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AICN COMICS REVIEWS BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS! CRIMINAL! BIFF-BAM-POW! & MUCH MORE!

#28 11/14/07 #6
Logo by Ambush Bug

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) WORLD WAR HULK #5 BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #1 CRIMINAL #10 SALVATION RUN #1 HOUSE OF M: AVENGERS #1 TEEN TITANS EAST SPECIAL #1 OMEGA THE UNKNOWN #2 SIMON DARK #2 CAPTAIN MARVEL #1 Indie Jones presents BIFF-BAM-POW! #1 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

WORLD WAR HULK #5

Writer: Greg Pak Artists: John Romita Jr. (pencils) & Klaus Janson (inks) Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

Sooooooo…OK, where to start…
I gave WORLD WAR HULK #1 a glorious review a while back, touting it as an old school slugfest issue of the highest order. After reading that book, my ass hurt from sitting on the edge of my seat and I felt as if Marvel itself had taken a turn for the better in regards to their history of releasing over-hyped, decompressed, humdrum product. Writer Greg Pak wowed the socks off of me with the story and John Romita Jr. was in top form, creating some truly iconic and memorable scenes of the Hulk at his @$$-whupping-est.
Then issue two came and although it was a bit of a letdown after a good start, it still had enough thrills and smashes to satisfy this reader. But after issue two, something happened. And given what I know about Marvel, I should have known this would happen. Basically, with WWHULK, Marvel exploited and spread the story out way too thin. Two more issues of basically nothing going on were released all building up to some kind of resolution with issue five. Issues three and four read like filler and in the meantime, the rest of Marvel’s books went on as if nothing happened. Those books crossing over with this event quickly had their unnecessary crossover and then went back to business as usual. Even worse, other books proceeded as if the event hadn’t even happened at all. Both were detrimental to a storyline that was supposed to rock the Marvel Universe to its core. In the end, it didn’t.
The comics industry as a whole is going nuts with this crossover business. Did we really need to see a PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL or a HEROES FOR HIRE crossover? I read WWHULK proper but not GAMMA CORPS or FRONTLINE. In the end, it really didn’t matter because those characters never even participated in the series to my knowledge. Basically, WWHULK would have been a pretty fantastic story, had it been in Hulk’s monthly book; I could see it going down as one of the best non-Peter David/Hulk stories in the last twenty years. Instead, the Hulk’s monthly has been unreadable with a cast of losers and uninterestings and a directionless plot to boot, simply waiting for WWHULK to end before progressing in any interesting fashion.
So instead of a tightly woven, classic Hulk story, we get a drawn out, over-hyped, and disengaged-from-Marvel Universe-proper kind of story.
Plus as an added gripe, how ethnocentric can we get stating that this is a WORLD WAR when the events only happen in New York City? C’mon, folks. This may be CIVIL WAR HULK or HULK’S REVENGE: GAMMA BOOGALOO, but it sure wasn’t a WORLD WAR.
All of that said, I have to say that the final issue of WORLD WAR HULK went by too quickly and almost had too much happening within the single issue. This issue has the much anticipated standoff between the Hulk and the Sentry, the end of the Illuminati arena battle, a jaunt back to Sakaar (aka Planet Hulk) for a foreboding twist, a big development in the Hulk’s relationship with both Rick Jones and his Warbound, and a final showdown between Tony Stark and the Hulk resulting in a major status quo change for the Hulk himself. That’s an awful lot happening in one issue and especially frustrating since the last two issues of this series had so little going on. I’d much rather see the events of this issue drawn out a bit longer than see what happened in issue two through four again.
And that’s the whole problem. WORLD WAR HULK #5 was a very good issue. It delivered in both story and impact. Shit actually happened. “Holy Shit!” moments were brought forth a plenty. But since the momentum the series started with at the beginning ran out of steam so quickly due to delays and unnecessary crossovers, I’ll bet only a fraction of those excited about this at that time stuck around for the drawn out conclusion.
Imagine if Marvel had done this differently. What if WORLD WAR HULK were a contained, month-long crossover event with an issue released every week? Sure wed’ve had your obligatory crossovers, but at least the story would be tighter and there would be more of a chance for Marvel to cash in on the hype that surrounded the book at the beginning. Plus you’d know where this story fits in the grand scheme of things regarding Civil War, Initiative, Silent War, Secret Invasion, whatever, whatever, whatever…
Now something like this would take planning. Maybe it’d be a good idea to have all of the issues ready to rock before putting out issue one (a policy that is ludicrously never followed in the so-called professional realm of comic book distribution). It would take coordination of titles and the requirement of getting one’s shit together (which seems to be hard for both Marvel and DC these days…what am I talking about “these days,” this horse plop’s been happening for years). But in the end, you’d have an event worthy of the title. Something to be proud of.
And the real victim here is writer Greg Pak, who did a great job of setting this big event up and he really did knock the final issue out of the park with some very interesting moments as well as setting up the groundwork for plenty of future Hulk stories. You could tell Pak had fun working with the large cast and especially with sound identifiers (this issue is chock full of fun sounds like PHSKRCKRDDOOM! and KWAGLOOOOOM! and VJJJWOMMMWWWB! and don’t forget SCLROOCK! and finally the autobiographical GRGPAKK!). This issue was fun just sitting there trying to pronounce the sound identifiers and saying them aloud.
After reading this book, I just felt kind of sad that Marvel felt the need to spread this event out so thinly. This wasn’t an across the Marvel Universe crossover worthy event. It was a great Hulk story that was drawn out in issue length, in crossovers, and in the amount of time between issues. In the end, it wasn’t the Avengers or the Warbound or the Sentry or even the Hulk himself that took Banner down. Instead of telling a good story, the Marvel hype machine decided to kick into full gear and is the one who ended up dealing the final blow. I’m looking forward to reading more of the Hulk after this issue, but I sure wish that the bang that this series started out with hadn’t petered out with an exasperated whimper.

BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS #1

Writer: Chuck Dixon Artist: Julian Lopez Inker: Bit Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

Mixed feelings on this issue.
By now, everyone knows Chuck Dixon took the reins of this project when Tony Bedard could not. Dixon, of course, has impeccable credentials when it comes to Batman; not so much with the whole team dynamic.
But with the overall direction being covert ops (and not super-powered misfits) I like the feel of this book already, even knowing that Dixon will be making some roster changes in the very near future. This is a team that will discuss personal issues in their off-time, if at all, and not in the middle of a strategic insertion. This is the Dark-Ops arm of the Dark Knight. During Winick’s run, the Outsiders seemed stuck in neutral, like a Seinfeld marathon involving super-powers and punching. Lots of clever dialogue, but overall plots that I can’t seem to remember. Even the “One Year Later” premise was squandered, with all their undercover work quickly undone.
Hopefully, this run will be a little tighter.
As far as team members, Catwoman and Katana are a fun pair, both having earned Batman’s trust over the years. If Dixon so desired, he could work their relationship in several interesting ways without resorting to the overplayed “catfight” card.
Martian Manhunter seems the perfect combination of stealth and power, as is Metamorpho. And Grace…and Thunder…well, what exactly are they doing here? I don’t know, and I don’t think Dixon does, either.
Strengths: Lopez’s art -- I think he must be new, but if this is first comic book, I can’t wait to see where he is in a few years. Also, Batman as the team director – he’s more fascinating as a strategist than a fighter, so I like seeing this aspect. I’m sure a situation will come where he has to be onsite, getting his fists dirty. That’ll be nice too, but we get enough of that in his other books.
Nitpick: Grace calls herself an “Amazonian.” Uhn, wouldn’t that be “Amazon?” Her heritage is Amazonian. I know, nit picky, but…
Weaknesses: Katana being told by Catwoman not to kill. C’mon, didn’t I just say that Katana has earned Batman’s trust? Does she really need to be reminded not to kill?
Also – Thunder and Grace and Batman mentioning their “special” relationship. This scene is just all kinds of wrong. Are you really telling me that Batman, THE Batman, of all people, didn’t know that Grace and Thunder are an item? Everyone on the old team knew. And then, when Batman says something tactful about their “special” relationship, Thunder immediately goes ballistic and accuses him of being a pervert? Just because he may or may not know they’re gay? Verbal miscues all around.
Also – Batman tells Thunder “You’re here as a favor to your father.” And what kind of favor could Batman possibly be doing Thunder’s father (Black Lightning, who was on the original Outsiders team)?
*ring ring* “Batman here. Oh, hey Jeff. Your daughter? You’re asking if I could let her sit and watch our first mission? You want me to sort of rub it in her face that she’s not good enough to be on the team, even though her loose cannon girlfriend somehow is? Sure Jeff, I’ll do that as a favor to you.” Hmm…not getting it.
And to top it all off, I was hoping that, since the corporation that is being raided is Jardine Limited, we would be visiting the makers of the world’s BEST salsa (D.L. Jardine’s salsa that is.) Alas, though there is talk of big bad burritos, there is no mention of salsa. More disappointment.
This was not a bad issue. Since the whole dynamic is going to change over the next few issues, it bears watching, if only for Lopez’s excellent pencils. But don’t get your hopes up with this first issue.

CRIMINAL #10

Written by Ed Brubaker Art by Sean Phillips Published by Icon/Marvel Reviewed by Stones Throw

Firstly, apologies this review is late…but then if you’re in the know you’re probably reading CRIMINAL already, and if you’re not reading it, seriously, what’s up? There’s no denying CRIMINAL is one of the best put-together pamphlets at the moment. Brubaker and Phillips are turning out well-structured and perfectly realized installments of crime fiction and it’s one of the few books I actively look forward to whenever it decides to come out.
That said, I haven’t been as over the moon with this title as a lot of folks have. The first arc, “Coward”, struck me as following the path well-trodden a touch excessively, and from the moment the titular namby-pants Leo appeared, it was obvious where he would end up. While there was a good bit of fun on the way there, the last issue of that storyline contained no surprises and might as well have been filled in by the readers (Although Brubaker has pulled a twist in this arc by revealing Leo is still alive and will be the focus of future issues).
I get that CRIMINAL is about characters rather than plots, but the character of Leo, and the heist-gone-wrong plot, for that matter, had been seen a little too often to have too much of an effect on a story level, despite Brubaker’s skills in endearing the details to the reader. However, this second arc, “Lawless”, has seen Brubaker and Phillips’ creation move from simply telling good stories into a distinctive personality of its own. Tracy Lawless is still pretty much an archetype of crime fiction -- the tough guy who returns home with a bone to pick -- but there was an originality and depth in the way he was put across that made him stand out and enabled me to really feel this ex-military bad@$$ (as a character!). His story wasn’t pretty, but it sure was a great one to read, and Tracy’s history as an Iraq vet gave it a relevance and currency that the previous arc just didn’t have.
Suffice it to say, this issue contains its fair share of surprises and gripped me right to the end. In the right hands a revenge story is always fodder for an excellent tale, and this was it. That’s not to say it was without the occasional problem, though. The chronology-bending introduction of Tracy in issue six was for my money one of the best single issues of the year, and this here issue ten was another slam dunk, but in between there were one or two issues that didn’t do a whole lot more than simply further the plot, which is an occasional complaint I have with Brubaker despite his consistent ability to write quality comics. But really, there aren’t a whole lot of negatives I can find in a quality product like this. Sean Phillip’s art is immaculate as always (the dude can somehow make a car chase look interesting in the medium of comics, which by all rights should be impossible), and credit is also due to Val Staples’ color palette, which heightens the atmosphere without getting in the way of the lovely black and white art. And by the end, what looks like becoming this series’ theme of family being something you can’t escape is made clear in the bleakest way yet.
Well-rounded characters, good storytelling, quality art and lots of shooting -- how can you go wrong? You can’t, silly. The next few issues of CRIMINAL will be stand alone stories, and I highly recommend you take a look if you weren’t planning to already!

SALVATION RUN #1

Writer: Bill Willingham Artist: Sean Chen Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

After my rant from last week, one would think that I would never touch a DC book again. I guess all it took was a week for me to eat my words. Even though I decided to steer clear off all things COUNTDOWN since it is turning out to be a convoluted, over-stretched mess, I did pick up the first issue of SALVATION RUN, partially because I like Sean Chen as an artist and I found the concept to be pretty cool. Turns out I made the right decision to pick this one up.
Part NO ESCAPE, part SECRET WAR, part Negative Zone prison concocted for last year’s CIVIL WAR, this book tosses most of DC’s villains onto one distant planet to fend for themselves. Throughout recent issues of COUNTDOWN, the Suicide Squad has been rounding up all of the villains and shipped them off with nothing but the costumes on their backs to survive on a distant planet so that they would be out of the heroes’ hair for good. They have an opportunity to build their own society and take over an uninhabited world or destroy it; either way they are now not the problem of DC’s earth proper (whatever the hell number Earth that is…geez DC is confusing these days).
The premise is a surefire winner. You can’t lose pitting DC’s top baddies against one another. In this issue, Flash’s Rogues serve as our tour guides across this dangerous terrain with a second wave of villains including the Joker, coming in a few weeks later after the Rogues have already experienced the dangers of this new world. It’s fun to see the villains bang up against each other. As with every other villain team-up, they don’t get along. Part of the reason they are categorized as villains is due to the fact that they have poor social skills. Writer Bill Willingham seems to be having fun with these bad guys. There are bickerings and bravado-showings all over the place in this one, each taking into consideration the personality of each character. Willingham does a good job of balancing the characters and giving them their own voice. This story is definitely character driven, which is a relief given the fact that many times in group books, the plot often guides the story and characterization (or more accurately continuity-based characterization) is pushed aside in order to move the plot along. In this one, never is a character bent in order for the writer to take the plot in a certain way. Everyone seems to be acting accordingly and the plot moves along behind. Many of DC’s villains have been fleshed out pretty well, so these stories really kind of write themselves.
The only complaint I have about the story is the awkward flashback transitions. It is almost to the point of parody where someone says, “Remember what Rick Flagg said to us?” Then the scene immediately shifts to a flashback as Rick Flagg tells someone something. These flashbacks have the subtlety of a diddley-doo-diddly-doo-diddly-doo Wayne’s World skit.
Clumsy transitions aside, this is a strong first issue with a fun premise and a cast of characters that will most definitely prove to be loads of fun to watch. Sean Chen’s minimalistically shaded yet finely lined artwork makes me wonder why the guy doesn’t get more work. Chen does his thang and does it well here with some finely detailed environments, vividly placed panels, and fluidly moving characters. This is just a strong, strong effort that gives me more faith in Willingham after an unimpressive run on SHADOWPACT. Willingham’s work here is much more on par with his FABLES work than anything else he’s done. When the guy’s on, he’s on and with SALVATION RUN is about as on as you can get.

HOUSE OF M: AVENGERS #1

Writer: Christos N. Gage Artist: Mike Perkins Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

This just makes my head hurt if just from a continuity standpoint. The title is telling the history of The Avengers in the House Of M reality from BEFORE the events in House Of M. A bit of important hair splitting here. I thought that Scarlett Witch remade the world into “House Of M” from the current time she was at. In other words, the timeline starts with the moment she remade the world with everyone having false memories of a fake “House Of M” history that never really happened. Only then this book would make no sense. Since the events pre-date the “House Of M” story that would mean I’m reading stuff that never happened except in the characters fake memories. So…I guess Scarlett Witch actually reached back in time and for real changed history, not just people’s memories of it? But then…the heroes still had their memories of the real history which she had caused to actually not happen. Ugh. I’m dizzy.
On top of that, the narration in the book itself has some wonky-time going on. At the start, Luke Cage’s narration is in the same timeframe as the story he’s telling. We’re hearing his thoughts as he walks around. Then he goes into a flashback. So his narration is still in the present over a story set in the past. Fine. Then we come back to the “present”. Only now the narration isn’t present tense, its past tense. Luke is now further ahead of the story and looking back. What the ^#% hell??? So I guess he was narrating in the “present”, then he took a break at some point. Maybe took a nap, a big crap, and a vacation to Hawaii, and THEN he picked up his narrating duties again. I’m making a big deal out of a small thing, but it pissed me off.
As to the story itself, it’s okay, but I’m not sure why I’m to care. We’re going back to tell House Of M stories NOW? Really? I barely cared when it was relevant. It is an interesting take on the Avengers concept, I like the characters involved but, still, I don’t care that much. I even enjoy good “What If” and alternate reality stories and this is a story idea even I don’t see a need for.
On a positive note, I did like the look and vibe of the art. In particular, the introduction of Willis made me go, “Hey, that’s cool.” First panel, he’s at a distance and looks like a regular guy. Then in the next shot we’re closer and you can see that he is actually covered in scales. Go back to the first picture and, by God those scales are in that first shot; just so fine you can miss them. Then you get to a shot that reveals he has lizard eyes. Go back to that first shot and, wow, that’s in there too just so subtle you can miss it. Sort of an artistic magic trick. That was nice. And aside from the shifting tense with the narrator, again, the story is well done. But due to the underlying premise behind the story, I’m not sure I really care about it.

TITANS EAST SPECIAL #1

Writer: Judd Winick Pencils: Ian Churchill Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

Let’s sum up before we even get started: this is a #1 for the sake of being a number one. There is no second issue (unless you count the upcoming TITANS #1) which is another number one. Cheap marketing ploys always start a book out on the wrong foot.
But the book won me over in a general sense. The first half highlights the family aspect of the Wolfman/Perez TEEN TITANS (this issue catches him between leg waxings, apparently…) It was cute and nostalgic, as I’m sure it was meant to be. The “Titans Together, Best Friends Forever!” or whatever they shouted at the end was, however, over the top, down one side and back up the other.
Then we launch into Cyborg singing the latest verse of “Glory Days” and again, the classic plot has merit: old team is unavailable, so one member of the old team assembles an unfamiliar team of unappreciated misfits that goes on to forge new legends. Gosh, I’ve loved that story ever since the first time I read it in GIANT SIZED X-MEN #1 (I wasn’t reading comics back when AVENGERS #16 came out).
And true to the cover blurb, something “happens” which will cause those classic Titans to reassemble. Someone dies. More than one someone, actually, and I don’t think I’m really spoiling here. C’mon, you knew it just like I did. You saw the cover and thought “angst inducing body count,” didn’t you? Relax, I don’t think quite everyone is dead, and I hope not, because I really like Dove and Anima.
Churchill’s pencils really save the day, at least from a visual standpoint. I’ve heard rumors that he was getting better, and I think it’s true. Check out the panel where Kid Flash steals Joker’s gun, for instance. Great shot, one you could only get in a comic book, and there’s a lot more of that. He’s not just a cheesecake artist anymore (though admittedly, there’s still plenty of eye candy. More on that in a minute).
So with regards to this book being a sort of TITANS #0, there’s much to like, much to look at…and much where one shrugs one’s shoulders, saying, “Why?”
As far as the story goes, I have (of course) a few complaints. I didn’t like the way that Vic was so dismissive about Power Boy’s “run-in” with Supergirl. You mean him kidnapping her? Him beating her up, not because he was a supervillain, but because he was her boyfriend? His possible attempted rape of her? That lil’ run in? Hmmm…
Also, Dawn Granger is Hawk’s older sister, not younger. I know this because I’ve been fascinated with this very well-written character since Karl and Barbara Kesel did such a great job with her way back when.
Of course, we have the required naked person in one Holly Granger taking a shower. Dawn even asks her why she had to shower if she was going to change into Hawk anyway. Holly gives an answer, but I know the real answer: story requirement. Winick’s writing requires at least one naked person, and Churchill’s pencils demand that person be female.
But if you get over the basic plot limitations, Winick moves the story itself along nicely. I’m probably going to get blasted by my peers, but the man can write some clever dialogue. I’ll even go so far as to say he’s gifted. But after reading this issue, I think I know why I sometimes have a problem with his writing.
I think Winick sells himself short. And that is making him predictable. Consider: most Winick comics have at least one naked person, a fair amount of sexual action or innuendo, maybe some bodily function humor, and some very clever dialogue regarding those items. It’s a formula that works for him, but most of it is fairly low-hanging fruit, and the sort of wittiness I always found funny—when I was in high school. But every joke doesn’t have to be about sex. After a while, it’s kind of grating.
For the casual reader, I’m sure it’s hilarious. For those of us who have been reading comics for many years, it borders on juvenile. In most cases, the dialogue moves the plot along. So many times, though, it feels like the plot is a device to move the dialogue.
And the sad thing is, Winick can really write some funny, poignant stories. For instance, I picked up BARRY WEEN a few years ago and read the arc where one of his friends is accidentally all grown up. Barry kept thinking he could pull a winner out of the situation some way, some how. It was well-written and funny. I laughed my way through most of the story, but when Barry’s face scrunched up at the end, momentarily overwhelmed by all that had happened, my face scrunched up a bit as well. Winick did that. He can write. But so often, he seems to take the easy shots. I would love to see him stretch himself again.
I haven’t picked up Winick’s BLACK CANARY/GREEN ARROW book this week (and I probably will) but I’m fairly certain of what I’ll get: at least one naked person, some clever dialogue that focuses on that fact, some more dialogue about sex or bodily functions…oh yeah, and a plot somewhere in there. Sigh. Knowing he can do so much better, though, makes me sadder than the wasted deaths of a handful of D-list characters.

OMEGA THE UNKNOWN #2

Writer: Jonathan Lethem Penciler: Farel Dalrymple Publisher: Marvel Comics... wait, seriously? Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

Regardless of the actual content inside this issue of OMEGA here, I really have to take the time and space to give a big old verbal pat on the bat to the guys at Marvel who actually had the balls to produce this comic book. These days, I do well to avoid the sales charts because a) they make me baby-punching levels of angry and b) I guess they're not entirely accurate numbers-wise. But still, the placement of books is enough to let me in on what the industry wants and well, it's not pretty. Why are either of those relevant you ask? Because I don't have to look at any supercilious chart in order to know that this book can't be selling in the fucking slightest. I mean, come on, it has a writer that apparently is a biggish name novelist but I bet maybe one comic reader in a fucking thousand knows who he is (with me being one of the other 999) writing about a character that about the same ratio knows who HE is, with art that screams "Indie" (whatever that means these days), and no “World War Invasion Complex” banner in sight. Hell, I don't even think I'd be exaggerating (though I really am) to say more folks read this column by a bunch of guys who proudly call themselves @$$holes than they do OMEGA THE UNKNOWN. And honestly, that is a horrible shame, and now we move onto the how and the why. Ain't segueing grand?
The story thus far: Young Alexander has been a shut-in all his life, home-schooled by his parents who end up dying in a car accident on the way to his first day of school with real children his age. But its okay, they turned out to be robots anyway. And while laying in the hospital convalescing and trying to come to grips with this revelation, Alex is attacked by yet another ensemble of robotic beings only to be saved by our title hero, OMEGA THE UNKNOWN who has some connection to the bots, and apparently Alex (as shown when Alex exhibits some superpowers of his own; energy blasts from his hand that leave symbols in the form of Omega Symbols on his palms).
Admittedly, this second issue doesn't really resolve much in the main plot point there; what is up with Alex, his powers and his "family"? What this issue does do though is push the term "quirky" to the limits in a very good way. Most of it has to do with The Mink, a grandstanding celebrity supertype in a big fuchsia suit that comes into conflict with Omega as he watches over Alex in his new digs (these being the apartment of one of the nurses at his hospital, now taking care of the newfound orphan). What I like is that there's obviously a bigger story that Lethem is building to, but he doesn't seem to be in any hurry to get there. There's actually a steady pace to the scripting here, there's always something going on, but it also has this weird touch of lethargica that makes it all awkward and subdued, which actually kind of helps it overall because it also creates a sense of humor in the same vein, kind of like a Wes Anderson film. But there's all these elements at play here; The Robots, Omega's playing of guardian to the boy, the Mink, Alex's new home, and even some new ones introduced in this issue via an unusual interlude involving a researcher who receives a mysterious book about robotics that actually seems to be absorbed directly into his body over the course of three pages... No, I am not making this up.
All in all though, all these very unruly elements over the course of two issues have made OMEGA for me not necessarily one of the best things I'm reading right now, but definitely one high on the reading list simply because now I not only want to know what is going to happen next to these characters, but simply, what the hell kind of antics are going to commence as they occur and to see it through the "eyes" of Farel Dalrymple's pencils. The perfect accommodation for such unnatural storytelling, his multitude of smooth lines make up pictures that look very simplistic at first, but actually hold a lot of depth which I think is the perfect metaphor for this book so far, and for what it looks to become. We're only a fifth of the way through this Maxi-series, but if this stream of pure, unabashed creativity continues to flow forth from this book, this will definitely be one of the best, yet likely overlooked, titles of the year.

SIMON DARK #2

Written by “Wily” Steve Niles Art by Scott “Big Shot” Hampton Published by DC Reviewed by Stones “Throw me a Bone” Throw

“Intriguing” is all I can say about this one. I’d love to recommend it further, but Niles and Hampton haven’t really done enough to fully impress me yet. I’d love to be singing their praises, but…I’ll start at the beginning.
While I can’t say I disagreed with the criticisms Ambush Bug voiced in his review of Simon’s first issue, I found myself really enjoying the debut of Steve Niles’ new creation. Sure, it was thin on the ground, but there was a solid hook and some good creepiness there and I found myself intrigued enough to come back for the next issue. Scott Hampton’s fantastic art, reminiscent of a more experimental Michael Lark, was the icing on the cake. If the quality is present I can make an allowance for the first issue being a little slow off the ground. I’d prefer if it didn’t happen, but characters have got to be established and the team needs to find their feet.
So I hit up Mr. Dark’s second appearance and upon closing the back cover, I’m disappointed to say the only change is in my interest levels. What was intriguing in the first issue starts to become annoying when there’s the same low level of story progression. This is one S-L-O-W book. It’s slower than a snail in a Nissan! It’s slower than the kid in my class at school who asked “what about recipes?” when learning about how only plants make their own food!
In this issue, Simon gets shot by some GCPD cops, is taken to the morgue, and then escapes. Meanwhile, those mysterious guys in suits (when they were introduced last issue I hoped for a moment that it was Bruce Wayne and Alfred! Showing a hero from a different perspective like that would have been pretty cool)…do some stuff. Compare this to last issue when…uh, you’ll have to remind me on that again. I’m there to be won round, boys, but you’re gonna have to work a bit harder.
I’m not accusing Mr. Niles of padding out his story or anything like that – there has been progression in both of the issues so far, just not all that much. The book could do with cutting down on the “beat” splash pages and giving us a little more for our trouble. It’s a new series starring a new character and I need to be given a reason to stick around on an unsold commodity, but two issues in the dial is still set to “mildly intriguing” rather than involving and the book isn’t quite doing it for me on the value for money ratio. Which is a shame, because Niles has a potentially strong concept (I’d love to see Batman, or some other aspects of Gotham in the setting of the wider DCU show up), an, um, intriguing main character with a great design, and a potentially involving mystery developing. Note the use of “potentially”.
I’m conflicted. On the one hand there’s a lot of quality here, and I dig the tone, but on the other it’s not exactly a full read. The character isn’t terribly original, and while some cool stuff looks like it’s unfurling, the creative team aren’t quite doing enough to convince me to stick around. If only there was some way to enjoy story and art without having to worry about single issue pacing problems…
Trade, I’m a-waiting!

CAPTAIN MARVEL #1

Writer: Brian Reed Artists: Lee Weeks (pencils) & Stefano Gaudiano (inks) Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

Some books don’t have a chance right from the starting gate. The resurrection of Captain Marvel was probably the worst idea to spring from CIVIL WAR and the issue that showcased that resurrection (CIVIL WAR: THE RETURN) was unanimously voted as the worst issue of year in last year’s @$$ie Awards. Mar-Vell’s return was ham-fistedly executed with the age-old “pulling the character out of the timestream to live life in between for a while” premise used as if it were an afterthought. Worse yet, after the awful re-introduction, Captain Mar-Vell wasn’t used at all in the CIVIL WAR storyline. He simply ceased to exist. Maybe Marvel realized their mistake and shelved this series. Maybe they paid attention to all of the negative words lobbed around about THE RETURN. Maybe they were just waiting until Captain Mar-Vell’s return fit into an upcoming storyline (more on that later). Or maybe they just wanted to wait a time until the stink of THE RETURN wasn’t so fresh in our collective brain-pans.
Who knows what the ad wizards at Marvel had in mind? But nevertheless, Captain Mar-Vell is back.
Now this ain’t Black Lady Captain Marvel, or the one with the starry face, or the one who hollers SHAZAM! and gets written poorly by Judd Winick. This is the Captain Marvel that probably none of you remember. Hell, I barely know the character and I’ve been reading comics over twenty years. Other than a few flashback issues of Peter David’s Genis CAPTAIN MARVEL series, the only Captain Marvel comic I remember reading was the graphic novel depicting his death.
So with little prior knowledge of the character, I tried to shove my rancor for THE RETURN aside and experience this new CAPTAIN MARVEL miniseries on it’s own merits.
Surprisingly, it was a decent first issue.
Yes, this issue suffers from the same malady that each and every Marvel first issue suffers from, namely the lack of our hero in costume throughout the entire issue until the astonishing final splash page where the guy on the cover shows up. My fury towards that type of comic crescendoed in my review of the first issue of FOOLKILLER, but my anger has subsided a bit. This issue at least does a good job of keeping the story entertaining despite the lack of panel-time for our hero.
The thing that made me look past that was mainly the interesting twists that ILLUMINATI writer Brian Reed adds such as a religion based on Kree culture emulating Mar-vell as a Christ-like figure and the quick disposal of 3rd tier villain the Cyclone at the Louvre. I especially liked Mar-Vell’s observations about how the Kree and Earthlings differ in their appreciation of art. There’s some meaty character work at play here and Reed proves himself to be formidable at filling an issue with enough stuff to make it feel relevant. This is often harder than it looks apparently, since even the biggest names in comics sometimes have difficulty doing that. Reed also understands build-up to big scenes and reveals. There’s a real knowledge of panel placement at play here that stood out to me as I read through this one a few times.
This panel placement excellence may have to do with the fact that rock-solid artist Lee Weeks is making Brian’s words come to life with the help of DAREDEVIL/GOTHAM CENTRAL’s Stefano Gaudiano’s inks. This is a grounded and much more reality based super hero tale. I liked the art, which at times looked a bit like a more refined John Romita Jr. or Dougie Braithwaite. Even if the story were awful, I’d stick around for the art alone.
What I didn’t like, though, was the obligatory Iron Man appearance. I understand that Iron Man is the lynchpin of the Marvel Universe right now, but if I have to read through another issue where Iron Man pops in panel for some quiet sittin’ and talkin’ time with the hero of the month, establishing said hero’s stance on the Civil War thing, I’m going to pull out what little hair I have left on my head.
But back to the positive side, this is one of the few comics that actually acknowledges the shit that has been happening over the last few years at Marvel actually exist. WORLD WAR HULK, CIVIL WAR, Spidey Unmasking, the Initiative are all touched upon and give this book a little weight. Although, the question does arise that if Captain Mar-Vell is so crazy powerful, why wasn’t he present to fight off the Hulk? Or to defend the Kree from the Phalanx in ANNIHILATION CONQUEST? Or duke it out with whomever in CIVIL WAR? Maybe some of these “where the hell were you/” questions will be answered in this miniseries. Who knows?
All in all, this was a pretty fun read. I know, you all may still be reeling from the stinkiness that was CIVIL WAR: THE RETURN. But I tried to shake off that stigma and dive in with a fresh mind and I’m glad I did. So should you guys. Before I go, I do have to toss out a theory that I’m pretty certain is going to turn out to be true. Given the fact that writer Brian Reed wrote THE ILLUMINATI and given the fact that Joey Q dropped the hint that seeds of the upcoming “Secret Invasion” storyline have been planted for a while and to look at characters who have returned out of the blue for clues to answer the “Who’s a Skrull?” question, I think it’s a safe bet that our Kree warrior with “holes in his memory” may turn out to have a green complexion, pointy ears, and a waffle chin by the time final issue five rolls around. Just a theory, but I’ll bet I’m right. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this book. It’s a pretty damn fine read and I think I’ll stick around to see if my theory pans out.

BIFF-BAM-POW! # 1

Created, written and Illustrated by: Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer Published by: Slave Labor Graphics Reviewed by: superhero

Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dyer deliver a truly enjoyable comic book experience with the debut of their new book BIFF-BAM-POW! For those of you not in the know, Evan Dorkin is the creative genius behind MILK AND CHEESE and DORK, two of the comic books that were greatly responsible for introducing me to truly independent comics. Not only that but he helped me realize that comics could actually still be funny without being corny. Sarah Dyer’s comic book pedigree is just as impressive what with publishing her own comic book, ACTION GIRL, which was probably one of the first female friendly comic publications out there.
For those of you who’ve been exposed to Dorkin and Dyer’s work BIFF-BAM-POW! is really not all that new. Much like their other work it’s a series of different stories, each with its own wacky take on certain genre, BIFF-BAM-POW! being a riff on super-hero/sci-fi/action-adventure strips. If anything BIFF-BAM-POW! is a bit tamer than at least Dorkin’s work but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. As a matter of fact, it makes it a bit more accessible. Those of us who have loved the crazed irreverence of something like MILK AND CHEESE have something equally zany but just as wacky to show the young tikes in our lives. BIFF-BAM-POW! is a fun romp and actually has a very old school comics feel to it. It’s humorous without being crass and Dorkin’s illustrations are full of a vitality and crispness that really isn’t seen in many comics these days. It’s a style of comic that just isn’t around as much as it used to be, and if anything BIFF-BAM-POW! had me feeling a bit nostalgic for the way some comics used to be--or at least the way some kids entertainment used to be: funny but with a bit of an edge. And while Dorkin’s past works rode that edge and jumped over it, BIFF-BAM-POW! stays in very friendly territory. Don’t get me wrong, I miss gin swiggin’, street fightin’ dairy products as much as the next comic fan, but BIFF-BAM-POW! is a bit of a mellower outing that is still enjoyable even without all of the ultra-violence that some of Dorkin’s other strips indulged in. This is a terrific all ages romp that avoids being a bore and actually made me smile quite a bit.
It’s been too long since I’ve come across any of Dorkin and Dyer’s comic book work. It’s my understanding that both of them are busy working in the animation industry. Well, if that’s true I hope that it won’t be so long before we see another comic book from the both of them. I would hope that there’s a place for fun voices such as theirs in today’s marketplace and while I’m not sure if BIFF-BAM-POW! is going to have a follow up issue I’d sure love to see one.

HUNTER’S MOON #1 - 4 BOOM! Studios

There’s an intensity to this story that you can’t shake. This story of an African American man who loses his son during a hunting trip in the American South is a real page turner. Issue four comes to a head as our hero gets ever closer to finding out what happened to his missing son. There’s a VANISHING feel with shades of MISSISSIPPI BURNING, DELIVERANCE, and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT at play in this multi-textured and well characterized piece. This is a story of a man on the edge who would do anything in order to save the life of his son, grittily rendered by artists Sebastian Cardoso and Dalibor Talajic from a story by RAY screenwriter James L. White. Only one issue to go and after devouring all four issues in one sitting, I can’t wait to see how this one will pan out. - Ambush Bug

UNBEATABLE OGN Razor Wolf Entertainment

This is an impressive first effort from Razor Wolf, with high production standards, glossy paper and professional coloring aplenty. Writer Matthias Wolf has a pretty engaging story too, a fantasy take on the HISTORY OF VIOLENCE/WANTED scenario with a father who is more than he seems and a son who has to adjust. My main problem was that the art, subject matter and overall tone all seem geared to an all-ages read, but there’s the occasional on-panel decapitation or out of place F-bomb that prevents that. I had a few issues with the overly explanatory wrap-up too, but overall this is a strong product. – Stones Throw

REDBALL 6 #1-2 Atomic Pop Art Entertainment

This is a really fun series teaming six undead lawmen (and woman) together in a purgatory-like town between heaven and hell. The characters vary from old west sheriffs to gumshoes to demon detectives, all of them unique and fun to see bounce off of one another. The art by someone named Jok (not to be confused with Jock of LOSERS fame) is pretty damn great as well. Think John McCrea’s gritty caricaturistic style meets Seth Fisher’s detailed landscapes and environments with a dash of the surreality that is Ted McKeever and you’ve pretty much nailed the art in this one. There’s a grimy and dirty feel to these less than perfect heroes who patrol the highly detailed and utterly bizarre streets of Near Dis. The story is all noir by Jason and Ian Miller and well done and fun noir at that. Issue one focuses on the team’s latest recruit and functions as a perfect way to introduce these new characters and their locale. Issue two leaps headfirst into a crime scene of a multiple murder. Seek this one out for its imaginative characters, strong plot, and fantastically devious artwork. - Ambush Bug

PUNISHER #52 Marvel Comics

Oh SHIT… - Sleazy G

WONDER WOMAN #14 DC Comics

This didn’t quite knock me on my @$$ like I was hoping (probably due to dealing with baggage from earlier issues), but there’s no denying it’s a strong start from Gail Simone. Wonder Woman’s always been the only comic book icon to lack a definitive characterization (what’s DC’s take been for the last few years? Hard@$$ bitch?), and while Simone perhaps isn’t there yet, I have to say she seems to be on the right lines with her take on the Amazing Amazon. Powerful but not self-possessed. Heroic, even. Anyway, looks like some good stuff set for the future, and talking monkeys always make for good comics. - Stoney

PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #13 Marvel Comics

With the introduction of Kraven The Hunter’s son, collecting all the animal-themed characters in the Marvel U for his own personal zoo, this storyline looks to be a bit more fun than the last couple. Which is actually what the point of this series is anyway—stories involving Frank Castle more directly linked to the mainstream Marvel U. We also get a quick peek at what G.W. Bridge is up to, a glimpse of a sure-to-be-upcoming guest star from the X side of the fence, and one of the best on-panel sound effects in recent memory. “Durp” indeed. Definitely worth checking out for fans of Kraven, The Rhino, The Vulture, that one dude who looks like a frog…c’mon! It’s the Fun-isher! Just buy it already! - Sleazy G

THE OVERMAN: BOOKS 1 – 2 Image Comics

“The year is 2135. It is the final year.” Pretty ominous stuff and the first two issues of OVERMAN surely deliver the goods. It’s a futuristic tale with things called servol-conns that transmit information and visions into its users, flying cars, futuristic sex fetishes, and half destroyed armored warriors. This book has more imagination in its first few issues than most books have in their entire series. Like the original STAR WARS, this book isn’t about the futuristic stuff. The focus is on a story that happens to be functioning in this well thought out futuristic world. The spotlight is not on the tech, it’s on developing the story. Told from different perspectives; that of a hired killer, a captive fetish sex addict/master criminal, and reawakened Russian armored warrior who is now a badly burned but super-powerful half man, this story is complex and intriguing from cover to cover. The art by Shane White is top notch as well reminding me of Darrick Robertson or Phil Winslade. This is a truly memorable and impressive debut series worth checking out. - Bug

AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE #7 Marvel Comics

There are rumors running wild about how Spider-Man’s secret identity may be restored through crazy retconning which makes it very annoying to pick up AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE and see them implementing a simpler, more palatable fix to the problem which, likely, is going to be swept aside. Not saying it is the greatest solution, that I had tears in my eyes over it’s sheer brilliance, just saying it’s interesting and makes me want to punch things less than what may be being planned for One Last Day. As to the story itself? Good stuff. The idea that The Initiative is supposed to lessen dumb crap happening with heroes and instead it is directly responsible for a crazy FUBAR in the middle of New York? Ahhh… good times. Also enjoying the stresses coming out within The Initiative and the mystery of MVP. Can’t believe I am really enjoying an Initiative book since the whole CIVIL WAR thing annoyed me so much. - Jinxo

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

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

Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 21, 2007, 6:08 a.m. CST

    I think this might be my favourite section

    by IAmMrMonkey!

    I'm clueless when it comes to comic books and it's always nice to see what's around so thankyou very much.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 6:23 a.m. CST

    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    With the whole "making Spider-Man's identity a secret again" thing, I really hope they do it in a more subtle way, like the Scarlet-Spiders thing in The Initiative, rather than what is rumoured to be going to happen in One More Day. That just sounds bollocks. Or maybe the Sentry could use whatever he used in his tower to make the world forget about him for so many years? Come to think of it... whatever happened to Scout, the sidekick Sentry had when Paul Jenkins first wrote about him??

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 6:25 a.m. CST

    Scarlet Spiders

    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    I am loving Avengers: The Initiative though. The Scarlet Spiders are actually pretty sweet.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 6:46 a.m. CST

    I don't get the Punisher #52 review

    by GrubStreeter

    Can someone walk me through that one?

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 6:57 a.m. CST

    My two cents.....

    by BangoSkank

    I agree that WWH shouldn't have been a huge crass-over, it was just unnecessary. Also it should have been a couple of issues shorter in length... but nowadays, I guess I just have to expect that... It's all about the trades. <p> Two storylines I am enjoying are Messiah Complex and everything going on in New Avengers.... I was left completely unimpressed with the Beast backup stories leading up to MC, but have enjoyed the first three MCs.... sort of reminds me of "classic" X-men crossovers like The Mutant Massacre or Fall of the Mutants.... which is when I began reading the X-books in the first place. As for New Avengers? I'm just enjoying everything about it.... love the lineup, the villains, the use of other marvel characters, the art... all of it. <p>After reading Wolverine last week, I canceled my subscription..... SPOILER..... <p> <p> <p> <p> <p> So what? Now every time Wolverine "dies" he fights the Angel of Death? Fuck that shit. I'm done with it. More convoluted bullshit that just pisses me off. I just don't give a shit any more. I'll get my Wolverine fix from the other half a dozen books he's in. <p> One last gripe.... <p>I can live with the fucking ads in my comic, even the two page spreads that pop up every third page..... but this month Marvel has more self-promotional shit in the back of the book than even I --a 20 year Marvel Zombie-- can handle. Full pager for "Next Week", full pager for Iron Man 2, fucking 2 page spread for a New Exiles relaunch, a full page interview for the Iron Fist writer, a full pager to answer the question "What Marvel Character would you like to bang?", and a fucking full page for "Fury's File." Fuuuuuck. I guess I know why comics are $2.99 AND need NINETEEN FUCKING PAGES OF advertisements!!!! NINETEEN!!!!!

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 7:01 a.m. CST

    Oh, one more gripe....

    by BangoSkank

    In Fury's Files, why would Nick Fury comment that Storm was originally conceived by Dave Cockrum as The Black Cat? What the fuck? Marvel can't stay in continuity for five seconds any more. So what, Nick Fury is aware that the Marvel Universe is actually just a comic book creation. How very fucking self-aware. BRAAAAAAH! <p> Something in my head just popped.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 7:03 a.m. CST

    Batman meets..

    by nolan bautista

    ..Pony-Boy and Dallas..watch as they battle against the Socs in Batman and the Outsiders..An American Zoetroppe production..directed by Sofia Coppola..

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 7:25 a.m. CST

    BangoSkank you are in for a treat come the new year...

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

    Wait until Jason Aaron takes over Wolverine. Read his "Scalped" series and you'll know EXACTLY what I'm talking about. Fuck it, look at a picture of Jason Aaron and you'll know what I mean. That guy is gonna kick ass.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 7:38 a.m. CST

    http://www.scalped.info/

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

    If you're not reading this book... Let me rephrase this... how many Marvel and DC books do we read monthly that we wish we could send directly to the asshole who wrote it and make them pay us back (S&H included!) for reading their garbage? This guy offers that. I have every issue. No fucking WAY am I doing that because this IS the best book from Vertigo. Top 3 for me right now.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 7:43 a.m. CST

    World War Hulk

    by stones_throw

    So...Greg Pak has, by most accounts, re-energized the Hulk and brought his book back up the sales charts, and now, after this huge, publicity-grabbing event they kick him off the book and get Jeph Loeb to write about some new Red Hulk while he gets put on a solo Hercules title? Did that guy make an off-hand comment about Joe Quesada's size?<p>On Captain Marvel, I imagine that the Return one-shot was greenlit when they realized they needed a book to make up the monthly profits what with the CIVIL WAR delays. Makes sense when you think that the actual return of Captain Marvel was only 13 damn pages.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:01 a.m. CST

    Jinxo doesn't pay attention much

    by ErnieAnderson

    Had he actually READ the House of M storyline, he might have noticed that there were consistent references to an alternate history very different from the mainstream Marvel U's. Oops.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:09 a.m. CST

    Bucky....

    by BangoSkank

    Thanks for the heads-up.... I'll be looking into Scalped ASAP.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:13 a.m. CST

    Can't People Type "Ass"?

    by Aquatarkusman

    What the fuck, lamenuts?

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:15 a.m. CST

    Any of you guys see Alan Moore on "The Simpsons?"

    by Abin Sur

    Milhouse asking Moore to sign his copy of "Watchmen Babies" was the funniest thing I've seen in a LONG time...

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:17 a.m. CST

    I'm sure the Punisher review was hilarious...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...to those who've read the issue. The rest of us would appreciate you sharing the joke with the rest of the class.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:17 a.m. CST

    I just watched the Alan Moore bits on YouTube.

    by stones_throw

    I can't sit through the Simpsons anymore. But "Watchmen Babies" was funny.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:24 a.m. CST

    "Oh SHIT."

    by stones_throw

    Makes sense to me. Denotes a highly tense, shit-hitting-the-fan-stylee issue. Read the thing yerself if you want to find out why.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Yeah. That Punisher review was on point.

    by DuncanHines

    I read the issue too. You don't need to use a review to explain every nuance of the plot. You don't need to talk about how fucking awesome Goran Parlov's art is. And, as a whole, I wouldn't say the two-word "Oh SHIT..." review is hilarious... It nails this issue. Go read it.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:43 a.m. CST

    House of M...

    by DuncanHines

    I didn't read the issue, but the review leads me to believe that Marvel is about to jock DC and set up their own multi-verse, including Age Of Apocalypse-verse, Marvel Zombies-verse, Ultimate-verse, New Universe... This multiverse was hinted at in Ultimate Power too, where the traditional Squadron Supreme is zapped into the Supreme Power-verse (another one). And Ultimate Wanda was one of the conduits there, too, just like in House Of M. They could be shaping up for another MAJOR crossover with her as the central figure and most powerful thing in the whole Marvel Universe. She's like a human Infinity Gauntlet.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:45 a.m. CST

    And on Captain Marvel...

    by DuncanHines

    Another one I haven't gotten yet, but Lee Weeks is the selling point there. That dude's comics ALWAYS look great. Get Spider-Man's Tangled Web 7-9 for cheap at your local comic store. Lee Fucking Weeks. Dude's amazing.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Regarding the two-word Punisher review

    by Meglos

    Go buy Punisher #50 (which is where the current arc begins), 51 and 52. Then read issues 50 and 51. Then read 52. When you read the last page of 52 you yourself will say "Oh SHIT."

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 9 a.m. CST

    stones_throw, I meant to say...

    by Abin Sur

    ...funniest thing I've seen "ON THE SIMPSONS" in a long time.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 9:11 a.m. CST

    WW Hulk #5

    by mrswing

    I generally enjoy Ambush Bug's reviews and agree with them, but in this case I can't. WWH 5 sucked all kinds of ass. Not only was Hulk WRONG the whole time, the fight with Sentry ends in the lamest way possible, the standing of the heroes in the public eye (and with regards to each other) has not improved - I thought that this event was supposed to start the Post-CW 'healing process', the betrayal-twist is totally meh, and one of Marvel's main non-hero characters gets offed in a perfunctory and pointless fashion. The only 'Holy Shit'-moments here were of the 'holy shit that's BAD'-variety. One thing is clear: the only creators doing a first-rate job of event comics at Marvel right now are Abnett and Lanning. Here's hoping Annihilation: Conquest manages to go the distance.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 9:54 a.m. CST

    re: Unbeatable

    by rock-me Amodeo

    I read this comic, too, and the premise had me going from the start. That said, I agree that it really wasn't for kids, though the style of animation threw me for a bit: it didn't seem as dark as it got.<br><br> That said, I enjoyed it. It's not the start of a miniseries, it's not a jump on point for a monthly - it's self contained, and a good yarn, even if the last couple of pages are mostly expostion. Still, it's good to get the big picture before its all over.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 9:57 a.m. CST

    Why I approached PUNISHER that way:

    by SleazyG.

    First, it's a cheap shot, not a review, and the whole point of cheap shots is they shouldn't feel bound to the same rules as a more formal review: they can be as short or snarky or on or off point as they want, which is why I did it as a cheapie.<p> Second, I didn't want to give anything away, or overhype it, or go to much into it, because not everyone's read the issue yet. I didn't want to spoil the end, because there's no way you can read this storyline, get to that page, and not say "oh SHIT."<p> I just didn't wanna blow it for anybody else, but it still needed to be said.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Batman

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

    Please tell me you're shitting me. I'm canadian and I don't even know if I can legally get a copy over here but I've been looking forward to get a copy online somehow. please tell me it isn't shit.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Punisher

    by Laserhead

    So you guys think what it looked like happened at the end REALLY happened? Is there a way we can discuss this and just say SPOILERS?

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 10:45 a.m. CST

    Yeah, but "oh SHIT" could be good or bad.

    by rev_skarekroe

    You know, it could be "oh SHIT, that's the coolest story I've ever read!" or "oh SHIT, it turns out Frank Castle has been a clone for the last 20 years!" Just help a brother out next time.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 10:48 a.m. CST

    It's an "Oh shit" as in

    by Laserhead

    "Oh shit, did they really just go there? Oh shit, I can't imagine what kind of previously unheard-of, medieval lengths Frank Castle is going to go to now."

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Wha-huh?

    by toshiro-solo

    The 3rd LOEG comes out last week, and no review? Wha-huh? For my part, I thought it was pretty damn great; I think Moore's finding more to the story than what initially felt like a lark with the first volume (which was still damned good). The 3-D made my brain hurt though.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Punisher

    by rock-me Amodeo

    No way did they go there. No way.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Finally...some love for Omega!!!

    by Matt Steezy

    My thanks to Humphrey Lee for highlighting just how great 'Omega: The Unknown' is. I totally agree that it has that same, charming ambling quality of a Wes Anderson or Jim Jarmusch film, and that 'The Mink' is frickin' hilarious - I love the panel after he's figured out what his super-hero doodads actually do, and he just shouts "Cool!" with gay abandon while he tries to blast Omega. The art's great, and the cover to Issue 2 is a real subtle masterpiece...reminded me of that JRJR cover of the Sentry series with the city in flames through the window of his psychiatrists office...but the same image here, drawn more simply holds even more sway. In short, if I could only buy one comic book each month (instead of the 30 or so I seem to be hooked on), I'd make it Omega.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Batman meets Kevin Nash and Scott Hall

    by Reel American Hero

    As they prepare to take over WCW in....Batman and The Outsiders.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Super...I mean, Sentry flies around the world a few times

    by Reel American Hero

    How Marvel will retcon Spidey's identity issue. Just kidding, though it's so lame I wouldn't be surprised if that was the answer.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:03 a.m. CST

    SCARLET SPIDER SPOILER!!!

    by Matt Steezy

    Oh, and while I think it could be guessed, Marvel seem to have leaked the Avengers: The Initiative 'top secret' story arc about the identity of the Scarlet Spiders. The February solicitations say that they're called Michael, Van, and Patrick. MVP? They had to be cloning him for something good. I thought he might've been a great new Captain America, kind of as a Cap in training being mentored by Bucky...meh.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:08 a.m. CST

    "What Marvel Character would you like to bang?"

    by mbeemer

    Sue Richards. THAT was EASY!!!<p><p> Oh, sorry! I thought the question was "What Marvel Character would you MOST like to bang?" The entire list would be too long to post...

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:13 a.m. CST

    Punisher

    by DuncanDisorderly

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:16 a.m. CST

    Kitty

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:17 a.m. CST

    sorry, pressed wrong button!

    by DuncanDisorderly

    Hopefully Marvel haven't gone there because that means Frank's current 'target' will be royally fucked up next issue and I was kinda hoping that Garth Ennis was going to use him as a recurring bad-ass nemesis, a la Jigsaw!

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:17 a.m. CST

    Kitty Pryde...

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

    I'd make her phase all the way to China!

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:17 a.m. CST

    DuncanDisorderly: Punisher?

    by rock-me Amodeo

    I didn't even know her!

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Bucky - but how would you get her back here?

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Kinda makes "Coming to America" take on a whole new meaning.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Most bangable character

    by DuncanDisorderly

    M in X-Factor ( as written by Peter David!!! ) is so hot...

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:25 a.m. CST

    45 posts and still no love on the Top Ten

    by rock-me Amodeo

    and the DVD section on the main page still bleeds over into the Comics section. What up?

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:34 a.m. CST

    No Scarlet Spider spoiler, actually.

    by SleazyG.

    That story pont was revealed in the most recent INITIATIVE issue, so it's not really a surprise.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:34 a.m. CST

    Actually I want to switch from Kitty to M as well...

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

    DuncanDisorderly has a point... M is smokin'. p.s. Read X-Factor if you don't.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:35 a.m. CST

    Actually, I think they mighta went there in PUNISHER.

    by SleazyG.

    Look at the panel again: there's definitely some matter blowing out from the gunshot. Could be fake, could be not, but either way, that's a seriously "oh SHIT" splash page.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:37 a.m. CST

    Story POINT, not story pont.

    by SleazyG.

    Whoops.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:39 a.m. CST

    Any Update on what Valiant's doing...???

    by Master Darque

    Was the Harbinger compilation all that we're gonna get?

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 11:40 a.m. CST

    I think they mighta went there too--

    by Laserhead

    I mean, it would make sense, dramatically. Take away the very, very last thing that could give Castle a tenuous hold on life and humanity, the last thing that might have a chance to redeem the world for him... and then see what he does.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Rictor

    by Homer Sexual

    For some reason, I've long thought of Rictor as the Marvel character I'd most like to bang. Even now that he seems to have converted to hetero status, he's still my choice. And, geez, they couldn't even find one homo in the Bullpen to present an alternate view on that page?

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Bendis and Cage?

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 1:18 p.m. CST

    I DO pay attention

    by Jinxo

    Yes, I do know there were references to an alternate history. Clearly people believe they have a history that was different from the current history. The issue at hand is did that history actually happen or do they merely THINK it happened. Did the Scarlet Witch actually go back in time and change the course of the last, say 15 years so different events actually happened? If so then nobody should have any ability to remember the old events even with "magical" prompting. OR di the Scarlet Witch merely alter everyone's memories of the past 15 years as well as the current day physical reality of the world to make people believe 15 years of fictional history that never actually happened except in their imaginations? This is what I had assumed had happened as it's the only thing that made sense. It would explain why memories of the old world can be brought to the surface; the old memories aren't gone, just wallpapered over. There was actually an episode of Angel that used this idea. The world was changed to an alternate reality with people believig a new history but the fact was the past was really the same, only people's perception of what had happened was altered, the world adjusted to match those new ideas.<br><br> I read the book. Wanna impress me, explain why I should care enough about the concept to keep reading it.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 1:44 p.m. CST

    Most bangable Marvel Heroine...

    by C.K. Lamoo

    Layla Miller, THE KNOWS STUFF, and I want her to teach it to me.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 1:46 p.m. CST

    C.K.... that's just fuckin' wrong

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 1:53 p.m. CST

    The answer is Jessica Drew

    by rev_skarekroe

    But only when she's got the black hair.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 1:55 p.m. CST

    Lee Weeks/Punisher/Moonstar

    by steverodgers

    Lee weeks is the best, and underated. His art on the'cap lives' arc was incredible. Punisher right now is totally out of hand, i hope ennis writes that book forever. also am i the only one who would thinks that danni moonstar was/is the most bangable comics babe in the marvel u? kitty pryde of course comes in 2nd.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 2:18 p.m. CST

    I second...

    by Shigeru

    I second the BRAVO to Marvel for putting out the great Omega the Unknown, even if it will get friggin buried.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Emma Frost AKA The White Queen

    by Zardoz

    I'd make her a little "whiter", if you get my meaning... (wink, wink, nudge, nudge!)

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Chuck Dixon is a homophobe

    by Art Crumb

    Dixon crapped up writing about gay characters because he'sa homophobe and a gay-baiter himself. He hates the fact that gays are being discussed in comics, and he is personally repulsed by them. So, look for Grace and Thunder to be written out soon. He's incapable of writing about anything that doesn't fit his George Bush view of the world. Bet you he even puts WMDs in Iraq.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 2:31 p.m. CST

    oh cum on Zardoz... that's gross

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

  • Granted, 'Pantheon' was a small press book, and probably not as many people read it. But for those who've read it, its ending is practically where Salvation Run starts. The only difference is the government in Pantheon didn't disinguish between heroes and villains: 'We'll solve our *own* problems now, thanks. See you later'.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 3:56 p.m. CST

    Bangable Marvel Broads...

    by DuncanHines

    Black Cat. Yeah.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 4 p.m. CST

    Oops...that should be 'distinguish'

    by mdf2

    But much of Willingham's mainstream superhero stuff convinces me further he should play in his own sandbox -- all his own stuff: Elementals, Fables, etc. -- tends to be far superior to his DC work like Shadowpact.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 4:01 p.m. CST

    Scarlet Witch...followed by She-Hulk

    by superhero

    Although Shulkie would probably break me in half...be gentle!

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 4:02 p.m. CST

    Or maybe that should read Scarlet Witch with She-Hulk?

    by superhero

    Hey! Lay off! It's my fantasy!

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 4:07 p.m. CST

    Okay, Okay...Scarlet Witch, She-Hulk, Black Cat foursome!!!

    by superhero

    I could handle it! Be gentle!

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 4:17 p.m. CST

    C.K.Lamoo...

    by DuncanDisorderly

    I hope your comment about Layla was made with your tongue firmly placed in your cheek...

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 4:21 p.m. CST

    Punisher and X-Factor...

    by DuncanDisorderly

    Punisher and X-Factor are the only Marvel issues I actually read now. Once Garth Ennis leaves Punisher then I'll be left with X-Factor, unless Peter David vamooses, of course. This will then end my Marvel spending spree which began over 25 years ago. Joey Q, you a bad monkey!!!

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 4:33 p.m. CST

    most bangable marvel character is...

    by blackthought

    the "black adam" version of mary marvel.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 4:37 p.m. CST

    Batman SPOILER! You know the drill...

    by DuncanDisorderly

    ***SPOILER***SPOILER***SPOILER***The new Batman will be Jason Todd and will be written by Grant Morrison.

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 7:04 p.m. CST

    what?... what'll happen to Bruce? Jason?...

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

    Countdown says this? Final Crisis might be cool!

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 8:26 p.m. CST

    Don't cum on me, Bucky, please!

    by Zardoz

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 9:21 p.m. CST

    pfff... suck it up buttercup

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

  • Nov. 21, 2007, 10:23 p.m. CST

    Barracuda must die

    by proper

    Or else it's a sell out.Barracuda had a ok mini series earlier in the year I suppose but for me not a character that is up to snuff past this story.All I thought at the end of #052 was Boyyy that man is in trouble even if it's a fake so I appreciated that one,respect :>.It's a shame about the digital comics crackdown.I'm not impressed with Marvel's digital service,it's limited,out of date and you can't even keep what you have bought lol liberties.Oh well it was a good run,personally I obtained much history and am very humble,grateful and thankful,I have no complaints......Saying that,Please God of comics just let the House Of Mystery torrent finish..I'm looking forward to the LOEG Black Dossier,I hope that gets reviewed.All the best.

  • Nov. 22, 2007, 3:08 a.m. CST

    Coooooooool Barracuda

    by FuckYoMamaWithTheL.A.Raiders

    Barracuda is probably my favorite character ever. Even though I hope The Punisher eventually gets his revenge for what 'Cuda did to his daughter, I hope it doesn't happen before Garth is able to write the the one "What if..." comic that everybody is dying to see: "What if...Barracuda was a member of The Watchman?" And it goes pretty much like Watchmen goes, except at the very end Adrian Viedt has a large exit wound in the back of his pretty blond head and a gaping poop-chute with a diameter of about 19 inches. Yep, Cuda fucked his aryian ass good!!! Then he got some fried chicken outta the fridge and tuned all of Viedt's televison screens to Jerry Springer.

  • Nov. 22, 2007, 4:32 a.m. CST

    garth ennis can't write, he is hacky pondscum

    by ironic_name

    if i were writing, i would have had barracuda eat the little shit. <P>then have sex with frank.<P> using whats left of the child as a condom.<P>then killed frank. <P>that would have been a good end.

  • Nov. 22, 2007, 7:02 a.m. CST

    ironic_name...

    by DuncanDisorderly

    were you deprived of oxygen, or somehow dropped on your head at birth? If not, then maybe you should have been...

  • Nov. 22, 2007, 8:46 a.m. CST

    DuncanHines you're a bit late

    by messi

    Marvel have been doing the multiverse stories for along time now, DC wants to do it now with their multiverse because they saw Marvel made it work. Keep up with the times motherfucker.

  • Nov. 22, 2007, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Punisher: The Slavers = one of the best stories ever

    by messi

    written in all of fiction. obviously crime ficiton. but man was i blown away and enraged at the same time, especially considering this shit happens(only the bad shit, not he good shit like Frank destroying these motherfuckers). We live on Earth 3....we live on Earth 3.

  • Nov. 22, 2007, 10:09 p.m. CST

    hmm...

    by blackthought

    sleepy.

  • Nov. 23, 2007, 5:25 a.m. CST

    messi, I'm on time, fool!

    by DuncanHines

    I keep up with the times, but I keep up with my history, as well. DC had a multiverse first. Marvel has never acknowledged their multiverse as such, except maybe in Alan Moore's Captain Britain (as far as I know... I've never read Exiles though...) DC has characters who know of their multiverse AS a multiverse, and it looks like Marvel is about to have Wanda become something like that.

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