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AICN COMICS' has a little bit of everything this week; news, previews, and oh yeah...REVIEWS!

#41 2/18/09 #7

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here. Since this week’s SHOOT THE MESSENGER spot was handed over to Wolverine and Schleppy for THE AICN COMICS 5th ANNUAL @$$IE AWARDS COLUMN, we decide to merge both SHOOT THE MESSENGER and AICN COMICS REVIEWS together for one week. So after you click back to read or reread Monday’s ginormous column, check out this mix-up of reviews, news, and previews. Fear not, we’ll be back next week with our normal Monday and Wednesday columns, but for now, enjoy this mixed bag of @$$ie goodness.

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) SHOOT THE MESSENGER NEWS: The Lunas battle Leukemia Spinner Rack to the Future previews NOVA, GREEN LANTERN, IMPALER, SKAAR: SON OF HULK, AMERICAN MCGEE’S GRIMM, CAPTAIN AMERICA, & SARAH PALIN AICN Comics Reviews INVINCIBLE #59 PUNISHER #1-2 TANGENT: SUPERMAN’S REIGN #12 THE HELM TPB & THE SCREAM TPB Big Eyes for the Cape Guy presents BLACK LAGOON VOL 4 Indie Jones presents THE DARKNESS FROM WARSAW OGN CHEAP SHOTS!

Hey folks, A. Bug again with the beginning of an unconventional AICN Comics column. We wanted to start this week off with some cool comic book news from the comic book sensation the Luna Brothers (no relation to the Jonas Brothers, I hope). I’ll hand it over to this long time AICN Comics reader who passed this info along to me.

Hey there. I'm a regular reader at AICN, and I wanted to run something past you for the AICN Comics section.
I'm sure you're familiar with The Luna Brothers, creators of ULTRA, GIRLS, and their current book THE SWORD. They also did the artwork for SPIDER-WOMAN: ORIGIN. Anyhow, the Lunas are good friends of mine, and they've offered to help me with a fundraiser I'm doing for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I will be running the San Diego Rock N Roll Marathon on May 31st, and as a part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training, part of the run is to help raise money.
As a fundraiser, the Lunas and I are holding a drawing for some personalized and signed trade paperbacks of their work, with the grand prize being the hardcover, oversized GIRLS Complete Collection ($100 value, not to mention just being darn cool). Included with it will be a sketch by the Lunas of the winner's choosing. Entry for the drawing is only $10, with no limit to how many times you can enter. The site, which includes more info about the cause, can be found here.
Now, I get nothing out of this financially. All the proceeds from the drawing entries go directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to help them fight various blood cancers and to help find a cure. Even the cost of the comic books came out of my pocket.
If you would be so kind as to post a short blurb about it on AICN Comics, and maybe even on AICN's homepage, it would be greatly appreciated!
Long Time Reader, Rommel S. Calderon

Thanks for reading and giving us the heads up, Rommel! I know times are tight for everyone these days, but this seems like a really good cause. Best of luck Rommel & the Lunas on this worthwhile endeavor.

A. Bug back again with a handful of previews for you to enjoy on this fine Wednesday. Cool thing about these previews is that after previewing them, you can run out and find most of them on the racks TODAY! Let’s check out what the Spinner Rack holds for us this week…
First up, we have one of my favorite Marvel books, NOVA. From the very first issue, this book has been a hidden gem at Marvel, enjoyed by those with taste and lauded many times in this very column here at AICN. In issue #22, looks like that hipster planet, Ego, is busy making Nova Corpsmen. Check out the recruitment drive.

You can find NOVA on the racks today. Go get it…
Ok, finish reading this column, then go get it.

From one cosmic avenger to another, Geoff Johns continues his forward creep towards the most anticipated comic book event of the year, “The Blackest Night”. But first he must deal with the Blue and Red Lanterns. Check issue #38 out.

GREEN LANTERN #38 is in stores this very minute.

I loved the concept of the original IMPALER series. Here’s a preview of the second issue of the follow-up from William Harms and Matt Timson. Check out this preview to see the vampy coolness in this new ongoing series from Top Cow.

I really love the art here. IMPALER #2 is out of the crypt and on the shelves today.

I’ve been reading SKAAR: SON OF HULK and waiting for it to pick up steam. And with the appearance of the Silver Surfer in last issue, it did just that. This issue is somewhat of a landmark because it heralds the return of Ron Lim to penciling the Silver Surfer. Check out the barbarian goodness that is SKAAR!

The balls on that guy to spit on the son of the Hulk. I’m sure he’ll be coughing them up sometime next week. But you can see this issue of SKAAR: SON OF HULK today. If you head out to the comic store, that is.

I’m not familiar with this property, but I have to comment on the fun art that IDW is offering up with AMERICAN MCGEE’S GRIMM, a miniseries from the creator of AMERICAN MCGEE’S ALICE, set to debut in April. Check it out.

You can’t get this in stores today, but look for it in April from IDW Publishing.

Consistently one of the best reads Marvel is offering these days. I go back and forth between which Bru comic I like better, CAPTAIN AMERICA or DAREDEVIL. Check out the phenomenal art in issue #47 of CAP.

Now that’s some nitty gritty art from Butch Guice. And you can find it in stores today.

I saved the most interesting preview for last. Blue Water Comics have been churning out some interesting books these days. And despite my choice in who I voted for in the last election, the way they are presenting this SARAH PALIN comic is downright interesting. Unlike the other political biography comics out there, this one actually tries to be creative and fun. Check out what I’m talking about in this preview.

See what I mean? I can’t help but be curious about this book and the preview sealed it for me. Check out FEMALE FORCE: SARAH PALIN coming to finer comic shops soon from Blue Water Comics.

And now that the previews are over with, let’s get on with the AICN Comics Reviews!


Writer: Robert Kirkman Artist: Ottley Publisher: Image Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

Over the past few issues, some will say INVINCIBLE has been in a holding pattern. Some are waiting for the return of Invincible’s father, the rogue Viltrumite, that was setting up earth for domination and is now trying to find his salvation; assuming he can break free from capture. Most have become entirely fed up with Invincible’s relationship with Atom Eve and the perpetual pages of lovey-dovey eyes and cooing that comes with young love. And finally there are fans like me that don’t want to see the story move forward too quickly, because frankly that usually signifies an end, especially with indie titles. As long as the dialogue is sharp and the interludes are interesting, I’ll support infinite holding patterns of the “main” story because it simply gives me more time with the characters in a universe I have grown to love. In the case of this issue though, I will roshambo anyone that wants to say this was an interlude or a holding pattern, despite its one-off feel.
Up until this point most of the villains in INVINCIBLE have served merely as one note, single issue pummel bags. With Cecil Steadman’s turn in issue 50 from friend and government handler to douche bag extraordinaire we saw a brief glimpse of Kirkman’s ability to write a villain who believes he is fighting on the side of angels. Now we see the shades of moral gray come into full view with the introduction of PowerPlex, a baddie with a chip on his shoulder for Invincible and, some might argue, a justifiable thirst for vengeance.
Borrowing from Busiek’s “how do the actions of heroes affect the everyman,” PowerPlex blames Invincible for the death of his sister, who was an innocent bystander killed in the wake of one of Invincible’s first battles. What’s different from the Busiek take is that awe and amazement for costumed heroes are replaced by rage and distrust. There’s no doubt that PowerPlex is unbalanced, but you can’t help but feel for the crazy bastard since Kirkman opens the book with PowerPlex rehearsing his battle cry for his wife and child to critique. If you take out the super hero stuff, the tenderness between Mr. and Mrs. PowerPlex and his undying love to protect his son could be ripped out of any family man’s living room.
I was not only surprised by the outcome of the final battle in this issue, but outright shocked. Naturally, I’m not going to give it away here, because I want you to buy the damn book. Let’s just say Invincible has a new nemesis that has risen from charred remains.
When Optimous Douche isn’t reading comics and misspelling the names of 80’s icons, he “transforms” into a corporate communications guru. "What if the whole world had superpowers? Find out in the pages of Optimous’ original book AVERAGE JOE. Read the first full issue on Optimous’ New Blog and see original sketches by fellow @$$hole Bottleimp. If you are a publisher or can help these guys get AVERAGE JOE up, up, and on the shelves in any way, drop Optimous a line."


Writer: Rick Remender Artist: Jerome Opena Publisher: Marvel Comics Guest Reviewer: William

Punisher, Sentry, Norman Osborn, all in one comic book? You can count this series in when it came to my usual comic book shopping this week.
First off, I love me some Punisher. I think he's really a great character, one that has continued to successfully exist over several decades because of his simplistic nature. "Keep it simple stupid" is the best way to chronicle him. Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Wolverine, etc, they've all had changes as frequent as the next clothing fad, but with the Punisher he's still the same bad-ass, no-nonsense vigilante as he was over 30 years ago. (Just don't get me started on the whole Punisher-avenging-ghost-thingie from a few years back. We'll just ignore that for continuity’s sake, as many others within the comic book medium have thankfully done so as well).
To be honest, I haven't read a comic featuring the Sentry. What I knew about him was based on stuff written in Wizard magazine and the internet, how this whole theory that he was some locked-away character created by Stan Lee decades ago all turned out to be a neat little hoax. I guess he's kind of like Marvel's version of Superman (except with the Michael Bolton type 80's hair), complete with the unbelievably high superpowers that probably give most writers a headache trying to write around with.
So basically this storyline has to do with the Punisher attempting to assassinate Norman Osborn during a political rally, only he didn't count on the Sentry being there as Norman's personal bodyguard. If you ever wanted to see what a fight between the Punisher and Superman would be like, this is as close as you're going to get here. Punisher pulls out all the stops, going from a high-powered Skrull rifle to handguns to explosives to acid. It's definitely vintage Punisher action, something us Punisher freaks can't get enough of. What's interesting to note is how believable the fight is. As glaringly one-sided as one would think it'd be, the Punisher shows his tactical side by finding innovative ways to not defeat but rather stall the Sentry from capturing him. Writer Rick Remender obviously knows that any fight between a man and a presumably invincible god can't be written in many ways except one, and I thought he did an excellent job of keeping the action fast and real, enough to make me wonder how interesting a Punisher vs. Superman fight would actually be. Too bad there haven't been any more Marvel/DC crossovers for a while now.
What must be highlighted too is the great artwork by Jerome Opena. I loved the gritty, dirty take that he took with his art here. Imagine watching a 70's documentary about urban New York and you'll get the approach that Jerome was going for. Colorist Dan Brown should especially be noted for his work too. I thought he did an excellent job here of utilizing color saturation. You know how sometimes you see certain movie scenes where the colors are oversaturated? Well, he did that here throughout the comic and it looks beautiful. It almost has a pastel kind of look going for it too, something that works really well towards the gritty approach mentioned earlier.
About the only complaint I had was that Marvel decided to do another one of their $3.99 price hikes by adding the "value" of a book-ended Punisher timeline here. I guess it works if someone wants to see a condensed version of the Punisher's 30+ year history within some pages, but come on Marvel, you know and I know it's just a cheap excuse for adding another dollar to the book. I would much rather have paid that extra dollar for a few more pages of the interesting storyline rather than this recycled stuff, but oh well.


Writer: Dan Jurgens Pencils: Carlos Magno Published by: DC Comics Reviewed by: BottleImp

There’s been a lot of discussion on the Talkbacks lately (mostly revolving around last week’s review of Neil Gaiman’s “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?” story) about “big event” storytelling versus “standalone” comics. The argument was made that characters needed to grow and change over long periods of time, or as a result of those previously mentioned comic book “events,” in order to keep their stories from stagnating and growing repetitive. However, it was pointed out that in some cases, particularly in the case of Batman, this motivation to shake things up can result in a seemingly endless parade of writers and artists looking to put their mark on the character and create “the most shocking/unbelievable/overhyped ________ (insert character’s name here) story you’ll ever read!” When a comic book character is subjected to such continuous re-imagining, the very act of change can itself become repetitive. Personally, I agree with the comic book creator (I can’t remember who it was, so if anyone wants to enlighten me feel free) who said something along the lines of “Comic book readers don’t want change… they want the illusion of change.” When the costume changes, deaths, resurrections, inexplicable powers, weddings and brief switches to villainy are said and done, the characters remain, more or less, as they began.
Which brings me (in a rather roundabout way) to the TANGENT miniseries.
If you want an epic story that will forever change the DC Universe, look elsewhere. If you want a straightforward world-crossing action/adventure comic starring those mainstays of DC Comics, a story that hearkens as far back as the first meeting of the Justice League and the Justice Society, a title that is proud to wear its love for DC’s Silver Age on its sleeve, then this miniseries is for you. Dan Jurgens has crafted the anti-event book—a series that told its story well, gave the reader excitement and intrigue, and made sure that anyone who picked up this comic would be able to read and enjoy it without prior reading required. The final issue wraps up the series in a neat package, and best of all, leaves the door open for future stories of the Tangent characters. There’s no mess for another writer to clean up; Jurgens didn’t feel the need to kill off a major character or anything to tell a good story.
Earth-shattering events have their place in the comic book realm, but sometimes we need to remember that an engaging story doesn’t need to scream at us when a soft-spoken word will do. If you need a break from all the noise, sit back and remember what superhero comics were like when you first started reading them with SUPERMAN’S REIGN.
When released from his Bottle, the Imp takes the form of Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from the Northeast. You can see some of his artwork athere. He’s given up comics more times than he can remember. But every time he thinks he's out, they pull him back in.


Writer: Jim Hardison


Writer: Peter David Art for both: Bart Sears (breakdowns & covers), Randy Elliott (finishes) Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

So I got my hands on a pair of trades from Dark Horse. Both are stories of unlikely heroes destined for greatness. Both were highly imaginative in concept, sporting creative and original characters. And both were drawn by Bart Sears.
Let me back up a few paces before I proceed. If you look at your typical review here at AICN and other comic book reviews around the net, reviews focusing on art are few and far between. It's easy to gripe about character, pacing, and continuity, but it’s a bit more difficult to talk about the finer points of art and give the art of a comic a more in depth look-see. Unless it's a rip-roaring beat-down tearing apart the artist for particulars like the inability to draw feet, usually a reviewer describes the art in a short paragraph towards the end of the review--an obligatory mention, really. Usually that next to last paragraph has flowery descriptors using terms like eye feasting and mouthwatering (I guess if an orifice and a fluid are mentioned, it's got to be good).
I'm going to try to go into why I like a specific artist, Bart Sears, in this review because I think the guys deserves a bit of credit. He's gotten a bad rap lately and it's not totally undeserving. I'm not saying that Sears' distinctive puffy people at times aren't off-putting and occasionally ludicrous, but I've always found his art to be appealing.
I first encountered Bart Sears' work in Keith Giffen's JLI spin-off, JLE. Like many of you, I marveled at the insane musculature of his heroes, the dynamic poses and facial expressions, and of course, the awesomeness that was Power Girl's cans. Back when I used to read WIZARD (yeah, I admit it. I read it back in the day--who didn't?), one of the cooler articles was Sears' artist workshops where he taught readers the basics of dynamic visual storytelling. Loved his work on X-O MANOWAR. Loved him on TUROK. I was a big fan for quite a while.
Then Priest's CAPTAIN AMERICA & THE FALCON came about (whatever happened to Priest, by the way?) and like many of you, my adoration for Sears' art waned when he began splashing out his panels to the nth degree and inking his own work. Even the already insane musculature was amped to a ridiculous level and their lips went from full to not unlike the bastard child of Angelina Jolie and a suckerfish. The art was so distracting to the reader that wondering how the characters were ever able to do simple functions like wiping their asses became more important than following the story. By the time WARLORD hit, Sears’ work looked like he inked it with a dull Sharpie and I feared the once dynamic and crisp panels of the Sears of old were never to be seen again.
So seeing Sears' name on the covers of these two trades filled me with a bit of hesitation. But ever the optimist, I peeled back the covers and took a look and was surprised to find that these two collected series contain some of the best artwork by Sears in ages. Gone are the heavy inks and muddy composition. Present are Sears' sense of vivid panels and distinct facial expressions and poses. Sure Sears likes his splash pages, but when filled with such exciting characters and action, I can forgive that. Upon further inspection, I found that Sears did the breakdowns for these miniseries, leaving the finishes to Randy Elliott. This was a wise decision. Elliott brings out the best of Sears' artwork, maintaining the strong points while adding clarity and crispness. There's no shame in that. Artist collaboration is an age-old concept and the results are often fantastic, as with these two trades.
The stories themselves are pretty keen too.
THE HELM is a nice little yarn about a slacker who finds a magic talking helmet, filled with high moments like the talking helmet getting all Burgess Meredith on the pudgy hero's @$$. The story (an underdog story) is somewhat predictable and suffers from a couple of structural flaws, mainly the delayed introduction of the big bad halfway through the story and the scattershot love/hate relationship the talking helmet has with the hero (he comes to respect him by the end of issue one, but is back to hating him in issue two). But writer Jim Hardison makes our hero a lovable loser and it ended up being a fun read.
THE SCREAM really surprised me. But of course, it's by Peter David, so I should have expected something cool. Reminiscent of both THE HULK and SHADE THE CHANGING MAN, yet standing on its own structurally and creatively, the story follows a poor sap who gains the power to channel his "fight or flight” reflex into the form of a muscular hero or a hideous monster. David once again shows he's one of the most gifted writers we have today, even though the final issue seemed to be a bit rushed.
The main reason you should check these trades out is to see Bart Sears back in top form again. With a little help by Randy Elliot, he's turned out some beautiful work here and deserves a chance on some more high profile projects soon. Sure, the pouty lips and puffy muscles may not be photo-realistic, but Sears has a style that lends itself to the fantastic tales we all read and not everything should be rooted in such reality. For someone who missed Sears' dynamic style, these two trades were a treat to read.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for over seven years. Check out previews to his short comic book fiction here and here published in MUSCLES & FIGHTS 3 and MUSCLES & FRIGHTS on his ComicSpace page. Bug was interviewed here and here at Cream City Comics. Look for more comics from Bug in 2009 from Bluewater Productions, including the just-announced sequel to THE TINGLER for their VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS ongoing series.


By Rei Hiroe Released by VIZ Media Reviewer: Scott Green

The fourth volume of BLACK LAGOON caps off the "Goat, Jihad, Rock 'n' Roll" plotline with its final chapter, then launches into the "Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise" story and wraps things up with a silly gender swap gag called "Boys and Girls."
"Goat, Jihad, Rock 'n' Roll," featured "Two Gun" Revy, a Chinese American heroic bloodshed hottie in Daisy Dukes and sleeveless top and Rokuro "Rock" Okajima, the white collar salaryman turned Lagoon Company smuggler working as unlikely proxies for an intel deal between the Roanapur, Thailand Triads and the CIA. So, Revy and Rock are set up with a blade slinging Taiwanese assassin and a stoned Irish driver with the goal of navigating/blazing a trail through territory control by an operation run by the partnered vitriol of Muslim radical and a former Japanese student protester who never abandoned the movement. The conclusion to this adventure features some kinetic scenes of screeching cars and bullets flying, as well as a few panels of raw nerve drama. However, not having read Volume 3, I really can't comment on whether the manga's "Goat, Jihad, Rock 'n' Roll" incorporated the tense moments of characters reflecting on their actions and course of their lives that were woven into the story by Madhouse's lauded anime adaptation.
"Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise" is the rare (single?) BLACK LAGOON story to take its characters away from Roanapur and its neighboring seas and environs. Rock is loaned out as translator to Balalaika, the badly burned commander of a squad that evolved from a paratrooper team in the Soviet war against Afghanistan into the Russian mafia operation known as Hotel Moscow. Rock, along with non-Japanese speaking Revy, accompany Hotel Moscow to his native country in a mission to expand Russian criminal influence by exploiting a rivalry between yakuza organizations. Happenstance puts Rock and Revy in contact with prominent representatives from one of these yakuza organizations: the orphaned intellectual teenage heiress of the Washimine Group, Yukio Washimine and the similarly serious minded and traditional family retainer, uncanny swordsman "Manslayer" Ginji. Between the lack of a strong central authority, an insubordinate, degenerate contingent of young foot soldiers and the alien scorched earth tactics of Hotel Moscow, the Washimine find themselves in an untenable position. Transitively, Rock and Revy find themselves in a dangerous spot between the increasingly desperate yakuza and a school of Russian sharks that have tasted blood.
Volume 4 caused me to reevaluate Rei Hiroe's work and his contributions to BLACK LAGOON. Hiroe is the creator of the BLACK LAGOON manga, and as such, he is the seminal force behind the premise, the magnetic characters and their exotic world. Fictional Roanapur, Thailand as a sort of criminal Galapagos, populated by miscreants, exiles, and expeditionary forces washed up on the shores of a pirate bay is a brilliant platform for an action serial. Similarly its bite the bullet, gleeful appropriation of the best from the globe's violent cinema is sure to raise the heart rate of any action fan.
My read on Rei Hiroe was that he was a sometimes ero doujinshi author (under the pseudonym Tex-Mex) with a keen interest in specific details about guns and military accoutrements... a (possibly obsessive) connoisseur of the female form and of firearms. Given that a banner for BLACK LAGOON is bound to showcase Revy's short shorts and her hands clenching pistols, Hiroe deserved the credit for the marketable features of BLACK LAGOON.
My idea was that Hiroe created the sizzle for BLACK LAGOON's manga and Sunao Katabuchi brought in the substance for his anime adaptation. This impression may have been formed by hitting the BLACK LAGOON anime before the manga that spawned it. After reading the early parts of the manga, I felt that the anime had a stronger command of the elements that intrigued me most about BLACK LAGOON: the character of Roanapur, and more importantly, BLACK LAGOON discomfort's with its own appeal. In an early scene, like us, Rock is entranced by watching Revy go rabid dog on her adversaries. She makes a team of armed men in a speeding boat look entirely ineffectual as she performs her Olympic run and gun routine. Rock's rejoinder, which clinched my appreciation of the anime, was missing from the manga. Maybe speaking for us, he comments "I don't know what broke to make her like this, but I must be broken too if I'm standing here praising her destructiveness."
While I have no qualms against condemning a story that rails against excesses in which that story indulges, I was fascinated by how the BLACK LAGOON anime expressed discomfort with the exploitation that it exalted. Its characters are addicted to a violent life, but also traumatized by that existence. In sharing this with the viewer, the anime indicts the voyeur for their interest. There's a tete-a-tete going on that develops almost sadomasochistically. It encourages you to get excited about the infliction of pain and grievous injury, then it slaps you for that excitement.
After reading the manga's "Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise" I was persuaded that Katabuchi emphasized rather than invented this component of BLACK LAGOON.
It's noteworthy that Katabuchi's anime shifted the placement of several of BLACK LAGOON's stories to develop friction between Revy and Rock concerning whether Rock was an outsider judging the Roanapur/Lagoon Company life, or whether he'd become part of it. And, it's noteworthy that the anime closed shop at "Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise."
"Greenback Jane," a story that rioted with the bizarre personalities attracted to Roanapur, preceded "Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise" in the anime, but followed it in the manga. The manga's later place Jane was collected with the opening chapters of the possibly-to-be-animated "el Baile de la muerte." While a third anime series has now been announced, there were four months between the original BLACK LAGOON anime and BLACK LAGOON: SECOND BARRAGE, then 3+ years between Barrage and what's next. So, I'm assuming that Katabuchi and Madhouse assumed they were ending the anime with Fujiyama.
This story is the Sartre evoking existential crux of BLACK LAGOON. In the manga incarnation, it does seem to romanticize the yakuza doomed by the incursion of globalization and generational schisms. Still, its hard look at the consequences of the outlaw life, goes a lone way to stripping the gunslingers of their mystique. These people aren't friends and aren't even friends with each other. Tenuous, self serving allies are recast as REALLY tenuous REALLY self serving allies, as we're reminded that the wolves who we've become attached to are liable to devour anyone not in their own particular pack.
We've seen before, in the Hansel and Gretel child assassin case "Bloodsport Fairy Tale" that Rock is not able to emotionally disassociate himself from Lagoon Company's activities. In that case, he was a minor catalyst in the action. "Fujiyama Gangsta Paradise" forces viewer and subject to recognize how he's alienated himself from his past as a Japanese business man, and instead, become party to the bloody Roanapur life. I didn't expect to find that many of the profound moments in this story came from Hiroe. I simply didn't think that quiet moments or introspection were in his repertoire. I was proven wrong. Revy commandeering a group of kids BB gun game, then pantomiming it really looks like to get shot is a brilliantly dark moment. It captures sorrowful self destruction among the gleeful violence, and proves that the manga shares the anime's fascinatingly dark soul.
Scott Green has been writing for AICN ANIME for over seven years. If you like what you see here and love anime & manga, be sure to check out his latest AICN ANIME column here.


Written by: Bram Meehan Art by: Jamie Chase Published by: Panel Press Reviewed by: Ryan McLelland

Panel Press's RAISED BY SQUIRRELS is truly one of the best kept secrets in the indie comic book world today. I fell in love instantly with the book when I first found it five or so years ago at SPX and continue to wait with bated breath for each subsequent release. RBS blends espionage, backstabbing, and beautiful secret agents together into a world with those who have superpowers and the agency set up to monitor them. It's a comic book world that sets a very high bar which most comics never even come close to reaching, though RBS surpasses with each and every release.
The latest Squirrel adventure is THE DARKNESS FROM WARSAW which continues a look back at the early days of the S.Q.R.L. (Special Qualities Research Laboratory) Agency. A continuation of sorts from another Squirrel's miniseries DEATH, COLD AS STEEL - the series follows Estelle (who we met in STEEL), a former agent of S.Q.R.L., as she relays a story from her golden days just after World War II.
Estelle is keeping tabs on a man named Petrie who seems to have these strange occurrences happening to him. Estelle monitors these 'possessions' until one leads her to uncover a secret possession of Petrie's - a supernatural tablet with some extreme power entwined in it. As Estelle looks into this mysterious tablet it seems that it having being removed from its resting place in Warsaw during the war has caused these events to transpire and that Estelle needs to head there to investigate just what is going on.
THE DARKNESS FROM WARSAW isn't a long graphic novel and gladly the price tag is just right for its length. It's really great to read these 'early adventures' of the S.Q.R.L. and get a great back story of where this superhero monitoring agency came from. It's also a great starting point for those who have never read RAISED BY SQUIRRELS and can lead you straight to the amazing spy series for more death and intrigue. While I certainly do miss new adventures of Tyler and Rose over in RBS, I'm more than happy to proclaim that Bram Meehan, joined by artist Jamie Chase and his captivating, haunting art, has produced another amazing chapter of the S.Q.R.L. world that will thrill up to its very end.
Ryan McLelland has worked in movies and comics journalism for the past several years before joining the @$$holes here at AICN. Ryan’s comic work has already graced comic shelves with Arcana’s PHILLY, WISE INTELLIGENCE, UPTOWN GIRL, and THE SENTINELS ANTHOLOGY. He rarely updates his blog but when he does it can be read at


Last week, I reviewed BATMAN & THE OUTSIDERS SPECIAL #1 where the new/old Outsiders were gathered together by Alfred per Batman’s Last Will & Testament. I liked it because it was a good “gatherin’ the troops” issue.
This issue we have…the Outsiders…coming together…gathered together by Alfred…per Dead Batman’s instructions…
That’s about it.
Still excited about this series with the addition of Peter Tomasi and the new line-up/direction, but here’s hoping we get a bit more forward progression in the next issue. - Bug

X-FACTOR #40 Marvel Comics

Once again, Peter David has asked readers to not reveal the ending of X-FACTOR, and I will heed his wish. All I can say is that while the final pages of this issue lack the punch-to-the-gut impact of #39, they do send out a signal to all disgruntled fans of this series that David is definitely getting back on track and up to his top speed. Aside from the secret ending, we get a heartbreaking glimpse Jamie Madrox’s state of mind following the events of the previous issue as he confronts John Maddox, one of Multiple Man’s duplicates who left Jamie to live his own life, rendered beautifully by Valentine DeLandro. Like Bug and I said last month—X-FACTOR is good again! Come on back to the best-written mutant book on the shelves. - Imp

R.E.B.E.L.S. #1 DC Comics

Simply amazing art. That’s the standout with this issue. I forgot to review this book last week and actually missed it on the shelves, but I picked it up and the art had its way with my eye sockets and I am now forever enamored with Andy Clarke’s pepper-shaded and finely detailed art. Pick this one up to enjoy the eye feast (see? I warned you earlier about orifices and fluids in an art review!) and you’ll get a pretty fun story starring Vril Dox (this era’s Brainiac), Supergirl, and a whole new modern Legion! - Bug

MOON KNIGHT #27 Marvel Comics

This book has been a lot better since Mike Benson replaced the indecipherable Charlie Huston in the writing seat, but someone needs to talk to Benson about pacing. There’s a whole lot of fillin’ going on here. Plus Benson and Marvel seem to be taking the Matt Murdock sans DD route that Bendis often took here by focusing on Marc Spector’s alternate personality Jake Lockley with nary a panel starring Moon Knight. Thing is, Jake Lockley is no Matt Murdock. What flew for that established character doesn’t fly with Moonie’s alter-alter ego. But that pair of gripes isn’t the main problem with this title. It’s the covers. The covers more than cross far beyond the border of false advertising. They downright lie to you. In the last arc, I believe three covers worth of falsehoods depicting the Thunderbolts in various scenes were printed and in actuality the Tbolts showed up for maybe one or two panels and sometimes not at all. Now the last two months’ worth of covers feature the Punisher, but actually ol’ Frank gets about a page or two in each issue. If you’re looking for that Moonie/P-Shiddy team-up that you see on the cover over there, you’ll be sorely disappointed this time around. I know the writer doesn’t really have control over what shows up on his covers in the biz, but someone should wake up and make the covers coordinate a bit more. These covers that fail to live up to the expectations they advertise leave a bad taste in the mouths of readers--a taste bad enough to make one not buy the next issue. - Bug

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Sleazy G

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Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 25, 2009, 7:51 a.m. CST

    no reviews of the Battlestar Galactica comics?

    by Boomers_Lips

    C'mon now!

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 8:02 a.m. CST

    I don't know...

    by wampa 1

    ...but it sure smells good!

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 8:03 a.m. CST


    by Prof_Ender

    Need more reviews on the good ol' rabbit-ronin. ^_^

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 8:12 a.m. CST

    Yeah, X-factor is definitely back!

    by MorpheusTheSandman

    Awesome episode, brilliant ending, because, you know, you want the next episode, like NOW!

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 8:14 a.m. CST

    Green Lantern, Red Lantern...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...they all come out the same color in the end.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 9:08 a.m. CST

    No Watchmen reviews?

    by tonagan

    Or is that going to be a roundtable discussion?

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 9:32 a.m. CST

    No Incognito review?

    by Joenathan

    Also, there was a pull quote from AICN on the back cover, but I didn't recognize it. Something about: "pretty impressive for 22 pages." Who said it?

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 9:33 a.m. CST

    Nice one, Rev...

    by Joenathan

    Taste the rainbow, my friend.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 9:36 a.m. CST

    The Outsiders

    by dogrobber

    Anyone want to comment on the new version of Owlman?

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Joen _ Incognito

    by optimous_douche

    It was me and they cleaned it up. The original quote was: a pretty fucking spectacular feat in 22 pages.<p>

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 9:40 a.m. CST

    To be fair Though

    by optimous_douche

    I had to go look it up.<p> If I can't remember and I wrote the damn thing, I won't fault them.<p> I have this happen with most of my quotes though...they no likee the potty mouth.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 9:47 a.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    Interesting concept. At least they're not going for the usual route and making him a refugee from Earth 69 or something tired like that.<br><br> My problem is that with Batman (soon multiple Batmen) and Doctor Mid-Night around, he doesn't really stand out. Plus he looks a bit too much like Nite-Owl from the Watchmen and Nighthawk from Squadron Supreme.<br><br> I'll give the guy a chance though.<br><br> One thing I forgot to mention and I thought was damn cool about the issue was the Creeper crawling across the ceiling of the Batcave. Creepy-coolness.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 9:48 a.m. CST

    Sorry no Watchmen review yet...

    by Ambush Bug

    We lowly AICN Comics reviewers have to wait in lines like everyone else to see it.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:10 a.m. CST

    They should have credited you,

    by Joenathan

    I thought the name "Optimus Douche" meant something, you know?

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:18 a.m. CST

    The Immortal Iron Fist

    by LordAcoustic

    Seriously - This book is one of my favorites right now. When the re-introduced us to Daniel Rand through Bru, Fraction, and Aja - It was freakin amazing. Did they do 16 issues? Freaking amazing..... All I know is that I was fearful that Swierczynski (had to look that up), but it is still going awesome.... I wish I'd get featured more......

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:22 a.m. CST

    Thus Far

    by optimous_douche

    Only Alterna has hhad the moxie to put a pull quote from a guy named douche on the back.<p> DC has lobbbed off OD and just uses AICN as well. I get it. Douche isn't exactly something kids need to see.<p> Although in this case it's far from a kids book.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:29 a.m. CST

    Sarah Palin...

    by ericinwisconsin

    ...Politics aside (and PLEASE, let's not fill up the talkbacks with that; I HATE political discussions here), Palin is a cute enough cookie to warrant her own super team. I can't wait to see her kicking butt in 6-inch stilettoes along with her "Palin Force". Members should include Michelle Obama, Chelsea Clinton, and a suddenly rejuvinated Barbara Walters.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:44 a.m. CST


    by optimous_douche

    They got the quote right, but no, no credit for ole' OD :-( :-(

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:44 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan


  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:47 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    If you don't read Incognito, then fuck you. - Joenathan, AICN. <br><br>There you go, Bru, for the next issue. You're welcome.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Green Lantern

    by Joenathan

    Each issue of Green Lantern is BURSTING with fruit flavors! - Joenathan, AICN.<br><br>Happy Birthday, Geoff Johns.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Alternate Green Lantern Pull Quote

    by Joenathan

    Green Lantern just might be the ONE DC book NOT stuck in amber! - Joenathan, AICN.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Ultimates V. 3 Pull Quote

    by Joenathan

    If wishes and buts were candy and nuts, Loeb wouldn't be writing this terrible fucking book. - Joenathan, AICN.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Tried Outsiders

    by Homer Sexual

    Based on the site, I picked up last week's Outsiders. I enjoyed the original lineup, and the new one is quite similar. However, I won't be buying any future issues for one main reason... <p> Bad Ass Alfred. He is now apparently a cross between Jarvis and Oracle. I have no problem when the butler is shown as highly competent, but suddenly going all Not for me. Boo.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 11:19 a.m. CST

    If you don't read Invincible then

    by White Goodman

    go out and buy it. It's great.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 11:24 a.m. CST


    by Homer Sexual

    Is retarded. Boo. I know what people are gonna say..."look at what they did with Catman"...well, whatever for that. Owlman is just such a crass attempt to bring Nite Owl into a pseudo-regular continutiy thing. Another dumb thing about the Outsiders. Creeper is cool, though.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 11:37 a.m. CST

    Here's a good pull quote for the bat-books:

    by Fuzzyjefe

    "If you want Batman, watch The Dark Knight, 'cause he ain't in here!" Talk about bone-headed. "Well, we just had one of our characters in one of the most successful films of all times....I know! Let's take him out of his books! Brilliant!!!!"

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 11:42 a.m. CST

    Got a question for my brothers geek...

    by Fuzzyjefe

    After watching the Daily Show Monday in which he spoke with the creator of about the new version of his 'book i-pod pad thing', I was wondering: Would it be a good idea for comix publishers to go to that format as well? Readers can go to or or wherever, pay a REDUCED price for the e-comic, and store it on their hand-held device. It seems that since most other entertainment has embraced the digital age, can comics be far behind? I really wouldn't mind not having to elbow my way thru the somewhat frightening masses of RPGers to get to my comics. What say you all?

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 11:46 a.m. CST

    I understand the ramifications...

    by Fuzzyjefe

    comic shops feeling the hit as fewer readers buy hard copies, etc. But you gotta stay with the times, especially when it comes to consumers. I really think that if comics were more readily available online like music, movies, etc, we may just see a growth in readers, which is only good for the industry as far as opening doors for more diverse content, etc. Growth of appreciation usually leads to growth of the art form itself.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 12:21 p.m. CST

    In defense of Alfred...

    by Ambush Bug

    He's been written as a former MI6 agent in the past, so this isn't a new thing. Plus he's been a field agent and has never been too friendly to those outside of Batman and the Robins, so I have no problem with the characterization of him in OUTSIDERS.<br><br> Owlman will have to prove himself out of douchebaggery though.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Fuzzyjefe Amazon

    by optimous_douche

    I would have to see it in action, but reading anything electronically is a real strain. The problem is human physiology.<p> When I first started writing business copy for the Web, people who worked in the print world for years had real issues with how short the copy needed to be. This was less for our ADD society and more for the fact that the human eye will start to wobble and zone out if it has to read too much back lit copy.<p> I groan today when I get trades to review in PDF format (yeah, yeah, I know I could print the, but I’m too cheap to print out 200 pages), instead of just plowing through like I do with print versions I need to take a break.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 12:24 p.m. CST


    by JuntMonkey

    From what I've heard, Batman comic sales were basically unchanged after the release of the movie. So they're not missing out on anything by not capitalizing more on the character, as there's very little crossover.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 12:26 p.m. CST

    I don't like that format

    by Joenathan

    I have to hold the book in my hand, I just can't read it off those weird little things. Its strange because it only bothers me when it comes to books, I mean, I "read" articles off the internet all day long, but with books... I have to hold them. I assume I'd have the same feeling when it comes to comics.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Digital Comics

    by Mr.FTW

    I think Marvel and DC should attempt a netflix/rhapsody digital format. You pay a monthly subscription fee and get to read anything and everything they publish. Just think $20 a month and you could read every Marvel or DC title, of course it would be online and you wouldn't have the hard copy. It wouldn't a replacement for collecting comics but more like a suplement. Since mega-events are the status quo it would be a way to recoup some losses due to event fatigue. I'm not going to buy evey one shot/crossover/tie in so they're never going to get that money from me and several others but a monthly fee? No problem, it would be a new source of revenue for the comics industry by bringing in money they were't previously getting and would cost much since they would only be repurposing material.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Wasn't Punisher a black guy for a while?

    by 3 Bag Enema

    Not that there's anything wrong with that.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Black boxes in the talkback

    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    Why does Ambush Bug have one but Optimous Douche doesn't? I'm vaaary confused!

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Online comics

    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    I read 90% of my comics online now, and I don't have any real problem with it, even when reading a whole graphic novel. I think I look at computer screens so often that my eyes only get fucked up when I look away from them for too long...

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Black boxes...

    by Ambush Bug

    Not a huge fan of it, but it comes with the editorial gig. I'd love for all the Holes to have it, but I don't think that would jibe with the powers that be.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:01 p.m. CST


    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    The system you propose sounds like a pretty good idea. Marvel and DC need to realise if they're going to bring out millions of crossover titles and bring all their existing titles into a crossover every time one happens, readers can't afford to buy every single title. Also it would mean you're not short changed by buying an issue of a miniseries that you find out is a load of scrotum when you get it back home.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:02 p.m. CST

    I feel OD's pain...

    by Ambush Bug

    Not that I'm complaining, but we get a lot of stuff sent to AICN via PDF, which means a lot of butt in front of the computer time. I would much rather prefer to sit or even lay down and read a comic. It just feels better to me to have the weight of the comic in my hand and the ability to scan the page and flip them manually. I haven't become so lazy yet that a page has become too much of an effort to turn.<br><br> That said, I understand the move by publishers to promote their books via electrinic copies. It saves them postage fees and allows the product to get in the hands of the reviewers immediately.<br><br> Like I said, I'm not complaining about it much, but if I had to choose between the two forms of comics, I'll choose the real world every time.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:08 p.m. CST


    by rev_skarekroe

    Personally, I don't like reading stuff on a screen. I don't think many of us Gen-Xers are going to go for that format. The next generation though, the ones who read little manga books instead of superhero comics, they might like it.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:13 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    I'm not proposing a replacement method of obtaining comics. The trip to the local comic shop, scanning the wall, flipping throught the pages and bagging and boarding isn't something I want to go away. There will always be comics I want to own and collect but if for some reason Marvel decides to have a Great Lakes Avengers tie in to Dark Reign I'm never going to buy that... ever. But if that and several other were available for me to read, I'd read them and unlike a lot of people I'd be ok with paying for it. It would be the best of both worlds, I'd get to read comics I wouldn't normally buy and the publishers would get revenue from me they wouldn't normally get.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:14 p.m. CST

    If Having a black box

    by optimous_douche

    Meant I would have to do Bug's job, no thanks. I'm happy just where I am.<p> bug and sleazy do an amazing job in a short time frame each week making sure we are all AP style guide compliant or at the very least make it look like we passed 4th grade grammar.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Black boxes...

    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    ... maybe they should go all Green Lantern and have a spectrum of different coloured boxes for different levels of contributor. Now that would be cool (if very, very confusing!)

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Online comics...

    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    I actually prefer having monthly titles as digital files. They're there at the click of a mouse, and I don't have to search through a million boxes if I want to find a specific issue. I definelty think digital comics will catch on in a big way in the next few years. I live in the UK and there are comic book shops, but outside London they're few and far between. You can order them over the internet, but you get fucked by the postage costs normally. So downloads are the way to go, in my humble opinion. It's like music was for a while, everyone's doing it illegally at the moment, but soon the big companies will catch on. "iComics" perhaps. Or perhaps not...

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:36 p.m. CST

    Does this mean Optimus.....

    by gooseud

    would be the Star Sapphire? Would Bug be the Red A$$hole? I can picture Bug now: "Fucking BENDISSSSS!!! ARRRGHGHGHGH!!!" (blood comes like gnashing out of Bug's mouth and starts puddling up Red Lantern Styley in front of his computer)

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:38 p.m. CST

    Until the Blackest Night came.....

    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    ... and destroyed every talkback in the universe.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:39 p.m. CST


    by Fuzzyjefe

    I know what you mean. I don't think I'd ever go to a completely digital format, but I also felt that way about music. However, I have come around on that front. However, print really seems to be a completely different beast than music/movies. As far as those 2 go, the storage format isn't really a big concern. As long as it sounds/looks just as good as 'hard copies', it's not a big deal that it's just a digital file. <p> I also just realized that a hand-held digital format could change the way artists approach their craft. Can't really have a 2-page spread when your screen is single-page. Hmmm. Lots to consider....

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:41 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    would they create giant green long boxes for their giant green comics?

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:41 p.m. CST

    X factor

    by gooseud

    is indeed back, David shook off his "Crappy X Crossover Syndrome" (which is no sure thing, 50% of the time David never bounces back, see She Hulk), its clickin again for sure, not on all cylinders but gettin there

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:43 p.m. CST

    LordAcoustic re: Iron Fist

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    I've been lobbying for more coverage too. They did a nice job covering this when Fraction was on it, and now they're kind of blowing it off. And it's still awesome - although I do miss Aja on pencils.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:43 p.m. CST

    There has to be a joke in there

    by gooseud

    somewhere about Optimus envying Bug's long black one, right? I mean, gotta be!

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:44 p.m. CST

    andy clarke's art

    by DocDaneeka

    i'm not too familiar with this guy, but he strike anyone else as a poor man's travis charest?

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:45 p.m. CST

    And I brought this topic up..

    by Fuzzyjefe

    only because I love comics as a form of entertainment, and believe that we have barely explored what the medium can do. With that in mind, the industry is really only a bad year away from REAL TROUBLE, and there really seems to be a need for real discourse & ideas for keeping the medium viable. <p> One other thought: why don't Warners and/or Marvel entertainment ADVERTISE their products in front of their movies? You know, before Watchmen starts, promote similar, adult titles. Before Wolverine, push some of Wolvie's best trades. Seems common sense to me. You've got an audience interested in the character on screen, why not at least TRY to influence SOME to pick up a book or two?

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:48 p.m. CST

    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    In darkest day, in blackest night, No comic shall escape my sight, Let those who write a book that's shite, Beware my power... an @sshole's might!

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:48 p.m. CST


    by gooseud

    FYI, for those who care (over/under is around 2), just wanted to make my feelings known on a few backed-up things on my mind: 1. Walking Dead is friggin awesome right now. The Rick Freakout 2 issues ago was nutso. 2. Nova's recent turn of events isnt really clickin for me. They need to get off Earth and back where he belongs, in space doing cool shit like hanging out in a Celestial's head. 3. Thor's big twist doesnt really ring all that true either, at least for me. Loki does all the shit he's done and never gets exiled, but Thor fucks up one time and hes out? By Balder's hand no less? Not buying it. That fight scene was indeed the shizzle, however.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:50 p.m. CST


    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    I think advertising the trades to the masses is a great idea. Non-comics readers could never get into the actual series without a lot of time and commitment, but they're probally more willing to buy collections in book form.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:50 p.m. CST

    I'm more enjoying Iron Fist

    by Joenathan

    in Brubaker's Daredevil run. The eighth city thing in his own title is alright, but I can't get past the art and I'm not connecting with the writing. Thats why I left with Fraction.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:52 p.m. CST


    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    I agree, they were a bit quick to kick Thor out. But I'm sure it's going to make for some interesting stories though.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:53 p.m. CST

    Trade trailers

    by Joenathan

    Sure, they just cut a few teaser trailers for some of the cooler stories and run it before the movies... instant sales.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:57 p.m. CST

    I love Walking Dead

    by Joenathan

    ut I have this ebb and flow with Kirkman when it comes to tolerating his personal writing faults, talk, talk, talk, speechify! But... just when he's getting so ridiculously talky and I'm just about to call foul for excessive monologueing, he does an action issue. I really enjoy his work, but god damn he fucking jabbers sometimes.<br><br>I just bought Invincible trade #5, by the way, so I'm getting back into it.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 1:58 p.m. CST

    invincible 59 sucked balls

    by listo65

    it has nothing to do with what's been leading up to issue 60, it totally sucks

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:01 p.m. CST


    by Fuzzyjefe

    Allen the Alien is the friggin' bee's knees, is he not? He would really up the fun at an Avengers BBQ, wouldn't he?

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:02 p.m. CST

    Kirkman understands the fundamental problem

    by gooseud

    with slow zombies, in that they arent threatening or scary in the least. So occasionally your going to get a little talky-talky because the villain of the piece isnt particularly threatening.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:20 p.m. CST


    by Fuzzyjefe

    I did like the way he explained slow zombie danger a couple of issues ago...namely, that once they're on you they will stalk you FOREVER, unless another living person crosses their path. And, also, there are a lot more of them than the living. And rotty people are scary.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Someday no one will be marching at all

    by dead-battery

    There is a market for digital distribution of comics among existing readers. The problem is digital comics are in direct competition with digital content such as: online gaming, console gaming, streaming video, movies on demand, computer animation, and can't be particularly appealing to a newer generation who did not grow up reading paper comic books. Comic books share many characteristics with other visual oriented media and when they compete head to head it is not going to end well. Is Joey going to want to play Grand Theft Auto, or pay 4 bucks to dowload GL. To save comics from dying Marvel, et. al, need to stop selling comic books for $ 3.99. If the price point was lowered to where a kid could buy a comic for $ 1.50 - you would see renewed interest/growth that would not necessary have to be tied to the diminishing returns of the next big event. Which begs the questions, why are comics that expensive? Really, I want to know. Dan Buckley, at Cup O Joe Al'Queda Comic Con 2009, could NOT articulate the methodology by which comics were priced. The guy's the damn publisher. Clearly, inflation, labor costs, over head, material and production costs have gone up since one could buy a 75 cent comic at the drug store. But even in those days before the great internet came to free us all, Marvel would have a regular subscriptions for 6 bucks, but if you wanted an Epic Comic (which Baxter/Mando paper, better coloring, etc) you'd pay 8 bucks for a subscription. Then Image, Valiant, etc., came along and you had a comics arms race for the prettiest comics. We need a tiered system. One tier, with more traditional type comics, i.e, with less "modern" production values and return to true mass distribution; slicker books could still be published for distribution via LCS. Bottom line: if kid (or his parent) can get a comics book for $1.25 at age 8, and purchase that book at the drug store, super market, etc., and not (in their limited view)strange stores filled with marginal types. Marvel could grow the industry. Moreover, the writing, etc., in the bargain tier would be just as good, and could always be reprinted with better paper/coloring, etc., in TPB form. If something is not done, comic book shops will continue to be filled with aging fans, arguing over whether Rhona Mitra should have played Laura Croft, Zork would have made good first person Shooter, that large green boxing gloves are indeed cool. Years will go by, their numbers will dwindle, and one day the shops stand empty a parade of WWI vets.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Anybody else consider the fact **spoiler**

    by Fuzzyjefe

    that there's a zombie Lori & baby out there right now? She did get gut-shot you know. Freaky.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:26 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I don't think he needs to amp up the zombies at all. In fact, part of the reason I love walking dead is that its one of the few zombie things out there that openly admits that once all the surprised people are dead, once all the dumb people are dead and once the people still alive figure out a few simple rules, for the most part, zombies are very easy to deal with and that the real danger comes from other living, breathing folk. I am all for that shit, which is why the Prison end fight was so great, the zombies just made a bad situation all the more worse. Loved it!<br><br>However<br><br>My problem with Kirkman isn't the cerebral issues or the human interaction, I am a well known fan of Bendis, so I can handle a few speech balloons now and then, my problem with Kirkman is he tends to mak characters monologue and that just makes for the worst, most ham-handed dialogue. Real people don't talk like that. Imagine if real life conversations were just like as if this talkback was read aloud, each person in turn. It bugs me and Kirkman is occasionally, and somewhat regularly, becomes the worst offender of this.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:26 p.m. CST

    I hear you dead-battery

    by Fuzzyjefe

    Maybe some company (looking at you big 2) should have tiered comics. Beginners (for kids): simpler story-telling, cheaper paper ('cause kids don't care about keeping a comic pristine), lower cost so mommy & daddy can afford em for the kids. Then teen/young adult (more mature, little better production), then mature. Hook 'em early with the cheapies, keep em as adults.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:27 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I love Allen, but I haven't read his stand alone issue yet... So ssssshhhhh!

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:27 p.m. CST

    Anyway, been a fun convo today..

    by Fuzzyjefe

    signing off for now. Take care of yourselves, and each other.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:28 p.m. CST


    by Fuzzyjefe

    to know Allen is to love him.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:56 p.m. CST


    by steverodgers

    I remember that G.I. Joe used to adverts for the comic during the show. Wasn't that the best selling comic of the 80's? I feel like I heard that somewhere. Maybe the trailer idea is pretty good.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 2:57 p.m. CST

    The real problem with a Kindle for comics:

    by SleazyG.

    It's in black and white, and the white is more like cream-colored to mimic book pages and make it easier on the eyes. So unless you're only gonna read black and white stuff, it's not gonna be any good for comics. The size of the Kindle is worthless for comics, too--it's smaller tha a regular page so the formatting is gonna be thrown off or the panels are gonna be waaaay to small. I'm not saying there'll never be an option for this sorta thing--just that it's not even close to being here yet.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Online Comics

    by Homer Sexual

    The difficulty of the format would never work for me, though the idea of paying $25 a month to read everything would save me so much money, even if it were $25 to each company. <p> But I would never read anything long on a computer, so there would need to be a comic version of Kindle, and that would be prohibitively expensive to the casual reader.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Yeah, Kindles *are* kinda prohibitively expensive.

    by SleazyG.

    I can check a book out of the library, buy it used, buy it on sale, buy one a month and spread out the cost...but asking somebody to drop $349? That's a serious bite. I haven't even shelled out for an iPod yet, so I imagine I'll buy a kindle sometime around 2017 if the format sticks.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 8:19 p.m. CST

    Brubaker's good, but humorless, while Johns

    by crankyoldguy

    balances touches of humor with plenty of drama and an understanding of how to combine the best of Silver/Bronze age comics and contemporary comics.

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 9:58 p.m. CST

    by gooseud

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 9:58 p.m. CST

    What is this.........

    by gooseud

    Brubaker criticism you speak of?!?! Bite your tongue, sir!!!

  • Feb. 25, 2009, 10:11 p.m. CST

    The Helm was ok

    by Series7

    Needed to be a little bit longer, or is there going to be more Helm? It kind of wraps up if I remember correctly. The Scream looks pretty sweet though.

  • Feb. 26, 2009, 7:09 a.m. CST

    Walking Dead

    by Bluejack

    Lori and Baby Z will be back, I bet. I wish Kirkman would at least tip his hat to Raimi and have someone say to Rick, "You gonna put something on that stump?" and he would reply, "Like what? A chainsaw or something!?"

  • Feb. 26, 2009, 6:35 p.m. CST

    Everyone, please stop...

    by 11ZOMBIES

    ...sucking Kirkman's dick. The first 50 issues of TWD are nothing more than rip offs of all the great zombie and horror/sci fi flicks. That shit is just trash... Let it die.

  • Feb. 26, 2009, 9:28 p.m. CST

    He's right, guys.

    by Joenathan

    He's right. Stop reading that book right now. Just stop. Let it die the way God wants it too. For God's sake, think of the children.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 7:37 a.m. CST

    Not Only Does Bug Have Black Boxes In TB

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...he also has one on the @$$hole jet. Whenever we fly, he's sealed up inside in case we crash on some weird island, like in that show WEIRD ISLAND or on an icy mountain top, like in that movie CANNIBAL GEEKS. The rest of us have to take turns piloting. For you non-pilots, I'll let you in on a little secret, planes actually operate a lot like cars. The only problem with being the guy at the stick is that Schleppy brings you all your drinks...

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 1:57 p.m. CST

    And if that dirty ape is bringin' drinks…

    by The Heathen

    Planes are crashing on Hydra island.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Reasons I love comics...

    by Continentalop

    Dracula has a castle on the moon and a giant, intelligent planet with a beard is member of an intergalactic police force.

  • March 1, 2009, 10:48 a.m. CST

    FUCK Noooooo

    by Laserhead

    Judd Winick is the regular writer on Batman, starting in June.<p>I know everybody's gone, I just needed to shout. Goodbye, DC.

  • March 2, 2009, 1:16 p.m. CST


    by The Heathen

    Winick? Batman? Fuckin 'A'. After Morrison, O'Neil, Gamain, Dini, who else but fucking Judd Winick?!?!?! OF COURSE!!! : (