Comics

AICN COMICS REVIEWS: FINAL CRISIS! DARK REIGN! TANK GIRL! PHONOGRAM! + MUCH MORE!

Published at: Dec. 17, 2008, 7:51 a.m. CST by ambush bug

#31 12/10/08 #7

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) A Point/Counter-Point Review of FINAL CRISIS #5 ASTONISHING X-MEN: GHOST BOXES #2 BOOSTER GOLD #15 CREAM OF TANK GIRL TPB DARK REIGN #1 PHONOGRAM: THE SINGLES CLUB #1 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents HAYATE X BLADE V1 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

FINAL CRISIS #5

Writer: Grant Morrison Artist: JG Jones, Carlos Pacheco, Marco Rudy, and Jesus Merino Publisher: DC Comics A point/counterpoint review from the Siskel & Ebert of AICN Comics: Ambush Bug & Stones Throw

AMBUSH BUG: One of the things that crossovers should do is promote the size and scope of the universe it is occurring in. It serves as a highlight reel for those who don't normally read that set of books in hopes that it piques enough interest for readers to check out tie-ins and maybe even a few of the ongoing series that star some of the characters taking part in the story. These events are meant to make the line of books more accessible. From a marketing standpoint, that's the only reason why they should exist. And believe me, you can hem and haw about artistic integrity, but when it comes to Marvel and DC, the almighty dollar is thought of first and foremost. As a kid, I remember reading CONTEST OF CHAMPIONS. This was an amazing marketing series. It featured almost every character in the Marvel Universe and at the end was a checklist (the first incarnations of the Marvel Universe Handbook) guiding the reader to where they could check out these characters in other books in the Marvel Universe. So you know what I did? I checked out those other books and from that point on, a Marvel Zombie had risen from the tomb.
Thought of in those terms, FINAL CRISIS is the antithesis of the event crossover. It is somewhat of a small scale event, hyped up by DC editorial (seemingly before a page was pitched, written, or proofread) to be the end all be all to the whole CRISIS events that began with IDENTITY CRISIS all those years ago. Well, Morrison failed to get that memo. He's writing something that is at times maddening to follow, sometimes downright unreadable, and about as scattered as a dandelion in a hurricane. It's even more maddening that the rest of the universe is going on as if none of this is actually happening. Not one of DC's books are even referencing FINAL CRISIS (save the direct tie in books like SUBMIT, RESIST, REVELATIONS, and SUPERMAN 3-D). If you weren't buying FINAL CRISIS, you wouldn't even know it was going on in the regular books.
The main thing that irks me about this series is the obvious holding pattern DC has been in while a Whirling Dervish of a writer writes and rewrites the bible of the universe. It shows a complete lack of editorial control and an evident case of one hand not even acknowledging that the other exists.
If FINAL CRISIS were that good, I'd almost be ok with this, but so far, as of issue #5, it's been a series of scattered premises threaded together with the thinnest of string. Sure, some of the ideas are good and given the time and attention could make for a year or two's worth of decent stories, but Morrison darts from the persecution of Hal Jordan to the Forever People showing up and talking about marks on their faces, to OMAC's being stored at Checkmate, to a trio of Female Furies (Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and Batwoman) terrorizing the streets (with not an ounce of character or struggle being injected in any of them…honestly, they could have been anyone and no one would notice), to Mary Marvel getting even more and more soiled, back to a Rubik's Cube and ending with a final page splash of someone I don't even recognize. Someone following websites that dissect every reference and panel may find this Rorschach Test of a comic entertaining, but to the average reader (who reads more that one comic a month and doesn't feel the need to reread previous FC issues) it's just a jumbled fever dream. I don't even want to think about the new reader who hears the hype and buys issue #5 on a whim to see what it's all about.
All I hear from the supporters of Morrison and his style is "I'm going to wait and see how it all turns out." To that I say, "How many times are you going to fall for this?" How many issues of un-event are you going to buy before realizing that you've been duped with a promise of consequence that never comes? I don't expect a complete story in each issue, but how about some kind of natural progression of plot, instead of a drawn out snapshot of an instance of a story and some quid pro quo idea ping-pong? I don't want to wait and see if I like the book. I shouldn't have to.
FINAL CRISIS is the comic book equivalent of a penis-growth spam email. It promises much, but when you buy into it, you're left with a mess of pop-ups and probably a virus that'll leave you flaccid, unimpressed, and angry at yourself for believing in it.

And now for a counter point, Stones Throw…

STONES THROW: The best thing about FINAL CRISIS is that it’s an event comic that’s about more than other comics. Darkseid’s conquest of human souls speaks about our current media and celebrity-driven culture more than a 1,000 “who or whom is not a Skrull” revelations in SECRET INVASION. Think it’s any coincidence the Anti-Life virus starts off on the Internet as a viral email? It’s like the slogans all over the new Darkseid-controlled world: “There’s no struggle with Anti-Life!” “Your life is Anti-Life.” Glorious Godfrey is a televangelist while Mokkari’s running Apokolips’s media communications unit. Morrison’s writing a 1984 or BRAVE NEW WORLD for comics and I’m loving it.
That’s not to say comic book tropes don’t come into it, though. Each issue so far has had a Julie Schwartz-style high concept hook that drives the plot, whether it’s the “Who killed Orion, the God of War?!” mystery of # 1 or Hal Jordan being wrongfully arrested for the murder later on. I guess this one’s is “You have 24 hours to save the universe, Lantern Jordan.” But what’s really remarkable is that Morrison can mix such unashamed “fuck, yeah” moments with the general sense of foreboding doom. That’s right, the quick cuts style is really working for me. It’s a way to cover the epic scope a CRISIS-type event calls for without bogging down the story and still letting the artists (who do a much more consistent job with this issue than last, by the way) draw in those purty big panels. And if there’s been a scarier cliffhanger than Darkseid rallying a completely subjugated humanity since last issue’s “Darkseid reincarnates and gives humankind the thumbs down”, I haven’t seen it.
What Morrison has managed to do is use a new vocabulary to tell an epic, universe-spanning DC event. And I applaud him for it. Who wants to see another CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS retread? Here’s a story where the heroes are defeated in the gap between # 3 and 4 and the final battle is a desperate, last-ditch stand in a ruined Bludhaven. (A particularly cool one, at that, with Frankenstein and co. riding in on vehicles made out of Metal Men.) I have to disagree with Ambush Bug. What I remember most from reading past events that span the fictional terrain of DC comics (say COIE or KINGDOM COME or ZERO HOUR) is marvelling at the density and the sense that, even if I didn’t know all of these characters, they were being used properly and in exceedingly cool ways. If you’re gonna do an epic crossover where the Fourth World reincarnates as the Fifth World, it should be unashamedly, mind-bogglingly big. It’d be insulting if it wasn’t. But it’s like Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s sublime LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN. Part of the fun is going through and decoding the references the writer and artist have put the effort into building.
But seriously, some of it isn’t even that difficult. That guy on the last page? He’s appeared throughout the series, starting with the conclusion of # 1. FINAL CRISIS is a comic that requires some input from the reader to be successful. Morrison’s style is kind of an event comic with the in-between bits cut out, which needs to be bore in mind. But hell, I’m not waiting to enjoy it. I’m enjoying it for the astounding level of detail J.G. Jones puts into a bulldozer constructed by John Stewart’s power ring as its willpower starts to be sapped by the spirit-crushing force of Darkseid. Or Lex Luthor’s vexations. Or Morrison’s most excellent Darkseid dialogue. FINAL CRISIS is everything a comic called FINAL CRISIS should be, produced with a genuine sense of experimentation, and I’m lovin’ it now.

ASTONISHING X-MEN: GHOST BOXES #2

Writer: Warren Ellis Art: Clayton Crain & Kaare Andrews Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

This was kind of like a blowjob from a really hot tranny. You get duped by the package, and actually pleasantly enjoy yourself for a few minutes until you finally feel the most delicate stubble scrape across your balls. In this case the hot tranny was Ellis’ wonderful tangential slides through the alternate reality slipstream. The stubble would be the hefty $4.00 price tag and the anemic 15 pages of content that cums with it.
I won’t dispute the march of time or the pursuit of the all-mighty dollar. I know the day will come in the not-too-distant future when $3.99 will be emblazoned on all covers and I promise I won’t bitch about it, unless of course it takes me less than 10 minutes to read the book. I’m sure someone at Marvel thought it would be a hoot to bookend these tales of mutant woe with Ellis’ original script, but here’s a hint to all editors: there’s a reason we read comic books and it ain’t all about the prose. In a time not too long ago, these stories would have been offered up non grata at the end of regular ASTONISHING. But I guess in tough economic times, everyone needs to make a buck where they can and Marvel just made $8.00 off of me for one 22 page comic.
Like the first issue of this series we are treated to two alternate dimensions, and like the first issue these are two damn fine solid stories despite being achingly too short.
In the first “What If” tale, excuse me Ghost Box, we see Scott Summers as the last mutant on earth contemplating the best way to decapitate himself to make the pain go away. This was a macabre story and Crains’ heavy heavy pencils drove home the point that this was not going to end happily ever after. At times the dark undertones are a little too dark, though, making the majority of some panels simply awash in complete blackness.
Next up, we see a place where Wolverine, Armor and Beast traverse a barren landscape seeking refuge at the last bastion of human existence. I’m the first to balk when things are not brought to me in full-live Technicolor, but the choice to do this particular sidestep in gray scale was dead on. This was also the first time I found Armor to have a life and personality all her own rather than being the 21st century answer for Jubilee. With Wolverine a cripple and Beast a half-faced blathering idiot, Armor must make some tough choices, finally making her worthy of the X moniker.
Speaking of X’s I give a hats off to Marvel for once again proving that my X shaped lobotomy scar will get me to buy...well, anything. Were I not such a zombie, perhaps I could walk away from the words “Ellis and Alternate Realities,” but sadly I’m not that strong. With the first issue I was agog at the price jack and the pages hijack, but this time around I knew exactly what I was getting into. I actually sat and read the script afterwards just so I wouldn’t feel so ripped off at the price of admission; however it was a hollow solace. With EXILES in utter ruins and “What If?” a faint whisper of its heyday, I was thrilled when Ellis introduced the Ghost Box concept a few months ago. I enjoyed every damn issue of THE AUTHORITY when The Carrier would take the naughty Justice League to some new stop in the Bleed. But for every part of me that was enthralled by Ellis’ master storytelling, there were two more parts just simply pissed off at the ultimate cock tease this series ended up delivering. Thank you Warren, but for shame Marvel.
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.

BOOSTER GOLD #15

Writer/Artist: Dan Jurgens Finished Inks: Norm Rapmund Published by: DC Comics Reviewed by: BottleImp

Hey there, Average Comic Reader! Are you feeling dissatisfied with your reading lately? Do you feel like you’re throwing away four bucks a month—EACH—on titles that, frankly, you wouldn’t give two cents for? Sick and tired of endless, pointless, heartless “event” comics that inspire no greater emotion than utter boredom (seasoned with a dash or two of confusion)? Well you, my friend, are suffering from a condition known as “crossoveritis”—a particularly debilitating disease when combined with the dreaded “didiorrhea” that is so prevalent among readers of DC comics. But don’t lose heart, Average Comic Reader—the remedy is a steady diet of entertaining comics, and one of the best prescriptions out there today is BOOSTER GOLD!
BOOSTER GOLD has all the elements of classic comic storytelling that you love—a hero that you can believe in with a heart (and costume, and name) of gold, epic-scale time-travel stories that manage to stay bouncy rather than collapsing under the weight of their own pretension (see FINAL CRISIS), and a blend of action and humor that hearken back to those long-ago days when comics weren’t such serious business. Of course, sometimes side effects of campiness may occur—this issue finds Booster’s sister Michelle posing for Leonardo da Vinci as his model for what would become the Mona Lisa—but that side effect comes off as charming rather than stale; it’s a pleasant throwback to the gags found in a lot of the Silver Age comics.
Best of all, BOOSTER GOLD gives you, Average Comic Reader, a chance to enjoy your favorite characters as they were intended. Not happy that Ralph Dibny and his wife are dead (and now apparently “ghost detectives,” whatever that means)? Thanks to the time-traveling mojo of BOOSTER GOLD, you can see Ralph in all his stretchy glory as the very-much alive Elongated Man!
So do yourself a favor and write yourself a monthly prescription for one of the best superhero comics out there, Average Comic Reader! BOOSTER GOLD helps get rid of those pesky headaches left by crossoveritis and the nausea induced by didiorrhea, and may even remind you why you fell in love with comic books in the first place.
When released from his Bottle, the Imp takes the form of Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from the Northeast who's given up comics more times than he can remember. But every time he thinks he's out, they pull him back in.

THE CREAM OF TANK GIRL

Written and Illustrated by: Alan Martin and Jaime Hewlett Published by: Titan Books Reviewed by: superhero

OK, first things first: this book fucking kicks ass.
Yep, Christmas came early this year for ol' superhero. This is, quite honestly, a book that I've been waiting for forever. It was made just for me and I'm as happy as can be that I've got it in my grubby little hands.
See, I don't care what anyone says…the '90's sucked for mainstream comics books. Make all the excuses you want but it's true. If you think the FINAL CRISIS nonsense and SECRET INVASION stupidity is bad I'd just like you to remember the '90's. Marvel and DC were complete shit during the 1990's. They were putting out Clone Sagas, fifteen bazillion X-Books (none of which made any sense at all unless you bought all of them), breaking Batman's back, and if they weren't killing off Superman they were putting him into a Xanadu inspired outfit that made the original costume look downright impressive…underwear on the outside and all. It was a bad time to be a comic fan. Really bad. Just think of it. Crap comics and hardly any actually good blockbuster superhero movies to delude you into thinking your hobby was cool because, well, at least Hollywood gives a shit about it, right?
Tough times, they were. So tough that I actually gave up on comics for a year. I stopped reading them completely. But I couldn't stay away forever and when I came back I needed things to be different. I needed to escape from the big two. I needed something that was fresh and new. Not something that just posed as fresh and new because it had a super-mullet haircut. I needed comics that would kick me in the teeth and make me pay attention. So I searched and I searched, looking for something interesting. It was around this time that the 90's went from crap to a glorious age of comic book discovery.
I ended up coming across some of what I would consider the most interesting and fun comics I've ever read. I would uncover books like HELLBOY, THE NEXT MEN, MADMAN, SHADE: THE CHANGING MAN, SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATRE, MILK AND CHEESE, and, yes, oh yes, TANK GIRL.
Oh, TANK GIRL. I remember picking up my first issue and literally thinking, "What the hell is this?" Just one look at Jamie Hewlett's genius artwork and I knew that this book was just what I was looking for. TANK GIRL was everything I needed a comic to be. It was messy and unorganized and chaotic and shouldn't have been something that I was drawn to. It was completely different than anything I'd ever laid my eyes on but I could tell just by looking at it: it was alive. Every page was bursting with artistic energy and creativity. There was no sense to it at all. It was pure an unbridled chaos. It was the comic book id manifest on the page. TANK GIRL didn't give a shit about what you wanted. She was there to rip the comic book world in half and if you didn't like it then you were bloody fucked. And from the first issue I was in love. I was Jeff Daniels in SOMETHING WILD and TANK GIRL was my Melanie Griffith…dragging me out from under the safe world of super people and their silly morality plays.
Hey, I'll be the first to admit I didn't get it at all. I didn't get most of the references. I didn't really follow or care for most of the stories. I just liked it and I couldn't really tell you why. TANK GIRL took me to a place I'd never been. It was comic book art in a way I'd never seen it done before with stories that were juvenile to be sure but you could tell that the guys making this stuff up were having fun. And it was infectious. When you picked up TANK GIRL you just got a sense of manic craziness that you didn't have to understand or approve of. It just was. And it was fun as hell.
Of course the fun can't last forever and, much like everything else it gets its hands on, Hollywood ended up putting a bullet to the brain that was the genius of TANK GIRL. It was hard to muster any kind of enthusiasm for TANK GIRL after that kick to the nuts and after I left the movie I abandoned any kind of affection I'd had for anything that started with the word "Tank" and ended with the word "Girl".
Which is why I ended up loving this book. This book took me back to my love affair with TANK GIRL. It reminded me of a time when a comic didn't have to make sense but it could be filled with so much uncompromising creativity that it could just take my breath away. It took me to a time where I believed that a comic could be different, successful and incorruptible. That there could be a purity in comic book artistry even if it covered itself in a slight grime and talked like a merchant sailor.
THE CREAM OF TANK GIRL is an impressive work for sure. Mostly impressive because of its display of the mad brilliance of Jamie Hewlett's artwork. Each page is just chock full of Hewlett's masterful cartoon work and it puts so much of comicdom to shame. There is just page after page of beautifully produced material here and it's breathtaking for someone like myself who is such a huge fan of Hewlett's work. Any cartoonist or fan of cartoon art would do themselves a favor by picking this book up as it shows a master at the top of his game.
But beyond just the artwork the text itself reads like a sort of DVD-like commentary on the creation, ascension and fall of TANK GIRL. It's fascinating to read how a property can rise from absolute obscurity to cult icon and then crash and burn just on the cusp of huge success. What was even more interesting to read was how the creators, Hewlett and Martin, kept trying to keep TANK GIRL "pure" so to speak but were unable themselves to really define what TANK GIRL really should be, if anything. In the end they were unable to protect their creation almost knowing that it had grown beyond them, that they could no longer steer the ship. That's probably what was best for a character like TANK GIRL, to fizzle away into the sunset before she could be bastardized any further.
I have to give my utmost thanks to Titan Books for publishing this book. It was a joy for me to read and look at. With the publication of WATCHING THE WATCHMEN and THE CREAM OF TANK GIRL I think Titan Books has put out two of the best books about comics I've ever seen. I hope that this company will continue to publish such impressive product because I'll most certainly be first in line to purchase anything from them in the future.
Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. He's been an @$$hole for three years. Some of his work can be seen at www.kristianhorn.com.

SECRET INVASION: DARK REIGN #1 (One-Shot)

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Alex Maleev Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

It’s been a while since we’ve been treated to an all “sittin’ an’ talkin’” issue from Brian Michael Bendis. Even after all of these years, I still can appreciate Bendis’ gift for gab, and that’s certainly what you get with this issue: a big buncha baddies sittin’ on their @$$es and talking.
The idea behind this book is a cool one. After the super hero community is decimated by the back-to-back events of CIVIL WAR, WORLD WAR HULK and SECRET INVASION, they find themselves scattered and, for the first time, out of the public’s favor--a perfect time for the bad guys to organize and reap the benefits. Rallied together by Norman Osborne, the baddest of the bad gather and decide what to do next. Again, the idea of this evil syndicate is fun. I’ll bet Bendis knocked the editor’s socks off with the pitch. Bendis has proven to have some really fun ideas for the Marvel U.
With Bendis though, the devil is in the details. And this issue is full of those little devils.
There were quite a few things that annoyed me with this issue. Bendis is still unable to fully grasp royal-speak, meaning that the dialog from Doom, Namor, White Queen, and Loki are all a bit off; a bit too street level, too casual, too common. Want an example? When Namor and Doom have their little secret discussion towards the end of the book, Namor asks “What’s the move here?” That’s just a bit too street for the Lord of Atlantis.
It doesn’t help when Alex Maleev draws Namor to look like a greasy, stubbly New York cabbie (Note to Maleev: if your going to photo-ref your friends, get some that look like the characters you’re supposed to be drawing). I don’t even want to begin to talk about how much Loki looks like a transvestite in this book. Or how Norman has somehow de-aged and lost his trademark hair. I know Maleev is a fave of Bendis and I guess a meeting of the baddies issue is the type of comic that works with Maleev’s picture-tracing style of “art,” but I think the story would have had more weight in the hands of a more capable artist with a talent for mood rather than mere smudging and carbon papering.
The development at the end of this book was pretty well done, but a waste for one specific character that had loads of potential when Ellis was writing him in THUNDERBOLTS. But despite all of the flawed finer details, I do like the direction the Marvel U is going. The bigger ideas have always been intriguing to me. It’s the execution of them that has been deeply flawed, though, and if Bends paid as much attention to his story structure as he does with his dialog the Marvel Universe would be in good hands. Until then, during this Dark Reign, expect more snail crawl storylines where small moments and exasperated conversations are looked at as highlights, while plot points, action, and especially resolutions are sped through or glossed over completely (a flaw in Bendis’ writing evidenced most recently in SECRET INVASION). Bendis is a sitter and a thinker, not a man of action; too many of his books go out of their way to avoid conflict to suggest otherwise.
But the return of the super villain is long overdue. I remember in one of our earliest @$$Hole inter-office email threads, back when Captain America was fighting the war on terror and comic book traditions like masks and slugfests were poo-pooed upon by Marvel’s sophisticated new echelon of coolness, I wrote “Somewhere, in a dark room in the Marvel U, all of the villains are meeting and plotting…waiting for the right time.” Took a while, but it looks as if that time is finally here.
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. There you can also see a five page preview of his short story in MUSCLES & FRIGHTS! Bug was recently interviewed here and here at Cream City Comics.

PHONOGRAM: THE SINGLES CLUB #1

Writer: Kieron Gillen Artist: Jamie McKelvie Publisher: Image Comics Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

"Feel the gravity under your feet now blowing speakers trying to figure out how to turn it up and turn it loose tonight to have rhythm and revolution seems like an easy solution but right now we're gonna set it all on fire to feel the power, to feel the juice, to feel the same things, feel the same things that I do oh can't you see, oh can't you see this world belongs to you and me oh can't you see, oh can't you see get injected, resurrected, let's get infected, engage in life we're the rejected, resurrected, and we will make it right" --The (International) Noise Conspiracy, "Armed Love"
When the first TPB volume of this series hit a little more than a year ago, I was immediately enthralled by the concept of the book, if not a bit overwhelmed by the content of it. I absolutely loved the idea of "Music as magic" and a means for certain powerful beings to arise and subside, just as music trends tend to do. But the amount of information being thrown at me really had me kind of taken aback, like I was missing pretty much everything that was thrown at me and that I apparently just didn't know as much music as a "discerning listener" should, until I really started to understand what was going on in the pages in front of me. As I went on then when I reviewed it, and as I will continue to say here (because I'm a bit of a corner cutter, which is why I always have extra pieces laying around after I assemble anything) is that, even though the actual band names and songs references that are a dime a dozen in the word balloons here may fall on deaf ears, it's not so much about the specifics of the music but what the intent around them is. This world that PHONOGRAM plays in takes music a lot more seriously than even your most elitist of sound wave experts, but the heart of the subject is still broken down into the emotion behind it all and how it moves you, and you don't have to be all knowing and a walking encyclopedia on every genre of music ever to understand, you just have feel the groove Gillen and McKelvie are laying down and know what it really feels like to be a part of a movement or scene or whatever term you want to use to romance it. Which is where we're at with this first installment of this series of "B-Sides" for the series called "Pull Shapes".
"Pull Shapes" brings us into the realm of a Phonomancer (a person who channels music as magic, you dig?) by the name of Penny B. She dances, BTW. Like we saw with the first series, "Rue Britannia", it looks like most of the Phonomancers channel their power through a sort of ley line or connection with whatever scene they draw their power from. Penny B. though gets hers from being on the dance floor. From feeling the rhythm and the pulsing beats. Simultaneously getting lost in the crowd yet being the center of attention. She's a little self-centered, obnoxious even, but also a bit of a self-conscious mess, and it seems she doesn't really know what she wants, but when she's on the floor it doesn't matter. If there's any way to present the overlaying theme of this series, I can't think of a better one, and true to form Gillen and McKelvie pull you in perfectly. You can't help but get caught up in the energy of it all, even though there's a blatant flaw at play here. Just like when you're at a live show, and its obvious something's off with the sound staging, but you can't help but be wrapped up in the excitement of seeing an act you adore at their most base. It's priceless really, even in its less than perfect state.
And since the segue is there, that is a phrase you'll never ever hear me utter about the line work of Jamie McKelvie - "Less than perfect state." This stuff is gorgeous. Some of the smoothest lines you will ever see in a comic. I don't know if it's the new color presentation (Which is also fantastic, by the way--the pure definition of word vibrant) or just natural progression, but the form, the detail, the facial expressions all seem that much better from the first incarnation I saw of it in PHONOGRAM, and even a little deeper than I saw in SUBURBAN GLAMOUR of his just a bit before the proverbial "not too long ago." The only minor quibble I'd level against it (okay, so I lied about the "less than perfect" quip--should I tell you the one about Santa while we're here?) is that the jawlines tend to be a little angular, and sometimes even look similar going from the boys to the girls, depending on the angle. Insignificant? Yeah, but it still happens enough that it tends to distract me here and there. I'm a special kind of Rainman though I guess...
As much as I'd like to see this series get towards the "bigger production" (if there even is one, honestly--how would I know what these gents have planned?) or at least just see another arc dedicated to another particular musical genre like "Rue Britannica" was with Brit Pop (like, say, mid-80's to mid-90's American punk rock yes maybe please?) I can see the potential in the series of one-shots this volume promises. It'll give the team a chance to touch on a larger quantity of genres or showing us different ways on how the Phonomancers channel this power they tap into and so on, which would go a long way to giving us a better understanding of what they're playing with (as we kind of glimpse with the couple pages of mini-stories in the back of the book), as well as having quaint little character studies like the main tale of the issue presented to us. Either way, I'm just glad to be back into this universe and enveloped in whatever smooth rhythms to face-melting riffs Gillen and McKelvie feel free to belt out at us.
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, Facebookand 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.

HAYATE X BLADE V1

By Shizuru Hayashiya Released by Tor/Seven Seas Reviewer: Scott Green

Of all the manga that I read in 2008, HAYATE X BLADE (or HAYATE CROSS BLADE) was the most delightful surprise of the year. It's a cute girl fight manga from ULTRA JUMP, the older audience JUMP family spin-off that has yielded BATTLE ANGEL ALITA: LAST ORDER, TENJO TENGE and BASTARD!! I knew that yuri (lesbian themed anime/manga) sage Erica Friedman had singled it out as something special, but I could also think of works for which she could muster far more enthusiasm than I. (To name an example, the BEE TRAIN gunslinger anime trilogy: NOIR, MADLAX and EL CAZADOR DE LA BRUJA; fine in my book; Higher rated in hers.) Except... wow. Shizuru Hayashiya is an amazing cartoonist. There's a liveliness to her characters' buoyant humor that completely won me over. I've now joined the crowd of people who are incredulous that HAYATE X BLADE has yet to be adapted into an anime series.
Going into HAYATE X BLADE, I was prepared to contend with some well worn plot paths. North America has not been buried with anime/manga set in private schools, but we have seen enough (REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA, HERE’S GREENWOOD, MARIA WATCHES OVER US, ORAN HIGH), that a manga set in a fantastic girls' school didn't pique my curiosity. And, that the girls were carrying swords and wearing kind of a military dress uniform crossed with one of those "sailor" style skirt ensembles? Advancement through a regimented hierarchy is a favorite structure for manga. In a not entirely called for associative jump, I glanced at HAYATE X BLADE's cover, read the summary on it's back, and I started thinking about Norakuro, a pre-Tezuka, pre-World War II manga about a black dog struggling to make a career for himself in a Japanese Imperial army comprised of white dogs. While the outsider who builds a place for themselves in the world by ascending rank is a device familiar in countless popular shonen manga (DRAGON BALL, POKEMON, YU-GI-OH), modern manga's been using it practically since it's inception.
So, set in the elite all-girls boarding school, Tenchi Academy, HAYATE X BLADE was tied to a specific imagined place. However, between works that I admire greatly (REVOLUTIONARY GIRL UTENA) and ones that bothered me (BEST STUDENT COUNCIL), I wasn't enthused by the setting. At the same time, while I have plenty of patience for an "I'll be the best" fight manga, in and of itself, I don't find that notion to be effective in drawing interest. Then, there's a cover with two girls, whose swords bear cell phone strap kitty-cat charms, one of which has a Ken Akamatsu-like CB antenna-cowlick and a look more like a precocious child than a teenager. Again, the cuteness itself doesn't speak to me.
Despite those reservations, I felt that both of the manga's principal heroines come out of volume one as stars. The eponymous Kurogane Hayate arrived at Tenchi Academy under convoluted circumstances. First, it was supposed to be her twin sister Nagi who enrolled at Tenchi, but Nagi injured herself sufficiently badly that she hasn't even been able to appear on panel. Secondly, Tenchi's fascist student council president presides over a competition in which young women of the school assert their "brilliance" in a competition in which sword wielding pairs duel to take other team's star epaulets. Hayate has thrust herself into this competition to win the prize money needed to save the orphanage that raised her from Yakuza debt.
Then there's Mudou Ayana, the girl who Hayate latches onto as her ideal "Sister-in-Arms" for the competition. The graceful yet sour tempered yin to Hayate's trip-and-rebound ebullient yang, Ayana had ducked out of the competition, and most other school activities due to painful past experience.
The extent to which HAYATE X BLADE is a serious, dramatic work is not particularly evident one volume in. It does seem in a hurry to go somewhere. Both the characters and the script have looked to leap ahead. As such, volume one burns through elements that should have sustained an interesting status quo for a while longer. Yet it is not a short manga; its eighth collection was release in Japan in mid-November. I'm inclined to think it's not going to exceed the upper registers of the profundity expected from an ULTRA JUMP version of a cute girl fight manga, but I wasn't expecting to be as wowed by the manga as I've become either.
As long as Shizuru Hayashiya's illustrations remain as charming as they were in volume one, HAYATE X BLADE will remain on my personal to buy/highly anticipated list. If you take a quick look at HAYATE X BLADE, you'll probably label it "manga style," and by the standards of most North American readers, it is. Yet, if you look at what it is really doing, it is extraordinary. There is an approach that parallels animated works like Looney Tunes. In their exaggerated expressions and poses, characters deform themselves while remaining perfectly recognizable. Manga readers are doubtlessly familiar with the situations in which an illustrator will draw characters with cute oversized heads and stubby bodies. Hayashiya's repertoire is hardly limited to that motif. Nor is she limited to routine head shots and body placement. You can inspect a small tiny panel with Hayate shadow boxing while Ayana drags her feet, a complex action shot in which Hayate moves towards an oncoming sword in a flubbed sword catching move while Ayana skirts away and a fourth party deflects the attack, or even a panel in which the faces of the characters aren't seen as Ayana knees Hayate in the back. It's all full of dynamic motion. It's always specifically Hayate and Ayana rather than generic forms. And it's always brilliantly fun to read and re-read.
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.

Howdy independent comic book fans, Ambush Bug here with another edition of Indie Jones. This week, we have a nice selection of books outside of the mainstream. A familiar frightening face gives us a tour of the macabre! A flying feminine product fights for freedom! A toothy terror trips through time! And an artist shows how he can make a computer as much of an artistic tool as a paintbrush in a somber and poetic tale! Scroll down and bask in the indie goodness!

VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #4 Bluewater Comics

I really like this miniseries. It really fills my done-in-one horror appetite. This issue is especially good with writer Chad Helder offering up a cautionary tale about a scientist who tries to overcome the inquisitive nature of a child and defeat a family curse. The story unfolds really well and there are quite a few moments of real tension--an accomplishment for just 20 pages. The other two pages? More awesome art from Joel Robinson who offers up a photorealistic intro and outro that look as if Mr. Price himself crawled out of the grave and posed for them himself. Full of scares and fun from cover to cover. Previewed in this week’s SHOOT THE MESSENGER Column, this book is worth checking out.

SUPER MAXI-PAD GIRL #1 bewildered kid comix

Because no on demanded it, here comes SUPER MAXI-PAD GIRL. To avoid a fight, be sure not to let your girlfriend read this book. Just go to a corner and read it and try to stifle the snickering so she doesn’t get suspicious. Yes, a book focusing on a woman’s menstrual cycle written by a man may not be the best thing to get your girlfriend as an anniversary gift, but that doesn’t make this offbeat comic any less funny. Writer Daniel J. Olsen (another MUSCLES & FIGHTS alum) doesn’t hold back and gets down and bloody in this book. The book houses three short stories and two interludes made by Olsen’s girlfriend. Artist AJ Niehaus goes simple with this story and it makes it all the more hilarious when a thinly detailed silent maxi-pad flies in for some bloody justice. The monologue spewing evil Period is classic in every panel he is in. His goal, to “MAKE BLOOD FLOW THROUGH THE STREETS! Mwo-hahaha!”, had me rolling and the allies the Period and Super Maxi-Pad Girl gather in an all out bloody battle must be seen to be believed. No line is left uncrossed. I’d love to read more of SUPER MAXI-PAD GIRL any time of the month.

THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST #1 Studio 407

A spooky theater. A group of mismatched people. A shadowy man with pointy teeth and piercing eyes. All ingredients for the fun that makes up THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST. This is one of those stories that reads as if it were a movie. The narrative switches from America’s witch-hunting days to the present, following a vampire with an agenda. Writer Robert Heske isn’t revealing what that agenda is, but he’s fleshed out a pretty textured story focusing on some obnoxious teens, an elderly couple, some cops investigating some strange goings-on, and the aforementioned bloodsucker. Artist Giego Yapura has a Tom Mandrake feel, and since Mandrake is one of my all time favorite artists, you can imagine how much I liked the art here. Like Mandrake, Yapura does a great job of drawing horrific panels that vary in angle and shade and always going for the scariest way to fill panel. This book has its share of shocks and is a pretty dense read for 22 pages. An impressive first issue and one I will be following as the series progresses.

MASKS #1 Septagon Studios

Creator Aaron Rintoul wanders through a fractured mind in this photorealistic waking dream of a comic. At times, the prose becomes a bit too poetic for my tastes, but the beautiful computer manipulated photographs make up for that. MASKS is very much a feast for the eyes. The story starts out like an exquisite fairy tale with soft images of a dancing female figure and ornate backgrounds, but as the images grow more and more disturbing, the tone darkens and soon some very warped things start happening. IN the end, this is a tale of tragedy and what one does to cover up those ghosts of the past. MASKS is not one for the cape and cowl set, but if you’re a fan of SANDMAN and especially the work of Dave McKean and Ben Templesmith, you’ll kick yourself if you miss this one.

EL DIABLO #4 DC Comics

Forgot to review this one last week, but it is definitely worth mentioning. Jai Nitz has created a Spirit of Vengeance that is much more interesting than the Spectre or Marvel’s Ghost Rider in that he has really made both El Diablo and his alter ego, Chato, equally interesting. Chato is a character in search of redemption after a long life of crime. Crippled and arrested, he’s given a second chance to walk the earth as a vengeful ghost riding a fiery black horse and enacting proper justice on those who escape the law. Not a completely original concept in comics, but Jai puts enough character and inspired action in his issues to make this one stand out above the rest. Nitz has an especially capable hand at integrating action into the narrative and allowing the actions come out of the characters rather than stopping the story for an obligatory fight scene. And what can I say about Phil Hester and Ande Parks’ art? It’s just damn awesome. This is a very underrated series that you may miss with all of the other high profile crossovers on the stands right now. - Bug

THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ #1 Marvel Comics

Marvel has put the dream team together for its new eight-issue adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s classic the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Eric Shanower smartly uses the original text in the captions, letting Baum’s understated words add to the wonder of Dorothy’s adventure; Skottie Young’s art has an elegant sweetness to it that just seeps into every panel; and all of it is covered in lush, painterly colors by Jean Francois Beaulieu. The one panel of the Scarecrow winking at Dorothy honestly made me feel real joy; it sent me back to the fantastical Oz I conjured up in my mind listening to my father read the books to me as a child. If you have any love for the original story, like I do with my father reading the books to me, or even if you just synched the movie up to Pink Floyd after a few bong hits in college, you will find magic in these pages. I have a feeling that the collected edition of this will live in elementary school libraries for years to come, and I can’t wait for the day my daughter brings it home so we can read it together. Highly Recommended. – steverodgers

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #27 DC Comics

The one good thing about this comic is that the Vixen story arc is over.
That’s about it.
I’d like to say that I’m inspired by the integration of the Milestone characters into the DCU. But coming from someone who knows very little about those characters and never read the comics, I can’t say I’m curious about this new DCU addition. Maybe it’s because the characters don’t really seem that original; just alternate versions of already prominent DCU characters. There’s a Superman type. An Atom girl. A female speedster. A Hawkgirl type. An Iron Man/Steel type weaponeer. A vision, a gill man, a strong chick, a weirdo cloud guy wearing a top hat that looks as if he stepped out of a Magritte painting. OK the Magritte guy is kind of cool, but with 52 universes tossing alternate versions of the DCU pantheon at each other on a monthly basis, this really doesn’t seem like so much of an event to me. - Bug

INVINCIBLE #56 Image Comics

I picked this comic up on a whim—I had read the trades of this series up to a point and then forgotten about it, and I wanted to see if I could jump back in. Good news: yep, I had very little trouble getting up to speed with the story. Bad news: this was a pretty slow issue story-wise. Very little actually happens, but there is a set-up for the next issue. And since I’m enjoying Ottley’s art and Planscencia’s gorgeous coloring (there’s a lot of rendering and gradation, but it works seamlessly in synch with the stylized drawing rather than coming off as overworked), and I remember liking the characters from the trades that I’d read, AND the fact that this is one of the few comics out there that still costs $2.99 rather than $3.99, I think I’ll stick around and see what Kirkman’s got planned. At least I know there won’t be any crossovers to worry about down the road. What? In two weeks INVINCIBLE will be crossover-ing with THE ASTOUNDING WOLF-MAN? D’OH!!! – Imp

PUNISHER WAR ZONE #1 Marvel Knights Comics

Those of you who absolutely loved the latest PUNISHER WAR ZONE movie have your prayers answered this week as Garth Ennis sadly drops the introspective Frank Castle in favor of gross out humor and over the top villains. At least this issue is in the vein of Ennis’ stronger PUNISHER Marvel Knights material where Frank ran over Wolverine with a steamroller. Here, Frank has returned to non-character status, as if Ennis never entered his troubled head in the first place during his classic and near perfect run on PUNISHER MAX. Nope, here there’s nary an insightful thought as Ennis shifts the focus elsewhere for the entire issue. There are those who think of the Punisher as a non-character, lacking in any depth whatsoever and in need of Ennis’ more outrageous forms of writing in order to make him interesting. These people are entitled to their opinion, but I know that there’s no such thing as a boring character, just lazy and uninspired writers. Fans of THE BOYS will jizz all over this issue. I think the character deserves better. Sure, Steve Dillon does his usual phenomenal job with the art, even though all of his characters either look pudgy & clueless or angry & like they’re sitting on a cactus/eating bad lemons/watching labia surgery. - Bug

If you missed this week’s SHOOT THE MESSENGER Column on Monday, you missed a lot. Don’t know what you want for X-Mas this year? Want to give a subtle suggestion to your loved ones as to what kind of comic book schwag you need? Check out the @$$Hole X-M@$$ List for everything you could ever want to fill your stocking. Plus previews of ROBIN, Studio 407’s THE NIGHT PROJECTIONIST, Bluewater’s VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS, & the special 250th issue of HELLBLAZER. Go back in time and check out what dropped last Monday. And be sure to look for a special interview with Peter Tomasi and Keith Champagne on their new comic from DC called THE MIGHTY, plus previews and other @$$y goodness, in this Monday’s SHOOT THE MESSENGER!


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Readers Talkback

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  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8 a.m. CST

    Final crisis both kicks and sucks ass.

    by UltimaRex

    This confirms it. I read it one day, it blows me away. Another, it leaves me cold. And I never know how I'll react.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8:05 a.m. CST

    I'm finding final Crisis to be a waste of time

    by Animation

    It is just gawd-awful.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8:24 a.m. CST

    Excellent Section, You Chaps Need to be Applauded

    by DarfurOnTheRocks

    I will say that this is the best section of AICN. Bravo!

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Final Crisis is epically shit

    by Steve Rogers

    I have to agree with Bug all the way, 100%. Totally disappointing waste of time.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Final Crisis Sucks

    by BackwardGalaxy

    I have to agree that Final Crisis has largely been an unreadable mess. The snap-shot storytelling does NOTHING for me but dilute the overall impact and emotion of the dramatic beats. How am I supposed to care about anything if it begins and ends on one page? I don't want to have to decode a comic book... I can read Shakespeare for that crap. <BR><BR> And not for nothing... but what the hell does ANY of this have to do with COIE or Infinite Crisis? If it's the third part of a trilogy, I'm left wondering where the thematic strings are supposed to connect here.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8:49 a.m. CST

    Can someone please explain to me...

    by LOTGA

    ...Since when does Loki have tits? Seriously, when the fuck did this happen?

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8:49 a.m. CST

    continuity issues in FC

    by brassai2003

    There are no tie-ins except RIP. All the Supes books are on about New Krypton. What does New Krypton have to do with FC? DC screwed up on this one. No sense of urgency in FC at all.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Crisis

    by toxicbuddha

    Was a no-go for me when I sussed that it was a re-work of a 20 something year-old storyline in a Carmen Miranda fruit hat. Making it a trilogy and slapping Morrison all over it hardly qualifies it as stellar. The probel mwith all these Big Event arcs is that they think if he Event is big enough actually telling a good story is not an issue. Marvel's reach exceeded its grasp on Civil War and Secret Invasion, but at least they haven't embarrassed themselves like DC. I am pretty sure DC has a 13 year old Jim Shooter in a basement somewhere forcing him to churn out this shite.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Calling it CRISIS

    by optimous_douche

    Was the largest travesty. Crisis on infinite earth shook the DC Universe to its core for almost quarter of a century. Unless Darkseid becomes the new ruler of Earth at the end of this series how has anything truly changed?<p> If the end result is that some New Gods supplant the Old Gods, I truly have to ask, who cares?<p> My bet? Nothing will change and we all have been led through a three year house of mirrors.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8:57 a.m. CST

    The weakest storytelling in Final Crisis

    by Laserhead

    is the way EVERYTHING IS EXPOSITION: every page seems like it's somebody in a costume, or Mokkari, EXPLAINING what's happened off-panel-- starting with "Evil won the battle of the gods!" to the Ray SUMMARIZING anti-life's takeover of man to "The Batman psycho-merge failed!" "Darkseid is falling into a forever pit/black hole/fifth world!" "He's becoming everything!"...By the time the unknown wheelchair broke out the rubik's cube of magic, I finally admitted to myself-- as a lifelong fan of Morrison --this is simply no damn good. Five issues into a seven issue miniseries, and it reads a patchy summary of things that are happening in some other title.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Final Crisis

    by Psynapse

    The disjointed narrative is in fact deliberate. it is so that we the observer, can relate to the observed (the characters in the book) as they experience a literal crumpling in of space and time as caused by Darkseid's incarnation on Earth. Sadly, the delays, editorial mis-steps, and downright lackluster art have totally hosed it's impact. Another brilliant idea poorly executed resulting in shit.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9 a.m. CST

    And the art sucks

    by Laserhead

    Anybody who says there's been a smooth transition between Pacheco and Jones and whoever drew those horrible Tattooed Man scenes from #4 is fucking BLIND. Pacheco's art has never looked this bad-- I kept thinking, This is the guy who drew Avengers Forever? And none of the different styles merge fluidly.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:08 a.m. CST

    You know what was surprisingly the best part of Ghost Boxes?

    by Joenathan

    The included script, because in both issues, there were a couple of panels where I wasn't quite sure what I supposed to be seeing and it was nice to have the script there to clear it up for me.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:10 a.m. CST

    "an event comic with the in-between bits cut out"

    by alfiemoon

    Great description, Stones Throw. I'm in the apparent minority of readers that is really enjoying Final Crisis (and I'm not even that much of a DC reader). It's a story that's genuinely epic in scale and doesn't talk down to its readers (unlike some other crossover events that I could mention). Very dense, endlessly re-readable, and highly compelling. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Why is Ennis going back to the crap Punisher?

    by Laserhead

    The MAX series was one of the best runs on a character ever, and now we're back to comedy:Punisher-style.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:10 a.m. CST

    LOTGA...

    by alfiemoon

    Loki has been female ever since the character was re-conceived by JMS for his run on Thor. The character has been used fairly well in that book.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:12 a.m. CST

    Laserhead...

    by alfiemoon

    I actually think that the art transitions this issue were excellent, and far better than those of issue #4. This issue was virtually seamless.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:17 a.m. CST

    Not for me, alfie

    by Laserhead

    Seamless it wasn't. Pacheco did the Green Lanterns and Earth Resistance and Jones did the other stuff, near as I can tell. Pacheco's art is generally slick, dynamic, and somewhat cartoony; Jones' is stiff, posed, more realistic and drenched in shadows. Fine artists in their own rights, but to me they don't work well together. Pacheco, especially, has never looked this rushed.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:20 a.m. CST

    I enjoyed Dark Reign....

    by BangoSkank

    I thought it was a great set up, but Namor was completely off in both looks, speech, and attitude. I only know him from crossovers and such, but he was SO off, it took some of the shine off of the book for me.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:23 a.m. CST

    I don't know if X-infernus came out last week...

    by BangoSkank

    or the week before, but I enjoyed that too. The Inferno crossover was a fav of my youth....

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:30 a.m. CST

    SI: Dark Reign...

    by alfiemoon

    ...was awful. One of the worst comics published by Marvel in recent history, in my opinion. The whole event feels very forced and contrived, the dialogue was clunky, and even Maleev's usually-reliable art was pretty poor. Not good.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:34 a.m. CST

    I didn't like NAmor either...

    by Joenathan

    he might as well been a different character and I agree, Maleev's art was surprising underwhelming this time out. There was some shots of Loki that were like: what the fuck happened there? I do love the idea and the potential that lies ahead though.<br><br>I'm also enjoying Final Crisis and I don't feel lost either, but then I don't care that much about DC.<br><Br>Also, Ennis is terrible, the Punisher is terrible and the Ennis Punisher is the most terrible of all.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Going all the way back to "Arkham Asylum"...

    by The Nihilist

    ...I have read almost nothing from Grant Morrison that left me with any emotion other than "WTF did I just read?" The man doesn't understand the idea of exposition or a through-line in his storytelling. He has big ideas but doesn't bother to (or can't) implement them in a way that actually makes the story understandable. Yes, there are some people who would reply to this complaint with "you're simply to big an idiot to understand Morrison's genius" but judging from the increasing number of people who are disenchanted with "Final Crisis" either the comic-reading public is really, really full of big idiots or a shrinking minority of fans are refusing to admit that Grant Morrison is simply the Emperor With No Clothes.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Emma Frost evil again? Not plausible.

    by NinjaRap

    I mean, even if you toss aside the times when she was willing to die to protect her students and Xavier's ideals back in Generation X... even in VERY RECENT storylines like Torn, she's racked with immeasurable guilt over her time as a bad guy. So this flip doesn't seem believable to me at all.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST

    She's not portrayed as Evil

    by Joenathan

    read the book first next time.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:45 a.m. CST

    Nihilist

    by Joenathan

    What about All Star Superman? What about We3? What about his JLA run? I mean, I realize a lot of his stuff might be too complex for some people to be able to follow, but those three titles were pretty straight forward.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:47 a.m. CST

    Loki has Big Rude Tatas

    by Squashua

    Seriously. He could kill someone by turning quick enough.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Final Crisis - The True Story Behind the Comic

    by Squashua

    Here is what I think happened...<br><br> Grant Morrison proposed this epic Final Crisis thing and said "I will give it to you in 1 year's time. Meanwhile, here are the caveats:<br> 1) Do not use the New Gods.<br> 2) Mary Marvel must be corrupted somehow.<br> 3) Kill off these people.<br> 4) Destroy alternate universe 51.<br> 5) Kill off most of the New Gods, but do it subtly and don't involve any main characters.<br> <br><br> And the guidelines were broad enough that DC editorial said "Let's do it in Countdown!!!". So they did, but they fucked up and it contradicted several of the beats that Morrison had planned in Final Crisis.<br><br> And they released Final Crisis anyway.<br><br> Then fans complained because of the contradictions between FC and Countdown and other books. Turns out that this is a combination of:<br> 1) Morrison probably not expressing his script ideas properly.<br> 2) Writers openly defying any hypothetical rules that were laid down, or simply NOT BEING TOLD OF THEM.<br> 3) DC Editorial not enforcing said hypothetical rules laid down by Morrison in order for Final Crisis to work.<br><br> Anyway, that's my theory; Morrison had a grand plan and either he kept too much to himself and didn't explain it properly, or Editorial did not enforce the plan properly.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:56 a.m. CST

    Oh god now I'm backing up Joenathan

    by Psynapse

    Regarding Emma Frost, we are shown that it is in fact dreams of Kitty Pryde haunting her that are motivating her to play Norman Osborne's game (for the moment).

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10 a.m. CST

    Joenathan...

    by The Nihilist

    ...I'll give you "All Star Superman," that was pretty good. Didn't read his "JLA" run and I have no idea what "We3" is. But if your argument is "Morrison CAN be comprehensible," the only thing I can say back is "well then, why isn't he bothering to do so in 'Final Crisis?'" Having such contempt for your readership that you refuse to take the time to explain a story properly is not a good move. Oh, and the @ssholes forgot to talk about the biggest trend in DC comics this week. In "Final Crisis" Libra promises to give Luthor "first go at (a presumably depowered and helpless) Supergirl" if he cooperates with Libra's/Darkseid's plan, whatever the hell that plan is. And in "Action Comics" Metallo and Reactron were discussing how much fun it would be to get their hands on a depowered Supergirl. Statutory rape appears to be The New Black in DC comics.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10:21 a.m. CST

    I'm not excusing FC

    by Joenathan

    I'm just refuting your claim that ALL his books are incomprehensible and that some are actually very traditionally straightforward. Also, if you haven't read his JLA run, then why start with FC? Thats like watching Return of the King first and then bitching about how they never explain how Frodo got the ring in the first place. <br><br>And I'm not sure why you seem to think I was argueing FOR raping Supergirl, but let me assure, not only did I never even bring up the topic, but I can promise you that I am against it.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10:26 a.m. CST

    DC Comics raped my childhood!!

    by Psynapse

    C'monn, it's been, like, forever since anybody said it.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST

    I did read "Arkham Asylum," "Flex Mentallo"...

    by The Nihilist

    ...and a few issues of "Doom Patrol." That was enough. As I say, be comprehensible or don't waste my money. And I didn't say you were advocating the rape Supergirl thing, I just pointed out that it happened this week. Bit of a non-sequitor, admittedly.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Comprehension is in the eye of the Beholder, I guess...

    by Joenathan

    because I'm feeling fine with Morriosn's end of the DC world as we know it.<br><br>Good, I am completely against supergirl rape, now some consensual heavy petting...

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Milestone

    by EddieBlake

    Bug, your review of the JLA issue is completely idiotic..."I don;t get these characters and have never read them so I don't get it, it sucks..." What kind of review is that? The MIlestone characters are not even close to analogues of characters we already know. The Milestone books were incredibly well written and the characters are far richer than your half-assed "review" would indicate. *sigh*

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10:48 a.m. CST

    just a few things...

    by HarryWannaBe

    'Final Crisis'...didn't DC initially say that the story would be confined within the pages of the actual 'Final Crisis' books itself and that you wouldn't need to pick up a bunch of other books to follow the story?! Yeah, not quite the case. The main books themselves seem (to me) to be quite confusing since I've only been picking up a few select related titles and not each and everyone. And even with all the time between issues 4 and 5, it's sad that JG Jones hasn't been able to do the whole books himself. 'Justice League of America'...I'm so ready for Dwayne McDufus to get off this title already. His work on the animated series was fine, he seemed more suited for it, but I can't stand his work on the actual comic. The Vixen storyline was incredibly lame. And this whole thing with the Milestone characters? C'mon. If those characters were any good, they'd still be on their own imprint, no need to bring them back into the main DCU continuity or whatever he has planned for them. And yes, Dwayne, we know you're an African American, but there are other ethnicities in the JLA universe as well, so if you're gonna stick around for a while (god i hope not!), then try putting the same effort into those other characters as you do with your African American ones. 'Dark Reign'...Not digging this direction for Marvel (at least not yet). I think 'Secret Invasion' was a bit of a mess too...so it's like one good idea with poor execution moving directly into a bad idea that will probably be executed just as poorly. And the whole thing with the bad guys running the show while the good guys "fall out of the publics' favor"? Hasn't DC done stories like that already? Their recent 'Justice' maxi-series comes to mind. Why rehash something from the "Distinguished Competition"? Try to come up with something more original. Sorry, just kinda needed to rant a bit. Not looking to start any arguments or debates really.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10:54 a.m. CST

    A few points and comments and whatnot

    by rev_skarekroe

    1) Speaking of Tank Girl, what ever happened to Lori Petty? She was hot.<p>2) I can see Namor saying "What's the move." Just imagine it in a British accent, like if Jude Law was playing him.<p>3) Morrison is often incomprehensible even when he's good. I liked New X-Men, but it often made no sense. Same with We3, Arkham's Asylum, and even All-Star Superman at times Invisibles is his best work, but of course it's SUPPOSED to be a mind-fuck.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Lori Petty

    by steverodgers

    I think Tank Girl happened. You will always have Point Break rev.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Lori Petty: Part Deux

    by Joenathan

    I think she suddenly started to age badly, like Madonna bad.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Crossovers- Make up your mind

    by RenoNevada2000

    You know, I often see fans bitching that big event crossovers flood out into nearly all of a company's line of books, requiring extra money to be shelled out to follow everything. DC tries to keep FINAL CRISIS as self contained as possible and there's bitching about how its impact isn't being seen in the regular books. Can we make up our mind about what we want? (Of course not... :) )<br><br>Personally, I'm just working with the idea that anything seen in the regular books now is pre-FC until after the event is over, when they can start showing its fallout without giving away spoilers.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 11:10 a.m. CST

    you know...

    by blackthought

    breakfast was way too big...

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Lori Petty's decline

    by SleazyG.

    She was on "Brimstone" on FOX back in the late '90s, if I remember correctly. Then she disappeared for a while, and the only thing I saw her doing was commercials advertising for a national horseracing organization (of all the things to shill...a group dedicated to promoting gambling? Good call...). Then nothing. Oh, wait...I think she was on "House" a year or two ago for a guest stint.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 11:15 a.m. CST

    OK, I GISed Lori Petty

    by rev_skarekroe

    Looks like she switched from riot grrl to bull-dyke. Ah well.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Whoa

    by steverodgers

    Your not kidding rev.... that woman fell of a cliff.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 11:31 a.m. CST

    I don't find Morrison incomprehensible...

    by Joenathan

    I think he maybe someimes falls a little too much in love with some of his ideas, but I think its always easy to tell what is going on. I think FC is just Morrison's version of Bendis's SI build up. It all started way back in JLA, and Aztek even, then went into his JLA declassified arc and then Seven Soldiers and R.I.P. and now, FC is the culmination of the ascension of Darkseid. I think Morrison's main failing and the one that is probably the most responsible for confusing some readers is that his dialogue can sometimes be a little non-comic panel friendly. Sometimes his conversations seem half completed and too filled with pauses, but I think if it were a TV show, then the dialogue would flow better hearing it, then it sometimes does when you read it. Maybe. I don't know, I just don't find myself tripping around his work. Thats not to say that I don't agree that he occasionally gets side-tracked or becomes a bit obsessed with a minor "cool" detail, but I really think everything you need to know is provided in the book, you just have to look for it and make the connection yourself sometimes.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Final Crisis...

    by The_joker

    Is a god awful mish mash of a mess. 24 one page character arcs is confusing and hardly let's you develope an emotional attachment to the characters and what's going on around him. I really don't care if Darkseid is gonna give Luthor first go at a de-powered Supergirl, why would Luthor be motivated by that? Hasn't Luthor always been motivated by power, now he's just a stupid subservient perv driven by lust? It's just a mess and waste of paper. One quick comment on Namor, I saw him and just thought "Since when does Namor look like Adam Sandler?"

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 1:21 p.m. CST

    @ Reno

    by brassai2003

    yeah. I hear ya. But I don't think that's what Didio wants. I mean at last year's NY Con, he should have just said. "Look all reg continuity is leading up to FC. Except Batman RIP, which will conclude in FC." See that? All cleared up. BUt no. We get a bunch of mish-mash from him on Newsrama about why things are late etc..speaking of, he's been stressing the importance of FC 7 coming out in Jan. So we're getting TWO FC's in Jan?

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 1:36 p.m. CST

    I'm Actually Really Digging FINAL CRISIS Now

    by LaserPants

    Now that it seems to be kicking in (finally) and getting creepy, scary, and weird, I'm on board. Previous to issue 5 I could barely figure out what the fuck was going on. Its still pretty poorly written and barely makes sense, but it makes more sense now, and I've just given myself over to the fact that Morrison has some great ideas, but is so drug-addled that he has a hard time expressing them in a way that makes sense to the casual reader. Hence, I'm approaching it now as a kind of extended acid trip, with apocalyptic leanings, featuring costumed heroes. And, hence, I really dig it now.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Oh, And SECRET INVASION Ran Out Of Steam About 3 Months Ago

    by LaserPants

    But I did like how the very end worked out. The final battle, tho, was AWFUL, lacked any kind of tension, and made no sense given that, in previous issues, the Skrulls were being written as all being ludicrously powerful, and suddenly, inexplicably, became as harmless as mice.<br><br> Also, this is the last time I am buying into the event book thing. I bought DARK REIGN just to check it out, saw it lacking in almost all respects, and put it down. I'll probably check out DARK AVENGERS in a few months to see what thats all about, BUT, don't we already have a DARK AVENGERS? I believe they are called the THUNDERBOLTS?

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 1:43 p.m. CST

    On Final Crisis

    by optimous_douche

    It was the build-up that was most painful and discombobulated.<p> DC said they didn’t want fans to buy a ton of books, yet they taunted us with two years of build-up saying these events would tie directly into FC. Did they? Sorta…<p> An epic, well-handled cross-over should be able to stand on its own merit yet still bleed into all other titles. You should be able to read the main event book without having to read all other titles, yet all of the other titles in the universe should address this event.<p> Marvel was guilty of this other title forgetfulness a few years ago, butt really cleaned up their act for SI.<p> As much as I am loving New Krypton at the moment, where are the big horse dogs, why aren’t the New Kryptonians learning about Earth on the Unternet, where is Libra?<p> I don’t hate FC. What I hate is lazy continuity and for that DC is most certainly guilty.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Loki

    by gooseud

    is indeed a chick now with the re-incarnation of the Norse Gods. Once again, read Thor. Its kicking ass to a degree not matched by anyone recently.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 1:50 p.m. CST

    What happened to dancing between the raindrops?

    by Joenathan

    There was once a time when some tales took place a day or two before or after each other. What happened to casual regard? If two stories are doing their thing right next to each other, why do they have to acknowledge each other? One happened right before the other and they'll even out later.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Loki Became A Woman In Thor

    by LaserPants

    Somehow he/she/it transformed into a woman after Ragnarok. Something to do with space magic, I suppose.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Didn't Loki pretend to be Sif for a bit?

    by Joenathan

    I've only glanced at Thor, but i looked like that was the original reason, right?

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 1:59 p.m. CST

    I Believe So, But I'm Unsure Joenathan

    by LaserPants

    I do know this though -- the Thor one-shots Marvel has been doing recently are some of the best comics Marvel has going now.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 2:22 p.m. CST

    How can anyone say the Art in Final Crisis is good?

    by most excellent ninja

    you got dumb cunts on the CBR forums saying it's great art. Do they have something wrong with their eyes? This dickhead dotdotdot says no one but JG Jones could have drawn this, not even JH Williams. What a cunt.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 2:23 p.m. CST

    I'm hot and cold on JMS

    by Joenathan

    I wanted Rising Stars to be much better than it turned out to be, especially the fumbled and mishandled ending. Also, Midnight Nation just... meh... Thor's on the list of trades I'll get around to eventually, I suppose.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 4:25 p.m. CST

    Loki/Sif

    by gooseud

    The Norse Gods were re-incarnated as regular people with no knowledge of their origins. Thor was NOT re-incarnated because he already had a mortal alter-ego: Don Blake. Thor came back from the dead (fought his way back, actually, literally) with full knowledge of the past, and used his power as the new Norse King-Type Dude (with Odin dead) to bring about the resurrection/return of the gods...however, Loki also retained his memories, tricked Thor into resurrecting EVERYONE (not just the good gods as he intended) and is using magic, holding Sif captive as HER mortal alter-ego: a 90 year old woman totally incapacitated and dying of cancer. Sif refuses to die because at some level, she realizes who she truly is and wont go down without a fight. So shes currently lying in a hospital bed with no one knowing who she is aside from Loki. So there ya go, in a nutshell.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Oh, and Loki..........

    by gooseud

    has 36 DDDs now. He's like the worlds most evil post-op tranny.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Final Crisis

    by symon

    Well, I must be in the minority because I am loving Final Crisis. I love the Marvel universe, but SI was painful. Final Crisis is a breath of fresh air. Reading the first five together I think it's an amazing story. Of course my second-favorite extended run of all time was Morrison's on New X-Men, and I don't read the rest of the DC universe, so the fact that it doesn't tie-in to me is a bonus. Final Crisis is just like a really good, trippy graphic novel. I say let Grant Morrison do want he wants. So what if DC puts all the pieces back together after it's over. We'll still have this great story they can't take away. Coincidentally, that's exactly the same thing I tell myself about New X-Men....

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 4:39 p.m. CST

    The only way I can enjoy Final Crisis

    by BillEmic

    is by viewing the Anti-Life Equation as Grant Morrison's comic book metaphor for suicidal depression/nihilism and how the only thing that can stop people from throwing themselves into the abyss is by embracing the creative and artistic drive in all of us...or at least that's what I cobbled together from #5.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 4:54 p.m. CST

    I thought SI was great

    by Joenathan

    Like Civil War its echoes will be felt throughout the MArvel Universe for a good long time. THAT's a good comic event, it effected change in the character's stories, it will help form who they are. Plus, it was fun. I say: triumph. <br><br>Also, I really enjoy FC as well. I was hoping Mary Marvel would sodomize Captain Marvvel Jr... you know, just because...

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 5:04 p.m. CST

    Dark Reign and Final Crisis

    by Homer Sexual

    I rather enjoyed Dark Reign, to my surprise, but the dreadful portrayal of Namor was a downer. What is wrong with Maleev? Really the opposite of how Namor should look. And I didn't get the whole gig with Loki,but it didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the issue. <p> Initially, I loved Secret Invasion and hated Final Crisis. As the months passed, my initial enthusiasm for Secret Invasion diminished and my appreciation of Final Crisis grew. I am enjoying FC at this point, with a few caveats: The references to raping Supergirl and total abasement of Mary Marvel do not appeal to me. I never like anything with Luthor in it, and it is still hard to understand at times. <p> I can see how posters don't like the one-page hops, but it doesn't bug me at all. I kind of enjoy it at this point, but it's taken several issues to get there. I also think it would be a lot better with out all the "Final Crisis" hype,because if I look at it that way, it is very underwhelming. But just as a story, it is interesting. <p> Finally, the new Female Furies aren't really supposed to be Batwoman, Catwoman and Wonder Woman, are they? I thought they were just new (and inferior) furies based on "dark mirrors" of those characters, or something like that. At least they still use Lashina and Bernadeth, but these new Furies are lacking. So is the Japanese Super Team.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 5:06 p.m. CST

    There's Dancing Between the Raindrops

    by optimous_douche

    And then there's slogging through the marsh.<p> A day or two, cool. A few weeks, OK. But months of ignoring. This is Crisis man.<p> Do I want a rehash of the original Crisis? No of course not, comics get better every year in my opinion. But the term Crisis does carry a heavy weight and certain connotations with it: that of shaking every book in the universe back to the foundation.<p> I'm far from one of the haters of the title trust me and I am a Morrison guy. I like the fucked up mind bender it delivers, but it is not a Crisis.<p> Acid Eating Skullfuck to 5th World, Darkseid's Earth PWN, anything...but it ain't a Crisis. Even Infinite Crisis hit all of the books in some way. When you don't really touch Superman or Green Lantern, hmmm, it just doesn't feel right.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 5:08 p.m. CST

    Thor One Shots

    by Homer Sexual

    Just to agree, I love the Thor one-shots, Man of War concluded that story arc a week or two back, and it rocked. <p> Not buying regular Thor, though. Bought the first issue and it bored me, so I didn't continue. I loved old Thor, and may check out the trade since it seems to be getting such raves. But Thor in Oklahoma? Boo.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 5:50 p.m. CST

    Allowing a de-powered Supergirl

    by Snookeroo

    to be raped by Luthor is lazy writing, and repugnant. Anyone can puke out the first trash that comes to mind -- sorry, that doesn't take any talent. I take back any positive thing I said about Morrison. That's just pathetic.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:01 p.m. CST

    Clarifying a few things on the "Supergirl rape" front...

    by The Nihilist

    ...it didn't actually happen. Just anywhere from two to four supervillains in two series ruminated on the idea. I will now piss of feminists everywhere by saying this in itself I don't have much of a problem with--villains ARE bad guys after all, it's not unreasonable that they'd have ideas along those lines. I'd have more of a problem with it actually happening, but even then, if handled right (and handled infrequently, let's not start having every female superhero violated for a cheap plot twist) it might be OK. With comics essentially being written for adults who enjoyed them as kids these days (instead of actual kids), we might as well at least leave the possibility open. I was just bemused/taken aback that the idea was floated twice in the same week.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:03 p.m. CST

    they had Luthor rape Supergirl????

    by the milf lover

    wow, that's bullshit. Way too vile and harsh for a 'regular' superhero comic book, we're not talking about something like The Authority! DC is way out of line here!

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:03 p.m. CST

    The Mere Fact

    by toxicbuddha

    ...that so many in this TB keep having to explain Morrison's genius should tell you all you need to know. From what I gathered from one post, FC makes PERFECT sense if you have read Grant's take on the JLA, all of the Seven Soldiers books and about three other things he has written in DC continuity, plus a few Vertigo books for stabilization and reference. FFS it's funny books, not existential theoritical physics. Maybe making the damn thing approachable, cohesive and entertaining would satisfy most of us who just don't 'get' what a savant Morrison clearly is. He is right up there with Warren Ellis for giving the public huge piles of shit with the occasional nugget of brilliance tossed in to keep the masses on his jock.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:04 p.m. CST

    oh, she didnt get raped after all?

    by the milf lover

    ok, never mind then....

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:07 p.m. CST

    All this Supergirl rape talk

    by BillEmic

    I remember reading FC and the character saying to Luther, "I'll even let you have the first shot at Supergirl" or something like that, which could be taken as a.) raping Supergirl or b.) just beating the shit out of her while she's defenseless. Is there really a strong allusion to rape or are people just overreacting? I'll have to go back and reread it. Luther raping anybody is WAY out of character, IMO. I don't think he'd want to defile his cock with Kryptonian juices. Ok, sorry, that was disgusting.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:11 p.m. CST

    Oh, and a favor I'd like to ask...

    by The Nihilist

    ...like Ambush Bug, I have not the faintest fucking idea who the character on the last page of Final Crisis #5 was. Looks a little like Static Shock, but I'm not sure...just can't tell, and Morrison can't condescend to give us a hint. Would somebody please tell me?

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:12 p.m. CST

    at first I wanted to comment on Lori Petty

    by the milf lover

    but now after the rape talk it feels wrong... so I'll just say I liked Brimstone, I wish it didnt get cancelled so fast. Is that Tank Girl book just an art book, or does it also reprint actual stories? I've never read Tank Girl comics, but I like Hewlett's art, his Gorillaz stuff is awesome.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Namor in Dark Reign...

    by DuncanHines

    I actually kind of liked how Maleev portrayed Namor in Dark Reign. He's in villain mode here, so why the hell not have him look like a slimy dirtbag...? When Maleev drew him in the Illuminati special, he was in hero mode and looked regal. Here, he looks like someone who puts rufies in drinks...

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:29 p.m. CST

    Tank Girl would kick Luthor's nuts into his skull...

    by superhero

    And Cream of Tank Girl does have some small comic stories but for the most part it's an art book...and an awesome one at that.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:30 p.m. CST

    And on Final Crisis...

    by DuncanHines

    I read all of the Kirby Fourth World Omnibus books before Final Crisis started. And I'll tell you, it really really helps. When the hardcover for Final Crisis comes out, it'll definitely suit best on the shelf next to your Fourth World books.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:35 p.m. CST

    That's one of my problems, DuncanHines...

    by The Nihilist

    ...I've just reached a point in my life and my budget where I don't feel I should have an encyclopedic knowledge of 12 different previously published series in order to be able to adequately enjoy a series being published now. I did plenty of homework in high school and college, I don't want to do homework for my recreational reading. Oh well. "Countdown" broke me of buying weekly series (after the smoking turd that series turned out to be I haven't touched "Trinity" with a ten foot pole). "Final Crisis" may finally be the series that breaks me of buying big, companywide tentpole crossovers.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Squashua

    by most excellent ninja

    That's not what happened. Basically the main rule was leave the new gods alone. They will be dead by the first issue and he will explain how it happened. DC wanted to milk it so Morrison gave them the first script and said as long as it matches up, it's fine. But it didn't. Then Marvel laughed all the way to the bank.

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 9:24 p.m. CST

    Two Supergirl Rape References In One Week!

    by LaserPants

    So I'm not the only one who caught that! CLEARLY both Johns and Morrison have discussed the possibility since both their books featured rather strong references to it in the same week. Perhaps before hasty trips with the bathroom with hand lotion, kleenex, and shame? But I digress. Also, CLEARLY Supergirl was re-designed specifically as a barely legal sex fetish piece what with the mini-skirt, bare midriff, and all. Given this, some kind of, at the very least, implied villainous violation seems in line with the underlying sexual metaphor being trotted out in the form of a nearly naked ingenue from space with wholesome charm; corruption of the innocent and all that...

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10:32 p.m. CST

    Homer: Thor

    by gooseud

    Give it a chance bro, you might be surprised, the Oklahoma parts have actually been some of the funniest parts in the book. I know, I know, it sounds ridiculous, but against all odds, they have actually made it pretty cool. The scene where Thor figures out how to pay for the land where Asgard is floating is alone worth the price of admission. Regardless, you are dead on, the one-shots are awesome (except the Norse vs. Egyptian one they just had, that one sucked ass)

  • Dec. 17, 2008, 10:33 p.m. CST

    Supergirl=Wolverine

    by gooseud

    Just wait til Old Man Logan comes out, then you can have Supergirl rape AND Logan rape in one week, right Joenathan? Buttsechs for everyone!!!!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 3:04 a.m. CST

    The Nihilist...

    by DuncanHines

    The thing is, I wouldn't call my personal knowledge of Kirby's Fourth World encyclopedic at all... Or homework. I got those books because I'd always wanted to read them, and I got them on a great discount from dcbservice.com (I don't work for them. But I will plug them because their discount rates are awesome and help feed my hardcover comics demon). But, I digress... What I'm saying regarding the Fourth World books, and whoever designed the image for this week's AICN comics section seems to agree that Final Crisis is Grant Morrison's ultimate love letter to Kirby's Fourth World books. The jumping around, the exposition, the OUTRAGEOUS concepts... All part of Morrison shouting up to Heaven to let Kirby know how much he loves him and how his ideas can find new life and go new places. If you don't dig it, that's cool. It's definitely not for everyone. (and I don't mean that in that condescending way that Morrison and Ellis's fans tend to phrase everything. I mean it in the way that certain foods aren't for everyone either. Different tastes and all that...) Personally, I love it because I feel like it picks up where Kirby left off. AND!- I have to agree with you on Countdown and Trinity. 52 was so damn good and Countdown felt like an insult after that year where you were guaranteed that at least ONE good comic was coming out every week...

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 7:22 a.m. CST

    Duncan

    by toxicbuddha

    The Nihilist wasn't knocking your love of the Fourth World stuff, he was pointing out the fact that unless you have read what the average comic aficionado of this day would find an obscure book, you're lost. If Grant wanted to blow his load all over the Fourth World stuff, DC should have printed up something that dovetailed into FC and covered what fans would need to know. (Foolishly, those suckers that bought the first two Crisis events assumed that is what they were doing) Or at least have printed a disclaimer explaining how useless the 'event' would be without the proper references that had to be dug out of the dim recesses of Morrison's ass. Again: the fact that everything regarding FC requires so much explanation and propping up means the book simply fails.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Seriously guys, somebody PLEASE...

    by The Nihilist

    ..tell me who the kid was at the end of issue five, and what relevance he has to the story!! I'm committed to at least finishing the series, I'd like to know as much as possible about what's going on, even if I have to cheat and ask somebody else about it.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:02 a.m. CST

    I wish I had a T-shirt that said that.

    by Joenathan

    Buttsechs for Everyone!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:16 a.m. CST

    I have a good knowledge of DC

    by most excellent ninja

    and I don't think the problem is knowing these characters to get it, it's just not too good. but my biggest gripe is the half assed ness of it all. The Art. Sorry but can you imagine if The Lord of the Rings was filmed on Super 8, that's what this is like. This should be like filming on IMAX, the ultimate in presentation and quality but it's not. It's supposed to be the most epic thing imaginable but it isn't. It's still better than Revelations. Take that Christianity. When the Devil comes out of the Abyss he doesn't speak with 3 billion voices. The devil fights with Jesus. big deal. Darkseid fights with SUPERMAN!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Anyone else interested in Secret Warriors?

    by Joenathan

    They're like a Dark New Warriors!<br><br><br><br><br><br>Okay, I was being sarcastic there, but really, I am looking forward to this team. A new and unknown team is always kind of exciting, I think. I like the feeling of maybe being on something from the start and experiencing the whole story. Plus, Nick Fury. Plus, I've been waiting for Daisy Johnson to get to do something.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:24 a.m. CST

    Marvel Zombies 3

    by Joenathan

    Anyone read this. Issue #3 had Machine Man versus hundreds of zombies, including all the winged heroes, tons of villians and the inhumans, Ghost Rider and then a race through the streets, Machine Man on Ghost Rider's bike being chased by Quicksilver, Speed Demon and the Whizzer (heh). It was a pretty kick ass issue AND whoever the writer is has maintained a similiar tone to Ellis's portrayal of Machine Man in Nextwave.

  • The more you know, the more you will get out of it, but I believe the story is pretty straightforward

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 9:39 a.m. CST

    of the DCU

    by hst666

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Yo Nihilist!

    by Psynapse

    The guy at the end of issue #5 is Monitor Nix Uotan whose Universe was destroyed in Countdown and who was cast down into reality by the Monitors in issue 1 of FC. The guy with the Rubiks cube who transcendentally elevates him is Metron of the New Gods.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Bendis Daredevil Question

    by steverodgers

    Just finished the Lark/Brubaker daredevil trades and they were great. Lark has a Mazuchelli thing working, and I love the desperate gritty crime feel that Brubaker excels at. Its making me want to go back and read the Bendis issues/trades. Bendis is really not my fave when working in the Marvel U proper, as I have the same problem with him as lots of people do, poor pacing, characters sometimes sound the same, and I’m still pissed about him killing off alpha flight in a panel in New Avengers, Hawkeye death etc… – that said I love Powers, Alias, and the resurrection of Luke Cage and think that maybe his style would work pretty good with Daredevil. So how do people feel about his Daredevil work, worth taking a look at or is just slow annoying talkity talk?

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:07 a.m. CST

    Marvel Zombies 3

    by Psynapse

    The writer is Fred Van Lente. I thought you read it? (LOL)

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST

    DD Follow Up

    by steverodgers

    BTW question is coming up because I have a 70 dollar Amazon gift certificate burning a hole in my pocket and I’m feeling a bit like Daddy Warbucks and not sure if I should go hog wild on Bendis Daredevil or just sink it all in pre-ordering the Secret Wars II omnibus… A good problem to have for sure.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:12 a.m. CST

    Marvel Zombies 3

    by steverodgers

    Loving that book. Machine Man forever!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Thanks Psynapse...

    by The Nihilist

    ...now that I look at it again..yeah, the hair is the same (though I still think he looks like a revised Static Shock). Hmmm...so I guess he faces off against Darkseid as a representative of a world where everything went right (prior to the arrival of the Monarch, at least) on a world where everything is going wrong. Shrug. Let me stress that I don't think Final Crisis is a COMPLETE abortion...there's the nugget of a good idea here and there...but still, too hard to follow for my tastes. Like I say, this may be my swan song on big company crossovers. Or maybe not, I'm really looking forward to "The Blackest Night," hope they don't screw it up.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Steverodgers....

    by Fuzzyjefe

    Bendis' run on DD was pretty good. I suppose the question to ask is this: do you mind a Daredevil book that is very much the adventures of Matt Murdock, occaissionally guest-starring Daredevil? I dropped DD after the whole "outing" of Matt, 'cause I got tired of every hero Bendis writes getting unmasked. Just 'cause you don't like secret id's doesn't mean you have to make every superhero you write getting exposed. Hell, who in the ultimate universe DOESN'T know that Peter Parker is Spider-man?

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Final Crisis & Blackest Night

    by Psynapse

    Final Crisis: I think Final Crisis will read MUCH better as a whole story rather than the abortive serialization we're experiencing right now.<p>BLackest Night: Yeah, let's hope Didio doesn't find yet more ways to assfuck his own promotion.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Fuzzyjefe

    by steverodgers

    Thanks. I'm not sure how I feel about that... Murdock is almost more interesting then Daredevil - so i could see liking it. They have an 800 page Bendis omnibus for exactly 70 bucks - i could get that and just fat-kid out with beers and snacks and read that all day.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:16 a.m. CST

    These "connections" to the Big Events

    by Homer Sexual

    I really questions these alleged connections, because I read so very many comics and do not see these "clues" in earlier miniseries. <p> Seven Soldiers was a maxi that I really loved, but I do not see how there is any connection between 7S and Fc beyond the fact that Shilo Norman figures prominently and Frankenstein is also in it. <p> Just like SI. I have re read New Avengers and if there are clues that Jessica Drew was really the Skrull Queen all along, I don't see them. I am not being sarcastic when I say that if someone can explain in what way the Skrull Queen disguised as Spider-Woman turning over the dead Elektra skrull to Tony Stark makes sense to Secret Invasion,I would appreciate it.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Steverogers

    by Joenathan

    I really liked Bendis's Daredevil, but its true that there is definately more Matt Murdock. As a bonus, though, there is some Luke Cage and Jessica Jones AND I think its a great example of a following creator being in perfect synergy with the previous creator as I didn't even notice a hiccup in tone between Bendis's and Bru's runs.<br><br>Yeah, so I really liked it. It was the book that brought me back to Daredevil after... years and years and years. I think before that I maybe peeked at an issue during the time when Daredevil had that armored costume and Gambit was guest starring, so yeah... a long time, BUT when it comes to spending your $70... thats a path you must walk alone.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:42 a.m. CST

    MArvel Zombies 3

    by Joenathan

    I've never heard of, or at least, noticed Fred before this... I'll have to check his other stuff out,

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Also steve

    by Joenathan

    I laughed when Alpha Flight got it. Laughed, I say! HA! ... stupid canadians...

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 11:54 a.m. CST

    Homer

    by Joenathan

    Seven Soldeirs to FC: The connection is all Miracle Man/Darkseid club. Its just a precursor, the New Gods are on Earth type of thing. Also, the Bulleteer is in the book, as well. Plus, how awesome was that first issue when the Vigilante's team got taken out?<br><br>SI, I have also wondered about Jessica/Queen turning Skrullectra over to stark. Here's what I came up with. She knew Tony would keep it quiet, at least for a little while (which at that point, with Skrullectra's sudden unplanned reveal, she was probably just hoping, at best, to stall things for a little bit) AND she probably hoped that Tony would gather his brain trust to look into this new development, which would put Hank Skrull into direct position to take out and capture Reed Richards, argueably one of the Skrulls main targets at the beginning of the invasion proper. <br><br>So, mostly, I say improvisation on the Jessica/Queen's part, that she was stalling for time until the fleet showed AND maneuvering so that Reed Richards would be within their grasp. <br><br>Also, it was a Red Herring intended to deflect the readers' suspicion off of Jessica.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Fuzzyjefe

    by Joenathan

    Flash Thompson<br><br> Flash doesn't know who Spider-man really is.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by Fuzzyjefe

    That's right. He doesn't. Hell, even KONG figured it out. But, all that aside, I still dig Ultimate Spidey. I won't touch 616 spidey with a 10 meter cattle prod, which is a shame. He's one of my earliest faves from my youth, but I let him go before the clone saga, 8 million symbiotes, totem, Gwen Goblin crap. When you have to 'magically fix' a character like poor Spidey, you ain't been doing something right for a loooooong time.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 1:25 p.m. CST

    EDDIE MURPHY!!

    by brokenheadstuff

    i thought you fuckers were joking.. i'm seeing it all over the place now!! too funny

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 1:26 p.m. CST

    AHAHAHA I'M RETARDED

    by brokenheadstuff

    i thought i was still in the batman tb.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 1:57 p.m. CST

    I'm with you on Ultimate Spider-man, Jefe

    by Joenathan

    I think Ultimate Spidey is the best "silver age-ish" type comic out there, while someone staying current at the same time. Plus, even though I know, say... Gwen Stacy is going to die, I was still shocked. To me, thats the hallmark of a really good book AND you can't overlook Bendis and Bagley's commitment either. All around a good book and I think gets overlooked sometimes because its so consistantly reliable and entertaining.<br><br>As for regular continuity Spider-man, I don't read him either. I kind of treat Batman the same way. I love both characters, but I only read their books when its a good maxi series or something.<br><br>Speaking of BND...<br><br><br><br>It looks like Slott is promising to answer all those nagging questions you all have early next year. Do you think he'll do it?

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2 p.m. CST

    thats "somehow"

    by Joenathan

    not "someone"<br><br>YAY! AICN TALK BACKS! So fresh, so up to date, so new.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Joen

    by steverodgers

    You cold, cold, bastard. How could you not shed a tear for Puck? He's a bald hairy little person, wearing a wrestling uniform with a huge 'P' on it - genius. I think I'm going for the Daredevil Bendisbus, 830 pages for 70 dollars, thats a solid comic book value that I cant turn down.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Alpha Flight

    by Psynapse

    Deserved WAY better than a one panel knockoff. Bendis can suck my nut for that one alone. (Which may not be a stretch for him considering how much Quesada cock he smokes)

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Waitaminute.....

    by Fuzzyjefe

    they killed Alpha Flight? Fuzzy little tumbling Puck dead? Man, I remember AF from back in the Byrne days...Puck eviscerated, Guardian frizzle-fried, Sasquatch vs the Super-skrull in the snow.....now that I think about it, Alpha Flight has always seemed to be the hard-luck team. Death & destruction your forte? Join Alpha Flight!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Re: Alpha Flight

    by steverodgers

    I'm with you Psynapse - that shit pissed me off. I'm surprised Canada didn't riot. Maybe they don't love their home grown super team like I do. Silly Canadians all they care about is hockey, mayonnaise and beer.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:27 p.m. CST

    More on Alpha Flight

    by Fuzzyjefe

    One of the coolest little superhero moments I remember from that book was when Guardian set his suit to 'disconnect' itself from earth's gravity for a split second to get out of an especially hairy situation (sorry, can't remember the details). Just a split second, and he's miles away. That, mi amigos, was cool.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:28 p.m. CST

    Of course,

    by Fuzzyjefe

    he was in the air. Can you imagine doing that in a building? Get a mop!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:35 p.m. CST

    I'm sorry, but

    by Joenathan

    the sight of Puck's hairy little legs sticking up out of the snow and kick, kick, kicking away the last of his brain's impulses made me giggle. heh. heh-heh-heh-heh.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Sasquatch is still alive, Jefe.

    by Joenathan

    so is Snowbird. But Puck? Dead.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 2:41 p.m. CST

    Bastard Joen

    by steverodgers

    I'm drinking only Molson Ice and watching hockey this week in memory of Puck and his hairy little legs. Take that Bendis!

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 3:15 p.m. CST

    yeah....

    by Joenathan

    take that, hoser.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 3:21 p.m. CST

    *bitchslaps Joenathan*

    by Psynapse

    WTF he likes it and keeps asking for more! (lol)

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 8:34 p.m. CST

    Alpha Flight was awesome

    by Continentalop

    I mean, I know John Byrne wasn't that into the first comic book series, and they were basically made as a team of guys who could stand up against the X-Men, but that first Alpha Flight run was awesome all the way up to when Byrne left. I don't think they have ever been that good since, and Puck has been so badly butchered since then I think his death might be the kindest thing done to him.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:03 p.m. CST

    As a canadian, I dont endorse Alpha Flight

    by the milf lover

    they were all lame, especially Puck, who isnt even a real dwarf, but a regular-sized man shrunk to dwarf size because his body serves as a prison to some mystical bad guy called Raazer, or some shit like that. I'm not kidding either. That has to be the stupidest origin story ever.

  • Dec. 18, 2008, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Milf Lover

    by Continentalop

    I agree. But that wasn't his creator, John Byrne's idea. It was Bill Mantlo who didn't pay attention when Byrne explained that Puck was born a dwarf.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Alpha Flight after Byrne....

    by Psynapse

    Went downhill rather fast.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 11:18 a.m. CST

    What happened to Byrne?

    by Joenathan

    For years he was synonamous with awesome and then all the sudden... suck. Same with Claremont. Its like they was in a car accident or something and it mushed the cool part of his brain. Were they just unable to change with the medium or did they just stay at the party too long?<br><Br>Speaking of craptastic... Did anyone ever read Claremont's two fantasy novels that took place after the movie Willow? Fucking awful.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 11:39 a.m. CST

    They stopped evolving

    by Psynapse

    Creatively that is. Made all the worse by their inability or refusal to recognize it.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by Continentalop

    I actually think John Byrne has made a couple of things in the last decade that haven't been that bad (Generations I & II come to mind, and I thought his Nextmen was an interesting idea) but the truth of the matter is that most artist or creative people only have a very small window of relevance. I mean, has Robert Plant made anything truly worthwhile since his Led Zepplin days? Have Peter Bogdonavich, William Friedkin or even Francis Ford Coppola made anything nearly as good as the films that made them such names in the 70s? <p>

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 12:15 p.m. CST

    I Liked NextMen and also Marvel Lost Generation

    by Homer Sexual

    So that is some decent stuff from Byrne, at least. Claremont is the worst, though. I loved EXiles under every other writer, even Bedard (who is really not a favorite). But I had to drop EXiles with Claremont's dreadful writing.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 12:37 p.m. CST

    Maybe

    by Joenathan

    Maybe it's that their work ceases to be a passion and becomes a job. It just sometimes strikes me as weird that here are two names that when I was a kid and I saw them, I went: Hooray! And now, I don't even give them a second glance, even going so far as to drop things just due to their involvement. Kind of like George Lucas...

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:14 p.m. CST

    Part of the "problem" for Byrne & Co...

    by Continentalop

    ...Is that the comic universe they know, for good or bad, is gone. I mean, John Byrne himself said he could never work on the X-Men now because they are not they characters he once knew. And you can agree with his statement and say they are worse now or you can just say he is whining, but the fact it the X-Men or any other character he worked on is not the same people they were when he worked on them in the 70s & 80s. Plus, it is hard for him to repeat ideas. He already did a great FF run. If he tried it again it would seem stale and redundant. <p> But Byrne is the only guy who seems "stale" and "without passion" nowadays. When is the last time you got excited by Steve Gerber before he passed on, or Steve Englehart, Jim Shooter, Marv Wolfman, or Roger Stern. Of course, wait 15 years and you can probably expect to see Bendis, Millar, Schott and Johns on that list.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Homer Sexual

    by Continentalop

    I liked Marvel Lost Generation as well. A lot of credit has to go to Roger Stern though, who used to be the ultimate Marvel Universe historian and expert. I loved his Marvel Universe comic, where he revealed that Makkari was once the Golden Age hero Hurricane/Mercury. Awesome ret-con. <p>

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 1:54 p.m. CST

    At the very least...

    by Joenathan

    We won't have to suffer through another X-baseball game. I was subjected to the twilight movie and they did a super baseball game in there and it was even more retarded than what Byrne used to do.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Regarding Robert Plant....

    by Psynapse

    'In the mood' was an awesome song.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Regarding Jim Shooter..

    by Psynapse

    His current Legion run (though cut short by internal politics) is the most entertaining and exciting that since the threeboot relaunch.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Twilight?? Faaag...

    by Psynapse

    and Grr to typos and no edit feature.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 4:11 p.m. CST

    Yeah

    by Joenathan

    It was terrible, like mind blowingly terrible... worse than Alpha Flight. Thank God Puck is dead.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 5:03 p.m. CST

    "In The Mood"...

    by SleazyG.

    ...is also a quarter of a century old, yet Plant keeps turning out crappy albums. And yeah, I have the tour shirt from one of 'em nearly 20 years ago, and no, I don't know what I was thinking.<p> Also, "Big Log" is much better than "In The Mood".<p> Which is the long way around saying that even when Claremont and Byrne were popular 20 or 25 years ago, they were still pretty crap.

  • Dec. 19, 2008, 6:21 p.m. CST

    SleazyG

    by Continentalop

    Besides his run with Byrne (and some of the stuff he did with Romita Jr.) on the X-Men I have never really been a Claremont fan. Byrne, despite what people think, has credited or collaborated to create some of my favorite comic book stories. Fantastic Four, Alpha Flight, Captain America (with Roger Stern), The Sensational She-Hulk, Iron Man, West Coast Avengers, and even his Star Brand, as well as doing what I consider the two best Marvel/DC crossovers ever, Batman/Captain America & Darksied/Galactus.

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 12:46 a.m. CST

    You give me reason to hope

    by magsweeto

    "Of course, wait 15 years and you can probably expect to see Bendis, Millar, Schott and Johns on that list." Continentalop, you made me weep with happiness. And here's an idea: in both the DCU and MU, the heroes finally wise up, decide to meet en masse once a year to collectively thwart the latest peril(s) and go back to living their lives and keeping tabs on their pet nemeses. That way, the event comic only has to be a single annual giant-sized special.

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Star Brand

    by steverodgers

    I kind of love that comic. Liked the Shooter issues, and I liked the Byrne issues were everything went completely off the rails and Pittsburgh exploded. I think the last comic I liked that Byrne did was Batman/Captain America comic. Oh and a weird OMAC black and white mini-series, not sure when that came out, but really cool especially if you are a Kirby junkie.

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 9:23 a.m. CST

    Claremont, Byrne & the Nature of Comics

    by Buzz Maverik

    If you look at comics as an artform, which I do, after awhile you can see that it's always evolving. If you look at it as a terrific, garish pop-culture medium, which I do, you see that it's trendy and has always been trendy.<P>Back in the early '00s, cool guys like Grant Morrison sort of either compared themselves to rock stars or were compared to rock stars. Now, put it back in your pants, I dig Grant, think he's one of the most talented writers, especially with the use of language, in comics, but none of these guys are rock stars. At best, they are pop stars. Pop stars have short creative lives then fall back on their greatest hits in a Vegas retrospective.<p>Or to use a country star's summation, Garth Brooks once said that in his heyday, he realized there'd come a time when people liked him more for what he'd done than what he was doing.<p>Claremont and Byrne aren't crap, but if they're still doing the act at all, it's from the catalogue and you know it's not 1979 or 1983.<P>And of course, you will see that with everybody who works in a trendy medium like comics, no matter how much you love them now. Millar, Morrison, Snooty/Matey Brit Du Jour, you'll be insisting how great they once were and the new kids will roll their eyes at you.<p>The good news, as Dashiell Hammett (or maybe Raymond Chandler) said about his books being messed up by Hollywood, the stories are still on the shelf. I mean, so dated that it's carbon dated and never would fly twenty years ago much less today, so much of Lee and Kirby's run on the FANTASTIC FOUR from the JFK through Nixon administrations, are as perfect as comics get.

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Will Eisner

    by Buzz Maverik

    Man, Frank Miller is more outdated than Will Eisner. The classics and the pop, it's the only way to survive.

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Also...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...in Claremont and Byrne's X-MEN heyday, it wasn't about Claremont or Byrne. It was about the X-MEN. You liked the art, or liked that a lot of stuff kept happening (or wondered why Storm had to keep telling Cyclops what was happening right in front of him -- I always thought that maybe she thought he was blind behind that visor: "Scott, Juggernaut is charging like an express train. Gods of Earth and Air! Scott, he just flattened Wolverine's ass!")but really, you just liked your comics. That was what was good about the old days.

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 4:12 p.m. CST

    More Claremont/Byrne

    by magsweeto

    For me, Byrne's Fantastic Four is still a good read, the artwork is still amazing. His Doom Patrol/Blood of the Demon work pales in comparison. Same goes with Claremont's X-Men vs. Exiles work. I don't think it is 80s nostalgia; it really feels like they (creatively) don't care. They're jaded. Why I have a beef with the current wave of "rock/pop star" writers - they came into comics with a jaded attitude. In my opinion, creators like Moore and Miller wanted to do something different/edgier with respect to the medium. They revolutionized comics (and still remain relevant). The current batch of comic creators read like angry deconstructionists to me.

  • Dec. 20, 2008, 7:24 p.m. CST

    I think something's wrong

    by Snookeroo

    when the writer's/artist's names take more precedence on a cover or splash page than the character about whom the book is about.<br>Today's comic book splash pages read more like opening movie credits than a comic book.<br>Most of the comic writers/artists I have met are a LOT more haughty than they have a right to be.

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 10:16 a.m. CST

    I got excited when Jim Shooter was back on Legion

    by most excellent ninja

    i mean just the nature of it was pretty awesome. Reading it too you can tell he loves these characters, that he is to Legion of Superheroes what Peter David is to Hulk or Geoff Johns is to Green Lantern. The definitive writer.

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 12:22 p.m. CST

    Its always on the shelf

    by Joenathan

    Thats exactly what I've been saying all along... No matter what so and so does today, it can all be changed and undone and REGARDLESS, the older version is till there for you to coddle and hold and kiss tenderly, thats why I don't understand why some of you guys have fucking strokes over what is happening in the latest issue of Captain Spangely Pants. Just relax, wait for something new and read some of your old favorites. Jeez...<br><br>I buy all my comics based off the writer. You can have a good comic with a bad editor, a bad company, you can even have a good comic with a crap artist, but without a good writer, there is no comic. Period. The writer is the key, the rest is just a bonus.<br><br>That being said, I'm sure someday all these hot writers will be toiling away like drooling retards over on New Exiles and New New Warriors and we'll be even older and crustier and wondering what happened and how they were ever popular in the first place... Until then, man Bendis and Millar are two of the best currently working... HA!<br><br>Also, I think we should place a moritorium on the word "Deconstruction" and its derivatives. Its been reduced to nothing but a buzzword, too often thrown around and usually mis-used.

  • Dec. 21, 2008, 6:36 p.m. CST

    Agree to a point

    by Continentalop

    While I agree with you Joenanthan about how you sometimes just have to sit through a bad period until the comic replaces the creative staff, there are valid reasons why some people get upset with a bad comic. One reason is because if you like a certain character, there is only one version of that character in existence being published. I mean, if you are a Spider-Man fan and the comic takes a turn for the worse, your only options are wait and read back issues. Even Ultimate Spider-Man isn’t a solution, because lets be honest, he isn’t the REAL Spider-Man of the Marvel Universe that we all fell in love with. Good substitute but not the real deal. <p> The other problem is that the work of a bad writer can taint a character. Even if another writer comes along, he’ll have to deal with the mess of what has happened to the character, and sometimes the damage is long lasting. I mean look at Wolverine; so much shit has been attached to his origin and life story he is almost being crushed under the weight of it. If you are an old Wolverine fan, every time you hear how he has bone claws and how he is over 100+ years old, your sphincter clinches up a little. <p> I do agree that the word “Deconstruction” is used way to much, just like “Existentialism” is. It is beginning to lose any meaning. I prefer terms such as “Anti-Heroism”, “incendiary” and “intentionally stylish” to describe the new flock of comic book creators.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Yes

    by Joenathan

    I'm not saying you can't get upset or lament the ending of a personal era, I'm just saying maybe you (not you specifically) shouldn't get SOOOOO upset. It can't be good for you.<br><br>Also, I don't believe any previous writer has to taint a character unless either the new writer is bad as well OR the old reader just won't let it go. Does anyone dwell on the time Wolverine had no nose? No, because that was terrible, so lets move on. And while I can understand how you can love a certain version of a character, there is just no way possible for a character to keep on keepin' on the same way for decades and stay fresh, no way. To my mind, each new creative team is working on a different version of the character and in that case, the only real one was the original one, so... what else can you do? If you let yourself go with the flow, you'll enjoy comics more. And at this point, after Clones and resurections and spider totems and brand new days... come on... real or not, Ultimate Spider-man IS the better version. Also again, while bone clawes, yeah, suck, the 100 + years thing just makes sense to me, I think its a natural extension of his powers. <br><br>I like your terms to describe the new flock of creators.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 12:08 p.m. CST

    On Deconstructionism...

    by Psynapse

    Wait, what were we talking about again? Well there you go...

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 10:13 p.m. CST

    Can Be Undone, But Why Not...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...do it right in the first place. Personally, I don't mind the changes as much as the undoing, which usually results in even worse storytelling. I think the checklist should go: does it serve (a)the story (2)the character (D) genre/medium and (*)the audience, otherwise, you get John Byrne blowing up Guardian in ALPHA FLIGHT just because he could get away with it. Sure, it was undone, but ALPHA FLIGHT, Byrne and anyone who simply soaks it in is a little lamer for it.

  • Dec. 22, 2008, 11:58 p.m. CST

    The Superhero Was Deconstructed...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...as soon as it was created. The first, modern super human character was Hugo, in Philip Wylie's novel GLADIATOR. GLADIATOR pre-dated and inspired the creation of Superman. In fact, Superman characters like Captain Marvel or Hyperion are called Wylies by the old time funny book men. That's why the X-Men villain is called Gladiator. Unlike Superman, Wylie's novel shows the uselessness of super powers in real life. Hugo is a mutant who cannot put his powers to any practical use and they cause him nothing but trouble.

  • Dec. 29, 2008, 12:43 p.m. CST

    No one is probably readings this one anymore, but...

    by Joenathan

    Back to "What is done, can be undone" YOU are the one who thinks its not being done rigfht in the first place, thats my point. For every guy who fucking hates it, there's a guy who loves it, so when you're waiting for a new creative team to do it "right" what you're actually waiting for is a new creative team to do it "the way you like".