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AICN COMICS REVIEWS ALL STAR SUPERMAN! HELLBLAZER! X-MEN! INDIE JONES AND MORE!

#19 9/17/08 #7

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) ALL STAR SUPERMAN #12 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #5 DC UNIVERSE: DECISIONS #1 HELLBLAZER #247 UNCANNY X-MEN #502 BILLY BATSON AND THE MAGIC OF SHAZAM! #2 dot.comics presents… Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents AFRO SAMURAI VOL 1 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

ALL STAR SUPERMAN #12

Writer: Grant Morrison Artist: Frank Quitely Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

What is left to say about this title that hasn’t already been bandied about by my fellow @$$holes, other reviewers and the mainstream media? What accolades could I bestow upon a team that have not only brought their A++ game to every chapter of this series, but have gone the extra mile to slice open their creative arteries and hemorrhage genius into every fucking panel for twelve issues straight? Hmmm, well maybe I did just say it.
With any other title, a three year wait for the closing chapter in a twelve issue series would be inexcusable, and as a reviewer I would gladly use my coveted pulpit to stoke the fervent flames of fandom ire. But this isn’t just any character; this is the foundation for the thousands of comic books that have fueled fanboy imagination since the Great Depression. Nor has this series been just a casual rehash of the Superman mythos, but rather one of the most imaginative and concise reconstructions to ever seep into my over 50 long boxes. Where Morrison is often thought of as the guy that blows up continuity with every stroke of his keyboard, for ALL STAR SUPERMAN he not only held to canon, he coveted it. Everything you have ever loved about Superman can be found in this series without ever becoming mired in continuity nits or inconsequential details. Three years, pshaw, I have been waiting a lifetime for this book.
Whether associated with a movie property, a post-crisis reboot, or simply a mini-series, the question as to whether Superman’s origin and following history needs to be retold for new readers or movie watchers is always under debate. After all, who doesn’t know Superman? Hell, I think I even remember a scene in “The Miracle Worker” when Helen Keller grunted “uperman” right after “water”. In most retellings there are precious minutes or pages wasted with flowery exposition spewed out by a marble mouthed Marlon Brando or conveyed by countless images of crumbling crystalline spires spelling out the doom of Krypton and the subsequent hurdling of baby Kal-El into the cosmos.
Now try this: Doomed Planet. Desperate Scientists. Last Hope. Kindly Couple. With these four simple phrases on page one of the series’ first issue, Morrison set the tone that there would be no waste, fluff or padding in this series. In regular continuity it took the better part of thirty years and hundreds of issues for Clark Kent to reveal his identity to Lois Lane, where Morrison embodied the awkwardness of their relationship and subsequent reveal all in one glorious issue. In another issue that brought this callous stalwart reviewer to tears (not counting issue 12, don’t worry I’m getting to it) was the relationship between Superman and his adopted earth parents. Again, while I have a Superman continuity encyclopedia firmly embedded in my cerebellum there was nothing I had to recall. Superman is dying, he loves his parents and he is about to lose the only man he ever could truly call Father. The moment when Jonathan Kent did pass was superb, heartfelt and garnished with enough of a Sci-Fi twist to keep even the most callous hearted reader riveted to the page.
Quite simply, every moment in this series was superb.
I have always been a zealot defender of Frank Quitely’s art work. Whenever contrary arguments would arise, like “It’s ugly”, I would be the first to chime out on message boards defending the fact that the human form is far from perfect. But there’s more to his art, and unfortunately it took me until this issue to have my grand epiphany as to why I find him so damn compelling. If I had to sum it up in one word it would be “expression”. With each panel Quitely contours the facial lines to convey the true emotion the writer is trying to convey with his words. In many comics these days you can see the heads of characters superimposed from panel to panel, never changing, never truly trying to embody the emotion of the writers’ words. Books that leverage a manga or anime style seem to convey too much emotion turning tepid anger to gaping open mouthed rage. Quitely subtly conveys each beat of emotion in the book. At the very beginning of issue 12, Lex Luthor floats above a blown apart piece of the Daily Planet juiced to the gills on superserum. As he is spewing forth his evil rant on how the world is going to change under his reign, there is one moment when the words coming out of his mouth are filled with loathing for the believed fallen Superman. With one gnarled snarl on Lex’s face I realized why Morrison and Quitely were given the freedom to tackle this monumental title.
Before I extend over my word count and I’m forced into serving the standard @$$hole penance of grooming Schleppy’s taint hair for a month, I should say that issue 12 was possibly one of the best endings in comic books and within the Superman mythos. Naturally, Superman saves the day by defeating Luthor and reviving our fallen life bearing star. But it is far from a happy ending. The supposed death of Superman 15 years ago, with the endless mini-series that followed, cannot even begin to compare with the emotion Morrison put into the final pages of ALL STAR SUPERMAN.
Morrison and Quitely not only revived my interest in Superman, but also my faith in comic books. While I have made no secret of my love for the work Johns is doing in the regular Superman titles, he has the unenviable task of toting a full Samsonite luggage set of continuity, complete with steamer trunk, into each of his stories. Morrison and Quitely were simply asked to dive into a light carry-on tote of history, paying reverence to what was important, and then being allowed to move forward in their own direction. The comic world is all the richer as a result. I can only pray that the Superman S on the last page that was delicately inverted and contoured into a 2 means that we will see more of this title sooner rather than later. Regardless of what the future might hold, thank you, gentlemen, for a landmark series.
When Optimous Douche isn’t reading comics and misspelling the names of 80’s icons, he “transforms” into a corporate communications guru. Optimous is looking for artistry help, critical feedback and a little industry insight to get his original book AVERAGE JOE up, up and on the shelves. What if the entire world had super powers? Find out in the blog section of Optimous’ MySpace page to see some preview pages and leave comments.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #5

Written by: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning Art by: Paul Pelletier and Rick Magyar Published by: Marvel Comics Reviewed by: Ryan McLelland

Up until Jim Shooter's tenure my favorite writers on LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES were Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Their “Legion Lost” era is amongst the best written comics ever and it is a shame that there is no collection for that. I'm not here to talk about LEGION - I'm here to talk about A&L's Marvel space book GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.
I've always been a fan of GUARDIANS, especially Valentino's great nineties run. This is not a continuation of that comic, as new GUARDIANS readers already know. But if you are just picking this book up, like I did last week, this is a new team that was formed in the wake of the huge Marvel space crossover ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST.
There is a bit of the old thrown in with the new here as the team is already breaking apart, our old friend Major Victory is in the house, and Star Lord is here to let the team know that Major Victory should not even exist. There's a search for Drax the Destroyer, Skrulls a-plenty (this is tied into the “Secret Invasion” crossover), and Rocket Raccoon.
Ah Rocket Raccoon. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a weird fetish for these great anthomorphic characters - I was sending Marvel treatments and scripts for new HOWARD THE DUCK comic books most of my young writing career. With Rocket Raccoon we have another anthromorph come front and center, and what a thrill it is to see him not only a part of this team but have him being a great voice of reason.
The book is certainly exciting. Even though this is issue 5 and I haven't read anything prior to this I was easily able to slip into GUARDIANS and follow the plot along. The team book, also featuring Adam Warlock and Quasar, is a great continuation of Marvel's classic space characters. Being written by Abnett and Lanning certainly does not hurt and the two write GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY with great ease. It's a wonderful book full of great characters and certainly made to look amazing by artist Paul Pelletier. Pelletier brings the world of space to life and makes Rocket Raccoon look like he really belongs there amongst humans and aliens alike. Did I mention that I love Rocket Raccoon?
Fans of the old GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY will love how the old characters are intertwined with the new and how it probably means a big storyline down the line. This book certainly did capture my attention and quickly made a new reader out of me.
Ryan McLelland has worked in movies and comics journalism for the past several years before joining the @$$holes here at AICN. Ryan’s comic work has already graced comic shelves with Arcana’s PHILLY, WISE INTELLIGENCE, UPTOWN GIRL, and THE SENTINELS ANTHOLOGY. He rarely updates his blog but when he does it can be read at www.eyewannabe.com

DC UNIVERSE: DECISIONS #1 (of 4)

Written by: Bill Willingham and Judd Winick Pencilled by: Rick Leonardi Published by: DC Comics Reviewed by: BottleImp

Like most of America, I am caught up in the maelstrom of political posturing and media feeding frenzy that is the 2008 Presidential Election. And being in a political frame of mind, I was intrigued enough by the premise of this miniseries to pick up the first issue, wondering if the Powers That Be at DC Editorial were going to use their fictional universe as a means of commenting on recent real-world events. And if that was not to be the case, I hoped that the story of a superhero endorsing a candidate would be entertaining on its own merit.
Not so much, as it turns out.
It’s not that the story is bad, per se—someone or something is attempting to assassinate the presidential candidates via mind-controlled political aides wired with explosives; the Justice League is attempting to protect the candidates while searching for the person behind the plot; Green Arrow ends up officially endorsing one of the democratic candidates—all good, plotty stuff. But this issue reads less like a political thriller or detective story and more like a half-hearted article DESCRIBING such a story. There’s no real energy or urgency here—part of this is due to the pages and pages of characters talking about what they’re going to do rather than having the characters shown in action. There are also too many panels of characters staring at computer screens of watching television (my favorite shots are of Hal Jordan watching TV in his apartment in full Green Lantern attire—too lazy to use the ring to magic back into your street clothes, Hal?). As a result, the story plods along rather than sprinting.
There are two other facets of the plot that bug me. First: the political leanings and philosophies of the candidates are vague to the point of non-existence. Not something I’d normally nitpick in a superhero book, but since the central characters of the story (i.e. the Justice League members) seem to be getting set to split along candidate lines, it would be nice to know what the candidates stand for and, ergo, what the superheroes who support them stand for. Second: other Leaguers seem surprised that Green Arrow is openly and publicly backing a candidate. Is it just me, or has Green Arrow been consistently the most outspoken, liberal superhero to grace the comic page since the late 1970s? Why is his endorsement such a shock?
The plot seems doomed by mediocre writing and so-so art. I usually like Rick Leonardi’s art, but I’m not wowed here (although the boring staging might be a big part of this). Leonardi does get the prize for drawing the most stumpy-legged Superman I’ve ever seen—he looks a little like a weeble.
Long story short, if you’re looking for a comic that blends politics with superheroes, read EX MACHINA or grab that copy of WATCHMEN off the shelf for another go. ‘Cause this miniseries just isn’t cutting it.

HELLBLAZER #247

Writer: Andy Diggle Penciler: Leonardo Manco Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

One thing I've come to cherish in my time as a comic book reader is the joy of having a quality and consistent writer/creative crew on a HELLBLAZER run. John Constantine himself just seems to have that allure about him, with that roguish and charmingly sarcastic demeanor and "win at any cost" attitude, that you'd think he'd be such a deceptively simple character to write. But the key, I've noticed, is that as great a character as John intrinsically is, none of it means anything if you can't find a situation to put him in, or a truly frightening Big Bad to put him against, and make it so you think that, even if just fleetingly, "this is it. This might be the time he's finally bit off more than he can chew" or at the very least, when he steps into the fray and pulls out the trench coat (or three piece suit) and British charm that it's going to cost him something dear for his efforts. And at nearly two hundred and fifty issues of Constantine adventures, you'd have to think the writers that handle him would at least be struggling a little bit in these endeavors, especially given the kind of quality runs this title has seen in the past. Andy Diggle, though, apparently laughs at this notion and has cranked out a nice little run that is looking to end way quicker than it ever rightfully should.
In part one of "The Roots of Coincidence" here, Diggle has started to tighten all the threads he's laid out in the handful of story arcs he's told since he started his all-too-brief stint on the book. The body-hopping and righteous Lord Burnham from the "Joyride" story and the unrelenting and power-hungry Mako from "The Laughing Magician" are working in cahoots with each other in a plan mutually beneficial to each other and with potential Earth-ending horror for everyone else. And all the right notes have been hit along the way. Obviously I wouldn't be singing the praises of Diggle's approach to the book if his rendition of John hadn't been spot on up to this point. The ways that John has tried to get himself out of this mess as he's been hunted down by Mako, and making it doubly worse by actually putting Mako and Burnham together, has been a classic example of the "Constantine luck". And this particular issue's rendition of his pulling out all the stops was absolutely, jaw-droppingly classic. I don't think I ever once thought in all of my comic reading career I would see the protagonist of my story basically snorting the ground up remains of Santa Claus for a power boost but by god here it is, and I think the comic book world is all the richer for someone having the vision to make it happen.
Also in keeping with the book's roots, this run has also been very much a horror book, of course, but with a bit of the old social commentary. While now that it's winding down to the next team there's more an emphasis on the former more than latter as the bodies have started piling high ever since Mako's arrived on the scene, there's been the underlying current of the "haves versus the have-nots" via Lord Burnham's character. From he and his little club's possession of lower class plebians and the vile acts they performed with them, to his end of the bargain with Mako - that of his own little spiritual palace to whisk his soul off to by Mako's design before he's free to ravage all before him - if that's not a case of "stepping on the little guy" then I don't know what is. Throw in some nods at previous HELLBLAZER runs with some uses of older supporting characters like Ellie the Demoness, Map the Spirit of London, and so on to go with the little social-strata commentary and the buckets of blood and gore, this has been everything that a run on this much vaunted and flagship title should be. It really is going to be a tragedy to see this run come to an end, but as our smirking lead knows all too well, everything comes with a price.
Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, and a Blogger Account where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.

UNCANNY X-MEN #502

Writers: Ed Brubaker/ Matt Fraction Artist: Greg Land Reviewer: Optimous Douche

I truly want to applaud the individual that decided to lay waste to the multitude of mutants that were infesting the Marvel Universe a few years back. Yes, infesting. Bird man, wasp chick, and the countless other one power, one story line wonders that inhabited District X were a swarm of beings that fed on the mutant books as parasitic story leeches. They would suck dry story development and focal time on the core group of mutants we had all grown to love over the years. Morrison did an admirable job following the mandate to expand the Mutieverse; I just can’t say that I ever agreed with that mandate.
Even after the events of HOUSE OF M transpired UNCANNY and its sister titles seemed to be lost, searching for not only a home that wasn’t being blown up every week, but also a sense of purpose. Xavier’s was no longer a school and all of the mutants that required protecting were basically camped out of the front lawn. “Shall we go on patrol, Scott?” “Sure, open the drapes.” Not very exciting.
While it was fun watching everything break apart, at its heart the X-Men have always been more successful and interesting as a cohesive team. And I don’t mean a team in just the combat sense; one sign of a well-crafted X-Men arc is when the team members slip into their roles even off the battlefield.
Fraction and Brubaker not only get this point, their deft dancing between combat scenes and down-time kept issue 502 moving so quickly that for the first time in a long time with an X-Men book, I was pissed when it was over, and I can’t wait for more.
There were too many moments not to love in this issue: Wolverine playing the mentor to a young girl with a chip on her shoulder. Emma being an epically large diamond-encrusted monogamous slut. Hank McCoy not only healing the body, but also the soul, and Scott Summers after getting lost in Emma’s vagina has once again taken leadership of the team and brought them back on a track of once again knowing their place in this world.
I was leery of the move to San Francisco, fearing that the first few issues after the move would feel like reading a Zagat’s guide in an attempt to get the readers acclimated with the new surroundings. And the last few issues sort of did. 502 finally lets go of the exposition anchor and explodes with action right from panel 1. Couple this with some torture, a little hot for teacher whoriness from Emma’s past, Dazzler looking better than she has in years, and the building mystery of a seemingly Hellfire-endorsed sapien hate league (it’s official: everyone these days now outsources), and I think you can understand my glee as a man who has collected every issue of this book.
If you’re already an X-man fan, you know how great this book is, I have no idea why you read this review, go away. If you were once an X-man fan, but soured over the past decade, come back. If you are a comic fan that has never tried the X-men, come down off of your erudite black and white panel high horse and mix with the serfdom for a bit in a mainstream title.
Welcome back X-Men.

BILLY BATSON AND THE POWER OF SHAZAM! #2

Written and Art by: Mike Kunkel Published by: DC Comics Reviewed by: Ryan McLelland

I was a big fan of Mike Kunkel's HEROBEAR AND THE KID. I was a little late onboard with the title and simply picked a collection one day. Kunkel's animation background lends itself greatly to comic book form as HATK was almost a comic book come to life. I swear that I read the book and it was nearly animated as I read panel-to-panel.
The same thing applies here to BILLY BATSON AND THE POWER OF SHAZAM, though I can't help think that it is a bit more for kids. With HEROBEAR AND THE KID it felt like a Pixar cartoon - something adults and children can both enjoy. With BILLY BATSON it feels like I'm watching some not-so-great Nickelodeon cartoon. It's not that Kunkel's artwork has diminished by any means, because the book looks great. It's just that the writing has been dumbed down for your average comic book reader. The bad guy? It's Black Adam, though Captain Marvel never really faces him in this issue. Captain Marvel basically fights off the waterhose as his enemy in this issue, as if coming straight out of UHF.
The sad part is, even if this book is pegged for pre-tweens it still feels a bit dumbed down for them. I guess because when I was a kid I had the far superior SPIDER-HAM, who was certainly dumbed down but at least reached for the lowest common denominator. With this kids book I certainly felt like I was reading a very long novel.
Did I mention that Kunkel's art is phenom!?! Because it certainly is and is the point of having Kunkel on a book like this. But if you enjoy a plot about changing into Captain Marvel to get to school to face the fire hose you are a better person than I.

Hey folks, Ambush Bug back with another gig of goodness from dot.comics. This week, we start out with a trio of clickable picks that are sure to entertain. Although I doubt the first two are for the same audience, they are proof positive that there’s something for all comic book fans floating out there on the web. The third is so mellow that while the fans of the first two webcomics are debating, it’s sitting back and soaking in the moment. See what I mean by clicking the links below and devouring these FREE COMICS!!!

Freakin’ hilarious. That’s what this next webcomic is. JESUS CHRIST: IN THE NAME OF THE GUN pits Jesus versus the Nazis in an all out, bullet balleting, water walking, kung fu kicking battle to end all battles. Not only does it have Jesus making an intro by walking up a stream of piss to attack a Nazi soldier, it’s also managed to wrangle Marlon Brando’s head to star as God. This webcomic is clever, funny and should not be missed. Sure, there are those that may be a bit offended when they see Jesus firing a German Luger and screaming “Suck my Balls!” with his trusty sidekick Ernest Hemingway at his side, but the plot involves Jesus questioning God’s decision for having a Holocaust, then deciding to do something proactive about it, so the story does have a positive message under all of that blasphemy. This webcomic is by Eric Peterson and Ethan Nicolle and is updated weekly. Be sure to check out this series from the beginning and laugh your @$$ off.
Although DUE EAST is not going to be a comic for everybody, with the internet the size it is, there are bound to be folks that would enjoy this one. Not being a church-goer myself, I walked into this one a bit leery after reading about how the makers of this webcomic found Jesus and decided to stop making superhero comics and tell something more positive. But I soon found that creators Allen and Angel Steadham were more focused on telling a story about strength of family rather than preaching the gospel. I can dig that. This is a slice-of-life story about a family unit and their friends and how they handle life's ups and downs together. No capes or tights or super villain fights to be found here. You do get a nice story with well thought out characters. What impressed me the most is the development I witnessed as I clicked though over 100 pages of this website. To me, it's fascinating to see an artist develop his or her skills, and as the pages passed by, I could see much of that growth. Not your ordinary comic book fare, but proof that there's a wide variety of comics out there just a click away.
Finally we have, UNTRUE TALES by Sam Little. This book is Richard Linklater’s SLACKER/WAKING LIFE in comic book form, jetting from one random topic to another with no particular rhyme or reason other than to offer up a freshly baked and steamy slice of life for our eyes to absorb. Little’s strength is his Kevin MacGuire-esque complex facial expressions that completely capture the emotion and enrich the experience. These UNTRUE TALES range from confessionals to adventures with uzi squirtguns to drunken barfights over before they begin. All of them honest. All of them interesting. All of them vividly appealing. And, apparently, all of them untrue. But who cares, they are some of the most interesting snippets of unlife out there on the web.

AFRO SAMURAI VOL 1

By Takashi Okazaki Released by Tor / Seven Seas Reviewer: Scott Green

A recent AICN Anime column linked to CollectionDX's review of Toys Are Us - A Revolution in Plastic . Approaching the documentary on designer toys from the perspective of a toy enthusiast, CollectionDX's JoshB conveyed ambivalence towards a field that attracts artists for whom toys might be just another medium in which they can express their designs. Manga fans may encounter similar reservations when reading AFRO SAMURAI.
AFRO SAMURAI is a work of design. It utilizes the medium to which it is applied as a platform rather than as an ends unto itself. It resonates with the visual impact of a character who is Sweet Sweetback AND Ogami Itto... the samurai and the antihero of African heritage. Showcasing that conceptual thread, starting with Afro and continuing through MC yakuza, DJ monks and a teddy bear headed Yojimba, is the manga's Raison d'être. Displaying these ideas trumps narrative and action, and as such, though Afro Samurai is formatted as a sequential story, it serves to function as an art book as much as it does manga.
Takashi "Bob" Okazaki's original work was published in the dojin magazine Nounouhau . From the publication's description of itself "NOUNOUHAU is a self-published comic magazine by young creators, who were just coming into action as artists in various fields like comic, illustration, animation, game and performance at that time, having the hope of set up their own media for their artistic self-expression. Now, each member is active in the front lines of Japanese pop culture. Their range of activities is expanding to not only art, comic and TV, but also world wide stages!"
Depending on the interview, there are various origin stories of how AFRO SAMURAI came to be adapted into an animated series, boasting the talents of Samuel L. Jackson and RZA, broadcast on Spike and topping anime sales charts. The story goes, after Nounouhau's limited print run, Okazaki managed to have a few thousand figures of his swords, sandals and billowy hair sporting hero, Afro produced. One of these sat on a desk at the anime production house Gonzo. VP of Creative Affairs Eric Calderon spotted the figure and set the ball rolling. Nine years after the original publication of Okazaki's doujinshi, the franchise is still picking up momentum, with a best selling Blu-ray recently released, an anime sequel and a video game scheduled for 2009, and a live action film still in discussion. And, it's all predicated on the "wow" of see Okazaki's design.
A veteran swordsman, identifiable for his cloud-like canopy of hair tells his son to wait as he walks across the plain to greet a gunslinger. The man in the serape and sombrero announces "long time no see, No. 1," to which the samurai responds "yeah... let's do this No. 2." When the confrontation is over, the gunslinger pulls a band off the head of the samurai, proclaiming his acquisition of "the power of a god!" Years later, there is a new Afro Samurai. He's hunting the No. 1 gunslinger. In turn, the rest of the world is hunting the bounty on his head.
This premise is patently direct. With the single-mindedness of a genre hero unloaded with both barrels, there's a world of men with swords, guns and worse standing between the hero's revenge on the man who killed his father. Like LONE WOLF AND CUB'S Ogami Itto, who speaks of walking the road to hell as he embraces the Path of the Assassin or "the son of the Black Mass" Nemuri Kyôshirô/Sleepy Eyes of Death, Afro's mission transcends morality. As with Itto, Afro is prepared to carry out the adage "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him." Which is to say, he's a hard-ass and generally not a sympathetic, humane character.
In chronicling this drive towards vengeance, the manga's story around Afro is more skeletal than the anime's. Rather than interweaving episodes of his past with their echoes in his present, Afro cuts his way through emblematic encounters as parties looking for his head attack in waves. Knowing that Afro's going to gut and/behead the attacker and advance on, unpredictability comes in who Afro will encounter chapter to chapter rather than the result of the meeting. With the genre paired down to the basics in this way, attention falls to looking at the images rather than reading the story, and while there is progress and continuity, events do not crescendo.
As manga, Afro Samurai is wanting. Its imposing full page illustrations of a bandit king with his feast layed over the bodies of bound women, the terraced temple build into Mt. Sumeru, or Afro relaxed as the shadows around him fill in with an encirclement of armed adversaries are undeniably evocative. Beyond that, Okazaki does a have a head for cinematic sequences. Afro react to a sky a Hero/300 style sky full of arrows by stomping on his canoe to capsize the vessel. It's the kind of decisive counter-measure to be hoped for from a fighter with unstoppable intentions, but a mortal body. And between the flying arrows, the flipped boat and the drive into the water, the waves of motion lend themselves to the kind of spectacle to be hoped for from a medium with the range of possibility of manga.
Despite the strength of Okazaki's specific images, he does not seem to have a good head for manga as a storytelling form. With Jackson, RZA, and animation that brought in everything from quick draw chambara to an Itano circus, the Afro Samurai anime worked to leverage the strengths of it medium. In contrast, the Afro Samurai manga labors to show off Okazaksi' design. Consequently, the transition between panels are less apparent than they should be. One glance at Afro is enough to instantly grasp what defines the character. When motion begins blurring and figures start throwing themselves into the murky inks of the manga, that ability to quickly discern what to take away from the manga is lost. A collision between weapon wielding opponents that sends both combatants hurling backwards is an established conceit of the genre. Here, it loses the kinetic reverberation in the split second required to think through what the panels are illustrating.
The trouble is not that Okazaki is sloppy or cheating with shorthand. It's that the images don't flow properly. A skilled manga artist will factor in how the reader processes the images panel by panel, page by page. Afro's fighting a mob of people. In the middle of one page there is a prominent image of a man swinging a ball and chain. The swinger is not in the rest of the page. The eye moves onto the adjacent page and he's still not present. Flip. Onto the next page. First two panels and still no sign. Middle panel: the ball is released towards Afro. Small, following panel, Afro is moving towards an ambiguous end. Below that: a panel of Afro plucking another foe and using the man's skull to catch the ball. Still on that page: a large panel of Afro dashing into the group. Ideally, the manga reader should be able to follow this sort of action intuitively rather than rationally. Okazaki's disappearing, re-appearing foes and unclear fight geometry means that the action requires thought to piece together.
That Afro Samurai has captured international attention is an indication of the strength of Okazaki's work. Even coming into the manga from the standpoint of familiarity with the anime, it is still visually arresting. And, for fans of the genre, the raw, largely unpandering violence is impressive. Yet, as a manga enthusiast, AFRO SAMURAI provokes a degree of ambivalence. It's manga that is a compelling showcase for AFRO SAMURAI and not compelling manga.
Scott Green has been writing for AICN ANIME for close to seven years. If you like what you see here and love anime & manga, be sure to check out his latest AICN ANIME column here.

Hey folks, Ambush Bug, back again with some books too cool for the Big Two. A kiddie book, a pigeon man, a must for all would be artists, a prequel to a video game, a showcase for tomorrow’s stars, and an electrified rodent. What do they all have in common? Why, they are all featured in this week’s Indie Jones…

CANDY AND CIGARETTES #2 CandyandCigarettes.com

I know these things are a collaborative effort so I’m going to take a moment to mention all of the talented and opinionated artists and writers who contributed to this book: Jonny Etcetera, Sydni Honey, Whitney Jardine, Bradley Oliver, Bill Jeffery, Dale Wallain, Rahman Doodles, Maseman, Yasmin, SF, Ian Orth, Zay Shaefer, Zach McDonald, Ann S. Stevens, William Cardini, and Reynard Seifert. Whew! Hope I didn’t miss anyone…now, I can say that this is an impressive comic book collaboration focusing mainly on feminism and women’s rights, but not in a way that forgets it’s also entertainment as well. The entries vary from straight up comic booking, to essays, to poems, to prose. All of the people listed above are extremely talented, making this a nice little snippet of art and writing from what looks like a thriving artistic community. Favorite entries of mine, of course, were comic book related, especially one featuring a lengthy discussion between a floating head and a cat who go out to a bar to pick up chicks and end up discussing women’s rights the entire time. This gem by Dale Wallain is short but funny in all the right places. William Cardini’s “Hyperbox” is trippy fun, as is the beautifully articulate and surreal piece by Bill Jeffery which reminded me of the video “Genius of Love” by the Tom Tom Club, for some reason. This book is worth seeking out for those who like their art unsafe, smart, and experimental.

PRINCE OF PERSIA OGN First Second

Sure, most video game adaptations suck, but every now and then an exception to the rule occurs. PRINCE OF PERSIA from First Second is that exception. Unconventionally drawn by LeUyen Pham and Alex Pavilland, and wonderfully told by A.B. Sina, this book deserves a place on the bookshelf smack dab in between your SANDMAN and FABLES Trade Paperbacks. This story elaborates on the fable inspiring the popular video game, enriching the story and allowing the reader to dive right into this extravagant and mysterious culture. Here’s hoping more video games get this type of mature and high quality treatment.

THE ADVENTURES OF LIGHTNING SQUIRREL #1 Ronin Studios

Look, up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s a squirrel with lightning powers, of course! I’ve always felt a kinship with squirrels. There are those, like some of LS’ insidious enemies in this book, who think they are bushy tailed rodents, but to me, there was always something fascinating about the little critters. Seems creator Jeffrey F. Kipnis shares this fascination as he casts a mild mannered squirrel as the hero of this book. The nice panelwork by penciller Victor Cabanelas and inker Eran Aviani add to the quality of this book with some clever panel placements involving some of the more subtle movements Lightning Squirrel makes during one particular quiet section of this book. The book has a tongue in cheek tone with the quirk meter on eleven, but the absurdist humor works most of the time, making this a memorable and fun debut issue.

COMIC ARTISTS’ PHOTO REFERENCE: MEN AND BOYS Impact Books

This comic book instructional offers an abundance of photos for artist to use as inspiration for the various poses one may need in drawing your typical comic book. Put together by 7 DAYS TO FAME & DEADPOOL’s Buddy Scalera, this book should be a must have for anyone serious about honing their artistic talents. Any artist worth mentioning knows that no person has in identical body shape. This book highlights the differences by providing photo after photo of models in dynamic and comic booky poses. Highly recommended for those of you who want to draw body proportions and poses like the pros.

WELCOME TO MONSTER ISLE HC OGN Immedium Books

Here is a book that is geared towards kids, but embraces the adventurer in all of us. If you are as huge a fan of the SciFi Channel’s DESTINATION TRUTH as I am, you’ll definitely want to check out this book of monsters creatively illustrated by Jeff Miracola. The story by Oliver Chin is pretty simple: a family crashes their boat onto a desert island and run into one monster after the next as they explore its shores. It’s a quick read, one that will most likely please those youngsters who are just forming an interest in comics. Perfect bed time story reading material.

CHUMBLE SPUZZ #2 Slave Labor Graphics

If massive amounts of poo flinging offends thee, avert yon eyes, gentle reader. To the rest of you with a sense of humor, this is one damn funny funnybook. This volume of CHUMBLE SPUZZ contains two hilarious adventures: one focusing on “The Pigeon Man” (a feral man raised by pigeons), and another tale about blues, death, purgatory, undeath, and yes, you got it, more poo flinging. Not afraid to dive deeply into the down and dirty, artist/writer Ethan Nicolle (with a little help from Isaiah Nicolle in the writing department) knows full well that a well timed fart is the pinnacle of hilarity. I loved the first story centering on the rescue of the Pigeon Man from a feral human zoo. This is the best story melding FIST OF THE NORTHSTAR, LIONHEART, THE IRON GIANT, and NELL you are likely to read this year. Four words should guarantee your purchase of this book: The Fighting Man-Cock! Nuff said. Buy it.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for over seven years. Check out a five page preview of his short story published in MUSCLES & FIGHTS 3 (AVAILABLE NOW at Muscles & Fights.com.) on his ComicSpace page. Bug was recently interviewed here and here at Cream City Comics about indie comics, his own artistic process, the comics industry, and other shades of bullsquat. Look for Bug’s follow-up this Fall in MUSCLES & FRIGHTS!

X-FACTOR #35 Marvel Comics

God, Larry Stroman draws some grotesque people. Even the “attractive” ones tend toward beady eyes and Popeye-sized forearms. I’m trying to get used to his style again, but Peter David isn’t helping much—the current plotline with a mysterious agency experimenting on mutants has been done… how many times now? Throw in an ugly cover that has NOTHING to do with the events inside and X-FACTOR slips further down the list of books I look forward to each month… but it does have Strong Guy. I like Strong Guy. So you’re still okay, X-Factor. But lord almighty… some ugly, ugly people. –Imp

GREATEST HITS #1 DC Vertigo

Stealing a line from someone on my Twitter roster this week (and my apologies to whoever it was, my memory is horribly short when it comes to plagiarizing) GREATEST HITS #1 was neither "great" nor a "hit"... but I enjoyed it more than I didn't. The premise of the book isn't anything terribly unique, i.e. a documentary look at superheroes - this time a group in 60's England called The Mates - but it's one of those things that doesn't come up often either,; especially not under the Vertigo banner. And as you would expect it's a more tawdry look at the superhero, but also with a hint of Hollywood skewering as well. Sometimes the book seems to be dirty for the sake of being dirty, or tries to be overly sensitive towards the documentary maker himself - a current one-hit-wonder screenwriter trying get his career going again - which kind of hurts even though he is a sympathetic character, but I was still entertained by the book as a whole. The Mates themselves are an amusing lot, as are some of the hijinks we see them get into here, and as I just said our lead is a pretty empathetic "everyman" character. Add in some pretty smooth Glenn Fabry art and GREATEST HITS is something I'd overall recommend but not with a ravenous "GO BUY NOW!" enthusiasm. If you're looking for something slightly different yet somewhat safe all at the same time, you could do much worse than try this on for size. - Humphrey

THE WALKING DEAD #52 Image Comics

This is another tense issue from Kirkman and Adlard. After the devastating events of issue #49 & 50, our massive cast of characters was whittled down to two. Those issues were like a gut punch with some of the most intense moments you’re going to find in a comic so far this year. Last issue was a welcome weird issue that made you doubt the reality all of this is happening in. I liked the freaky jaunt and it made sense given the truckload of shit Rick has been wading through since issue one of this series. This issue marks the return of a favorite cast member and if you’re a reader and can see the cover over there, you’ll know who it is. Given the fact that this character has been wading through shit herself, it looks to be a pretty unstable team slicing and shooting their way through zombies. What I liked about this issue was how the zombies are on the road to being commonplace now in this living and breathing world Kirkman has created. The cast members take care of them almost as an afterthought. I’m sure this will come back to haunt them, but right now, it’s nice to see what happens after the initial outbreak, the theme of this book from the beginning of this story. No longer do we have the zombie apocalypse clichés that almost all zombie films tend to deal with. Kirkman is blazing new trails here in this book. Sure this book faltered a bit when they were getting comfortable in the prison, but now, this book is moving along at a high octane pace and doesn’t look like it’s going to let up any time soon. - Bug

TANGENT: SUPERMAN’S REIGN #7 (of 12) DC Comics

Regular readers of this column know I’m a fan of this throwback to simpler times and fun Silver Age JLA/JSA crossovers, but I have to point out the work of penciller Wes Craig in this issue. Craig’s art conveys excitement and dynamic movement in nearly every panel. No complicated page layouts or “clever” panel designs, just expert use of viewpoint, composition, dynamic figures and pacing. Any aspiring comic artist (or artist looking to add a sense of motion to their work) should pick up this issue and study Craig’s art. This man knows how to work the comic book page, and DC should put him to work on one of their flagship titles as soon as humanly possible. – Imp

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #5 Marvel Comics

Usually any time I see a crossover banner on a fledgling title like GotG here I always get that little bit of dread in the pit of my stomach thinking it's more a ploy for sales than anything really pertinent to the story already being told. But by now I should know better than to think something like a SECRET INVASION, uh, invasion of this book would dominate anything in it under the watch of Abnett and Lanning. In fact, this has been one of those remarkable cases of the creative team using the tie-in event to further along their plans, as instead of having the threat of Skrulls in their midst become the focal point of the developing adventure of this team, A&L just use it to kick off plot threads that have been there all along. The hinted at traitor has been revealed, the stability of the team has been threatened by in-fighting over possible impostors in the midst and a reveal that the team's formation might not be as mutual as thought, and Drax has used the excuse of the shape-shifters to go AWOL and do some hunting of his own - which also primed us for a Batman-esque moment as he completely devastates a group of extraterrestrial superpowers sent out after him with pinpoint skill and cunning. This was another well-executed and engrossing issue from one of the best surprises of the year in comics. – Humphrey

PUNISHER #62 Marvel MAX

I’m not going to say that this new creative team is anywhere near the peak of perfection that Garth Ennis reached with this series, but although comparisons have to be made, it really isn’t fair to do so. Gregg Hurwitz has the unlucky job of following Ennis. Someone had to do it, and I have to say that he’s doing a pretty good job. Not only is he setting up a pretty good little mystery/adventure story, but he’s adding nice little moments like the Punisher seeing the bodies of his family laying in a mirror when he thinks of the victims in this latest arc. The art by Laurence Campbell is dark and moody. All in all, this definitely keeps the momentum Ennis established in the first 60 issues of this book running. I’ll pop back to this book at the end of this arc to see if Hurwitz has what it takes to keep this Punisher series one of Marvel’s best. But so far, so good. - Bug

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Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:28 a.m. CST

    First

    by ECUPirate71

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:31 a.m. CST

    and 2nd?

    by ECUPirate71

    No love from anyone else for the comics?

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:33 a.m. CST

    third?

    by Whitemouse

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:35 a.m. CST

    comic love

    by Whitemouse

    I think I'm burned out on comic love for the moment, I'm also burned out on films...tv...books...culturally I'm becoming more and more jaded...

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:38 a.m. CST

    All Star Superman!

    by newc0253

    #12 was brilliant. But that final shot had better be a set-up for Morrison & Quitely to do #13 and beyond, otherwise it's a cruel ending for fans.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:41 a.m. CST

    Guardians of the Galaxy

    by superfleish76

    Wow, double shot of love, huh? The book really is a lot of fun and has some great characters. Hopefully DnA stay on the book for a good, long run.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Stoman is back on X-Factor?

    by Gatsbys West Egg Omlet

    Thats all you had to say.<p>Loved his X-Factor stuff in the 90s. I'm stoked.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Stoman = Stroman

    by Gatsbys West Egg Omlet

    whatever.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:56 a.m. CST

    2uperman!

    by ironic_name

    final ish was not perfect - but was great.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 8:20 a.m. CST

    "another issue that brought this callous stalwart reviewer to te

    by Trazadone

    Jesus, dude, do you ever read actual literature? I have thousands of comic books but I can (proudly) honestly say I've never shed a tear reading any of them.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 8:29 a.m. CST

    All Star Superman Ending...

    by GoodTimeBobby

    I couldnt wait for this last issue of AS Superman- I thought i had figured out the ending- in interviews Morrison always talked about how Lex Luthor would be the greatest thinker and force of good in the world if not for superman- that issue where clark goes to interview lex in prison is a great window into his thought process. well, remember superman began creating that other earth in that cube-shaped mini-universe? there were a couple quick panels showing the earth and the people on it evolving thousands of years in the course of a day? the last panel we saw was someone taking a pencil and drawing the superman shield saying "this is going to change everything". i presumed this to mean that on this pocket-earth, superman is fictional- so imagine in this last battle with luthor, superman zaps luthor(with that raygun he's poised behind the wall holding on the cover) into this pocket earth where he doesn't exist,where presumably that 24hour super power serum lex took on our earth would last forever- essentially making lex the superman of this pocket earth- i think they called it Earth Q. But obviously we didnt get that- and thats cool- the ending was ok- but a lot of unresolved subplots. Seems like Morrison was trying to make this series line up with his DC One Million stuff, where the real superman still lived inside the sun in the far, far future.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 8:35 a.m. CST

    What about Aarden's Flash Gordon?

    by kingjovis

    No coverage on one of the hottest books this week? Deneen's writing is sharp and his reimmagining exactly what this clasic hero needed! Search it out...you won't be dissapointed!

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 8:48 a.m. CST

    monogamous slut?

    by Laserhead

    Explain, please.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 9:13 a.m. CST

    I love Walking Dead

    by Joenathan

    I don't think it strayed in the Prison? I've heard others say this, but I disagree. Sure it was slower and much talkier, but the boredom of the seige was the important part and it made the eventual blow out seem even worse.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 9:22 a.m. CST

    That Jesus comic is fucking brilliant!

    by Dragon Man

    Funny shit there, and not just what comes out of the Son of God either.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 9:26 a.m. CST

    Any word on an AllStar Superman Trade?

    by Lolthien

    I missed the first several issues, and didn't want to pick it up halfway through.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 9:28 a.m. CST

    Gatsbys West... About Stroman

    by ArcherNX01

    The whole run of Peter David/Stroman run in the early 90's was MY baby at the time and I was disgusted by Stroman's art in this issue. Just really, really disheartening.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Monogomous Slut

    by optimous_douche

    She's only banging Summers at the moment, but still has that come hither look at all times.<p>

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Do I Read Real Literature?

    by optimous_douche

    no....

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Oh

    by Laserhead

    Just sounds like a chick that likes to fuck. I was wondering if it was one of those 'Jumbo Shrimp' things.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 10:44 a.m. CST

    THE WALKING DEAD #52 ... a little light in the amount of pages?

    by riskebiz

    Great issue ... but by the time I got to middle of the book it was a 3 splash pages from the end of it. It was over before I started getting into it. Again ... I LOVE THIS SERIES ... but not having what felt like a full story with 22-24 pages was a letdown. This had .. what? 14?!

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 10:56 a.m. CST

    The Choice

    by Itblowstherobot

    Judd Winnick is a terrible writer, he should be allowed near no book of any consequence (ever).

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Optimous Douche = DC Plant

    by Smerdyakov

    He just loves everything they do.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Hey, speaking of comics

    by rev_skarekroe

    Has anyone else noticed that a couple of the jokes from the first Harold & Kumar movie parallel very similar jokes in Jay Pinkerton's Spider-Man comics? Anyone know which came first?

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 12:16 p.m. CST

    No,

    by Joenathan

    No one noticed that.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Don't Like EVERYTHING DC Does Smerd

    by optimous_douche

    I will admit I am more enamored with DC than Marvel at the moment, but that pendulum has swung back and forth many times in my life. Early 90's I wasn't reading any DC titles.<p> And there's plenty of DC stuff right now I can safely leave on the shelf without shedding any tears like Titans, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Superman main title. I was fully ready to rip apart that DC Universe Decisions if I wasn't beat to the dib by my fellow @$$hole.<p> Sorry, just wanted to set the record straight, I'm not getting comps, I'm not a plant, I just generally don't like spending my money on something I know that I'll hate.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 12:55 p.m. CST

    I'm with you on DC right now, OD

    by Laserhead

    The pendulum has rarely swung on DC's side in my own history, but the last few years, anything from Marvel that doesn't say "written by Ed Brubaker" has been a rotten experience. As fucked as many of DC's titles are, I'm just liking their characters better, and the things they're doing with GL, Batman, Superman, and now the Flash strike all the right notes.<p>Also, great answer to the literature question. Good for you.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST

    I'll always prefer marvel's Universe

    by lex romero

    There's just something about the world they've createdf that feels more vibrant and real. I believe all these characters exist together. Whereas with DC i always have that feeling that the characters should really be in seperate worlds as they don't seem to gel that well but DC decided to follow marvel's route nad have them all in the same U.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 1:24 p.m. CST

    DC

    by Bluejack

    Too much time traveling/dimention hopping alternate reality crap in DC to follow. I find that a huge turn off for the mainstream DC titles. I chopped Robin, Outsiders, Nightwing, Teen Titans etc etc from my list. I'm finding Bru's titles in Marvel, Nova and Marvel's space line, and Green Lantern (+corps) much better reads. I did like All-Star Superman, though.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 1:48 p.m. CST

    I agree with lex romero.

    by fiester

    Marvel is far more cohesive overall. DC has the misfortune of characters like Shazam, who, with his goofy name, origin, and costume, seems far too silly to ever be taken seriously. Ditto for Wonder Woman. Even Supes is more than a little anachronistic. At least Marvel had the good sense to make being an anachronism an integral part of the Captain America character.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 1:49 p.m. CST

    GoodTimeBobby

    by Johnny Smith

    Earth Q was supposed to be "the real world".

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Smerdyakov = Internet Douche

    by Psynapse

    He just loves to be a flaming troll.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Marvel

    by steverodgers

    Has Rocket Raccoon. He is a talking space raccoon that sometimes wears a jet-pack. Marvel wins.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Stroman

    by xsi kal

    I like Stroman back in the 90s, but his art here is almost unintelligible. I'm not a fan of Land's photoreferencing in Uncanny, but at least there, people look like people. <br><br> Oh, and the pendulum has swung fully back to Marvel for me. There are only a handful of DC comics I am still reading, at this point, where I'm enjoying many of the X-titles, She-Hulk, Captain America, Daredevil, and even Ms. Marvel in the Marvel U.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 2:02 p.m. CST

    Only one question really remains...

    by loodabagel

    All-Star Superman? Best Superman comic ever?

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Yes, yes it is.

    by Psynapse

    That is all.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Up till now I've pretty much ignore All Star Superman

    by Snookeroo

    but OD has me intrigued. I wonder if DC has any plan to publish the series under one cover for those who missed out?<br><br>Also, I think Green Lantern Corps is some of the best product DC has offered in a long time.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 3:55 p.m. CST

    How can you have ignored AS Superman?

    by Joenathan

    It's not only the best Superman ever done, but it may be the best thing Morrison has ever done as well and that includes the Invisibles.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Smith...

    by GoodTimeBobby

    ..yeah, i must admit, i didnt really understand the significance of Earth Q-I thought introducing it would have some type of "pay-off" later on in the series...oh well.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 5:22 p.m. CST

    I'm certain there will be an ASS TPB.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Hee hee, that sounds dirty! Anyhoo, yeah, it's good. Buy it.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 6:03 p.m. CST

    Earth Q

    by optimous_douche

    I think the Earth Q diversion was to show just how fucking smart his trip through the sun made him.<p> The "enhancement" from the sun was a real throw away line, but it was the foundation of the whole damn series. Because the series was delivered quarterly it really was easy to forget earlier happenings. I know I did.<p> This series made him a true God and you know for a limited that's fine. Try that shit again in regular continuity though, sionara.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:23 p.m. CST

    Hellblazer

    by Gelatinousman

    Is indeed the best long run comic for mature readers out there.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:39 p.m. CST

    Earth Q...

    by loodabagel

    Showed (maybe to his dismay) that the world could not live without a Superman. When he creates a universe to find out what life would be like without a Superman, some 1930's Jewish punks create their own Superman. So, Morrison is essentially Superman is the reason for our existence. He's such a huge massive part of culture, things would have turned out differently if there was no Superman, and none of us would probably exist. I like to think so, anyway.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 7:41 p.m. CST

    eh...

    by loodabagel

    Morrison essentially says Superman is the reason for our existence. My bad.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 8:49 p.m. CST

    Oh my god!

    by loodabagel

    Batman 7-Chris Nolan teams up with Tim Burton. Fuck yeah.

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 11:01 p.m. CST

    yeah, All Star Superman was great!

    by the milf lover

    but I just read All Star Batman and Robin #10, and dear god it's getting worse with every new issue. There is about 8 pages of story in there, with TWO two-page splashes, and nothing goes on. Frank Miller is clearly writing this out of his ass as it is shit storytelling. The first story arc could have easily been told in about four issues instead of seven, and the last 3 issues could have been crammed down to less than 30 pages. Yet I'm a moron because I keep buying it... damn you Jim Lee!

  • Sept. 24, 2008, 11:30 p.m. CST

    Stop giving indulging Frank Miller!

    by Star Hump

    I gave up All Star Batman with #2. Miller has nothing but contempt for superheroes, Batman especially. As for All Star Superman, 3 years is absolutely inexcusable, no matter how good the book is. These primadonnas need to start acting like professionals.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 2:46 a.m. CST

    Superman, Superman, Super-Duper Man..

    by loodabagel

    I've read some other Superman comics since All Star Superman #1, and they were all pretty boring. Not the most compelling bits of storytelling. They may have all been good Superman stories, but I just don't like Superman as a character. I don't even like Superman yet this was still the best comic book EVER FUCKING CONCIEVED. If Superman gang banged Lois, Lex, and Jimmy in the last issue and then actually shit in my face using magic, it would still be that good. Hmm, ya know, this whole discussion has just devolved into how much it's possible to praise All Star Superman. New topic.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 6:52 a.m. CST

    Marvel

    by Laserhead

    For me, Marvel has never really recovered from their 90s disasters. From Clone Saga to Heroes Reborn and up through House of M and Civil War, two of the most boring and stupid events ever, their characters have never gotten back on track with any level of consistency, and now the company basically leap frogs from event to event, altering the fundamentals of their characters as befits the big story. Spider-Man? Iron Man? Fantastic Four? None of this shit is enjoyable, and hasn't been for a long, long time.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 6:57 a.m. CST

    ASBAR

    by Laserhead

    Having read through the hardcover collection, I can now safely say that All-Star Batman and Robin is the worst comic book ever produced. I don't care what anybody says about Miller's potential master plan, or where the story "might" be going. It doesn't matter. The abyssmal dialogue, the ridiculous characterizations, the total lack of movement in the plot (that issue that introduced Black Canary; we spend over half the issue with her bartending while wearing fishnets, and then beating the shit out of everybody in the bar because they dared to hit on her, all narrated by possibly the worst, most banal dialogue ever in a mainstream comic. Yes, I mean that. Half an issue where nothing happens.) Frank Miller is a washed-up, coked-out hack, and I really hope The Spirit is a bad as it looks so that people will stop pretending this guy is some kind of genius.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 7:10 a.m. CST

    All Star Superman.

    by DuncanHines

    I got to read it tonight. I've been a bi-weekly buyer lately, what with cutting titles and all. And this week was the week. And I almost cried. No joke. Big wimp. This series was so good. I'm gonna have to re-read the whole thing this weekend. I need the Absolute Edition as soon as frickin' possible, too. That is more necessary than ANY other Absolute edition (except New Frontier. That shit is the other ONE.) Thanks to Morrison, Quitely, and Grant (let's not forget Jamie Grant, redefining just how nice a color comic can look..) for what just may be the greatest Superman story EVER.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 8:29 a.m. CST

    Say what you will about ASBAR Laserhead...

    by MrSensitive

    ...the line "I'm the goddamn Batman" was pretty damn funny. At this stage of the game, Miller's earned the right to write characters the way he wants to, and as much as it pains people, his contributions as a whole in the industry allow him to be as indulgent as Claremont, or Ellis, or any big name writer you like.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 8:36 a.m. CST

    I'll Take Miller

    by optimous_douche

    Any day of the week these days over Claremont.<p> Batman has always been Batcock in Miller's mind. There are no surprises here. While slightly off track at least people are talking about it.<p> Claremont though has just completely lst it. I keep buying the first issues of new books he joins on, never returning for issues 2.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Laserhead

    by Bluejack

    I just completely disagree about Marvel characterizations. The work on Captain America, Iron Fist and Nova have gone in new directions and had respect for the past. In Captain America, which has incorporated but not been dominated by Marvel's events, you see reverence for previous creators and the core concepts of Cap while still giving us something new. Same with Iron Fist. DCs events are so pervasive and cosmic that it can be hard to identify with the characters at all. When I read DC, I feel like the whole Universe can be wiped out in a moment (also my problem with House of M). How many multiverse shattering crises can there be. It's just tired. I had trouble with Civil War that turned Stark into a Nazi and Cap into a violent bitch, but eventually the core characters have reacted to those events and moved back towards their core characters with appropriate changes that add depth to the character. Green Lantern has lost some steam and that was the only book that came close to Cap, DD, Iron Fist, or Nova. Teen Titans, JLA and Titans are UNREADABLE! You have to buy six thousand Batman titles to know what is going on. Just not feeling DC at all.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 9:08 a.m. CST

    Miller

    by Bluejack

    He should have stopped after the Dark Knight Returns, 300 and Ronin. Maybe some Sin City. His work is tired and all he can write is ugliness. Hey look at me! I can make Batman a punk! I can make Batgirl a whore! Enough all ready Miller. Shows some friggin range would you? ASS shows you how to do it brother! Morrison writes happy bright tales that still have depth. He writes depressing end of the world shit. That guy has range.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Bluejack

    by MrSensitive

    Take a step back people, something that's not your personal cup of tea doesn't mean it's completely without merit. Garth Ennis wrote about ugliness in "Punisher" and "Preacher", does that mean he's tired and has no range?

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Laserhead

    by Joenathan

    You are completely wrong about Marvel. You are so wrong, you must be a bizzarro. From now on, type like this: "Me am hate Marvel" Okay?

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Although,

    by Joenathan

    you are right about Frank Miller, so... continue on with that, Bizzaro Laserhead

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 9:47 a.m. CST

    "I can make Batgirl a whore!"

    by Joenathan

    God, don't I wish!<br><br>Naughty, naughty batgirl whore...

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 10 a.m. CST

    I did read the first few issues of All Star Batman

    by Snookeroo

    And what respect I had left for Frank Miller went down the toilet. Talk about a bunch of unadulterated garbage. Miller truly is just riding on momentum. When I saw the Spirit tagline "my city screams" it was cause for much eye rolling.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Frank Miller...

    by loodabagel

    Is the most famous "artist" per se, of the last 30 years. Famous 20th century artists-Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Jackson Pollack, Andy Warhol and Frank Miller. He should abandon writing comics and focus on drawing pictures and selling them for a million dollars.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Miller Redux

    by Bluejack

    I didn't say it was without merit. It's why Al Pachino is laim these days. Eventually an artist becomes a carichature. It's not my cup of tea AND it is tired. Millar and Bendis are in the process of becomming tired. Miller has shown he can do seedy and ugly, he can do visceral. His visual style is becomming limited and if you don't think "The Spirit" looks like a Sin City clone then you are in denial.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 11:32 a.m. CST

    Nah, I think it is without merit

    by Laserhead

    I don't care if this syncs of to "Miller's version" of Batman or not. None of my complaints have anything to do with him raping the character of Batman or anything. My complaint is that as a story, this is really the worst piece of shit I've ever seen. It's totally senseless, without plot, and with the flat-out most retarded dialogue ever. Sub-sub-Mickey Spillaine crap that was cliched in the 50s. Personally, I think the guy has sucked since everything after the first Sin City arc in DHP, but I've always been willing to give his stuff a chance. This shit is abominable.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 11:37 a.m. CST

    Marvel/DC

    by Laserhead

    I don't hate Marvel. And you could make a lot of complaints about DC, but I guess their errors are less egregious to me than what's happened to Iron Man, Spider-Man, Reed Richards, Bendis-vengers, et al. I love Captain America and Nova. Haven't seen Iron Fist since Bru left, but I'll check out the next trade. Civil War and House of M were two of the stupidest events I'd ever read. Apart from the mercenary characterization, Civil War built up to what amounted to a slap fight in the street. I thought it couldn't get any worse, really, then One More Day came. I've read the two Brand New Day hardcovers, to give it a chance, and I know there seems to be some bandwagon saying these are great spidey stories, but I don't think they are. Formulaic rehashes of seventies and eighties storytelling doesn't do much for me, apart from all the illogic of the retcon.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 11:39 a.m. CST

    Bob Shrek's intro to the ASBAR hardcover

    by Laserhead

    Read that. It keeps invoking the word 'trust' and basically says, "Yes. On the surface this story appears to be a piece of shit, but you have to Trust that a guy like Frank Miller knows what he's doing." It's an APOLOGETIC INTRODUCTION. Kind of says it all.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Marvel

    by Joenathan

    Sooooo, what you're saying is, you preferred the days of X domination while Luke Cage and Iron Fist and Daredevil barely existed and the Avengers/Cap/Ironman/FF end of the Marvel universe slogged through abyssmal, forgettable stories which neither built on the old or reflect on the new? You would return to the days of Heroes Reborn? Of Onslaught? Of Force Works?<br><br>Maybe you do, and while I find that disappointing and pray to every God possible that it never happens, lets just chalk that up to a difference in personal taste and let it be.<br><br>Wait... one last teaste... I prefer good stories, while you would rather they sucked.... kidding, kidding<br><br>Anyway, story telling preferences aside, you have to agree that the Marvel Universe has never been this close, not in years. This era feels like one universe and thats a good thing, right?<br><br>Now, a fun game: Please illustrate what you mean by "mercanary characterization" Who exactly do you believe acted out of character? when and why?<br><br>begin...

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Marvel Characterizations.

    by Bluejack

    I think Stark was a bit out of character and Reed was as well. I'm not a huge Spidey fan, and just reading the stupidity of the Mephisto plot has kept me away. I was not too thrilled with Civil War in execution, but I do think the original concept was interesting, and has led to refreshing relationships between the heroes that had for a while been taken as rote. The scenes between Thor and Iron Man have been fantastic. Thor taps Tony's armor in one ish and makes a small chip to warn Stark not to fuck with the Thunder God. A great scene. New exploration of IM and Caps relationship and seeing the guilt playing out in C.A. and I.M. titles was great. BTW Laser, totally with you on the apex of Miller's career.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Stark and Reed

    by Joenathan

    Reed has always been driven by the thought: "Is it possible?" That is why he built the prisons, it was totally in character for his "too busy thinking about IF he can do it, to bother thinking about SHOULD he do it." This is EXACTLY the line of thought which led to Reed stealing a space ship and accidently turning he and his friends in the Fantastic Four. He is a character that is DEFINED by not only his brilliance but his occasional scatter brained lack of forethought and sometimes his accidental callous disregard for others feelings, especially Sue's. He never intended malice, he just saw the world changing and got swept up in the creation of the new world. He was totally in character for the duration of Civil War. Was he right? Maybe not, but that’s not the same thing as to whether or not he was in line as far as his character traits are concerned.<br><br>Tony was just as right as Cap, that was the thrust of Civil War, both sides had a valid point. Tony’s point was, simply put: Most people aren’t as trustworthy as Cap. <br><br>You can't have some idiot that decided to experiment on himself or even better, decided to drink some "mystery liquid" he found in the garbage somewhere and can now smash mountains and blow shit up with his mind, deciding that he is above the law. That’s a bad thing. Its a dangerous thing. These people need training and regulation. The X-men do it with their people, why shouldn’t normal super powered people? <br><br>Also, who takes care of the people who become the unavoidable collateral damage that results during the fights between Captain Dunderhead and Mr. Meanguy? What if you had worked your ass off all summer long to buy a shiny, brand new car, only to have it and your legs smashed flat by some masked moron? Who do you turn to? Tony was right in that, not only is this a necessary thing, but its inevitable. I’ve never understood why, in Marvel, people want to stone Scott Summers because he’s a mutant, but Wonderman is a movie star? What’s the discernable difference between the two? I think it makes more sense to say that there wouldn’t be one, at least in the public’s eye that is, and people would start to get nervous and angry and once they start getting nervous and angry then they start panicking and lashing out and then bad things begin to happen. Tony saw the potential of this and jumped ahead of it. Does he force Heroes into the salt mines? No. Is he right to sacrifice certain civil rights in the pursuit of the greater good? No, but… that would be the gray area that Cap stands on the opposite side of. Hence the Civil War. Tony is a man used to making the hard decisions based on practically, hence the armor wars, another thing that drove he and Cap into conflict since Cap is a man who takes stands on principal. No, Tony was also well within his character, driven, pragmatic, forward thinking and stubborn. I think Civil War finally made Tony interesting and more than just a pale Bruce Wayne and the Avengers version of Wonder woman, remarkable only for once having been a drunk.<br><br>Besides, having most heroes registered makes the unregistered ones like Daredevil even cooler.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Good DC and Marvel

    by Homer Sexual

    This whole Civil War debate will not be resolved. We all have our opinionsand at this point no one is going to change their mind about CW. I admit that super heroes running around freely is unrealistic. However, the real police don't focus on apprehending bounty hunters, vigilantes, etc. They focus on catching criminals. Marvel had the govt. lackey fascist heroes actually go so far as to recruit criminals to help them hunt down other heroes. Reed and Stark were total Nazis, and nothing JoeNathan says will convince me otherwise. I can see why some people appreciate this, and it is cohesive. But I simply don't enjoy reading comics with this type of characterization. It did help me to save money by dropping all books with pro-registration heroes, but now I have started buying She Hulk again because she rebelled, and Mighty Avengers due to the SI storyline. But as soon as thats over, no more Mighty Avengers for me. <p> I do appreciate the developments such as focusing on Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Spider-Woman, etc, as well as the cohesiveness of the MU. (BTW, since Luke and Jessica Jones have a Skrull baby, this must be going to be featured at the end of SI. If it is a loose end, that is a problem). <p> I agree DC is a bit wiggedy-wack right now, but there are plenty of good side books. In the same way that Captain America kicks but in the MU w/o being in SI, Birds of Prey and Manhunter are great and not involved in FC. <p> But, um, I like Teen Titans. I especially like the latest issue when they comment that Stargirl and Red Devil have the same pants. Red Devil's pants are unbelievably gay, and not in a good way.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 2:06 p.m. CST

    recruiting villians

    by Joenathan

    Did they "recruit them" or "force them" as part of their sentence? Could the Thunderbolt program be called an exaggerated attempt at community service and perhaps even rehabilitation and therefore not fascist but extremely open and liberal minded? I think so. Besides, you have to admit, the Thunderbolts are tightly relegated. Is it nice thing to do to former allies? No, but technically, by not registering those heroes became villians, and we're talking about the law here not intention of actions or past actions but the actual letter of the law, so using villians to catch them instead of sending soldiers falls more into the potential acceptable losses category. Also, if I may add, recruiting Nazis to our side led to the creation of both Captain America and Nasa. <br><br> I'm not sure where you heard this, but let me assure you, police do arrest Vigilantes and as for Bounty Hunters? They are legal, so there is no problem there and even less of a corelation to this debate. <br><br>I think its funny (not bad funny) that you determine your Marvel comic purchases based upon your political stance WITHIN the Marvel universe. Thats cool. Very Meta of you. <br><br>Also, there's been no confirmation about the Skrull baby.<br><br>Also, also, I don't think Superheroes running around without regulation to be unrealistic, just inevitablly short lived, kind of like how there used to not be a drinking age.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 2:08 p.m. CST

    civil war some more

    by steverodgers

    I think on just a gut level, I found the ending to be kind of a letdown. I don't have a better one in mind, but cap taking of his hat and giving up after being tackled by some service workers just left me cold. On the other hand I love the direction Bru has taken in caps book and the introduction of the Nazi thumping man out of time Bucky/Cap which were jump-started by Civil War to some extent. I also do like that Marvel has a very inter-connected feel these days but am not overly positive about the stories that got them there. Joen also very good arguments for the actions taken by IM and Cap. Call me old fashioned but what I don’t mind sometimes is just a big massive slug-fest with no real repercussions ala Acts of Vengeance and Secret Wars – nothing big coming out of it (black-costume notwithstanding), just a good showcase for characters to be themselves, interact, and pound on the Wrecking Crew.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Just to open a can of worms

    by Joenathan

    I forgot to mention Spidey and One More Day...<br><br>Sooooo, we all know something is going on with Dr. Strange, right? So, while I don't read regular spidey as I'm an Ultimate Spidey fan, I just assumed one more day and Mephisto and yadda, yadda, yadda, was all lead in to Strange sensing a disturbance in the force and trying to rectify it or undo it. Would that kill May? Would Spidey fight Strange? I just assumed this whole thing was story set up ala Disassembled. <br><br>Also, come on now, what wouldn't you do if the one person left to you, the one person who took care of you after all your other parent figures dies, was dying? What wouldn't you do to save them? Especially when you blame yourself for not saving someone else when you could have, even if you couldn't have know. what wouldn't you do?

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 2:32 p.m. CST

    One More Day

    by steverodgers

    I thought the idea of spidey was that he was just like all of us, except that through experience and grit he learned to do the right thing – so like maybe if I had spidey powers I would go off and occasionally peek into windows for grins (and who wouldn’t?) spidey wouldn’t do that – so although maybe a lot of people when presented with the opportunity to keep a loved one alive by making a deal with the devil would do it, not spider-man, because although he would be tempted, and he would think about it, in the end he would say ‘hell no’ because he’s spider-man, he makes the hard choices and lives with them – because he knows, and here it comes – that with great power comes great responsibility, and that means not making a deal with a devil who wears underpants, but strapping on his tights and getting down to business no matter what the odds.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 2:52 p.m. CST

    I think

    by Joenathan

    You're ignoring just how important Aunt May would be to Peter and being how he is "just like us" how easily a wrong decision can be made for the right reasons. Also, I think its important to asknowledge the distinction between The Devil and Mephisto. One is just a creature akin to Thor, essentially, a higher being, the other is the incarnation of pure evil, it doesn't matter if he's "Marvel's Devil" there is a difference. Also, didn't MJ make the decision?

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:06 p.m. CST

    Aunt May

    by Laserhead

    Would I sacrifice my marriage to the devil in order to save a septuagenarian I loved? No. The woman's fucking 80 years old. Let her go. Maybe to save a child, but an old woman who by actuary standards is already on death's door every day? Fuck no.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:07 p.m. CST

    MJ

    by steverodgers

    Actually in this regard I am totally like those people that bag on a movie and never see it... so ill take myself out of the conversation before I say something else totally ignorant about the book. if it was MJ that made the call, then my impressions of the story are wrong, as I can see her making that decision with the devil, or Marvel's red-tighted master of disaster in a heart-beat. Because really, you can never trust a model as all they want to do is smoke and look cool. Either way I liked the idea the married grown up Pete rather than the younger single Pete, as a married grown up myself.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:09 p.m. CST

    mercenary characterization

    by Laserhead

    Meaning that the characters and their personalities are subject to the concept of the story, instead of the other way around. Homer already said it, basically. And it's not that I agree with Captain America, either. It wasn't credible for anyone involved to act the way they acted, to me. Not Cap, not spider-man, not Tony, and definitely not Reed, and no matter what you try to argue for it, I just don't buy it, and I don't like these guys. Plus, like I said, the story built to a bullshit slap fight.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:11 p.m. CST

    laserhead

    by steverodgers

    well said, she had one foot out the door as it is... plus she tried to marry doc-ock and that could have never sat well with pete.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:12 p.m. CST

    I don't care if Spider-Man's married or not, really

    by Laserhead

    As long as the story-tellers realize that one of the hallmarks of that "successful Spider-Man formula" they're trying to tap is that Spider-Man always changed, always grew, starting when Steve Ditko had him graduate from high school. Then he graduated college. He was unique among characters that way. That said, there's a hundred ways to dissolve a marriage that don't involve... what happened.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:20 p.m. CST

    Married Spidey

    by steverodgers

    Exactly, if it was the marriage they were trying to get rid off they could have picked a lot of other ways to deal with it, that would have taken Pete on lots of interesting roads, growing etc... Have her cheat on him, whatever - fall out of love, she leaves and never says a thing - she goes off and decides to have a wild drunken abusive affair with handsome Hank Pym, she joins the Thunderbolts wears metal pants, fires lasers from her mid-section and calls herself fire-crotch – anything really - deal with Mephisto... easy way out.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Laserhead and Aunt May

    by Joenathan

    Thats awesome. <br><br>"Look, Aunt May, I know you took me in and took care of me after Mom and Dad and Uncle Ben all died and we're not even really related and all that, but... its just... look, you're really fucking old, alright, so... just... die, okay? No hard feelings."

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:32 p.m. CST

    "all they want to do is smoke and look cool."

    by Joenathan

    Truer words, man, truer words. <br><br>I haven't read OMD either, I was more commenting on a possible future for Dr. Strange, who I really want to have something cool done with.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Aren't they all slap fights?

    by Joenathan

    I mean, they are ALL wearing tights and wrestling...<br><br>Alright fine, but know that I disagree with your asessment. I believe everyone acted in character in Civil War and a bad situation was made worse by their decisions. Thats why the story ended the way it did, Cap and Tony and their peeps had gotten out of control, they'd gone too far, dug in too hard and the men that pulled them apart were the embodiment of the voice of reason, meant to show these two heroes that they have more in common than not and that there are bigger concerns and that, ultimately their fight came down to responsibility, which both of them have shouldered. Why? Because they are heroes.<br><br>The thing I felt was lacking was that the series could have used more space to explore and explain those characters better and to high light their actions for the "fans" because it got a little lost in the explosions and some people... missed the boat.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:38 p.m. CST

    Dr. Strange

    by steverodgers

    Clearly he just needs to start smoking... I really liked the BKV mini, where he is paling around with night-nurse and dead girl. But you are right Dr. strange needs a fat dose of coolness because he could just be awesome if someone can figure him out.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:43 p.m. CST

    The marriage

    by Joenathan

    It never bothered me that he was married, it bothered me that she was a super model.<br><br>The thing I have to ask though is: Why DID they go the route they did to dissolve the marriage? Why not have them divorce? Those questions make me wonder about the future... hmmmmm...

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:45 p.m. CST

    I'm hoping

    by Joenathan

    the magic end of Marvel is next for coolness and not in the kind of lame 80s metal way that they're portraying it in Captain Britian.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Is anyone else looking forward to the Noir stuff?

    by Joenathan

    I'm kind of interested.

  • Sept. 25, 2008, 3:58 p.m. CST

    MJ

    by steverodgers

    Agreed. Super-model MJ always kind of rankled me too. Just have her be a hot chick next door - not some world traveling, coke snorting, half naked strutting clothes-hanger... I mean how does Pete compete with all night parties at Brett Ratners house? The guy lived with his aunt in Queens while they were dating. She's got Don Johnson on the line and she's like, "I’m gonna have to click-over Don, talking to my pal Pete on his aunts May’s party line"

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 6:03 a.m. CST

    No Joenathan, it's more like

    by Laserhead

    "I love you Aunt May, and I'm sorry you're dying, but I'm not sacrificing my life and my wife's life to the devil in order to unnaturally extend your already full life-span." And no, they're not all slap fights-- fights maybe, but rarely so lame a fight that it should be thus labeled. Stop being a fucking apologist. Civil War was badly written, plotted, and executed. No character behaved in line with their personality. Not one. Rephrasing people's arguments in a sardonic tone isn't the same thing as having a point.

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 8:30 a.m. CST

    I disagree

    by Joenathan

    I haven't apologized for anything, I've merely explained it to you as it was apparently unclear. Civil War wasn't badly written at all and it has had a nearly unprecedented effect on the MU and most likely will continue to do so for a very long time. Its okay to not have enjoyed it or to prefer a different type of story, but thats not the same thing as badly written. New Exiles? Thats badly written. Winnick's Titans? Badly written. Civil War? Great fun. As for your assertation as to incorrect character behavior? Site an example and I'll take the time to point out where exactly the misunderstanding happened on your part.<br><br>Look, you can rephrase my point, as well, but you still missed what I was saying. A. think about our little examples of "peter's goodbye to Aunt May" as if it involved real people and I think you'll see that we basically said the same thing. B. I was just joking, man. I thought it was funny. Its still funny. "Fuck off, old lady, I'm stickin' with my model wife, dig?" I could give two fucks about regular continuity Spider-man, so unbunch the panties, sir. HOWEVER, once again, its Mephisto, NOT the Devil. You can keep calling him the Devil in some kind of weird Christian-infect-the-unvierse type of thing, but it doesn't change the fact that he's NOT the Devil, he's Mephisto. One is a creature who does black magic, (Mephisto) the other is the embodiment of Evil in opposition to God. (The Devil, if you believe in that kind of thing) Sooooooo... making a deal with a Dark Sorceror while it may not be an exactly heroic thing, it is definitely a WAAAAAAAY different thing than selling your soul to the Devil, which Peter did not do.<br><br>And yes, they are all slap fights, big girly, spandex clad, kind of gay slap fights... but I still love them. I mean, come on, everybody knows that Doom's obsession with Reed is based on unrequited love, thats just patently obvious.

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 9:03 a.m. CST

    Aunt May

    by Bluejack

    Mephisto=Evil Incarnate=Bad, Deal with Mephisto=deal with Evil Incarnate=Bad. I think it's just that simple. Not in character at all for Pete. But if you dug it Joen, then cool.

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 9:17 a.m. CST

    It's not a misunderstanding

    by Laserhead

    You're making what logician's refer to as "The Jeff Albertson Fallacy" which is to pretend your subjective opinion about characterization can be argued objectively. No, Reed being a genius who wonders "what is possible" doesn't explain his actions or render them credible; because, being a hero, he's actually always been motivated by the question of what he SHOULD do, and what the best thing for other people is. My real example of bad characterization in Civil War is this: EVERYBODY. You're telling me it's plausible that because of this registration issue, people as close as these characters, as traditionally heroic as these characters, the only way they can go about addressing the discontinuity of opinion in the super-hero community is to go to "war"? That's bullshit. That Reed and Tony decide it's okay to use serial mass-murderers to help incarcerate their former friends and comrades because now they're at "war"? "Hey, psychotic mass-murderer. I'll take time off your sentence and see to it that you're not punished for your crimes if you'll capture some former friends for me." The Thor Clone is the same thing. Even "the resistance", all their actions were just retarded. They go underground... so they can run around in costumes and "help" people without pesky government regulations. The bad characterization is this: having read Marvel my whole life, and been through most of their stories from the 60s to the present, it is ridiculous that any of the characters behaved the way they did in Civil War. Reed and Tony and Cap didn't do things because that's what Reed and Tony and Cap would do-- they did things because Millar had this concept for a story he thought would be "hot" and he needed the characters to behave that way, and so they did.<p>Also, what's your point about Mephisto, exactly? I keep referring to him as the devil because, you know, Mephistopheles is a name for the devil, and the fact that he looks like and acts like the devil, steals souls and whatnot, it's a natural call. It has nothing to do with "weird Christian-infect-the-universe" whatever. It doesn't matter who the fuck Mephisto is- in the Marvel universe, he's basically regarded as the equivalent of the devil, and he's more omniscient than a "creature who does black magic." Who gives a fuck? It was, next to Civil War, the dumbest, most out-of-character decision ever. You kind of disguise yourself in the language of logic, Joenathan, but all your arguments are ad hominem.

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 10:06 a.m. CST

    My point of contention being

    by Laserhead

    not that you disagree, Joe. That's perfectly fine. It's when you approach your own opinions with this sanctimonious attitude that insists anyone who doesn't agree with you is at worst an idiot and an best someone who is badly mistaken. Consider that your opinions are no more valid that anyone else's-- they certainly aren't better argued. You're just not that bright, and you'd do better to communicate with a touch of humility.

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 12:21 p.m. CST

    BlueJack

    by Joenathan

    I didn't dig it, I didn't read it and Mephisto and the Devil aren't the same thing. Evil incarnate is different than Evil, understand?<br><br> I get that it upsets people, but I think they are giving the situation more weight then it deserves by, accidently or purposefully, confusing Mephisto and The Devil and pretending that they are one in the same. They are not.

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Oh Laserhead...

    by Joenathan

    See, you're problem is that you are categorizing a hero as infallible, they are not. They make bad decisions and they have to deal with the consequences. You want infallible boy scouts, go to DC, but Marvel has first, last and ALWAYS featured human heroes who make mistakes and then struggle to correct and overcome them and sometimes fail. I know that’s why I’ve always liked them. <br><br>And I called it a misunderstanding because I’m not saying that you’re wrong, you can have your opinion and I’m going to voice mine as well. That’s what these places are for, right? I don’t think you’re wrong or an idiot. Thicken up, buddy and know that I don’t mean to make you cry, alrigh?<br><br>The problem some message board people like you have is you think a debate should go like this: One person says something, you shout them down and then they stay quiet forever. It doesn’t work like that. I’m just voicing my opinion. I’m not saying you’re right or that I’m right, but if you say something that I disagree with, I’m going to say why. So lay off the flip outs, alright? The only reason people like you devolve into insults, I believe, is because you got nothing. NOTHING. See, I said, cite some examples and I’ll explain where I think you’re mistaken and you say (and only say) EVERYONE. Sorry dude, but that’s just a cheat, see, because I think that I can explain why each character did what they did. To me, the pattern of their actions are reflected in their history and I believe that the only reason you won’t respond in a civil debate kind of way is because even you know that the only reason you’re bagging on Civil War is because you just didn’t like it AND that’s fine! <br><br>That’s fine.<br><br>I’m okay with that, but if you want throw what I believe to be some purposefully incorrect shit at something because you don’t like it and I disagree, well, I’m going to respond. If you want to say “I just didn’t like Civil War”, then I’ll say: “Eh, that’s too bad.” And be cool with it, so just relax, everybody’s friends here, I don’t think any less of you or that I’m better than you or anything like that, okay? Save your name calling and venom for the playground and lets get back to the comics… <br><br>Look, why do you think Sue has almost fucked Namor like a million times? Because Reed is a scatter brained, inconsiderate jerk, not on purpose, but he is. Yes, he does save people and many times the planet, yes, he is a hero, but if he can continually (as in: throughout FF history) ignore his wife’s feelings to the point of almost driving her into the arms of a fish-man, then it certainly makes sense that he would attempt to build a series of prisons in the negative zone that are linked by multiple wormhole teleporters in order to house criminals after the Raft break out and… oops!... not think about how Danny Rand is going to feel about it all when he gets locked up for failure to register. These type of actions are consist throughout Reed’s history all the way back to the beginning.<br><br>Also, in the real world prisoners and criminals get paroled or released early or get reduced sentences for their crimes ALL THE TIME, so yeah, that makes sense to me, the rightness or wrongness is a wholly different debate, besides, like I said, they are HEAVILY regulated with the nanotech stuff.<br><br> The Thor clone was cutting edge science, its what Tony does. Imagine the possibilities contained within such DNA. Did it back fire? Yes. “Mistakes were made.” <br><br>As for Cap, he stood up for people’s civil rights, what could be MORE in character for him? And yes, he was willing to go to War over it and it wouldn’t be the first time either (WWII). Also, this isn’t the first time he’s gone against the government and went underground in order to continue helping people either, nor is it the first time such an idea has been broached in comics.<br><br>As for the war, no it obviously wasn’t a good idea, but then, these ARE a group of people who traditionally solve problems by hitting each other, plus the whole “who would win” scenario is a comic book classic. And honestly, I know its not that important to us because we see everyone’s motivations, but you’re forgetting that the law is the law. Cap breaking it, no matter his reasons, makes his actions illegal and you can’t do that. Heroes are supposed to uphold the law. If they allow their friends to break the law, how can they police the actions of others? That’s what made the War so hard, nobody wanted it, but no one saw a way out. Might there have been a better, more reasonable decision, maybe, but that would have been a boring comic, right? Anyway, that’s why Cap willingly surrendered in the end and was going to go to court, so he could have his say and explain why he thinks the SHRA is wrong, but it was not meant to be...<br><br>Millar making the characters do things for the benefit of the story is the definition of story telling.<br><br>And my Mephisto point is that he ISN’T the Devil, ISN’T. There is a difference. You can say that he ESSENTIALLY is, but he still isn’t. The distinction is important.

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Mephisto

    by Bluejack

    Mephisto=Major Demon or Devil. You are in the very tiny minority if you think Mephisto is supposed to be some garden variety demon. He is Marvel's version of Mephistophiles. To say he isn't the Devil is splitting a hair.

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 2:58 p.m. CST

    but an important hair

    by Joenathan

    One is the opposite of god. The other is not. Dealing with one literally means your eternal soul, the other one is akin to dealing with Loki and will probably just end in a fist fight, hopefully with Dr. Strange some how involved. And Wang... lots and lots of Wang.

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 8:14 p.m. CST

    Oh, Joenathan... Your mistakes are many...

    by Laserhead

    I don't think heroes are infallible, never have-- I just think there's a line you CAN cross that makes you go from being 'hero' to 'asshole'. That line was crossed by every character in Civil War.<p>Your equivocations just carry you farther and farther from the work you're pretending to examine. The Thor clone was cutting edge science, so that justifies Tony doing it? Nope. Grafting a fucking cow's head to an infant's ass might be "cutting edge science", but it's the kind of thing that, were you to do it, you would not be classifiable as a 'hero.' Get it? And no, "essentially the devil" and "the devil" isn't an important distinction, as we're talking about fictional worlds to begin with. Anything in a fictional world is only ever representational.<p>Aaaaaannnnndd....NONONONO-- Millar making CHARACTERS ACT AGAINST THEIR CHARACTERS is NOT the definition of good storytelling. It's actually the OPPOSITE of good storytelling. It's what's known as "shit storytelling." And in this case, it's fucking laughably tragic: "I'll make all these characters act completely differently than their established personalities IN ORDER TO TELL A BORING, CRAP STORY THAT ENDS IN A TICKLE FIGHT."<p>See you next week, Jeff.

  • Sept. 26, 2008, 8:16 p.m. CST

    And who's not being civil?

    by Laserhead

    I've been nothing but civil, you cunt.

  • Sept. 27, 2008, 1:09 p.m. CST

    My two cents.

    by BangoSkank

    I enjoyed Civil War but thought many of the decisions may have been questionable in relation to the characters making them... However, I think that to say ALL characters --every single one of them-- behaved unlike their normal self, is an overstatement. <p> My biggest complaint, as stated before --by myself and others-- is the drafting of the new Thunderbolts... Bullseye? Venom? Norm freakin' Osborn? Just too much of a stretch.... Maybe as a covert team (maaaaybe), but as reformed villains who are now media heroes and freedom fighters for America. Ugh. These guys are mass-fucking-murderers. <p> I'm on the fence about the prison and Thor, in reality, both Reed and Tony have made some fairly poor decisions before.... Ones based strictly on a "I wonder if I could make it happen" mentality. I'm willing to accept the decisions. If someone else is not, I can certainly see why. <p> The whole pick one side or another (if you're not with me, you're against me) mentality felt stretched some of the time.... A story forced into the rigid parameters of a cool idea. But again, not all the time. And overall, I dug it. <p> As for Spiderman.... I didn't read BND, I gave up even before that, but Mephisto is a demon who captures and enslaves the souls of others. So, yes, when dealing with Mephisto, your immortal soul could be in jeopardy... Just ask Ghost Rider. Spider man (or MJ) made a deal with the devil, even if it didn't happen to be The Devil.

  • Sept. 27, 2008, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Also...

    by BangoSkank

    I'm enjoying Uncanny X-men, which is nice, 'cause it's my longest running collected comic, and the one --no matter how bad it gets-- I can't give up. <p> And I was really pleased that we saw a little more of Nick Fury's New Howling Commandos last week in Mighty Avengers. Bitch, apparently, and you shall receive. <p> As for All-Star Supes, I haven't gotten it yet.... but it is in the mail and I look forward to reading it. Great series. <p> As for All-Star Batman, it's one of my secret vices.... Like reading my wife's US Weekly in the crapper (it helps the bowels move, trust)..... I know that it's shit, but still find it entertaining. And we're only taking about.... What? Eight bucks a year?

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 8:55 a.m. CST

    What?

    by Joenathan

    Cow head on a baby? Thats just crazy talk? What the hell are you talking about? <br><br>"Excuse me, Superman? ..Uh... Have you ever grafted a cow's head on a baby?" <br><br>"Ah... no..."<br><br>"You, sir... are a hero."<br><br>Its funny how you just repeat the same nonsense, its almost like you don't know what you're talking about... hmmm... Anyway, you calling names just proves me right, nanananana, you are wrong, pppppbbbbbbtttttt!

  • Sept. 29, 2008, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Bango

    by Joenathan

    Read Thunderbolts. Yes, they are media heroes, but only there, in the media. Its called spin. "Mission accomplished." Also, like I said, criminals are paroled all the time. The criminals of the Thunderbolts are promised to be paroled if they agree to participate in the Thunderbolt program (a promise yet to actually be fullfilled) and while in the program, they're caged when not active and released with nano-chains in their blood when they are. Its not like they're walking the streets free and going to Tony and Reed's Victory BBQs. Come on. <br><br> Yes, its true, Peter "made a deal with the devil" as in a bad deal where he gains something but at too high and too dear a price, "a deal with the devil" as used in common slang. BUT he didn't make a deal with the actual Devil. Do you really not understand the difference?

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 7:07 a.m. CST

    re. Aunt May:Comics R 4 Kids, After All

    by Buzz Maverik

    Ever since Stan, we've been told how mature, adult and sophisticated comic books are. Just look at how we blew up Hawkeye, wasn't that keen? (Cue geeks to tell me that Hawkeye didn't blow up, he imploded). But, no, no, Mommy can't die! Mommy can't die!<p>But, Buzz, comics are in the real world now! Look at how the guy in the flag suit is against Bush!<p>But fictional Mommy can't die!<P>Most adults, and far too many children, all over the real world (that's Earth Real World for those of you too far gone)have to face the death of a loved one sooner or later.<p>Why not call the whole saving Aunt May thing what it is? A bad plot device, used in bad writing to fix earlier bad writing. There's no logic to it. There's no drama or growth. There's no depth of character, no nuance, no heroism or conflict.<p>Comics were a lot smarter when they WERE aimed at kids.<p>But, Buzz, look how they killed off the b-list. See, it's about the Patriot Act, which I learned about from the Marvel press kit...

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 9:17 a.m. CST

    OMD

    by Joenathan

    I'm not passing judgement on the story, bad, good, whatever (I lean toward whatever because I don't read regular continuity Spider-man.) all I'm saying is Peter doing WHATEVER he has to in order to save Aunt May (or Mary Jane) makes COMPLETE sense. Its totally in character for him.

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 1:02 p.m. CST

    "Mission accomplished!"

    by BangoSkank

    It's Tuesday, so this post might be a lost cause, but... Joen, I see your point. I just thought seeing a little kid playing with (in the comic) a Thunderbolts action figure was a little over the top.... Seeing how all the members are known mass-murderers. But I also get what they (both the writers, and the fictionalized government) were/are trying to do. My problem was really with Tony and Reed thinking that it's an okay idea. <p> As for Spiderman, yes, it's not the Christian Devil, but it is a demon from "the underworld" who collects souls, so "deal with the devil" is a lot more than just a slang phrase. Do YOU really not understand the difference?

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 3:54 p.m. CST

    Whoa whoa whoa

    by Psynapse

    QUOTE: all I'm saying is Peter doing WHATEVER he has to in order to save Aunt May (or Mary Jane) makes COMPLETE sense. Its totally in character for him.<p>Okay by that logic had Mephisto shown up and said "Hey Pete, kill this schoolbus full of kids and I'll save yer Aunty-Poo!" THAT would have made 'complete' sense as well.

  • Sept. 30, 2008, 3:58 p.m. CST

    Yo Laserhead!

    by Psynapse

    "The Jeff Albertson Fallacy"-Thank you for reminding me EXACTLY why I get so annoyed with Joenathan's statements at times.

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 3:15 a.m. CST

    fVcaIuP

    by TmvEqK

    ycMADd <a href="http://ymewws.com/ ">fVcaIuP</a>

  • Feb. 15, 2010, 3:15 a.m. CST

    OgVoNU

    by TmvEqK

    XZiDqj <a href="http://jucqzl.com/ ">OgVoNU</a>