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AICN COMICS REVIEWS CAPTAIN AMERICA! FABLES! DOCTOR WHO! BUFFY! SIMPSONS! MPD-PSYCHO! & MUCH MORE!

#2 5/20/09 #8

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) THE BEST OF SIMON & KIRBY HC CAPTAIN AMERICA #50 HEROGASM #1 X-MEN FOREVER ALPHA #1 BATTLE FOR THE COWL #3 PROJECT H OGN HULK #12 DOCTOR WHO: THE TIME MACHINATION One-Shot SIMPSONS COMICS #154 THE GREAT FABLES CROSSOVER – FABLES #84 & JACK OF FABLES #34 BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: TIME OF YOUR LIFE TPB PUNISHER #5 POTTER’S FIELD HC TPB Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents MPD-PSYCHO VOL 7 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

THE BEST OF SIMON AND KIRBY HC TPB

Foreword by Joe Simon; commentary by Mark Evanier Stories and art by Simon and Jack Kirby Published by Titan Books Review: The Best of Stones Throw

I had the pleasure of spending some time at the New York Comic-Con earlier this year. It was the first comic book convention I’d ever been to and something of a freakish experience. The highlight had to be when Neal Adams pushed his way past me in the gents’ near the entrance. Dave Gibbons told a funny story about WATCHMEN and his wife at the WATCHMEN panel too. Yep, it was pretty damn rib-tickling. I don’t recall the punch line, but, rest assured, I was laughing.
I was also able to pick up some classic ‘70s Jack Kirby # 1s from one of the weirder-looking booths at the back of the hall for five American bucks each. 2001, OMAC, KAMANDI, THE ETERNALS…whatever your personal opinion of those books, no one’s ever made comics like them before or since. You can see what our friend Prof. Challenger means when he talks about “Kirby as a genre.” There’s something about getting such a pure, unadulterated expression of one artist’s vision that’s irresistible in any medium.
The last panel I dropped in on on the Saturday was Joe Simon’s. Along with Jerry Robinson, one of Bob Kane’s ghosts who designed the Joker and was also there, Joe must be one of the last remaining links to the origins of the American comic book in the late 1930s. He’s 90 plus now, but he still tells a good anecdote. Everyone was asking him about his partnership with Jack Kirby, of course. They were calling him “Jack” but Simon just called him “Kirby”. I had to laugh when one fan got up and asked “What did you and Jack do in your spare time in the ‘40s?” Joe replied, “In the ‘40s we were married.”
The first thing about this book is that the comics it collects come from a completely different era. The most recent one reprinted is SICK from 1960. The superhero stories that are most famous today are all from the early forties. It’s almost anachronistic to put them in the prestige, difficult-to-hold-sized, hardcover format. Today’s comics are made by fans, for fans, with incredibly high production values and prices that amount to a small fortune. They’re a dwindling industry designed to be put in mylar bags in an air-conditioned room. These comics got made by kids for younger kids. They were dirt cheap and sold by the millions, got swapped, read and reread, and eventually thrown out or simply fell apart. Compared to today’s comic book industry, the ‘30s and ‘40s was the Wild West. It’s on the nerd set-text list but the essential book has to be Michael Chabon’s THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND KLAY if you’re gonna understand the time and the men who made the comics.
Kirby’s art in the early tales is rough and unschooled. Sometimes it might not look that different from the hundreds of other kids who couldn’t draw who were trying to make it in the business back then, but even in MARVEL MYSTERY COMICS from 1940 (when he was twenty-three) you can see the energy and invention of his art and what he’s going to go on to do. To stick with the Kavalier and Klay analogy, Kirby (Jacob Kurtzman) is definitely the Josef Kavalier of the story, the artistic genius who finds some kind of self-expression in comic books. Joe Simon is like Stan Lee when Stan Lee was still wearing short pants, more of a Sam Clay type, a master editor who’s able to fill in on inking, pencils, or a last-minute script whenever it’s necessary.
If you only read about these guys – and other masters like Will Eisner, of course – you can get hung up on how they “changed the way comic books were drawn”—the composition of the panels, the way the characters move, the way the page looks. You have to look at the comics themselves to see it in action. The Captain America of “The Riddle of the Red Skull” strides over the page like the red-white-and-blue colossus he is, leaping from panel to panel, bursting out of windows and into the next frame. In the best part of the story, he lays a swinging Sunday best on a never more-scary Red Skull, sending him flying across the page, into the next panel…where he cracks his head on a picture frame! Yee-owch.
(By the way, immediately after he thinks he’s killed Captain America, the Red Skull gets out a notebook and crosses Cap’s name off the list. That was a great touch.)
Talk about the Marvel universe. Read any classic Golden Age comic and you’ll see it’s really all one big universe of the imaginations of the teenagers and early twenty-something sons of Jewish tailors (Schneiders). In Simon and Kirby’s revamp of the Wesley Dodds Sandman, Thor sails his Viking ship into New York and harbor, opposed only by the Sandman and his faithful sidekick Sandy. Kirby would later draw destruction on an NYC-wide scale in THE FANTASTIC FOUR and THOR, but this matches the later artistic masterpieces for sheer frenzied scale.
As well as the Stuntman, a never before seen Simon and Kirby series that got hit by the distribution problems that occurred when the US government lifted paper rationing, probably the best superhero story here is the Fighting American’s. Alan Moore said he got his FIRST AMERICAN bit in TOMORROW STORIES from this comic. It’s superheroes as self parody at a time when superheroes were on the way out. In the story printed here, the Fighting American and Speedboy come up against Doubleheader, a villain who reminds me of Batman’s Scarface and the Hulk’s Bi-Beast. The opening panels, framed in the back of a cab where Doubleheader’s two heads argue between each other like quarrelling brothers, is genuinely surprising and hilarious.
As any comic book historian knows, Simon and Kirby’s years at DC got interrupted by the Second World War. Joe Simon worked for the Combat Art Corps, producing comic strips based on stories of the US armed forces at war to be read by the troops. Kirby got sent to Europe and fought in the Battle of the Bulge, where he ended up in an army hospital and got enlisted painting clinical watercolors of soldiers’ frostbitten feet. In his introduction Joe Simon says that Kirby brought the paintings with him to a family reunion dinner in New York: “the meal was not a huge success.”
This book collects a few of their war comics, too. A fairly standard story of the Boy Commandos (“Satan Wears a Swastika”), which outsold SUPERMAN and BATMAN in its day, from before Kirby’s service is followed by a story from 1947 about New York being destroyed by an atom bomb. You pan out from the destruction to see the same comic is being read by a caveman sitting in the wreckage of a “real” New York that’s been hit by the bomb. And this was a comic read primarily by kids! Ever seen Kirby’s cover for FOXHOLE #1? These were war comics by guys who knew what war was like, as seen in the absolutely brutal “Booby Trap” from FOXHOLE #2, in which a survivor recounts the story of how his combat patrol was massacred by Chinese “Reds” on an expedition in Korea.
There’s also romance comics, which the duo invented to incredible success when the readership of comics was beginning to decline significantly for the first time after the 1940s boom, westerns, horror, science fiction and a take-off of MAD magazine called SICK. Reading this book makes it clear how everything that’s come since in comics is really just a hangover from those initial years of invention. What about the Vision, who appears in a story about a werewolf that’s creepier and more bizarre than anything Roy Thomas would do in his makeover of the character?
After the stuff collected in this book, and once Kirby had left Marvel for what I think was the second time, he and Joe Simon would reunite for their second take on the Sandman name, which went on to inspire Neil Gaiman’s series. Once the forthcoming SIMON AND KIRBY SUPERHEROES (volumes one and two), WESTERNS, CRIME, and ROMANCE books are all out I want to see Kirby’s Marvel work get the same treatment. The Essentials, or, worse, the trades with glossy, white, recolored pages often don’t emphasize the power of comics’ classic artists enough. Imagine seeing that collage when Galactus’ spaceship appears for the first time in a book the size of your upper body.
Meantime, I can’t recommend this book highly enough. There’s too much good stuff to fit into one review. Titan Books, Mark Evanier, and Harry Mendryk, who apparently restored all the pages for printing, deserve the highest possible plaudits for putting this stuff out there to be read. MAD, CREEPY, EERIE, and the works of Will Eisner already have plush anthologies available of their back catalogue. THE BEST OF SIMON AND KIRBY now has a place on the shelf marked “American comics greats” next to them.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #50

Writer: Ed Brubaker Artist: Luke Ross Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: steverodgers

First off, I just want to congratulate Brubaker and company for giving us 50 fine issues of one of the most compelling comic books on the market, CAPTAIN AMERICA. To these guys: thanks for turning what could have been just another gimmicky death of a hero into a tragedy that has some real depth, resulting in the best “new” Marvel character in years, BuckyCap. Long may he punch out HYDRA agents with his amazing metal arm.
Let me join the chorus of folks who have let Brubaker et al. take their sweet time bringing back old Cap (Cap prime? SteveCap? OriginalCap? Steve? Cap!). BuckyCap is everything Cap was and more. He is a man out of time; he is trying to live up to the legacy of his pal and hero; he is trying to deal with sins he committed while brain washed by the Commies; he is trying to look badass even though he wears little red gloves that some people might call “cute” or even a little girly. There are just so many stories that haven’t been written about Bucky yet—so much so that I would hate for the return of Steve to prematurely squash them. In fact, my biggest fear is that Brubaker leaves the book to some other writer; and that they are just not up to the task and completely drop the ball, not allowing Cap and Bucky the epic return they deserve.
On to some nitpicking, CAPTAIN AMERICA #50 is the second issue in a row where it just doesn’t seem like much is going on. In the previous issue, we had Sharon Carter moping about down South somewhere and not much else. This time around, we have another Bucky character study, with our hero inner-monologue-ing, fighting techno goons in the present and getting a look into his past during World War II. I generally love the World War II flash backs; however, this is just another vignette of Bucky and Toro being pals (those guys really loved each other) which Brubaker already covered in the far-superior one-shot, WINTER SOLDIER: WINTER KILLS (get it, it’s great). The difference here is that it’s a birthday, not Christmas, and not a dance. Although we do get to see more of Bucky’s past—what brought him from base brat to the envy of American boys everywhere, kicking the crap out of fascists across Europe, side-by-side with Captain America, Human Torch, Namor and the brave men of our fighting forces.
My other concern is that this is the 4th issue in a row without Steve Epting. Reading a Brubaker issue without him is just not the same. Luke Ross is fine, but this run on Cap is like the All-Star game; I don’t want any mid-season call ups, I want the real deal. Ross’s faces are a little too cartoony and sometimes their facial expressions don’t match their actions, which is really distracting. Luckily for Ross, Brubaker is able to make up for this when he brings it home in the last third of #50, and ties it all together in a nice combination of nostalgia, friendship, pathos, action and friendship that has made this comic such a joy to read over the last 50 issues. It even has some Marvel hokeyness that I, as a long-time Marvel Zombie, can’t help but eat up. I just wish Epting had drawn it.
Finally, and I know this is getting boring, like someone bitching about airline travel, but $3.99 for a monthly? Come on… What would Cap do, I wonder? Would he drive his awesome Captain America motorcycle to the Marvel offices and demand a refund? Would he give a really awesome speech? Would people listen? Would he call up Rick Jones and chat? Would he stand by saying nothing, while evil is being done (I doubt it!), or would he stop buying the comic in protest? Maybe, he would just keep on buying, because in the end, even though you can stare down Thanos without blinking, you just can’t change the price of comics. Or can you, Cap? Cap, come back!

HEROGASM #1

Story by: Garth Ennis Art by: John McCrea with Keith Burns Published by: Dynamite Entertainment Reviewed by: Baytor

Garth Ennis would probably be a much more respected writer if he stayed away from super-heroes. There’s no one in the business right now that does war comics better than he does and he ain’t too shabby at westerns, horror, and action romps and his dialogue is some of the best in the biz.
That said, I haven’t laughed this hard since Ennis & McCrea transformed DICKS 2 into full-on gay porn, complete with Irish Godzilla & King Kong clones 69ing each other on panel, while the rest of Ireland did likewise. When Garth Ennis plumbs the depth of depravity, he doesn’t kid around; and the reader either throws the book away in disgust or marvels at the mind that doesn’t know the meaning of “taking the joke too far”.
There is absolutely no defense of this comic that can be offered. It’s filth on top of filth, with a hint of a larger plot toward the end. What it promises and what it delivers is a decadent super-hero retreat, where they shag themselves rotten while the rest of the world thinks they’re dealing with the Annual Cosmic Super-Hero Event. This book not only doesn’t take the concept of super-heroes seriously; it gives it a Dirty Sanchez after it’s had its wicked way with them.
Reviewer’s Note: there are no actual Dirty Sanchez’s in this book, but there probably ought to be.

X-MEN FOREVER ALPHA #1

By Chris Claremont and Jim Lee Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

I really don't quite get this. So, back in the day if you were talking X-Men you were talking Chris Claremont. He wrote UNCANNY X-MEN for forever. Then Marvel launched the book X-MEN and Claremont went to that book. I remember that book very well because, due to no fault of Chris Claremont, that first issue was one of the things that pushed me into dropping comics for quite awhile. That was one of the comics where they really tried to abuse collectors by publishing 8 jillion variant covers. I picked up a couple of them and then just thought, wow, they are just playing me for a rube, milking me for every cent they can. There are now TWO X-MEN titles to buy (heheh... I was annoyed by TWO) and they also want me to buy multiple copies of the SAME issue??? Ugh. A few months later I dropped almost all my hero books.
Back to the point, though. Claremont did three issues of X-MEN before leaving the book sooner than planned. Cut to today. Claremont is returning to The X-MEN in a funky way. The new X-MEN FOREVER title is going to pick up where Claremont left off with X-MEN #3, presenting, apparently, an alternate story reality depicting what Claremont had actually intended to do back in the early 90s. The stories might turn out to be great. Who knows? But, for me, the premise is a bit silly. How much past issue #3 did Claremont have mapped out? I'll give you that he surely had a stretch of it planned out. Fine. But only to a point. So, really, what we'll be getting is 2009 Claremont fleshing out what 1990's Claremont sketched out until those old ideas are used up and then... sigh... is this really worth creating a whole separate reality for? It just seems a bit goofy to me. Again, the stories might be great but the conceit seems silly.
Anyway, since the new book will pick up from those three older issues, Marvel has published those three issues in collected form as X-MEN FOREVER ALPHA #1. On the one hand, I do kind of enjoy the old school flashback of reading these issues again. On the other...I can't believe they got me to buy yet another copy of X-MEN #1!!! Damn you Marvel Comics!!!!
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.

BATMAN: BATTLE FOR THE COWL #3

Writer and Artist: Tony Daniel Publisher: DC 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.
I really like all of the crazy stuff that’s been going on in the Batman comics lately. First he went crazy and put on a weird purple and yellow costume and started really beating up criminals with a bat then he got burned up by another super villain and probably died (but I doubt it) and now all these people that he knows are trying to figure out who is going to be the new Batman. Usually bad guys come up with a plan to do something and the good guys have to stop them or they fight. I like that this story has a bunch of good guys replacing one of the best heroes there ever was.
My favorite thing about the story so far is that all of Batman’s friends are teaming up to try and stop all of the bad guys in Gotham City. Even different Batman and Robins from different countries are coming to help because they know the bad guys are getting worse because they think Batman is dead. Everyone sort of thinks that Dick Grayson should be Batman now but he doesn’t want to do it so the new Robin, Tim, puts on the costume and goes out to fight. But then there is another Robin who died named Jason who is wearing a new Batman costume with armor and he’s going around killing bad guys. I didn’t know there were three Robins and it’s cool that all of them are pretty much fighting over who gets to become Batman since Batman is the boss of the team and they all want to stop being the side kick.
There is a lot of fighting between different heroes and villains and the biggest battle is between Nightwing and Jason. I don’t know how Jason was a Robin because he is acting really rotten here. He isn’t just trying to be the new Batman or even just killing bad guys. He’s trying to kill Tim and Nightwing and I don’t know why he’s doing that if he wants to be a good guy. He is really out of his mind and I like that the artist is drawing him to look crazy, too, especially when his mask is off and he wears another mask underneath that.
Tim might be a good Robin but he’s a really bad Batman. He’s just a kid, too so I don’t know why he thought he could be Batman. It’s just a comic so it can be drawn however but I bet in real life the Batman costume would look so big on him it wouldn’t fit right. He gets his butt kicked by Jason and probably would have been killed and when it’s time to help Nightwing out in the battle he just falls over. There was really only one person who could probably be the new Batman and it shouldn’t have taken him so long to figure that out. The thing I didn’t like about the comic was that you don’t get a good look at the new Batman at all. They show the new Robin a lot but Batman is just a small part at the end. They should have had the new Batman and Robin standing on a roof together or something to make it worth the wait.
It was an interesting story and I think the idea of all the old Robins fighting each other to be the new Batman is a great idea. The Black Mask part was a little confusing and I don’t know what Jason’s problem is but I do like the choice for the new Batman. It makes the most sense and I think the new stories with Batman and Robin should be pretty good.
Rating: 8 out of 10

PROJECT H OGN

By Branden Carstens Won Jool Aai Studios Reviewer: Ambush Bug

When I first received a letter from the makers of this book stating that they had a comic to send me from South Africa, I thought it was one of those internet email scams. But after further inspection, I found out that this was one of those opportunities that a reviewer doesn't often get: a chance to review an authentic comic that most people don't know about and a chance to let people know how special it really is.
I couldn't help but feel the authenticity of this original graphic novel as I read it. From the use of common South African slang to the culture that oozes from every page, aside from the story, it is an amazing slideshow of African society and how the culture is both so much like my own American one, yet altogether different. Not only did I feel entertained by the story (which I'll get to in a second), but once I put the book down, I felt educated by the glimpse into another culture and inspired by the uplifting message within.
The story follows a troubled man, Sam Hart, who lacks purpose. We follow Sam as he grows up, loses his mother to a violent crime, and decides to never let a crime like that happen again by becoming a police officer. Even after he becomes a top cop in Cape Town, South Africa, he still doesn't find peace in his life until he meets a beautiful woman, Cindy. The couple fall in love and plan on spending their lives together, but this is cut short when Cindy is brutally murdered. The rest of the story follows Sam as he attempts to track down Cindy's killer and find peace for his troubled spirit.
In the meantime, there is a subplot that of course has a lot to do with the main theme of redemption regarding a New Age motivational speaker who develops a product "Project H" that is the automatic cure-all for all of society's woes. The philosophy of Project H spreads like wildfire and soon it takes credit for curing AIDS, famine, and economic woes. Project H becomes the newer, more effective religion for the masses, overshadowing the importance of church and faith in God.
This is a heavily spiritual read, but I never felt as if I were being preached to. Usually religious stories rub me the wrong way because I feel as if the writer is trying to convert me in some way or another. Not the case here. Here the writer simply tells a story about characters who believe and don't believe and often have those beliefs or non-beliefs challenged. There's a humble quality to the storytelling that you won't find many places, but it is prevalent here and automatically makes me appreciate the message the wrier is trying to convey all the more.
The art of PROJECT H is pretty damn fantastic. Simplistic and expressionistic. Not a lot of details are used, but the artist is able to convey complex emotions with simple lines. He's able to communicate intricate actions seamlessly from panel to panel. The pages of this almost 200 page read fly by, mostly due to the gripping story, but also the effortless transitions from one panel to the next.
If you look over this review, you'll see I mentioned no names of the creators behind this book. This is because the makers of this book chose to leave their names from anywhere on this book (only knew who did it by following the website). They don't want recognition. They just want the message they are trying to communicate to come across. In an age of greed and corruption, there is something ultimately admirable about that selfless gesture.
Reading PROJECT H was a true pleasure. As a cultural piece it stands out as something unique. But as a story it carries with it a message of hope, of perseverance, and of humble gestures of a desire for a better world. It may take some work, but if you're looking for an intricate story about the beautiful simplicities of life filled with action, drama, and utmost care, PROJECT H is worth seeing out. A phenomenal achievement.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for over 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.

HULK #12

Writer: Jeph Loeb Art: Ed McGuinness Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

In HULK #12: “Winner Takes All,” the Red Hulk (Rulk) picks up right where he left off from last issue, as a member of the super villain group known as “Offenders,” continuing his convoluted quest to rid the universe of the superhero group known as “Defenders.”
Now I’m not suggesting that every comic book be interwoven with multiple layers of intelligent subtext, but this is a collection of the world’s mightiest versus the world’s most heinous — not the Seniors vs. the Juniors in a game of intramural lacrosse.
I’m sure Loeb could have done better than “Offenders vs. Defenders.” Things get off to a promising start, as Big Red throws leather with the Silver Surfer and Namor the Sub-Mariner. Unfortunately the narrative abruptly collapses into a series of disjointed segues featuring pin-ups of Rulk in compromising poses, reciting a number of tired and off-color clichés.
And I think in the end, that’s my biggest gripe.
This book was intended to be enjoyed at face value, yet I don’t find an underlying respect for the source material and, ultimately, the readers. Any exposition remains vaulted in favor of mindless action sequences. There’s always room for wanton violence, but violence as a form of storytelling is a slippery slope. WHAT IF? #45, also featuring a murderous, rampaging Hulk, presented its share of calamity but rewarded readers with a crisp and unitary story arc.
Loeb’s idea of resolution is a cosmic do-over. Deus ex machina notwithstanding, Rulk’s potential for greatness continues to fascinate me. So does Loeb’s failure to realize him, which makes this incarnation more of a homicidal Mr. Fixit than a standalone character.
In a three dimensional world, Rulk is as flat as a 2D sprite. And Dexter Vines’ and Mark Farmer’s bold and colorful inks are loud — even by Prince Jurgen von Anhalt’s standards.
To its credit, the story does move at a brisk pace. And a conversation between two of the central characters in the last stanza (which sounds like an argument between Charlie and Raymond Babbitt) may get some unintentional laughs. “Winner Takes All” is wall-to-wall action. However with no setup and no payoff, the only thing I really feel the winner took was the $3.99 + tax I shelled out for this book.
My rating: 2 puny humans out of 5.

DOCTOR WHO: THE TIME MACHINATION One-Shot

Tony Lee: Writer Paul Grist: Artist IDW: Publisher Vroom Socko: Time Lord

I wonder just how this book will play with people who don’t know WHO. Even New-WHO fans might not be able to follow the various references built into this story.
Excluding the nods to episodes from the current run, there are nods to An Unearthly Child, Shada, Ghost Light, and a reference either to the Doctor Who Museum or David Tennant’s previous TV show BLACKPOOL. There’s also a minor plot point involving and god help you if you read this without having seen The Talons of Weng-Chiang. Now, I’ve seen all of those, and like them. (Yes, even Timelash.) But will a casual fan be able to follow this tale?
Assuming they can, it’s a great tale being told. The Doctor, his TARDIS damaged, seeks help from his old friend HG Wells. Unfortunately, his arrival attracts the attention of the recently formed Torchwood Institute, and the Doctor is soon caught in a game of cat and mouse, while Wells turns out to be not entirely what he appears. That’s when everything goes all timey-wimey.
To be fair, Tony Lee has spun a great story here, and I doubt that anyone who’s going out of his way to buy a DOCTOR WHO comic won’t have heard of Tom Baker. Still, after the balancing act between over 45 years of continuity and new-fan friendliness of Lee’s prior comic storyline THE FORGOTTEN, the massive dependence on continuity to this story is a bit jarring. It’s not a bad story by any stretch of the imagination, and The Doctor’s voice has the same cadence and style as Tennant, but like I said, Timelash and The Talons of Weng-Chiang are required viewing before buying.
As for the art from Paul Grist, do I honestly need to say anything other than “artwork by Paul Grist” to you people? The man has narrative ability AND style coming out the wazoo. His David Tennant is splendid, as is his…well, that would be telling. (wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey…) I’d compliment his use of blacks and characters in silhouette, but saying Grist handles those sorts of things fantastically is like pointing out Stan Lee uses alliteration when naming characters.
If you’re a DOCTOR WHO fan, I’m talking a lifelong, dyed in the wool scarf fan, then this is definitely a comic that’s worth buying. If you’re not that familiar with The Doctor, then perhaps you might start with the TPB for THE FORGOTTEN. As for me, I’m looking forward to the next DOCTOR WHO comic that Tony Lee writes, and the next anything that Paul Grist works on.
Vroom Socko, (Also know as Aaron Button,) is such a massive DOCTOR WHO fan, he not only has a Doctor themed sketchbook, he also knits his own Tom Baker-length scarves in his spare time. And yes, he loves Timelash, in all its goofy glory.

SIMPSONS COMICS #154

Writer: Len Wein Artist: Phil Ortiz Publisher: Bongo 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.
The Simpsons is one of my favorite television shows and the comic is pretty good, too. I usually like the Bart Simpson comic better because that one has a bunch of shorter stories in it and those are funnier than one long story. It’s like how on the show the Halloween episodes are better than the regular episodes.
This one looked really funny right from the cover where Homer is being attacked by hundreds of bees that have Mr. Burns’ face on them. Homer is sleeping outside on his hammock and a bee gets sucked into his mouth when he’s snoring and he gets all nuts because he thinks he’s going to die. When Marge tells him that he’s not allergic, Homer swallows the bee and goes, ‘Mmm fuzzy’. Homer figures out that there are a lot more bees around his house and he tracks them to a beehive under his house. He’s mad because he thinks the bees shouldn’t be allowed to build on his house and wants to go to war with them. When he’s fighting the bees he gets some fresh honey poured in his mouth and then the angry bees sting him a few hundred times. Homer with all the bee stings over his body looked really funny.
The rest of the comic is about Homer creating his own honey company and Mr. Burns is jealous that he’s making all that money and tries to create his own honey. The story in the comic was really funny. It was kind of like the cartoon where Homer starts stealing and selling all the sugar and has to protect his sugar from everyone else. There are a lot of really funny parts in the book with Mr. Burns and Ned Flanders and some other people from the town. All of the characters in the comic act just like they’re supposed to and most of the time is spent on Homer which is good because he is the funniest one on the show. The ending was really good, too. I didn’t think they were going to finish the story like that and it’s a bit strange but funny at the same time.
I really like the comic because the artwork looks just like the cartoon. The person drawing it does a really good job to make all the characters and the houses and things look just like the show. I’ve read comics before that are about movies or television shows and the characters don’t look at all like the shows so it’s cool when someone does it really well. This was probably one of the best Simpson comics that I’ve read and I hope that they keep on being this good.
Rating: 10 out of 10

THE GREAT FABLES CROSSOVER – FABLES #84 & JACK OF FABLES #34

Writer: Bill Willingham Artist: Mark Buckingham/ Matthew Sturges Publisher: DC Vertigo Reviewer: Optimous Douche

The end is nigh. The end is nigh! The end is nigh? I’ve found myself blurting out this phrase in all three fashions over the past few years with Willingham’s twisted tale of our favorite bedtime stories. When the adversary was revealed, I expected a short close, not the beginning rum-pum-pum of war drums. Once Geppetto had his evil ass handed to him, I thought for sure there would be a mass exodus back to the Homeworlds and a nice happily ever after for the citizens of Fable Town; instead Willingham mired the FABLES in the practicalities of trying to occupy these lands and in the process drew some tidy parallels to America’s own occupation in the Middle East. Yes, my spoiler free lifestyle of shunning Previews and Wizard has transcended me from douche to dunce with each new issue that churns off the presses. I should quit my piss poor prognostications now, but I can’t help myself. As much as I don’t want to know what is going to happen until I actually read it, I just can’t stop myself from imagining what the future will hold. Now that we are past the halfway mark with The Great Fables Crossover I will say emphatically (remember my past batting average here), that the end of this book, at least as we know it, is indeed nigh – many many exclamation points!!!
So why fall on the sword again? What makes the calamity currently cascading through FABLES, JACK OF FABLES and THE LITERALS so different than the seeming Armageddons of the past? With every past cataclysm there was always a way out, whether the escape was through mystical forces or sheer brute force. With the introduction of THE LITERALS I can see little room for escape since they are completely undoing not just the Fable characters, but fiction (or reality if you’re a Fable) it self.
Despite my unending love of FABLES proper, I never felt the urge to follow Jack Horner when he received his own title. At the time of his departure from the main FABLES continuity he was simply just a smarmy asshole with as much depth and dimension as Lindsey Lohan turned sideways. Well, what a difference a few years makes. At some point during Jack’s adventures he discovered he’s not just a Fable, nor is he a mundy (the Fables term for us normal folks). Instead he is a half-breed (please no American-Indian hate-mail for this term), part Fable and part Literal. The Literals it seems can transcend the story world and the mundy world to create actual living breathing planes of existence. If you’re a storybook character, a Literal is your God. At first I had little idea what was happening; out of nowhere during this crossover Jack was suddenly breaking the fourth wall and addressing the readers. Not only was this slightly disconcerting, it also felt like a typical cheap Jack gimmick to get girls in the sack. Once the whole concept of the “Literals” started to unfold as the cross over continued, all began to make more sense and placed the same lamenting lump in my throat that I had when the ending of Y: THE LAST MAN was announced.
Even when all of Fable Town in the heart of New York was obliterated at the start of this series, I simply shrugged it off. I assumed the FABLES would band together and thwart their undead controlling nemesis. With the introduction of THE LITERALS though, whose pens can simply whisk away the Fables’ reality; even if Bigby, Snow and their Jack tagalongs find the man undoing their reality, how can they stop him, and wouldn’t he know they are coming?
Finally I have to not just applaud, but thank with my last dying breath this production team for delivering new chapters of this book with the rapid-fire delivery of a 1930’s newspaper boy. Not a week has gone by that I haven’t walked into my LCS to find a new copy of FABLES, JACK OF FABLES or THE LITERALS looking back at me. You can’t discount the sweaty palm factor that comes from having questions answered a week after the fact as opposed to 3 to 4 months later. Also, by the fact that this crossover doesn’t transcend into twenty different one-shot barely tangential upsell books, the story is more seamless than the inside of a Fleshlight--so much so that I barely blinked when Jack was the focus of FABLES and the traditional Fable characters squatted in Jack’s book this month.
Does the story have weak points? Absolutely it does. I haven’t come across the nine part story yet that doesn’t take a detour into filler content or in this case absurdity. Did I need an entire issue of Bigby being rewritten as different animals? Were this just a one off issue, I would be pissed, but in the grander scheme of the over arching crossover I found this diversion to be somewhat charming in its silliness. All in all this has been a fun, fast and exciting read. It also accomplished the task of getting this reviewer to pony up the cash for the half-off JACK OF FABLES trades at this year’s Wizard World Philly.
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."

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER: TIME OF YOUR LIFE TPB

Written by: Joss Whedon & Jeph Loeb Art by: Karl Moline & Georges Jeanty Published by: Dark Horse Comics Review by: Baytor

I’ve mentioned before my recent obsession with licensed comics, so it should be no surprise that I’m following the canonical continuation of Buffy, and mostly I’ve been enjoying it, even though I often feel I need Cliff Notes in the middle of stories to keep track of all the returning characters and everybody’s back story. A “Story So Far” page and a roll-call would not be amiss at the start of these collections.
This is very likely my favorite of all the Season Eight stories, even though I spent the first couple of issues trying to remember the events of books I read several months and several years ago. To anyone who hasn’t read this volume yet, I strongly recommend you acquaint or re-acquaint yourself with the excellent FRAY, Josh Whedon’s future slayer story released some years ago. “Time Of Your Life” does eventually tell you everything you need to know, but there’s a lot of characters and a lot of stuff going on and it would have made things a whole lot more simple if I was coming to this story with those events fresh in my mind.
What sets this adventure apart from the three previous installments are two really powerful ideas in this story. The first is that Fray’s future world, where the Slayers completely disappeared for generations, calls Buffy’s Team Slayer plan into doubt. The other comes much later on in the story, involving the resolution of the Dark Willow plot. One of my lingering problems with Season Eight is the sheer scope of the stories, which I think takes away from the character-based moments that were the primary appeal of the series. Removing Buffy from the present to fight Fray for the future take a lot of the emphasis off of Team Slayer and allows this story to be a lot more personal.
There’s still some Team Slayer action as they defend the castle from a mystical attack launched by Amy The Witch and Skinless Warren, which involves quite a bit of humor surrounding the second transformation of Dawn from a giant into a centaur. There’s not a lot to this rather inconsequential b-story, but luckily its primarily focus is on Xander & Dawn, so there’s never a sense that I should know who that second Slayer from the right is supposed to be.
Also of note is the gentle mocking of Buffy’s faux-lez encounter last time out, which takes the edge off a development that got knocked for its exploitation value. It still feel a bit out of place, but at least other characters (notably Willow love-interest Kennedy) seem to have tons of fun busting Buffy’s balls over it.
Of no particular note is the Jeph Loeb one-shot story, in which Buffy has a dream in the style of the aborted Buffy cartoon. It’s just one continuity mention after another, as Buffy sees her dead mother one more time, and resists the advances of Angel because she knows where that leads, and makes jokes about Cordelia’s eventual death after Willow gets mocked by her.
Of no particular interest to anyone but me, it wasn’t until I wrote this review that I realized that Joss Whedon had actually written the lead story. I feel like such a Whedon Whore right now and feel this strange compulsion to call DOLLHOUSE the best show on TV right now just to piss off the talkbackers.

PUNISHER #5

Writer: Rick Remender Artist: Jerome Opena Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

Everyone else can crap on Dark Reign and say it's just a rehash of what has already been done in THUNDERBOLTS but I like it better than most of the recent "events" Marvel has done. I think taking the concept of the bad guys being in charge to the extreme level lends itself to a number of interesting plots for various books. The new PUNISHER book is running with the idea of Frank Castle being bound and determined to take down and expose Norman Osborn's operation for what it is. Norman is claiming crime has been knocked down to zero. As Frank moves up the foodchain to Osborn himself, his first step is exposing Norman's lie and showing the public that crime is rampant, taking on his Secretary Of Crime, the magically powered The Hood.
Issue #5 is basically all about Frank ruining The Hood's day--just a good old fashioned game of bloody chess between Frank and The Hood. Frank has a new tech guy backing him up, but past issues have revealed that working for The Hood is Frank’s former partner Microchip. Thing is, Microchip was dead, so you can see the kind of magical mojo The Hood has going on right there. That's an ability with big potential implications and possibilities.
In fact, my favorite part of this issue deals with those possibilities as Frank is offered quite a deal with the devil. The sort of deal another major hero (okay, Spider-Man) was offered. Actually, Frank is offered an even sweeter deal. But while Spider-*&%$ hemmed and hawed and made the douche choice, Frank handles it without batting an eye. He makes the hero choice explaining his choice succinctly in a way that Web head should have!!! Spoiling in spite of myself but...I can't help it. It was just a very weird moment, seeing The Punisher of all people displaying superior morality to Marvel's flagship hero and, by extension, the folks at Marvel crafting his stories. It amused me to no end and...riled up my annoyance with “Brand New Day” all over again. Keep yer Spider-Man. I'm going with THE PUNISHER.

POTTER'S FIELD HC TPB

Writer: Mark Waid Artist: Paul Azaceta Publisher: BOOM! Studios Reviewer: Ambush Bug

I wrote a review for the first issue of POTTER'S FIELD quite a while ago, but somehow I lost touch with the miniseries and never took a look at any of the subsequent issues released from BOOM! One of the things I have noticed at BOOM! Studios is that for a while there, a whole lot of number one issues were released, but the delay between these first issues and the rest of the miniseries that was promised was so long, I would completely forget about the series after a while and wouldn't return. That may be the reason some folks stay away from books outside of the Big Two. Now, I know Marvel and DC have their fair share of delays, but at least they have a rich history and the seepage into the public consciousness to ensure folks will stick around when delays occur. But when an indie book has a considerable delay in between issue, the death knell has already rung.
And that's too bad, because out of all of the publishers out there, BOOM! has some of the most original ideas going for it. You can almost hear the writer pitch the high concept miniseries that often come out from that particular company. For a while, I'd see a ton of new number ones from BOOM!, but #2's were harder to come by. And I think by the time POTTER'S FIELD came along, despite the fact that I loved the idea and execution of the book, I was fed up with wondering if and when the series would be finishing up.
Now, I don't know for certain if POTTER'S FIELD was one of those delayed books or if the book came out on time. Since Waid is somewhat of a pro, I imagine POTTER'S FIELD was one of the more reliable BOOM! books. By the time the miniseries was released, though, I kind of directed my interests elsewhere and haven't paid much attention to whether or not BOOM! was able to follow up and tie up those dangling miniseries since. With the acquisition of Mark Waid as EIC, I imagined the crusty pro would whip the company into shape. And with the release of the trade collection of the first POTTER'S FIELD the company is showing that it certainly has the chops to put out a high quality product.
Like many of BOOM!'s titles, the concept of this miniseries is pretty high and imaginative. There's an actual cemetery in New York where John and Jane Does are laid to rest. One man has set out to identify the hundreds of bodies resting in this cemetery, one mystery at a time. His reasons for doing this? Unclear. His name? Well, he just goes by John Doe. Is this one of the coolest noir mystery books out there? Hellz yes.
Waid modernizes this noir-ish tale, placing it in a world where iPods, computers, and forensics exist. Waid's John Doe is a relentless great white shark of a man, focused on solving these crimes and determined to give these bodies a proper name on their gravestone. With hundreds of unmarked graves in the cemetery, the potential for many, many mysteries is great. And if the first three mysteries presented in this trade are any indication, I'm extremely interested in following John Doe as he solves each and every one of them. Waid shows an eye for mood and detail that he often doesn't get to show off in the broad-strokes way super-hero storytelling tends to be. Here he's meticulously mapping out subtleties about John Doe's identity and mysteries that keep you guessing and throw you for a loop over and over again.
Paul Azaceta is another reason this book is top tier. Heavy on darks as a noir tale should be, Azaceta knows how to make the almost featureless John Doe distinct, yet fade into the background. The world of POTTER'S FIELD is gloomy, filled with heavy shadows hiding dark secrets. Waid sets the ball into motion with a solid premise and strong mystery, but Azaceta spikes the ball home by painting a dark world for those mysteries to inhabit.
If I wasn't so interested in what BOOM! Studios has to offer, I wouldn't be so hard on them. The sheer number of #1 issues from the company often overwhelms me and occasionally puts me off. But on the occasions that I have found one of their high concept premises interesting enough to check out, I've always loved what I was reading and admired the imagination and talent put into each and every issue. The slick production of this POTTER'S FIELD hardcover collection is a sure indication that I need to pay closer attention to what BOOM! has to offer. Out of all of the smaller companies, BOOM! is the one with the most potential and POTTER'S FIELD is by far one of the best things they have every published.

MPD-PSYCHO VOL 7

Writen by Eiji Otsuka Artist by Sho-u Tajima Released by Dark Horse Manga Reviewer: Scott Green

It's Michael Bay meets Dario Argento meets Takashi Murakami at 30,000 feet - part unsparing action blockbuster - part pencil to the jugular, eye ball on the floor grotesque - part rabid pastiche. Even if the TV series' MO was remarkably more contained than the manga's, it's little wonder that it was Takashi Miike who helmed the live action adaptation of MPD-PSYCHO.
Volume seven follows the tenants previously laid out by the manga to construct a new marvel of violence. What if one dangerous, mentally unhinged person sprung a trap on another dangerous, mentally unhinged person? What if an action movie set piece was arranged by a spectacularly cracked mind? This outing packs a number of these super predators on a plane like they were “Lost” survivors, then, starting with a Kazuo Umezu “gwashi”, the flight gets turbulent. Weapons come out, and the situation evolves into something of a Leone standoff with Anthony Perkins and Philippe Nahons rather than Clint Eastwoods and Lee Van Cleefs.
Eiji Otsuka is the kind of creator whose work serves to critique its own genre allegiances. In the case of the MPD-PSYCHO, he's hyper-extending conventions. The de facto hero of the manga is a police detective whose personality gave way to a split between a coldly effective criminal profiler and a sadistic serial killer. Initially, MPD-PSYCHO was a procedural that was held overhead and spiked onto the pavement. Otsuku wasn't just playing the out of control cop as judge, jury and executioner. He affronted the reader with spectacularly grotesque crime scenes and presented a character whose complicity was unknown even to the character himself. From the tenuous position of trying to intellectualize the mystery, the manga proceeded to fuel itself with conspiracy theories and Bayian machinery.
This is a manga writer who has a degree in social anthropology. He was an editor of Manga Burikko. He's applied scholastic research to manga and its devoted fans. I have faith that Otsuka knows what he's doing, and that MPD-PSYCHO is subject to the well constructed illusion of being wildly out of control. If it weren't Otsaka at the wheel, that would not be my impression. MPD-PSYCHO often seems consumed by its convolutions, as if it had a sequence of shocking revelations mapped out, but was driven far afield by its own craziness on route.
By Volume 7, some rules have been laid out. Some details concerning the sci-fi mechanism behind the bar coded eyeballs on our hero and other killers have been formalized. Yet knowing more about MPD-PSYCHO's prime movers hasn't been much of a psychotropic remedy for its careening trajectory. I'm pretty sure that I'm following the plot, but other than constructing a dance macabre set to the tune of antisocial behavior, I'm still struggling to figure out what exactly Otsuka is getting at. It's fascinating, but it's also manga looking to agitate, whether through grisly images, illusive plot mysteries or hard to pin down significance. Ultimately, trying to keep up and absorb the barrage is a large part of the masochistic fun of reading MPD-PSYCHO.
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.

Ambush Bug back again! This week on Indie Jones…Independent Comics! We’ve got three doozies for you this week that are almost un-scroll-passable! Check them out!

ARLENE’S HEART HC OGN NBM Comics Lit

This melancholy fairy tale is one that will stick with you long after finishing the last page. Cancer is a real world horror many must deal with. In this beautifully drawn and painted book by Victoria Francis, she focuses on the scars left by the dreadful disease and how those scars leave one feeling alone, damaged, and outcast. This fable of a woman who died and wakes up a moving doll in search of a heart is a powerful one, and like most fables, the power of the message sneaks up to you due to the metaphoric camouflage. Even if you do have a heart of stone and this poignant tale doesn’t affect you, I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t agree that Frances’ art is something to be cherished, enveloped in, and appreciated. Art lovers and fable lovers, seek ARLENE’S HEART out.

LOW MOON HC OGN Fantagraphics Books

To boil enigmatic artist JASON’s work down to comparing it to Goofy meets TWIN PEAKS is almost an offense to the book, but I’d say it’s a pretty close comparison. JASON is one of those talents that you want to see more and more of. I’d love to see JASON’s whacked out version of THE INCREDIBLE HULK or GREEN LANTERN or THE GOON or whatever. His style is so unique, it’s one of those things you want to see adapted to your favorite comic. Here we get a few longer short stories featuring JASON’s inscrutable cartoon characters trying on conventional genres. There’s a noir tale that hits all of the necessary points to make it one of those (evil woman – check! Detective led by his pants and ending up duped – check! Murder, deceit, and dames – check!). Then we get an unconventional western where a showdown at high noon means a chessmatch, but the stakes are no less high. Then it’s tragedy time as we follow two very similar fellows as they try and fail at love over and over in a similar fashion. Finally, we get a modern drama as a couple who can’t get along are interrupted by an alien abduction and how a missing parent can affect a person in very sad ways. These stories are well thought out, insightful, and entertaining. They are also full of deadpan humor. At its core, this is a book that isn’t laughing at its own jokes. It’s a person telling you an intricate yet humorous story, straight faced with no pretense. The result is pure humor and uncut emotion. At first the unflinching faces of his cartoon characters seems odd (much like the characters in a David Lynch film who seem like they are walking through a dream), but soon you realize a rainbow of emotions lie behind those stone faces. JASON’s talent as a storyteller shines through in every panel, on every page. JASON is one of the most distinct artists out there and LOW MOON is a book that shouldn’t be missed.

FIRST TIME HC OGN NBM Comics Lit

This isn’t your typical comic-spank fare. It’s a delicate dissection of sex in graphic form. These private moments are written and drawn by some extremely talented creators. From the first time one has sex, to the first menage a trois, to the first trip to a sex shop, the first use of a sex doll, to an x-rated sketch story by the one and only Dave McKean: these stories handle these intimate moments with maturity, showing that even sex stories can have some heft to them. Focusing mainly on the emotional impact of these virginal experiences, FIRST TIME offers a glimpse of the
Readers Talkback
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  • May 27, 2009, 6:54 a.m. CST

    AIDS

    by TheExterminator

  • May 27, 2009, 6:55 a.m. CST

    hahaha

    by TheExterminator

    fuck you cocksuckers (you know who you are i won't even mention the word you like to use)

  • May 27, 2009, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Damn you McG

    by --- Emperor ---

    Damn you to hell!

  • May 27, 2009, 6:59 a.m. CST

    Damn you M. Night Shyamalan!

    by --- Emperor ---

    Damn you to hell!

  • May 27, 2009, 7:01 a.m. CST

    Damn you Ingmar Bergman!

    by tonagan

    Damn you to hell! (this is fun)

  • May 27, 2009, 7:25 a.m. CST

    Damn you Kid!!

    by the_knightfall

    This Kid is so fucking annoying and now starts to review comics about characters he doesn't even know about. Learn who Jason Todd was and then go and shut the fuck up!! The Kid as a reviewer: Rating: -5 out of 10

  • May 27, 2009, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Whos stoked for the new Green Latern Movie?

    by Series 7

    Check out this sweet trailer!<P> http://tinyurl.com/qkycbu

  • May 27, 2009, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Every week.......

    by gooseud

    the Kid says at least one thing that is beautiful in its simplicity. "I'm not sure what Jason's problem is" pretty much sums it up. I'm not sure either.

  • May 27, 2009, 7:47 a.m. CST

    Herogasm

    by gooseud

    Dear God. One of the great WTF moments I've had reading comics in ages.

  • May 27, 2009, 7:59 a.m. CST

    X-Men Alpha

    by CatVutt

    What Marvel and a lot of people seem to have forgotten is that Claremont's X-Men completely SUCKED ASS during the last couple years of his run. Who the fuck cares what he had planned?

  • May 27, 2009, 8:08 a.m. CST

    Cap

    by gooseud

    I'm ashamed to admit this, as I'm as big a fan of the character and the team as there is, but Cap has been slowing down for a while now. Its like Bru was building to one moment, Bucky pulling on the Cap suit. Once he got there, it seems to be like "Ok......what now?". The book seems to be drifting a bit, definately. Not that it cant be gotten back, Walking dead has had 17 different stretches like this and always snaps back to being awesome

  • May 27, 2009, 8:16 a.m. CST

    Point of X-Men Forever...

    by Jbud

    Whatever the point is for Marvel, for me personally it's the most important book they could put out from a business vs. artist perspective. In the late 70's the Xmen became great in large part because the editors and bean counters left Claremont and the artists pretty much alone to create their vision. Then with the creation of X-Factor and the forced return of Jean Grey in a ridiculous storyline that I have heard Claremont himself rail against, that ended. Enter the era of forced crossovers, too many books, overly convoluted continuity, lesser writers etc. in the attempt to milk the dollars...While some of it was barely OK, the only Xmen writing I have truly enjoyed since back-in-the-day was Whedon's. Result: Marvel's business overreaching and bankruptcy, Claremont's feud with the company...and when he finally returns, his writing just doesn't work well (in the opinion of most reviewers I've read) with the ways the X-universe has changed. So X-Men Forever represents something: making at least a show of respect. It says that at least the bean counters can say, you know what, maybe we should have had more respect for what you artists and writers wanted. In fact, we'll throw you a bone, we'll give even give you a book to put that out into the real world. It may not be perfect - there's no best way to reconcile the fact that the outside influence began far before the end of X-Men #3, but the pick-up point has to be somewhere - but whether people like the new book or not, I say thanks Marvel for at least doing this, and I will certainly give it a chance.

  • Not necessarily.

  • May 27, 2009, 8:33 a.m. CST

    I agree Jbud

    by BlueHawaiiSurfer

    I'd rather see a new X title go in this direction instead of the constant streak of "X" and "WOLVIE" crap that has been released. I enjoyed the days before there were 10 "X" titles a month. If anything this new title takes us back to the beginning of the end.

  • May 27, 2009, 8:39 a.m. CST

    SECRET WARRIORS

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    wow - proof positive in these reviews why comics are dying, and more proof of just how vicious and hateful comic fans are when it comes to those young whipper-snappers who might actually ENJOY comics. For the record, I -like- the new characters.

  • May 27, 2009, 8:53 a.m. CST

    Timelash?

    by ByTor

    You liked Timelash? <P> What's WRONG with you?

  • May 27, 2009, 8:55 a.m. CST

    You got it, Gooseud!

    by McSatan

    That's exactly why I like reading the Kid's reviews. I love the fact that he says Batman "probably died (but I doubt it.)" Eight years old and already he knows what's what! Keep 'em coming, Kid!

  • May 27, 2009, 8:56 a.m. CST

    You should have The Kid review Herogasm.

    by rev_skarekroe

    Then see if you can get the guy at the comic book store sent to prison.

  • May 27, 2009, 9 a.m. CST

    Tony Lee + DOCTOR WHO = Comic Book Gold

    by SpyGuy

    While I'm not wild about some of the artists IDW has paired up with Tony Lee, his DOCTOR WHO scripts have been solidly entertaining with lots of inside references for longtime fans. I'm looking forward the the ongoing DOCTOR WHO series debuting in July and seeing what he does with an actual "season" of stories.

  • May 27, 2009, 9:32 a.m. CST

    ThusSpake - Secret Warriors

    by Ambush Bug

    I'm not saying we shouldn't have comics geared towards a younger demographic. We've got New Mutants and Runaways and Young X-Men and Young Avengers and Dark Young Avengers and a billion kid heroe solo books out there. Why not one single ongoing comic starring a cast of old timers still kicking @$$ after all of these years? DESTROYER steps out of the demographic and immediately becomes interesting and pretty damn popular. I'm just saying that since the most interesting parts of SECRET DEFENDERS have to do with Nick and now the Howling Commandos, why is the focus on these kids that after five issues I don't even remember their names?

  • May 27, 2009, 9:49 a.m. CST

    $3.99 + tax????

    by art123guy

    Who pays tax for any type of book? No wonder your pissed.

  • May 27, 2009, 9:53 a.m. CST

    4 issues, bug?

    by Joenathan

    You won't allow four issues before you are ready to shit on a series? Why can't the creators be allowed to establish the new characters and use them AS WELL AS the ALREADY established characters? Why can't we get to know them as well as we already know the older ones? Do you really want action-action-action and nothing but? Man, you should stick with DC then, where everything is trapped in amber and characterization is a distant third to fisticuffs without consequence and the constant LEt me remind you, at one point, we didn't know fuck all about Mark Grayson, especially four issues in. Jonathan Hickamn is good and he has 5 times the characters to juggle, isn't their such a thing as patience?

  • May 27, 2009, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Thanks Joen

    by optimous_douche

    We may never see eye-to-eye on FINAL CRISIS, but I can't thank you enough for turning me on to The Invisibles - Like Harry Potter with BALLS!!!!

  • May 27, 2009, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Uh, art123guy...

    by ByTor

    Lots of states impose sales tax on magazines.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:09 a.m. CST

    4 issues was plenty of time...

    by Ambush Bug

    for the original RUNAWAYS or YOUNG AVENGERS or THE INITIATIVE or THE ORDER to let me know whether or not I like the series. That's 12-16 dollars which adds up and the way the market is, I want a comic to prove itself by issue one or two. Marvel doesn't understand this. The zombies will buy anything they put out. But there are a ton of readers who, if they aren't impressed with a book by issue one or two, they walk two steps over to the next new thing on the shelf.<br><br> Up until issue 4, we've had one established character (Nick) and a handful of nobodies with hardly any development, no distinction between them (because Bendis hates costumes), and hardly any action. You can defend it all you want, but my interest perked to 10 when I saw Dum Dum and the rest in this issue, so I wrote a review that stated that. It's not about "not having patience" it's about where I want to distribute my hard eared money. If Hickman want to try his damndest to make us love the aborigine with a heart of gold for the next few issues, so be it. I just won't be there to see it.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Herogasm

    by Joenathan

    I loathe Ennis and I make no secret of that fact. He is number 1 on my Don't Buy List. In my mind, he is worse than Liefeld and Loeb combined plus a liberal dosin of Winnick. He sucks ass. <br><br>Not that I deny him his props, Preacher changed th face of Vertigo, however, in retrospect and upon return readings, I have discovered that Preacher is actually pretty poorly put together and doesn't really hold up very well. (Come on, remember the meat man arc? That was what? 8 issues for a punchline that was basically a guy who likes to fuck baloney?) <br><br>I think the Boys, and even more so, Crossed are not only abhorrent and without any redemptive qualities whatsoever, let alone any basic literary or story values, but are in actuality, nothing but a mask for Ennis's obvious awareness of his lack of talent past a worn out litany of "shocking" jokes and closeted fratboy cliches. <br><br>I imagibe he's probably a tedious retard in real life, too, that buddy's friend that you don't really know, or like, but always shows up at the bar and tells the stupidest fucking stories that are obviously untrue, because he so desperately wants to impress people and you're stuck listening to his bullshit, because your buddy has known the douche forever.<br><Br> And with all that being said, I think Herogasm actually committed the worst sin of all: I flipped through it in my LCS and even at a glance... I was bored. It was boring. It was ho-hum. Seen it, bored. Nothing but further proof that Garth Ennis ran out of tricks loooooong ago.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Geez Joen...

    by Ambush Bug

    Why don't you give HEROGASM a chance and buy four issues before you pass judgment? Geez, how impatient can you be? Durr...

  • May 27, 2009, 10:15 a.m. CST

    4 issues was enough for me too

    by Joenathan

    I erased some of my response by accident, so sorry if it jumped around a bit...<br><br>Anyway, in four issues, I can tell you their names. I can tell you who they are and I like that Phobos' prophecies are already coming true.<br><br>I think you are reviewing the comic you wish you could read and punishing Secret Warriors for not being that exact comic.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:16 a.m. CST

    nice try, Bug

    by Joenathan

    but I don't have to, because its a spin off of Boys, of which I bought 11 issues, so neiner, neiner.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Optimus

    by Joenathan

    I'm glad you liked Invisibles. Its one of my favorites. Its all great, but Volume Two is fantastic.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:21 a.m. CST

    secret warriors

    by #1 Zero

    I've relatively enjoyed secret warriors so far. Although I think Hickman has been nuetered a little bit since working for marvel. I probably picked up the book due to hickman and nick fury and will continue to do so, but ambush bug is right, the aborigine thing is pretty lame. I don't know if its bendis or hickman that's really in control, but at least at the end of issue four they've recognized its taken awhile to get the story going. They thanked the reader for their patience and promised a Nick Fury vs. Hammer story in issue number 5. Bottom line: Nick Fury needs a solo book, preferably handled only by Hickman without Bendis getting his hands into everything.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:30 a.m. CST

    I don't think Bendis is involved

    by Joenathan

    beyond saying: "Nick Fury trains some new Howling Commandos." To me, this reads like Hickman, not Bendis.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:31 a.m. CST

    I hardly read comics anymore

    by I am_NOTREAL

    but I almost always read these columns, and I just want to point out that the cover of Punisher #5 is almost a direct copy of Miller's cover of Daredevil # 183, the Angel Dust saga part 1. Dorky enough for ya?!?!?

  • May 27, 2009, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by Bjornegar

    Thinks too highly of what he thinks.<P> I've met Garth Ennis. He's nothing like you think he is.<P> I only wish he were, so I could get you two together, and he could introduce the chip on your shoulder to the stick up your a$$.<P>

  • May 27, 2009, 10:37 a.m. CST

    Bjornegar

    by Joenathan

    I wish that too. In fact, I was just writing that in my diary last night.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Joenathan-- Ennis

    by Laserhead

    I totally hear you, and agree.<p>But don't judge the man until you read his Punisher MAX series-- start with the first paperback "In the Beginning". That run is one of the greatest modern runs on a comic. And this from someone who hated his Marvel Knights version of the character.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:49 a.m. CST

    Laserhead

    by Joenathan

    I'll take a look at it. Honestly, it does seem to be the run that even his detractors allow as being entertaining.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Punisher Max

    by steverodgers

    Couldn't agree more Laserhead. That comic is the goods. Shame that it ended.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Punisher Max Ending

    by steverodgers

    Meaning that Ennis stopped writing it. I know that the Slavers is a big favorite, but I'm going with Mother Russia as my favorite arc on that run.

  • May 27, 2009, 11:08 a.m. CST

    ByTor, I didn't realize...

    by art123guy

    ...some states tax books. Guess I'm one of the lucky ones.

  • May 27, 2009, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Joenathan? Reallly?

    by CassavetesMuse

    I've been reading this site for years but could never be bothered to respond to anyone but Joenathan, your pretentious waffle knows no bounds. I'm fine with you hating his work, but calling an extremely successful person a dick for no reason but to validate your own insecurities are beyond me. Just don't buy his stuff, don't personal attack him.

  • May 27, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST

    About Ennis and THE BOYS.

    by SleazyG.

    Look, I'm no Ennis apologist. I walked after the CROSSED free issue, think PREACHER lost its way and the last two or three years flat-out sucked, hated his jokey Punisher stuff--hell, I even bailed on a few issues of HELLBLAZER (ruining my completist run of it) because his vampire stuff was just a retread of what he'd just done with the First of the Fallen. All that said: THE BOYS isn't as bad as you guys are making out. Yes, some of the stupid childish snickering sexual stuff is there, and it was almost enough to make me walk. But as always with Ennis, it's his characterization of the guy we're meant to relate to that wins me back over. The work he's doing with Wee Hughie is quite good, and the fact he's nauseated by both the ostensible bad guys and his own team members is handled quite well. I like the relationship with his new girlfriend, which is handled surprisingly well considering the source, and I like that from the very beginning it's seemed pretty obvious that Hughie's gonna be confronting Butcher by series end.<p> Does the book have its problems? Yes. Would it be better off without Ennis' fratboy sniggering about dirty parts and buggery? Absolutely, as would anything he's ever written. But that doesn't mean it's been completely without merit, and I actually like a big enough chunk of the story to stick with it. There was a lot to hate about PREACHER, but if I hadn't finished it I would have always wondered and gone back anyway, and I feel the same way here.<p> If you want Ennis at his best, though, you have two options: HITMAN or PUNISHER MAX. They're the best things he's ever turned out.

  • May 27, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Not free CROSSED--Zero issue.

    by SleazyG.

    My bad.

  • May 27, 2009, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Cassavetes

    by Joenathan

    Eat my poop.

  • May 27, 2009, noon CST

    Sleazy

    by Joenathan

    I will admit a certain curiousity with the Boys, kind of like a car crash. As much as I hate, I always thumb through it.

  • May 27, 2009, 12:38 p.m. CST

    I’m with you Sleaze.

    by optimous_douche

    Wee Hughie was one of my favorite characters of 2008 in the last @$$ies.<p> I liken him to Jim on The Office (or Tim for all of you across the pond). The only character able to step out of the insanity of their world.<p> I’ll also say that The Butcher has yet to play all of his cards, I can feel it my third eye (the clairvoyant one, not the one in my pants). <p> Could I do with a little less super fucking and dildo play? Yes. Does it make appreciate the true moments even more though? Yes.<p> We all have dark places in our souls and THE BOYS is just enough to fill mine on a monthly basis.

  • May 27, 2009, 12:53 p.m. CST

    The Boys

    by MasterBaytor

    Being a fairly dedicated Wait For The Trader, I'm actually pretty far behind on The Boys. Good to know my earlier review prediction that Butcher is a bit of a stealth baddie was on the mark. Other than that, there really are two different Garth Ennises. They bleed together a fair bit, but the more serious side of him tends to come out on his war stories. The super-hero stuff usually gets the silly Ennis... and that ends up being the stuff most people read. But I like the silly Ennis, even if he annoys a lot of people.

  • May 27, 2009, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Opinions

    by gooseud

    1. everyone knows my opinion on Crossed, literally the most abhorrent completely irredeemable book I've had the misfortune to read. You want "Non-Silly Ennis", with all of the freakshow tendencies without any of the fun? This is your book 2. The Boys does have a certain train-wreck appeal to it, I read the first 6 or 7 issues and have the nex 20 or so in the queue ready to go (I work in estate sales and rarely have to pay much of anything for my books, thats how I read all 19 issues of the Initiative at a clip, got em for 5 bucks). The sad thing is, you know why we all still pay attention to that book? The Boys is at its core an amazing idea, if you just weed out all of Ennis;s tired played out bullshit, theres a great book lurking in there somewhere. 3. Speaking of "how long does it take to get going and catch your interest" for a book, I believe Walking Dead set the record for that one. It took what, 4 panels?

  • May 27, 2009, 1:57 p.m. CST

    Preacher

    by gooseud

    Everyone has their own opinion, it certainly meandered in points, it is a divisive book. Personally, I dont believe it fell apart at the end. I loved the Cassidy/Jesse confrontation, and the aftermath where the true plan and Cassidy's true motives were revealed. Also, call me a big softy, but after 10 trades worth of freakshow bizzaro-ness, the resolution of the Jesse/Tulip relationship was pitch perfect and great. I know, I'm a big wuss. Plus, the entire storyline with Jesse and his Grandma in Angelville was gold, pure gold, beyond gold actually, platinum.

  • May 27, 2009, 2 p.m. CST

    Walking Dead, Goose and the Boys and Exiles

    by Joenathan

    It just took a periphreal glance for me. "What'd that say... Something Dead? I'm buying that shit!"<br><br>That is a very interesting point Goose brings up. If I could have the Boys without Ennis, I would be all over it. The adventures of the people who police the Heroes? Awesome. A near constant reminder of a hamster up the butt joke that was old in the 90s? Fucking asinine. <br><br>I feel the same way about Exiles. I want to love that book, but I just really have not enjoyed what anyone has done with it.

  • May 27, 2009, 2:02 p.m. CST

    Preacher's 2nd trade

    by Joenathan

    was its best arcs, but yeah, the last few years just fell apart for me.

  • May 27, 2009, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Speaking of Exiles

    by optimous_douche

    has it improved an inch now that Claremont is gone.<p> being a sucker for any What If stories I collected every issue up until he ruined it.<p> So...new writer -- yea or nay?

  • May 27, 2009, 2:47 p.m. CST

    Joe Kelly kicks ass

    by Buckys_Kick_Ass_Arm

  • May 27, 2009, 3:02 p.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by Meglos

    And with your "eat my poop" comment, you just lost your own argument.

  • May 27, 2009, 3:40 p.m. CST

    crap

    by Joenathan

    so... am I out of the tournament or what...? Is the season over? What about the wildcard position? Who has that, because I know I could take that s.o.b Optimus with or withOUT home field advantage. Believe dat. Believe dat.

  • May 27, 2009, 3:50 p.m. CST

    Fuck Ennis

    by kungfuhustler84

    Joe Kelly's the one everybody should be talking about. I haven't been able to find Four Eyes anywhere, but Bang Tango and Bad Dog are two books I probably get the most excited for when they are released.

  • May 27, 2009, 3:56 p.m. CST

    ennis on punisher

    by Willy_Idle

    i still like kitchen irish the best and think the main character would translate pretty well onto film

  • May 27, 2009, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Someday I'm going to own a comic book company...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...and I'm going to hire Garth Ennis to write an ongoing book. And he's only going to have one rule - no Irish people are allowed to appear. EVER.

  • May 27, 2009, 4:17 p.m. CST

    The funny thing about a Ferret is...

    by Continentalop

    ,,that as an animal they are probably a lot tougher than bats in the real world. <p>] Those little fuckers can be vicious.

  • May 27, 2009, 4:18 p.m. CST

    Not an Ennis fan

    by Continentalop

    If someone else likes him fine, but I freely admit I don't get his appeal. His sensibilities are obviously not the same as mine (Arseface, really?).

  • May 27, 2009, 4:35 p.m. CST

    everyone should be reading Fables

    by v1cious

    that comic has gotten SO good, since War in The Homeland arc. Mister Dark makes the Adversary look tame by comparison. the crossover has also been entertaining. seeing Bigby as a little girl had me rolling on the floor.

  • May 27, 2009, 5:13 p.m. CST

    Prolly 2015

    by optimous_douche

  • May 27, 2009, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Secret Warriors

    by WarpedElements

    Are they still Nick's Howling COmmandos? I hated those brats. Bendis seems to cop out when it comes to superhero origins. "Lessee...super powers...well I took away 'mutant' from everyone else so... Oh! You're all descendants of past heroes/villians! For no reason you have powers in your genes. But you're not mutants. Nope." Jessica Jones' freakin' origin story was a ripoff of Madcap from Ghost Rider of all things. Fuckin' cheap writing.

  • May 27, 2009, 5:42 p.m. CST

    Yeah, the Warriors are those Howler kids.

    by SleazyG.

    And Bug's right. The problem isn't just that they're new or that they're young. It's that there has been absolutely no characterization, development, or style. I couldn't tell you a single one of their names, powers, or even their physical appearances. I have no idea who the fuck they are from one issue to the next--they're total ciphers. Stack the first four issues of RUNAWAYS or YOUNG AVENGERS against the first four of this title and the problem is obvious: not only do I not know or care about these kids, they're completely overshadowed by the cool part of the plot, which is (as always) Nick Fury/SHIELD/Hydra.<p> I neither know nor care whether I'm supposed to blame Bendis or Hickman: either way, the book sucks thus far, and unless the next issue or two kicks major ass I'm out, cuz the book's a turd so far. It's only the suggestion of big Hydra/SHIELD doings that have me sticking around that long; otherwise this issue woulda been my last.

  • May 27, 2009, 5:53 p.m. CST

    The thing about the Boys is......

    by gooseud

    its a fantastic concept, which is why everyone checks back saying "how could this NOT be awesome??".....however, I'm not sure who would write it. Brian Vaughn, for all his genius, isnt kinetic and action oriented enough. Johns isnt gritty enough. Brubaker could probably do it, but he might be TOO gritty and suck the humor from it. Ennis turns it into a hamster in the ass freakshow. Bendis, get the fuck outta here. Slott, not his style at all, he would be horrible. Hmmmm........maybe Kirkman?

  • May 27, 2009, 6:33 p.m. CST

    And WAR STORIES for Ennis...

    by stones_throw

    Baytor's right, best war comics out there. And there isn't any of the gross-out humor either. Well, a decapitated general's wife in one of 'em, but that's about it...

  • May 27, 2009, 6:59 p.m. CST

    Hickman's Ending to A Red Mass For Mars was great!

    by Series 7

    Ehhh wait no never happened. I need to read all of the Secret Warriors, I like Hickman a lot (PLEASE FINISH RED MASS!), but man his Fan Four is just a copy of Millars.

  • May 27, 2009, 7 p.m. CST

    I guess none of you assholes

    by Series 7

    Cared to see that sweet fake Green Lantern trailer. So its true what they say then, no one really gives a fuck about Green Lantern.

  • May 27, 2009, 7:02 p.m. CST

    Liam the Kid

    by Series 7

    Better review the next Herogasm. If I was a kid and I read about it, I would have it. My comic shop actually took it off of the shelf so the younglings didn't hurt their eyes. Though disembodied people and cutting off heads THAT'S FINE.

  • May 27, 2009, 7:04 p.m. CST

    Anyone read the comic

    by Series 7

    For Prototype? It looked really cool then I saw it was a video game, since I am over the age of 18 and don't own a PS3 or X-Box I don't really play anything outside of Guitar Hero and Mario Kart. But the game looks really sweet and the comic didn't look to shabby. They did this with Mirrors Edge as well. Also I saw that there was a Resident Evil comic pooping around right now, anyone following any of those? Chuck Comic?

  • May 27, 2009, 7:29 p.m. CST

    Punisher Covers

    by Jinxo

    I believe all of the covers on the new Punisher series so far have been reworkings of well known previous covers.

  • May 27, 2009, 7:38 p.m. CST

    What would Cap do to protest high comic prices???

    by TheGhostWhoLurks

    He'd toss the comics into the Boston Harbor and download them off Bittorrent for free! Go CAP!!!

  • May 27, 2009, 7:51 p.m. CST

    You don't need to read comics for free at bookstores

    by TallBoy66

    That's what torrents and DC++ are for.

  • May 27, 2009, 8:21 p.m. CST

    Fuck CAPTAIN AMERICA and....

    by DrMorbius

    FUCK MARVEL!!!!!<P>Where the fuck is Captain America WHITE #1? Its been a YEAR since #0 came out, in a 6 issue run, so I guess they'll have it finished by 2015!<P>Like I said,,, FUCK MARVEL!!!

  • May 27, 2009, 8:57 p.m. CST

    There are a couple of silly war stories

    by MasterBaytor

    Adventures In The Rifle Brigade (especially Operation: Bollock) is played for laughs. And the Screaming Eagles story is about a bunch of soldiers hanging out, getting drunk, and getting laid while scouting for a General's base camp. But these are the exceptions to the rule. His first Nick Fury S.H.I.E.D.-based mini-series was pretty much trash, but the second one in WWII was pretty solid.

  • May 27, 2009, 10:23 p.m. CST

    all this talk of The Boys,

    by GooberNGrape

    it's still new to me, never picked it up. i'll check out my requisite 4 issues and go from there. and as far as seamless humor, Optimous, you get a gold star for name checking Fleshlights! ha!

  • May 28, 2009, 3:30 a.m. CST

    The Boys

    by sean bean

    I read the first couple of arcs and got bored very quickly. Every time I have dipped back in, nothing much seems to have changed. For me, Ennis did all the superhero riffs back in Hitman and that was far funnier and more compelling. I know Garth Ennis hates superheroes - I'm just not going to read an ongoing book about it.

  • May 28, 2009, 3:36 a.m. CST

    Preacher

    by sean bean

    I think the "nuke the fridge/shark/red matter" moment was Jesse getting the eyepatch. Never quite regained its momentum after that. It probably ran 15-20 issues too long, but those first few arcs were tremendous.

  • May 28, 2009, 3:42 a.m. CST

    Secret Warriors

    by sean bean

    I read somewhere that Bendis has very little involvement beyond his name being on the masthead in order to generate publicity and sales. Hickman does the heavy lifting. I'm enjoying it, however. Phobos is badass, but it is mostly the Fury and Strucker show.

  • May 28, 2009, 5:46 a.m. CST

    Thanks Goober

    by optimous_douche

    The thought of someone sitting there fucking a flashlight with a silky center just makes me giggle my head off.<p> Probably the best (and one of the few) good lines from Zac & Miri. "Fleshlight -- a flashlight you fuck."<p> Brilliant in its simplicity.

  • May 28, 2009, 6:01 a.m. CST

    Oh and Goober

    by optimous_douche

    Match in the gas tank...boom...boom.

  • May 28, 2009, 7:54 a.m. CST

    Four Issues? Howzabout One Issue.

    by Buzz Maverik

    It's a comic book. These guys have to understand they are making COMIC BOOKS. As long as they are published one issue at a time, they'd better stand on their own especially early on. Sure, there are the Zombies who will buy them just because they are COMIC BOOKS, but let's lock them in a dying mall somewhere in Pennsylvania.<p>Chances are, if they can't put out a good comic book, a good issue, they can't put out a good series. <p>But, Buzz, you'd abandon a COMIC BOOK just because you didn't like the first issue?<p>Yep, and I'll stop watching a TV show because I don't like the first episode. I'll toss a novel if the first few chapters don't grab me (See, he said he'd read a few chapters of a novel but he won't read a few ISSUES of a comic -- well, they don't sell me the novel by the chapter, it's one price) and if a movie sucks in the first half hour, I always get a pass for something cool.<p>You don't owe a comic book publisher or writer or character anything. They owe you good work. If they can't deliver, I say they step aside because YOU, and YOU, and YOU and yes, even YOU with a little practice could do the job, right? Right!<p>They want me to stick around reading their crappy comics I want the comic free, delivered ahead of time to my door and I want $50.00 per issue plus a Cuban cigar for wasting my time.

  • May 28, 2009, 8:02 a.m. CST

    Why Do Kid Comics All Have YOUNG In..

    by Buzz Maverik

    the titles? Could someone please explain that to me again? Is that the same reason that all characters o' color used to have the word "Black" in their names? Black Lightning. Black Goliath (see, he's like Goliath but he's Black? Hold the phone! I never noticed the 20 foot tall guy was Black!).<p>Due to my emotional immaturity, I remember exactly what it was like being a 12 year old Marvel Zombie. I gotta tell ya, I never once said, "Ya know, Eriglione, we COULD shoplift these comics, but I'd like it better if it was called YOUNG MARVEL TEAM UP. And until they change it to SANDBOX OF DRACULA, I'm not interested. Oh, here's one GIANT SIZED KID-THING. It's about a pile of garbage ... that's a kid. You know, like us."

  • May 28, 2009, 8:48 a.m. CST

    Sleazy/Secret Warriors

    by Joenathan

    Ooooooooooh, you can't tell their names or anything about them either? Suddenlyits all clear, you see, the problem is, you guys can;t read very well, because, you see, me? I've read all four issues at a medium pace an I can tell you their names, powers, origins and personalities... So, I don't blame you then for not knowing, since its just a reading comprehension thing.

  • May 28, 2009, 8:55 a.m. CST

    Good comics are serial

    by Joenathan

    There are examples of good stand alone comics, but they are few and far between. You can jump off anytime you want, but you can't say its because the story is bad when the first story isn't even complete. You don't like it, fine, but at least admit that you didn't bother to stick around for the whole initial showing. I shit all over Boys and Crossed and Ennis ALL the TIME, but I read the first 6 to 11 books. Besides, Nick versus Strucker? How can you walk away fromt that? Thats just crazy talk.

  • May 28, 2009, 10:17 a.m. CST

    One last thing

    by Joenathan

    The idea of Dr. Druid hittin' it and quittin' it tickles me to no end. I bet it was at the end of the night at some Avenger's charity function in Hawaii and the Doc corners some groupie and she looks around and sees that all the other Avengers are gone so... "at least he's an Avenger," she rationalizes as the Doc, in his Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops does a little happy dance at her and she goes home wih him AND THEN, the next morning, Dr. druid is like: "So... I'll call you..." and never looked back. Gotta love it.

  • May 28, 2009, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Preacher again

    by gooseud

    Its always funny hearing people's fresh opinions on books that you formed an opinion on long ago. I always assumed everyone felt the same way as I did about Preacher, which is that the New Orleans voodoo storyline sucked and meandered at the...late beginning, i guess..... of the run, the Jesse as sheriff with one eye storyline sucked and meandered towards the....late middle, i guess....of the run, and then everything came back together awesomely in the last 4 issues or so. Definately not saying anything for or against anyone elses opinion, its just interesting hearing other people's views on it. Even Joe's, which is saying something heh heh

  • May 28, 2009, 10:21 a.m. CST

    How comics differ from TV

    by gooseud

    A Tv show can have a great first episode and then immediately fall apart, happens all the time. However, a comic that has a great 1st issue generally, 95% of the time, is always going to kick ass after that, at least for a while. Astonishing X, Walking Dead, and Ex Machina all spring to mind. A first issue may or may not "grab you", but the best ones are almost always an indicator of some awesome quality on the way.

  • May 28, 2009, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Oh, and I take back what I said before

    by gooseud

    Tongue in cheek comments aside about Walking Dead's 1st 4 panels (although in all sincerity, that was one of the all time great 1st issues in Goose history), I mulled it over, and the quickest "grab you" moment at the start of a series is Robinson's Starman, AKA the infamous very 1st page. Anyone who has read that series knows what happens on the very first page of the very first issue, and its one of the all time great "WTF?? Wait, what???" moments in DC history, especially considering how comics were at the time and how they had been written til that exact moment.

  • May 28, 2009, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Politely disagree with you Joenathan

    by Continentalop

    Good comics are serial, they are just good. Sometimes you can have a powerful story in one issue, or even less than one issue (The Kid Who Collects Spider-Man) or you need several issues to build up the story so you can have a dramatic ending (The Dark Phoenix Saga). <p> I will agree that comic books are serial, and that the best comics use subplots and shadowing, so that even a one-shot issue will have some sort of buildup before it occurs. Nothing should really occur in a vacuum. <p>

  • May 28, 2009, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Just Ponied Up for All Old Man Logans

    by optimous_douche

    This shit better be good Joen.

  • May 28, 2009, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Damn

    by Continentalop

    "Good comics AREN'T serial, they are just good." <p> Why does work keep distracting me from what is important?

  • May 28, 2009, 11:50 a.m. CST

    And WTF!!

    by optimous_douche

    With releasing 73 of Wolverine before 72?<P> I sometimes help my LCS count in stock and just noticed Marvel did this. Is this a first?

  • May 28, 2009, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Nice try, Joenathan.

    by SleazyG.

    It's not a "reading comprehension" issue, it's a "there's no reason to give a shit" issue. There has been nothing in these four issues to make me give a crap who any of the kids are or know what they do or why. Four issues into the first AGENTS OF ATLAS mini I knew exactly who they were and why they were there and was interested in the story. SECRET WARRIORS? Not only could I not possibly know or care any less about them, but their story is continually overshadowed by the story that everybody's *really* buying the title for.<p> You can try and make it personal and imply it's because I don't know how to read all you want--it's what we've all come to expect from you. After all, why respond to my actual criticism of the title when you can just potshot me? It would be too much effort for you to try and demonstrate, after all, the ways in which this series has succeeded as well as any of the other three or four titles I've mentioned.

  • May 28, 2009, 12:39 p.m. CST

    ROFL Optimus got tricked

    by gooseud

    You actually bought Old Man Logan? Dude, you cant listen to Joe on Millar, hes hopelessly brainwashed. That story sucks balls, I wont spoil it for you, but Ill say this: the last issue of the series got pushed back an issue so they could release some lame tie in to the movie. LOL how utterly amateur hour and ridiculous. Imagine the Barracuda cliffhanger with Punisher's daughter and next issue, Frank is hunting some drug dealer like nothing ever happened. Then the next issue, Barracuda is standing there holding the baby. LAughable, and that should tell you all you need to know about Marvel editorial and Millar. The idea of Brubaker allowing someone to interrupt the last issue of the Winter Soldier storyline to put out some generic movie tie in is hilarious

  • May 28, 2009, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Serial comics

    by gooseud

    dont really have an opinion, other then to say the recent self contained stand alone issue of Ex Machina with Tony Harris and Brian Vaughn was one of my favorite single comics of all time, so it can be done.

  • May 28, 2009, 1 p.m. CST

    Sure, comics are serial

    by kungfuhustler84

    but that doesn't mean quality can't be maintained throughout the run. Writers should be considering the pacing of the story, and the time between each issue's release. If it's meant to be read as a whole, why not just present it as a whole? If it's meant to be read one single issue at a time, I see no reason why each issue can't still be very fulfilling.<p>In the case of Secret Warriors, I thought the last issue gave us a lot of insite into a few of the other characters, but it did drag a lot. I'm not dropping it yet, but if there are two issues like that in a row, you bet your ass I will be dropping it.<p>Also, after a crappy issue, I do usually just read the next one before buying it. If it gets better, I buy it. If it's still shitty, I drop it. Seems to work fine for me.

  • May 28, 2009, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Continentalop

    by Joenathan

    I think we're agreeing with each other.

  • May 28, 2009, 1:41 p.m. CST

    calm down, Sleazy

    by Joenathan

    We're just being snarky, not mean and I apologize in advance if I misconstrued your response, as I didn't read most of it.

  • May 28, 2009, 1:43 p.m. CST

    Optimus

    by Joenathan

    I thought it was great and the number switch was because of the crappy movie and the fact that Marvel actually believes someone out there is going to stumble blind into the film, love it and go: "Who is this Wolverine? I must know more! To the Comic Shop!" and then be all confused by Old Man Logan and swear off comics forever, and thus Marvel loses all that potential business... I wonder how that worked out for them...

  • May 28, 2009, 1:44 p.m. CST

    I read more Sleazy

    by Joenathan

    like I said: After four issues, I do know all that stuff about them and I read the same four issues as you, so...

  • May 28, 2009, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Goose

    by Joenathan

    Bru would have no choice. Corporate is in charge, not the writer. Many are the creators who thought otherwise an were replaced.

  • May 28, 2009, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Wait, Joenathan..you're a "we"?

    by SleazyG.

    Is that a royal "we're" there, or do you mean it actually takes a brain trust to come up with your stuff? Cuz either way...whoa. Then again, it would explain a lot...

  • May 28, 2009, 2:47 p.m. CST

    I'll consult myself and let you know,

    by Joenathan

    (no I won't.)

  • May 28, 2009, 2:53 p.m. CST

    I knew you wouldn't...

    by SleazyG.

    ...Sybil.

  • May 28, 2009, 2:59 p.m. CST

    Not to beat the serial thing into the ground

    by Continentalop

    But my problem with long story arcs is that they suffer from the same problems as the season final of TV show does - you just know something big is going to happen, and usually it is a let down. I think of the Sopranos, and as good as some of the season finals were, nothing compares to the suck of Richie dying in season two right before the end of season two, or the Ralphie killing the stripper Tracee, or Ralphie buying it halfway through the season, or Adrianna's death. All of those things happened during the season, coming out of nowhere, and it was that shock value that added something extra. I mean, imagine how little impact Adrianna's death would be if it happened at the season finale? <p> Same thing with comic books. You know during a big event comic like Secret Invasion, shit is supposed to happen so you never really feel the impact of the death of someone like the Wasp. But imagine the shock and surprise comic-goers in the 70s felt when they picked up an issue of Spider-Man and suddenly Gwen Stacy is killed, and in the very next issue the Green Goblin buys it? In just two issues they did a story that had more impact than Secret Invasion, Civil War, or Final Crisis ever had.

  • May 28, 2009, 3:10 p.m. CST

    Agents of Atlas and Secret Warriors

    by kungfuhustler84

    i actually liked the first three issues of Atlas more, but dropped it because I decided it wasn't going anywhere, and seeing Fury battle Hydra again was a spectacle I would not pass up.

  • May 28, 2009, 3:22 p.m. CST

    You know me too well, Sleazy

    by Joenathan

    (heart)

  • May 28, 2009, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by kungfuhustler84

    If it's not too much trouble, could you explain just who the fuck the rest of the Secret Warriors are? Like have any of them been in anything else besides like the last two issues of Secret Invasion? And if not, why think up new people if we are never really going to get to know them except their names and their powers?

  • May 28, 2009, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Continentalop and other stuff

    by Joenathan

    You do something like that too often, though, and you begin to run out of toys... <br><br>Also, on a kind of seperate note, what about Ultimate Spider-man right now? I know some of you complained when non-character Ultimate Daredevil died, but other than that, that book has been rocking and right now, I am honestly unsure of the fatem of Spider-man. He's in real danger and may already be dead, plus, the Hulk is wrecking shop. Good book.

  • May 28, 2009, 3:31 p.m. CST

    LOL this talkback.....

    by gooseud

    never ceases to be hilarious. Fantastic reviews of Punisher, Fables, etc.......and everyone is talking about Secret Warriors (shakes head amusedly). Thats why I come here, expect the unexpected. Continental is right, FYI, anyone can deliver some huge EVENT, but it takes a real talent to be able to truly surprise you in the course of the series. You can say what you want about Whedon's dialogue (I fall firmly on the side of friggin lovin his take on the X-guys), but in Astonishing he definately brought the surprises (I'm thinking of the truly awesome Colossus reveal), and didnt need 6 months of hype ahead of time to do it.

  • May 28, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST

    I don't read Fables

    by kungfuhustler84

    And Punisher just bores me if he's not in a story that's totally absurd.

  • May 28, 2009, 3:55 p.m. CST

    Secret Warriors

    by Joenathan

    They've all been in New and Mighty Avengers before this and were plucked from the same catepillar files (I hate that name) that Kang jr. used to find the Young Avengers.<br><br>Daisy was in Secret Wars (kind of... hey, did that whole series come out, or what? My memory of it is incomplete.) She's the daughter of Hyde, I believe and Fury plucked her from Juvie and she's been with him ever since. She desperately wants to prove herself to him and is fated with an uncertain future that regardless of its outcome will be a tough road. She's also one of the few people with Shield clearance 10. She has quake powers<br><Br>J.T. is the hothead/jerk who has nothing but death in future and wild streak that is sure to bring him there. As with all characters of this stripe, he most likely has a hidden hero streak, which when added all together spells out noble sacrifice to me. He doesn't trust Fury. He's related to the old west ghost rider (phantom rider?) and can either charge things with his hellfire or maybe its just his chain, I'm unsure. In fact, the whole genetic hellfire thing is a bit wonky, but whatever... I'm pretty sure he wants to bone Daisy (understandable).<br><Br>Phobos was at the center of the Ares mini and he's ares son so that means that hes, of course then, God of Fear. He can scare people and tell the future apparently. I don't have much of a handle on him other than that he's a creepy kid and I hate children in stuff. He might be trouble for everybody. Especially because he might be just playing that classic Greek God type game of fuck you with the purpose of pissing off Dad, who I'm waiting for to show up all pissed off at Fury. The Kraken scared him, which is significant, because he is the God of Fear, so...oooooh....<br><br>Stonewall was bailed out of prison by Nick and is super strong. From the caring, concerned way he responded to Yo-yo's injury, (which he was prophecized to do) I'm assuming he's a dead beat dad now discovering his parental urges, which means he is the father to someone out there, but I don't think its been mentioned. Also, I'm almost pretty sure that he's not the same Stonewall from the old Brotherhood/Freedom Force, but I could be wrong. I'm too lazy to look.<br><br>Sebastian is the son of Dr. Druid (Mr. Hit it and quit it) and he can create monsters/do magic. He is bumbling and unsure of himself. He lacks confidence, but is fated to save the world. I think he also wants o pork Daisy (don't we all...)<br><br>Yo-yo can run really fast and bounce back to where she started... which is... odd. She was propheziced to have something horrible happen to her and then had both her hands chopped off, which was awesome. I hope she gets robot arms. She used to be kind of cheerful, but now... She's the daughter of someone completely ranom that I can never remember.<br><br>Off the top of my head, thats it, but there's probably shit I missed. Feel free to ask. Also, the question of "why should we care?" Well, thats the writer's eventual job to answer, correct? For now....? New book. Why not? I like Hickman's stuff, love Fury and the old Commandos. I like the artist, so I'll stick around awhile.

  • May 28, 2009, 4:22 p.m. CST

    Never could get into Punisher comics

    by Continentalop

    I just think he works a lot better as a foil to heroes such as Spider-Man and Daredevil than he does having his own adventure. <p> In fact, I always thought Frank Castle would have been better in the DC universe to act as the filpside of Batman (our old "why doesn't Batman kill" debates). Question to someone out there: does Batman have someone in his rogues gallery like the Punisher? Someone who actually makes a legitimate argument about the use of deadly force and vigilantism? If not, they should make him.

  • May 28, 2009, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Also,

    by Joenathan

    I think I forgot to mention this, but I totally agree ith Bug that Destroyer is fan-fucking-tastic.

  • May 28, 2009, 5:37 p.m. CST

    "use of deadly force and vigilantism"?

    by SleazyG.

    You mean like the character called, uh, The Vigilante? Been like three of 'em, most recent of which stars in his own ongoing and keeps crossing paths with Nightwing? Currently part of a big crossover with both Titans titles?

  • May 28, 2009, 6:06 p.m. CST

    sleazy

    by Continentalop

    Since I don't currently follow most DC titles, is he a legitimate alternative to Batman, or just a over-the-top extreme character who serves to just reinforce Batman/Nightwing's tactics on crime-fighting?

  • May 28, 2009, 6:31 p.m. CST

    I dunno...I mean, who actually buys VIGILANTE?

    by SleazyG.

    Sorry--I wish I could tell you more, but he's been handled so poorly in recent years I don't waste my money. I do know the initial Vigilante, back in the late 80's, was sort of a DC version of the Punisher--but he ended up killing himself in his final issue. Don't really know what's up with the new guy, but maybe somebody else here knows.

  • May 28, 2009, 7:27 p.m. CST

    Vigilante? Really?

    by gooseud

    Thats his name? Wow.......was "Captain Obvious" already taken?

  • May 28, 2009, 11:33 p.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by kungfuhustler84

    Thanks for the informative answer! I like the series a lot too, and yes, the art is really good. I do hope this arc ends really strongly, but I must admit I have my doubts.

  • May 29, 2009, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Even Parts of A Serial Have to Stand Alone

    by Buzz Maverik

    That's why a good comic book storyteller has a really hard job and where, too often, the ball has been dropped this decade. Build up, pacing, internal logic, etc have to be maintained in each issue and as part of the whole story. What're you going to do? Buy five issues you hate because the sixth issue makes it some kinda wonderful? Chances are if you hate 1-5, yer not gonna want a smoke after issue 6. And you got to pay for all six. Even if you wait for a trade, you paid for 5/6th of a crappy trade because these guys don't understand Robert McKee.<p>I'm the guy who dropped NEW FRONTIER after issue one even though it had some of the best art I'd seen that year. Ah, superhumans in history, doing superhuman stuff, time travel, etc...fighter pilot who won't fire his guns and is still effective and not court marshalled or given the mother of all blanket parties by the rest of the squad. This thing isn't going to get any smarter and I'm not spending however many issues going, "Stupid, stupid, stupid..."

  • May 29, 2009, 10:43 a.m. CST

    Good Punisher

    by Buzz Maverik

    Late 80s Punisher by Mike Barron and Klaus Janson. To me, it seemed to be the closest anyone has come to portraying how a superhero would function in reality. In the best stories, Frank set up a caper, often assembled a team, with an objective. In one of my favorites, he grew impatient with all the stays of execution that an obvious Ted Bundy doppelganger was receiving so he decided to bust him out of prison ... so he could kill the guy himself. Somehow, a Manson doppelganger and his Manson girl dopps got involved and Frank ended up finishing them all off.<p>Of course, in reality, the Punisher wouldn't have survived his first few missions, but we have to suspend some disbelief.<p>When the Punisher did interact with the rest of the Marvel Universe, it was always surprising and interesting, on par with, say, the issue where Alan Moore had Swamp Thing interact with the DC Universe.

  • May 29, 2009, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Example Of Good Serialization

    by Buzz Maverik

    The first issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN that I ever read, which was issue #148. I knew who Spider-Man was from the cartoon series with the catchy theme song, but aside from THE INCREDIBLE HULK, the only non-humor comics I'd read at the time were monster comics like WEREWOLF BY NIGHT and ADVENTURES INTO FEAR. I was only interested in Spider-Man because I'd just been astonished to learn the Morbius the Living Vampire had started out as a Spidey villain. If he fought vampires and man-wolves, it couldn't be so dumb, right?<p>So, first page, we got the Jackal and the Tarantula throwing a chained Spidey off a bridge while a stoned looking, mini-skirted blonde babe watches. All of those elements caught my interest and nobody explained who anybody was.<p>Spidey breaks his fall with a web line but screws up by slamming into the bridge supports. They didn't do THAT in Super Friends. Then, a police boat takes Spidey down and they're going to arrest him. Arrest a superhero? He's not best friends with the Chief O' Police? Yeah, bay-bee. But he breaks the chains and decks most of the cops! And the head cop blasts at him with a machine gun as he dives into the water! Why is he at odds with cops? I didn't know, but I wanted to find out.<p>A stoned looking Peter Parker(everybody looked stoned in the 70s, probably from all the marijuana we smoked) staggers up to his apartment building and kind of a slutty looking redhead in tight pants with a bare mid-riff is waiting for him. I liked slutty looking readheads with tight pants and bare midriffs! And she's not trying to figure out his secret identity either! She's just pissed and giving him bitch bites because he's not paying any attention to her and the blonde, whose name I learn is Gwen, is back from the dead! Okay, I don't know what's going on, and I don't care, because this is getting good! And Pete slams the door in the redheads face! Clark never did that to Lois!<p>Pete tries to soak away his pain in a scuzzy looking bath tub but a reporter friend of his shows up with info on back from the dead Gwen! You can tell that Pete and his friend don't really like each other, and Pete makes him instant coffee, all of which seemed like how I'd observed real young adults interact. At 10, you can't imagine having friends you don't really like. Anyway, Pete and his friend head off to see this college professor who took some cell samples from his classes which included Pete and mystery Gwen. But Professor Warren thinks his former assistant, who suddenly vanished, took them.<p>Spider-Man breaks in to the apartment of the assistant (which is even scuzzier than Pete's apartment) and finds it empty ... except for the Tarantula. We get a big fight which carries them onto the night time roof tops. Spider-Man both makes fun of the Tarantula and goes off on him ... neither of which I'd ever seen Adam West or Burt Ward do. Finally, he beats the crap out of the South American villaindito and is about to drag him off to the nearest cop car, when the Jackal cuts him down with drugged claws! The Jackal takes off his mask and he's the Professor that Pete visited at the University!<p>Actually made me want to read more. Made me want to read what came next, and what came before.<p>But, Buzz, you say, they had to build up to this, right? You might have found the beginning of STORY ARC slow. No, I say back to you. Years later, when I finally tracked down back issues, the story started (because the didn't have STORY ARCS until the college boys took over comics)with Pete in a fetal position on his front stoop because he'd come home from fighting French supervillains to find his dead girlfriend alive and waiting for him. Dig it! Now, we'd have 2 full issues of a non-costumed Parker's reaction! Then, we got the whole picture with a trembling Parker losing his mind on the splash page.<p>We didn't have build up in the 70s and were better for it. We just had pot. And comics.

  • May 29, 2009, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Sweet

    by Series 7

    A red mass for mars #3 is actually coming out.

  • May 29, 2009, 2:35 p.m. CST

    I loved comics in the seventies!

    by Joenathan

    Of course... I was in grade school, but whatever...

  • May 29, 2009, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Well said Buzz

    by kungfuhustler84

    I wasn't born in the 70s, but I consistently enjoy more comics from that era than I do pretty much anywhere else. Didn't Howard the Duck come out in the 70s? Every issue in the original series is stand alone, and every one is fucking brilliant and hilarious. These story arcs are just to make money and sell trades. It is not necessary, nor has it ever been.

  • May 29, 2009, 3:45 p.m. CST

    Vigilante

    by Series 7

    I've actually been following it. I enjoy it. He is out right now killing off mob people. I didn't care for the whole crossover Deathtrap event. As for his story, his back story so far has not been fully told yet, right now I just know he is looking to kill one last person then he is done.

  • May 29, 2009, 11:22 p.m. CST

    Crossed

    by MasterBaytor

    For whatever reason I hadn't gotten around to reading thing yet. I actually really liked it. Sort of a cross between Stephen King's Cell and Warren Ellis' Black Gas. And I was really expecting a lot more gross-out and sexual material... for the concept, he seems remarkably restrained. Haven't read Walking Dead yet, so don't have any idea how it compares; but I'm enjoying it more than I did Blackgas, which was just kind of alright.

  • May 30, 2009, 4:55 a.m. CST

    SO late on this

    by buffywrestling

    but I loved the Buffy review and anything that stirs up the Buffy-haters is cool in my book. <p> I will be ordering the graphic novel along with my Dollhouse DVD.

  • May 30, 2009, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Yer Right Re. HTD, KungFu!

    by Buzz Maverik

    Howard the Duck was one of Marvel's best, bravest and most unique books. Although the George Lucas produced film from the mid-1980s has forever tainted HTD in the pop consciousness, maybe it is forgotten enough for the comic book to be remembered for its' greatness.<p>HTD was one of those great collaborations of writer and artist in synch. Although Val Mayerik co-created Howard with Steve Gerber, Mayerik's talent lay in horror and fantasy art, while Gene Colan, who drew most of the HTD series, specialized in realistic to noirish art with a true cinematic flair. His stuff was almost three dimensional and, to me, gave off the closest approximation of motion I've ever seen in comic book art. All this made a cigar smoking, violence prone version of Donald Duck stranger and funnier.<p>Also, Colan was an odd pair with HOWARD creator and writer Steve Gerber. Gerber was probably only in his late 20s or barely over 30 when HTD ran, while Colan was a seasoned pro from the Silver Age. Reportedly, they worked great together, considered HTD to be one of the best collaborative experiences either had ever had, and both sort of got shafted when Jim Shooter became EIC.<p>The stories were funny, unpredicitble, and beautifully gonzo. I've been sort of misunderstood with the whole "stand alone" thing. I'm not talking single issue stories. I'm talking issues, whether they are part of an ongoing story or not, that hold up as good reads. Too often, we see murky, poorly paced first issues (and I'm not asking for more fights, although nothing wrong with a good fight) and are told "Well, you gotta read the entire two year arc." Uh-uh. But HTD had both continuing stories and single issues and they all hold up. We had Howard running for President as the candidate of the All Night Party (only to be ruined by assassination attempts and scandal perpetrated by Canadian villain Le Beaver. Or OMEN FOR AN EXORCIST in which Howard has a nervous breakdown, beats up an old lady on a bus, causing the bus to crash and ending up in a mental institution run by Hitler. There, Howard helps a young woman he has befriended who is possessed by the rock group KISS. And who could forget Howard's encounter with the perfect '70s villain Dr. Bong?