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#12 7/29/09 #8

Hey folks, it’s Ambush Bug again with another edition of AICN Comics. I’m a glutton for punishment apparently. Although I’m still recovering from the exhausting experience that was the San Diego Comic Con, my pal Sleazy G and I will be attending this year’s Wizard World Chicago this weekend as well. I’m ready to do it all over again and hopefully, I’ll come back with some fun stuff to report on. WWChicago is always a fun time, so I hope to see you all there.
Before we get to the reviews, there's one more announcement...

Please stop by and visit the all new Trashtalk forums. Trash Talk is the forum created with the opinionated pop culture fan in mind. Worried about getting banned by spamming your own projects or calling out your fellow geek for his questionable taste? No worries here. This is the forum where your opinion counts. We want to hear from you. Post about your likes, dislikes and your fondest desires and put yourself out there so your fellow geeks can trash you for all to see. We can't promise you fame and fortune but it's a safe bet there will be plenty of tears. Trash Talk isn't going to be for the thin skinned. The forum is live now so come on by and contribute to the newest, wildest, free for all on the net.
Hope to see you and the rest of the gang there stirring the pot.

And now, on with the show!



Writer: Bill Willingham & Matthew Sturges Art: Jesus Merino Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

So although I've been a fan of JSA from the beginning when Goyer, Robinson, and Johns began the rehash many moons ago, I have to say that lately I haven't been a fan of the series. Johns left the book well developed, but stagnant and crowded with over twenty members and very little room for development due to key characters being placed in stasis due to their involvement in INFINITY CRISIS, KINGDOM, FINAL CRISIS, and even BLACKEST NIGHT. And the last few fill in issues didn't amp up the dull factor even though I'm a fan of Ordway and Wiacek. I think I would have appreciated another restart with a #1 issue rather than having to sit through the last two snoozers featuring the Spectre.
It's not like I don't like the team or the concept behind the book. Legacy is one of the core concepts of the DC Universe, cementing JSA as one of the most important books the company has to publish. But the problem with the last few creative teams on JSA has been that there have been too many balls to juggle and the writers on the books, while they may have skills telling strong stories, come up lacking when it comes to juggling so many of these characters in an equal and interesting way. The best example of the bunch is Judomaster, who hasn't had a decent arc or moment yet in the entire series. She's cool looking with cool powers, but Johns really did nothing with her in his time on the book. He seemed to want to collect all of these characters in one ballroom, but once it was time to boogie, the same couple of characters got the spotlight, while others had nothing to do at all other than pose dramatically in a group shot.
Although I wasn't a fan of Willingham's last mainstream team book SHADOWPACT, he has impressed me with the way he handles the expansive universe that is FABLES. In that series, everyone is unique, with their own unique storyline, and their own unique function in the beautifully unique Fables World. When I heard he was coming onboard on JSA with the addition of his writing partner Matthew Sturges, I had a great feeling about what I was about to read.
And I wasn't disappointed when I finally did read issue #29. Sure, not all team members gets a time to shine, but Willingham and Sturges juggle multiple problems evenly enough to make what could be a typically cliched story about a slugfest between two super groups into a mystery-layered souffle boiling over with tension and action (I know I'm mixing metaphors here, but dammit Jim I'm a writer not a cook!).
What I loved about this issue was that there was so much going on and there was stuff to do for everyone. There were even two new members added to the already crowded roster, which normally would annoy the shit out of me, but it's handled so well here, I can't help but love it. Jumping between a mysterious dark black egg found in the JSA mansion, a low level crook's hostage situation, and the introduction of two new team members, the story flows effortlessly from one to the next. Are these events connected? Maybe. Maybe not. But you're damn certain I'll be back next month for next issue.
The art by Jesus Merino was pretty good too. Sure Wildcat looks like he's be doused with a gallon of water, but the panels are vivid and varied. The action scenes are well sequenced and clear. And the tension that builds up until the last shockeroo panel is amped by the clarity and precision of the imagery.
All in all, the JSA is back on its way to becoming one of my favorite comics once again. I don't want to take anything away form Geoff Johns because he laid the groundwork for this phenomenal series to launch from, but Willingham and Sturges seem fit to take the team and write them in ways they haven't been written before and for once I'm excited about the expansive cast and hoping Sturges and Willingham stay on the title to make the JSA universe as vast as they've done with FABLES. They're off to a great start!
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 September 2009 (but you’ve gotta order it from this month’s PREVIEWS – order code: JUL09 0737 to get it!).


Writer: Raven Gregory Artists: Leister and more Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment Reviewer: Optimous Douche Lost In Wonderland

Don’t judge a book by its cover. Trite to be sure, but this ever so true statement is what denied me the absolute pleasure of getting lost in the looking glass of RETURN TO WONDERLAND, BEYOND WONDERLAND, the myriad of TALES FROM WONDERLAND sides and the latest issue to hit the stands ESCAPE FROM WONDERLAND 1. I’m going to make this review easy to read with clear paragraph starts, so anyone that knows the tale of WONDERLAND already can easily scroll to see what nightmares come to life in the newest issue of ESCAPE #1.
I have one solemn vow at Wizard World every year; leverage the half-off trade goodness to traverse into unexplored titles. At most cons I have passed the Zenescope booth without a fleeting glance for the same reason I simply gloss over the naughty, but ohhhh so nice covers at the shop; basically a raging predisposition that what lies underneath the slut-o-ween Flickr photo stream glossy stock covers is essentially soft core porn. This year Zenescope was about 25 feet away from the vending stand; this fortuitous placement (note to marketing) is what gave me a few minutes to observe the phenomenon that converted me from my cheesecake bigotry. As I refueled on my shitty microwave pretzel and diet Pepsi, I watched the league of fanboys flock around the Zenescope tables, but something was slightly off; almost all of these fanboys didn’t have penises. Why the hell would so many women flock to a comic line with covers that so proudly objectify the female form it would make Gloria Steinem spontaneously combust if she got within 25 feet of one? There obviously had to be more to these titles than simply fulfilling the masturbatory fantasies of people too stupid to use the Internet.
Once I had collected the complete WONDERLAND series to date in my manbag, all I had to do was read through the first issue of the RETURN TO WONDERLAND trade to realize the allure. The emotional complexity and themes that are played throughout the entire series coupled with the strong female lead of Callie Liddle, who not only doesn’t fall into the usual clichéd trappings of women confronted with sheer horror - she outright mocks them, makes the appeal to the fairer sex clearer than a looking glass. Yes there’s a panty peek here and there, with a wee bit of “comic” nudity (read as supple shapes no full on naughty bits), but that’s truly it. By the time I had closed the last chapter I realized that not only were the sexual bits tastefully handled, but they also served to make these characters stronger and more real. Also for those that can raise their head above the neck line, they will discover that Leister not only renders facial expressions, he embraces them. That’s import since Gregory’s dialogue and characterization have a 3-D richness that would be muted and misconstrued without each subtle nuance of emotion brought to life visually.
RETURN TO WONDERLAND: Truly better to state, descent into madness. My first impression of the trade that binds the six original issues was “Lewis Carroll couldn’t have imagined this if he licked the ass of 12 bull frogs while getting a shotgun of maui wowie from an elephant.” Yes, the original “Alice in Wonderland” is a tale about the nightmares that permeate the human consciousness, but it’s the madness of a more innocent age (need proof? Disney made a movie out of it). What Gregory and company have wrought is insanity 21st century style. Wonderland is a construct of the forbidden, a physical manifestation of the pervasive evil that seems to smother and suffocate humanity as we blindly crawl towards infinity. The story at the literal level follows the lineage of the Liddles, a family that is bound by an ancient curse to feed Wonderland (Hell, the nether land, Shakari for Star Trek fans) one child from the Liddle line each generation. At the outset we are led to believe that these sacrifices are meant to keep the nightmares of Wonderland away from our own world; later in the story Gregory pulls a nice three-card-monty by unveiling the true purpose behind these sacrifices.
Alice Liddle was the last child from this haunted lineage to traverse into Wonderland and the first to return. However, no one ever truly returns from madness unscathed. Part of Alice was left behind the looking glass: the parts that made her human, essentially her soul. What returns is merely the husk of a human being, sullen and catatonic. Anyone that has had to suffer the living hell of mental illness in their personal lives will immediately relate to Alice’s untreatable depression. Her children merely want to help her, her husband while wanting to help still tends to his own carnal needs in the arms of another woman. This could be your family or any number of families these days that are increasingly succumbing to mental breakdown.
As Alice merely plods through daily life, haunted by the ghosts of Wonderland, her daughter Callie and son Johnny are as maladjusted as one could expect with these two stellar parents. Callie merely hides behind the average rebellions of a teenage girl, where Johnny traverses a much darker plane of existence. This delineation is important since these two teens embody the forces of good and evil to come. I applaud Gregory’s use of journals and blogs to give us our initial peek into the mind’ of our three central players. For the prose adverse, Gregory wisely makes this material supplemental. You don’t have to read the blogs and journal to get the over-arching story, but this material is LOL funny (especially if you enjoy dark humor in Johnny’s case) and helps to scratch past the veneer they both present at the story’s outset. Unbeknownst to Callie she is the next sacrificial lamb to be pushed through the mystical looking glass that sits in her parent’s basement. When she does stumble into Wonderland it is a grotesque nightmare; everything is cranked up to a “Spinal Tap” 11 from the original source material. Eat me, drink me is an exercise in suffocation and drowning. The world of Wonderland is barbaric and brutal instead of playful and snide. The Cheshire Cat is a literal monster instead of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The Mad Hatter embodies not only madness, but sexual perversion and manic blood-lust, as we have come to expect from today’s lunatic. Once Callie escapes (like her Mother a generation before) instead of succumbing to the madness like Alice, she decides to fight it. In the process of this battle, she loses her mother to suicide, her whore-mongering father to the knife of her brother and ultimately she pushes Johnny through the looking glass as this Liddle generation’s sacrificial lamb. Callie also learns she is pregnant (as if family breakdown and an attack from a world of nightmares weren’t enough for a teenage girl) during the closing pages. With her family in ruins and the inescapable guilt of pushing her brother through the looking glass, she and her boyfriend leave town to start anew.
Part of me is truly glad that I read this origin tale in trade format. The exquisite presentation offered by the Zenescope team shows that this compilation was a true labor of love. The beautiful yet eerie sepia hued pages that separate each chapter let you know what’s in store before you ever read one dialogue bubble. Plus, Leister and company’s art work simply shines off the glossier stock paper (hear that Wednesday Comics, yes I said glossy, and for less than $4.00 an issue).
TALES FROM WONDERLAND VOLUME 1: This trade collects supplemental origin tales of Wonderland’s wonderful cast of supporting players. Gregory’s story development partners Brusha and Tedesco take on the brunt of the writing chores that unfold the origins of the Red Queen, the Mad Hatter prior to Johnny taking on the mantle, Alice Liddle’s first trip into Wonderland and the tale of a mad scientist seeking immortality by selling his soul to the devil.
BEYOND WONDERLAND: Not losing a beat from the closing pages of RETURN TO WONDERLAND, Callie and the Father of her unborn baby girl have set up camp in New York. Under an assumed name, Callie has left her goth hair darkening phase behind and now adorns blonde tresses like her mother. She works as a waitress, not so much for the money, but as more of a respite from sleep. Even though Callie never physically descends into Wonderland during this 6 issue arc, it is always lurking in the shadows plaguing her dreams and in the end her reality. This story is also inspired by vengeance. After Johnny was pushed into the looking glass he becomes madness incarnate by donning a funny stove pipe hat and becoming the Mad Hatter of Wonderland. Fueled by vengeance against his sister, he does the bidding of feeding Wonderland’s insatiable hunger for innocent lives with zeal. First he disposes of Callie’s boyfriend, next the make-shift cast of characters that have become her new family. While Callie is the ever apparent target, in reality it’s the life she’s carrying that is the ultimate prize. We also learn that the Liddle family was never feeding Wonderland to keep evil at bay, but rather feeding an ancestor’s desire for the perpetual fountain of youth. The story ends with Callie giving birth to her daughter only to see the child whisked away by Johnny and the Cheshire Cat into the looking glass.
2009 ANNUAL: THE HOUSE OF LIDDLE: Even though this annual is entitled THE HOUSE OF LIDDLE, not one Liddle makes an actual appearance. This is a nice Twilight Zone type diversion that focuses on the house where Alice killed herself, her husband was murdered, and her children descended into madness. If anything this story serves to cement the concept that Wonderland is breaking through into our world every day and not simply plaguing the Liddle family. Naturally death ensues and nightmares come to life. What we are left with are the haunting panels of a young boy trapped with horror incarnate until his confinement consumes him.
ESCAPE FROM WONDERLAND 1: The newest and sadly “beginning of the end” installment into the Wonderland mythos hits shelves this week. Yes, there’s blood, guts and the traditional glimpses of cheesecake, but truly this final chapter is about growth. Callie steps back into the looking glass, this time not by force, but of her own freewill in an attempt to retrieve her absconded daughter. As she traverses some of the paths she took during her first dark decent we can plainly see that this is no longer a frightened girl, but rather a woman who has decided to battle fear head-on. Many of the changing road signs and trappings that befuddled Callie’s first trip into Wonderland now bend to her indomitable will. She is a warrior that will stop at nothing to save the future of her family and in the process perhaps all of humanity.
I’m embarrassed by what a fool I’ve been towards the Zenescope library. By letting myself be stifled by my own puritanical false predispositions surrounding WONDERLAND, GRIMMS and the other Zenescope titles, I’ve denied myself a truly pleasurable comic experience. If you enjoy horror, characters so lifelike they bleed off the page and some of the best art being rendered today, remove your chastity belt blinders and look beyond the Zenescope covers to discover a comic world unto its own.
When Optimous Douche isn’t reading comics and misspelling the names of 80’s icons, he “transforms” into a corporate communications guru. "What if the whole world had superpowers? Find out in the pages of Optimous’ original book AVERAGE JOE. Read the first full issue on Optimous’ New Blog and see original sketches by fellow @$$hole Bottleimp. If you are a publisher or can help these guys get AVERAGE JOE up, up, and on the shelves in any way, drop Optimous a line."


Writer: Paul Jenkins Art: Andres Guinaldo Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

Count my voice among the millions of collective groans that were heard around the comic book world when it was first decided that Ol’ Greenskin was getting an offspring. I didn’t care for it, just as I didn’t care for the Rick Jones Hulk, Red Hulk or any other Hulk rip-off they wanted to shove down our throats. SKAAR probably could have worked in a “Mighty Joe Young” kind of way but Greg Pak instead created baby Banner, a whiny little brat that actually made filicide a welcome conclusion to this series.
Well I’m happy to report that new writer Paul Jenkins has given us the next best thing, another lil’ lad running around the cosmos calling himself the son of Hulk and in this case actually acting like him. Forget about that “Daddy doesn’t love me” crap, this pre-teen paladin is all out of bubble gum. It’s actually such a contrast to the previous books – and I mean that in a positive way – that I can’t believe they didn’t pull the trigger on this new direction any sooner.
Hulk Jr. is breaking out as a former slave and calling himself Hiro-Kala. He’s recently discovered that he’s (cliché alert!) “The One,” a bringer of life and breaker of worlds or something silly like that. He’s also pissed off at Galactus for slurping down his home planet and that kind of triggers his holiness to get into character and start kicking some ass. I like it.
Unfortunately the book isn’t perfect and the character design has a lot to do with that. The original SKAAR (in human form) looked like an extra from one of those Kidz Bop commercials. Hiro-Kala fares no better, as he seems to come right out of the animated AVATAR cartoon. I don’t even think it’s debatable. He’s small, bald, has dark tattoos on his head and glowing eyes when he means business. Another gripe is the forgettable supporting cast -- and I can do without the Tolkien-speak that invariably gets attached to every distant world and mythical race. Last but not least is the disaster of a cover, that has Hiro-Kala doing some sort of bizarre rendition of Nosferatu when he recoils and does that arm thing over his face. I will however give props to the Ming the Merciless-inspired variant cover that had me laughing out loud in the comic shop.
Those are minor complaints, as is my frustration with the familiar storytelling. What makes this book so good? The fact that I can point out its recurring flaws and still keep the pages turning, hungry for more. True, I may have welcomed just about anything after the hit-and-miss issues that preceded it, but SON OF HULK #13 is the SKAAR book that’s finally gotten my attention. It presents such a fresh outlook on the series and an abundance of potential storylines that I’m anxious to see how it all unfolds. Isn’t that why we read comics in the first place? Pick this one up and give it a look if you haven’t already.
Final word: SKAAR may look like Aang and talk like the Beyonder, but he’s got plenty of “Hulk” attitude – something sorely missing from the first twelve issues. More please.


Story by: Will Eisner Art by: Will Eisner Published by: DC Comics Reviewed by: Baytor

The longest and most ambitious Archive series draws to a close with its 26th volume. For those of us who have spent well over a thousand bucks collecting the mausoleum edition of Will Eisner’s influential series, we are left with the satisfaction of knowing that our wallets will be a little bit heavier from now on.
For readers, this is likely to be the most disappointing volume of the series, eclipsing the rather dull war years when Eisner had nothing to do with the series. This volume is just collecting the random bits of Spirit lore that have appeared since 1952, so there’s only a handful of stories collected within, including a couple of never finished strips that continued the U.F.O. story left unresolved at series end.
I think this might mark the DC debut of Dave Sim’s Cerebus from the “Cerebus Vs. The Spirit” story co-drawn by Eisner and Sim. We’ve also go the origin stories from the Harvey series (along with a couple of James Bond spoofs) and handful of stories he did for Kitchen Sink that seem to mock the mores and attitudes of the 70s, including a rather ham-fisted defense of Ebony who is being questioned about his ignoble treatment as The Spirit’s partner. Other tales are downright surreal as stereotypical 70s criminals and druggies make their way into the decidedly squarebound world of The Spirit, which seems to suggest Eisner was flirting with a far more adult take on super-heroes a decade before such attitudes started showing up at Marvel and DC.
But most of the 250+ pages are taken up by the various pin-ups, covers, portfolio, coloring book pictures, and convention posters that featured The Spirit. Not being a huge art fan, I just flipped through the pictures, only pausing when I noticed an image that was on the naughty side, such as the nipple slip on page 71, which also featured P’Gell headlights.
There are two big disappointments and one surprise. THE SPIRIT JAM has been reduced to the three pages drawn by Eisner, leaving out the contributions of Milton Caniff, Harvey Kurtzman, Frank Miller, and scores of other; while “The Spirit Casebook of True Haunted Houses and Ghosts” with The Spirit as horror host has been omitted completely. The surprise was the inclusion of Eisner’s final Spirit story, which teams up The Spirit with The Escapist. Seeing as the original publisher, Dark Horse, shall be publishing their own Spirit Archive to collect the short-lived Kitchen Sink Spirit anthology (featuring stories by Alan Moore, Neil Gaiman, and others), I figured it would be included in that volume, but I’m happy to see it here where it belongs.
For the art fans out there, this will probably be a treasure trove of Eisner art well worth the price of admission, but I was hoping for more stories. Still, I won’t begrudge the series its victory lap.

Review Supplement:


Story by: Will Eisner Art by: Will Eisner Published by: Tempo Star (1976) Reviewed by: Baytor

Okay, I had to do it. I had to track down a copy of THE SPIRIT CASEBOOK: TRUE HAUNTED HOUSES & GHOSTS, which was a little mass market paperback published way back in 1976. Back then, I swear every third book released was about ghosts, UFOs, Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, or astrology; which makes me suspect that the fluoride in our water had some sort of nefarious effect on our fragile minds. What I love is the hopeful little “1” on the Spirit Casebook folder in the upper corner, which goes to show that Eisner or his publisher was really hoping they had found a way to muscle in on the turf of RIPLEY’S BELIEVE IT OR NOT, whose paperback series was really the Gold Standard of bad 70s supernatural “non-fiction”.
The Spirit acts as horror host to 22 ghost stories, all of which are documented to have been reported in other publications so they’ve got to be true. While there’s tales of a ghost who leads his heirs to his lost will and the oft-told story of the restless casket, it’s the gruesome ones that are the most fun, like the ghost who hangs anyone who spends the night in a particular New Orleans jail cell or the handless ghost of a Scottish maiden who earned her fate by betraying her father to her lover.
For those of us with a strange nostalgia for this sort of thing, it’s an enjoyable little read, but I think Eisner made the mistake of making it a glorified illustrated book. The suitably gruesome artwork of Eisner is far more interesting than his matter-of-fact delivery style, but they don’t really work terribly well together since the text is far more restrained than the artwork. Some of the pictures have dialogue, which is dutifully reprinted in the text, which is about as redundant as the old “Superman lifts up the car” captions when the picture clearly shows just that.
Unless you’re a big Eisner fan, this isn’t worth what you’d pay on the after-market, but it is an interesting curiosity that I would have loved to have seen it make its way into the Archive series.


Mastermind: David Mazzucchelli Publisher: Pantheon Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

Okay my fellow nerds, let’s have a little geek huddle. Let us put our heads together and collaborate a little and ask ourselves one simple question: what do we want from our comics? I know I know, that's really a big question to answer in the little, rhetorical space that will be this review, but it still begs asking. Really though, what do we want? Do we just want entertainment? Do we really just want our funny books to be summer movie adrenaline rushes? Are we really that happy to load up forum after forum and usurp bandwidth with chatter of "ZOMG!! SPACE ZOMBIES!" like it's the best thing we've ever witnessed (for the record I do loves me some Space Zombies)? Or do we want something more from time to time? Not all the time, mind you, for all work and no play makes Homer something something (I think that's how it goes). But don't we at least occasionally want for ourselves something more artistic, that instills a sense of importance in ourselves as we take the work in, that raises an extra awareness in us if you will? Do we want something that pushes the boundaries of how we think of the medium, and how it can be used to tell a story? Are we willing to take a little time from our normal reading habits to enjoy a masterpiece when it lands right in front of us, from one of its masters?
Now, I honestly didn't mean for any of that to sound condescending, and I know I failed miserably but I figured it was a way to grab some attention for a work that deserves more than its share of it. The thing is, and this might just be the presumptuous part of me speaking, but we seem to be doing a horrible job in our realm of geekdom these days of honoring stuff that really pushes the boundaries of the hobby/art form we love so much and more focusing on material that just tickles the part of us inside that was willing to convince the current us to shell out ten bucks for the piece of shite that was “Transformers 2” this summer. ASTERIOS POLYP though, to go for a horribly transparent segue, is quite transformational in its own right.
Asterios Polyp is a middle aged man who has lost pretty much everything in his life. The story begins a little bit after having lost his wife to divorce and in the middle of a thunderstorm so severe that stray lightning costs him pretty much all his worldly possessions to fire, except the clothes on his back and a few trinkets he escapes with. It's from there that Mazzucchelli takes us, and Asterios, on a journey both through the past and mindset of our protagonist, and also through the comics page itself as he dissects the life of Asterios and the aspects of storytelling that one can accomplish with pencil on paper in this medium. At the very least, Mr. Mazzucchelli's work here could be used as a textbook on how to set and pace a story, as there isn't a wasted piece of space in this book, even when the actual content on the page might be at its most minimal. But the technique, god the technique, is just so flooring in its implementation. From the break down of shapes to the shading and framing to the monochromatic schemes and the usages of space, both dense with content and at times overly empty for effect, it's brilliant to so many degrees, I honestly can't do it justice but to say this is an exhibition on the art of comic book storytelling.
As for the story itself, it's one that's very loaded, almost overwhelmingly so, with so many themes and intellectual jaunts that it will make your head swim a little, but it will also reward you for allowing yourself to open your mind up and make weight of what the words are doing in unison with Mazzucchelli's sublime pencil work. Take Asterios himself for instance, as he is a man that, by admitted nature, is about duality, which is what could also sum up the book. But, y'know what, his duality, his "this is this and that is that" context for any subject and situation keeps unfolding itself deeper and deeper, each into their own subsets and sub contexts that it can be broken down in so many ways which, again, is something Mazzuchelli does expertly with physical, penciled representations. The beautiful part of it all too is that, just when you could almost accuse the book of getting too heady and full of itself (much like this review honestly) you will get that little jab that that's just another aspect of Asterios poking out at the reader, and I assume Mazzuchelli maybe humbling his more precocious readers who want to read WAY too into it as he lets them know that that's not the point of the work, and really life. I could be off base, maybe Mazz is going that intellectual and I'm just not bright enough to get all that he's laying in, but I think he's relating the idea that, yes, life is something that should be examined and explored, but not at the expense of really missing the aspects of it that are joyous and placed simply in front of us.
ASTERIOS POLYP, though, is definitely one of those instant classics that comes along ever so rarely. Easily the best thing I've read all year in the world of comics, and up there with the top handful of exemplary works I've read honestly probably ever. It's one of those great examples of a story that at its boiled down essence is something that anyone can identify with - a tale of finding oneself - and fleshes it out with the right amount of detail, heart, eccentricity, pomp, and a flair for the metatextual. It's a masterpiece of a comic that I believe has an overabundance of innovation, lots of layers that you can read into however much you want, and that is very relatable in its own right. It's a work of brilliance, and something that should be on every book case for those who consider themselves fans of the medium, and not just a genre of it, and that I think will be one of those works that pushes the medium forward with its freshness. So, I guess in the end, this was just a long-winded way of saying: "Transformers it ain't". Now go out and do your bookshelf proud and add this wondrous piece of comic book art to its shelves. It's okay, those nasty Black Lanterns won't mind, and they'll still be here six months from now anyways.
Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a Blogger Account where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.


Writer: Andy Diggle Art: Miguel Sepulveda Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Matt Adler

This book had gotten a little unfocused since Warren Ellis left. Ellis brought the book back to prominence, assembling a solid mix of A-list villains as well as long-time Thunderbolts. But in the wake of SECRET INVASION, it seemed that Dark Avengers became the default Thunderbolts book; most of the members had gone over to that book, and it also took the “villains pretending to be heroes” concept. So where did that leave this book?
Well, new writer Andy Diggle assembled a pretty random cast that appeared to be selected by going through the Official Handbook with a blindfold. Paladin, a mercenary anti-hero from pages of Daredevil and Spider-Man. Robert Kirkman’s “Irredeemable” Ant-Man. The Ghost, an old Iron Man villain. Yelena Belova, the second Black Widow. And the Headsman…um, I don’t really recall anything about him. But I’m pretty sure he existed before.
The new team wasn’t public, so there was no need for them to pretend to be heroes; instead, they were given the vaguely defined premise of being Osborn’s “black ops” team, doing the dirty work behind the scenes that the more public Avengers couldn’t afford to. Problem with this is, if you read the other “Dark Reign” tie-in books, Osborn has a ton of the villains doing his dirty work for him. The Hood has an entire army working for Osborn, and even the Dark Avengers seem to have little problem getting their hands dirty when the situation calls for it. So the premise became a bit muddled, and the book lost anything that made it distinctive.
Now, however, we seem to be going somewhere. Nick Fury has popped up, and appears to be using the Thunderbolts as his main venue to get at Osborn. That puts the book in a position of more significance within the overall “Dark Reign” structure, and makes more sense of the “black ops” theme. There’s a nice bit where Fury instructs his agent to blow her cover in order to save former Thunderbolt Songbird from being murdered at the hands of the new team, because she can be useful to him. This implies that he might, under other circumstances, allow her to be sacrificed in order to preserve his agent’s cover. I know some people will be uncomfortable with this, but it strikes me as dead-on in terms of Fury’s character; he’s not Captain America. He’s a spymaster. He is capable of (and no doubt has engaged in) sacrificing innocent people for what he sees as the greater mission. He wouldn’t be effective at his job otherwise.
Other points of interest in this issue include the reunion of original Thunderbolts Songbird, Mach IV (The Beetle), and The Fixer. It appears that Songbird is intent on “getting the band back together”, as Mach IV puts it. This sets up an interesting dynamic where these former villains are now looking not only to redeem themselves, but to redeem their team’s name from this new group who are tarnishing it. The return of the Radioactive Man (last seen in MIGHTY AVENGERS as part of the “China Force” team) is also teased, and one would think that Atlas wouldn’t be far behind if a team reunion is in order. Perhaps Baron Zemo might also return, enraged at the effrontery of these upstarts (and you know that’s EXACTLY how he’d put it).
There are also a number of running subplots involving members of the new team. A new mystery member named Scourge has been added, and his true identity isn’t too hard to figure out when you note that he’s a fanatically obedient, ultra-violent military man with a penchant for facial modification (though his skin color may throw you off; it appears Osborn is trying to disguise him even from the other members of the team). The Ghost is very intriguingly characterized by Diggle as sort of an OCD paranoiac but with a fairly lucid agenda; I also think his redesigned outfit is really interesting to look at (although I liked the classic costume as well). And the Headsman looks like he will wind up red-shirted to Mister X (a Van Damme clone from Frank Tieri’s Wolverine run).
Finally, the major twist of the issue (and its biggest spoiler, so turn away now to avoid) is the true identity of the Yelena Belova Black Widow. It’s not immediately clear why Diggle chose to go this route; one would think the actual Yelena Belova would have worked perfectly well in this role, but Diggle appears to make reference to her in the past tense, and I haven’t followed her recent stories, so I don’t know if she’s supposed to be dead. In any event, injectable “genetic camouflage” which enables “skeletal reconfiguration” (come on, aren’t we stretching the suspension of disbelief a bit too far?) is used for the disguise, which reveals “Yelena Belova” to actually be Natasha Romanova, the original Black Widow. One possible explanation for this switch is that the original Black Widow has strong ties to the original Thunderbolts, particularly Songbird, so it makes sense for her to be her savior. I hope that Diggle is aiming for that, and makes use of that relationship; it would help make some sense of the switch. But overall, it looks like the comic is heating up and going in an interesting direction.
In most places, Matt Adler goes by the name his mother gave him, but occasionally uses the handle "CylverSaber", based on a character he created for the old DARK FORCES II: JEDI KNIGHT game (one hint of his overweening nerddom). He currently does IT and networking support for the government of Nassau County, NY, but his dream is to write for a living, and is in the process of figuring out how to get publishers to give his stuff a look. In the meantime, he passes the time by writing for AICN, CBR, and a few other places. He has also written for MARVEL SPOTLIGHT magazine.



Writer and Artist: Keith McCleary Publisher: Terminal Press Reviewed by: 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.
TOP OF THE HEAP is a really good comic book. It’s a bit longer than a regular comic and it’s told in just one issue so you can get the whole story without having to wait months for the next parts to come out. The story is that a circus train crashes in the middle of the dessert and all the animals on the train get loose. That is such a good idea for a comic story.
The book doesn’t show any blood or guts but it tells you in the first few pages what happened so you can use your imagination. The first few words are, ‘The ringmaster and the acrobats served as food for the first three days. The clowns were next’. So after the circus train crashes in the middle of the dessert the wild animals eat all the humans from the circus. That’s crazy. The comic was pretty easy to read. Even Ethan was able to read most of the words on his own. Each page is done in a really good looking art style and the colors are very bright when it needs to be and dark the other times with just a sentence or two on every page. It’s fun to look at everything that’s happening on the pages as you read it because there is a lot of detail in the art. The way he draws the animals and the scenes is interesting because it’s not really cartoony and it doesn’t look like it’s a computer image either. Sometimes the animals will look normal like the tigers and the rhinos and some of them look really weird. I like how there is a different style for the different animals and settings of the book. The art is so good because of the way he uses colors too. Sometimes in the scenes with trees and water it looks like they are real pictures. You can see all the little details in the leaves or the way the water is moving. It’s really cool how he gave it that effect.
I think that this is definitely a comic book that everyone would enjoy. It’s easy to read for little kids because it’s not too long and all the cool looking animals will keep them interested. And grown ups will like it because it’s just a great story with a pretty interesting idea with really good artwork. I hope he does another story like this soon.
My Rating: 10 out of 10.


Writers: Peter Tomasi and Geoff Johns Artists: Chris Samnee, Mikey Mayhew and Ivan Reis Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Sleazy G

This final issue of the TALES OF THE CORPS backstories tying into the current BLACKEST NIGHT storyline left me deeply conflicted. It had what I felt were two of the minseries’ strongest tales followed by a third piece that left me feeling incredibly disappointed. It felt like grading somebody’s final exam and having them acing the multiple choice, only to completely blow it on the essay section and drag their final grade down with it.
First I’ll address the good, and then I’ll get into where the issue went off the rails.
I can still remember when Pete Tomasi started in on a couple of minor writing assignments on DC and contemplated leaving his Editor position. I felt he had some strong ideas and could turn out to be a pretty solid writer. Jump forward a few years and we’ve come to see just how good he is, first cranking out a kickass miniseries in BLACK ADAM: THE DARK AGE and then writing a team book with an incredibly large cast in GREEN LANTERN CORPS. He’s managed to juggle a large number of characters, give them their own distinctive voices and attitudes, stay in step with the overarching storyline developed with Geoff Johns, and kept it all moving along at a rapid clip with a lot of action.
That streak continues here in the first two stories in TOTC #3. The first story focuses on fan favorite/drill sergeant Kilowog. We’re given a look at Kilowog’s time as a new recruit and what he went through in training. In a hilarious nod to “Full Metal Jacket”, his driller is Sergeant Ermey, which leaves Kilowog looking an awful lot like Vincent D’Onofrio’s character. Ermey rides Kilowog pretty hard, at first, and we’re not sure why. As we see Kilowog train, though, we find that he ends up pushing himself harder than any of the other recruits to prove his worth. The recruits suddenly receive a distress signal, are rushed into battle before they’re truly ready, and Kilowog rises to the occasion and becomes the hero of the day, leading to a passing of the green torch from Ermey to Kilowog. The story starts out light, with some winking at the audience and some solid laughs, but it gets serious pretty quickly. Tomasi deftly handles the lighter and darker aspects of the script, and does so quite impressively considering the page count. As for Chris Samnee’s art, it’s amazing. It’s done in a style so similar to Peter Gross that I actually flipped back a few pages in and double-checked the credits, and as far as I’m concerned that’s a compliment. In a story so full of odd-looking aliens, Samnee does a great job of giving them clearly discernible emotions so that we can relate to them more easily. Suffice to say that after his work on this short story I’ll be keeping an eye on what he does next.
The second story focuses on one of the perkiest Lanterns, Arisia. In this tale we learn that Arisia’s family, the Rrabs, are one of the only examples in the Corps of a longstanding legacy—all Lanterns in sector 2815 have come from Arisia’s family. She’s fascinated with the Corps, excited by it, and thrilled that her family is such a unique part of it. Once again, Tomasi shows a skilled hand at balancing the fun and thrills of it and the inevitable crushing loss that comes with the job as Arisia loses her father and then her uncle to the job before finally being selected herself. Her spirit still shines through at the end, though: in a nice nod back to the first story, we again briefly see Kilowog in drill sergeant mode, but Arisia can’t contain her joy at finally being a Lantern. The art for this tale by Mike Mayhew is a huge contrast from that of the previous story, but every bit as strong. It’s a more detailed style that feels more photorealistic when it comes to the characters’ faces, there is some great background work, and the shading is handled wonderfully. It was impossible not to come out of this story feeling deeply for Arisia (and maybe crushing on her a little), and that is in no small part due to Mayhew’s outstanding work.
And now for the part of the issue that made me feel a bit cheated. As you’re probably aware, this minseries was touted as three issues with three stories each, filling in the backgrounds of various members of the different Corps. That was the case for the first two issues, and I expected the same out of the third, but was disappointed to find I didn’t get it. What we got instead was the equivalent of watching the commentary track on a DVD—but not even the DVD you just watched. Instead it’s the commentary for a different DVD you watched a couple of months ago. What we get here is the BLACKEST NIGHT #0 DIRECTOR’S COMMENTARY, with discussion among Geoff Johns, Associate Editor Adam Schlagman and Editor Eddie Berganza, not to mention Ivan Reis’ original pencils pre-inking and coloring.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s kind of cool to see what they were thinking at the time, or what they feel the images or scenes represent; I’m always happy to get a glimpse inside the creative process. It’s just that, well, I already got this material in its full form for free back in May, and now I’ve gotten it a second time in a book I paid $3.99 for. When you advertise a book as having three new stories per issue, and you charge an extra buck an issue premium on it, you should really deliver what was promised at the outset: three new stories filling in character backgrounds, not production-level backmatter. By all means, give us the Free Comic Book Day issue with commentary for free as an added bonus after the three new stories we were paying for; but subbing in something we already have when we thought we were buying something new feels awfully like a bait and switch to me. I’m not knocking what Johns, Schlagman or Berganza had to say, and if it were a freebie at the end of the issue I’d have been fine. I just wish we’d gotten a story about Mogo or Tomar Re or any of the Alpha Lanterns out there—how much do we really know about Green Man or Boodikka? That’s the kind of stuff we were promised, and it was what I came to see.
So in the end, I can’t possibly praise the work of Tomasi, Samnee and Mayhew strongly enough and encourage anyone who is a fan of the Green Lanterns to read those stories. Just be prepared for a letdown with the final third of the issue, as it’s not at all in keeping with the editorial intent of the first 8/9ths of this series and left me wanting a third Tomasi story in its place.
Sleazy G is one of the Original @$$Holes and has reviewed and co-edited for AICN Comics for close to seven years. Sleazy is the unsung hero of AICN Comics, doing much of the editing for the column.


Story by: Joss Whedon and Brian Lynch Art by: Stephen Mooney and Franco Urru Published by: IDW Publishing Reviewed by: Baytor

There’s only so epic a story can go before I start thinking “for fuck’s sake, win already”. AFTER THE FALL has long been a fairly convoluted mess, with a weakness for bringing back long-gone cast members for the sake of bringing back long-gone cast members, but there were some good twists & turns and it’s been fun exploring L.A. in hell.
But the grand finale of the story arc has the worst excesses of cross-over events. Scores of half-remembered characters floating around: check. Lots of pointless death scenes: check. Lots of characters standing around impotently while a giant monster threatens to destroy the world/creation: check. Lots of confusing action that tries to distract you from the fact that nothing terribly interesting or coherent is happening: check.
The first chapter alone features the apparent death of four characters, while another lies on the verge of death. By the third death (which is dead obvious will be undone by story end) I stopped caring. Actually, I didn’t much care the first two times, since both were fairly minor characters and neither had been terribly fleshed out as characters. At least in comic cross-over events, I feel the pang of loss as that guy who starred in that series that got cancelled after 12 issues snuffed it because I kind of liked his book and know without a doubt that that’s the end of his story. Here, it’s just a couple of supporting characters amidst a sea of supporting characters, and, really, who the fuck cares about that guy who was in four episodes of the TV series and didn’t do all that much in those?
The book starts pulling out of its nose-dive in the fourth chapter with the aftermath of the only notable death of the story; which goes to prove that Lynch does a pretty good job with the regular Fang Gang (in the past, he’s also done a good job with supporting characters when they’re not lost in a crowd). By this time, all those pesky supporting characters have been killed off and we’re left with the well-established dynamic of the Season Five cast. The pay-off to all this is pretty familiar ground for Buffy fans, since they already used this idea in one of the season finales, but it works because we know and love these characters. And, yes, the exit from hell is a cheat of absolutely mammoth proportions but I don’t fucking care, because I’m just glad it’s done. The L.A. in Hell story has been interesting in parts, but it’s never felt like Angel to me.
Which is why the final chapter finally puts the book in my good graces as we’re introduced to the new status quo, which is such a natural extension of the TV’s finale that I will dub it (with apologies to Doctor Who fans) Season 6B. There’s not really much a plot to it, just touching base with all the main characters in the post-Hell L.A., but it’s filled with the warmth and humor of the TV show that have been absent from its comic sequel. After the unstoppable angst of the previous three volumes (four if you count the Spike book), it’s great to see the book in a lighter place with a set-up that is guaranteed to make Angel squirm.


Written by: Tiziano Sclavi Illustrated by: Various Published by: Dark Horse Reviewed by: superhero

Dylan Dog and I go way back. In 2001 I got married and my wife and I took our honeymoon in Italy. It was a life-changing trip for me in more ways than one. Italy is a beautiful country with breathtaking vistas and museums stocked with works of art that will take your breath away. It’s the sort of place that breathes life into you, especially if you’re at all interested in the arts…which I’ve always been. I expected to see some amazing works of art, and I did, but what I didn’t expect to see was comics. Tons of comics.
Apparently in Italy, or at least in Italy circa 2001, comics are everywhere, at least in comparison to here in the states. You get off a train, there’s a newsstand packed with comics. You leave your hotel to go get some gelato and there’s a newsstand packed with comics. You exit a museum and there’s a newsstand overflowing with comics. You get my drift? Comics are everywhere!
Needless to say I was stunned. Not since I was a little kid did I see that many comics out in public! It was fantastic.
There were lots of different genres too. Western, space, horror, soap opera, you name it…they had it. Except for superheroes. Needless to say I went crazy buying Italian comics. I’m not Italian, don’t speak Italian, but the art in these books…the art was fantastic! Beautifully illustrated black and white comics. I poured over the pages of these books and grabbed as many as I could get my hands on. It got so bad that my wife joked that I was going to blow all our honeymoon money on comics. I was obsessed. But not just with every old Italian comic: there was one in particular that just captivated me. That book was DYLAN DOG. The art in DYLAN DOG was gorgeous. I couldn’t read a word of the book but the storytelling was so great, the artwork so detailed that I could get the general idea. I could tell that it was a horror book. I could tell that Dylan Dog was some kind of occult investigator. I could also tell that Mr. Dog was quite down with the ladies, if you know what I mean. It was a fantastic comic even though I couldn’t figure out what the hell the characters were saying. So by the time I left Italy I had a stack of Italian Dylan Dog books and one question was lingering in my mind: why the fuck is this book not being published in America????
That question has lingered in my mind for a long time--until now. I know this isn’t the first time Dark Horse has released any DYLAN DOG material. Several years ago they released these stories in their original individual digest sizes. But they were hard to find and pricey to buy if you had missed them on initial release. This release, THE DYLAN DOG CASE FILES, collects those hard to find Dark Horse books and it’s much more impressive in its presentation. Firstly, it’s huge. What you have in this book are seven digest sized DYLAN DOG stories jam packed into one huge, beautiful volume. It’s certainly worth its weight in gold and the larger pages of this book give the artwork much welcome space to breathe. Visually, this book is beautiful to behold.
So does the story live up to what I hoped it might be when I first came across the untranslated volumes? Yes and no. For the most part the horror elements are fantastic but there is a bit of quirk to these stories that might put off a die hard gorehound comic fan. I found it to be fun, much on the level of Sam Raimi’s Ash character, but I do have to say that the character of Felix, Dylan’s assistant, is pretty much the Jar Jar Binks of the DYLAN DOG universe. Despite the cheap Groucho Marx knockoff DYLAN DOG offers up a very entertaining horror yarn in each volume. As a matter of fact, reading through this book reminded me of the old Marvel horror magazines from the 1970’s. Yes, the art is that good and the stories are that fun. THE DYLAN DOG CASE FILES is old school comic book horror at its best, which is what I pretty much what I thought it would be when I picked up those Italian comics all those years ago. Bravo, Dark Horse, for bringing this book to the good ol’ U.S. of A. Now just keep ‘em coming!
Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. He's been an @$$hole for three years. Some of his work can be seen at


By Shoko Fukaki Released by CMX Manga/Flex Comix Reviewer: Scott Green

Reading THE BATTLE OF GENRYU affirmed a self assessment of my status as a fight manga apologist. While I probably would have had to force myself to complete a qualitatively similar relationship comedy manga, I found Genryu to be a sufficiently lively exercise in unarmed violence. Neither fresh nor wel
Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 5, 2009, 7:58 a.m. CST

    Detective Comics is the shit

    by DuncanHines

    It's good to see J.H. Williams getting the respect and props he's deserved for at least 10 years now...

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:11 a.m. CST


    by Gatsbys West Egg Omlet

    DC now looks like Image in 1996.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:24 a.m. CST

    by Subtitles_Off

    This sketch is being auctioned to benefit John Ostrander's glaucoma surgery. Details at<P>

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:26 a.m. CST

    by Subtitles_Off

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:27 a.m. CST

    So when will Wonderland get new tpbs?

    by Laserhead

    It looks like the last ones aren't available anywhere, even on the company website...

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Detective Comics

    by Laserhead

    Just makes me sad that J.H. Williams's phenomenal abilities can't be put in the service of a character I can actually give a shit about. Like a Detective Comics featuring, say, Batman.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:32 a.m. CST

    by Subtitles_Off

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:32 a.m. CST

    Tales from the Corps

    by optimous_douche

    Loved the first two, but this last one was dialed in.<p> The art in the first story was utterly horrendous. plus we didn't learn squat about the other Corps in this thing.<p> It was as if Tomasi and Johns wrote two issues and somewhat at DC goofed and said, "but we put three issues in Previews. Get writing boys."

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:34 a.m. CST

    Laser Wonderland

    by optimous_douche

    Not sure man sorry. I picked up the actual issues of the BEYOND.<p> Almost wish i had waited for the trade given how purty and well put together RETURN was.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:52 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I was just about to drop that title, but then these last two were pretty good. This Fury appearance coupled with the last two Secret Warriors? Pretty kick ass. I like how Fury is quietly (or not so quietly, I guess, what with stealing those Helicarriers) gathering his forces.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Asterios Polyp is stunning

    by sanzaru

    Dense yet simple, echoes of Ulysses in comic book form. Kudos on a great review!

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Couldn't agree more

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    about Detective Comics, Asterios Polyp, and The Kids of Widney High. Great reviews. I think JSA sucked bigtime though and has fallen pretty far. I cannot tolerate Willingham.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 9:55 a.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    Earlier this week on Scott Green's Anime posting he had a link to an article on LongBox, a new company that wants to be the "iTunes" of comics. Have any of you guys read about this, what do you think? <p>

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Enjoyed JSA also.

    by BurnedNotice_Dude

    Great characters and I hope this new creative team does them justice (no pun intended). The art and story were pretty good. Hope it continues.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Dear DC: Tales of the Corps #3

    by Psynapse

    FUCK. YOU. Fuck you up up your thieving asses. $3.99 for a book that reprints your FCBD material with masturbatory "Director's Commentary" auto-fellating?!? Dan Didio, it's been said to death but you are a real piece of shit to scam your customers like this.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Its probably the future,

    by Joenathan

    current prices alone pretty much gauruntee it, but how soon will that be? 5 years, eh... maybe not. 10, probably. Personnally, I like the books and will stick with them as long as I can, but yeah, thats the way its gonna go eventually. The good news is the prices would probably drop. <br><br>Can you imagine possiblly paying $0.65 for a comic again?

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 10:46 a.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    I think it would be a great suplement to collecting physical copies but the nature of comic fans I think they need to change the model a little. I've said this before in previous TBs but I think a Rhapsody model that hada monthly subscription fee with unlimited reading would fair better than a individual purchase model like iTunes.<p> It would definitly ease the dent in the pocket and I think would help with event fatigue. The facts are most people can't and won't (especially with the new price hikes) be able to continue to plunk cash down for event after event after event. But like most fans I'd still want to follow a lot of events and in a Rhapsody model I would have no problem wanting or being able to afford to pay for it. Not to mention manga, there are several I'dlike to read but 1.) I'm not reading right to left and 2.) jumping into something that I know has 20+ volumes at $10 a pop is intemidating to the wallet. Plus, I think a monthly fee for unlimited reading vs. individual purchase, even at .99, would help againt bit torrenting.<p> The biggest herdles this company I think will be the DC and Marvel haven't signed on yet. I could see them trying to do their own before going 3rd party. And the individual purchase model, without unlimited reading I think those who would get their comics digitally would unfortunately just steal them.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Asterios Polyp

    by steverodgers

    Looks great. I would love it though if Mazz did some DD or Batman again. Mildly frustrating that one of the best comic book super-hero artists of all time had decided to stop drawing them... unless he has a book that I don't know about. Do you think Marvel/DC still call him up, or have they given up? Someone needs to throw ton of money at him to see what happens.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 10:53 a.m. CST


    by xsi kal

    I dropped Angel: After the Fall only a handful of episodes after it started. In addition to all the horribleness that you cited, there was the fact that the art was pretty much unintelligible... I had to use context to try and figure out who the hell a given drawing was supposed to be. When the context itself is as muddled as the writing in that series, that exercise becomes even more frustrating. Truly a series that was better off ending with the (very good) tv finale.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 11:03 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I think any pay for file system has to just accept that some of their stuff is going to be stolen. Throwing money down a blackhole to try to stop this is a waste. Just accept that theft will happen, put resonable levels of security in place so that theft isn't easy and go on. Subscription could be the way to go again, by title, like the old days, except instead of your comic showing up in a wet, brown paper sleeve, it'll show up on-line.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Biggest Hurdles for Longbox

    by optimous_douche

    Are the way monitors are constructed and human evolution. I’m a corporate communications wonk by day specializing in Interactive or electronic communications. So I’ve attended tons of seminars and read countless studies about how people process electronic communications and information.<p> The human eye was never intended to read a backlit piece of anything, including TVs and monitors. This is why the eye (and ultimately the brain) becomes far more fatigued after a marathon session on say Zuda as opposed to reading an equal amount of material in a printed monthly or trade. Perhaps in a million years (or if someone builds a monitor that isn’t “lit” – not sure how that would work) this will change, but not any time soon.<p> I haven’t checked out Longbox yet, but they will need to have a different way of presenting the comics than Zuda or a PDF. Both are simply too damn hard to read. We get a lot of people that disseminate PDFs fro reviews these days, the splendor is raped in this format. Gorgeous two-page spreads get chopped in half and require a scroll. On the Zuda front I find that “player” they use maddening and even on my 32 inch monitor everything feels just too small.<p> To fully succeed (let’s assume I’m full of shit on the backlit thing, but remember there’s a reason the Amazon book reader isn’t backlit) they will need to offer the full comic art experience as the printed publication. NO ONE has hit this mark yet.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 11:04 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    The show's ending was so good, I couldn't wait to read the comic book continuaiton... until I saw the art. Then I threw up in my mouth a little, put the book down and never looked back.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 11:18 a.m. CST

    Dear Lord, the breasts...

    by superhero

    on that Blackest Night cover are mind boggling! When did Star Sapphire get implants???

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 11:42 a.m. CST

    I repeat: FUCK YOU DC

    by Psynapse

    I have been one of the biggest DC bitches EVER. Way to change that, fuckers.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Mea Culpas to Zenescope

    by optimous_douche

    I think I screwed up the drop date for issue 1 of Escape.<p> Calendars confuse me....sincere apologies.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Yo Joenathan! Re: Angel

    by Psynapse

    From your lips to TPTB's ears. I bought the issue and then showed all of my friends who watched the show to explain why I wouldn't be buying any more. To a one, they completely understood.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 12:02 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    Just to join the bandwagon the art detured me as well which sucks because Angel is one of the greatest shows, especially that last season. With the cliff hanger ending and the comic picking up I was really looking forward to After the Fall but that art... what were they thinking?

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 12:08 p.m. CST

    O. Douche

    by Mr.FTW

    I totally hear you on the LongBox screen reading. I don't like to watch TV or movies on my computer when I could easily watch them on my TV from the couch or bed. I sit at my computer all day at work and don't want to do it at home too and there are some hurdles in making the comics big enough to read without having to scroll around to read everything. Nothing will ever replace having a physical comic but if the price point were right it would be something I would atleast be willing to try.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Has McDuffie

    by gooseud

    ever done anything worthwhile? I'm being serious, I can't remember anything he's done that was actually good. Did he do Black Panther a while back?

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 12:13 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    Maybe the answer lies within breaking away from the 8 by 11 page format? Maybe it should be read in panels?

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 12:14 p.m. CST

    3.99 pricing

    by gooseud

    All I can say is my pull list is gradually slipping a bit more every month. Why do you think I have time to read these back issues and do these "front to back" reviews? Because I'm not collecting much at the moment. When War Of Kings wraps up, its REALLY gonna get thin.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 12:20 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    Formating could be the issue and changing it could solve the problem. The only catch is the incentive for publishers is that they can take pre-existing files for publication and slap them on the net at really no cost. If they changed the formatics that would be mean a reinvention of page layout for print. That would certainly be an interesting step in comic evolution, if formating for online redefined formating for print.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Mazzuchelli ...

    by DennisMM

    went fine-art after he finished "Year One." To my knowledge, he never did hero work again, apart from a cover or two. He's been teaching at SoVA for ages.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 1:19 p.m. CST

    FTW LongBox

    by optimous_douche

    They are talking about an Xbox live offering as well for Longbox.<p> I'm still just not sure.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 1:19 p.m. CST

    Trash Talk

    by AndrewGol

    Bring some of that righteous rage to these new boards. It's their first day 'live' so they could use some company. It's a forum that was built to allow people to just get together and tear $#!% down.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Talkbacks are dead

    by gooseud

    Man, is everyone on vacation? Quiet in here today.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 1:42 p.m. CST

    Not many of my titles reviewed this week

    by Joenathan

    Not to mention: very few controversial things going on. Marvel is kicking ass. DC is sucking ass. Mephesto is A Devil, not THE Devil, Millar is a top shelf creator with very few missteps, while Ennis blows... I mean, these are all things we have agreed upon, so what's the use of continuing to debate them?

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 1:43 p.m. CST

    Secret Warriors

    by Joenathan

    Anyone else reading this title? I'm loving it. The last two issues were great.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 2:02 p.m. CST

    Hey Joe

    by Mr.FTW

    You left out green boxing gloves are lame in that post.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 2:09 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    Comics on XBOX Live, that would be odd and much harder for me to get behind than just the straight up internet. I think the formating problems would be even worse, even though the images would be larger you would be further away.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Secret Warriors has the same problem New Warriors did.

    by ROMJeremy

    They assume that everyone knows the characters on the team and their abilities. I couldn't tell you who is on the team, and I've been on board with this since they were recruited in the Avengers title. Would it kill them to put some names and abilities to faces on the first page like all the rest of the Marvel titles?

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 2:22 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I figured that went without saying...

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 2:25 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    Sure, I always agree with a recap page at the front of each book, but I disagree with the assertion that there is a lack of info provided. All the young character's names and, at the very least, regular examples, if not outright explanations of their powers, are used through out the book.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Colour me impressed with Detective Comics

    by maelstrom_ZERO

    <p>Because even though Batwoman was probably one of the more boring, mundane, and utterly insipid characters introduced by the train-wreck that was 52, Detective Comics has actually made Batwoman. . .well, tolerable. Which is a Herculean feat. The art and paneling is beautiful and fascinating. I haven't seen anything this arresting since Samura's Blade of the Immortal.</p> <p>One can only hope that the Question finally meets Batwoman again and is rendered in that same artistic style. DC Comics in general needs more Question.</p>

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Damn It

    by MasterBaytor

    I knew I should have pointed out a gag in my review. Where it says "Grand Finale", it should read "Grand Finally". As in, thank fucking god this is finally over. Shamelessly ripped off from a negative review of the Grand Finally of Cerebus: Church & State.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 3:16 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    You're right gooseud, the talkback usually isn't this dead until Friday.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 3:36 p.m. CST

    Let me take a shot

    by gooseud

    Ok, lets see if we can spruce things up, heres a question of the week: give a dream pairing of creator and character. For example, take your favorite writer: if you controlled where he worked, what is the one title you would assign him to? Or artist, for that matter? (2 years ago or so, most people would have answered this with "Dan Slott and Spider-Man", showing things dont always work out as planned). The ony rule is, it has to be a character the creator has never worked on. I'll go first: Grant Morrison and Dr. Strange, if only for the train wreck potential. Talk about boom or bust, no in between. Heres a bonus pick: Warren Ellis and Green Lantern, post-Blackest Night.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST


    by optimous_douche

    Raven Gregory/Wonderwoman or Raven on Barbara Gordon..actually I would like to see him tackle any BIG female character

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 3:57 p.m. CST

    Mark Millar/Batman

    by Joenathan

    ...bend over, baby

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 3:59 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    I'd really like to see Geoff Johns and Talant Caldwell together on a Dick Grayson Nightwing book.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:02 p.m. CST

    ...but seriously, folks,

    by Joenathan

    Warren Ellis/Nick Fury

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Another bang-up job @ssholes

    by Star Hump

    This feature is the best thing going on AICN. I really dug reading about The Spirit and Dylan Dog this time around.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Comics on the internet...and other stuff

    by Homer Sexual

    Very busy today, but now having lunch. The Thunderbolts review has done what has happened a few times here: Convinced me to pick up a book I had dropped some time ago. Reuniting original T-Bolts would totally get me on board, though the absence of Moonstone is a minus. <p> Bill Willingham on JSA: One thought hit me right away. He likes lots of characters so that he can make two sides and have a long, tedious war. Sorry, but I dropped Fables when the war FINALLY ended, and stopped enjoying it way before then. He sucked on Shadowpact as well. He seems to be an old-fashioned type of writer, which would work for JSA, but not for me to buy. <p> Finally, I am an intense comic buyer. I used to say $100 a month, but that's a laugh nowadays, more like $125-$150. I would completely quit buying comics if they went online. Seriously, total withdrawal. I like to talk about comics online but I am online working most of the day and after work, I relax. Not online. No way! <p> I would, however, consider a kindle-like device. It would save me from the storage dilemma. <p> On that topic, I have bought ten boxes and they are full. And I need like six more boxes. And I have given away so many good comics I wish I'd kept. And I have spent like eight hours organizing them and then boxing. whew. So, a device that showed the visual quality and let me keep all my backlog stored in the memory, that I could read at the beach, on the plane, etc...yes. <p> If comics went online exclusively, the industry would drop dead. Music is actually a good example, because the music industry is on life support even with people paying iTunes. Comics industry is way smaller, I don't think it could survive.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:21 p.m. CST

    More suggestions:

    by gooseud

    Alan Moore/Captain America, Robert Kirkman/Punisher, Garth Ennis/Wolverine (has this really never happened? For Real?) OR Garth Ennis/Nick Fury, I'd love to see Mark Millar on something where he either couldnt indulge his prison rape bullshit due to the character's overwhelming brightness (say, Flash) or something where he could indulge his every whim because we dont care about the B-list characters (say, Teen Titans or something?), Brubaker on a book that has been funny in the past and long overdue for a serious spin on the subject, say, Punisher. I kid, of course.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:21 p.m. CST

    You think it would die?

    by Joenathan

    What about with costs cut due to no actual physical product? Plus, comic fans are pretty loyal and the characters are big business now... I don't like on-line either, but I think they could survive it.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:22 p.m. CST

    Thanks Homer, you inspired me

    by gooseud

    Brubaker on T-Bolts. Make it ultra serious, noir, and bloody. I think I just got a quarter chub.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Simone and Spider-Woman

    by Homer Sexual

    Jessica Drew is one of my two or three favorite comic characters, and Simone writes good women. She is always fresh without going "out there." <p> I almost said Greg Rucka, but ultimately decided I prefer a more costumey Spider-Woman, and Rucka would make her more of an agent Spider-Woman. But Rucka would be awesome, as well.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Ennis did Fury

    by Joenathan

    It was out of continuity and alright, but forgettable

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:27 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    That would totally kickass

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:27 p.m. CST

    Homer Sexual

    by Mr.FTW

    If comics went online exclusively it would suck and would not only kill the industry but everything surrounding it. No more comic shops, conventions, anything. Sure thid big guns would put out collecter's issues at super premiums but who would want that. And reading comics on line isn't and wouldn't be for everyone. A buddy of my while not opposed to the idea would NEVER buy or read comics online either. Even if it meant unlimited reading, he would prefer to continue to to buy and collect the comics he likes in the physical form and keep it at that. I hope comics never go online exclusively but as a suplemental format I'd be for it.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Cost cuts

    by Homer Sexual

    The cost cuts argument is good, but I still don't know... <p> For one, I feel like Marvel/DC wouldn't cut costs in any case. <p> Secondly, for me at least, I wouldn't even read free comics online because I just have ZERO interest in doing that. <p> I do two fun things online: Interact like this on message boards, etc, and buy stuff. I don't read online for fun. I could see the younger (under 30, I guess) hardcores doing so, though.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:36 p.m. CST

    Brubaker on T-Bolts is also good.

    by Homer Sexual

    If any book benefits from edgy writers, it's Thunderbolts. Brubaker is great, but any of the "crazy" group (Morrison, Millar, Moore) could be unleashed to bring wild stuff to this book.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:43 p.m. CST

    Chynna Clugston/Punisher

    by Joenathan

    He could use the sprucing up, right?

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 4:50 p.m. CST

    Ennis's Sgt. Fury

    by MasterBaytor

    Was a pretty good war comic. Not his best, but far better than the S.H.I.E.L.D. mini he did. And unless you hate Wolverine, you should probably be thankful he hasn't done it for real. He's expressed disdain for X-Men in the past and considers Wolverine the ultimate X-Men character... meaning he doesn't like the character in the slightest. I'm probably the biggest Ennis fan around these parts, but him and super-heroes do not mix at all. He can pull off some funny piss-takes, but it's helpful if he's got more to do than just mock super-heroes (see his Punisher and Hitman runs).

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Hmmmmm Ennis/Sgt Fury sucked?`

    by gooseud

    Thats surprising, based on how he wrote Jesse Custer. Bad ass John Wayne style regular guys in a world of crazy super powered guys are right in Ennis's wheelhouse.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 6:36 p.m. CST

    You know who people forget? Vaughn

    by gooseud

    Hes like the invisible man in this column once Y The Last Man went away. Personally, I think hes awesome. However, what title is he perfect for that he hasnt already wrote? Thats a good question.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 7:08 p.m. CST

    Keep waiting for Herc to be the amazing book ppl say it is

    by Tall_Boy66

    I like that book quite a bit HOWEVER it is seriously, seriously handicapped by the slow-down-the-momentum-of-the-scene tedious greek mythology interludes in every single issue. But I do like it because it has a lot of minor character moments (Herc pounding Evil Herc while yelling about how talking in Shakespere speak DOESN'T! MAKE! SENSE!) that really play well but those mythological history lessons.... jesus christ. Take those out, it's the amazingly fun book everyone says it is. Leave it in, it's a very fun book that frequently loses itself up it's own expositional rear-end every 10 pages or so. But I like it so much I only complain because there's an absolutely fantastic book in there.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 7:26 p.m. CST

    And the final problem w/ comics online

    by optimous_douche

    They don't fucking move.<p> Seriously, we can see full seasons of every TV show back to the 1970s, match that up against a still image with words -- nuh uh.<p> And I'm sorry a still image that moves is called a cartoon (didn't Marvel try to do a "moving" comic awhile back).

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 7:42 p.m. CST

    Brian K. Vaughan can write anything he wants.

    by Johnny Smith

    If I ran the world, I'd let him have whatever book he wanted. Also, Detective is amazing, and I've always been a huge Thunderbolts cheerleader, but my God, that "twist" at the end of the latest issue was both insultingly stupid and stupidly insulting. It was cool at first, but thinking about it just makes me want to die. The new writer can't come fast enough.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:22 p.m. CST

    BKV left Lost!

    by Tall_Boy66

    And he only has a few issues left of that sci-fi/mayor book that I only read about 5 issues of because it wasn't as good as Y: The Last Man... Ex Machina! I know he's supposed to write the script for the Runaways movie, but I haven't heard anything about for months, maybe a year.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 8:25 p.m. CST

    Another T-bolts convert

    by Johnny Ahab

    The original T-bolts run up to about issue 50 is one of my faves of all time. So there is a soft spot in my geek heart for the original roster. The reboot was so-so, and then Osborn crew was okay - but once they moved on to become Dark Avengers, I dropped the book. By chance, I picked up the current issue 2 days back as I glanced Songbird on the cover - looked back inside at her hunting down Mach IV and Fixer, and I was hooked. Fortunately, my comic shop had all the back issues, so I caught up and have to admit that it's cooking with gas. LOVE the new bizarre Ghost, and really enjoyed the Air Force One fakeout with the faux Goblin. One minor complaint - *SPOILER ALERT* - loved the reveal with Natasha, even if it is a stretch - but then I read Cap Reborn #2 today, and realized, oh yeah, she's all over that series and now captured by Osborn! So uh, Marvel editorial? Is no one talking to each other about who's using what characters in what stories? (Unless Natasha in T-Bolts is another mindf**k - but I don't think anyone's being that clever - just seems like really sloppy continuity.) Other than that, I like what I'm reading and I'm back with Thunderbolts.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 9:17 p.m. CST

    That sci-fi mayor book,

    by gooseud

    as you call it, is pretty good. History will decide if its better then Y, but it is pretty fuckin amazing on its own two feet. AND it includes the issue that was my single favorite stand alone one shot issue (when they introduced BKV and Tony Harris into the comic, with a little cartoon James Robinson in the background yelling "ASSHOLEEEE!!" at the cartoon Harris......I'm kidding about that last part, but that issue was beyond awesome) of the last few years (replacing the Awesome Andy She Hulk issue). Ex MAchina has been solidly awesome from minute one, a little slow moving but awesome.

  • Aug. 5, 2009, 9:36 p.m. CST


    by maelstrom_ZERO

    <p>I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with your opinion that Ex Machina isn't as good as Y: The Last Man. Granted, comparing the two is difficult since they're so different in subject matter and general approach. But I have never seen a comic tackle such serious social and political issues with such deft skill, and have the whole thing come out as (relatively) simple, and entertaining to boot.</p> <p>And this isn't considering the fact that the dialogue is just plain amazing--it's certainly on par with the satirical, sharp, witty tone that Y: The Last Man often adopted. I'm probably a bit biased because I was a political science major, but still. . .Ex Machina is pure awesomeness.</p>

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 6:22 a.m. CST

    Dan Slott/ Batman

    by Laserhead

    It would be good, I'm telling ya. Better than his Spider-Man.

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 6:33 a.m. CST


    by gooseud

    is right.

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 6:36 a.m. CST

    Actually, my wife

    by gooseud

    who rarely reads comics, has gotten into Y, and although she likes it, she found it a bit draggy and inert over the first half of the run. I would argue Ex Machina (and Lost, and by extension Vaughn himself as a writer) has a bit of the same issue: its obviously awesome but sometimes you wish things moved a biiiiiiiit more quickly. ITs a minor quibble, but sometimes Vaughn has a bit of an.....inertness to his writing.

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 9:36 a.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    In your last post on online comics, what are you talking about? 70s tv shows and motion comics, what does that have to do with comics being online?

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 10:11 a.m. CST


    by Bluejack

    Brubaker/Nightwing would be fantastic. Heavy on character and plot. Johns/Mighty Avengers. Bendis/Gotham City Sirens (ha ha).

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 11:05 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I am with you there. Vaughn has some great stuff, but he ould use a bit of turbo every now and then, which I don't think he's capable off. He can write cool things, awesome things and good, slow build ups, but I don't think he's capable of a good, fast, kick-ass action sequence.

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 11:28 a.m. CST

    online comics

    by blackhole4140

    I read several online comics. with a notebook it's pretty easy to do so; nearly as natural as reading a printed comic. I'd never want it to replace traditional comics, but I'd be for it as a way to keep less popular characters alive.

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 12:55 p.m. CST

    WONDERLAND looks so fucking stupid

    by God's Brother

    Never read it, didn't even read this review. The art and tone of the book turned me way off from the get-go. I actually can't believe this series is still around. Why do the ladies in this book have to all look like skanks? Why do they all have massive tits and garters? That shit was cool when I was 10, but now now I can't take this shit seriously. How the fuck are you supposed to attract new, diverse readers to this failing industry when artists are very blatantly tailoring their style to horny fanboys? I don't get it.

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 2:52 p.m. CST

    BKV does indeed rock, but...

    by Homer Sexual

    I mean, I love most of Vaughan's work. Three specific projects are amongst my all-time favorites: Y, of course, but also his Runaways and his Hood miniseries. <p> But Ex Machina didn't do it for me, I was just bored and dropped it. Palmiotti/Grey on the other hand, got me to looove a western book, Jonah Hex, so they're my "do no wrong" writers. <p> Also loved latest Thunderbolts and will definitely be picking it up again (despite my also wondering how Captain America and Thunderbolts can both have the same person at the same time).

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 3:03 p.m. CST

    The problem with digital comics

    by KidKaos73

    is that no one wants to read them. Paper is far superior, especially if you're a collector. But what happens when the price of paper comics continues to go up and no one wants to switch to digital? Does the entire comics industry die? It's not like publishers are going to LOWER the price ever.

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 10:49 p.m. CST

    The first two arcs of Ex Machina

    by Tall_Boy66

    Were what got me off it. It's been years since I read it, but the sci-fi stuff was good, but the political subplots were about A) gay marriage and B) school vouchers. I'm Canadian. Those are very non-issues to me because we don't have to deal with them. So I bailed. It may work better for US residents, but none of it really sold well for this Canuck. Oddly, I can read DMZ front to back, and it's very New York-centric book, but it has more of a universal appeal to it about mankind's nature and the brutality of war and innocent civilian casualties, etc. etc. Ex Machina is very much a product of what the city and the US social issues it's about, and it feels a little distant to me. Y: The Last Man was universal, and globetrotting, that's why it played so well to just about anyone.

  • Aug. 6, 2009, 11:05 p.m. CST

    Harris's Art

    by gooseud

    can be a little static as well (its gotten more so over the years, I thought Harris was actually pretty dynamic on Starman) which kind of plays into the static feel of Ex Machina, which sounds like I dont like the book, which couldnt be further from the truth. It just occured to me yesterday: we still know pretty much nothing about Mitchell's "gift". In my opinion, never has a comic gone on so long without really revealing ANYTHING. The political stuff sometimes obscures the fact that BKV really hasnt given much info in this title, hes played it VERY close to the vest, sometimes to the book's detriment. Its kind of an odd feeling, do I collect the book? Yep? Do I like it? Yep, sometimes I even love it, it has great moments. Will I miss it when it is gone? Nah, actually I dont think I will.