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AICN COMICS REVIEWS MARVELS PROJECT! DEVIL'S HANDSHAKE! ADVENTURE COMICS! THE FRO! & MUCH MORE!

#14 8/12/09 #8

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #1 Early Review of DEVIL’S HANDSHAKE OGN FRANKENSTEIN’S WOMB OGN ADVENTURE COMICS #1 THE FRO: ORIGIN OGN THE BOYS: WE GOTTA GO NOW Vol. 4 TPB THE MARVELS PROJECT #1 TALES OF THE STARLIGHT DRIVE-IN OGN WET MOON BOOK 5: WHERE ALL STARS FAIL TO BURN Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS #1

Writer: Mark Millar Penciler: Carlos Pacheco Inker: Danny Miki Colorist: Justin Ponsor Publisher: Ultimate Marvel Reviewer: Matt Adler

So, here we come to the long awaited relaunch of Mark Millar’s THE ULTIMATES. Only this time it isn’t called THE ULTIMATES; the book now goes by the name ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS, which sounds kind of awkward to me, but there you go. And this go-round, Bryan Hitch is occupied with CAPTAIN AMERICA: REBORN, so Carlos Pacheco is the penciler. This is no downgrade by any means, as Pacheco is a top flight artist, but it is a change in flavor.
In order to understand what this relaunch is all about, we have to take a look at where the Ultimate line stands in a broader context. When it was first launched, the Ultimate line’s purpose was clear. It stood in clear contrast as an alternative to the regular Marvel Universe. Where in the regular Marvel Universe, Spider-Man was a married adult, in the Ultimate Universe he was a teenager in high school. Wherein the regular Marvel Universe, the Avengers were a wholesome, traditional superhero team, the Ultimates were dark and edgy. So audiences had a choice, and this set up seemed to work pretty well for a while.
But in the wake of storylines like “Avengers Disassembled” and “One More Day”, the line has blurred. The regular Marvel Universe has gradually become more and more like what the Ultimate Universe was originally conceived to be. And this is understandable; given the opportunity to start from scratch, this is what Marvel came up with in the modern day, so it’s not surprising that this was ultimately (sorry) the direction they wanted their main publishing line to head in. But the effect of this is to largely remove the Ultimate Universe’s reason for being; if the main Marvel Universe has co-opted its style, why would anyone want to read a spin-off universe that’s pretty much the same?
Add to this the inevitable creative attrition that occurs with all superhero books. Mark Bagley has gone over to DC. As mentioned, Bryan Hitch is otherwise occupied. And THE ULTIMATES itself underwent a complete creative overhaul when Jeph Loeb and Joe Madureira came on the book for a run that garnered condemnation even from reviewers who are fans of both creators’ work. So it’s been a long, strange trip for this imprint.
Now, let’s pretend for a second that this book exists in a vacuum. Let’s say there was no critically-panned ULTIMATUM miniseries leading into this. Let’s say this is the only Ultimate book. Heck, let’s even say there’s no Marvel Universe, and Millar and Pacheco have just created a brand-new superhero book. Does this book work?
On that level, sure. The art, as usual for Pacheco, is excellent. Pacheco’s created a very creepy design for the new Red Skull, and he adapts well to the Ultimate penchant for borrowing the likenesses of film actors, particularly with Samuel L. Fury. And Millar pens a fast-paced script with plenty of visceral action, humorous dialogue, and some gratuitous T&A thrown in. And the issue ends with a reveal that sets up some intriguing possible dynamics for future stories.
But let’s be honest; nobody who reads this is going to be reading it in a vacuum. This book does indeed exist in the context of Millar’s past runs, as well as bearing the burdens of cleaning up from Loeb’s run, and comparisons to the now extremely popular Marvel Universe Avengers franchise. And even though this story works perfectly fine on its own, there’s just nothing to make it stand out from the tons of other product Marvel is putting out each month. My guess is that the series will start out strong, but suffer attrition much more quickly than Millar’s previous runs. Eventually there will be yet another attempt at an Ultimate reboot, but I think that’s a waste of time; the Ultimate Universe served its purpose in its time, but now it’s time to pull the plug.
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.

Early Review: DEVIL’S HANDSHAKE OGN

Writers: Larry Hama & Ryan Schifrin Art: Adam Archer Publisher: Archaia Release Date: October 2009 Reviewer: Ambush Bug

These days, taking chances on new comics is a hard thing to do. With the price of comics rising and money being tight all over, it’s no wonder when I talk to folks, they are reluctant to venture outside of the Big Two. But the thing is, now more than ever, there are comics out there that are so much better that venture outside of the superhero box comics has wedged itself into. Case in point: a new release that hits stores in October from Archaia called DEVIL’S HANDSHAKE.
The first thing I noticed about this book is the phenomenal art by Adam Archer. The action depicted is as varied as the colors are rich. Archer puts personality in not only the main characters of the story, but the background characters that would normally be overlooked by other artists. The scenery, which is a big part of this story, is vibrant as well. From the darkest parts of the jungle, to a volcano cliff, to a desert oasis, Archer fills each panel with variety and authenticity. He also draws some damn fine women.
The second thing I noticed about this book is the fact that it’s got some very cool characters in the form of Moebius and Basil. Immediately after meeting this pair of adventurers, I wanted to know more about them, how they first met, and what kind of predicaments they can get themselves into. Like most pairings, they couldn’t be more different. The best way of describing them is that Moebius walks between the raindrops while Basil steps in the puddles. Both characters work for an enigmatic character called The Collector, who sends the pluckish pair on adventures around the world.
The thing that appealed the most to me about this book was the fact that it read like an old school pulp, but it was set in modern times. There are definitely shades of Allan Quartermain and Indiana Jones at work here, but the mismatched buddy cop pairing brings an all new energy to it. The pair trots all over the globe in this 42 page graphic novel and like the INDIANA JONES films, the locales are as important as the stars. The intensity of the action is set high and this book doesn’t offer a lot of time to breathe. It just barrels through giving this reader exactly what he was looking for…fun characters doing exciting things I haven’t seen before.
Did I mention that there’s also a supernatural, Lovecraftian element at work here? Well, there is. The undercurrent of the weird flows through this entire story, never overpowering the book, but enriching the story all the more with its enigmatic presence. And the Ghoul Brothers, a rival pairing of thieves who appear to be zombie monsters in trench coats and bandages, are as spooky as they are cool.
Having read Schifrin and Hama’s last collaboration, SPOOKS, I knew the team could do action and the supernatural pretty well. The thing that differentiates this book from SPOOKS, though, is the element of fun that oozes off of every page. Venturing outside of the Big Two can be scary, I know. But when you get to read treats like DEVIL’S HANDSHAKE it makes the risk worth taking. With a debut as strong as this one, this is the first of what I hope to be many adventures for Schifrin and Hama’s Basil & Moebius. Highly recommended for adventure lovers who like their thrills served up with even helpings of fun and creepiness.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for over eight years. Check out his short comic book fiction from Cream City Comics’ MUSCLES & FIGHTS VOL.3 and MUSCLES & FRIGHTS VOL.1 on his ComicSpace page. Bug was interviewed here and here at Cream City Comics. Look for more comics from Bug in 2009 from Bluewater Comics, including the sequel to THE TINGLER for their VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS ongoing series in stores September 2009 and VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS WITCHFINDER GENERAL and ROGER CORMAN PRESENTS DEATHSPORT to be released in late 2009/early 2010.

FRANKENSTEIN’S WOMB OGN

Writer: Warren Ellis Artist: Marek Oleksicki Published by: Avatar Press Reviewed by: BottleImp

I picked this book up off the stand thinking that it was just another by-the-numbers horror comic. Glancing at the artwork as I flipped through (but not actually reading, ‘cause the guy at that comic shop can be a dick about that), I got the sense that Ellis was expanding on the classic Mary Shelley story—putting his own spin on it or writing a sequel or prequel or something—and that hooked my interest enough for me to plunk down the seven bucks. Once I got home and was actually able to read the comic, I realized that Ellis wasn’t expanding FRANKENSTEIN—he was filling in the gaps.
Along with DRACULA, FRANKENSTEIN stands at the beginning of the long, honorable tradition of the Monster Story. In his nonfiction essay on horror DANSE MACABRE, Stephen King names Frankenstein’s creation as one of the three archetypes of horror (the monster represents The Thing Without a Name, while Dracula logically is The Vampire and Stevenson’s Mr. Hyde fills in for The Werewolf). Yet while the monster himself is well-known to the average man-on-the-street (regardless of whether or not he counts himself a horror fan), the actual novel and the woman who wrote it don’t get as much attention. I can claim to have read the book, but my knowledge of Mary Shelley is pretty much limited to what I saw in Ken Russell’s film GOTHIC (which is more than likely 99.9% inaccurate, but still a pretty good flick). So what would possess a young woman of the early 19th century to write a story about bringing the dead to life?
Ellis answers this question by setting Mary Wollestonecraft Godwin (not yet married to Percy Bysshe Shelley) to explore a strange castle in Germany, wherein she meets a mysterious, scarred stranger who shows her the castle’s history, as well as her own. As the stranger (Frankenstein’s monster, naturally) shows Mary her past, future, and the distant future of our own time, the reader is shown how the theme of life and death intertwined that permeates the novel can be traced back to the circumstances of the author’s own life.
I’m sure that this cerebral look at FRANKENSTEIN will turn off many readers who were hoping for more gore and less introspection, but I enjoyed it. This comic is more along the lines of those issues of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN that delved into William Shakespeare’s life and how it influenced his work. And sure, in both cases the details of the lives of these iconic authors are not fully known, but that doesn’t stop Gaiman or Ellis from fleshing out those details that history has given us and making a damn good story out of it. Ellis also draws a wonderful comparison between the creation of Frankenstein’s monster in a lightning storm and the use of modern defibrillator paddles—it’s so simple and obvious now, but the parallel between the two had never before occurred to me.
Despite what the cover for this graphic novel would have you believe, Ellis isn’t solely responsible for the quality of the story—
(Don’t you just hate it when an artist doesn’t get cover credit simply because the author’s name is more famous and therefore more “important?” The same thing happens with those children’s books “written by” Madonna. Makes me sick to my ass.)
—Oleksicki provides the beautiful black and white artwork that gives this book so much of its atmosphere. His style brings to mind Tim Bradstreet’s sense of light and shade, and there’s also some of that hatched inking that reminds me of John Bolton’s early work on British horror comics. Oleksicki’s monster is close in appearance to Shelley’s description while evoking hints of the Hammer horror movie Frankenstein makeup. Those looking for the Universal Karloff monster with bolts in his neck are in for a disappointment.
Again, FRANKENSTEIN’S WOMB won’t be for everyone, but horror aficionados who are interested in the stories behind the stories they love would do well to give this graphic novel a try.
When released from his Bottle, the Imp takes the form of Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from the Northeast. You can see some of his artwork athere. He’s given up comics more times than he can remember. But every time he thinks he's out, they pull him back in.

ADVENTURE COMICS #1(504)

Writer: Geoff Johns Artist(s): Francis Manapul and Clayton Henry (2nd Feature) Publisher: DC Comics Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

Barely a handful of years since rendering him deader than the public option for healthcare (ahhhh, political humor), the man that rendered Superboy post-mortem in INFINITE CRISIS has seen fit to bring him back to the world of the living and, more importantly, the DCU proper. After being revived in the events of LEGION OF THREE WORLDS the teenaged S-bearer is front and center of a new/old ongoing (seriously, the fuck is with all these number jumps with Big Two books these days?) and is trying to find his place again. Nevermind that he's coming to grips with his new lease on life, there's also the death of Jonathan Kent he now has to cope with and, as we find out throughout the issue, he's starting to come to a crossroads with himself, i.e. his shared DNA between Superman and his mortal nemesis, Lex Luthor. Who else could handle all this but Geoff "Captain Continuity" Johns...
Okay, that was misleading. While the events around his resurrection might have been a little confusing and very much a "comic book thing" the goings-on in this re-debut for Connor were actually very grounded and sobering. Like I said, right now this is a period of reintegration for the Boy of Steel. The opening was a great but simple opening piece of him doing farm work and playing with Krypto, as calm and antithetical an event as you can get from what he had just gone through to get back here. And the following pieces were very much "A Day in the Life of" as he starts to settle back into the land of the living, as well as being nice little character moments and setting up a bit of the story device of the issue as it compares his young life to that of Superman's. Life with the Kents, going to Smallville High, hanging with other teen heroes, and ogling a cute girl right as he has to save her from an incident where she falls into a river...okay, that one is more a Connor trait.
And bringing this thing full circle, we get a little bit of a sign of things to come in the life of Superboy. I mentioned the crossroads earlier, and what we get here is that while Connor spends most of the issue comparing his young life to that of his Kryptonian "father's" the end shows him lying to Superman, a Lex Luthor move, when he tells him he has no interest in finding out more about his other half and why he became the man he ended up. Now, of course this has been something that has begged to be written - and lord knows how many times someone has tried - in the decade and a half since this Superboy came on the scene, but if there's anyone to be trusted to angle and flesh this out right, it's Geoff "I Actually Made Hawkman Cool For a While" Johns. Given all the subtle emotions and those small character moments and how well he handled them this issue - not to mention the small introduction of the kid who looks to be Connor's own Lex Luthor - there's no doubt there's a heck of a journey in store for Superboy here.
Oh, and Francis Manapul's art was terrific here. I didn't know he existed until his and Jim Shooter's run on LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES, but I was immediately a fan - a feeling that has been reinforced after having had the pleasure of making his acquaintance at a con last year (hell of a guy, that one). But pleasing personality aside, his art here really helps make this book shine. It's a very playful style, which is very accommodating to the character and what Johns was trying to convey here, and emphasized by the, y'know, the flying dog. But it really did help emphasize all the emotions at play, and it also has its own dynamic that made the sparse action sequences stand out as well. It's the perfect style for this book and I hope he's the regular on it as long as it's Connor's story. And I can't wait to see him cut loose on a big action piece as well.
Now, speaking of the Legion of Super-Heroes, who are our back up feature here, I don't know what the hell is going on. This first of LOSH backups this month basically could be boiled down to "Here's the Legion bio" then "Here's Starman being crazy" and finalized with one of those fun little "Here's a glimpse of all the random shit that's going to go down!" sequences. I'm all for these backup stories. I mean, if you're going to charge me an extra buck, at least give me something for it, but the Legion seems like something that shouldn't be relegated to an eight page backup feature. There's just so much going on whenever it comes to the Legion, it seems like a daunting task to make a monthly flow of stories out of in such a small space, even for Geoff "I Juggled 108 Characters Without Breaking a Sweat on JSA" Johns. We all know the man wants a Legion run; this doesn't seem the place for it though. I have to assume, and hope, this is just the groundwork of a new ongoing of some sort (and hopefully without a number count with an algebra equation behind it to figure it out).
This is the good stuff though. This is really what I think Johns does best. Yes, it's great that he can turn muddled continuity into something new and fresh, and he's pretty solid at the big fisticuffs, but I think he's at the top of his game when he gets to really flesh out a character and make something a little more out of them. To this day I still think his best work has been his run on THE FLASH, and what he did with Wally West and especially the Rogues, and hopefully he can work the same magic with Connor Kent. I think this is certainly off to a good start; I'd even go so far as to say this is better than anything I've read “Blackest Night”-related as far as great character building > space zombies any day. Johns may be a Jack of a good many trades, but the kind of skill he's unleashing in ADVENTURE COMICS is probably his best trick.
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.

THE FRO: ORIGIN

Written by: Chris Harden Pencils by: Alfa Robbi Published by: Arcana Studios Reviewed by: Ryan McLelland

THE FRO is really a very hard book to review – it is rare that I can actually say that about a comic. It’s a very mixed bag that comes from someone who is knowledgeable about Chinese culture yet seems to kill it with an inane plot.
I’ll explain quickly: Tom’s a music wannabe who saves a Chinese monk and is given a super-powered afro as a reward. Tom creates a costume and decides to become ‘The Fro’ – and battles guys like a techno-nerd who creates sonic waves from his mouth/braces.
It’s a very silly plot but the story doesn’t really sway toward silly. The story itself is kind of serious for such a weird set-up. It’s not Spider-Man and it’s not the Tick. It’s seriously what happens when an American Idol wannabe gets a hold of a magic afro.
The good about the book is the writing. Chris Harden has some fun with the book even with the out-there origin story. You feel sorry for Tom like you did in very early issues of Spider-Man – he’s a dorky kind of guy who gets these powers and tries to do good. The plot is truly original – if you are looking for a superhero you’ve never seen before then the white guy with a ‘Fro is here! The artwork is pretty good as well with artist Alfa Robbi making a white guy with an afro look pretty damn good.
The bad about the book is the writing. Sometimes Chris Harden kills me with what he is writing. One bad guy, the aforementioned techno-geek, gets ready to blast some security guards when he says “You know what you get when you mix an extraordinary rapper with a software genius? A dizzying good time!” Yeah…I don’t get it either. There’s plenty of these moment interspersed within the book. Additionally, while Robbi’s art is pretty damn good some of these characters look very…familiar. The female interest Cymphony looks like she beat up Gen13’s Freefall and stole her clothes and hair. One baddie looks like Lobo dressed up with clown makeup while another is a dead ringer for Zartan.
So I reach a crux with THE FRO. I like it for a number of pages, then it makes me groan, then I like it again. The problems with the book could be, for me, the similar character designs or really lame writing that I just can’t get over. Some might overlook this and just glow in the fun of the book. THE FRO is truly original but if you like it or not really depends on what you think of a white dude with an afro fighting crime.
Ryan McLelland has worked in movies and comics journalism for the past several years before joining the @$$holes here at AICN. Ryan’s comic work has already graced comic shelves with Arcana’s PHILLY, WISE INTELLIGENCE, UPTOWN GIRL, and THE SENTINELS ANTHOLOGY. He rarely updates his blog but when he does it can be read at www.eyewannabe.com. The first issue of his new WISE INTELLIGENCE miniseries can be found here.

THE BOYS: WE GOTTA GO NOW Vol. 4 TPB

Story by: Garth Ennis Art by: Darick Robertson Published by: Dynamite Entertainment Reviewed by: Baytor

There’s a certain irony in the fact that Garth Ennis has managed to run his own super-hero universe longer than John Byrne (whose NEXT MEN self-cancelled at issue 30), a man who cares so much about super-heroes that he’s been passionately arguing for years that Spider-Man’s costume is red & black in defiance of all of reality. Garth Ennis, on the other hand, seems to have absolutely no use for them, yet has been plugging away at his own super-hero creations for 30-odd issues.
The unanswered question is: why?
There are many who accuse Garth Ennis of being a one-trick pony (which would be a really impressive trick when you consider PREACHER alone incorporated farce, drama, & romance in a story that was sometimes a western, sometimes a war story, sometimes a supernatural horror story, sometimes a kitchen-sink soap); but he, like Frank Miller and John Byrne and most other comic writers, tend to stick pretty close to their comfort zones and endlessly repeat themselves. But I’ve come here not to praise THE BOYS, but to bury it.
THE BOYS is a one-trick book; and we’ve seen this trick many times before from Ennis. Once more, Ennis simply does not have the depth of knowledge about the genre to provide anything but the most superficial of criticism. Okay, we get it, you think super-heroes are stupid; but mocking the X-Men for being little more than marketing run amok is not the basis for a story. At some point, Garth Ennis should have asked himself if this all-too-fucking-obvious reality could sustain an eight part story; which, incidentally, is twice as long as the next longest BOYS story. The answer is no, although it might have been a fun check-your-brain-at-the-door story at half the length.
The plot, such that it is, has Wee Hughie infiltrating G-Whiz to investigate the very public suicide of one of the G-Men’s founding members. Like the X-Men, the G-Men are the world’s most popular outcasts, and have sprawled out into several different teams (G-Whiz is the New Mutants style school). Unlike the rest of the teams, the members of G-Whiz get along with each other and live in a college style frat house, where they spend most of their time jerking each other off and peeing on anyone too drunk to get off the floor. They’re also supposed to be likeable in a drunken frat boy sort of way, but mostly they’re too spastic to be anything but a bunch of monkeys hurling their poop at each other. Much of the “drama” (and those quotes need to be there) stems from Wee Hughie doing a stupid thing because he likes them.
When the story isn’t following the endless drunken exploits of a bunch of Animal House wannabes, it’s showing us the baffling members of the rest of the G-Men family. There’s actually a furry guy named Critter who wears a protective cone around his neck and boxing gloves (the latter seems to exist just so he can’t open a beer). Then there is the utter embarrassment that is the G-Coast/G-Style feud. When the high point of their presence is the racist members of G-Men mocking their gangsta speech, you’re in trouble. When they show up and speak only in stereotypical gangsta speech then you’ve just made the Ghetto-Bots of TRANSFORMERS 2 look like Nelson and Winnie Mandela by comparison.
Through it all, I see flashes of the Ennis I’m a fan of. The continuing relationship of Wee Hughie and Annie is a nice counter-point to the stupidity of the super-hero plots, although it does seem very odd that he’s unaware that he’s dating a very public super-hero. Mother’s Milk has a stand-out moment as he investigates the suicide of G-Men founder Silver Kincaid. And in the most surprising twist of all time, the relationship between The Frenchmen and The Female shows some depth and genuine emotion, which any guy who has befriended a manic depressive chick will recognize. Unfortunately, these moments don’t justify the plodding, over-long, embarrassing mess of a story they’re attached to.
I’m not the biggest fan of THE BOYS, although I do confess a certain enjoyment of it. I think it works best in short, controlled bursts and even then the unblinking focus on super-heroes brings it down. Ennis has worked this territory before with HITMAN (and to a lesser extent, his Marvel Knights PUNISHER run) and he does write some genuinely funny super-hero stories from time-to-time. But here he’s trapped by his own premise and there’s no escaping the very simple fact that with the exception of Homelander of The Seven, everyone is treated as a complete joke and there’s never any sense of a greater menace at work (although the executives of Vought-America show some potential). If Ennis had a greater understanding and appreciation of the genre, he might make the thought of these characters actually existing in the real world comic and terrifying. Instead, we’re left with a bunch of attention seeking celebrities in funny costumes and wonder why any government would allow them free reign. This is just a fundamentally flawed book and “We Gotta Go Now” has managed to limbo under the already low standards of this book.

THE MARVELS PROJECT #1 (of 8)

Writer: Ed Brubaker Artist: Steve Epting Color Art: Dave Stewart Published by: Marvel Comics Reviewed by: BottleImp

Something’s wrong with either me or this comic, because we’re not synching up that way I thought we would. And since I know that nothing could possibly ever be my fault, I’ll blame the comic.
All the ingredients are there. Brubaker’s script is solid, his dialogue never reads as false or stilted, and he’s setting up the hints of a juicy conspiracy story involving the creation of Marvel’s earliest superheroes. Epting’s artwork is clean, easy to understand and effective. I remember Steve Epting mostly from his 1980s and ‘90s work on Marvel’s AVENGERS, when he was being inked by Tom Palmer—who, though an excellent inker, had one of the heaviest inking styles around. No matter whose pencils Palmer inked—Epting, John Byrne, John Buscema—they all ended up looking like Tom Palmer. So it’s nice to finally see Epting’s artwork unobscured by the brush of another artist. As I said, the plot is good stuff, and the setting of just before the US entered WWII is pushing all my Golden Age buttons.
So why don’t I care about this comic?
I think it comes down to the fact that we’ve seen all this before, especially over the past year or so when the comic stands suddenly became flush with Golden Age-set titles. THE TWELVE, PROJECT: SUPERPOWERS, AVENGERS/INVADERS, the seemingly endless parade of “legacies” that Geoff Johns brought into JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA…maybe I’m just finally bored with the past and want to see something new.
It doesn’t help THE MARVELS PROJECT that several scenes seem to be lifted straight out of earlier groundbreaking comics. The entire prologue with the elderly hero the Two-Gun Kid spinning stories of the future Marvel Universe to his doctor mirrors the Wesley Dodds/Reverend McCay opening of KINGDOM COME. And speaking of Alex Ross, Stewart’s color work on the Human Torch looks like it had been torn out of MARVELS and taped in place here. Not that it’s a bad thing—it’s the most effective vision of a flaming man that I think we’ll ever see in printed form—but again, this reminder of older, more iconic comics just serves to make this new series feel less original and more derivative.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad comic book. So far it’s just not a great one. Times were when I’d stick with a series like this for a few more issues to see if it’ll spark up into something more interesting, but with a $3.99 cover price, it’s hard to justify throwing money away each month on lackluster entertainment. Maybe just one more issue…

TALES OF THE STARLIGHT DRIVE-IN OGN

Writer: Michael San Giacomo Artists: Various Publisher: Image Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

On first glance, TALES FROM THE STARLIGHT DRIVE-IN feels like an exploration of America’s forgotten age of innocence - the 1950s. While the opening chapters of this ambitious undertaking certainly start in the days of little Richie Cunningham, what follows is an exploration of the latter half of the twentieth century and the stark message about our collective societal loss of innocence.
STARLIGHT is another one of my eclectic Wizard World finds. Tucked in the back lunch table area of the con, San Giacomo had this piece front and center at his make-shift booth. Like most members of the Gen X –Gen Y middle ground, my exposure to drive-in movies is limited. For the most part they were always dusky relics awaiting demolition. However, for those that live inside the Baby Boomer –Gen X ether these cinematic passion pits were staples of their generation, providing an education in everything from celluloid to C-Cups. Mike definitely fits into the latter and his passion for the drive-in movie experience was readily apparent. As he told me the tale of traversing some of the last 500 still open today trying to spread the word about STARLIGHT, I could tell that these were more than a place, they were an experience--an experience I couldn’t wait to get lost in.
You would applaud this book making it to press simply based on the publisher shuffling Mike had to go through, but you gain respect for this book when you see all 31 stories come together. There are three basic tenets Mike had for this journey of the latter half of the twentieth century: each story had to stand on its own, each story had to gel with the overarching decline of the Starlight (cough, American society, cough) and each had to relate to the movie or movies on the Starlight marquee that started off each chapter. Also, being the shepherd to the multitude of artists on this project earns Mike a gold star in project management.
To review each chapter of STARLIGHT would do the book a disservice. Mike held true to his original intent; each chapter and epoch in history could receive their own little mini-reviews, but this would quite frankly (and no pun intended) miss the big picture. Since each chapter has a different artist and style, I’m going to use this space to go over a few of my favorites, and I hate to say one or two that just missed the boat for me. Keep in mind though as you read these mini-sojourns, even the stories I was less enamored with still help to cement the over-arching theme Mike was trying to achieve. Also, I think some of my criticism could stem from the realities of publishing versus stylistic choices.
1955 – I’ve never been a big fan of black and white books; generally I outright hate them. However, opening artist Seam McArdle has made me a convert. When done correctly with this much detail and careful shading one would think they were watching an episode of “Leave it to Beaver”. This tale introduces to a young man named Adam, who moves across the street from the Starlight. Aside from the drive-in itself, Adam and the movie projectionist are the two human protagonists in the book who appear and reappear with each passing generation.
1960 – By far my favorite story simply because of one small convention: the introduction of color. Granted colorized movies have been around since the 1930s, but if you ask folks when life truly became colorized the 1960s would win hands down. One part because of photographs, and no, I’m not referring to those sepia hued monstrosities that mimicked color, I mean true color. The other reason was television – the arch nemesis of the Starlight and countless other theaters until Hollywood started to up their game to compete. About half way through this story, as Adam has his first kiss, the panels become color symbolizing an awakening in Adam and once again America. Now, I was fully ready to make this turning point an exceptional choice for the entire book until I went to later stories that were once again presented in black and white. As I said earlier, though, I think this had to be a publishing constraint more than a stylistic choice. It’s easy to understand that sometimes sacrifices must be made simply to get the book on the shelves, and one less step in the process makes it that much easier.
1974 – Someone (not Mike) fell down on this one or developed cerebral palsy. “The Godfather” on the marquee in the first panel lets you know that a mob tale lies ahead. Well executed and a bold statement on the rampant racism of the time, it is shamefully downplayed by the almost illegible fuzzy lettering in the dialogue bubbles. Despite my guffaws, this looks like a printer hiccup. However, this was just one small snippet of the Starlight’s history and really the only egregious misstep in the entire book.
1998 – The movie playing is “Primary Colors” and Mike preys on our predispositions about Bill Clinton. When the theater is shut down for a VIP guest and that guest arrives with an attractive young lady you immediately know where this is going…or so you think.
2005 – I love a happy ending, and I don’t just mean at massage parlors. What I love more than a happy ending, though, is a surprise ending. In the darkest hour there is one glimmer of hope that appears on the last page. Anyone who has ever been a collector will love the twist of fate for the Starlight.
It’s very rare these days to see passion projects brought to fruition. More often than not the harsh constraints of reality will squash even the most stalwart of dreams. Even though this book wasn’t perfect from a balancing stand-point, it was enjoyable, brisk, and educated this young pup on the importance of a cultural phenomenon that will one day be a faint echo in the annals of Americana. I should also add to this close by giving Mike the upsell of the year award by having a comic collector in the STARLIGHT reading his other title PHANTOMJACK.
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."

WET MOON BOOK 5: WHERE ALL STARS FAIL TO BURN

Writer: Ross Campbell Art: Ross Campbell Publisher: Oni Press Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

WET MOON is not a graphic novel, it’s an experience. On my first reading I chomped on the pages like any normal comic until I quickly found myself lost in translation. A lot of books claim to have stories rooted in an alternate universe – WET MOON embarrasses those efforts with a world that is populated with such a unique and fervent cast of characters you’ll find yourself easily blowing through the massive 160+ pages in one sitting.
But one sitting is not nearly enough to fully immerse yourself in the lives of Campbell’s young girls who are college age but drawn to look much younger. A lesser artist might have exaggerated the breasts and buttocks of the mostly-female cast but WET MOON is made of girls that come in all shapes and sizes. They’re free to talk and behave within the confines of their universe instead of trying to find some globally accepted middle ground. One character snorts coke. Another lives in an apartment infested with roaches. Yet another is attacked as she walks alone at night. All this while trying to coexist as friends and sometimes lovers. Anyone in college or sober enough during those years to remember them can tell you that art is truly imitating life.
And what can I say about Campbell’s illustrations? They are the stroke of a master’s hand, erupting in a controlled percussion of mood and atmosphere. Dialogue is understated and realistic while diary entries interspersed throughout the book help advance the story without compromising it. What connection do the members of this clique have and why should I care? Finding out the answer is one of the joys of reading this book.
Just as there is a heightened sense of diversity within the characters, so too does there exist a complexity within the narrative that almost feels like you’re witnessing a reality show unfold before your eyes. That should not be taken as a disparaging remark but rather a compliment, as Campbell shatters the fourth wall that separates animation from real life. The girls are sexually appealing because they’re drawn not to be, if that makes any sense -- however this is not the type of book for a voyeur. There is a perversity here that is a conduit to the unfortunate correlation between sex and violence. In fact, the book has such grim and foreboding undertones that its grisly climax unsettled me like few books ever have.
I remember Marlo Chandler getting a knife in the back at the end of HULK #398 and I yelped “Oh No!” There is a similar incident here but there was no yelp. Instead I finished the book with a sort of uneasy feeling, like something terrible had just happened. A lot of people can watch “Friday the 13th” and have a few laughs but can’t bear to watch a documentary on Ed Gein. The same principle applies here. Despite its root in animation, WET MOON will strike you as nothing less than a real world filled with real personalities. It might not leave you dashing through your backyard wearing a mask and cape, but it will remind you why you read graphic novels in the first place.
Final word: You don’t read it. It reads you. An absolute must-have.
Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at here. MMAmania.com. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.

Hey guys and gals, Ambush Bug here with another load of indie books I picked up from this year’s San Diego Comic Con. This year we’ve got space brothers, talking dogs, and lunchladies, so dig in.

MAC AFRO: SLEEZE N' CRACKERS One Shot Atomic Basement

Fans of 70's LUKE CAGE comics and films from the Blaxploitation era will definitely want to seek this book out. Mac Afro is a space badass for hire. Why's he out in space? What's his secret origin? How does he fit that huge afro into his space helmet? I do not know the answers to these questions, but you don't really need to in order to enjoy this book. This comic brings the funny in many of its panels. Though not completely original (the space brother gets into situations one would expect and plays into a lot of cliches that are a bit worn from use in this day and age), the book never takes itself too seriously, so I'm more likely to give it a pass. I was a bit put off by the racist remarks from the three white space soldiers throughout the book, but the fact that Mac Afro comes out on top AND on bottom of a hot space girl in the end makes it all go down a bit better.

LUNCH LADY & THE LEAGUE OF LIBRARIANS OGN LUNCH LADY & THE CYBORG SUBSTITUTE OGN Lunch Lady Comics

Ever wonder what’s the story with the lady who doled out the Salisbury steak with glee every day, day in day out, at school? Well, these new books from writer/artist Jarrett J. Krosoczka answer that question. No pun is left un…er…punned. No lunch utensil or condiment or main course isn’t used. Turns out the lunch lady is one of the most important heroes EVER! Personal favorite Lunch Lady weapon: chicken nugget grenades and the hairnet net. But whether she is fighting an insidious cabal of librarians or evil substitute cyborgs, the Lunch Lady is has an arsenal ready to take on any challenge. Sure some of the puns are painful, but despite all that, this book is definitely worth a chuckle or ten.

RED MOON: THE RISING Prequel One-Shot Cossack Comics

We've previewed RED MOON here at AICN Comics before. The makers have been at this comic for quite a while, developing both an animated trailer and a series of prequels. This book I picked up at SDCC collects all of the prequels and puts them into one read. The story seems to be pretty epic in scope, but like all epic stories, the focus in on a pair of characters in order to give a human feel to it. In this case, though, the main characters are a pair of dogs, one stray and one domesticated. The pair of dogs meet for the first time in this Prequel book. The three stories inside thread into and through one another, following a coup in the bird community which the main dog Daeden stumbles into. Then as Daeden flees from a flock of angry birds, he takes shelter in the doghouse of Mox, a domesticated hound. A friendship is formed between Mox and Daeden--one sprouted from the differences between the lifestyles of the two dogs. David McAdoo does a great job of humanizing these characters, sealing this initial meeting with sincerity and story craft. This tiny snippet of a prequel book seals the deal that I will be looking for RED MOON once it finally hits the shelves in late 2009.

RED ROBIN #3 DC Comics

I’m still pulling for this comic. I completely understand the reasons why folks are hard on this book. The leap in logic having Tim be the only one who believes Bruce Wayne to be alive is ever-prevalent. There’s no real excuse for writer Chris Yost holding back why Tim believes this, especially when a lot of folks are knocking this book because of it. This is a detail that should have been around from page one. Plus the scattershot way Yost chooses to tell his story, hopping from before to after to yesterday to tomorrow in one issue, doesn’t help in clearing up the amount of people scratching their heads with this comic. But alas, I like the concept of Tim wandering the earth, a directionless warrior in search of his lost sensei. I like the idea of the only guy believing in Tim being Ra’s Al Ghul. I like the inclusion of Lucius Fox’s daughter as a possible love interest. I like the art by Ramon Bachs, whose style reminds me of HITMAN’s John McCrea. There’s a lot to like about this book. Tim is one of the most fully realized characters in the DCU and despite the darkening of his character as of late, he’s still damn cool and a character I want to read about. Now if only Tim and writer Yost let the rest of us in on the “why” this story is hanging on, I wouldn’t feel the need to apologize to myself and the rest of you all for digging it. - Ambush Bug

HERCULES: THE KNIVES OF KUSH #1 Radical Comics

Another stellar first issue from the guys at Radical, the company that prides itself on fantastic art and epic storytelling. This is the second miniseries featuring one of the most popular characters in storytelling. Here, though, Herc isn’t the villainous beast that fights Wonder Woman over at DC or the boisterous hero who stars in the phenomenal INCREDIBLE HERCULES at Marvel. Radical’s Hercules is much more sullen, more akin to Conan than any other comic hero. Radical’s Herc is noble and a brutal warrior, but travels the world in search of fulfillment. What I love about this version of the character is that he’s more human, more mortal, but as seen in the last miniseries, can harness the power of the gods when he wants to. But this god-like strength is not the highlight of this book, Herc’s battle prowess is, which makes for a more barbaric and brutal read. The mercenaries that survived the last miniseries join Herc in this adventure. And the first issue is top tits, starting out with a sea battle with pirates, then when they get to shore, another battle with the army from the title of this miniseries. Herc finds himself in Egypt in the middle of a royal battle between warring brothers. Although the situation where Herc and his crew stumble into the middle of a conflict between two warring fractions was the backdrop for the last miniseries, I think there’s room for more adventures here. Writer Steve Moore gives the book an authenticity that you don’t find in most comics. The guy’s done his research and knows his ancient history. And the art by Chris Bolson…daaaaaayyyyyyummm! Blood splatters and bodies crumble. The scenes of conflict and violence rattle off the page. All of this covered by iconic images by Clint Langley (this guy needs his own book!), Jim Steranko, and Arthur Suydam equals another winner from Radical, but the real winners are the folks that check this book out. - Ambush Bug

THE WALKING DEAD #64 Image Comics

What more can I say about this book? If you've never read it, I really envy you. Buy one trade after another and catch up. You're in for some of the best comic book readin' you could never imagine. If you're like me and follow the monthlies, I empathize with you. Man, it's tough waiting from one month to the next to read this book. Lately, the book has been kicking all kinds of @$$. Let me just map out the situation here for you: Rick and the survivors happen upon a preacher who has survived on his own since the initial outbreak of undead. The crew is on its way to Washington for answers, but is desperately in need of food and rest. So they hole up in the preacher's church, but Dale, one of the elder members of Rick's crew, goes missing. Turns out the church is surrounded and the group is being watched. Last issue, this group was revealed to be cannibals in a final page reveal of a legless Dale surrounded by chomping humans. This issue opens right where it left off. In a twist I won't reveal here, the advantage is turned on its ear in this issue and after what goes on in this issue, I'm once again faced with utter anticipation for next issue. THE WALKING DEAD is one of those books you just want to hand people and tell them to read without giving away any plot or anything about it. It's an extremely hard book to review because a) I can't give it more praise and b) I don't want to spoil anything for readers. It's just good. Get it. Read it. Devour it. And I guarantee you'll be one of us, chomping at the bit for the next issue. - Ambush Bug

G.I.JOE: HELIX #1 One Shot IDW Publishing

Though not as cool as the GI JOE: COBRA miniseries, this one shot highlighting a new Joe member, Helix, was pretty decent. Sure Helix’s powers are very, very similar to Marvel’s Taskmaster and DC’s Batgirl in that she’s got photoreflexes, but writer Brian Reed adds on the cool by giving her total battle awareness from how many steps a Cobra trooper has walked to the number of bullets in his gun. That’s right, it’s the Joe’s version of Rain Man. Not a bad little one-shot and Helix is cool enough to make me wonder what a match up between her and Snake-Eyes and/or Storm Shadow would be like. - Ambush Bug

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


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Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 19, 2009, 8:44 a.m. CST

    Wednesday Comics

    by Philaspenser

    Anybody on this site going to review those new "Wednesday Comics" DC puts out now? They seem kinda neat, like a big old newspaper Sunday comics section, only before they started shrinking the art. I bought the first two issues just to have them, but haven't did more than glance at them yet. As I'm about to dive into them, I've been wondering what the reviewer community's take on 'em has been. And, wow, am I actually first?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 8:50 a.m. CST

    Mark Millar is still writing comics?

    by Series7

    Could have fooled me.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 8:52 a.m. CST

    I feel like THE ULTIMATES

    by Series7

    Needs to be a MAX title for it to be awesome. Other then Nick Fury being Samuel Jackson there just isn't enough seperation from normal Marvel.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 8:54 a.m. CST

    THE TWELVE???

    by Series7

    More like The Eight.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Wednesday Comics

    by Series7

    Like a big old newspaper Sunday comics section. Yeah those good ole days when newspapers were $4 and a cup of coffee only cost $20.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:03 a.m. CST

    I like the Golden Age settings

    by kalel21

    It's a matter of personal taste, of course, but I never get tired of stories set in the 1930s & 1940s. It's just a cool background for great storytelling. - - - Did you know Superman encountered one of his best and most challenging villains ever on his radio show in 1945? See this artcle for more information: http://www.otrcat.com/memorable-villains-of-old-time-radio.html

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:11 a.m. CST

    The Ultimates...

    by DuncanHines

    I've been on a kick with reading characters in their original incarnations lately. And after reading Lee and Kirby's Fantastic Four issues 25 and 26, I see where Mark Millar came up with Ultimates (first run) issue 5.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Wednesday Comics Phila

    by optimous_douche

    I reviewed issue 1, but I don't think you're going to like it: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/41704#1

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:32 a.m. CST

    Damn you M. Night Shyamalan!

    by --- Emperor ---

    Damn you to hell!

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Garth Ennis is a one trick pony?

    by palewook

    wtf. then don't read his stuff. <P>Garth Ennis is the only comic/TPB I'm certain to read. Garth Ennis is the reason my middle aged ass re-discovered comics.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Wednesday Comics

    by Series7

    Could have been something everyone rallied behind about the price point. But no everyone fucking buys that shit up. <P> Hey however reviewed Secert Warriors on here, thank you for mentioning the price point because Marvel listened and its been $1 cheaper ever since. <P> It would be cool to know that Hickman had something to with that, but who knows. Anyone?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Ennis vs. Ellis who's better?

    by Series7

    I prefer Ellis.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:46 a.m. CST

    I Want To Read that First Comic

    by kevinwillis.net

    The one where Harry Knowles kills Batman. That would be once frickin' awesome book.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:47 a.m. CST

    Starlight

    by optimous_douche

    If anyone wants to check it out there is a High-Rez version of the "fuzzy printing" vignette I mentioned in my review you can find here: www.talesofthestarlightdrivein.com Ian Dorian did a good job, shouldn't have to completely suffer the printing mistake.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:55 a.m. CST

    TALES OF THE STARLIGHT DRIVE-IN

    by mikesang13

    Thanks for the review! STARLIGHT recently was named BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL OF THE YEAR in the Comics Buyer's Guide 2009 Fan Awards, beating out some really big names. ALSO, I'd be remiss if I did not mention that the weird printing problems on the JIMMY THE WHALE story were some kind of glitch and no fault of the artist, Ian Dorian. To see how the story SHOULD have looked (and to see a preview of the book) visit www.talesofthestarlightdrivein.com and look for the link to Ian's story. Mike San Giacomo

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:58 a.m. CST

    Ennis vs. Ellis who's better?

    by ironic_name

    neither.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 10 a.m. CST

    Ennis

    by MasterBaytor

    has a much better grasp of character and dialogue. His big drawback is that he's not terribly ambitious with his plots. Ellis has a lot of cool ideas and visuals, but his lead characters are usually struck from the same mold and aren't terribly subtle in the short term (which is why I'm usually not wild about his mini-series, because it's all tough-as-nails, cigarette smoking bad-asses. I respect Ellis a bit more as a writer, but I almost always enjoy Ennis a lot more.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 10:19 a.m. CST

    Ellis sits directly in front of Ennis in class.

    by cookylamoo

    But Ennis writes on the back of his neck.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Adventure comics

    by Mr.FTW

    I thought it was agreat first issue and a good reintroduction of Conner, I hope his reintroduction will have some major impact soon though. His death shaped the direction of where Tim Drake is now, Wonder Girls and the Titans. His return should be brought to the fore front of those characters.<p>Personally though, after spending 1000 years in the kryptonian biomatrix I was hoping it would have purged all of his human dna so we could leave the Lex connection nurture vs nature theme behind.<p>The back up stories are cool I guess but I feel they are something that should have been included in the old price point. For an extra buck give me 8 more pages of the main story instead.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Ellis is so much smarter than Ennis.

    by rev_skarekroe

    There's really no comparison there. But Ellis tends to make 90% of his stories "The Adventures of Cynical Man and The Smartass Hottie," and it wears thin after awhile.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Where is the Blackest Night #2 review guys?

    by OBESE_WAN_KENOBI

    You could've given it a cheap shot at least. And Blackest Night Batman was pretty good as well. But we get a FRO review instead? Wha?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 10:41 a.m. CST

    So does Ellis' Frankenstein...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...mention the real-life mad-scientist, Konrad Dippel von Frankenstein? He was an interesting cat.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Is Fro

    by Series7

    Going to be available everywhere? Or some hard to find thing?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Ellis/Ennis

    by Homer Sexual

    Ellis certainly does do Cynical Man and Sidekick girl. Even in his novel, Crooked Little Vein (which didn't have much to it). Still, he's better than Garth "My Dick is bigger than Yours" Ennis and his extreme macho bullshit. <p> Pretty weak reviews this week. There must have been some better stuff. But I agree, I didn't even buy Ultimate Avengers because it just looked like another retread of Ultimates, but not as good as the last time,so I passed. (I am going to buy the Ultimatum TP, though). <p> Trying to remember what I liked last week. I know I liked Incredible Hercules goes to Asgard, is lonely for Amadeus, deals with his de-aged but still the same @$$hole Zeus and gets tricked. I think there were other good ones, too, but I forgot and they aren't reviewed here. <p> Doesn't bringing back Connor Kent just ruin Infinite Crisis and Teen Titans? Kind of? Oh well

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 11:01 a.m. CST

    The Marvels Project

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    I think that the difference between The Marvels Project and the other Golden Age revival comics mentioned in the review is going to be something that could only be hinted at (but was still evident) in a first issue and will become more evident as it progresses: Brubaker's plotting. That's what he's known for with his great Captain America run. I think that TMP will be no different. The review seemed to come down to the very subjective "I don't care" and "I'm tired of the Golden Age." I think that this series will show the Timely Comics Golden Age in a whole new light, making it more than just a re-tread. Time will tell.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 11:04 a.m. CST

    Homer Sexual

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    Did bringing back Hal Jordan ruin Green Lantern?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 11:06 a.m. CST

    Blackest Night Spoilers

    by Laserhead

    In the new advanced solicits, Blackest Night #5 says that Nekron is, indeed, the big power behind it all.<p>And in the toy advanced solicits, there's a figure of Black Lantern Wonder Woman, who apparently gets Black Lanterned at some point in the series.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Did anyone actually miss Connor Kent?

    by Laserhead

    Besides Geoff Johns? Or Bart Allen? Or Barry Allen, for that matter?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Laserhead

    by Mr.FTW

    Conner Kent is a great character and at least one other person besides Johns wanted him back. So many people complain about Superman being "the big blue boy scout" well Conner gives you a Superman that is a little more flawed that Clark. The character has the oppertunitiy to explore the Superman archetype without being some alternate publishing analog. Hopefully Johns can tap into the potential the character has that we've only gotten to see from time to time.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 11:17 a.m. CST

    OK

    by Laserhead

    I'd never followed the character much, but he always read to me as a bit of a meathead. But that's cool he's got his fans.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Extreme Macho Bullshit

    by MasterBaytor

    I never really got that off of Ennis' work. While he's got a lot of love for John Wayne/Clint Eastwood/Judge Dredd style characters, it's certainly no where near the extremes of extremes of Beau "Guy Gardner" Smith. And Ennis seems to have great affection for ordinary guy characters, even if they are toting a gun (such as Tommy from HITMAN). There's a fair amount of "be a man" stuff, but it's tempered by female characters taking the piss out of them and an over-arching theme of just being decent to one another.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Conner

    by Mr.FTW

    Unfortunately he has been written as a meathead a little too often. In the Teen Titan series they had finally started really exporing that character with plot lines of Conner questioning if he had a soul since he was just a clone. They began to deal with the nurture vs nature issues especially after Lex flipped the swirch and temporarily took control of him. Like I said hopefully Johns can work his magic and bring out the chracter's potential.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Such As

    by MasterBaytor

    The most realized characters in The Boys are the ordinary guy (Wee Hughie), a mothering, neat-freak man (Mother's Milk), and a Christian super-hero. Butcher is held up as an object of fear and respect, but there's never a sense that he's an ideal.

  • no

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 12:04 p.m. CST

    Ultimate line

    by Chadillac69

    Man, did I miss something? Ultimatum was panned? Wolverine obliterated, Dr. Doom's head crushed in by the Thing? Spider Man diving into the water to save whoever he could. Panned? Bah to you all! Yes, parts of Ultimate comics were/continue to be a little hokey here and there but as a quasi mature 40 year old I have loved every damn issue I've read.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 12:11 p.m. CST

    The Ultimate Universe

    by The Penultimate Gunslinger

    I have to agree it is a bit irrelevant now. That said, I thought the new Ultimate Comics Spider-Man and Avengers issues both got off to a great start. Mind you they might just seem great compared to Ultimatum, which will be remembered as the king of the turds for years to come.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Ultimatum was universally panned

    by Laserhead

    As the total shit-fest it was. With crazy, ridiculous behavior, lunatic dialogue and empty, cynical shock tactics meant to substitute for an actual story with characterization.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 12:53 p.m. CST

    Laserhead

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    Aren't your complaints with Ultimatum the same as the actual reasons for the entire Ultimate line of comics very existence?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:02 p.m. CST

    If you are going to criticize Ennis

    by gooseud

    Ok, here comes the rant: if you are going to criticize Ennis, do it for the right reasons. Does he sabotage himself with his stupid dick jokes? yes. Does he have a reflexive need to trot out the same Millar-style shock tactics in comic after comic? Unfortuantely, yes. However. To criticize him for "macho bullshit" is ludicrous and absurd, and makes me wonder if you have ever even read an Ennis comic. No one writes stronger, more well rounded, more in control bad ass 3 dimensional women then Ennis. Tulip O'Hare? Hello? Starlight from The Boys, who blasts her meathead attempted rapist in the eye? Even in that shitfest Crossed, who is the leader of the group? The strong woman. If anything, his comics are A PARODY of macho bullshit. Did you READ the end of Preacher? Jesse's final speech to Tulip? Or notice the fact that Butcher, for all his bad ass ness, is a lonely, family-less social fuck up who cant have a normal relationship. Who is actually the HAPPY one in The Boys? Wee Hughie, the normal one who doesnt buy into the macho, "who's dick is the biggest" bullshit. I normally keep my comments very respectful on here (except to Joe, but thats only because hes borderline retarded and doesnt realize what I'm saying anyway), but come on, bro: READ THE COMICS before you comment.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:06 p.m. CST

    Palewook - The Boys & Ennis

    by karatemedia

    I'm a fan of Ennis' work - I love Preacher, I love a lot of his Punisher work. He's great at mixing heroics and humor, and generally taking the piss out of most anything, while still offering some human, dramatic moments. <p> Based on that, I recently dove into The Boys vols 1 & 2 TPBs, expecting to love them. And I was severely disappointed. It really does feel like a shallow retread of what he's done better before. I think the review here (although I haven't read this particular volume) captures a lot of what I was thinking while reading vols. 1 & 2. Ennis is capable of better, and considering that he could do anything he wants to with his book, it just feels like he's not trying very hard. <p> You're free to enjoy it as you do. But do realize that there are Ennis fans (even ones approaching middle age and who don't read many other comics anymore) who have legitimate reasons for being disappointed with The Boys.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:21 p.m. CST

    Can someone PLEASE explain

    by gooseud

    Bru's sudden fetish for these "I remember back in MY day" stories......I mean, honestly, WTF? We have been subject to this for TWO YEARS running on Cap, these "remembeer when.....?" one shots (thus utterly wasting an awesome character like BuckyCap in the process). Its getting to be really concerning.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Ultimate Spider-man--Still in top form

    by drewlicious

    It's still funny and the characters are still interesting. Plus, who knew Mysterio could be a potential badass? Kind of curious if they'll ever explain how New York was rebuilt in only six months time. I'm assuming it was done by an army of robots invented by Tony Stark and Mr. Fantastic. Got a kick out of Ultimate Avengers, too. They toned down all that gritty crap, which I was thankful for. It's really not all that fun when every other person in your book is a tortured asshole.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Karatemedia- The Boys

    by gooseud

    Other people will tell you different on here (and I respect their opinions, its a flawed book at best) but right after the Russia arc (right there with Crossed amongst the worst thing Ennis has ever written, the Russia arc was utterly god awful), the book made a 180 turnaround when they started exploring the history of the Seven. Since then, it has been clicking pretty well. Give it a chance, you might like it. Although I understand if you dont, that Russia arc was hard to get past.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:27 p.m. CST

    Walking Dead

    by Joenathan

    I agree with Bug. Great issue. Fantatic set up. In a book with some great highs and the occasional lull and low, this was one of the better ones. I can't wait for the next issue.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Did I just read........

    by gooseud

    "Who knew Mysterio could be such a badass?"? GROANS.........oh lord, here we go.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:31 p.m. CST

    I agree with Homer

    by Joenathan

    Ennis isn't half the writer Ellis is. Nowhere close.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Goose...

    by Joenathan

    I shit on you

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Ultimate Spider-Man

    by optimous_douche

    DEid have great dialogue, but why the fuck does Peter look 9 years old when he's in costume.<p> Also, his head is perfectly round, I mean perfect, I could measure the radius.<p> Good dialogue (big surprise -- never do a silent issue again Mr. Bendis) -- crap art.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:40 p.m. CST

    New Spidey Art

    by drewlicious

    It is a little too Anime thats for sure. It kind of makes me dread a crossover because I'd rather not see Captain America with big shiny eyes. And yes it is weird to see Mysterio as something actually threatening. Keep in mind this is the same universe that turned Kraven into a joke, though. What villains are left for them update anyway? All I can think of are the Chameleon and Tombstone.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:41 p.m. CST

    Conner and Ennis..and Ultimate U.

    by Homer Sexual

    I actually liked Conner Kent in Teen Titans, which is the only book I know him from. Also Infinite Crisis. I thought he was the second most interesting member of the Superman Family (after Power Girl). <p> All I'm saying is, his death was actually done waay better than, for example, Bart Allen's. The death itself was pretty "big" and the main event of the Infinite Crisis, so bringing him back to life definitely takes away from Infinite Crisis. Teen Titans has moved on, but at the time there were a lot of repercussions after his death. (Wonder Girl and Robin's relationship, for one). Those were very good stories whose impact is lessened in the same way reviving Jean Grey coming back affected the Phoenix Saga. Still good stories, in any case. <p> As far as Ennis, Mother's Milk and Butcher sound like perfect examples of why I don't like Ennis. And I totally stand behind my macho bullshit comment. Ennis does love John Wayne and actually goes way beyond Clint Eastwood. Despite my dislike for his attitude, I have liked the first two issues of Herogasm because they are so hilariously over the top. I expect that like to turn to dislike once the Boys show up, however. The Boys seem to be the total self-righteous alpha dicks that Ennis favors. <p> I actually know Ultimatum was lunatic and ridiculous, but since I expect that, I think I might like it. I certainly liked seeing Valkyrie cut off Magneto's arm in the LCS.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:50 p.m. CST

    Gooseud

    by Homer Sexual

    I actually own and have read every single issue of Preacher. Well, I no longer own the very last issue because, to me, it ruined everything good about Preacher, so I prefer to think of the second-to-last issue as the series finale. <p> Obviously I enjoyed the book, but Preacher is chock-full of Macho B.S. Tulip being a well-developed female character is beside the point. Preacher was much, much more like this than Hellblazer ever was, probably due to Ennis' John Wayne fixation. <p> I am a bit surprised to be called out as a poseur. I thought I had been here long enought to avoid that. You don't have to agree with my opinion, but to accuse me of not reading what I'm commenting about.....well, whatever.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Preacher

    by Joenathan

    You can actully see the fall of Ennis in that book. He starts out great, he's pushing boundaries, but then... he just peters out and falls into what would become his hallmark: dick jokes, gross-out gags and lame shock tactics strung together by rote tough guy speak.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:57 p.m. CST

    mad skilz

    by Laserhead

    Nope. Not at all. I loved Millar's Ultimates and Ultimate Spider-Man. Loeb took those characters, chewed them up, and shit out Ultimatum.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:59 p.m. CST

    New Ultimates

    by Joenathan

    I've had a busy week, so I own both titles, but haven't read them yet. I've flipped through them (And Marvels Project) and they all look great.<Br><Br>One thing I'd like to request though is: Could people complain MORE that Spidey's head is round? Do ou think you could do that, because it's not like its been fucking everywhere for weeks, so please, continue on wih the oh-so-amazing insight. Perhaps later we could discuss at length how the Ultimates doesn't quite feel the same without Hitch...Hmmm?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Anytime we talk Ennis

    by Laserhead

    I have to say, while completely agreeing with every criticism you guys level at him, his Punisher MAX is one of the best runs in modern comics, and one of the best modern comics, period.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2 p.m. CST

    Laserhead is right

    by Joenathan

    Ultimatum was a new low in terrible and for Loeb... that's saying something...

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2 p.m. CST

    Spider-Man's head looks like a goddamn pumpkin

    by Laserhead

    There you go, Joe.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:03 p.m. CST

    Thanks Laserhead,

    by Joenathan

    I appreciate it

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Ultimate Spider-Man

    by Mr.FTW

    I just wanted to point out in case no one has noticed that his head is really round.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:15 p.m. CST

    Homer

    by gooseud

    I wasnt talking about you, you have always had what I thought were well thought out opinions. I'm talking more of Baytor (is that your reviewer name? honest question, not trying to be funny....are you guys one in the same?), who reviewed the G-Men storyline. There was a reason in that storyline for all the dick jokes and bullshit, although I wont ruin it for those that havent read it. You think the story is going nowhere, but suddenly it takes a turn where you realize it is going places that put a whole other spin on things. To not even acknowledge that in the review, acknowledge the entire point of the story, seems a bit odd to me. As far as macho, how do you define that? Jesse Custer comes right out and says to Tulip "I'm a macho meathead, and all that shit is ruining our relationship. I realize now that all of that is bullshit, and if you stay with me now, all that is over. I WAS WRONG" How much more plain can it be? Ennis writes a speech directly denouncing that stuff. Ennis was writing a story both celebrating and mocking that type of behaivor. Although there is no denying, Jesse was a macho bad ass. I guess this is the way I see it: Ennis gave the fans what they wanted out of that series, a good old fashioned ass kicking John Wayne hero. In the end, he also took the piss a little saying "Look, this is all well and good, but if you go too far with this, but honestly: its all bullshit. You will end up lonely and alone". I guess I just see it differently then some, it boggles my mind how JEsse Custer could have "offended" anyone, hes probably the most purely "good" character Ennis has ever written, a paragon of good. (shrugs)

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:17 p.m. CST

    And Joe

    by gooseud

    I thought I felt something on my head, here I thought it was just the really hard rain that was falling here all day, little did I know!! I need a shower now, BRB.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    When I read your "New Ultimates" post and then read your "Laserhead is right" post right after it, I get this extremely pungent whiff of irony. Does anyone else detect that odor?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:18 p.m. CST

    So I hear

    by gooseud

    Spidey's head is round. Is this true? Thats a rumor I've heard going through the grapevine, please elaborate for me.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:21 p.m. CST

    I agree with goose, re: 'macho'

    by Laserhead

    And I think people are misunderstanding the term 'macho'-- machismo comes from the Spanish and Portuguese word, which means, essentially, someone who does violence to women. The type of man who'd rape a mother and toss a rattlesnake in her baby-carriage. Being a strong, virile male seems to just offend some people. Particularly if the strong, virile male in question is white.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:21 p.m. CST

    obese wan kenobi

    by jbiz

    A review of Blackest Night #2 is here: http://tinyurl.com/mrb97n

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:33 p.m. CST

    I can only take Ennis in small doses

    by drewlicious

    Preacher was fun at first but after awhile it got tedious for me simply because of all the cynicism. Every other person was not only an asshole, but a deranged one at that with some weird sexual vice. I just got tired. Plus, the Starr's motivations got pretty fuzzy in the last act. Revenge. Big Whoop. I liked certain human characters (Jesse Custer, Cassidy, Saint of Killers) but I despised how all the creatures of heaven and hell looked. They were unappealing, period. They just looked like there was almost no thought in how they functioned or looked.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:37 p.m. CST

    macho and misogynist.

    by Homer Sexual

    I sort of hate myself for getting sucked in like this, but.... what Laserhead calls "macho" is what I'd call "misogynist." <p> I don't think macho guys hate women. They are likely to use the term "little lady" etc. They wouldn't say women are equal to men, or at least they wouldn't think it. Being a strong, virile alpha male who feels the right to be in charge and take what's his..macho. Raping, not macho. <p> Would also like to point out that I don't think anyone is "offended." We are just responding to the question of Ellis Vs. Ennis <p> Ennis' Hellblazer was my favorite, but both Hellblazer and Preacher are still good reads. As is Ellis run on Authority.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Irony!?!

    by Joenathan

    Impossible!

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 2:45 p.m. CST

    Ennis and Ellis

    by optimous_douche

    Think Spider-Man's head is round as well.<p> Joen, we only talk once a week. When should we have brought up the utter roundness of head and body shrinkage when Peter puts on the costume?<p> Fuck that was an insanely round head.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 3 p.m. CST

    Gooseud

    by karatemedia

    I can respect that, but that's also kind of how I felt after reading the first volume, though: "hey, he's just getting started, cut him some slack, maybe the 2nd trade gets better." If I give the 3rd trade a chance, it will be only if I stumble upon it used and very cheap.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 3:02 p.m. CST

    bummed

    by jcrash

    just found out my local comic shop is closing. so sad. RIP Brainstorm. Go out and support your local shops. ok, back on topic...I like the Marvel Project, but yeah it did feel a bit re-hashed. With Brubabaker though, I always feel that there is an unexpected and worthwhile twist just around the corner. Ultimate Comic Avengers has the dumbest name ever. Did a 15 yr. old kid name that book? Is at all micro-scenes... or do we finally get some hefty doses of plot in this one? I've seen a few variant covers that actually look sick... so I'm tempted to get it just for the art... anyways, still bummed about my shop... goddamn economic turndown.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Optimus douche

    by Joenathan

    I will thank you to cease being reasonable from here on out, sir.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Forget Ennis & Ellis! I Like Erris & Ebbis!

    by Buzz Maverik

    Who can forget how Erris took characters from classic and old pop literature and films and wove a superhero saga around them in THE LEAGUE OF PLANETARY GENTLEMEN. And say what you will, but I don't think the word "fuck" has been used better or more often than in Ebbis' boundary pushing THE ONLY BOY WHO COULD EVER REACH ME/TEACH ME series. One could say that Ebbis' dark humor becomes cruel and repetitive and appeals to what I like to call the Comic Book Tough, and that Erris seems to be the only person over age 12 who thinks that smoking cigarettes is a big deal, but we can all agree that, indeed, these guys wrote some comic books.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 3:46 p.m. CST

    Mis- Title. STAND UP COMIC AVENGERS.

    by Buzz Maverik

    "Hey, did you ever notice how none of us ever have to go to the bathroom? It's like, hey, Tony, do you have a hatch in that armor? And I won't say Cap SMELLS like an old man, but, boy, does he smell like an old man. P-YEW!"<p>"Which aisle at Home Depot did Thor get that hammer? You gotta be like, I dunno, Daredevil to find your way around in that place."<p>"You want to know how I stopped the Masters of Evil? Do you really want to know how I stopped the Masters of Evil? Hex power, puh-leeze! When I told them I was getting my period, even the Enchantress took off!"

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 3:51 p.m. CST

    I Dunno What Macho Means So...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...I think I'll go pick up some cigars on the way to skeet club. We'll probably debate the subject further over chili burgers and chili fries from Tommy's until even we are annoyed by our own open farting. When I get back home, I'll probably look up the word macho as I have a couple of shots of Herradura, before I clean my gun and reload my shells.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 3:53 p.m. CST

    You Know Who Has A Round Head?

    by Buzz Maverik

    Charlie Brown! Even his own dog calls him "that round headed kid" because he doesn't know Charlie Brown's real name.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 3:57 p.m. CST

    I Lied In My MACHO Post...

    by Buzz Maverik

    I'd always clean my gun first, before doing anything else. Then, I load it because ... everybody chant along...an-unloaded-gun-is-nothing-but-an-expensive-bludgeon....

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 4 p.m. CST

    Stupid Lack of Edit Feature...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...If we had an edit feature, we could do as many shots as we want and we'd type "nothing" instead o' "not hing". Could be worse. I could say "noone" which we all know is how Ennis, Ellis, Emmis, and Ezzis would spell "noon".

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Bwah-ha!

    by Joenathan

    Just kidding... not really...

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 4:41 p.m. CST

    Ellis vs. Ennis

    by Buzz Maverik

    I figure, Ennis would win if he went in kicking and slapping, but if Ellis were to get away, lock himself in a room with a computer, he could ruin Ennis' credit rating.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Karatemedia- The Boys

    by gooseud

    Thats how I did it: Issues 1-29 for like......5 bucks maybe? But then again, I got the hookup. I got a complete run of Y The Last Man sitting waiting to be perused for like.....10 bucks maybe? Regardless, I see your point. If I had been buying issue by issue, I would have quit after Russia. Shit, I DID quit about 6 or 7 issues in the first time. The only reason I read it was because it was there and basically free. I'm glad I did though, because the "History of Vought" arc and the current "Butcher vs. Payback" arc are pretty freakin awesome. G-men was 4 issues of meh combined with one issue of "This is getting good" and one issue of "Shit this got awesome quick".

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 5:02 p.m. CST

    Can't believe Marvel didn't fire Millar

    by bat725

    I mean the guy practically begged to work for the competition. It would be like Bendis publicly stating his dream is to write Batman. The only reason Marvel didn't fire Millar is because DC would have snatched him up quick and made him regular writer of Superman. But, I predict this will still happen. Eventually, Marvel will get sick of his shit snd tell him to fuck off.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 5:03 p.m. CST

    I think I understand, Homer

    by gooseud

    Heres what I think you are saying: That particular macho mindset bothers you regardless of context or medium. Ok, I get that. Some people hated the "Wanted" movie. Some people hate John Wayne, or Fast and Furious, or Merchant Ivory, whatever. The point is, people's tastes are different. If what you are saying is "That particular "macho" mindset and attitude rubs me the wrong way when I am exposed to it", I see that. If you are saying "Ennis did a poor job on that SPECIFIC title, regardless of the context, and Jesse Custer was a misogynist asshole", I simply dont see it. Jesse was held up as a paragon of old fashioned Anerican virtue. You may disagree on the definition of "American Virtue", but Jesse as written in the series simply didnt exhibit any of the character traits commonly associated with "macho asshole".

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 5:04 p.m. CST

    That is my dream in life

    by gooseud

    Millar working for DC. God, please let it happen!! Prison Rape here we come!! Dont drop the soap, Hal!!

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Drewlicious

    by gooseud

    Its ironic, in that for all the hard boiled cynical toughness in Preacher, it had the least cynical ending in comics history. It was like 75 issues of pent up inner feelings (dare I say......even a touch of sappy?) came gushing out over those last 3 or 4 issues. It didnt bother me, I think it is hypocritical personally (not you Drew, just in general) to sit back and piss and moan about Ennis's "dick jokes and shock tactics" and then complain when he gives you what you want. You dont like dick jokes, heads exploding, sexual deviancy, and anti-religious feeling? Cool, then here ya go: the most old fashioned, sappy, PG rated, and just plain HAPPY ending arguably in comics history.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 5:12 p.m. CST

    Joe Quesada ruined the Marvel U.

    by bat725

    Haven't read Marvel since Civil War (don't even get me started on that piece of shit). What Quesada has done with Spider-Man (One More Day) and Wolverine (Origin) is unforgiveable. Bendis' New Avengers was a big letdown, a way different beast than what Geoff Johns would have produced had he stayed on the book (just look at what he did with JSA). I mean, how many times are they going to disassemble the Avengers? Their new battle cry should be "Avengers Disassemble!" Quesada needs to go!

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Millar Will Write Supes & Bendis Will Write Bats

    by Buzz Maverik

    The publishers know it, the editors know it, the writers know it. They're smart not to admit it. All these guys are pros and while many of us have preferences to one companies predominant style or philosophy, how could anyone not admit that Batman, Superman, Spider-Man or The X-Men were the greatest assignments a mainstream comic pro could hope for.<p>I'm a DC-Curious Marvel Zombie myself. As a kid, I was the most fanatical Marvel freak who ever lived. Hated DC. Didn't want anyone to think I was into that Super Friends shit. I read down and dirty MAN comics like ... uh, the Fantastic Four. They were realistic! Not realistic in the way or reality or realism or realistic fiction, but those guys who wrote letters to the editor said they were realistic.<p>Anyway, I'm faking sick to get out of a day of the sixth grade and my mom uncharacteristically offers to get me some of "my funny books". I tell her to get me anything that says Marvel. She brings back an ARCHIE and a copy of THE METAL MEN. I don't say anything because I don't want to have to go back to school the next day. It turns out METAL MEN was written by my favorite Marvel writer at the time, Steve Gerber. How could a guy who writes Marvel Comics write a DC comic? Did Roy know? Or Stan? Should I write and tell them?<p>I read a little of the METAL MEN and it's pretty good and I'm thinking I probably shouldn't narc on Steve because A)he might get fired from THE DEFENDERS and HOWARD THE DUCK, my two favorite books of his and 2)Stan and Roy would know I was reading a DC comic.<p>I don't really think it matters to the pros who writes the check. But they love comics too. I'd definitely check out a Millar penned ACTION or a Bendis DETECTIVE. Quesada will work for DC too, someday.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 5:46 p.m. CST

    Millar

    by Mr.FTW

    After the absolute crap that was wanted and his pitch for a Superman movie trilogy I hope the universe keeps his as far away as possible from Superman and DC... but if the Siegels keep it up it may not matter.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 6:31 p.m. CST

    The Reason I Didn't Mention The Spin...

    by MasterBaytor

    at the end of The Boys arc in my review is that I didn't see it as any sort of surprise. A couple of chapters into the story, I realized exactly how the opening in the warehouse would be resolved (they practically came out and said it several times in the issue)... which has been previously established and even repeated in this arc. Broadly speaking, the supes & VA take care of problems in a ruthless manner and always have. This might have wider ramifications in subsequent stories or just underscore the problem as Butcher sees it. Either way, I don't think this particular arc advanced the notion enough to really comment on it. The other problem with it was that it came on the heels of an over-long and, quite frankly, boring story. If this story had been four issues like most BOYS stories, that ending would have had a lot more impact; but by the time I got to it, I was tuning out.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 7:23 p.m. CST

    What If?

    by optimous_douche

    Both the Marvel and DC universes merged -- permanently!<p> Discuss...

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 7:38 p.m. CST

    True, Preacher ended on sappy note

    by drewlicious

    But it was so weak I really didn't notice. I think by then I was just so exhausted by it all that I stopped caring altogether. I think it happened somewhere between Starr getting his balls eaten and the freak with meat sex doll. But seriously everyone in that world was a pervert. Kind of answers the question why God turned his back on everything....because that world is riddled with some seriuos assholes.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 8:01 p.m. CST

    Ennis and The Boys

    by Star Hump

    The primary problem is that Ennis is clearly writing for the trades. An an all-too common problem with today's shitty fan fiction, I mean, comics. Ennis' Boys stories are dictated by a fucking publishing format. The Boys would be far more entertaining if a good editor came in and boiled that shit down to a story that moves along at a proper clip. And why hasn't the art been criticized? Whatshisname can draw good close-ups, but THATS IT. The penciling in The Boys is atrocious, the inking is woefully amateur and it looks like it was colored by a 13-year-old with a Commodore 64.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 8:08 p.m. CST

    Simply no excuse for no Walking Dead mini-series

    by GreatOne3

    Not enough material yet? I can't understand why HBO or Showtime aren't in a bidding war over the t.v. rights. I'd even go for a PG-13 network version, just to see this on t.v. <p>Anyone know what's going on with film/t.v. rights.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 8:23 p.m. CST

    BATMAN ON HBO!!!

    by bat725

    They should do an adult-themed Batmanon HBO with cursing and violence, not unlike the Spawn Animated Series. Batman's universe fits perfectly with that style of storytelling. That shit would kick ass!

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 8:46 p.m. CST

    Walking Dead mini-series

    by tsd08460

    AMC has picked up the rights. http://preview.tinyurl.com/kpkryx

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:44 p.m. CST

    Nov. UCSM solicit

    by igregory

    "Events in Kitty Pryde's life create a situation for Peter Parker that you have never ever ever seen in a Spidey title before." Could this be the long awaited arrival of the Spider-Bastard? Has this ever been done before? And if he inherits Dad's head will she have to have a c-section?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:56 p.m. CST

    MasterBaytor, I apologize

    by gooseud

    I was probably too harsh before. Although I still disagree with alot of your review, as far as your comment above, your dead right, the G-Men arc was 2 issues too long and the ending would have had more impact at the end of a 4 issue arc instead of 6. Ill be honest, I was truly stunned by the ending (the Vought arrival was brutal in its simple violence) and thought it really had legitimate impact, but it was probably dulled by 3 issues of dick jokes ahead of time. And thus, we have Garth Ennis entire career in a nutshell.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:57 p.m. CST

    Star Hump

    by gooseud

    The art on the Boys has gone to complete shit, I have no idea whats been going on recently, but this current arc with Stormfront is fucking awesome, but being undone by panels that literally look like they were only 50% finished when sent in to the printer.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 9:58 p.m. CST

    A Bendis Batman

    by gooseud

    My mind struggles to wrap around that concept. Hmmmmm......honestly, I truly cant picture what that would even be like. Maybe thats a good thing?

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 10:05 p.m. CST

    What is the point of the Ultimate universe?

    by Continentalop

    Really. It is guys who resemble mainstream marvel characters but are not really them. Instead of creating bastardized versions of the big Marvel characters why not try to and make new characters. Either in 616 or in a new one. Or if the old ones are not working, maybe you need a Crisis and have the new version take their spot. <P> The reason why is because no one wants to see new characters, and for all the praise a lot of these writers get they have yet to create a character with the same appeal as Spider-Man, Hulk or Captain America. And while these new variations might garner interest at first, they don't have the characteristics that made the originals have such long shelf lives. <p> In my opinion the Ultimate Universe is completely boring and redundant.

  • Aug. 19, 2009, 10:14 p.m. CST

    Thanks, tsd08460

    by GreatOne3

    Can AMC get away with an "R" series? That would be ideal. I haven't watched "Mad Men," so I don't know what they're capable of. Kind of surprised to see them win (although ecstatic that Sci-Fi didn't get it; would have trashed the concept).

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 3:20 a.m. CST

    WALKING DEAD/AMC.

    by SleazyG.

    Apparently HBO thought they had a dead lock on it, and then during negotiations something happened regarding rights and payments that gave AMC the window to sneak in the back door. I don't remember the details, but I know Rich Johnston talked about it on his site this week. Frankly, I think whatever Hollywood Agent Asshole made that call should be shitcanned last month--nothing against AMC, but they just can't show the language and violence HBO can. Imagine "True Blood" on AMC; now imagine their lack of viewership. 'Nuff said.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 3:22 a.m. CST

    The point of the Ultimate universe:

    by SleazyG.

    As SUPREME POWER proved, you can't trust Straczyinski to finish a goddamned thing and you can't trust Marvel to stay the fuck out of his way. As a result, working with new or obscure characters is not an option, but you still wanna show dudes punching through other dudes' skulls. Upshot? ULTIMATE FROG THOR.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 3:27 a.m. CST

    Millar Superman and Bendis Batman:

    by SleazyG.

    Thanks, but noooo fuckin' thanks, not if you're buying it for me. They don't get the characters (or any characters at all, really). Millar? Great guy, but too hung up on taking the piss. Bendis? Great guy, but can't even write Brian Michael Bendis in character. Upshot? Let 'em stay at Marvel, where history and characterization and logic are of no import. Turn those bastards loose on the DCU and it'll be a nightmare. There are some writers who can jump back and forth with no problem, but those two? The idead of Millar and Bendis in the DCU gives me hives.<p> And yeah, I say this as a guy who bought every issue of AZTEK and everything Millar wrote for SWAMP THING...but that was a very long time ago.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 6:25 a.m. CST

    Yeah, but if Bendis never goes to DC

    by gooseud

    You'll never get this classic scene: Flash: "Zatanna, quick, use your backwards magic to freeze this lake so I can run across!" Zatanna: "I cant, it doesnt work that way". Flash: "Ummm no actually it does, just say Ekal Ezeerf, it's easy!" Zatanna: "Nope sorry, cant do it, doesnt work that way, my bad". Flash: "The hell?!?!?!!"

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 6:42 a.m. CST

    I don't ever, ever, ever want to see a Bendis Batman

    by Laserhead

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Writing For The Trade

    by MasterBaytor

    I'm not sure if I'd classify Ennis' approach to THE BOYS as writing for the trade (he's mostly done two and four part stories). Ennis cut his teeth on English anthologies so he's pretty good at recapping the story so far in a quick, consise manner... and he generally advances the plot enough to feel that you've got an issue worth of story (although some of this is the "getting to know them" chapter before he kills off half the cast). Pretty much like most of the folks who were regularly working in comics prior to the shift to Graphic Novels... they obviously don't think in single part stories, but keep the action moving over long stretches. There's a lot of newer guys (Bendis being one of the earliest examples) of guys who I could never follow monthly because they tend to expand stories out to six issues as a matter of course and suck at getting me up to speed in the middle of the story, which is needed with the month long gap between chapters.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Continentalop...

    by rev_skarekroe

    ...there's a very good reason you don't see a lot of new characters in Marvel and DC anymore - creators have realized that if they make up new characters, they should be creator owned. That way when Wanted and Kick Ass turn into movies, Millar and his artists pocket the money instead of Marvel and DC.<p>It's mostly business.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 10:43 a.m. CST

    New Characters

    by Mr.FTW

    Has anyone even created a "new" character in the last 20 years? There are hundreds of characters between DC and Marvel and everything "new" we have gotten in the past couple of decades are either analogs or riffs on pre-existing characeters. Is there really anything "new" left to createas far as superheo comics go? I'd rather writes/artists/publishers focus on good rather new.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 10:44 a.m. CST

    geez...

    by Mr.FTW

    Typo city right there, if only there was an edit function

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 11:28 a.m. CST

    onomatopoeia

    by optimous_douche

    Was an original new DC charachter...<p> Just sayin'

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Douche

    by Mr.FTW

    You got me there, I forgot about him due to the fact I don't really keep up with books Smith writes.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Batgirl

    by Mr.FTW

    I realize it's Thursday and for what ever reason this talkback always dies a quick death for some reason and this could be jumping the gun but did anyone check out the new Batgirl yesterday? Thoughts?

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 1:09 p.m. CST

    douche, I doubt onomatopoeia will be in a Batman movie anytime

    by Continentalop

    I know you weren't implying that, but I just like pointing that out.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 1:20 p.m. CST

    rev_skarekroe

    by Continentalop

    Was Kick Ass and Wanted really that great of new material that they can have lasting power? I mean, Kick Ass seems more like the gimmick of a "real life" hero, so that will get played out quickly. <P> And Wanted, the comic book, was filled with pastiche of Superman and Batman foes. Hardly original or new characters. Same with Ellis' work in Planetary.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 1:44 p.m. CST

    Continentalop

    by Mr.FTW

    I'm not sure that the Rev meant that Wanted or Kick Ass had any original characters in them just that the character in both of those comics are housed in creator owned imprints and not in DC or Marvel proper. Neither of those titles offer anything "new" but when the get option for movies Millar gets to take it to the bank instead of DC or Marvel.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 2:41 p.m. CST

    I can think of tons of new characters....

    by Homer Sexual

    Just no "tentpoles" or BIG characters. Just looking at the X-books, I can instantly think of Mercury, Pixie, Armor. Initiative has MVP and many more. So there are a lot, but no one who carries their own book. Does the Japanese Super Young Team or the Human Flame count?

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Invincible

    by Joenathan

    Or are we just talking MArvel and DC?

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 5:33 p.m. CST

    Also

    by Joenathan

    Walking Dead on AMC? Yawn... too bad, because I want that show to happen, but I don't want it sans blood, sex, and swearing. I like Mad Men alot, but its the perfect example of nutless network TV. Boobs aren't required to make a sjow great, but hiding them during a sex scen is the most obvious, awkward PG-13 bullshit ever.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 6:02 p.m. CST

    A Bendis Batman:

    by sonnyhooper

    batman: "i am the batman" <p> criminal: "um....THE batman?" <p> batman: "yeah....THE batman" <p> criminal: "really? THE?" <p> batman: "yeah....really." <p> criminal: "so why the... THE?" <p> batman: "well.....um....because...ah.." <p> criminal: "...because it sounds kinda...you know...pretentious." <p> batman: "really?....pretentious?" <p> criminal: " yeah. really." <p> imagine 22 pages of THAT shit? nope. no thanks.

  • Aug. 20, 2009, 8:03 p.m. CST

    At Least Millar Is Using His Power In the Industry

    by Buzz Maverik

    For all the bitching in the last 30 years about creator owned, how many of these GEN-YUSSES are creating anything anywhere? Okay, they don't want Marvel or DC to own their brilliant masterpieces that are going to be worth zillions and spawn movie franchises. So they do nothing.<p>Millar may not have created anything great, he may be riffing on themes and past characters, doing things that have already been done, but at least he's doing that in addition to screwing up characters created by others.

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 9:51 a.m. CST

    WALKING DEAD on AMC

    by barryallen77

    I'm one of the BIGGEST fans of TWD and as much as I wouldve preferred HBO to pick it up i think AMC will do just fine. I seem to remember danny trejo's 'tortuga" character's decapitated head stuck on a tortoise before being detonated. And of course there was the scene where the 2 leads had to clean up a failed attempt of getting rid of a body via acid wash. So I think there is room for more gore than we might originally anticipate. Also, i know this sounds blasphemous coming from a zombie lover but i really dont need a bunch of blood and guts on screen for this to work for me. It's more about the development of characters under super high stress and unbearable tensions. I'd be fine with a bunch of zombies huddled over a body/obscuring the view/implied gore. Plus, how can u hate on AMC when they have christina hendricks on every week?!

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 10:35 a.m. CST

    Kirkman stuff

    by Homer Sexual

    I thought of Invincible as well, I am currently reading it on loan from a friend. It is pretty good, but so far nothing special. I am not knocking it, but I wouldn't rave either (at least so far, I'm only on like issue 5). <p> Walking Dead is a huge "maybe." I am mostly concerned about the Darabont touch, full of softy male bonding and honorable manliness. Not my thing. Kirkman verges on this anyway, and I fear Darabont may push the "humanity" over the edge. <p> AMC, from my view, does affect the chance of the show to have big success. Truthfully, the only person I know who watches AMC is my ex-wife, and she wouldn't watch Walking Dead in a million years. I think the demographic of the network is not zombie-friendly. So they will really have to pull new viewers. A real shame HBO didn't end up with it. They'd give it the edge it needs, and I don't think AMC will...but we shall see, and something is better than nothing. <p> OMG, people if any are here, don't hate me, but I was telling a friend about the whole "macho" debate this week regarding Preacher, and he said the perfect example of why Jesse Custer, a totally nice guy and non-a$$hole, is macho: Because he's the kind of guy who will tell the girl to get behind him and let him handle it, no matter how capable or good with a gun the girl is. I thought that was a good example.

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 11:53 a.m. CST

    Invincible

    by Mr.FTW

    Invincible is cool but he is still an analog for Superman.

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 12:04 p.m. CST

    AMC

    by Joenathan

    I don't think gore/sex/R rated whatever has to be excessive in order for the show to work. I don't think it's needed, but there is a certain level that AMC can not do, a certain level that Walking Dead often goes shootin WAY past, and just like every other show they have, whenever they come screaming to a halt at that line, it is the most obvious and dickless shit I have ever seen. Nothing says "Hi, I'm PG-13!" more than a woman in bed with the sheet overing her boobs, but under her armpits.

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Homer/Invincible

    by Joenathan

    You have to stay through the first twelve... that's where it changes from "nice" to "what the fuck just happened"

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 12:07 p.m. CST

    FTW

    by Joenathan

    Invincible is more than just an analog of Superman, so much more. His situation is only slightly similiar, at best. I sincerly believe that Invincible is better written on a more consistant basis than Walking Dead. Easy

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Homer

    by Joenathan

    I'm totally with you on your AMC/Darabont/Walking Dead thing. I see a nothing but a big "meh" with a little bit of "almost" thrown in just to make it extra disappointing.

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by Mr.FTW

    I'm not calling the quality of Invicible into question at all or trying to imply that it is a lesser product. In an earlier post I was just commenting that so many ideas hae already be done in comics and most of what we have today are just based on that. Invincible may have taken a different direction but at it's core it's still a variation on Superman and that's not a bad thing. Like I said earlier I'll take good over "new" any day and Invincible is good.

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Actually

    by Joenathan

    Despite his alien power-ness, I'd say he's more Spider-man than Superman. Superman is about the outsider who chooses to defend us. Spider-man is about atonement.

  • Aug. 21, 2009, 3:50 p.m. CST

    AMC

    by barryallen77

    My stoner ass was referring to AMCs show breaking bad in my last blog. But AMC has gotten A LOT of attention for breaking bad and mad men the past couple years and this is a great opportunity for another award winning drama. Does anyone know what channel that crazy brit zombie mini series "dead set" was aired on? I though it was bbc but it was pretty gory... Yes, of course Frank Darabont's super cheesy work like green mile does scare the crap outve me when i think of walking dead... if he fucks it up i WILL put a hit out on him and his family

  • Aug. 22, 2009, 7:07 p.m. CST

    New Marvel Characters...

    by mortsleam

    The Runaways? Young Avengers don't count 'cause they're "Legacy" type heroes.

  • Aug. 24, 2009, 6:34 p.m. CST

    Gooseud - ZATANNA, FLASH

    by ThusSpakeSpymunk

    *CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP* If I were there next to you, sir, I would buy you a beer or a soda, depending on what you like. That really was perfect comedy. "The hell?!" That made me smile.

  • Aug. 24, 2009, 10:02 p.m. CST

    Bendis, Ellis, Ennis...

    by SMARTASS8

    ...who has the least amount of range as a writer? For all of the fans they have, they all seem to be only able to write 2, maybe 3, distinct personalities. I really don't know why they also keep getting jobs writing about superheroes. Ellis and Ennis have both said ad nauseam that they don't like superheroes(and it shows). Bendis said he grew up a Marvel Zombie, but he writes like he's never read a Marvel Comic in his life(I used to like him until he started writing Avengers and I realized he repeats the same personalities and story beats over & over again). I think he's just like JoeyQ(once claimed that he didn't read comics until after college and they were all indie/Vertigo books), editor Axel Alonso(has said he hates superheroes), and Mark Millar(grew up reading UK comics and DC reprints) who have all trashed superheroes and/or Marvel Comics before getting jobs there and now claim to have loved the Marvel U since they were kids. As many mistakes as Didio makes, I've never doubted his passion, sincerity, or love for comics and their fans. Brubaker is about the only writer I'd ever want to see leave Marvel for DC(maybe Dan Slott on one of his good days as well). The rest of them have turned me from a Marvel Zombie and occasional DC reader into somone who only reads DC, Dark Horse, and some smaller publishers. DARK REIGN is a title that should only be used when discussing JoeyQ's time as Marvel's EIC.