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#29 11/21/07 #6
Logo by Ambush Bug



Story and art by Eric Powell Published by Dark Horse Reviewed by Ambush Bug

Mark my words, folks. THE GOON: CHINATOWN & THE MYSTERY OF MR. WICKER will be the thing that propels Eric Powell from “that dude who writes that funny comic about herky-jerky zombies, Spanish-speaking dragons, and retards with shit-filled diapers” to creative comic book powerhouse. This absolutely beautiful and original hardcover graphic novel is one of those books that deserve to be read and reread, then reread again: once for the story, then for the art, then once again to soak it all in.
For a few years now, Eric Powell has tickled our demented funny bones with the irreverent antics of the Goon (a street-tough palooka) and his smack-talkin’ sidekick Franky as they bound through a noir-ish town filled with horrific and hilarious creatures. So far, we’ve witnessed quite a bit of jack@$$ery going on in just about each and every issue of the monthly GOON comic. There’s poo-flinging, devil worship, knives to eyes, giant spiders, metal covered hero/villain/heroes, and what seems to be just about everything and anything the demented mind of Eric Powell has cooked up in fever dreams and hallucinations. It is a comic with no moral buffer, sure to offend the uptight and entertain those like me with a sense of humor and the understanding that no subject is beyond ridicule. One of the things missing, though, from THE GOON was heart. Sure there were a few moments here and there where the Goon would perform an act of decency, but for the most part the series focus has been on lowest common denominator, gross-out, purposefully offensive humor and gore.
That is, until now.
With CHINATOWN & THE MYSTERY OF MR. WICKER, Powell ventures into new territory, peeling off the hat that covers most of the Goon’s face to reveal some powerful moments that hit like one of the Goon’s oversized fists to the gut. Why is the Goon such a hard@$$? What happened to make him this way? Powell answers these questions here.
This tale pops between present and past revealing the plot with a sense of maturity and patience that Powell hasn’t shown until now. This is a sensitive tale of loss, betrayal, and redemption. A woman from the past reappears in the Goon’s life, and with her return long-buried memories for him. In this book, we get to see how the Goon gets his scars on the inside and out and what made him such a man of muscle and grit. The book is set up like a perfect noir film with flashbacks in monotone, while the present story is told in more vibrant, yet still muted (this is still a GOON comic, ya know) colors.
Powell has always been a powerful artist. I used to compare his artistic style to that of such horror legends as Bernie Wrightston and Kelley Jones, but in recent years Powell has come into his own, completely surpassing comparison with others. Powell maintains the iconic GOON imagery while venturing into new artistic territory with what looks to be watercolors and charcoals to add depth and mood. Having followed the Goon and Powell from their first appearances on the comics scene, it’s been a treat to see the artist develop into his own and become one of the most distinct and original artists we have in comics today.
With this hardcover, Powell has surpassed even his own phenomenal achievements. Here Powell’s images are more crisp in the present scenes and more textured and lush in the flashbacks. There’s a sequence of pages when the story reaches a crescendo where we are treated with a series of splash pages where the Goon unravels and goes completely mad before our eyes. It is fascinating to turn these pages simply depicting the Goon’s face and see the transformation he undergoes at this point in the book. The subtle changes to the facial features and the range of emotions conveyed make it one of the most compelling turns of the page I have read this year. In those five splash pages, we see the Goon transform from man filled with life and hope to the hard-nosed street rough we know and love today. It’s an excruciating thing to see and one this reader will not soon forget.
If you’ve never read a Goon story, this is the perfect starting point. It highlights the best aspects of the Goon Universe while making it all the more three-dimensional. To be honest, I was wondering where Powell was planning on taking the Goon. I always thought the character has much more potential than just being an excuse to draw poop and gore on a monthly basis. In CHINATOWN & THE MYSTERY OF MR. WICKER, we not only get to see how the Goon transformed into the man we all know, but we get the added bonus of witnessing the transformation of Eric Powell to funny book writer/artist to a force to be reckoned with in the comic book world. Be warned, as the first pages of this book exclaims in large letters: “This Ain’t Funny.” And THE GOON: CHINATOWN & THE MYSTERY OF MR. WICKER surely isn’t, but it is without a doubt one of the best books I have read this year.


Written by Grant Morrison Art by Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant Published by DC Reviewed by Stones Throw

Two years and counting, three more issues to go…Sigh.
I’m going to miss this book. Conceptually, Superman is probably the best super-powered character there is, but in practice he’s labored way too much in comic book purgatory. People say stuff like “he’s too powerful”. How is that a bad thing? Having unimaginable power yet still being susceptible to human emotions and desires sounds like a recipe for engaging stories to me. Or, “he’s too much of a boy scout”. What do you folks like so much about Spider-Man? Great power and great responsibility, right? Superman’s that to the max! He’s a guy with power so great that he feels he can’t let himself be less than morally perfect – the epitome of a hero’s struggle. And don’t even give me that “he’s too hard to empathize with” crap. Batman is hard to empathize with. Clark Kent is a guy who knows he has great power but can’t allow himself to prove it to others. No matter how many friends he has he’ll always feel slightly alone. Come on. An all-powerful alien who is at once intrinsically human but always destined to be other, come to save us but never fully join us. Someone who could rule over us but chooses to live as one of our meekest. A guy who’s simply trying to do the best he can with what he’s got. These concepts are gold, but somehow successive writers have gotten distracted by the trappings and have failed to live up to their potential.
Morrison and Quitely know how to do it though. The main thing to remember is that as an established character, Superman is fundamentally an adult who has got it worked out, occasional doubts aside. Internal soul-searching is all but pointless in a Superman story as it’s telling us what we already know. What a writer has to do is to present outside challenges to what Superman is. Case in point: the Kryptonian astronaut heroes who have made their way to Earth during Superman’s absence on Bizarro World. The character has probably wished more than once that he could have grown up on Krypton, but in this issue he has to face up to the fact that he doesn’t fully belong on Earth or Krypton and even question the way he’s protected Earth. Of course, this story is beautifully and surprisingly resolved within 22 pages. It says “to be continued” at the end but I was convinced it was a perfect standalone story.
The reason I’m talking about this specific issue when all the others have been equally fantastic is that not only is this a great ALL STAR Superman tale, but a great SUPERMAN tale full stop. This could fit seamlessly into the ongoing adventures (the worst feature of which is the number of Kryptonians other than Superman). And the thing is, what’s going to happen when this book is gone? Morrison and Quitely have presented us with the best, purest version of Superman since the first Christopher Reeve movie and have set the standard for which the other stories of comics’ best character should be held to in stories approaching high art. More importantly, they’ve shown us interesting, powerful Superman stories can be consistently achieved. Time for DC to raise their game. Geoff Johns’ work on ACTION COMICS is a step in the right direction.


Writer: Zeb Wells Pencilers: Alvin Lee, Leonard Kirk, Ale Garza, James Cordeiro Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

I have to say the WORLD WAR HULK crossovers into regular titles, generally, seemed unnecessary. A lot of them didn’t add much to the primary WWH story and just as often didn’t add anything to the title doing the crossover either. Mostly it was just an interruption in the regularly scheduled story. And then, after the crossover was done, the books jumped back to their regular tale without much dovetailing from the big war, mainly because most of them finished their tie-in before the end of the war was revealed.
HEROES FOR HIRE was on my list of pointless, “who cares” WWH tie-ins. Between tie-ins to CIVIL WAR and WWH, the book annoyingly hasn’t had much of a chance to actually run with its own premise. These heroes have been so busy being caught up in “events” that ain’t none of them been hired to do crap more than a couple of times. And WWH didn’t even have them involved in the main story. It had them involved with some of Hulks alien bug buddies. Okay, whatever.
So with all of that, I was shocked to find myself really impressed with the payoff of HEROES FOR HIRE’s WWH story. Seriously. Calling their shots and focusing in on the alien bugs, a part of the event they could grab and make their own, as opposed to being the one hundred and eighth group of heroes to fail to stop the Hulk turned out to be a good move. The bugs might have been minor to the war but Zeb Wells gave those bugs big consequences for the Heroes For Hire. Big big.
The cover spells out that one of the gang won’t survive the issue. But amazingly Wells gives pretty much every hero a major troubling character turn in this issue. Considering the book has EIGHT characters to service, that’s pretty damn impressive. This is one of those team book issues where someone would say, “what’s happened to us? Everything has changed.” Usually, in groups with far fewer characters in one of these stories, half the team’s disillusionment is just a general one coming off of the big central shock of the issue. But here? Multiple critical moments, real specific turns for everybody without a generic “What’s become of us?” in the bunch. With eight characters! Sorry but that still floors me.
In addition to eight heroes, the issue also sports work from four different pencilers. What the hey? Did everybody just come in and draw one line each? That’s a lot of people chipping in on the art. But it was a surprise to me because I think all the art flows together pretty seamlessly. The style might vary a bit but not so much that you’d notice. And it’s solid work. Not the ultimate in comic art but solid stuff. And I really liked the visceral feel of the full page splash panel toward the end of the book. So very wrong it made me smile. Heheh.
But, seriously, can we get these damn heroes (the ones that are still functional) a JOB already? Damn man, I think in a year they’ve only had two or three jobs and one of those was paid for with a jar of change.


Writer: Marc Guggenheim Penciler: David Dumeer Publisher: Oni Press Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

This seems to be a rather good time for comics if you're into the whole "post-apocalyptic" world schtick. I barely remember a time where there was one or two books that used that kind of subject matter on the shelves, and yet there's been one introduced to the industry every year or two like clockwork since Y: THE LAST MAN hit the shelves about five years back. Continuing the trend and from Oni Press (who also produces WASTELAND, one of the other titles I was alluding to) comes RESURRECTION from Marc Guggenheim, a man who's been making himself a solid little following here and there with some stints on some big name franchise characters the past year now.
The main premise of RESURRECTION is that of a good old-fashioned alien invasion, the hitch though is this...wait for starts after the aliens are gone. Dun dun dun!!! And now I kind of feel bad because that sort of undersells what I do actually think is a really solid approach to take to a storytelling standby that has been used forever down the line of various forms of media. Kind of like what Robert Kirkman went for with THE WALKING DEAD: I want to see more than just people surviving the immediate threat, I want to know how they deal with and live in a world that is forever changed to them. As the preview teaser I have for this book says, "Who ended the war? How did they do it? Where do we go from here?"--something I've often wondered while the final curtain draws on some of these stories I've consumed over the years. I would have been sold on this going in blind, let alone if I didn't get a chance to read an advance of the first issue which turned out to be rather solid.
This debut issue pretty much starts out like you'd expect something like this to: with a nice assortment of tidbits. There's a dab of establishing here, a hint of what might have happened to the invaders, a quick flash of what one of the invaders sort of looks like and so on and so forth, all promptly letting the reader know there's going to be a lot of information to come from the world this book takes place in. We're only given a few glimpses of characters that may be heavy players all said, or they could just be random people in a world that was complete and utter chaos for however long and are there simply to establish the mood. It's all kind of scattershot at this point, which is actually part of the appeal because already my brainspace is ready to soak up more info on this setting as it comes to me, even though there's not a ton of overall knowledge going on here at this point.
From both creative aspects, the writing and the art, this is a solidly put together book. The dialogue flows forth pretty smoothly, and the scripting does very well for alluding here and there as to what exactly has been going on during this "war". And, honestly, this issue holds a lot of poignancy despite it being more of a "cliff notes catchup" making me hopeful for exactly the kind of power it can pack when/if it becomes more focused. And David Dumeer's pencils do a great job of first and foremost doing exactly what they have to in a Black & White book: differentiating and diversifying the characters. I don't care whether a book is in color or not, but if you are going to go the B&W approach you have to realize the lack of color can sometimes mess with people's recognitions of the characters, especially if there's a lack in facial feature range and what have you. That is most certainly not the case here as Dumeer looks to have a large arsenal of features, expressions, body types, etc. at his disposal to go with a pretty skill to create background detail and good panel pacing. This already looks to be a very solid mesh of Writer and Artist, each with some tricks up their sleeves to spice things up.
I know I wasn't exactly frothing at the mouth with excited praise at this book but it really is an intriguing work thus far. I just simply haven't seen enough of this yet to rabidly yell "GO BUY THIS NOW YOU DOGFUCKERS!!!" but that tends to happen with books like this. They either hit you right in the face with all sorts of random twists or shocking events or they just take the slow burn and lead you into the setting. This first issue did the latter and did it quite admirably. All I can say is that I'm looking forward to the next issue, and that more likely than not this little ditty is going to be worth your $3.50 to check and see if you dig what's inside when it hits the stands. What remains to be seen is if it'll keep being worth that on a monthly basis. Hopefully though, in three or four more issues I can come back here with all those lovely profanity-laced capital letters and say that indeed it is. Fingers crossed.

THE SCREAM #1 (of 4)

Written by Peter David Art by Bart Sears and Randy Elliott Published by Dark Horse Reviewed by Stones Throw

Do you ever get those little angel and devil versions of yourself on either shoulder? I do. Particularly when I’m trying to decide whether to give a book the benefit of the doubt and write up a bland, lenient review or to get my blowtorch kit out. Such a dilemma was Dark Horse’s THE SCREAM #1.
ANGEL THROW (AT): Cease thine prattle! THE SCREAM #1 was a good comic. It did a fine job of establishing the main character, premise and tone, while keeping some choice information back in the name of mystery. I very much enjoyed the kinetic, Erik Larsen-esque artwork from Bart Sears and Randy Elliott also. I support Dark Horse for letting a writer tell an original, one-off story. It had a good cover. The paper stock was --
DEVIL THROW (DT): Get off your friggin’ cloud, angel-face! We just paid £2 for a 22 page prelude to issue two. This was a premise, some set-up and nothing more. The main character is still a mystery. So’s the plot. All that happened was the stage was set. And who wants to see that? What are you, retarded?
AT: For your information, we prefer “angelically challenged”, and, uh, no. Be reasonable, Satan-spawn: it’s paced for the trade. This issue was part one and will read better when the other issues are released.
DT: Frick it! Then this should have come out as a trade paperback instead of single issues! We should be entertained now, not next month, because we paid for a story, not a segment of one - even if it does end with “to be continued”! Why didn’t David push himself and write a full piece of entertainment that would have got us pumped for the next issue? He can do it. He’s an old hand at this kind of stuff. He did it last month in SHE-HULK.
AT: Hardly anyone does that in a first issue anymore. THE SCREAM #1 was a fine comic for what it was. You’re setting your standards too high.
DT: That’s a frickin’ good thing! I refuse to deal with it! Know why no one does that in first issues anymore? It’s friggin’ hard work! But I tell ya, there might have been bad comics back in the day, but none of them left us feeling underwhelmed and indifferent like this.
AT: You’re living in the past. Don’t listen to him Stones Throw. Be kind!
DT: Negative review! Negative review!
AT: Eh, you’re just crabby because Stones Throw likes you least. He told me he purposefully washes that shoulder with less care.
DT: That’s not true! His arm gets tired! I’m comin’ over there!
AT: Ah! Not the nostrils!
DT: Hey! My pitchfork!
Guys, guys, cut it out. I’ve reached my verdict.
AT: Oh?
DT: Huh?


Written by Geoff Johns Pencilled by Gary Frank Published by DC Comics Reviewed by superhero

Honestly, I couldn't give a flying fig about the Legion of Super Heroes. Yes, yes, I know that they're a solid part of DC history but I could never get into them at all. They just seemed more convoluted than Chris Claremont's X-Men could ever be. I've tried in the past to start reading their comic as the idea of the Legion is a pretty nifty one but I always felt lost in their books. Like I had to know fifty plus years of DC history before I could even begin to understand what the hell was going on in the Legion universe.
Despite my indifference for the Legion I actually thoroughly enjoyed this issue of ACTION COMICS. Johns does a great job of creating a future world that has turned the legacy of the Man of Steel to something horrible instead of one full of hope. It's a great irony as it's my understanding that it was Superman's (or Superboy's) adventures that apparently inspired the formation of the Legion.
I also really enjoyed the fact that while the past is a place where Superman may be the most powerful being on the planet, Johns has made the future a place where he's just as vulnerable as your average human. It's a touch that makes this particular adventure a bit more dangerous for Supey-baby and therefore it raises the stakes…which is something that few Superman stories are able to do. While I'm pretty damn sure that The Last Son of Krypton will survive this particular jaunt through time, I doubt he's going to get through it unscathed. I mean, hell, the guy's already been shot through the hand. How often does that happen to Superman? I'd say never. Knowing Johns's track record I'd say that there may be some dire things ahead for Superman in the next couple of issues of ACTION COMICS. Heck, if you were writing a depowered Superman and had Geoff Johns' penchant for gore could you resist giving Superman the ass-kicking of his career? Probably not.
As for Gary Frank, well, what can you say? I've always loved his art but wasn't sure how it would jibe with the fantastic adventures of Superman. I can see now that I shouldn't have been doubtful in the least. Frank's art is fantastic and after seeing the past couple of issues he could easily become one of my favorite Superman artists of all time.
The Superman books are a real hit or miss for me most of the time. I love that character but more often than not the comics fail to live up to the potential of the character. So it's really a joy when an in-continuity storyline like this one comes along and messes with the character a bit. While I haven't liked what's been going on with ACTION COMICS lately this story is one that's got me interested in following through to the end of the arc.


Writer: Greg Pak AND Jeff Parker Artist: Leonard Kirk Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Rock-Me Amodeo

It’s not a bad issue. Just remember, I said that up front.
You know, I learned a thing or two last week, cruising’s spin-off page. Didja ever watch a TV show that seems to have been commandeered by a new character or two, only to watch those characters get their own TV show a short time later? It doesn’t happen much now, but I remember Mork was on ONE episode of “Happy Days”, and then the next day, he’s got his own show! And suddenly, you realize you were part of a test run and didn’t know it.
Well, here we go again, Marvel Style. We all knew it was coming. The Renegades are here, contrived reasonings and all. And since the story takes place between WW HULK 4 and the end of WW HULK 5, much of the plot is rendered moot. That always makes reading a book extra special. It reminds me of the part of an annual physical where you get checked for a hernia: you know you shouldn’t skip it, but chances are nothing exciting is going to happen. Cough, please. Thanks. And like the exam, I had to pay money for the privilege.
So what do we have here? Some good artwork, for starters. I think Kirk drew and inked the whole thing. It looks like he picked up inking tips from Tony Zuniga (that’s a compliment, BTW) and carries the issue pretty well. Solid art.
We have Amadeus Cho being his clever self (hey, with a first name like that, how could he NOT be clever, I asks ya?) and the rest of the Renegades being, uhn, renegadey. Angel, uhn, flies and Namora is, uhn, a tough chick who flies, and uhn…
Okay. I’m not digging it. Bottom line, this concept has a long way to go. Clearly, some effort was put into characterizing Cho and Herc, and I appreciate that. But the only time I felt a twinge of anything resembling an emotion was some possible flirtation between Herc and the flying fish. It’s not bad writing – the writing was fine. But Namora and Angel felt tacked onto the plot as if someone wrote their parts with a Mad Lib in one hand and a copy of MARVEL UNIVERSE in the other.
The Hulk appears a few times but is mostly absent. Didn’t we just have a practically Hulkless book a few issues ago in “A Tale of Two Sidekicks” or whatever it was called? I feel another attack of “the Bendis” coming on (you know, when you cramp from story decompression).
And the thing that really bothers me is the lack of commitment on Marvel’s part. They weren’t even excited enough to make it a mini-series. I mean, most of GAMMA CORPS sucked, but at least you knew what you were (and were not) getting – a book devoted to the title characters, not the character from whom they spun.
Consequently, this issue feels like a sucker punch. They placed another team in the center of a book that is, for all intents and purposes, about to be cancelled. Unless that book is AMAZING FANTASY #15, it’s not cool. Like riding in the back of a pick-up truck – no matter what you wear, no matter how you sit, you’re still riding in the back of a pick-up truck. No matter how you dress it up, some things always come off poorly.
And no matter how it’s been dressed up, this feels like a test market book. A contrived device to facilitate a spin-off. It’s not a “Laverne and Shirley.” It’s more like a “Joanie Loves Chachi” (or maybe even an “Out of the Blue”).
One review I saw quoted was that “there’s a lot going on here that stands on its own.” Well, why didn’t it? It should have. Instead, it’s standing in place of an actual Hulk story, like so many issues have lately. I simply want a story about the Hulk - FEATURING the Hulk. I’m tired of stories about people who know the Hulk and occasionally see the Hulk.
It’s not Pak’s fault. He wrote a good story. And the art was great. It would have been a grand third or fourth issue of its own book. But here, all it could be was another filler issue, because next month, the title changes to THE INCREDIBLE HERC. These stories deserved better than that.


Written by Gerard Way Art by Gabriel Bá Published by Dark Horse Reviewed by Stones Throw

Man, it is crazy how much I like this book! THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY is --
Huh? Oh, you got the picture already. Why, after two consecutive @$$hole raves, am I again offering plaudits to this title?
No, the answer isn’t sheer, blustering ego. Smart@$$.
OK, partially.
I’ll get to the point. Firstly, I really didn’t expect to like it so much. I’m hardly the biggest fan of tween-mo popsters MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE (hey, if there needs to be a market for 13-year old angst, at least keep it off the airwaves!) and while that certainly didn’t predispose me to dislike the book, as with any venture from a celebrity into a medium they’re less well-known for it’s hard not to detect the slightest whiff of vanity project. The fact that THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY seemed to be another example of the over-used steam punk Victoriana style recently popularized by books like THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN and the LEMONY SNICKET series was another alert to my internal bullshit detector (you should get one!). There are only so many times you can chuckle at cute, old-fashioned titles or character descriptions. What with the obligatory talking monkey and titles like “The Day the Eiffel Tower Went Berserk” I suspected this would be a book that was wacky for wackiness’ sake without any depth or complexity underpinning the weirdness.
But after reading reviews from Ambush Bug and Humphrey Lee I decided this might be a book worth checking out after all and picked up the first two issues from ye olde comic shoppe. After that, you can bet I came back for the third issue!
The book is weird and throws a lot of ideas out there, but Way also manages to keep the story focused and the characters resonant. Simply put, he’s got a load of writing chops. The characters are the main attraction for me in this miniseries and it’s hard not to feel for the various grown-up members of the former kids’ superhero team the Umbrella Academy, who have reunited now that their distant, neglectful “father” has died. Grant Morrison said “the 21st century’s superheroes are here” on a quote used on the cover, and while that statement may be a little hyperbolic, these characters are just as good a metaphor for adolescence and family as the X-MEN were. I’ve also got to admire the skill with which he’s been interweaving the adventures of the youthful Academy with the main plot in the present day and the lightness of touch with which he drops information.
As for the crazy ideas angle, the book’s not really on the level of Morrison or Alan Moore in that regard but then it’s not going for that. This is a character and plot-driven story, to which the action and crazy concepts (a kid who travels in time to the end of the world and stays there for sixty years without physically aging! A terminally ill scientist who can only remain alive by feeding off other living things! An astronaut who after an accident has to be grafted onto an artificial gorilla body! Erm, a talking monkey!) just add a richness and an oh-so tasty flavor. In his interview in this very column, Way said Hergé’s Tin Tin comics were an influence and that’s definitely a vibe I’m getting, although if you go in expecting that you’ll be totally bewildered. This is a rich read. Credit is also due to the art team of Gabriel Bá and the always excellent Dave Stewart. Bá is a master of his craft when it comes to tone and action and has created an involving world and some memorable character designs.
Honestly, I think this is hands-down the best new series of the year. I’ll be damned if there’s another comic with the same amount of energy, verve and ambition out now. I can even forgive the main plot – an evil musician who intends to destroy the universe by playing a composition at just the right vibrational frequency – being stolen from one of Alan Moore’s TOMORROW STORIES. I think it was a Greyshirt one.


Writer: Mike Carey Art: Bandon Peterson Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

Maybe I’m getting Ultimated out. Aside from ULTIMATE SPIDEY, those books aren’t turning my crank of late. ULTIMATE FF bored me to the point of making the impossible happen: getting me to drop a book from my pull. ULTIMATE POWERS turned into a bit of a mess – an enjoyable mess but a mess – and it just seemed to go on and on and… Even ULTIMATE X-MEN is just hitting me as okay.
So what about the finish of ULTIMATE VISION? It’s… okay. The thing that disappointed me is I wanted to like this book more than I really did. I mean, the book really tries. It’s got some interesting ideas and it tries some things, but in the end it just didn’t all come together for me. The Vision and the little robot girl Dima’s have a nice robot version of the Aliens Ridley/Newt relationship going on. Liked that. Like much of the character work. I enjoyed the Ultimate Falcon. Crazy Dr. Tarleton and his having to throw in with his enemies for the sake of the world, his making of unique decisions…all good stuff.
But the book runs into trouble with some of the practical plot points. The form of the Vision’s attacks are very ballsy and interesting in theory but in practical application just didn’t work for me. I mean, really, she just has typical attack abilities with a fancy back story. If you’re going to go with such a unique concept for an attack, make the actual execution of the concept just as interesting. If a writer sets up that a character’s attack comes in the form of farts, I want some sonic boom farts. Or farts that reek you to death. If you set up a fart attack and then the character just shoots lasers out his ass because, “That’s how they fart on Mars,” that’s weak. Not that Vision farts around.
And I had to roll my eyes at the scene where they hatch their big plan to destroy the Gah Lak Tus module. First they call for some incredibly specific element for the plan to work which, luckily, they just happen to have. Now, I’ll go there. No problem. I’d rather they got there by saying, “Hey, we have this element and, wow, I know how we can make it work for us,” but still. But then the payoff is stupid. Doing it right would be taking that item and spelling out an inspired plan to use it. But in this case the plan is just a bunch of technobabble as opposed to something real. Bringing up technobabble let me put it in STAR TREK terms. What you want is Kirk turning a pile of nothing into a fighting chance to survive. What this issue gives you is lazy, “If we can influx the conbobulator…it just might work!” Come on.
It was a tough call for me but in the end the stuff that fell flat just outweighed the stuff that worked. I so wanted the whole thing to work like gangbusters. I really did. But in the end the flat stuff just took the fizz out of the bits that did work.


Stories and art by various Edited by Bud Burgy & Amado “AREX” Rodriguez Published by Bud Burgy/Cream City Comics Reviewed by Ambush Bug

When we last saw MUSCLES & FIGHTS, it was muscling and fighting its way into the Midwest American independent comics scene. That anthology, with the simple concept that each story had to somehow be about muscles and/or fighting, was a surefire, bonafide hit by my standards. I found the concept to be a winner, the talent to be truly impressive, and the stories and art within to be pretty damn entertaining. With my frustrations on high with all of the decompression and static storytelling going on at the Big Two, it was refreshing to see a comic so joyously embrace what most great/classic superhero stories boil down to…two guys beating the living snot out of one another. Well, collaborators/artists/storytellers Bud Burgy and Amado Rodriguez are back with another dose of fists and fisticuffs, tendons and tumbles, kicks and kinetics. In other words, MUSCLES & FIGHTS. Vol. 2 unabashedly delivers more of the same stuff that made me fall in love with the first volume…except this time, as the cover exclaims, they’ve made it more musclier and more fightier.
The comic industry could learn a thing or two about an anthology like this. Lately, there’s been an overabundance of people taking comics way too seriously. Sure, comics can be a high art form, but there’s something to be said about shedding all pretences and peeling away all of the intellectualization that bogs down many a modern comic. That’s what this comic does. This isn’t to say that the stories are all light and fluffy. There are some pretty hefty themes dealt with in this volume in some of its chapters (called rounds to keep in tune with the fight theme).With a guideline as broad as “Stories must have muscles and/or fights in it.” that leaves quite a bit of legroom for the artists and writers to go nuts. There are some pretty smart and insightful entries in this volume, yet there are more breezy yarns peppered in to keep things rolling. The ringleaders of this operation did a good job of sandwiching the stories of this volume with insightful chapters on top of straightforward brainlessness to keep the readers on their toes and make the entire reading experience a reading equivalent of a loop-di-loop.
There are close to twenty chapters in this big beast of a book, so I can’t talk about all of them, but I will touch on the ones that stood out to me.
“Supermarket Vigilante & Bagboy in Second Strike” is a fun wink and nudge to comic book tradition. This one centers on a misguided thug who misreads an ad for a supermarket clerk job application and thinks he is the protector of a supermarket joined by his very own overzealous sidekick. There’s a whole lot of craziness going on as Bagboy falls for the new cashier. The story earns its indie cred for the amount of angst and talkity tossed around, but doesn’t forget to dole out the violence when necessary. The comment at the end about closure is hilarious. Very funny stuff from Danno.
Marcus Muller and Michael Roanhaus provide one of the slicker looking stories of the book. “King of the Unknown vs. The Mighty Skunk Ape” pits Elvis against the southern equivalent of Bigfoot. Fun stuff that seems a bit too professional in such an indie book, but then again it fits the criteria because there’s a whole lotta fighting going on in this one.
Leith St. John gives us a pair of short stories: one debuting the Fabulous Four (a homosexual team of heroes including Mr. Fabulous, Miss Thang, The Flaming Torch, and the cleverly absent Unseen Woman who do battle with the diabolical and straight Doctor Butch) and another about lesbians in jail. Both are fun spoofs on comic book and B-movie clichés; well drawn and damn funny.
Bud and Fud Burgy bring us another episode of Meatfist & Gronk, this one taking place in a shopping mall. The art is a bit R. Crumb-like. The characters are semi-Steinbeck-ian. But in the end, what matters most is that it’s all fun. From Gronk’s innocent obliviousness to Meatfist’s penchant for wanton violence, this is a strong story supported by equally powerful art. The fact that this is a direct continuation from the last MUSCLES & FIGHTS volume adds to the fun. It’s a non-stop action sequence full of laughs.
Bob Lipski offers another brain filling dish of “Uptown Girl”, this time commenting on the relationship between violence and the media. This is a clever and insightful take on the issue that doesn’t so much offer up answers to this problem, but presents an unbiased and unblinking look at the situation. Lipski is a fun yet relevant and weighty voice to be heard.
Alberto “Ponbiki” Rios once again brings some very stylized and kinetic fun in a silent tale called “Buster”. I love the way Rios stretches lines and inflates images to extreme proportions to suggest movement and action, all the while paying close attention to clear panel to panel transitions. Rios’ art is distinct and fresh.
Amado “AREX” Rodriguez himself contributes to the volume with “tales of the Goon Squad” highlighting his talents both as a character designer and an artist. AREX displays simple linework with fresh surrealism. His characters are always distinct, as is the way he ties one panel to the next. This, a Walter Mitty-like tale, is the most linear story I’ve seen from AREX and a highlight of the book.
I loved the simple yet fun “Tales of the Cursed Coin” by Daniel J. Olsen that unravels like an insane ball of yarn as a fight over a single coin leads to an explosive conclusion. Matthew Kriske has fun with a confrontational conversation between two Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots in “Rock Me Sock Me”. And “Stupid Girls” by Ryan Dow was a nicely structured and probably all too true tale of one man’s obsession with comics and the women around him.
The last two tales were by far my favorites of the bunch.
Earl Luckes returns bringing the sleaze and the violence with him in “The Brutalizer”. Set up like a preview for an action flick, Luckes does a great job of topping the term “over-the-top.” Gratuitous is the flavor of this story. Guns, violence, knives, violence, sex, violence, and bears fighting gorillas are all a part of this epic movie trailer that must be seen to be believed.
The book ends on a highly positive note from Bernie Gonzalez. His “The Rage of Andy Warhol” is one of those spoofs that will immediately appeal to both art aficionados and comic book fans by smelting the Incredible Hulk with Andy Warhol to birth the artsy mayhem of Warhulk! Fun stuff of dynamic proportions. Although the story starts off slow, its one of those gems that you don’t want to see end.
As far as anthologies go, you won’t find a better selection of up and coming talent than MUSCLES & FIGHTS VOL. 2. Reading the index of this book, I found myself wondering which of these great contributors will make it into the big leagues first. Entertaining throughout, this anthology is a great showcase for Midwest American talent. Burgy and AREX have done it again, proving that the concept of muscular guys fighting each other is a comic book tradition that will never grow old.

CATWOMAN #73 DC Comics

This book has gone unheralded for some time, and it should get some recognition. Selina Kyle has had to give up her baby (it was either that, or let it be raised in some hell dimension by her greatest enemy, only to return as a teenager a short time later…or has that already been done?) So now, Catwoman is trying to reclaim her old life, only someone who has intimate knowledge of her many identities is gunning for her, and she just can’t seem to stay ahead of him. On a side note (sorry, Thalya) Calculator proves once again that his favorite drink is a vinegar and water. The villain is finally revealed at the end of this issue, and I have no idea who he is, so I’ll stay tuned for some more. Maybe you should too. Story by Pfeifer and art by David Lopez. Definitely worth checking out. - Rock-Me

THE WALKING DEAD #44 Image Comics

Well, all-the-fuck-right! This is more like it. Robert Kirkman’s story has been picking up steam for the last few issues, but this one reminds me why I fell in love with THE WALKING DEAD in the first place. Great action. Nice bits of character. Dire stakes. And a cliffhanger that once again has me chomping at the bit like the proverbial zombie to get to the next issue. The Governor attacks the prison. Nuff said. THE WALKING DEAD has picked up the pace to a sprint and I couldn’t be happier. - Bug

BIRDS OF PREY #112 DC Comics

Continuing the changing of the guard between Simone and Bedard (hey! I rhymed!) I have to say that I’m pleased. I like Zinda Blake a lot, and this story centers on her. She’s relentlessly cheerful, but you know what’s going to happen someday: don’t be around when the laughter stops. We don’t go down that dark path this issue, but we do spend time with her in trouble of her own making, as Oracle predicts. David Cole brings the art, which I’m happy to report wavers between good and great. His characters have the energy of manga or anime, but without the cartoonish affectations and doe eyes. I really, really liked it. One story nitpick – when a guy jumps out of a moving helicopter without a chute, he says “it’s only a hundred feet.” Gravity and acceleration being what they are (roughly 32 feet per second squared) he’s either a meta or a guy with a lot of broken bones. But other than that, another first-rate example of storytelling skills. No sensationalistic tricks – just an excellent writer and an excellent artist, working their crafts. - Rock-Me


What the hell is going on with all the one-shots lately? DC Comics and Marvel’s THUNDERBOLTS are nutty for them. The difference is DC’s one-shots seem mostly pointless where the THUNDERBOLT one-shots all seem worthwhile, small digressions from the main story that you don’t have to read to follow the story in the main book, but that do add extra interesting character notes to the main story for those who do. I enjoyed the internal team tensions this book exploits. Songbird’s turning nothing into something in battle (as wasn’t done in ULTIMATE VISION) was good stuff. Songbird and Moonstone’s pissing contest made for some solid character conflict. Gets me all anxious for a potential future smackdown. The book does a good job of actually moving things forward and upping antes, unlike the DC one-shots which all seem to mostly be recapping what went before without moving much of anything forward. - Jinxo

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Readers Talkback
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  • Nov. 28, 2007, 2:33 a.m. CST

    Nice review Stonesthrow

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    All Star Superman is one of the best out there for sure. How can anyone not like it? Anyone? Anyone?

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 2:50 a.m. CST

    Dropped myUltimate books. Waiting for Quality to return

    by George Newman

    I dropped FF first, I think, when there was the artist change and the Diablo story. It looked awful and I wasnt going to tolerate it. <p>I dropped Ult X-Men after the Cable story. I was annoyed by the gimmicky story telling and I found the art to be subpar, compared to the A-Listers the book began with. <p>I still flip through the books on the shelves to keep up with story so that, in the event that I pick them back up, I'll be able to follow the plot. But the quality, the dedication, and the love that MARVEL was pumping into the Ultimate line has withered.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 2:51 a.m. CST

    No Freddy vs Jason vs Ash#2

    by Redfive!

    WTF??...also.. The Umbrella Academy is the worst book to come out of DH in awhile,it reminds me of that crappy gang The Jokers from Batman Beyond.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 2:55 a.m. CST

    World War Hulk

    by ewokstew

    started strong and ended weak. The all-out battle between the Sentry and Hulk was decent, though. It demonstrates how seriously powerful the Hulk can become when he's off the charts angry.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 4:12 a.m. CST

    Good overview of Superman

    by messi

    He is beyond human since he is so good but also normal compared to the people who have little humanity like Bats, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Hal.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 4:12 a.m. CST

    Great review of All-Star Superman #9

    by newc0253

    i agree completely.<p>

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 5:14 a.m. CST

    All-Star Superman

    by RongoRongoMu

    All-Star Superman is what comics used to be-- pure fantasy and fun.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 5:40 a.m. CST

    RESURRECTION sounds like Roadside Picnic

    by redfist

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 7:47 a.m. CST

    You will all bow before Eric Powell

    by WarpedElements

    And enjoy the Goon. Or else.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 7:48 a.m. CST

    The Goon: Chinatown needed some funny.

    by rev_skarekroe

    It didn't feel like a Goon story.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 7:51 a.m. CST

    The best thing about the new All-Star Superman

    by rev_skarekroe

    Is the idea that Superman is actually a science nerd who just happens to be so physically powerful because of the planet he's on. The complete opposite of Miller's old "Superman is dumb" routine.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 7:52 a.m. CST

    best part of all star superman and astonishingxmen

    by ironic_name

    no continuity.<P>just story.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 8:19 a.m. CST

    I agree with Ironic Name (although I dislike his name)

    by stones_throw

    There's a lot of things Marvel and DC are doing wrong at the moment but the use of continuity is the worst. Even when they don't really care about continuity like Marvel at the moment they're still using all the worst aspects of it... like everyone knowing who Spider-Man is... Captain America being dead... every book having "WORLD WAR HULK" or "THE INITIATIVE" at the top... I mean if *I* don't get excited about that, what's a kid who happens to wander into a comic shop going to think? It's completely inbred and restrictive. The big two need to learn that continuity and guest stars should enhance a story, not limit it.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Catwoman's Baby

    by God's Brother

    I'm sorry, what...? She had to give up her baby? it's been a little while since I've been following the current events at DC, but this is a shame. I really thought out of all the retarded "One Year Later" gimmicks that Selina raising a daughter was a)hopeful and would be b)lasting. Oh well... From the review I take it that the book is better than the common mainstream fare available these days, but it still won't get any more of my money.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 9:14 a.m. CST

    Ex Machina

    by PVIII

    you still know this is one of the best books out there, and last weeks ish was no different.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 9:17 a.m. CST

    stones throw - couldn't think of an ironic name..

    by ironic_name

    ..and remembered someone at superherohype used ironicname.. what with all the ironic names here, I thought I'd purloin it.<P> speaking of names, <P>"Catwoman's Baby"<P> by God's Brother.<P> that made me chuckle..

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 9:19 a.m. CST


    by God's Brother

    hee hee

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 9:21 a.m. CST

    speaking of names...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    I was recently informed that a garage band formed, using a name they took from one of my reviews. The name of the band:<br><br>Wide Stance Dump

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 9:26 a.m. CST

    to clarify, 'I' couldn't think of a name

    by ironic_name

    "stones throw - couldn't think of an ironic name.."<P>sounds like an insult, aimed at stones throw, its not obviously.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Wide Stance Dump

    by ironic_name

    fucking excellent!

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 10:16 a.m. CST

    talking dinosaur commandos

    by ironic_name

    by anchorite.. thats a good band name.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 10:21 a.m. CST


    by Lt. Kaffee

    that was the exact reason superman returns blew. it gave the eternal outsider/savior a son... a true blood relation... superman is only sympathetic b/c he is alone.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 10:40 a.m. CST

    all star superman is an example of how all comics should be done


    because most comics out now are completely stupid, and are targeted at the wrong audience

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 10:52 a.m. CST

    I dunno, Lt. Kaffee...

    by stones_throw

    I reckon there's potential in a story where Superman became a dad. It would be a nice progression of his character after marrying Lois. The problem is, the material has already been covered numerous times with Supergirl, that new kid, etc. and I doubt DC/Warner would stick with it permanently since it's a pretty big status quo change, so I can't really see it as anything other than a "last" story, like Alan Moore's final Superman story pre-Crisis. But in the first movie of a what was supposed to be a franchise reboot, and to have Supes be a runaway dad who knocked Lois up and never told her the kid was his...nah.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 11:34 a.m. CST

    glad to...

    by blackthought

    to see the goon and eric powell getting some much deserved love. the goon is a damn fine book that never fails to entertain me.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 11:53 a.m. CST


    by MacTard420

    The problem with Supes is indeed that he is too powerful. I'm not an expert on the guy but isn't Kryptonite the only thing that can slow him down? Sounds like a real boring set up for most of his encounters. How many powers does one guy need? I'm not saying there can't be a compelling story for the guy, but it doesn't seem like there would be a ton of variety.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, noon CST


    by stones_throw

    That just means writers have to be creative with the kind of threats they put the guy up against. I mean, Spider-Man would be boring if he only ever fought bank robbers. It's also why Lex Luthor is Superman's best villain, because he can't be beaten through force alone.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 12:08 p.m. CST

    superman returns sucked because

    by Laserhead

    Perry White's son was the hero. Luthor's plot was pointless. Superman was a creepy stalker to whom 'truth' no longer seemed particularly important ("I never lie, Lois. Except about the children I foster.") And, of course, Superman languished in a hospital after doing something he shouldn't have been able to do with a huge block of kryptonite. Also over long and short on action.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Vinegar and water you say, rock-me?

    by Thalya

    Heck, I can deal with that, just so long as he isn't being portrayed as an incompetent dork with very low sights. Or y'know, a non-entity like in BoP this issue. (and what's with that? Is he making a comeback? *nervous*)

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 12:27 p.m. CST

    and while I'm at it..

    by Thalya

    Was he only in last week's Catwoman, or were there earlier issues from recent months where he also showed up? I know he made some cameos around the time when Helena's paternity was revealed, but I haven't gotten thsoe or any Catwoman issues yet. /completist>

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 1:42 p.m. CST

    All Star Superman is amazing.

    by Billy Batts

    I love Grant Morrison. Half the time he's genius, half the time he's unreadable...but 100% the time he shows more passion and love for what he does than anyone else in the industry. Way better than All Star Goddamn Batman and All Star Goddamn Robin. Goddamnit.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 2:25 p.m. CST

    I wish reviewers would stop feeling it's necessary to point out

    by Devil'sOwn

    You're mature and cool. We get it.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 2:27 p.m. CST

    That's supposed to say not MyChem fans.

    by Devil'sOwn

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 2:39 p.m. CST

    I disagree, Devil's Own...

    by stones_throw

    At first I suspected that UMBRELLA ACADEMY would simply be pandering to Mr. Way's freakishly devout fanbase and stayed away, therefore I thought it was necessary background information. However, I am mature and cool.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 2:46 p.m. CST

    I'm mature and cool? Awesome!

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Oh...I bet you weren't talking about me. drat.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 3:43 p.m. CST

    "Out of the Blue"

    by Jonas Grumpy

    Goddamn, Amodeo! I thought that *I* was the only one who remembered that crapfest. The worst kind of crapfest, if I recall: A spinoff of a spinoff. Like how "All in the Family" begat "Maude," which in turn begat "Good Times," OotB was spawned by "Mork & Mindy." Or, at least, Mork appeared in an episode. Or that angel first showed up on "M&M." My memory is slightly fuzzy, as it was a long time ago, and I was just a wee lad of 12 (or so) at the time. Either way, I now wonder if anyone else recalls Joe Namath starring in "The Waverly Wonders." Not a spinoff of anything. Just another crapfest. Ah, memories...

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 3:49 p.m. CST

    Angry Hulk

    by Jonas Grumpy

    No one - and I mean NO ONE - has ever drawn an angrier-looking Hulk than Sal Buscema. EVER. Not before, certainly not since. I challenge anyone to suggest otherwise. Look it up if you don't believe me.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 4:10 p.m. CST

    Angry Hulk...

    by rock-me Amodeo

    Remember how Sal would draw Hulk's eyebrows arched up so high that even Vulcans were envious? And then for his eyes, he would make the Hulks pupils into these eeny teeny dots in a sea of white...

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 5:57 p.m. CST

    Worst part of astonishing x-men

    by IndustryKiller!

    No characters, just two dimensional cliches and sneeringly clever pop dialogue.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 7:43 p.m. CST

    Yeah. Sal Buscema could draw a bad ass Hulk.

    by mrfan

    Great Hulk artist.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 8:23 p.m. CST


    by blackthought

    you must be having a laugh.

  • Nov. 28, 2007, 9:18 p.m. CST

    Geoff Johns

    by Johnny Smith

    Is slowly killing my enthusiasm for one of my favorite characters, which is something even the Clone Saga, with its butchering of Spider-Man lore, couldn't do. Something even 52, with its idiotic offing of The Question, couldn't do. C'mon, Johns. I don't give a flying fuck if a bunch of D-listers get offed violently. I don't care if yet another alternate reality morally-superior Superman shows up to judge the DC Universe's heroes (a plot device he's used at least two or three times by now). I just don't care. Do something new, interesting, or even, you know, good. I'm soon gonna be down to two or three DC books a month because this asshole seems to be taking up the entire line. I can't even read my once much-loved Green Lantern anymore. Meanwhile, All-Star Superman is kicking ass and taking names. And somebody uncancel Cable and Deadpool stat. That book needs to live.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 7:35 a.m. CST

    Johnny Smith RE: Deadpool/Cable

    by WarpedElements

    No, it needs to die. Or at least get a new writer. If only Joe Kelly weren't DC exclusive, he'd be able to bring the char back from the boring bland shit it's upto it's neck in now.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 9:23 a.m. CST


    by ironic_name

    thats what i was afraid of at first, i just don't like whedon's writing.<P>but, astonishing has its parts, sure cyclops saying something silly and then shooting the bad alien out the roof was trite, but the recap, explaining what happened last issue was clever.<P>and the man brought back colossus, AND made him an ass kicker on a planetary scale.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Kurt Busiek had a good quote about the number of Kryptonians...

    by stones_throw

    It was something like, "okay, Earth gets destroyed and all that survive is a man and his dog, his cousin, Folsom Prison and a mid-size city...and that's not a big loss?" But yeah, I can't say I'm a fan of all the Kryptonian stuff that keeps cropping up in Superman comics. ALL STAR made it work though. On the other hand, I don't think characters like Supergirl are a barrier to good stories, it's just that the way they're used a lot of the time doesn't make you feel the loss of Krypton. If survivors showed up and the writers actually addressed what it would be like to lose your ENTIRE FRICKIN' PLANET... I could see it working.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 11:10 a.m. CST

    batman: parents dead, millionaire. superman: entire..

    by ironic_name

    planet blows up, no money.<P>batman dresses up in leather and "works out" with boys in a cave.<P>superman = ghandi/Christ.<P>batman + michael jackson.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Superman Returns

    by Bubba Gillman

    Don't want this to turn into a it rocked/it sucked debate (although personally I loved it), but Superman did not know the kid was his until Lois told him. Say what you will about the film, but the deadbeat dad label is wrong.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 3:07 p.m. CST

    I am Batman

    by StrokerX

    i agree to a point. The conclusion about the cosmic cloud was pretty retarded and came out of thin air. <p> I think the best ones have been the prison issue, the jimmy olsen issue and the one with i think it was Samson...that shit was tight.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 3:09 p.m. CST

    Superman Resucks

    by Jinxo

    No, he didn't know he had a son. But you know what is true? This picks up after Superman II, right? What was Superman II about? Superman turns his back on being a hero to embrace his own personal wants and needs. He becomes human and abandones being Supes. As a result the General Zod and his buddies nearly take over the whole world. Superman comes back having learned that his own personal life HAS to take second place to protecting the world. One of the last shots is Superman, flag in hand, telling the President he would never let him down like that again.<br><br> Cut to Superman Returns. Apparently shortly after Superman II, Superman gets word that Krypton might MIGHT be okay. Taking the word of some asshole Earth scientists over that of his DAD who told him the planet blew up Superman flies into deep space on a multi-year journey to check it out. He doesn't warn anybody he's doing this, he just goes. It utterly shits on what Superman II (either version) was about. He learns this important lesson about putting Earth and its safety above his own hopes and needs and then immediately heads into space on the most bone head nonsensical crapass personal mission EVER. And, hey, that just takes you through Superman Returns crappy 20 second opening title card yadda yaddaing the crazy plot points they didn't have time to deal with. Then we get to mopey creepy stalker Superman who continues to prove he is a big enough dumbass to fly off looking for Krypton when he should know better.<br><br> Don't even get me started on how bad that film pisses me off.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 3:16 p.m. CST

    I would have chosen "Superman Re-TURD", personally...

    by stones_throw

    ...but yeah.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Can't wait to read Chinatown

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

    I also have to say that All Star Superman was a title that was at about issue 3 when I started getting into comics. So glad I picked up the first 3 and the rest. Awesome stuff.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 4:21 p.m. CST

    I am Batman and the Black Dossier Debate

    by mattb127

    I totally disagree on the Black Dossier. Dark Knight Strikes Again shows the incredible decline of Frank Miller's creative powers. It's just a messy piece of junk to make a couple bucks. Black Dossier shows Moore is still pushing the medium. Yes, the COMIC part of it is..ahem...not on par with the first two, to say the least--but the other part of it, the crazy, crazy multimedia part of it--that's super interesting to me. Even the 3D stuff is cool. I love the Orwellian cartoon book, the secret play by William Shakespeare, the history itself, the postcards, the Lovecraft stuff, the cheap Erotica--(Fanny Hill with the unicorn was my favorite). I think it plays with the form a lot, and I think it succeeds there. It's not just there for show. That IS the Black Dossier. You actually get to read it, to see it–– that's cool to me. The comic book part of it was just sort of the tossaway frame around it. And I love James Bond in an Orwellian contest. Hilarious.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Spiderman: For One More Day

    by drewlicious

    Is it just me or is this particular story starting to get more interesting? I thought the first issue with Iron Man was a pretty good start, then following issue with Dr. Strange bored the hell out of me, but this latest issue really got my attention. I've heard where all this is possibly going and it actually excites me because Spider-Man might actually be interesting again. No more of this whiney dark hero stuff, instead we see a good man lose one of the last stable things in his life. Also, Marvel Zombies 2 is pretty compelling and funny stuff. Definitely can't wait to see where that goes.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 10:16 p.m. CST

    Ultimate Vision... anything to do with actual Vision?

    by Chewtoy

    Everything I can find about "Ultimate Vision" seems to be more a robot chick version of Silver Surfer. Is there any connection between this character and the classic Vision of the Avengers? He was my favorite character as a kid. Now I hear he's dead, Wanda killed him, and various other things that really suck as an ending to the storylines started back in the 70s. Shame.

  • Nov. 29, 2007, 11:35 p.m. CST

    So why should All Star Superman Ever End?

    by Smerdyakov

    Aren't we all having a good time here? Morrison included?

  • Nov. 30, 2007, 1:54 a.m. CST


    by ironic_name

    "The end is important in all things" - from the Hagakure.

  • Nov. 30, 2007, 3:09 a.m. CST

    Ultimate Vision/Real Vision

    by Jinxo

    Yeah, Ultimate Vision has an utterly different origin. Although not quite the Surfer's. The Surfer "worked" for Galactus where Ultimate Vision actually shows up ahead of Gah Lactose Intolerent to warn the planet to be consumed and give tham a fighting chance to kick his ass.<br><br> Original Vision was kinda sorta revived in Young Avengers and then fell back off the map. Let's see if I remember this right. The boy who would become Kang traveled back in time wearing kick ass Iron Man-ish armour to become the hero Iron Lad. Then for various time travel can't-avoid-my-destiny reasons he went back to the future leaving the armour behind. But the armour also had some version of the Vision's program in it and so, basically, the armour started walking and talking on its own and became the "new" Vision. Then there was this Civil War and other madness, Young Avengers fell off the book racks and Vision went with them.

  • Nov. 30, 2007, 9:58 a.m. CST

    When is an Ultimate not an ultimate?

    by rock-me Amodeo

    When that version has nothing to do with the original.<br><br> Different powers. Different origin. Different outlook. Different "gender." Heck, for all I know, her name may not even be Vision. It could be "Fission" and her secret linguistic kryptonite is non-labial fricatives.<br> Can we just call her Ultimate Jocasta or Machine Woman or Praxagora? I don't see why not.<br><br>It's quite silly and arbitrary, you see.

  • Nov. 30, 2007, 12:18 p.m. CST

    black dossier and ANOTHER thing about Superman Returns

    by Laserhead

    I actually liked the comic part of Dossier a lot more than the text inserts. Moore's prose writing, even though it's impersonating by-gone styles, is so bad and mannered that it's a trial just to get through the stuff. But, I loved his James Bond, and the Emma Peel Bulldog Drummond stuff. Not so much the rocket-ships or the Golliwog or the 3-D kingdom of imagination. Not that great, no, but still thought the comic part was better than most stuff I'd read recently. One last nit-pick about Superman Returns: didn't james marsden think the kid was his? if he could think that, wouldn't it mean that Lois fucked him, like, within a week of Superman leaving earth, when she didn't know Supes would be gone for an extended time? And by the end of the film, he knows the kid is his, but still isn't going to say anything... because... I don't know, Lois wants it that way? So much for truth.

  • Nov. 30, 2007, 12:21 p.m. CST


    by Laserhead

    NOTHING is Dark Knight Strikes Again- bad. Except maybe All-Star Batman, which at least has some pretty pictures.

  • Nov. 30, 2007, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Young Avengers will return

    by rev_skarekroe

    Sometime next year. And the current version of the Vision will doubtless return with it.

  • Dec. 1, 2007, 10:45 a.m. CST

    u know...

    by blackthought

    the last time vision really meant much was when i played him all the time in that avengers on the snes with capt, hawkeye and iron man. good times.

  • Dec. 2, 2007, 9:21 p.m. CST

    Comic books, comic books...

    by loodabagel

    Yet again my friend asks me what's a good comic, and I say All-Star Superman, because everything else is having an extensive industry-wide crossover.

  • Dec. 4, 2007, 12:29 p.m. CST

    One More Day SPOILER ALERT

    by evolution1085

    Just got my copy of the latest part of One More Day... SPOILER ALERT.... I can't believe Peter Parker could ever entertain making a deal with Mephisto to save Aunt May's life, especially if it cost him his marriage....END SPOILERS If this is the way of retconning his secret identity back into continuity, its balls

  • Dec. 4, 2007, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Ultimate Continuity Too Much For Marvel Now

    by Buzz Maverik

    In THE ULTIMATES, Hank Pym had a pair of robots called Ultron and Vision, the latter of whom flirted with Wanda.<p>I guess Ultimate Vision sounds cooler than Ultimate Watcher, but sounds like the book is Ultimate Watcher.

  • Dec. 6, 2007, 11:18 a.m. CST

    so cold...

    by blackthought

    so very cold.