AICN COMICS REVIEWS PRESENTS OUR BIG @$$ 8TH ANNIVERSARY COLUMN! TONS OF REVIEWS!!!
BIG @$$ 8th ANNIVERSARY COLUMN!!!
Hey folks, Ambush Bug here and I’m very proud to announce that this is our 8th year reviewing comic books at AICN. There have been plenty of highs and lows in the comic book industry and the @$$Holes have been there trying to give our honest, off the cuff, and uncensored opinions about anything comics.
It’s hard to believe that it was eight years ago that The Original @$$Hole AKA The Comedian took the bull by the horns and decided to send in a comic book review of his own to Moriarty at AICN. A few weeks later, The Comedian talked the ever-insightful Cormorant (AKA Dave Farabee), the one and only Buzz Maverik, and some guy named Ambush Bug to join together and write up a review column of our own at AICN. Soon, other rogues like Jon Quixote, Sleazy G, Vroom Socko, Village Idiot, superninja, and the original Indie Jones Lizzybeth joined in on the fun and The Talkback League of @$$Holes were formed.
The rest, as some folks who say things say, is history.
We have a fantastic column this week; a shitload of the best reviews you’ll find anywhere from the best reviewers you’ll find anywhere. A sincere thank you to all who read this column and all who help put it together. I have met some of my best friends doing this thing for all these years. Their contributions to this column, the Talkbacks, and conversations through the years mean the world to me. So to the @$$Holes (past and present), the Talkbackers, and the casual readers who don’t (but should) Talkback; WELCOME TO AICN COMICS: YEAR 8!!!
This week’s column begins with a feature I hope people will enjoy. We call it “Ye Olde @$$ From the Past” where we repost a review of out very earliest columns at AICN. Some of them are painful to read. Others still resonate with what’s going on today. If anything, it provides a nostalgic look at how we used to look at things, how things have changed, and how some things stay the same. This week we have the one that started it all….take it away Comedian!
Written by Peter Milligan Illustrated by Mike Allred Published by Marvel Comics Reviewed by The Comedian Originally posted 4/11/09Well, here we are nearly a year since Joe Q decided to ditch the Not-So-New Mutants so that Milligan & Allred could give birth to everyone's favorite "Junior-Justice-League-of-Wrong-Headed-Miscreants" and I will scream out with pride at the top of my lungs that X-FORCE STILL ROCKS YOUR FUCKING HOUSE DOWN. Sure, it's not a big action book and they've only had one decent villain (The Coach) but other than those and a few other minute flaws X-FORCE is in my opinion in a dead heat with THE INCREDIBLE HULK as the best book Marvel is putting out right now. For grown ups, anyway. I don't really need to get into the why's and how's because they've already been discussed to death. Those of you out there that 'get it' love it. The whining minority still writing in hate mail demanding the return of Sam Guthrie & Co. still don't 'get it' and probably never will. Over the past ten issues we've seen a virtual revolving door of misfits hoping to cash in on their powers and make it in the "big time". Just about every other issue a new X-Forcer is introduced and each and every one of them has been more three-dimensional and compelling than any of the Not-So-New Mutants or even in some cases Jean, Scott, Logan and the "Varsity Team" themselves. HOWEVER, I have picked up on a pattern of Allred's. A dirty little secret if you will that has become blatantly obvious with issue #126. He's taking some of his Oni Press/AAA Pop characters and recycling them as Marvel mutants. Which is fine since they're his characters and he can do whatever the hell he wants with them. I'll give some proofs to this hypothesis in a little bit but first here's the obligatory plot summary.
X-FORCE # 126 is the second part in a storyline that will end in the death of one of the Big Three (Edie, Tike and Guy). The current team comprised of U-Go-Girl, The Anarchist, The Orphan, Doop, Phat, Vivisector, The Spike and new member Mad Gir..I mean, Dead Girl have been sent into space on a bogus mission against fake aliens. They've been told to throw the mission and purposely lose so that a team of C.I.A. goons can come in and hot dog for the cameras. If that weren't bad enough, they've also got to think up a new name for their team because Spike Freeman doesn't feel like paying royalties to the original founders anymore (this is of course a riff on Marvel wanting to cut Rob Liefeld out of the gravy train and there's an added layer of irony because that jackass Spike Freeman is drawn to resemble Liefeld.) We learn that Vivisector and Phat have developed "special feelings" for each other, Tike & The Spike still hate each other and Edie is still in some way pining for Zeitgeist. But all these superfluous subplots take a back seat to the action involving the team's encounters with the "aliens" who are really former Texas death row inmates who have been genetically turned into shape shifting energy blasting mutants by the Govt. As well as the origin and inner demons of the teams newest member MadGir….I mean, Dead Girl. Dead Girl is a mutant whose powers are pretty straight forward. She's a zombie. She can't be killed. She's dead already so every time she's killed again her body simple puts itself back together. She bullshits Edie & Tike into believing that she can communicate with the dead but it's really a front because she doesn't even know what the hell she is. Her pale white-bluish skin, grayish-black hair and bulgy white eyes will remind you of a certain Snap City hero we all know and love. Not to mention her "undead angst". As far as her origin goes, we find out that she was a dime a dozen aspiring actress who came to NYC to start up a theater career and ended up murdered at the hands of some pretty boy, Ted Bundy/Robert Chambers wannabe from her acting class. By the end of the issue Dead Girl has saved the Anarchist's life. The Spike has turned traitor. And the wounded, delirious half asleep imaginary girlfriend we all wish we had, Edie Sawyer thinks up the best suggestion for a new team name yet. "X-Men! Our new name! X-men! It's the perfect name for a group of mutants with the X-Gene! X-Men!…zzzzzzz".
As far as Dead Girl's blatant similarities to Madman, I don't mind all that much. She may not have "the touch" like ol'Frank Einstein but they do have the whole "I've been brought back from the dead and now I'm a blue skinned, angst filled, zombie freak" thing in common. I mean look at her on the cover or even her first appearance in #125 before Allred decided to make her bluer. Put an electrified exclamation point on her chest and she could be Frank Einstein's hot female cousin with similar powers (like Hulk & Supes). Of course I wouldn't have noticed so much if Allred hadn't already pulled this with The Orphan who's basically a doppelganger of THE ATOMICS leader Metal Man only with completely opposite powers (The Orphan wears his suit and helmet to protect himself from the outside world while Metal Man wears his get-up to protect the outside world from himself.) Still, I don't mind that much and truth be told if it weren't for this spectacular run on X-FORCE I would never have picked up back issues of MADMAN or THE ATOMICS in the first place. Ain't I just the indie comics poser. Hell, maybe this will start a trend. Maybe DC can hire Nick Bertozzi to work on a NEW TITANS book and then he can replace the old team with clones of The Incredible Drinking Buddies.
What I like about this issue and most issues of X-FORCE is that Milligan and Allred are fantastic when it comes to fleshing out their characters and giving them complex, concrete origins. The characters and their internal conflicts take precedence over big action and giant sized superhero plotting. This new storyline and the satirical elements of the book are all going along like a well-oiled machine. The subplot with Phat & Vivisector turning out to be "buddies" is out of left field but I think they're really not gay and just faking it so that they can "stick out, have an edge, and shake things up" like Spike Freeman advised them to do back during the Lacuna storyline. That would be a perfect satire of Gay today, straight tomorrow media whores like Anne Heche. Tike and The Spike's rivalry is running its course and even though we have been set up to root for The Anarchist I'm finding that all Tike's worrying and complaining are revealing him indeed to be a crotchety old woman. The Anarchist is shedding all the layers of pretense and cockiness that we saw in the first few issues. And while I'm rooting for him and loving the multi-layered characterization whammy that Milligan is doing on him I'd really like to see Tike just suck it up and kick some ass. This new "see who dies" storyline at first glimpse seems like they're running out of ideas. But if you look at this entire run one of the major themes has always been "Death as the Ultimate Price of Fame". Even after the first arc where Zeitgeist, the previous team, Rainbow and Saint Anna took the dirt nap it was still a major theme. They wouldn't let Lacuna join because she didn't understand that risk. And in Edie's origin issue we see that even she fears death and doesn't reveal her true identity to her daughter because she wouldn't want to break her heart should she die in action. So by killing one of these three characters we've grown to love Milligan and Allred are wrapping up their first year and bringing it full circle. Sadly enough, my money's on Edie Sawyer. From what I've heard, issue #129 is going to be the final issue of X-FORCE and Milligan & Allred's Hollywood mutants will re-launch in yet another different direction with X-STATICS #1 in July. Which is kind of like when Liefeld relaunched THE NEW MUTANTS as X-FORCE. Here's to knowing that this time around it's actually worth the trouble.
OVERALL: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
THE WALKING DEAD #61
Writer: Robert Kirkman Art: Charlie Adlard Publisher: Image Comics Reviewer: Ambush BugTHE WALKING DEAD is one of those books that I have reviewed so many times that I often find it hard to say something new about it. The story is always solid. And the art by Charlie Adlard is some of the most distinct and amazing stuff to be seen on the printed page today. I named this series as the Best Ongoing Series of 2008 in the last @$$ie Awards Column and five months into 2009 the book is looking to be a frontrunner in that category again this year. Plain and simple—I love me some THE WALKING DEAD!
But that doesn’t mean that occasionally I don’t have something critical to say about the series and that’s the case with the issue that dropped last week; issue #61.
The rest of this review is going to be SPOILER heavy, so tread carefully, my friends.
Now I’m not one to be offended but I do know when something is going to ruffle feathers, even if it isn’t my own. In this issue two children commit murder and two children die. Now this isn’t like the scene in CRAWLSPACE: XXXOMBIES from last year where a zombie nurse is treating a natal unit as if it were her own all-you-can-eat buffet. That scene was ugly and gross. It made me feel wrong for reading it, even though I should have known I was in for a raunchy time when the premise of that series was zombie-porn. But when it comes to THE WALKING DEAD, I’m expecting a higher caliber of story and we got one of sorts here. It’s just that something was off with this issue and that’s why I decided to review it this week.
It’s an ugly world Rick and the rest of the survivors are wandering through in this series. The few remaining living cast members of this series are literally trying to outrace death itself on a daily basis. I don’t really have a problem with how Kirkman is depicting the effects of this zombie world on the child survivors so far. What I have a problem with is how it is dealt with in this issue, though.
First, the homicidal tendencies of little Ben could have highlighted a bit more before he goes off the deep end and kills his brother in this issue. Last issue he’s killing a bunny in the woods and in this one he’s carving his brother to pieces. For me, the pacing was just a bit rushed and would have had more resonance with me had there been a bit of a buildup to the events of this issue.
Secondly, as character goes, Ben and Billy really didn’t have much, so while their deaths were shocking in this issue, Kirkman could have actually given them a couple of scenes to make the impact of their deaths in this issue hit even harder.
But that’s not the thing that bothered me the most about this issue.
After Ben’s body is found and Billy is being held in the back of a van, the group discusses what is to be done with him. A similar scenario came up while Rick and the crew were living in the prison, though no one really references it here in the story, I couldn’t help but remember how that predicament turned into a big screw up too. But here, the group is split with Rick, Abraham, and a few others believing that the only thing to do is kill the young boy before he turns on someone else in the group, while the other half are utterly offended by the suggestion of taking a child’s life, especially so soon after one just died. It’s a tough decision, I understand. All parties are bereft of a way to solve it. The child’s seen walking humans being picked off like flies on a daily basis and his sense of value of human life has got to be skewed. He saw his parents murdered in front of his eyes. Over and over members of the group say that the child doesn’t know right from wrong and the only debate they have is whether to execute the kid or not.
Here’s a kooky concept: How about just sit down and talk to the kid about it?
I mean, this comic has been guilty of having its fair share of word balloons. It’s not like it’s out of the realm of possibility or out of Kirkman’s skill-set to do such a scene. Why not try to explain to the child that what he did was wrong and try to explain the concept behind life and death to him?
The argument could be made that the world Rick and co. are walking around in has vastly changed them; that their own perceptions of what’s right and wrong have been shifted due to the zombie apocalypse. In a world where your own loved ones can die and rise from the dead with a craving for your flesh, one can imagine the effects that would have on a person. Maybe I’m jumping the gun here. Maybe the fact that the only solution everyone could come up with was execution is another example of how these survivors and not the shambling mounds around them are actually the Walking Dead depicted in the title of the book. Maybe it’ll be dealt with in a later issue. There’s definitely another kid in this book in need of such a talking to. But to me, the fact that simply talking with the child who is obviously confused was not even brought up as an option is just as disturbing as the act the kid did itself.
This is an amazing book--one of those books that won’t last forever and should be appreciated and cherished while it is still being printed. Eventually, like all good things, it’ll come to an end. Years from now THE WALKING DEAD will be another classic series that people recommend to others like PREACHER, SANDMAN, and Y: THE LAST MAN (mentioned in this issue’s letter column) as one of the best. But for now, despite a story that seemed a bit rushed and not completely well thought out, THE WALKING DEAD continues to be the best on the shelves.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for eight years. Check out 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 in stores October 2009.
SECRET SIX #9
Writer: Gail Simone Artist: Nicola Scott Publisher: DC Comics Reviewed by Humphrey LeeThere's been much to love about this title since it was brought back for yet another run, this time thankfully an ongoing one, but I think my favorite thing about this newest iteration has been the big addition to the roster, both figuratively and literally, in Bane. Not only has he broken the Bat, but he had the most stand out character moments in the first arc, which had a big drive towards getting into the heads and motivations of those that comprise this group of miscreants. Now again we're in a story - stand-alone but with a “Battle for the Cowl” moniker above the title - that puts the Big Man in a more introspective light, this time alongside the Catman, as they both fight back some kidnappers in Batmanless Gotham. Also, Ragdoll dresses like Robin and acts like a big perv, of course. More on that later...
Really, when it comes down to it, this story is basically about two men living in the Shadow of the Bat. You've got Bane, a man whose first appearance on the scene was to snap the Caped Crusader in half, now shown to almost revere the man he once tried to destroy. Then you've got Catman who seems to feel almost like a younger brother to the Bat in that no matter what he does, it will never be good enough, which of course is the case because of how amorally he goes about his actions even if they do more often than not result in "good" being done. It really makes for a great back and forth, as you've got Bane pretty much stoically extolling the virtues of a man he was once in confrontation of and knows that he could never replace now that he's more in the realm of good than evil bouncing off Catman who has had a hell of a mad-on towards Batman that could really only be boiled down to an almost seething jealousy of because of how revered he is. It makes for some great rolling commentary on the two as they go about their vocal denials about their viewpoints on the now deceased protector of Gotham as they now fight on the behalf of some of its denizens. And then Rag Doll makes a "Bat-Pole" joke and I'm reminded of another reason why I enjoy this title so...
Gail's trademark humor is always a key to this title and it was in full force with this, what I would say is easily the best issue we've seen so far of SECRET SIX this new volume. Not only were the usual barrage of double-entendres and sight gags perfectly on point, but they added some great levity to the back and forth between the usually pretty tight lipped duo I was going on about above. But even they had their moments in this I will say, though more in the forms of mayhem, destruction and physical violence than perverted wit, but worth their respective amount of chuckles all the same. I particularly liked the bit early on when Bane had a youngin thrust upon him and tried to console her. Some points may have laid it on a little too thick, but overall this issue showed great balance between all its elements.
And to close this out, big props again to Nicola Scott, whose art I've always enjoyed since I first saw it when she first teamed with Gail back on BIRDS OF PREY. I was so glad she was tapped to pencil this book and this issue is a great example why. Crisp lines, great push on the action sequences, great range in expression to drive some of the more somber bits and get more oomph out of the funny bits. I'm a little disturbed at how much emphasis was put in the big Nightwing panel on his rock-hard ass - it almost looks like he's deliberately clenching it at us - but eh, I'll chock that up to girls being girls…and a little bit of jealousy on my part that I can't get mine to look that way no matter how I work out...yeah, I went there. Anyways. We've got humorous, action-packed, and some good heaps of characterization thrown in to boot. That's what I like in my comics and that's why this book continues to be one of, if not the best thing I pull out of the DCU. "To my Bat-Pole" indeed...
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.
ANGEL: BLOOD & TRENCHES #3
Written by: John Byrne Art by: John Byrne Published by: IDW Publishing Review by: BaytorAs this mini-series goes along, I find myself feeling that it’s being padded. Of the three issues published, I think there’s about two issues of actual plot in the mix. Both this issue and the first could probably be cut in half without losing anything essential. My opinion of the mini is still favorable, but I find myself cooling toward it slightly.
This is due, in no small part, to the character of Colonel Wyndam-Price, who despite being on a mission to avenge his father’s death comes across as something of a cold fish. This issue essentially retells the story so far from his point of view and, quite frankly, there’s not much here that would warrant more than a four or five page flashback. He’s informed that the demon who killed his father is stalking the Western Front, he swears vengeance, then we get a fairly pointless fight scene as German vampires jump into London during a zeppelin bombing run.
Why is this scene here? Apart from demonstrating that Wyndam-Price is adept at fighting vampires (which isn’t needed after he got the drop on Angel last issue), your guess is as good as mine. It also shines a much unneeded spotlight on his batman, whose chubby appearance and thick accent mark him as a comic relief character, only without doing or saying anything remotely funny. He’s just a strange character that doesn’t fit in with the overall tone of the piece.
Then it’s off to the Continent, where he spends a bit of time aboard the German U-Boat that sank the ship Angel came over on. Not much information here, apart from the appearance that Angel fed on the German sailors, which, quite frankly, feels more than a bit wrong for Angel during this time period. While he did feed on humans after regaining his soul during the Boxer Rebellion, he only fed on criminals and only to fit in with Darla, Spike, & Drusilla. Feeding on rank-and-file German soldiers who could not be considered evil by any stretch of the imagination seems a fairly big deviation for the character and requires a bit more explanation than we’ve seen so far. It’s possible this is a bit of misdirection to make us believe Angel is feeding on humans while the true culprit is revealed next issue; but the story doesn’t seem to be making a big deal about it, presenting it in a rather matter-of-fact manner, making it feel like sloppy research.
A quick retelling of ANGEL #1 & 2 later, the Big Bad of the piece shows up and I must say I’m still feeling really underwhelmed by him. Kakistos was a fairly forgettable one-shot villain from the third season of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer” and Byrne has done little to elevate him above the other vamps in the story, apart from being a bit bigger and tougher. Being able to take a stake in the chest and live is impressive to a point, but the character is still a complete cipher with a stock vamp personality. I really would have loved to have seen this issue through his eyes, building him up for the big finale next month. It’s not as though this issue couldn’t have trimmed a dozen pages or so pages to make room for his story.
Even with this rather impressive laundry list of complaints, my impression of this mini-series remains favorable. Byrne’s b&w artwork remains impressive and he seems to have artistically connected to the material. Byrne’s dialogue remains a bit of a weak point, but anyone familiar with his work knows what to expect: it gets the job done with a minimum of grace and poetry.
Next issue is going to be the make-or-break issue of this series. If it can make Kakistos a compelling villain with an interesting evil plan, then this will go down as one of the best Byrne stories I’ve read in ages. If not…well, it still has some pretty artwork to look at.
WARLORD #1 & 2
Writer: Mike Grell Artists: Joe Prado (pencils)/Walden Wong & others (inks) Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Prof. Challenger“I don’t see why she should mind sharing you if I don’t.” -- Shakira
I’m from the generation of comic readers who grew up reading Mike Grell’s THE WARLORD during the 70s. The hidden land of Skartaris and the pilot-turned-warlord Travis Morgan battling dinosaurs, wizards, and other monsters while surrounded by sexy scantily-clad women. What was not to love about that? It was basically Frazetta for the Jr. High set.
Recently, at least sometime in the last year or so, DC attempted to relaunch and reboot THE WARLORD without Mike Grell and it was about as awful as it could possibly be. In fact, I didn’t even realize that it had been quietly removed from the publishing schedule and this new restart for the series planned until I saw the first issue on the stands. Seeing a Grell cover for THE WARLORD #1, I thought at first it might be a reprinting of the original series with a new cover, but happily that was not the case.
DC has wisely chosen to cut their losses on that abominable faux WARLORD series and apparently let Grell pick up the reigns once again as writer on the series (and cover artist) that essentially made his career. And the thing is, it kind of works for me. It feels like no time has really passed between the end of the original series and this one. All the major characters are still there unchanged, including Morgan, his daughter Jennifer, Tara, Shakira, and even Machiste.
In the first issue, Grell sets up a mystery that involves some new visitors from the surface world to Skartaris and in the second issue he lays out all that one needs to know about the Warlord and his history to sufficiently understand and enjoy the series. And for old-timers, it’s a good refresher on what has gone before because it has been many years since the original series ended its healthy run.
The writing on the series feels almost exactly like it always did, so what feels familiar to me may be jarring to a more modern audience that perhaps wasn’t weaned on Grell’s earlier work. Prado’s art is fine. His work reminds me of the young Dan Jurgens who took over the art from Grell back in the day. I prefer for Grell to illustrate his own work, though, and the full-color covers Grell has produced for these issues are so dynamic and sharp that the interior art doesn’t fully hold up to the promise of the covers. And that’s unfortunate for Prado, whose work is still solid and good, especially when inked by Walden Wong, but it’s not Grell. I wonder if the interiors might not work better for me if reproduced directly from the pencils and then fully rendered and textured color work layered together with them? Just a thought. Might give it more of that barbarian style that works so well for Grell.
Bottom line is that I’m happy to have this series on the stands and relegating that recent reboot attempt to the trash heap of bad dreams that disappear into the wisps of lost memory. Didio gets a plus-mark in his failing grade from me for at least seeing this series back onto the stands. For readers who enjoy a bit of the old-school in their sword and sorcery comics, THE WARLORD is a good addition to those decent new Conan comics out there and others.
Prof. Challenger is illustrator and "Renaissance Man" Keith Howell who is married with two kids, a dog and a cat. Headquartered in the Republic of Texas, he has a glorious ability to annoy people, the strength of ten men, and sometimes updates his website at profchallenger.com.
ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN #132
Brian Michael Bendis: Writer Stuart Immonen: Artist Marvel Comics: Publisher Vroom Socko: DeliveringI may be calling it early, but what the hell; ULTIMATUM is the worst crossover event Marvel has ever produced.
Seriously, the whole thing feels like a film that was written by Eli Roth and produced by Irwin Allen, only to be directed by Uwe Boll. There’s so much ungodly, horrific shit happening in the various installments that I’ve just stopped caring. A perfect example of this comes from the issue of ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN prior to this one, which I decided to reread before starting the latest installment. There’s a scene in that issue where Spidey is making his way through the ruins of New York, and stumbles onto the crushed remains of Daredevil. My immediate response to this was, “Oh that’s right, he’s dead. Huh.” The items to take away from this are: 1) In this Event, Daredevil is killed off-panel, with only the discovery of his body shown. 2) After having read this, I completely forgot it had happened. 3) Upon being reminded that DD was dead, I didn’t give a shit one way or the other.
Yeah. That’s a good sign, right?
As to the events in this issue, there’s even more horrible shit happening, due to the destruction of Dr. Strange’s house, releasing the magiks contained therein. (The theme of ULTIMATUM seems to be that if all this superhero crap was real, New York would be destroyed about a dozen times over. Of course, if this WAS all real, the planet would have cracked in half a dozen years ago, but we can’t write a story if the Earth is a dead world, now can we? Oh fuck, I’m giving them ideas…) And so, horrible shit is layered onto more horrible shit, building up to the inevitable fecal trifle.
Did I like anything about this issue? Yes. The first four pages are great. This sequence, where Peter’s friends are surveying the damage and arguing amongst themselves, is the sort of writing that Bendis was put on this planet to create. These small, character driven moments, where insights are revealed and personalities are laid bare, these people and their dialogue are everything that makes Bendis the phenomenal talent he is. Why he continues to forego this for monstrous “epic” event style stories is beyond me. It’s like Woody Allen directing INDEPENDENCE DAY or something.
I must confess, ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN is pretty much the only Marvel comic I’m continuing to buy. (Nobody here counts CRIMINAL as a Marvel book, right?) Thanks to deals with the devil, a bloated “Messiah Complex”, and a company-wide rehashing of 12 year old plotlines from THUNDERBOLTS, I’ve become bored and disinterested in the whole of the company’s line. This book was the exception. I’m a huge Spidey fan. I’m a me-sized Bendis fan. I’ve enjoyed this title from its beginning. But the upcoming new #1 may just be my jumping off point. I hope not, but we’ll see.
Vroom Socko, aka Aaron Button, has two great loves in his life, the telling of tales and the Portland Timbers. To locate him, just head to Portland, and odds are he’s either at PGE Park or Powell’s Books.
Writer: Kurt Busiek Artist: Mark Bagley Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: JinxoSo as we head into the home stretch on DC’s latest year-long weekly epic, seemed like it was worth taking another look at.
On the whole TRINITY has turned out to be…okay. Well, a bit better than okay but…holy crap, plunking down three bucks a week for a year I want something that kicks major ass. And it does try.
On the plus side, it has been much better than the last DC weekly “epic”, COUNDTOWN. They went in with a well thought out plan and a solid story. COUNTDOWN was a bit of a meandering mess. Even when TRINITY comes close to meandering, everything has actually fed into and supported the main story. The problem is TRINITY is just so big and epic that…I don’t know that I needed every last second of every last plot. The book feels at times like it’s being written by one of those people who tells you a personal story and throws in 5 million details not directly relevant to the point.
“So then grandma gave me five dollars. And I was like, hey, five dollars. What should I do with this?”
“Excuse me…this relates to you being shot in Iraq?”
“It will make sense once I explain about the trip to the zoo when I was eight…”
Ugh. While TRINITY isn’t quite that bad…it can start to feel like that. Reaching the end the action is kicking into higher gear. Oddly this adds to the feeling that a lot of the details from over the past year were actually less than essential and could have been yadda yadda’d over. Last week found an amazingly powerful entity actually ripping the Earth to shreds with his bare hands! Really pretty cool. I mean, that’s an image used all the time in comics but usually figuratively for a cool cover. Not sure I’ve ever seen a villain ACTUALLY grab the world with his hands and shred it. That leads into this week where giant cosmic forces confront each other over questions of morals and metaphysics. Strangely that I have seen a lot in comics, but watching the all powerfuls debate can be entertaining. But…the world is shattered, the “gods” debate as all seems lost. Reading that, it’s hard not to look back and think, “Were all those weeks and weeks of following an alien race (which we will NEVER see again) on their religious pilgrimage REALLY necessary?” Yes, important things happened in that part of the story but they didn’t need to take near as long as they did with it.
On another note, don’t go into church and start telling your local clergy that the REAL Trinity is Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. They do not find that amusing. Nope. Not at all.
Jinxo is Thom Holbrook, lifelong comic book reader, and the evil genius behind poobala.com. He may appear cute and cuddly but if encountered avoid eye contact and DO NOT attempt to feed.
THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN CENTURY: 1910 OGN
Writer: Alan Moore Artist: Kevin O’Neill Published by: Top Shelf Productions & Knockabout Comics Reviewed by: BottleImpFor those of you not in the know, Alan Moore’s LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN consists of various characters from the literary world joined together as a British government-sanctioned team of special agents—think JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA with Wonder Woman replaced by DRACULA’s Mina Murray, and Jules Verne’s Captain Nemo filling Aquaman’s flippers. However, much like DC’s foremost supergroup, Moore’s League has a changing roster of members, some famous and bordering on the iconic, while others are more obscure and give off a “B-List” vibe. If the first two volumes of LOEG were the equivalent of the classic JLA lineup of Superman, Batman and the rest, the incarnation found in CENTURY: 1910 is more like the infamous “Justice League Detroit.”
Though I enjoyed this volume more than the previous LOEG offering THE BLACK DOSSIER, I feel that by using these lesser-known literary creations Moore loses some of the spark that made the first two volumes so enjoyable. As much as I’m intrigued by the set-ups offered here—the moon-cult, Captain Nemo’s daughter, the mysterious time-stepping Prisoner of London—I can’t help but be jarred out of the story slightly by my unfamiliarity with this 1910 League’s members. With Volumes I and II it was much easier to jump on board with the storyline, since characters such as Mr. Hyde and the Invisible Man are familiar icons to fans of the fantasy, horror and science fiction genres. So in the interest of helping out my fellow readers, here’s a quick rundown on the new faces of the League:
Allan Quatermain Jr. is in fact the same Quatermain of the previous volumes, just revitalized and youthful again (the details his transformation are tied in with H.R. Haggard’s novel SHE and are alluded to in the text pages at the end of Volume II and within THE BLACK DOSSIER).
Thomas Carnacki is a supernatural detective created by English writer William Hope Hodgson, and seemingly a prototype for later pulp and comic book mystics such as Dr. Occult.
Arthur J. Raffles was created in the 1890s by E. W. Hornung, a brother-in-law to Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes, and is basically Holmes’ opposite—a gentleman thief rather than detective.
Orlando is an immortal gender changing character out of a Virginia Woolf novel, though Moore has him/her dating farther back than Woolf originally wrote. Lots more about him/her can be read in Volume II’s text and BLACK DOSSIER.
As I said, I enjoyed this more than the previous volume—incomplete as it is, this first CENTURY book is much more plot than the DOSSIER and much less ramblings about Victorian sex (don’t worry, though, there’s still sex in it…just not on every other page). And it is fun picking out all the little pieces of literary reference that Moore sprinkles throughout the series (for example, in the text back-up feature for 1910 he manages to bring the Monolith from Arthur C. Clarke’s 2001 into the folds of LOEG lore). Kevin O’Neill’s art remains that quirky mix of caricature, cartoon and etched-line style that gives the series much of its character. It’s just a shame that with each volume Moore and O’Neill produce they add more and more works to the tapestry of their mythology, when none of these later additions equals the fun of the first iconic stories. Nevertheless, Moore putting out “B-material is still better than many scribes’ “A” game, so count me in for the next CENTURY installment.
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.
BOOSTER GOLD #20
Writer: Keith Giffen Artist: Pat Oliffe/ Dan Jurgens Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Optimous DoucheBOOSTER GOLD #20 is a cocktail of two parts snark and one part cold war drama all blended together by the Holy Fathers of irreverence Giffen and Jergens. While it’s been pleasant to see Booster man-up and become a big boy super hero since the death of bromate Ted Kord, it’s also fun to once again see the golden one act like a teenager out for a night with Dad’s car, or in this case, his son’s time machine. None of this is to say this issue didn’t have problems because frankly it did, but they are tolerable nits for collectors like myself that have been following the Booster legacy for the past 20+ years.
I could tell from the set-up that this issue was going to be more bubblegum than filet mignon. Rip Hunter, Master of Time and grown son of Booster (still unbeknownst to Booster, and certainly still more of the Father figure in this temporal ass backwardness), gives Booster the parachute equivalent of a time machine in an attempt to simply get Booster out of his hair for a few hours. Booster selects the year 1952 because he hopes to meet The Fonz. Booster has always been fun loving, but if he means this literally (which is how it comes across) somewhere between issue 19 and 20 he suffered blunt head trauma. In some 4th wall breaking fun Rip replies, “I thought we were done with that number.” 52 – get it? Cute, not BWA-HA-HA funny, but cute.
Once he is lands in the time of American Graffiti, Booster ends up at a secret rocket facility under the charge of a Soviet genius that promises to get man into space a full decade prior to when it actually happened (well, when it actually happened in comics). That scientist in question would one day start the Rocket Red program assuming Booster can stop this early launch from taking place.
The choice to take the title down this route presented several problems. Fanmen and fanoldfucks will remember Rocket Red, the bulky Iron Man that always struggled with English back in the JLI days only vaguely. Every time Rocket Red appeared you knew you were in store for some “Cousin Balki Perfect Stranger” English misconstruing fun. Sadly though this is no longer the late 1980’s and what made Rocket Red so interesting was his bumbles, not his “powers.” Fanboys and younger readers will merely recognize the Rocket Red name as fodder from the CRISIS flood of carnage. There’s just a real lack of consequence from this whole story. Personal feelings aside, if the Rocket Red program never came to be, would the universe be truly worse for the wear? Not really. All of Booster’s missions under Johns and Katz in the early days of this series had true consequences, this felt more like biding time. I guess from any other creative team I would tolerate this type of laissez-faire filler, but I know that this august lineup is capable of so much more.
Generally these one-shots are the perfect jump-on point for new readers, but this issues is far from Booster’s finest outing and laden with far too much DC history for anyone under the age of thirty to truly care about the title. To truly play the nostalgia card, Giffen needs to go back to his roots and have present day Booster time warp to the early formation of Justice League International or perhaps a trip to Justice League Europe.
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."
DARK REIGN: HAWKEYE #2
Writer: Andy Diggle Artist: Tom Raney Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Liam ‘The Kid’Note: ‘The Kid’ is 8 years old and has been doing reviews on his own site since August of 2008. And you can now follow the kid’s daily ‘adventures’ on Twitter.
Daredevil’s enemy Bullseye is pretending to be the good guy Hawkeye because Norman Osborn has set up a team of bad Avengers to do whatever he wants. A lot of the Avengers on Osborn’s team are bad guys pretending to be superheroes and Hawkeye is the craziest one on the team. Even Osborn can’t control him because Hawkeye just kills whoever he wants and then when Osborn yells at him he really doesn’t care. In the last issue Hawkeye looked like he was going to be a hero because he rescued a lady from being attacked but then he killed her and the people attacking her and someone was taking pictures of it from a helicopter.
This issue starts right after that part and I guessed right how Hawkeye was going to stop them. I know that the real Hawkeye has good aim because of how he took care of the Skrulls in the SECRET INVASION comic but I think Bullseye has even better aim because he is doing a lot of hard shots and making them. I think it would be cool if the real Hawkeye shows up in this comic and is mad at Bullseye for stealing his name and they fight. I’d like to see which one would win.
This time Osborn isn’t really as mad at Hawkeye and gives him another mission to go on. Osborn says that it’s okay if Hawkeye kills people this time because the bad guys are terrorists and people won’t think he’s bad if he kills them. The end of the comic got a little strange. When Hawkeye shows up at the building all of the terrorists are dead and it looks like another Bullseye killed them. They don’t really tell you who the Bullseye is and maybe Hawkeye is imagining it but on the last page something happens which is pretty crazy and I don’t think it’s a dream. I think I know how Hawkeye can get out of it because he used trick arrows in the beginning of the book but we’ll see next issue if I guessed right.
The comic has a lot of action in it. Hawkeye is doing a lot, especially in the beginning and end of the book. It’s not good that he was killing regular people but the parts where he was doing his trick shots with the arrows and stuff showed how good he was at being an assassin. I also liked the part where Osborn had his goons come in and take care of Hawkeye’s mess. He had them show up so fast and just take care of the whole place it’s like Osborn can do anything. I bet that he and Hawkeye are going to end up fighting because Osborn wants everything to be his way and Hawkeye is too crazy to follow rules.
The art is great in the comic. I like all of the poses that Hawkeye is in when he’s running or shooting the arrow. He’s drawn really well and the artist makes him do these crazy smiles to show people that it isn’t the good Hawkeye. But he also draws other characters and things like buildings and helicopters really good, too. I even like his Bullseye and he draws him with a really creepy smile.
It’s a good comic for action even if it’s really just about a crazy bad guy who is going around killing people and getting into trouble. The middle part of the book with just the talking with Osborn is just okay and I hope there is more Bullseye and Hawkeye next issue since there wasn’t a lot of it in this comic and they were both on the cover.
Rating: 9 out of 10
POWER GIRL #1
Writer: Jimmy Palmiotti Artists: Amanda Conner Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Prof. Challenger"Green Lantern used to ask me why I never wore a mask. It's because most of the time...they ain't lookin' at my face." -- Power Girl (JSA CLASSIFIED #1)
A couple of years ago, I reviewed that JSA CLASSIFIED comic that featured Power Girl and I had a lot of fun by basically rating her breasts page by page. For, as we all know, Power Girl has become the possessor of comicdom's most famous twin headlights. The thing is, as a character she's so much more than that. Finally, after decades of floundering attempts at writing this character (and a lot of that time in embarrassingly awful attempts at pointless costume redesigns), we have Power Girl done right.
So many times, people approach PG as basically a confused Supergirl with big tits. But the truth is, a simple sampling of her original appearances in ALL-STAR and SHOWCASE demonstrate a fully realized and intelligent young woman. As Karen Starr, PG did not run around pining for boys and dealing with angst. She was a professional who owned and ran a tech corporation and could hold her own in the business world as well as the costumed crime-fighter world. And Palmiotti picks that up and runs with it. In the high-tech 21st century, of course, Karen Starr is ready to take Starrware Labs and restart it with a pointed purpose in addressing and curing environmental problems through high-tech solutions. This gives her character meaning and direction beyond just how she and her company tie into whatever the next mass cross-over storyline might be.
Palmiotti resets PG firmly into the modern world and introduces a new supporting cast around Karen, which should give him much to play with. He relocates her outside of Metropolis and smack dab into New York which works perfectly to give her a setting that is familiar but slightly outside the usual "fake" cities of the DC Universe. Plus, like PG says in her voice-over narration, there's no better place for a fresh start than New York.
To me, the plot takes a back seat to the pure character work being done here. Palmiotti has developed into one of my favorite writers working at DC right now. The work he did with Justin Gray on the FREEDOM FIGHTERS and JONAH HEX started out strong and got better (continuing so on JONAH HEX). As well, his writing on the TERRA mini-series (also with art my Connor) was outstanding. So, I expected that this comic would be pretty good, but in my book, within the context of mainstream super-hero comics I would say the writing is flawless. Nothing missed its mark with me. The briefest of brief recaps of her Kryptonian origin and structure and pacing of the story completely worked for me. The balance of humor and seriousness was perfect. And the introduction of the villain of the piece, the Ultra-Humanite, was dealt with as a true and deadly threat upon the people of New York rather than just a villain-of-the-month plot device. Ultra being a longtime JSA villain from the 40s through to today who was originally most famous as a cheap knock-off of Lex Luthor until he started plopping his brain into other people's bodies -- then he turned into a monstrous hyper-intelligent maniac (used quite effectively in James Robinson's classic THE GOLDEN AGE). Ultra's current form where his brain has been transplanted into the body of this huge albino ape has been his only visual since the 80s and I guess he's tired of that ape, because he now apparently wants to shove his brain into the beautiful skull and body of Power Girl herself. Thus, a cliffhanger ending ensues and I'm hooked for the next issue and the duration.
No review, however, would be complete without spending some time gushing lavish praise upon the beautiful art and storytelling of the incomparable Amanda Connor. Yes, the one who posted a copy of her cover art for the comic on FACEBOOK recently and had the assholes there remove the art because it was obscene or something. Regardless of those FB dumbasses (who seem to have since realized their mistake since Palmiotti now has the cover posted), I swear that each and every time I see something new by Connor it is even better than the last thing she did. She's at the top of her game and yet keeps topping herself! I loved her work on TERRA last year and spent a lot of time just going back through the issues admiring her artwork, but her work on this issue is equal parts pretty, sexy, powerful, and clean. In fact, just as I said about the writing, I would say her work was flawless here. The costume tweaks that Connor has done to PG's costume here have taken my favorite super-heroine costume and actually improved it. The only thing I would change back would be the buccaneer boots. I just happen to love the buccaneer boots. But Connor has managed to retain the essential elements of PG's costume but upgrade them to look like something she could actually wear in the 21st century. Outstanding work and I can't wait to see how Connor improves once again next month with POWER GIRL #2.
I am committed to this series for as long as Palmiotti and Connor continue to work on it. This comic made me feel like a kid again. Thank you to all involved.
THERE’S AN ALIEN IN MY TOILET Vol 1
Written by: Samuel Vega Art by: Jorge Medina Published by: Crazee Comics Reviewed by: Ryan McLellandYou would think just by the title of this book that the authors are going for the lowest common denominator. This isn’t really the case and the comic is not about E.T.’s excrement. Rather THERE’S AN ALIEN IN MY TOILET is a wonderful kids property from Crazee Comics. It’s fun, it’s cute, and it’s a book I can read to my own 5-year-old.
The plot is simple: An alien named Doodie (He’s from Uranus. Hee hee.) is sent to Earth to determine if the blue planet is a threat. Upon (crash) landing his vessel in the forest Doodie is at first thwarted by every imaginable creature in the woods from bear to ant. While he may be ‘big stuff’ on his own planet we get quickly that Doodie has no clue what to do once out of his element.
With the government on his trail Doodie hides in a house with a wide-eyed Dad, a video-game obsessed boy, and a Chihuahua determined to bite the odd-looking creature. His hiding place of choice? One look at the title might tell you.
For those who might roll eyes – don’t. I know this isn’t a comic for everyone and it’s not Alan Moore writing a space saga. This book is meant to be fun and for kids – accomplishing both with ease. My son LOVES the book and constistantly asks me to read it to him which is great. It gets him not only into the art but interested in reading as well. I’m very glad the powers-that-be at Crazee have put together this great TPB which does include a bonus story, some pin-up art, and a look from Medina’s sketchbook. I love this book and can’t wait for future Doodie adventures in years to come.
Ryan McLelland has worked in movies and comics journalism for the past several years before joining the @$$holes here at AICN. Ryan’s comic work has already graced comic shelves with Arcana’s PHILLY, WISE INTELLIGENCE, UPTOWN GIRL, and THE SENTINELS ANTHOLOGY. He rarely updates his blog but when he does it can be read at www.eyewannabe.com. The first issue of his new WISE INTELLIGENCE miniseries can be found here.
HOUSE OF MYSTERY #13
Written and Illustrated by a multitude of talent
It’s a tricky thing to disrupt a story in mid flow, especially on a cliffhanger. If you’re going to do something like that, you’d better have a damn good reason, and it better be pulled off with style. Thankfully, HOUSE OF MYSTERY #13, with three short stories centered around that number, has style to spare.
Vroom Socko: At Dinner
Each of these tales has a particular “Rod Serling” vibe to them, with each also being distinct enough from each other to keep from feeling repetitive. The first story, from writer Matthew Sturges and artist Ralph Reese, features a young man who is the only person aware of a secret thirteenth hour in the day, and of the horrors that happen during that hour. The second, from Bill Willingham and Eric Powell, has a man shopping for a thirteenth wedding anniversary present for his wife, only to receive a most interesting offer from the shop owner. The final story, by Chris Roberson and the incomparable Neal Adams, is a story of two immortals and the thirteen different times they meet over the millennia. Then there’s a final page, provided by Sturges and Sergio Aragonés, that’s too fun for words.
Of the three main stories, the one that has the most fun with the whole 13 theme is the Willingham/Powell one. Each of the stories has a bit of a twist to them, and this one was the easiest one to see coming. However, Willingham is so dedicated to the 13 theme, and Powell’s artwork is so appropriately moody, that I can’t help but think of it as my favorite of the issue. The other stories are no slouch though, with the Sturges/Reese story having the most interesting, and chilling conclusion. As for the Roberson/Adams story, well if you really need to hear anything other than “artwork by Neal Adams” then just know that this story is the most charming of the three.
If you’ve been reading HOUSE OF MYSTERY the past year, don’t skip this one by just because it’s an aside from the main story. If you haven’t been reading HOUSE OF MYSTERY, then for the love of Neal Adams pick up this issue, then go get the ones you missed. In either case, get your hands on this book. Reading this issue was like finding a lost installment of HARLAN ELLISON’S DREAM CORRIDOR. If there’s a higher compliment than that for an anthology comic, I can’t think of it.
(Oh, and for an extra treat, count the page numbers. Go ahead, I’ll wait.)
(Nice touch, eh?)
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May 20, 2009, 8:46 a.m. CST
May 20, 2009, 8:51 a.m. CST
This comic has the single most unexpected, maybe even most shocking thing any G.I. Joe character has ever done over the past 25 or so years. I hope that sentence itself doesn't give it away.
May 20, 2009, 8:58 a.m. CST
by V. von Doom
"Secret Six". Buy it -- DOOM commands you! Better yet, buy two and hand one along to someone. Nicola Scott and Gail Simone have THE best DC Comic going right now.
May 20, 2009, 8:58 a.m. CST
I have to admit that I'm not as wowed by "The Unwritten" as everybody else seems to be. It feels like one interesting and postmodern idea has been stretched out to provide the basis of the entire story, which is presented in a very bland and straightforward way (with no attempt at postmoderism in the way that the idea is presented). I guess I can't complain, since $1 for 40 pages isn't a bad deal, but I don't think that the central idea is really strong enough to support an entire series. Incidentally, that was an impressive haul of reviews this week. Nice work.
May 20, 2009, 9:15 a.m. CST
would have been more shocking if Garth Ennis hadn't done the same thing a couple months ago in "Crossed".
May 20, 2009, 9:16 a.m. CST
Isn't a post-apocalypse murderer. I'd be the first to volunteer.
May 20, 2009, 9:19 a.m. CST
For those who might be interested, there was a movie made years ago about that gender swapping Orlando character. It starred a young Tilda Swinton as the titular character. Worth a look, if you want some background knowledge on the character that's in LoG.
May 20, 2009, 9:24 a.m. CST
When did this come out? How did I miss it on the Previews list? Does my LCS have it or do I need to drive across town? WTF, man!?
May 20, 2009, 9:29 a.m. CST
And i walked away until someone oculd convince me it was better than Dossier.<p> And I don't mean just slightly better since Dossier was wretched. LOTS BETTER!!!!<p> After Imp's review I think I'm still walking away.
May 20, 2009, 9:34 a.m. CST
I'm so glad that somebody else mentioned Dark Reign as being a bloated Thunderbolts ripoff.<p> <p> I've been saying that for months now. It's like the elephant in the room that nobody wants to mention.<p> <p> Anyway, when Steve Rogers invariably comes back, likely in the upcoming "Reborn", he'll kick Norman Osborn's perm haired ass out and things will get back to normal.<p> <p> Anybody else find it funny how the X-Force/X-Statix retro review basically claimed that the New Mutants/X-Force had no legs, but XStatix DID? LOL<p> <p> I literally laughed til I fell out of my chair. XStatix petered out quickly & all of the cast was brutally murdered at the end.<p> <p> The X-Statix cast lasted all of 40 issues combined. The rotating New Mutants/X-Force cast lasted 225 issues. <p> <p> The icing on the cake.... New Mutants have their own series again and X-Statix continues to rot and fester like Britney's cooter.
May 20, 2009, 9:37 a.m. CST
No Obama reference in here? I thought for sure I wouldn't make it past the Bill Maher section without seeing one. Surprising....
May 20, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST
Made me want to read the comic anyway! Even though im not really into Dark Reign..i like the concept but nothings really grabbed my attention.
May 20, 2009, 10:32 a.m. CST
Hey Optimus, surprised that you neglected to mention who the potential astronauts were in your Booster Gold review...
May 20, 2009, 10:36 a.m. CST
Was not a comic/graphic novel. That's what people are failing to understand. Maybe it's Moore's fault or DC's for not stressing the point before its release but it's a SOURCE BOOK. Anyone going into that expecting Vol III is obviously going to be disappointed, especially at the price it was sold at. Personally I crave everything LoEG so I lapped it up, knowing full well I was more likely to get text peices, maps and unique gimicks than actual story so I wasn't miffed. Well maybe a little miffed at the fact we never got the vinyl as well but never mind. It was worth it for the Jeeves and Wooster vs Cthulhu story.
May 20, 2009, 10:40 a.m. CST
That when you take a big action sequence and have it narrated by a dispassionate power ring you pretty much suck all the excitement out of it. When are comic writers going to stop putting up walls between the reader and the characters?
May 20, 2009, 10:56 a.m. CST
I try not to give away everything ;-)
May 20, 2009, 11:06 a.m. CST
by V. von Doom
LoEG is no longer at DC and thus not getting the advertising push it used to get. I'll wait for the collected version because it will only make sense all together.
May 20, 2009, 11:19 a.m. CST
It's inevitable. The fact that they have elevated him so successfully only means he'll have much farther to fall when the time comes. Someone in the Marvel U needs to walk up to him and say:<br><br>"You know, sooner or later, you're going to crack. You can't help yourself. You're not as clever as you think. You are a barely controlled chemically castrated psychotic who is gets one step closer to going megaton every day. All it will take is a flash of red and blue and a web in your face and you're done. And I'll be there to see it."<br><br>But even if they do that, it will probably end up the way World War Hulk ended up. When you build a character like that and then reduce him back to HULK SMASH, it's disappointing. Hopefully they take care of Osborn better.
May 20, 2009, 11:28 a.m. CST
SPOILER!<br><br><br><br>The kid carved up his own brother AND neither one of the twins really ever had great communication skills to begin, in fact they seemed pretty regressed, PLUS all of the survivors are mentally damaged, at best, and locked into a world were violence is often the only option... <br><br>I think it made perfect sense that they didn't think to talk to him. And really... once you cross that killing-your-own-twin-because-you-just-don't-know-any-better line, aren't you past the "Now, son, we can't have you doning that anymore, ok..." stage?<br><br> I think Abraham was right, the bottom line is survival, more specifically, your own survival. A kid like that... he's never going to get better, he's going to get worse, severe sociopaths do not get better, with each act they get worse, they evolve and thats in our world. The kid just isn't going to get the attention and treatment he needs, not in that world and not with the resources and time the survivors have available. It was a horrible situation, but thats how their whole world is. <br><br>Awful realities like that is part of what makes the Walking Dead world a good, engrossing read, its why books like the Road are good reads (not to compare the two but for the sake of illustration...) neither sugarcoated the "reality" of the situation. Its harsh and in order to survive you have to sacrifice a little bit of who you used to be every day. Then what's left of the characters? Who do they become? Isn't that the heart of the story? It certainly makes you wonder who Carl will become.<br><br>So I didn't have a problem with that...<br><br>BUT<br><br>What I did have a problem with was the conclusion of the investigation itself the next day. It was like: "Well, hell, everyone is accounted for... I guess we'll never know what happened.... What's for breakfast?" I mean, they chatted about it for what? 5-ish minutes and were all like: "I am STUMPED... huh... oh well..." The End. In the wake of it all, I expected more talk, but then maybe that all harkens back to the Survivors' mental states again.<br><br>Anyway, I thought it was done well, for the most part.<br><br><br><br>END SPOILER
May 20, 2009, 11:39 a.m. CST
It IS the worst cross-over I have ever read, BUT it's a great idea as far as removing the Ultimate Universe from the Regular Continuity's shadow. <br><br>Why Jeph Loeb, though? Thats the real problem.<br><Br>As for DD's death, I think it was off panel because, as a character, he really didn't matter in the Ultimate Universe, he never really had a place, he was just a useless also-ran, a knee jerk character they inserted almost in their sleep, because they felt they had to, and the only thing really different about him was he was more of a butthole. His death actually gives the whole event an edge that Loeb has been unable o create, it makes the thing like a cosmic sideswiping, a sudden car crash out of nowhere, a huge terrible thing that happens and people die without purpose or glory. They just die. Some of you might say Daredevil "deserves" better and I would say, in the Ultimate Universe at least, he is a non-character, so no, he doesn't. He was jus a man who drowned.<br><br>Frankly, I like the idea of wiping the Ultimate board a little, changing the game, letting the Ultimate Universe enter uncharted waters and explore a truly alternative branch... I just wish it wasn't helmed by such a great, drooling retard of a hack...
May 20, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST
I've very curious where they go from here and I'm kind of curious about Spider-girl/clone, but depending on what happens, this may be a jump off point for me too -- disappointing because I've been on since Number One, as well -- But we'll see. I think Ultimate Spider-man has long been Marvel's most consistantly entertaining book, so I'll give it a bit of leeway.
May 20, 2009, 11:48 a.m. CST
by sean bean
Loeb killed it with the power of hackitude. I will probably pick up Ultimate Avengers to see if Millar can rescue the universe, but if it's anything like his Fantastic Four run, I'm out. Also, is it me or is Dark Reign: Hawkeye not particularly suitable for an 8-year-old? Bullseye - a serial killer - is shown taking pleasure from the random murders of innocent bystanders. And he's the hero of the book.
May 20, 2009, 11:54 a.m. CST
Bullseye is the star of the book, Ben Urich is the hero. There is a difference.
May 20, 2009, 11:57 a.m. CST
Wait a cotton picking minute! Do you mean to say that the idea of Dark Regin has been done before?!?!?! GASP! WHAT.....? I can't believe it. When was this wholly original idea of usurped identity first used again? Was it Thunderbolts, you say? Was that where the idea was first created? Those thieving bastards! I can not believe that a comic book company would re-use ideas! I am shocked! SHOCKED!
May 20, 2009, 11:58 a.m. CST
I just want to see whos left standing when its all over. Also, Ultimate Spider-Man is handling it beautifully because of the overall feeling of helplessness. Really looking forward to the climax of this story.
May 20, 2009, 11:58 a.m. CST
See, when there's this many reviews, I don't mind the kid taking one or two.<p>Vroom, I concur completely about Marvel. Nice exegesis.
May 20, 2009, 11:59 a.m. CST
Literally? Sounds like an inner ear problem.
May 20, 2009, 12:02 p.m. CST
by sean bean
Believe it or not, I actually thought hard about the use of the word "hero". He's certainly not the villain. Anti-hero? Possibly. But how would an 8-year-old see it? Bullseye/Hawkeye is the coolest character in the book. He has funny lines. He defies death. He's in peril on the last page. That sounds a lot like the hero of the book to me. An 8-year-old is not going to understand the moral ambiguity and they will certainly not be rooting for Ben Urich. Which was my original point about whether it's suitable for someone of that age.
May 20, 2009, 12:04 p.m. CST
Thus further solidifying his role as savior in the Marvel Universe. Yeah, I'll read it. It's Brubaker. And Hitch.
May 20, 2009, 12:06 p.m. CST
You make a good point, but the end result, say if Urich stands up to the much more powerful Bullseye and exposes him, thats the actions of a hero, where as Bullseye would be revealed as the villian he is. Although, maybe the blood and the arrows through the eye migh not make it apprpriate, but hell, I grew up watching Stallone and Arnold slice the tops of people's heads off with circular saws, so...
May 20, 2009, 12:07 p.m. CST
by sean bean
For Cap's return. The book is much, much better with Bucky. Who knows, maybe it's a feint. Maybe Bucky stays as Cap. I hope he does.
May 20, 2009, 12:09 p.m. CST
is going to be the re-launch of the Heroe's Reborn world. At least, I hope... heh, heh, heh
May 20, 2009, 12:10 p.m. CST
by sean bean
The guy with the cool costume and exploding arrows or the middle-aged journalist in a trenchcoat? If Urich exposes him, he'll seem like a killjoy because Bullseye is having so much fun - and it's entertaining. I was also desensitised to screen violence at an early age, but I have a kid now and think about these things a bit more...
May 20, 2009, 12:14 p.m. CST
I can see the blurb on the Ultimatum Trade now.
May 20, 2009, 12:14 p.m. CST
I think about it too, but I just recall how my parents explained shit to me and set a good example and I learned the difference between fiction and reality, but everyone has to parent in their own way.<br><br>AND, I think the idea that you know you shouldn't cheer for Bullseye, but still do kind of, is the hallmark of a well done story. Complexities are good things, especially for kids.
May 20, 2009, 12:22 p.m. CST
Or the time machine equivalent of a parachute, maybe?
May 20, 2009, 12:25 p.m. CST
Unless you mean the fourth wall of "time". <br><br>quote:<br> In some 4th wall breaking fun Rip replies, “I thought we were done with that number.” 52 – get it? Cute, not BWA-HA-HA funny, but cute.</br><br> Re-read 52. That wasn't fourth-wall breaking. Rip was the one who wrote the chalkboards with the number 52 all over them. He was obsessed with that number. It's actually quite straight.
May 20, 2009, 12:26 p.m. CST
You are so right on the quote thing.<p> I'm still seething about my out of context pull out on the last issue of KICK-ASS.<p> Oh, good call on Booster, wanna be my editor :-)
May 20, 2009, 12:28 p.m. CST
No I was taking about the theatrical 4th wall.<p> If I ever have 20 hours to spare I'll dive back into 52. Damn your good memory.<p>
May 20, 2009, 12:32 p.m. CST
I have a terrible memory. I was just obsessed with 52 is all.
May 20, 2009, 12:32 p.m. CST
by Kid Z
...Giant scale, balanced perfectly. On one side, stacks of reviews. On the other, Harry.
May 20, 2009, 12:38 p.m. CST
by Kid Z
...Now, I don't read Trinity, so I have a question: Why is Superman surrounded by giant, floating space turds?
May 20, 2009, 1:28 p.m. CST
I don't even want to think about that!!! But hey, I thought the new Supergirl was pretty damn good and asked if he'd want to read it but his response was pretty much what you'd expect. Then he had a bunch of questions about why his 35 year old father was reading Supergirl. Sigh. Right now no interest in the ladies, real or comic book stars.
May 20, 2009, 1:50 p.m. CST
by Matthew Martinez
It just so happens that I'm in the midst of reading Penguin Classics' three-volume collection of Lovecraft's work. I highly recommend starting with <i>The Call of Cthulhu and Other Weird Stories</i>, which contains some of his best stories (the title story, "The Shadow Over Innsmouth," "The Colour Out of Space," "The Whisperer in Darkness"). The other collections are <i>The Thing on the Doorstep and Other Weird Stories</i> and <i>The Dreams in the Witch House...</i>. If you have more money to burn and really want to be a completist, you can always pick up Arkham House's hardcovers instead, since they're considered the definitive editions of Lovecraft's story collections. The Penguin editions, however, use the same corrected texts that appear in Arkham House's collections. There are a handful of stories that don't appear in Penguin's books, but I've been assured that they're not essential. (Plus, they're about ten bucks apiece from Amazon.) <p>Also, if you don't mind waiting for a while, Barnes & Noble will be publishing a second printing of their now out-of-print collection of Lovecraft's fiction. This one-volume edition features all of Lovecraft's fiction (minus the revisions he did for other writers) including the few that don't appear in the Penguin editions. Aside from that, it's only about $13 or $14. The catch is that a) it won't be out until February or March of next year, and b) it's effing huge and heavy, meaning you'll probably need to prop it up on a coffee table to read it.
May 20, 2009, 2:22 p.m. CST
1. To the guy who said all he reads is Ultimate Spidey for MArvel, your missing out bro. No Iron Fist? No Cosmic Marvel (Nova, War of Kings, Guardians)? No Thor? How could anyone NOT be reading Cap? Really? Damn dude, your missing out, seriously. Just avoid the major, crossover-infested titles and the X titles and your fine. Having said that.... 2. Darkhawk is fuckin lame. I love me some cosmic Marvel, but no one can make that character cool, no one. 3. I read Villains United, but havent been reading Secret Six. I dont know why, I loved Villains United. I think the reason might be that I'm a dumbass. Maybe the first trade might have my name on it.
May 20, 2009, 2:34 p.m. CST
And I really like where Secret Warriors is heading.
May 20, 2009, 2:46 p.m. CST
He killed it when he finished up the Supreme Power mini. I finishing his first issue and thinking "Man, this book really went to suck. Did Straczynski and Bendis just stop giving a rat's ass? Oh wait - Loeb wrote it. I see."
May 20, 2009, 2:49 p.m. CST
I just hope he dies a painful death soon. Not because I hate the character (I actually love him as a villain) but because he is a f'ing douche. <p> It is a comic book universe, so hopefully some day the consequences for evil actions will catch up with some of these characters.
May 20, 2009, 2:49 p.m. CST
I think most of his stories are here - http://tinyurl.com/cqz7hq - I know the collaborations are missing (which is a shame because The Mound is one of my favorites), but that should certainly keep a new reader busy.
May 20, 2009, 2:53 p.m. CST
But I bet he's the key to Norman's fall from grace.
May 20, 2009, 3:09 p.m. CST
I can dream.
May 20, 2009, 4 p.m. CST
Was get the living shit beat out of him in Thunderbolts. That was a very good day for me.
May 20, 2009, 4:03 p.m. CST
That whole story was great.
May 20, 2009, 4:15 p.m. CST
Is still one of my favorite heroes.
May 20, 2009, 4:58 p.m. CST
without even once mentioning The Threepenny Opera is beyond me. This is practically a comic book adaptation of Kurt Weill's play. But considering I'm a fan, that's OK. However, Moore just fluked out with me. What are the odds that as many other comic book readers will be as familiar with Mack the Knife and Co. as I am? And trust me, you'll need to be to get a lot out of this latest League.
May 20, 2009, 5:01 p.m. CST
Those chunks of rock floating around on the cover would be the remains of Earth after it is torn to shreds. Don't worry. Earth gets better.
May 20, 2009, 5:33 p.m. CST
by Homer Sexual
So for like the fifth time, let's see if this posts... I buy only a few of those Marvel books: War of Kings and Guardians, and Cap. I actually dropped Iron Fist after Faction/Aja left and have given Thor two chances, but it's just soooooo boring. Also dropped Secret Warriors due to boringness. <p> OMG! X-Force was the best Marvel comic I can think of from the past decade. Way better, even than Morrison's X-Men. Nothing currently published even comes close (sorry, Captain America and Hercules). That run was classic and so complex. Unfortunately, when it became X-Statix, the series somewhat lost it's way. But to even compare it to the original X-Force is a Travesty. The only good thing about X-Force is that after Liefeld and Co. left, the book got somewhat interesting. And the art (was it Medina?) was pretty good. <p> While I continue to greatly enjoy Secret Six, I still think Bane is a retarded character. Even after the latest issue, which gets an A+ for effort, I think Bane is laughable. This may be due to my original Bane experience being in the movies. <p> The new Power Girl is very entertaining, but I actually like her best when she is dealing with her anger issues. Also, I thought her yellow and white costume was ok, but the original is still the best. <p> I just bought House of Mystery #13 due to the review here. But I am holding out on League, because I also failed to enjoy Black Dossier.
May 20, 2009, 5:37 p.m. CST
They need to party hard in the Marvel U again!
May 20, 2009, 6:03 p.m. CST
HawkBullseye is the 'protagonist' and Ben Urich is the 'antagonist'. This isn't a morality play of good versus evil. The only real question is if Urich gets the word to somebody before he gets Elektra boogaloo'd.
May 20, 2009, 6:11 p.m. CST
by Ye Not Guilty
There is a panel involving a couple of snow globes that is hilarious. I wonder if Liam would get the reference?
May 20, 2009, 6:12 p.m. CST
by Ye Not Guilty
I've been enjoying that as well. If it is a mini, hopefully there will be a sequel. I believe it is set in the Marvel Adventures universe, although it doesn't say Marvel Adventures anywhere on the comic.
May 20, 2009, 8:11 p.m. CST
was boring, I suppose, I dont agree but hey, different strokes and all that. In hindsight, it was just a slow-burn arc that took 12 issues to culminate in one of the most balls-to-the-wall all action issues I can remember, with Mjolnir getting cracked, etc. Its not for everyone, some have always found that character a little heavy and pretentious. I dig it big time though.
May 20, 2009, 8:41 p.m. CST
by Kid Z
...has anyone actually been geeky (and horny) enough to mathematically project PG's figure into real, 3-dimensional terms and figure out what her bra size would be? Or do Kryptonian women even need to wear bras what with the power to nullify gravity, etc.? Seriously, she'd have to levitate those twins because no bra on Earth could contain them.
May 20, 2009, 10:01 p.m. CST
The Beggar's Opera by John Gay, not to be confuse with a gay John.
May 20, 2009, 11:32 p.m. CST
by Buzz Maverik
...in his life. It is a well documented fact, though, that Robert E. Howard had his gal Novalyne Price out too late one evening and sub-human creatures set up on his car. They reportedly carried Miss Price to their underground kingdom. Howard stood dazed and bewildered until he felt cold steel upon his shoulder and a deep voice snarl,"Turn around and loose your head. Now, we follow the worms. If the girl is still alive, we take her back. If she is dead, we avenge her."
May 21, 2009, 1:18 a.m. CST
by Series 7
Man I loved that Master's of Evil series as well. I wish it wasn't a limited thing.
May 21, 2009, 1:24 a.m. CST
by Series 7
Suicide Kings Deadpool's main series. They need to get him out of this fucking Dark Reign shit. Also anyone seen the clip of him in the new Marvel game?
May 21, 2009, 2:47 a.m. CST
Do any 8 year olds read AICN? Judging by the ad banners i'd guess not. Then who is learning anything at all from his verbatim reporting of dialogue, plot points and descriptions of splash pages? Its not that I don't like the idea of his reviews. See kids like comics! Oh yeah! I just don't see what purpose they serve on this website. Your view of your demographic is all askew.
May 21, 2009, 7:44 a.m. CST
by Buzz Maverik
...comic. I shoulda never bought you that crap when you were a little kid but it got you to shut the hell up when yer mother made me take you to the store with me. I don't read this crap. Look at this? What kind of man would read this? I know you and your brothers took all my guns out of the house...
May 21, 2009, 9:12 a.m. CST
He read all the old Marvel comics in college when they were brand new, but his memory of them is hazy, so he thinks Spider-Man was in the Fantastic Four.
May 21, 2009, 10:12 a.m. CST
because its JMS and that wad-job has burned me one too many times!<br><br>Homer, you should return to Secret Warriors... Hydra vs. the Howling Commandos!
May 21, 2009, 10:13 a.m. CST
Anybody read it, any thoughts?
May 21, 2009, 11:03 a.m. CST
by Homer Sexual
I don't have a problem with the Thor character. I loved Simonson's run back in the 80s, and, surprisingly, Jurgens run from like 5 years ago was even better, as I've previously mentioned the whole storyline when Asgard came to earth and people worshipped Thor was awesome, total A+. I like the character, JMS and Coipel, but this run doesn't interest me at all. <p> Yes, I read Battle for the Cowl. I didn't like it very much. I liked the art, but the storyline was not involving. The inevitable conclusion didn't grab me at all. In fact, it made me less interested in checking out Dick Grayson as Batman. I have been reading the Bat-books since RIP, but I think this was my last issue. Maybe give the new Batman ONE issue to step it up, but if it's Daniel writing, I will probably pass. Not terrible, but not worth my money. <p> I think comics, especially recently, have a problem with conclusions. I was fine with the first two issues of Battle for the Cowl, but the end was a letdown. This problem is even worse at Marvel, as evidenced by this weeks issue of (Red) Hulk. For the first time, I was sorely disappointed by the lameness of this book. Defenders vs. Offenders...great idea. Yet the conclusion was far from great. It was terribly stupid, and not in a good way.
May 21, 2009, 11:52 a.m. CST
to throw away the stupid cowl, unless we stopped battling over it, and then no one would get to have it!
May 21, 2009, 12:10 p.m. CST
I know not a lot has happend in the JMS Thor run so far but I've found it to be really engaging. It seems like a slow build, here is hoping that it has a worth whle pay off. <p> I was left cold by Battle for the Cowl too. Obviously Dick was going to take up the mantle of Batman but the story lacked any real punch, gravity or emotion. I know DC is transitioning into the big Blackest Night megaevent but Dick Grayson finally becoming Batman should have been a milestone for both Batman mythos and DC not what will assuredly be a footnote. If War Drums, War Games and War Crimes can get 5 trades Battle for the Cowl should have been a year long Batfamily event not a 3 parter with one shot tie is.
May 21, 2009, 3:13 p.m. CST
Seems to me like they could have squeezed that whole thing into a big one-shot and saved all of us a good bit of time and money. Everybody knew who was carrying the mantles of both Batman and Robin before the first issue of the stupid mini came out. It did have good art though.
May 21, 2009, 3:29 p.m. CST
Vril Dox is one of the best characters ever in any medium.
May 21, 2009, 5:03 p.m. CST
by The Penultimate Gunslinger
Some SPOILERS, I guess. But not really. **** Ok, so Ultimate Daredevil never really played much of a part in the Ultimate Universe, but still! Killing off a character who most readers had even forgotten existed in one quick stroke... I don't know what I'm supposed to take away from that as a reader. From a storytelling point of view I just don't get it. And they also killed off Ultimate Wasp in a similar off-panel way, which I assume was to show us "this shit is so realistic and epic that even heroes can die without warning!" It was just a crap send-off for the character (it seems the Wasps of all Marvel universes got a raw deal in the send-off department). I just feel that since Loeb took over the Ultimates the whole Ultimate Universe has changed from what it originally was. My only hope for Ultimatum is that it leaves the Ultimate Universe in some new and interesting place. The build-up in Ultimate Origins (I think it was called) was awesome, telling us that all this crazy super hero shit was connected, but it's just lost all momentum. Though maybe Ultimate Rick Jones will come and kick some ass, sidekick-style.
May 21, 2009, 5:05 p.m. CST
by The Penultimate Gunslinger
.... when you read this colomn and realise that for some reason you've missed a week of comic buying? Just me?
May 21, 2009, 5:10 p.m. CST
Why is Dick Grayson to much of a faggot to take over for Bruce? Not trying to start a fight, just curious why you hate the character so much. <p> Personally, I have never been a fan of any Robin (pre=teen and teenage boys in bright costumes fighting with someone who believes that criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot seems counter-productive) but of all the sidekicks and people in the Batman universe, he seems the most appropriate to take his place. Why? Because he is the SAME as Bruce; someone who lost his parents to crime and now has trained all his life to fight crime. He has been Bruce Wayne's apprentice, his replacement his entire career, Just seems fitting that the young apprentice should finally replace his master as was meant to be.
May 21, 2009, 5:11 p.m. CST
by The Penultimate Gunslinger
Isn't Man-Bat a bit gay? He's a giant bat, man. I personally think the new Batman should be me. And Power Girl can be my Robin. We'll clean up Gotham one breast at a time.
May 21, 2009, 5:30 p.m. CST
I just realized why Batman would dress his parter up in a bright yellow and red costume. <p> Can anyone say "decoy?"
May 24, 2009, 7:56 p.m. CST
Bit of a homophobe' man? I was starting to question my own sexuality you've mentioned gayness so much. In ANY event - I'm glad for some fresh like in the Bat franchise. We've all known Dick was taking the mantel since' the end of RIP / Final Crisis...not like it was telegraphed or anything (and then leaked by Morrison "accidentally," of course). None the less - I think it'll be good for a change...we'll get the "conflicted" Dick...the "coming into his own as the Bat" Dick, the "confident Batman (and Robin)" Dick, and then the "return of Bruce and ridiculous, DC writers can't write there way out of a paper bag or figure out to do w/ this guy" Dick. Ode to cycles...
May 24, 2009, 7:58 p.m. CST
fresh blood in the Bat franchise - like Captain America.**** To many ideas for one sentence.
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