, but this issue contains a pretty romantically and poignantly crafted love scene that may telegraph the ending, but the juxtaposition of panels make it meaningful and memorable. The final pages as our hero races to save the girl are crafted to amp up the thrills without all of the clutter that often comes with word balloons. This is a book that knows when to shut up and give the action and doesn’t hold back. Looking back on this series, I have to say it’s one of the best spy thrillers I have read in recent memory. If you missed it, be sure to be on the look out for the trade. – Ambush Bug

RISERS #3 Alterna Comics

I found the third issue of Martin Fisher’s sensitive zombie opus to be just as inventive as the first two. This isn’t your typical zombie tale. While most zombie books have evolved (or devolved, depending on your opinion) to splicing genres for “fresh new takes,” RISERS dives fully into the zombie universe and shows the zombie plague from the perspective of the zombies. But these aren’t mindless brain-eaters. The Risers still think and feel. They’re just dead. There’s a metaphysical “ying/yang” aspect to this story where the Risers return to life because they died with something undone or in need of taking care of. This is an especially sympathetic tale. I know “heartfelt” is not a word one often uses when describing a zombie comics (unless it’s when a zombie actually opens a ribcage), but I believe it applies here. This is a drama told with maturity and depth, it just so happens to star the undead and those they left behind. If you like a little meat with your zombie fiction, RISERS is for you. – Ambush Bug

THE HUNTER #1 Dare Comics

This comic really threw me for a loop. I had no clue what it was about before diving in and there were numerous times as I read this girthy 64 page first issue that I had no idea where it was going. Nevertheless, I was riveted to each page. The book starts out on an extremely powerful note as we are taken through a complex sequence of events that result in a terrorist attack on America on three different fronts. Three different situations are set up perfectly, as writer Adam Hamdy crosscuts from one intense scene to the next. The panel sequence really does a great job of building tension, leading up to the catastrophic events that motivate the rest of the actions of the book. At times, the art is somewhat stiff, but the way the panels are put together make up for any of artist David Golding’s shortcomings. I also dug the character designs of the heroes. At first, I thought this was a terrorist book set in the real world, but soon the camera pulls back to reveal that it is, in fact, a superhero tale peppered with real world threats. This is an imaginative and well constructed tale that is grounded with terrorist activity that could very well happen. This is a strong first effort from Dare Comics and creator Adam Hamdy. This one drops on December 12th, so be sure to keep an eye out for it. – Ambush Bug

TELEVISION #1 Ohyesverynice Comics

TELEVISION is a slick and offbeat comedy anthology that shows a lot of promise. I especially liked the self-aware intro that warns readers to soak in the goodness of TELEVISION now so that they can complain when the series later becomes unfunny and jumps the shark. There’s something about the mere mention of that in the first issue that I find pretty damn funny. Delve deeper into this issue and you’ll find a few one pagers depicting James Brown as a religious figure on the same level as Christ, a bizarre meeting between a disguised man and a mysterious woman, the coolness that is Spectacula Dracula, and an entertaining interview with Kato Kaelin. Each entry in this issue was either insightful or completely kookified or both all at once. The book was done by Ryan Alexander-Tanner. He shows promise as both an artist whose style shows a lot of variation and promise as a writer of humorous and oft times surreal material. This is definitely an anthology worth following and even though the intro may be less than optimistic, I’ll bet subsequent issues will be just as fun. – Ambush Bug

GAMMA CORPS #4 (of 4) Marvel Comics

I hated this comic when I read the first issue, but Tieri has managed to turn my hatred into something much warmer: mild loathing. (I still find Ferreira’s artwork compelling, however, even if it is sometimes cartoonish.) The main thing I didn’t like was the fact that there was so little plot that we’re STILL filling in backstory in the fourth issue! The first five pages could have been summed up in a paragraph or two. But then I kept reading. I liked the way that the Hulk called all of Gamma out, one by one. Cool. I liked the way that the Hulk was exonerated in the end. One or two of those resolutions, I didn’t see coming. Very cool. And then I got to the ending. Oooohhhh, you almost had me liking this book! But then it completely mooted out on events already made moot by AVENEGERS ILLUMINATI…Damn Mooties! I would put the future relevance of GAMMA CORPS somewhere between the Renegades and the Warbound. It’s got potential, but at this point, it’s mostly latent. - Rock-Me

FREDDY VS. JASON VS. ASH #1 DC Wildstorm/ Dynamite Entertainment

This story is about as contrived as you can get, but once you get past the awkward way our three horror movie icons are thrown together, it is a pretty fun ride. This first issue is actually pretty well done and reads a lot smarter than the FREDDY VS. JASON movie itself. The art is pretty decent as well. If you’re a fan of the films, this one is for you. I am, so I liked it. Just check your brain at the door, sit back, and relish all of the homicidal mayhem. – Bug

FANTASTIC FOUR #551 Marvel Comics

Sweet Jesus this was a surprise. I knew McDuffie was leaving the FF but I didn’t pay attention to WHEN he was leaving. I thought he was gone. But no. He sticks around to wrap things up and actually pay off Reed Richard’s insane futurist scheme. This issue is a fun kick in the head I gotta say. Doctor Doom as the good guy? Could Reed really be the bad guy? Nawwww. Couldn’t be. Then you get to the jaw dropping end of the book and have to wonder. Assuming all is not as it appears I still have to figure Reed has wanted to do that since the 60s. – Jinxo

SERGIO ARAGONES’ GROO: HELL ON EARTH #1 Dark Horse Comics

Maybe it’s the amount of time that has passed since reading GROO’s original stories. Or maybe it’s because I was much younger back then and really didn’t appreciate things like allegory and metaphor as much as I do now. Whatever the case, I never noticed how political GROO stories were until reading his recent anniversary special and this, the first issue of a new miniseries featuring our beloved wreaker of mayhem. The usual GROO team of Aragones and Evanier layer the political commentary pretty steep. A pair of warring brothers battle it out and try to make the other look bad politically, much like the Republican and Democratic parties of today. Both claim to be working for what is right for the people, but the victor in this battle between the two brothers is far more important than anything or more importantly anyONE else. Environmental and military issues arise and are debated; all in medieval form (I especially love the build-up to the formation of ancient nuclear weapons—cow belches!). It’s a fun and true (and therefore sad) commentary on our current political climate with Groo tossed into the middle to bumble around, cause chaos, and occasionally drop some unintentionally brilliant dialog. To say a book about an idiotic barbarian and his faithful dog is important and smart reading may be hard to believe, but with the presidential campaign in full swing, we could use this type of on-the-mark commentary to set everyone straight. – Bug

ASTONISHING X-MEN #23 Marvel Comics

This is a well done book. Sure, the plot has been in motion for long time, and we’re all ready to take a break from Breakworld, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is a well done book. The dialogue, as usual, is impeccable. Emma Frost has one of the cleverest lines I’ve heard in this whole arc. And you know those scenes where it looks really bad for our heroes last issue, but then we find out that there was a plan all along? We get one of THOSE scenes. And may I remind you that Cassaday’s art is as good, if not better, than it was back in his PLANETARY days? To top it off, the issue ends with not one, but TWO scenes that make you go, “now, THAT was cool.” (Hint: it helps if you’ve ever read the original X-MEN #1, you know, the one from the sixties…) Whedon won’t be here forever, folks. Get him while he’s hot. - Rock-Me

METAMORPHO: YEAR ONE #3 DC Comics

I have to agree with the rest of the @$$Holes who have reviewed this book in that it is a pretty bland and uninspired retelling of Rex Mason’s origin. Everything is sort of following the original story line for line, which makes me ask the question, why not just reprint the original origin rather than draw it out for six new issues? I do have to admit, though, that this issue entertained me, mostly due to the fun way artist Mike Norton and inker Jesse Delperdang show Rex using his elemental powers. The story is still pretty blah, with evil old guy Simon Stagg and his caveman sidekick Java challenging Rex right and left by either trying to kill him or exploit him for profit. And Sapphire Stagg may be one of the most yawn inducing and shallow hotties around. But I’m going to keep my fingers crossed for some type of freshness from writer Dan Jurgens in future issues. And if that doesn’t happen, at least I can enjoy the purty pictures. – Bug

HOWARD THE DUCK #2 Marvel Comics

Kind of baffled. I really enjoyed the hell out of HOWARD THE DUCK #1. Felt like a fresh take on the character, kinda liked the new look, the jokes all worked for me. So I was really shocked to be left so utterly cold by issue #2. It just felt like a rehash of the same gags from issue #1. Ah ,hunters shooting Howard some more. MODOT is very chatty. Gotcha. And some not-so-subtle caricatures of some real world gun folks. The only thing close to amusing for me was superhero Mr. Good-Ear. His power/fatal weakness was so silly it made me laugh. But beyond that… - Jinxo

THE PERRY BIBLE FELLOWSHIP: THE TRIAL OF COLONEL SWEETO AND OTHER STORIES HC OGN Dark Horse Comics

This hardcover collection of comic strips of The Perry Bible Fellowship by Nick Gurewitch is about as twisted and sick as you can get. No subject is off limits and there seems to be no style of art Mr. Gurewitch can’t ape. The book starts off with a strip about a little kid who gets beat up for wearing a UNICORN POWER T-shirt resulting in the bully being gored by a real live unicorn soon after. It’s that type of off-the-nut shit that goes on in each and every installment presented in this book. Looking for FAR SIDE humor that doesn’t play it safe? Look no further. These are clever, unquestionably well-drawn, and downright wrong little shorts. Perfect bathroom reading. Perfect for when you have that urge to laugh at something you should probably shouldn’t be laughing at. Gurewitch uses overly cute characters in the most perverted and diabolical ways. I’ve never heard of this guy before, but after reading this book, you’ll want to track down more work by this author. I sure did. – Bug

IRON FIST #10 Marvel Comics

Well, it had to happen at some point, but I was a little disappointed. Yes, Aja delivers the art. Yes, Brubaker and Fraction deliver the story. It was good enough that I got halfway though it (just past the fight between Dog Brother #1 and Bride of Nine Spiders) before I realized that Danny Rand had not been seen yet. And as I turned the last page, he was still nowhere to be found. Now understand, any book with Fat Cobra in it will immediately be on my pull list. But if you have a title character, you should have a title character. It’s similar to the first rule of journalism: never bury your lead. And it’s an avenue of storytelling that several of is @$$holes find particularly annoying. Even when it’s done in one of our favorite books, and even when it’s done in such fine fashion. Yet even though I was annoyed, this book is still better than 80% of the crap that’s sitting next to it.
Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 14, 2007, 8:43 a.m. CST

    FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by Sw0rdfish

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 8:43 a.m. CST

    FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by Sw0rdfish

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 8:51 a.m. CST

    kinda excited there, huh?

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Catch your breath. Read. Relax. Comment. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 8:54 a.m. CST

    god those Runaway covers were terrible

    by PVIII

    for the graphic novels I mean. Who would buy them? It's like they were designed for 8 year old asian kids.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Holy crap!

    by rev_skarekroe

    There's a new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen due out today! And I can't possibly make it to the funnybook store until at least the weekend! Nuts!

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Countdown, X-Men, and continuity problems at Marvel

    by mattb127

    Countdown sucks. when oh when are they going to get rid of Dan DiDio? That guy's basically taken a gigantic dump on everything that's good about DC. Only good thing they've done in the last five years has been the Sinestro Corps War. Now we're twenty-six weeks away from yet another "crisis." Hooray! Just what I wanted! •• Astonishing X-Men had three of the coolest pages I've seen in comics in a long, long, time. If you haven't read it yet, you'll know what I'm talking about when you get there. I might have a new favorite X-Man •• I liked World War Hulk until issue # 2. Then it turned into a suckfest. The core title, I've long asserted, is unreadable, thanks to Amadeus Cho, Angel, Hercules, and some chick I don't care about. But aside from all that...I have no idea when anything is going on at Marvel. Silent War, World War Hulk, this spiderman crap, That Hulk vs. X-Men thing, the New Avengers storyline (which I'm really digging, and not just the skrull stuff. The hood's plan rocks.) Seriously, when is shit going on?? I'm so confused. People seem to be in five places at one time, and there seem to be multiple outcomes for different characters, such as *ahem* BLack Bolt. What's going on over there? On the other side, DC seems utterly obsessed with continuity...also, Countdown Red Rain I didn't buy because of the cover alone. Seriously, what do you think Vampire Batman's about to do with Donna Troy there, and her heaving bosom. After Identity Crisis, I think we all know what violent stunts DiDio's willing to pull.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 9:58 a.m. CST

    thanks for the reminder about Runaways

    by Bloo

    its one that I've been meaning to get and delyaing and delaying and delaying. I'l look into it<P>so they actually took the crappy Ash vs Freddy vs Jason movie concept and turned it into a comic book, glad to hear it's somewhat good, i'll take a look at it, but I'm going in skeptical I can't even begin to imagine how they got these 3 togather, what Freddy decides that Jason is too powerful and only ASH can stop him? or is it more along the lines of Ash stumbles into a Freddy Jason brawl or something totally and completely wacked out

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Glad they released the Heroes stories

    by chrth

    Now to wait for TPB (I'm not a HC fan)

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 10:48 a.m. CST

    It's all about PERRY BIBLE FELLOWSHIP!

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    I kinda like Elseworlds stories too. ;P

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Bravo, Ambush Bug, well said.

    by God's Brother

    DC really had me going there for awhile, what with building up to these big events with excitement and promise. But ultimately, IMHO, the execution of these events was piss poor, and completely tore down all the suspense they'd worked so hard to achieve. Just sloppy... Like they were rushed... like they had no idea where they were headed from the get-go. IDC, IC and now Countdown to FC (which, as AB eloquently states above, smells of a desperate cash-grab with little redeeming qualities) could all have been monumental works of comic fiction. A real throwback to the care that was put into COIE and Watchmen (which is what they were going for with IC) But instead, we got sub-par writing, delays, inconsistent art, continuity problems despite a company-wide "fix" of said problems, and just plain bad comics. It really feels to me like 52 was good despite all this... a happy accident.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 10:56 a.m. CST

    correction:

    by God's Brother

    It should read: "the care that was put into COIE and Watchmen (which is what they were going for with IDC)"

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Cabal?

    by godwillforgivethem

    The Un-men world sounds very much like Clive Barkers Cabal novel, filmed as Nightbreed to me

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 11:48 a.m. CST

    un-men...

    by blackthought

    hmm...might have to give that a shot now.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Q: Are we not un-men?

    by rock-me Amodeo

    A: We are un-Devo!

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Something Marvel probably didn't think of..

    by Reel American Hero

    When they made Civil War is that it's almost like the beginnings of the Days Of Future Past timeline. Quick recap for those not in the know, in the early (probably retconned now to mid) 21st century, mutants are imprisoned thanks to a registration act. This act got it's start earlier on, some were for it, others against it, and the government set the heroes for it on those against. Sometime later the government decides to bring Sentinels into the equation, needless to say, that doesn't go so well. It would be really awesome if that's what they were setting up with all this but knowing today's Marvel this is probably all just a coincedence.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Illuminati 5

    by DuncanHines

    Actually did something most ccomics don't do for me anymore... it actually surprised me. Thanks Marvel.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Colonel Sweeto

    by DuncanHines

    pbfcomics.com <br/> All you need to know.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 1:35 p.m. CST

    So what is the difference...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    between "venting," "complaining," "editorializing" and "whining"? Methinks whining is sometimes in the ear of the be-hearer.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Runaways

    by whoiseric

    Each digest sized format is only $8 each so that's an extra reason to get them. I was gonna start reading Runaways when Whedon started, but thank God I bought the first Runaways Volume and then went back to the Comic Shop the next day and bought all of them. Great Comics Definitely.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 1:52 p.m. CST

    haven't been to the shop in months...

    by George Newman

    i've seriously been strapped for cash since the summer and it would have been fiscally irresponsible to buy any comics so I avoided the store. <p> Now I'm afraid to go back cuz a had a book or two on pull that I lost all interest in and I have no intention of purchasing them. Stinkin' ACTION COMICS. All I wanted was the Adam Kubert stuff. But he fell behind so they started inserting filler issues that were completely different stories as well. So I've been "collecting" these dang books and saying "no thanks" each month just waiting for his work. <p> Now here is the dilemna: There are going to be a lot of books in my pull and this guy will be pissed if I dont buy them. SO should I never go back and just go to a new place, or should I man up?

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Ask "Dear Rock-Me": Man up

    by rock-me Amodeo

    For George: You're in the hole for not getting the books the LCS put aside, but you get "respect" points for owning up to it and "consideration" points for letting them at least put some back into inventory.<br><br>And after all, it's never wrong to do what's right.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 2:22 p.m. CST

    George Newman

    by mattb127

    Totally know what you mean with Action, though I liked the Eric Powell stuff... ummm, didn't that other arc just...not end? The last thing I remember was superman standing before Luthor and his little gang, getting ready to take on Zod and that was like...six months ago?? Are they going to just end it in Action now, or are they going to have an annual or something? My question is, why not wait until you have the arc in the bag, and THEN start selling it? Totally bizarre.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 3:03 p.m. CST

    Runaways ARE still in print

    by Jinxo

    Just a followup. Got an email from the folks at Marvel assuring me that my comic shop seller didn't have her facts straight and that, in fact, Marvel has been keeping the Runaway graphic novels in print. So there should be no worries on being able to find them.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Ambush didn't review Illuminati?!?!

    by nofate

    Whaaa?? I promise I would have gone easy on you. Why deny the masses your infinite wisdom? Oh well, still it could have gone something like this..."blah blah..dialogue..blah blah..continuity..blah blah..fucking Bendii..blah blah..that's not what I'm trying to say".<br> <br> Bendialogue, nice one Rock.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 3:37 p.m. CST

    Matt, ACTION supposed to be ending w/ an annual

    by George Newman

    I checked the DC website a while ago and that's what it said. I can't remember when to expect it though. <p> I also just got home from the shop. The owner wasn't there so I was able to empty my pull on one of the underlings. I also took the title off my pull alltogether and I'll just try to catch the annual on the shelf, whenever it comes out. <p>Powell's art did look great and fun, but I wasn't in this book for that. I just wasn't mentally prepared to collect his work so I left those issues on the counter.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 3:45 p.m. CST

    George

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Good man. Not that my opinion matters. But good man.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Bug, c'mon man...wasn't Infinite Crisis enough???

    by superhero

    I mean, seriously, I can't believe all you cats got suckered into COUNTDOWN. After 52 just draaaaaagggiiinnggg out and Infinite Crapass copping out I was done. COUNTDOWN was just an insult added upon an insult for me. Screw that noise. I saved my money and bought all the DVDs of Batman the Animated Series. Now THAT's good entertainment worth its weight in gold!

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 4:14 p.m. CST

    i wish i was ending in an annual

    by blackthought

    w/a foil cover.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 4:24 p.m. CST

    The Zod storyline

    by Reel American Hero

    Was pretty cool, the first few issues. I liked the homages to the movie, the look of the Fortress Of Solitude, and then all of a sudden I miss a month, and they start, and finish whole other storylines while leaving the thing they started just hanging there. I haven't bought an issue since then, because that was just stupid. If the writer of a storyline has other commitments or whatever it was that happened, then somebody else finishes the storyline. It's that simple.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 6:25 p.m. CST

    Un-Men covers

    by Bagheera

    Why no mention of Tomer Hanuka's awesome covers for Un-Men?

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 7:30 p.m. CST

    The Donner/Kubert story seemed to be out of continuity

    by George Newman

    Can any DCers confirm this? In the book Superman acted as if he had never met Zod and crew. It's like the story arc was a pseudo remake of SUPERMAN II. <p>I've never been a big DC reader, but I seem to recall that long ago Superman actually killed Zod, Ursa, and Lurch with kryptonite. eh.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 8:28 p.m. CST

    Re: Un-Men covers

    by John Whalen

    John Whalen here. (I'm the writer of the Un-Men series). Bagheera, you got that right about Tomer's covers being supremely awesome. You should check out his Web site... he's got some very cool sketches of cover designs that didn't see the light of day, including one for an upcoming issue that proved too gruesome for Vertigo. I'm not sure if it's copacetic to post URLs for other sites here, so I won't. Just Google "Tomer" and "Tropical Toxic."

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 9:48 p.m. CST

    George Newman

    by messi

    that was Zod and crew from a pocket universe, this is supposed to be 'the real Zod and crew' stupid i know, i rolled my eyes too when i heard Donner was involved knowing they'ed bring in movie style storylines just to please him. Move along already.

  • Nov. 14, 2007, 11:31 p.m. CST

    what? no deadpool review?

    by zombieslayer

    I mean, the fantastic eight, and tons of good lines from Bob, Agent of Hydra... it deserves a mention.

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 6:12 a.m. CST

    mattb127

    by messi

    People complain about Didio(myself included) but they aren't going to get rid of him. He has turned DC into a company that actually sells books and lots of them and has been able to stand it's ground against the onslaught of Marvel which has owned them sales wise virutally since the 60's. Not only that but he's made DC relevant again, I mean the fact people are reading Sinestro Corps War says something, Superboy Prime being a popular villain etc, it's been able to stand it's ground against Marvel, obviously they won't be the dominating company but they don't seem like they're being owned as much as before. plus again. SINESTRO CORPS WAR!

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 7:41 a.m. CST

    Cleverest???

    by theageofknights.com

    What kind of fucking retards write these columns?

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 7:53 a.m. CST

    Deadpool Review

    by WarpedElements

    Deadpool reviews go like this: Cool interesting character with tormenting mental issues turned into a parody of a right wing extremist with random pop culture references and constant breaking of the 4th wall. Writer ignores all past continuity and writes whatever gives him a hard-on. For fuck's sake if you're left wing, good for you, but I hate you as much as the right wing, so bash'em equally. I don't want a gargantuan parody of the evils of Fox News (we all know they're biased), I want a tormented, psychotic, obscure pop culture referencing, son of Loki (not some no name army officer) who breaks the 4th wall once in a while, NOT EVERY ISSUE. Sorry, had to get that off my chest. Fucking Nicieza.

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Messi and DC's "Relevance"

    by mattb127

    I totally understand what you mean when you say "relevant." You mean that DC is selling more books, and that's great for them. I'd prefer to say Dan DiDio's made them more "competitive" though. To me, the late '80s, early '90s were a period when DC was far, far more "relevant," and when they were publishing books like Year One, Dark Knight, Watchman, Crisis (the good one), Sandman, and Preacher. Those books changed the entire freakin' culture. The early 60s was a similar "relevant" period, and the late '70s, especially with Dennis O'Neill's contributions. All that: relevant. Superboy Prime ripping off some no-name Teen Titan's arm or Dr. Light raping Sue Dibny doesn't equal "relevance." It equals Dan DiDio's perverse idea of "marketing." Sinestro Corps war is excellent. It all makes sense. There's TONS of violence in there and I'm not opposed to it. Green Lantern has always been an interstellar cop show, and that's when it's at its best. But that feels like a lonely bright spot creatively for the company, which is relying far too much on shock violence, gimmicks like "countdown," and glossy branding like infinite "Crisises." It's all short term stuff, and it's going to burn them, eventually. Already you see it with Countdown. Do you think Countdown is as good as 52? Keep in mind: 52 wasn't that good to begin with. They're diluting everything down, squeezing nickels out from everything. Marvel has gained and sustained market share--for the most part--by maintaining quality and encouraging innovation. DC used to do that too. Now they just slap "CRISIS!" between two pieces of creative crap and expect me to shove it down my throat.

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Cleverest...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    The same kind that read them, apparantly. Where's your beef?

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 12:27 p.m. CST

    I'm cleverest like Mt. Everest...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    ...for that matter. <br><br> Don't make me go all Vanilla Ice on you... I have a vocabulary and I'm not afraid to abuse it.

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Another thing I don't get about today's Marvel

    by Reel American Hero

    Is their insistance that their whole Marvel Universe timeline was started a mere 13 years ago, so some 40+ years of continuity all gets compressed into starting back in the '90s. I just don't buy it. I'd buy 20 or so years ago, but not 13. Too much stuff happened between now and then. But people don't want to see their heroes age, so hence. I think it'd be cool to let the universe evolve, not real time of course, but something of a compressed timeline would be okay, let the stories evolve, and there's plenty of alternate realities that they could use to have the characters the way people grow up remembering them. I know this all extremely geeky, but screw it.

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Compressed time

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Actually, it makes perfect sense. I mean, look at the Mighty Avengers current story (and lets pretend it was published monthly.) Here's six months of real time that covers about half a day of comic book time. There's a multiple of 0.025974 and so on, which makes 40 years more like a month. Clearly, comics don't all take place at the same "speed" but you can see the case for applying as much compression as one wishes. <br><br>By the same token, to think that Mary Jane could see one friend die, another become the Green Goblin, get married, kidnapped, rescued, estranged, re-enamored and ultimately retconned in the space of only a few years is preposterous, even by OUR standards.

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Talk about geeky!

    by rock-me Amodeo

    My math:<br><br> 12 hours stretched into 6 months<br><br 6 months of hours = 24*365/2 = 4380 <br><br> 12/4380 = .002739726 (I messed up typing it<br><br>Multiply that times 40 years and you get .1096 years, roughly, which is about 1.3 months.<br><br>Thats SOME compression, and yes, I'm bored right this second. multiply that by 40

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Agh!

    by rock-me Amodeo

    It killed the lower half of my post with all the cool math! I messed up the typing the factor onto the first post, but it still winds up being 40 years real-time is potentially 1.3 months comic book time. That's SOME compression.

  • Nov. 15, 2007, 7:15 p.m. CST

    That logic makes sense

    by Reel American Hero

    You'd think with all that happening the Marvel characters would be more messed up in the head than they are. If say in the span of a year my wife died, then came back, and then died again I wouldn't be the most together person in the head. Reminds me of my geeky theory I came up with a while back as to why things keep getting reset. It goes like, during the Age Of Apocalypse thing Gambit stole a piece of the M'Krann crystal, which pretty much governs the reality of the Marvel Universe. And my theory is that when the crystal became imperfect, it would create time hiccups which would occur unnoticed every few years, not unlike DC's thing of Superboy Prime punching a hole in reality. It would probably make for a good Marvel event, though they'd never do it as it references things that took place before.

  • Nov. 16, 2007, 1:30 a.m. CST

    Compression is crap

    by Jinxo

    Yes, certain long story runs take place in a relatively short time span. But then you have other point between arcs where an undetermined amount of time has passed. And other times a story taking, say, three months to tell might in comic book time be longer than three months. One of those deals where the hero takes months to trek some great distance but it takes up all of two panels in the book. So that whole thing is a wash. What isn't is specific and timely references. Reading the very early Spider-Man books they sometimes reference the specific year the story is set in. So, boom, that stuff happened in the sixties. Clearly 9/11 happened in the Marvel Universe which is 9/11/2001, period. There are other direct date reference that happen all the time. Then add in events that tie to certain eras (the Statue Of Liberty surrounded by latice work for it's renovation, Sunspot idolizing Magnum PI, the state of consumer technology shown...) and the idea that time compression is at all valid is silly. And it gets in the way sometimes. Of all the problems with the Gwen Stacey story the one I was most willing to give JMS a pass on was the aging of the kids. He shouldn't have had to jump through hoops to get the kids to be old. Without time compression those kids should have been adults. With time compression the kids will never ever get old enough for the story to be told which is sort of unfair to the storyteller.<br><br> I'd like to see someone actually make a damn plot point out of it. Have some character get outside the Marvel reality where they can view it from the outside and then have them realize, hey, how could only 15 or so years have passed between the 1960s and 2007? Then they realize someone monkeyed with the flow of time in the universe in some way and that no one inside the effected space, because they are part of the phenomenon, are aware of it. Then the story becomes who did this thing and why? Maybe it's for a reason close to the real reason: someone wanted to keep the heroes young and vital for longer than they should be. Why this was done is discovered, dealt with and then time is set back to normal... probably. Even as the heroes walk away they'd have to admit that they can only assume it's all fixed since if it weren't, again, they'd be inside the problem and unable to see it.

  • Nov. 16, 2007, 4:28 a.m. CST

    Why is compression crap?

    by messi

    It's a sliding timeline, you get used to it, it's not such a big deal.

  • Nov. 16, 2007, 7:31 a.m. CST

    I found it strange Wolverine did not suffer a hard-on

    by dregmobile

    in the latest New Avengers. He's either a Skrull or gay.

  • Nov. 16, 2007, 3:13 p.m. CST

    Wolverine has ALWAYS been gay.....

    by Psynapse

    Seriously, just LOOK at that fucking hairdo!

  • Nov. 17, 2007, 12:52 p.m. CST

    LAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by Sw0rdfish

  • Nov. 17, 2007, 12:52 p.m. CST

    LAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by Sw0rdfish

  • Nov. 17, 2007, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Would you believe...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    ...you were penultimate and antepenultimate?

  • Nov. 17, 2007, 9:23 p.m. CST

    Just antepenultimate

    by rev_skarekroe

    actually.

  • Nov. 19, 2007, 11:34 p.m. CST

    I'd Prefer Marvel Comics As Period Pieces, Myself...

    by Buzz Maverik

    FF -- Kennedy era. Space race. <p>SPIDER-MAN & ORIGINAL X-MEN -- late sixties. Hippie days. The end of innocence.<p>HULK -- 1950s, atomic testing. Quest for the super-bomb.<p>IRON MAN & DAREDEVIL -- late 1950s, early '60s. Space age bachelor swingers. The Rat Pack/ James Bond heyday.<p>NEW X-MEN -- the late '70s, like a new breed of stoners/punks spitting in the face of hippie-dom.<p>Etc, etc

  • Nov. 20, 2007, 9:15 p.m. CST

    batman...

    by blackthought

    a new god?