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#23 10/14/09 #8

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #1 GALACTICA 1980 #2 FRANK CASTLE: PUNISHER MAX #75 JACK OF FABLES #38 UNCANNY X-MEN #516 RED ROBIN #5 X-MEN FOREVER #9 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents EDEN: IT'S AN ENDLESS WORLD Vol 12 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!


Writers: J.M. Dematteis, Tom DeFalco, Sean McKeever Art: Val Semeiks & Dan Green, Ron Frenz & Sal Buscema, Stephanie Buscema Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

You know, I’m gullible.
I really am.
A while back, when Marvel promised that there would be one Spider title and only one monthly Spider title to come out thrice monthly, I believed them.
I took them for their word, and for the most part, I’ve been pretty damn pleased with the outcome. Spidey stories haven’t been this strong in years, in my opinion. I like reading big chunks of Spidey stories taking place in a month (or so) span. The talent lined up in the monthly Spidey books seems a bit sporadic, but consistently good.
Let’s face it, for the longest time, Spidey books were crap. For a good fifteen to twenty years there were too many of them on the stands. Too many different storylines. Too many different creators who didn’t seem to talk with one another. And they came along and streamlined it. Sure they did a couple of controversial things, but the last few months of Spidey books have made it all worthwhile.
The funny thing is, though, that just when Marvel is getting it right, they go ahead and try to screw things up. And it’s also funny that this happens to coincide with the reemergence of the Clone Saga storyline. Now, I’m all for the new miniseries that came out a week or so ago and I think the first issue of CLONE SAGA was old school fun (although it still had a lot of the faults old school comics used to have too). I just hope that the return of the CLONE SAGA doesn’t signify the return of the suckidude of Spidey-books past.
Take WEB OF SPIDER-MAN #1, last week’s new Spidey title that has been advertised as not your regular Spidey title. The book doesn’t focus on Spidey, per se, but tells tertiary tales that somehow fit into the continuity of the regular tri-monthly title, but aren’t necessary reading to enjoy the tri-monthly book. So right off the bat, the ads are saying that you’re not going to be missing any of the Spidey story if you skip this book. To that, I said, “OK, then I won’t get it.” In these economic times, why buy one more book, especially when its ads tell me it’s not really relevant to the story I’m already reading? “I’ll save a few shekels and skip it!” I exclaimed to myself whilst reading the solicit in the coffee shop, causing more than one sideways glance.
So of course, when I saw the first issue on the shelves last week, I bought it. I figured it was my civic duty as a comic book reviewer to do so. Plus I have low impulse control.
Now, I don’t want to take anything away from the people who put this book together. They tried to make something out of this book. J.M. DeMatteis wrote a Kaine story. Though I have to say this may have been the weakest story in the book, it was good to see Val Semeiks art again. I found this story to be pretty ponderous though, with the storyline going through multiple stops and starts. I just had a hard time connecting to Kaine’s character, maybe because Semeiks drew him so ugly-ly. Not sure why, but I got to the end of this story not giving two shits and hoping Kaine will be staying in his little prison for a very long time (though it looks like he’s going to be back in the main title soon).
Tom DeFalco got another mile out of the Spider-Girl character. I don’t follow the SPIDER-GIRL book, but I know that there’s quite a loyal following and she seems to be the little spidey-girl that could when it comes to eeking by and continuing to have stories published about her. The story in this book has a lot against it because in order to get new readers invested, there’s a lot of back-story and history to sift through, which took up most of the short story and left very little room for actual stuff happening. Still I was able to clearly follow the character and she was a character I wouldn’t mind reading more of given this creative team’s heart and dedication to the character.
Finally, Sean McKeever tosses out a cute Frog-Man story with even more fun art by Stephanie Brown. This was a light and fluffy story, heavy on humor, low on depth. Having a soft spot in my heart for the Frog-Man character and his many adventures with Spidey in the eighties, it was a great chuckle inducer. All these stories, all fun reads.
In the end, though I had fun reading most of them, they were ultimately forgettable and surprisingly dull for a first issue. If this was the show starter that was supposed to convince me that I should put this book on my pull list, then the book is ultimately a failure. These stories read like back-up stories that editors had to blow a few layers of dust off of in order to get them to press. Sure, they may have some relevance to the main story, but I didn’t come away from this issue feeling more enlightened or more enriched having read them. And I don’t think that if I missed the book, I would have enjoyed the main Spidey title and more or less.
So I guess the book lived up to its name. While the stories weren’t bad, they ultimately didn’t really matter and it looks like this is going to be another number one issue I bought that will not be getting a second issue follow up next to it in my long box.
I know no one’s looking for my suggestion, but I’ll give it anyway. Since Marvel’s trying to sneak in their $3.99 price hikes and they admitted that there is no rhyme or reason as to which titles get the dollar hike and which doesn’t, why not just put one of these stories as a back-up feature in the tri-monthly books? The added pages and price hike seems to have worked for DC. And then folks wouldn’t have to buy another Spidey title. I’d be much more likely to read a Spider-Girl or a Kaine story if it was a back-up feature in AMAZING than if it was a main feature in a side-note title. Just makes a lot more sense to me.
Gullible? Yeah, I’m gullible occasionally. But I’m usually only fooled once. I was one of the folks that supported one Spidey title because it would mean better stories. Hopefully, this isn’t the downward turn into the dregs that occurred before BRAND NEW DAY. In the end, unless you’re a completist and have another $3.99 to piss away a month, you can avoid this title and won’t know the difference.
Pasqual Ferry’s cover deserves a bit of praise, though, for some wicked pit-web action flowin’ in the breeze as Spidey swoops across Manhattan. Man, I love it when Spidey’s drawn with those pit-webs…
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, reviewer and co-editor of AICN Comics for over eight years and one of the original @$$holes. Check out his comic book shorts 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 and here and here about his latest comic from Bluewater Comics, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS: THE TINGLER #1-2. Look for more comics from Bug in 2010 from Bluewater, including VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS WITCHFINDER GENERAL and ROGER CORMAN PRESENTS DEATHSPORT.


Writer: Marc Guggenheim Art: Cezar Razek Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Reviewer: Jinxo

“GALACTICA 1980” (the TV show) was bad. Just a bad, bad mistake. I was quite happy when I thought of a way to undo the whole show while not just pretending it never happened. They did one semi-decent plot where they chased a bad guy into the past where the bad was helping the Nazis to win WWII. I thought all they'd need to do was have that plot end with full out nuclear war. Nuke Earth. Then there's no Earth for Galactica to find...meaning they don't go back in time causing the nuclear war. Continuity snaps back to Earth not being nuked. The cycle gets broken because someone somehow realizes what is going on and disrupts it, hopefully by throwing baby Dr. Z out an airlock. So then “GALACTICA 1980” could be done away with and a new continuity started.
I think a lot of fans had thoughts like that. Sitting around drinking beer with other geeks, getting angry going, "You know what I would have done with that show?!?" To me that's kind of what this book feels like. It is so insanely the opposite direction from the original show but in its own way just as goofy. With issue #1 we had Adama just deciding to fly the Galactica at the U.S. Capital??? Really??? Dr. Z wanting to flat out take over Earth and subjugate us? It feels like a drunken fan idea gone wild--"and zen Adumah ish like, 'Screw you! I'm flying us at the Capital! It'll work. Ish all good. And BOOM! The ship gets blown up!"
Issue #2 has a plot point that reeeeally added to this feeling for me. Our heroes Troy and Dillon are getting ready to land in Washington, DC to search the wreckage of Galactica. Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, a SETI-style scientist has discovered the fleet's transmissions and that the newcomers are talking in ancient Aramaic. Fine so far. Cut to some other plots. Back in DC Troy and Dillon are on the ground and in pitched conflict with US troops. And then...the SETI scientist is there! What? Not much time could have passed. Wasn't he JUST in Puerto Rico??? How did he get to Washington so fast???
"Wellllll...he had a privut plane. Ish a jet. A Shooper dooper jet."
In its own crazy-ass way the book is enjoyable but, really, the writers need to not get too hammered while writing. The edge and madness is just about right as is. If they drink more I fear scenes of conflict like...
"Screw you... talking robot jerk!"
"Yeah, well you can suck it."
Not good. But seriously, if you could kill Dr. Z as soon as possible, that would be great.
Jinxo is Thom Holbrook, lifelong comic book reader, and the evil genius behind He may appear cute and cuddly but if encountered avoid eye contact and DO NOT attempt to feed.


Writer: Tom Piccirilli (DOLLS), Greg Hurwitz (GATEWAY), Duane Swierczynski (GHOUL), Peter Milligan (FATHER’S DAY), Charlie Huston (SMALLEST BIT OF THIS) Art: Laurence Campbell (DOLLS), Das Pastoras (GATEWAY), Tomm Coker (GHOUL), Goran Parlov (FATHER’S DAY), Ken Lashley (SMALLEST BIT OF THIS) Publisher: Marvel MAX Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

Perhaps the most surprising thing about FRANK CASTLE: PUNISHER #75 is the fact that I almost didn’t buy it. The Punisher saga is one that I’ve never been able to commit to on a regular basis, primarily because the Castle family has been dead for over thirty years. I’m kind of over it. That’s not to suggest that I don’t enjoy the occasional murkery of some criminal crackpot, or the terrific work of Garth Ennis earlier in the MAX series, but the whole routine with the brooding and the grimacing and the eerily out of place spit curl is just too dark and dour for me to make this a consistent pick-up.
I enjoy Frank Castle the most when the shackles of his memories are taken off and he’s allowed to roam freely, much like he did in the simple but wildly enjoyable BACK TO THE BAYOU storyline a few months back. Having said that, I was a bit apprehensive about ish #75 and its promise to make me relive the worst memories of the man in black. I eventually based my decision on the comic book flip, which most of us know as that move we pull when we’re on the fence about a purchase. Grab a book, thumb through a few pages and determine its worth on how much we like the randomly selected panels. For PUNISHER, I was pretty happy with what I saw.
In fact, let’s just go ahead and say it. FRANK CASTLE: PUNISHER MAX #75 is an astounding achievement in storytelling. What we have here is basically five separate stories all based around one horrific tragedy. It could have been trendy and gone RASHOMON, replaying the incident from five different points of view, but no, these are standalone works that somehow manage to grab a hold of your emotions and never let go. This is the first book in quite some time that left me with butterflies -- an hour after finishing it.
I’m not sure the individual tales could have worked on their own, but that’s not the point. The point is they coexist in the same space but at separate times. Frank Castle is the same person but most of the narrative is presented out of context, almost as if Castle is in the story but also following along as terrible things happen to him. In short, he’s living in a nightmare and the reader is trapped there right alongside of him. I’ve always thought there was a play on the franchise with his fourth wall narrative, that perhaps he was dead and wading through the depths of hell while reliving the death of his family. This book comes as close as you possibly can to capturing that mood. So many bizarre twists and turns but the only constant is death. Not just the death of his victims (and his family), but the death of his soul.
The writing is strong here, and the visuals are even stronger. Like the separate stories that work in unison, the contrast in artistic styles begins to bleed together in a palette of blood-soaked rhythm. Unlike the standard PUNISHER blood and guts fare, which I’ve always found to be pornographic in its depiction, there’s an underlying elegance to the brush in this book, and it sweeps across each page like a pendulum. Mood, atmosphere, tone …it’s all appropriately gratuitous but never presented out of context. Could the gore have benefited from some restraint? Perhaps, but I think it’s messy by design, causing the panels to appear disjointed and jerked out of place, almost like a puzzle that gets dumped out of its box and onto a table. Personally, I didn’t care for the pencils of Ken Lashley, but because his art was so jarring and out of place, it fit right in with the nightmare theme, in a classic WTF moment.
FRANK CASTLE: PUNISHER MAX #75 left me with an uneasy feeling after reading it. It might seem unusual to praise a book that makes you feel down, but the ability to evoke any kind of emotional response is a testament to the effort the talented writers and artists put forth to deliver a book that advertises itself as a milestone. It is a milestone. Not because it’s issue #75 – because it took the same story it’s been telling for the past thirty years and managed to make it as fresh as the day it happened. Buy this book and find a quiet spot to kick back and read it. You may finally get a chance to understand what it means to be Frank Castle for a day.
Final Word: If you had to find a way to put a nightmare into print, this is as probably as close as you’ll ever get. Cathartic mise-en-scene at its most horrific – and its most effective.
Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at here. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.


Writers: Matthew Sturges and Bill Willingham Pencils: Russ Braun Publisher: DC Vertigo Reviewer: Jinxo

JACK OF FABLES has turned into one wacky three ring circus. And that's a good thing. For those of you late to the game, any myth, fable or fairy tale involving a Jack? All the same guy. Jack is the swaggering handsome Han Solo of the story book crowd. Well...until recently. Ring one of the circus brings us Jack basically devolving into Daffy Duck. You know the cartoon where Daffy gets in a fight with the animator who proceeds to torture Daffy with all sorts of indignities? Jack is having that fight with the artist drawing his book (Russ Braun, you cruel bastard!). Suddenly Jack finds himself changed from handsome bad boy to a fatboy with a receding hairline and an overbite. And you remember when Daffy would get his hands on some treasure how he'd grab it shouting, "Mine mine mine!!! I'm rich! I'm rich! I'm fabulously wealthy!" Well, Jack has bad luck with keeping hold of any treasure he finds and now... he's getting a little Daffy about his treasure. But Jack's pain is our pleasure. Sorry, Jack.
In ring two...turns out that Jack has an illegitimate son he never knew about - also named Jack - who has recently decided to become a champion. Only he's more chump than champ. He's all good intention and no experience. Fun and funny, Jack Junior's quest gives us the meat of the story with Senior Fat Jack saddled with comic relief (no, seriously, put a saddle on him. No indignity should be spared.).
And finally, Jack of Fables would not be complete without Babe The Blue Ox. Classically, Babe is a GIANT ox. But over the course of the book Babe has been shrunk to a mini-ox. Babe is regularly given a page to himself where we see into his inner fantasy life, into his dreams of his other personas. You know how Snoopy would dream of being a flying ace or a vulture, etc? Babe is like that on acid and it's awesome. Used to be Babe was part of the book's "gang". But now he's just off on his own somewhere. Turns out we don't care if he's hanging with Jack as long as we still get to check in with him and learn what insane person he imagines himself. Undercover chiropractor? Rogue philatelist? It's all good, Babe.
If you're looking for some misguided adventure by some humiliated heroes, a little ox, and a damn good time then Jack, Jack, and Babe are your men...and ox...err...damn, so close to something quotable!


Writer: Matt Fraction Artist: Greg Land Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

ALL HAIL MAGNETO, RULER OF UTOPIA!!!! I kid, I kid. But, based on the closing pages of 515 and ole’ Erik’s berserker face on the cover of this issue it’s a logical if expected conclusion. But as we all know, the expected would be way too easy for the Marvel wunderkind Fraction. Not every choice Fraction has made with the direction of the X-men has been popular, but it would be damn hard to argue he treads on common ground.
Yes, there’s been a hell of a lot change in this book, but let’s be perfectly honest, it was needed. After forty years of living on Graymalkin Lane in a building shaped like a gigantic cross-hair, I’m sorry X, it always perplexed me as to why the merry band of mutants rebuilt after past decimations. Really, it’s the same thing as the morons that keep rebuilding on beach front property. Aside from it being simply a logical choice, with the firm commitment not to resurrect Jean Grey (I know lil’ red headed Hope Summers is out there, but let me dream for the time being) and Scott Summers’ budding romance with a past rival, I was fully on board for a change of home base. A complete reinvention if you will. Sadly all that really changed during the time in San Francisco was the scenery. The X-Men stories never thrive in comfort, and San Francisco was slowly turning into being simply Westchester West. All they needed was a softball game by the Golden Gate Bridge to complete the cheery picture.
With Nation X, though, Fraction is not only changing latitudes, but to borrow a phrase, he is changing attitudes as well. This metamorphosis started with Summers and Xavier, who are no longer teacher and student — hell, at this point one would be hard pressed to even call them friends — I think of them now as rivals who exercise great civility. Now, Magneto is turning another cheek. Don’t get me wrong, all of the pomposity is still there, but it’s now balanced by humility and reverence.
Yes, Magneto comes to Utopia heart in hand, or I should say “psychic deterrent helmet” in hand, to laud Scott Summers and the island nation he now governs. Is it a ruse? With enough time I’ll say most certainly. For the near term though, I think Fraction is playing a different card. This is a different Magneto than the wolf in sheep’s clothing that guided the New Mutants; this is not a Magneto looking to be in charge, but rather become part of the flock. In every precious second of this encounter you could see a man that has been beaten by time and his fruitless pursuit to reignite the X-Gene. Every beat of this encounter bled palpable danger and was simply perfect.
With the perceived danger out of the way the real threat to Nation X still exists with the mysterious Lobe and his cohorts. Intent on something…perhaps conquest of this island, they send in their captor Scalphunter on a suicide flyby of Utopia packed with what I can only describe as four legged velociraptors on board.
Taking a page from the clean storytelling (if not artwork) of ASTONISHING X-MEN (which is now woefully out of continuity), this back to basics approach of focusing on a singular X-Team is exactly what Marvel needed after the endless tangential storylines of the past few years. One team, one island, and one damn fantastic book.
When Optimous Douche isn’t reading comics and misspelling the names of 80’s icons, he “transforms” into a corporate communications guru. "What if the whole world had superpowers? Find out in the pages of Optimous’ original book AVERAGE JOE. Read the first full issue on Optimous’ New Blog and see original sketches by fellow @$$hole Bottleimp. If you are a publisher or can help these guys get AVERAGE JOE up, up, and on the shelves in any way, drop Optimous a line."


Writer: Chris Yost Art: Ramon Bachs Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Ambush Bug

I've been a fan of this series from the get go, but I understand why folks have been leery of this book. Mistakes were made in the way the plot of this book was doled out in the early issues. In my initial review of this series, I said that these kinks would probably work themselves out in the coming months, and for the most part they did. But a lot of people aren't as patient as I am, so for those of you who were annoyed by the way this story of Tim Drake's trip down a darker path began, it may be a good time to give this book a second look.
Why Tim had so much faith that Batman was alive when everyone else thought he was dead was one of the big beefs fans had with this series from the get-go. It was extremely vague in the first issue why Tim was the only one who couldn't take Batman's death at face value. Yost took his time revealing what I had suspected from the beginning. Some may call out fans for being impatient, and I'm not above doing it too. But in this case, the impatient fans had a point. If you're going to hinge an entire series on a belief one character has, you better be damn sure that the belief is well displayed right up front, or you're likely to chap some asses. Now that Yost finally doled out the info as to why Tim so firmly believes he can still save Bruce, it all makes much more sense, but that key scene ***SPOILER*** when Tim finds the symbol of the bat scrawled on the cave wall--the very same bat symbol Bruce scrawls on the wall at the end of FINAL CRISIS ***END SPOILER*** needed to be seen in issue one of this series. A bombshell like that would've been the hook to keep readers on the line and not putting it in the first issue was a missed opportunity of the highest order.
But that milk's been spilled.
Another qualm folks have had with this series is that Tim isn't acting like the Tim folks grew up with. To that, I have to disagree. Sure, you can be pissed that Tim's been put through the emotional wringer and that editorial has been treating him as if he were a member of the JLI for some reason, but the darker, more driven, more Bruce-like Tim that we've seen mincing about in RED ROBIN feels like a natural extension of a character that's been getting darker since IDENTITY CRISIS through Geoff Johns' future-spanning TEEN TITANS series, and with Fabs Nicieza's final issues of the last ROBIN series. Why would he don the tights of a rogue like Jason Todd's Red Robin? Well, Tim's a teen, you know. He's a teen who not only has suffered major loss, but also has been spurned by one of his closest friends when Dick chose Damian to become the next Robin. Tim's pissed and he realizes that he may have to do some things he's not proud of, so instead of sullying the Robin costume, he decides to pick up one that is already sullied. So maybe it's a bit irrational that Tim decides to keep this proof of Bruce's survival to himself, but then again, angry teens do irrational things from time to time.
The latest issue of RED ROBIN makes me feel like the book is finally getting its sea legs and is ready to rock and roll. Although occasionally, Yost chooses to scattershot the timeline of the story (which is one of the book's more distracting qualities), he has peppered in some damn cool moments and some elements that you can't help but geek out over. This issue opens with Tim waking up in a Lazarus Pit. Immediately he assumes the worst and believes he's been resurrected and, like most Larazrus Pit-ians, will go insane from his immersion into the immortality-inducing pool. So Tim starts going off and kicking ninja @$$ until one ninja reveals to Tim that he wasn't immersed in the pit. To this, Tim responds, "Now, that's just embarrassing." Great scene and one proving that even though Tim's life is a bit darker these days, there's still room for some humor.
On top of cool scenes like that one, Tim's got a new love interest in Tam Fox, Lucius Fox's daughter. I love this development. The two are just meeting in this issue, but Yost's attention to her character and how she and Tim interact signals to me that something is brewing there. But Tim's girl troubles don't end there. There's a mute psycho chick merc named Pru that may prove to be a femme fatale for Tim as well.
This issue ends with a hint of what's to come as Tim tries to take down Ra's Al Ghul's organization from within. A Herculean task, yes, but one I'm willing to hang around and see, most definitely. RED ROBIN has its faults (scattered timeline storytelling, rocky start), but there's something damn cool about it and for the last couple of issues it's one of the first comics I read when I get home from the store. With the possibility of Tim tangling with Damian's mom and grandpa as well as possibly some time trekking to find Bruce (Booster crossover anyone?), this series looks to be full of surprises. So despite its faults, RED ROBIN is turning out to be a fine read.


Writers: Chris Claremont, Steve Scott and Peter Vale Pencils: Steve Scott Inkers: Al Vey and Gary Martin Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Jinxo

I get the impression a lot of people are writing this book off. And I get that. The main complaint seems to be the fact that this book isn't even in continuity. It doesn't even really count. With a jillion X-books on the market that DO count, why bother? Plus Claremont is old school. He's not one of the new cutting edge writers.
The thing is, I like this book. I don't loooove it. It isn't the first book I grab to read when I pick up my books, but I do enjoy it. And I actually like it for some of the very same reasons others dismiss it.
It doesn't count! Not in continuity. Cool. I don't have to worry about big crossover events coming in requiring me to also read tons of other titles I don't normally read. And I don't have to worry about the book's plot getting derailed to accommodate some company event. And since it is out of continuity, doesn't count, that means Claremont actually has free reign to just do what the hell he wants to. No worries that he can't use Nightcrawler or Kitty Pryde because they're promised to the EXCALIBUR book. He can use who he wants. Can't kill this character or turn that one into a villain because they are valuable Marvel properties that can't be messed with too much? Screw it! Doesn't count! He can go nuts and mess with the status quo. Whether it counts or not, seeing Wolverine scragged, Storm going crazy evil, sentencing all mutants to early deaths or Kitty getting a claw is all good fun for me.
And Claremont's writing is of a different style but for the most part I enjoy the throwback style. In particular I like the "cut to the chase" cheats of the older comics. The writer wants to move ahead with the main plot but some side development comes into play that could slow things up. What to do? Some fast and dirty expository dialogue that shuts it down. Can't really call it "good" writing, I guess, but it used to happen all the time and often it's just such a pure balls move I enjoy it. Now sometimes it can go too far... which can be amusing too. Like a few issues back when Sabretooth was going to join the X-Men to hunt down Wolverine's killer. Cyclops and Sabretooth get into it. Sabretooth wants to kill Wolverine's killer. Scott says NO. The war of words came down to something like...
"You play by OUR rules, Sabretooth!" "And if I don't?!?" "Uhhh..." "Strong argument...I agree. Not killing sounds cool. Impressive, Cyclops. I am in."
What???? But it was so mad that it actually entertained me. And, thankfully, the book doesn't normally stretch things that far.
I'm also a bit thrown by Nick Fury hanging out with the X-Men constantly. I keep waiting for Xavier to go, "Well, it has been nice seeing you've been here a month and, God knows we love having you visit but...don't you have somewhere else you need to be?" Luckily Nick Fury is always badass so it's hard to complain about too much Nick Fury. I'm just happy it's not the crazy-spandexed and steroided Fury from the final issues of Claremont's last run. That was not good.
It's imperfect and it doesn't "count". But it's got a fun swagger to it. It doesn't take itself too seriously. And it's doing its own thing without having to worry about crushing cross-book continuity. For me it's a nice, light break from the rest of the Marvel U.


By Hiroki Endo Released by Dark Horse Manga Reviewer: Scott Green

With the title resting high on my list of recommended manga, I've been impressed by EDEN throughout. As such, I don't feel that there has been sufficient down time to warrant volume twelve being called a reward for patience. That said, the breathtaking sci-fi action manga has definitely begun to bundle elements together and pour some accelerant on the blaze.
The manga commenced with an adolescent boy, an adolescent girl and a dying scientist on an isolated island known as Eden. As a pandemic of Closure Virus sweeps the globe, leaving behind calcified husks, this privileged few discuss metaphysics. Then a helicopter arrives, returning them to the world from which they had been protected... The better part of a generation passes, and the manga shifts its view to Elijah Ballard, the son of that boy and girl. With drug cartels operating as a front in the war between the new super-national UN replacement The Propater Federation and unified resistance groups, the manga's post-prologue early goings projects the brutality of war onto a local, personal scope. As Elijah tags along with anti-Propater mercenaries of Nomad, sci-fi elements like androids and bio-engineered soldiers are woven in with more current concerns such as landmines, hostage taking, conscription and ethnic cleansing. After shifting focus to cover some of Elijah's comrades in arms, when the manga returns, it rearranges its framework from sci-fi military/asymmetric warfare to straight urban crime saga. In that coming of age in a landscape of prostitutes and drug dealers, the manga drifted so far from the original island Eden that it bewildered some of its readers. It then transformed again, returning to geo-politics, such as the Chinese Uyghur conflict, and to the Closure Virus.
12 volumes in, EDEN is synthesizing all of this in earnest... the virus, the sci-fi elements, the crime, the global politics, the motivations behind the Ballard family's actions...
Beyond all of those disparate pieces, it was never apparent whether Eden's overtures towards Gnosticism were going to develop into anything substantial. Now they are...
A pair of semi-divine artificial intelligences walk the earth. The female Letheia, with a GHOST IN THE SHELL-like construction of human brain in cyborg body, accompanies Elijah. Maya, a consciousness in a male, human body, accompanies Elijah's sister Mana... occasionally visiting her mind in the guise of a serpent.
So, a virus is releasing humans from their physical shells, turning cities into unified, hardened masses. At the same time, Maya and Letheia manifest themselves as possibly divinely inspired technologies. During a meeting between Maya and a team of scientists and military representatives, one of the soldiers matter of factly states that he'd kill Maya if it would stop the virus. Maya responds by smiling and mentioning that he'd just find a new body into which he'd implant his consciousness. When Maya leaves, one of the scientists remarks "Christ was murdered by human hands...but maybe god's learned a thing or two now..."
A significant part of this coalescence is due to the development of the manga's protagonist. EDEN calls up the notion that while children can demonstrate promise and unashamedly mouth idealism, maturation and effecting change involves becoming compromised. Elijah's father went from adolescent philosopher to kingpin in the manga's initial time jump. The son's story is proving to be no Luke Skywalker, redeeming a father gone astray with adherence to better angels. Instead, no longer simply along for the ride, Elijah is now party to the manga's nasty business.
Hiroki Endo has constructed a geek's dream battlefield for Elijah, yet, Endo's made it traumatizing rather than freeing or macho. This is the next generation of Masamune Shirow's cyborg, information age warfare, with pieces of GOODFELLAS, CITY OF GOD and THE KILLING FIELDS woven in. Endo is fully detailed an explicit in his rendering of the players, action and consequences. In volume 12, Elijah is embroiled in a run and gun battle in which Letheia takes off her skirt, and engages in some high caliber bullet-ballet, culminating in a show down of her kung fu versus the limb snapping jujutsu of cyborg opposite number Akinetos. As cool as this sounds and as cool as it looks, Endo allows little to exalt in the slick spectacle. It's never more than a few panels without the horrific reminder of men with faces torn apart and organs torn open as a consequence of that action. In a similar sense, Elijah is narrowly escaping bombs dropped from high altitudes and tracking down the source of stroke causing nanomachines. Yet, the approach taken to dealing with these concerns often falls back on stone age tactics. Elijah is still working with people who gather information by stringing up men by their arms and battering the victim's legs with sticks until what's left of their joints are "swollen up like soccer balls." Endo is apparently well aware that he has Elijah marching into action that could evoke responses like "damn, that's cool..." "that's cold..." "that's badass..." which is at the same time damnable business that Elijah is damnably involved with.
With Elijah given adult agency, EDEN has apparently gotten down to business now that it's two thirds of the way into its run. While this will please some, especially those who weren't enamored by the street crime business, I'm not convinced that EDEN was broken. Nor am I convinced that Eden is fixed. Instead, it's a fairly mature, exceptionally smart, spectacularly violent example of what's right about manga, and what can go wrong with it.
Most manga, and nearly all of what's released in North America is originally serialized in anthologies. Most of it is from single creators, with a notable minority from writer/artist pairings. While a staff of assistants might aid that process, it's the inspiration of that person or pair, without some extensive committee, mediated by an editor and mediated by the manga's popularity.
Manga is a nimble medium and a nimble format. There's the visual flexibility. In EDEN that allows Endo to maintain realism of his sci-fi inventions function, as bombs drop from the sky, and characters wander through memories. Beyond this platform for committing any scenario into a graphic representation, limited only by imagination and skill, manga has a tradition of amalgamating diverse concepts and tones. Like many qualities of manga, Osamu Tezuka offers the great, primal example. From ASTRO BOY to BLACK JACK to PHOENIX, nothing was boxed into a simple, restrictive definition. If Tezuka was inspired to explore religion or vent on a topic like traditional versus scientific medicine, he'd construct a story around it, regardless of if it was being published in a boy's weekly manga anthology. "Manga can be anything" sounds trite, but looking at the expansive range of inspirations that Tezuka drew into a work like BLACK JACK and looking at the genres and concepts that Endo synthesizes in EDEN, and that trite statement resonates. From oil pipelines to god AIs to pandemic control, Eden spreads itself wide without spreading itself thin.
There's a danger in overselling EDEN that has resulted in some downplaying of the manga. At issue, it has been working ideas that are difficult to develop in manga, both due to the nature of the medium and the framework.
Manga has to distill exposition into short conversations. Stringing together more than two sentences in a statement is tough on the reader and tough on the graphic design of the page. Debates and conversations require similar abridgement. The manga does not read like Endo was straining to squeeze large ideas into the terse format, but he does seem limited to provoking rather than developing. Few chapters lack an idea that couldn't be further fleshed out. There is some benefit to leaving reader to ponder implications. Yet, the manga does not get around to shaping many theses, and it does seem like gathering the evidence and shaping the argument for a thorough statement is a challenge for the format.
Beyond these characteristics of the medium, I've never been sure how much of EDEN I should attribute to its need to maintain a audience from one chapter to the next. Inarguably, sex and violence play a substantive role in the themes of EDEN. It's likewise with the showy tech. Yet, I've never been sure of how much is done for effect. How much of the fightin' and fuckin' genuinely contributes to EDEN versus how much is there to command the attention of a reader? To what extent is the quotient affected by EDEN's serial origins?
There's an amount of freedom that EDEN gains from being manga, and there's an amount of freedom that it loses. If it were a novel, it could flesh out its debates and dialog. It could modulate its pacing and take a slower route for longer stretches rather than constantly sizzling. Yet, it wouldn't be EDEN: IT'S AN ENDLESS WORLD in any other medium. The evocativeness of the manga's graphic scenes boosts its considerable potency. These are interesting concerns for a work of manga to raise, owing to laudable ambition.
Scott Green has been writing for AICN ANIME for over eight years. If you like what you see here and love anime & manga, be sure to check out his latest AICN ANIME column every week on AICN.

Hey all,
Ambush Bug here. Do yourself a favor and check out this week’s indie offerings. All the cool kids are doing it.


I found this chunky paperback meant for kids to be a perfect distraction from all of the seriousness in comics today. Michael Townsend's character Kit is your typical anamorphic bear kid who gets into trouble with his annoying sisters and best friend when he has to move from the farm to the suburbs. This is innocent fun--a great read for kids and one with enough heft and wit to it that it would sustain adult attention as well. Some of the scenes are downright funny (one where Kit is asked to draw a picture of his annoying sisters and the end result painting depicting them in a less than flattering light induced quite a few chuckles from this Bug). Many spandex/’splosion readers may scoff, but if you want to embrace the inner child and just have fun, you should give KIT FEENY: ON THE MOVE a peek.


This was a very impressive debut from Mike Weber, Loran Skinkis & G. Morgan; one of those genre bending, somewhat self-referential comedy adventures in the same vein as THE PRINCESS BRIDE, except with a bit more bite to it. The story follows a weary traveller who wakes up in a bizarre fantasy that takes place in, you guessed it, a field at the edge of a woods. Although the symbolism is somewhat thick with the field representing some kind of purgatory and the woods some kind of hell, the story moves fast and loose and as soon as the reader gets his footing in the story, the creators pull the rug out from under you and flip the script. Literally. With one of the characters tossing a script to our lead and asking him if he's interested in reading it. So within this story, another story unfolds with commentary provided by the first set of characters. A bit metatextual, yes, but a lot of fun. This book exudes that "elevator moment" all script writers dream of where an important person happens along, and you're trapped with them for a short time, and you take that chance to see if they want to take a chance on your winning idea. Although most of the time that elevator moment ends in heartbreak, this story doesn't. At least not yet. Though this is Book One of this series, it already has my interest. Occasionally, the limited range of panel sizes make for a less exciting read, but I get what the creators are going for with this wide-screen approach. All in all, this is a very promising start and a concept that has loads of potential.

JOBNIK! #7 Real Gone Girl Studios

One of the coolest things about doing this indie column is that it shows how expansive this comic book medium really is. These days, if you look for just about anything, you're bound to find the subject written about in comic book form. The medium lends itself to artistic and personal expression and that's what JOBNIK! is all about. I picked this book up at SDCC this year, but didn't get to read it until this week. Now that I read it, I wish I would have gotten to it much sooner. The story looks to be somewhat of an autobiography about a young Jewish American girl who enlists in the Israeli Army. This series seems to follow her experiences while taking this grand adventure into an all too real world. In this issue Miriam, the Jewish American girl, goes about the mundane routine of army life, noticing the differences in the way male and female soldiers are treated and falling in love with anyone who happens to cross her path. I couldn't get over how innocent and purely hopeful this story was set in the backdrop of a war-torn country where news reports narrate events that seem like they are taking place a million miles away given the drama that is unfolding in the scene. Writer/artist Miriam Libiki does a wonderful job of depicting the wide-eyed innocence of youth set against a harsh backdrop. Her black and white imagery is amazing as well, especially her drawings of people which are reminiscent of artist Rick Mays' work, if anyone remembers him from the old NOMAD and ARSENAL books. A comic like JOBNIK! is the reason I put together this Indie Jones column every week: to offer a glimpse into a world I would never have known existed if not for Miriam Libiki's strong independent voice.

SECRET SIX #14 DC Comics

Blood. Betrayal. Ragdoll bludgeoning people with a pipe wrench. It must be the end of another arc of SECRET SIX, and it’s still holding up damn well over a year after Gail Simone starting bringing us the adventures of these misfits ongoingly. Everything was spot on in this issue: the violence, the character moments, the art, the gallows humor, and it sets a nice little change in the status quo when Bane announces himself as de facto leader as Scandal struggles to get her act together. Sure, there are a lot of DCU books out there playing for “bigger” stakes (whatever that even means when it comes to mainstream comics) but month in and month out I always feel SECRET SIX gives me the most enjoyment when held next to its DCU brethren. Hopefully Gail can keep this book feeling fresh with just the littlest of tweaks she’s always making, whether it come from bringing new members into the roster, or playing some tension internally between the current build and their ever changing attitudes, but so far I haven’t been disappointed in this book yet. - Humphrey Lee


I’m not saying that I want to see a change in tone over in THOR. That comic is a damn fine read, but it’s great to see a lighter side to Thor here in HERC’s book. Pak and van Lente once again deliver Marvel goods the way no other writers can in this issue as Thor dons Herc’s costume and challenges Herc (who is wearing Thor’s costume) to a battle royale. The tone is light and the sound modifiers are as hilarious as they come (SUKKAPUNCH! indeed). It’s just great seeing Thor crack a smile and be a bit jovial here as he acknowledges Herc’s strength and uniqueness in the Marvel U. Anyone wondering what makes this book and the character of Marvel’s Hercules so unique from all of the rest should take a gander at this issue. Through all of the fisticuffs and chuckles, there’s a great character and story in there. - Ambush Bug


So, how is BATMAN: BLACKEST NIGHT different from the OTHER BLACKEST NIGHT books? this book the heroes are tormented by dead Batman characters. So, totally different and unique from all the other books. Truly, I want to love everything BLACKEST NIGHT, but damn, the key to this event should be variations on a theme and instead the books are tending to seem a bit similar. To its credit Batman does find some angles to work, with characters like Deadman putting a bit of a kink in the Black Lanterns’ plans (Doesn't "Black Lantern" sound like a black 70s hero that just never was?). But I have to say, with Batman's skull getting stolen in the main “Night” books it seems like a Batman book should play a real role in this event. But with this issue wrapping the series up... not so much. SPOILER ALERT. With Dick Grayson as Batman and two other Robins helping him out, when I saw how this book ended I actually flashed to MONTY PYTHON & THE HOLY GRAIL: The Robins ran away. Bravely ran away, away! When danger reared its ugly head, They bravely turned their tails and fled. Brave, brave, brave Robins… When Batman gets his skull back and less dead, he's going to be so disappointed. And that may be the oddest sentence I have ever written. - Jinxo


Sadly, after a bit of raised anticipation for this series after finding out about it – I loves me some Phil Hester I does – I find myself feeling a little cold after this debut issue. Now, given, it’s a first issue and this is supposed to be the setup, which we get en force and which I think is what kind of drug this down a bit. There are also rare occurrences of the humor we usually get from Hester when he’s exchanging his pencils for a keyboard, which is another part that, I think, let me down a little as well. Now, there was some great working of the heaven and hell lore here, and some fantastic action sequences that definitely lived up to THE ANCHOR’s billing as “God’s Leg Breaker”, so that’s something positive to build off of. I just think maybe a little less heavy-handedness is called for, or at least a better pacing out of our protagonist’s background, and a couple more chuckles besides a couple sight gags are in order to bring levity to a book whose ad solicits had it compared to THE GOON. Not that I want a carbon copy of what that title does or anything, nor do I think anyone could capture something so unique as it, but a balance of humor, drama, and fisticuffs like that title has could go a long way here. And obviously it’s early, and Hester is a hell of a writer when you find him in that role; this is just a classic case of high expectations meeting mixed results. Still looking forward to what the next issue has in store, if only to alleviate any apprehensions that may have arose with this first outing. - Humphrey Lee

R.E.B.E.L.S. #9 DC Comics

Don’t get me wrong. I love it that Captain Comet and Adam Strange have joined the cast of this book. And I’m sure Tony Bedard is going to use them in ways as cool as he’s used the rest of his expansive cast, but the way Comet and Strange were inducted into the team and the group chuckle at the end of this book seemed extremely off base given the desperate measures at play in this book in recent issues. The art by Claude St. Aubin was definitely pretty sweet in this issue (though St. Aubin seemed more interested in making the money shots just right and less concerned about the in betweens—as soon as this guy gives the same amount of attention to every panel, he’s going to be a name to remember). And like I said, the excitement I’m feeling just thinking of having Vril Dox, the Omega Men, Adam Strange, and Captain Comet all in the same comic is worth a clunky issue here and there. Next issue is the “Blackest Night” crossover. Will the book rise or fall due to a case of crossover-it is? Can’t wait to find out. - Ambush Bug


Did they really just do that cover? This series centers on the character of Illyria, who is now a hot chick but was once a giant Cthulhu-y god/monster. On the cover they go with a body profile shot of "hot chick" Illyria looking...uhhh...orgasmic. Then they have a panel cutting across the cover at her crotch level that shows a closeup of monster Illyria's "face". Only, if you compare it to the shots of monster Illyria's face inside, it's clear that for the cover pic, Illyria's monster face has been reworked so that it looks more like, ahem, a monstery va-jay-jay. Wow. That is just wrong. I'm laughing but, really, that is some angry looking lady parts. As to the story inside, it's solid, weird Angel gang fun. Human Illyria and Gunn are facing off against Illyria's "pet" from back when...her face could have a not-so-fresh feeling. Good action. Some good flashbacks as well, especially for Illyria. With Illyria looking so hot it's easy to forget what a monster - inside and out - she was and may still be. This book provides a disturbing reminder. Solid reading for Angel fans. But...the cover? Stop it. You may have some issues you need to work out. - Jinxo


Over the years of my comic reading “career” I’ve come to the realization that I fucking love watching a Mike Carey series play out. Even CROSSING MIDNIGHT, doomed as it was, had its moments where you could not help but be enveloped by the world he was weaving. THE UNWRITTEN is definitely feeding off of the ingenuity that fueled that series – though on a much higher level than it on all accounts – and his seminal classic LUCIFER – though not quite on that level…yet. Six issues in and really I think the only complaint I may have is that I would really like to know more about the other players besides Tom Taylor, like Lizzie Hexam or the insidious killer from two issues ago. I like the way Tom’s story and the blending of it from the real world to its own built in fictional one are playing out, I just would like to get a better grip on what is going on beyond him--a longer look behind the curtain besides the peaks we have only had so far. But it is only issue six, and on the whole this book has already jumped over the vast majority of my hefty monthly purchases, I am so enthralled with everything it does. This is everything I love about Mike Carey and Peter Gross and the Vertigo Line. It’s everything I love about comics, period. - Humphrey Lee

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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  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Galactica 1980

    by optimous_douche

    Greatest tailspin from issue 1 to 2 ever.<p> This not only didn't make sense from a chronological stand-point, but talks you to death.<p> "All of our missle silos have been nuked." Wow, thanks for telling me, now how about showing me since this is a comic and all.<p> For as much as Dynamite charges for books, I would think they could afford to draw a nuke dropping rather than have someone explain it to me.<p> Personally, I'm finished with this one.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:58 a.m. CST

    yeah bitches first

    by batteredchappedpussy

    uh huh.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 9:59 a.m. CST


    by batteredchappedpussy

    bcp is second.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    Nice Uncanny review. I'm going to check the book out.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:04 a.m. CST

    Web is just Spider-Man Extra in a New Package

    by cookylamoo

    and it won't sell either. It's like that movie about Mr. Hyde's housekeeper. Why?

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:05 a.m. CST


    by optimous_douche

    Thx man, do yourself a favor and pick up 515 as well.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:13 a.m. CST

    No Deadpool love?

    by Series7

    Or is everyone suffering from Deadpool overkill?

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Am I the only one reading Legacy?

    by Series7

    Is that the X-Men that no one reads? I think its with continuity right now? Im a couple issue behind.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Bailed On Legacy

    by optimous_douche

    It was a hard choice too, I had a complete run right up until they made it Legacy.<p> I was gone during the introduction of Wolverine's son storyline, made little sense (IMHO) and had little to no consequence or corelation to what was happening everywhere else.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Red Robin

    by Mr.FTW

    This series just hasn't done it for me and I think it's a combination of things. The shift in Tim's personality, the use of the Kingdom Come costume and trying to play it off as Jason Todd's costume, the after the fact explination and motivation, the way Tim's character has been treated and the way he has treated others. None of it has really worked for me. It doesn't help that in Adventure Comics Johns was able to handle that character and and what has been going on with him better in just a few pages than 5 issues of Red Robin has. Johns was able to get to the heart of the matter on one page between Conner and Tim sitting on a rock. Dick may be the original Robin and will always be the go to for new media but Tim is the Robing I grew up with for the last 20 years, I'd like to see the character handled better than what he has lately and most recently in Red Robin.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Secret Warriors

    by Joenathan

    Anyone else reading this. I'm loving it. The List was okay, kind of skimpy toward the end, but the regular series is a blast. Seriously, check it out.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 11:24 a.m. CST

    Another month....

    by DrMorbius

    and still no Captain America White.<P>FUCK YOU MARVEL<P>Not another penny.<P>FUCK you marvel<P>Fuck YOU marvel<P>Fuck you MARVEL, PIECE OF SHIT

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Is it really so hard to compliment Claremont?

    by AnakinsDiapers

    Is it really? That review of X-Men Forever was just riddled with backhanded compliments. Did you like the book? Yes? Then just say so without all the "i'm embarrassed to say this" terminology.<p> At this point i think Claremont would get batter reviews if he wrote under a pen name. It's a pavlovian response to bash the man.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 11:44 a.m. CST

    Amazing Spider-Man was fucking classic for the first three years

    by loodabagel

    <p>Of JMS's run. And almost every issue of PP: Spider-Man and Spectacular Spider-Man Paul Jenkins did were as good, if not, often better then the stuff in Amazing at the time. You know it, I know it. C'mon Bug.</p> <p>Oh yeah, and Bendis's Daredevil run was better than Brubaker's (Not that Brubaker's wasn't great.) Haven't had a chance to get ahold of the most recent Andy Diggle penned-issues yet, but I'm looking forward to when the opportunity presents itself.</b>

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Hey Bug?

    by Thalya

    Spoil-er..Batgirl is doing the art for Spider-Man? DC really doesn't want her exclusive, huh?

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Deadpool is The 'New' Wolverine....

    by Psynapse


  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Thank goodness for Cheap Shots

    by Homer Sexual

    Because I don't read any of the books reviewed. I dropped Uncanny with Utopia, cause it sucked. I leafed through the latest issue, but it didn't grab me, so it's gone. X Force, long gone. So Wolverine Origins and New Mutants have become my only X-books, with X-Factor hanging on by a thread. <p> Hercules and Secret Six were both awesome, indeed. Secret Six had way too many people surviving obviousl kills, and I for one have really had enough of Bane. Hercules continues to rock the hizzouse!!!! <p> I think the whole direction of Robin was a major error. I liked Tim Drake in Young Justice and Teen Titans. I would have tried the new book, but enough "dark" Bat characters (leave that to JAson Todd, a character I actually love). A no-fun Tim in an ugly-ass costume does not get my money.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:09 p.m. CST

    I WISH Web of Spider-man was like Extra!

    by SifoDyasJr.

    I really enjoyed the few ASM:Extra! books because they did actually tie into the continuity, and for the most part, were cool little stories that enhanced the main book. Web of just seems to be a dumping ground for random anthology stories. Didn't enjoy it at all.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:10 p.m. CST

    I've never liked Deadpool

    by Joenathan

    Much like Cable, the stink of Liefeld doesn't come off easy. Deadpool is stupid. I hope that movie never gets made.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Looks like DrMorbius has some anger issues.

    by rev_skarekroe

    DC's never bothered to publish the final issue of the last Ambush Bug mini, but you don't see vowing a boycott. It's just comics.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:30 p.m. CST

    Stink of Liefeld

    by steverodgers

    One time on date, I was eating dinner and the girl said, "Hey, what's that smell?" Then she looked at me and I just got up and said, "Sorry I bought a couple of issues of X-Force..." Then I hung my head and left.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Read the first two issues of Red Robin...

    by loodabagel

    Lazy characterization is what immediately springs to mind. Then boring art.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:35 p.m. CST

    Homer Come Back

    by optimous_douche

    I was not a fan of Utopia either, but 515 and 516 were great.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Man, I haven't touched an X-Men comic since the end of Astonishi

    by loodabagel

    Too much time travel. Too much Cable. Too many clones or returns from the grave or Wolverines or Marc Silvestri art.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Wolverine needs to die.

    by loodabagel

    And be replaced with The Orphan, or Dead Girl.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:50 p.m. CST

    *Slaps Homer Sexual*

    by Psynapse

    "hizzouse" Really?? *Slaps Homer again*

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Angel Review: "A Monstery Va-jay-jay"

    by ArcherNX01

    Isn't that redundant?

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 1:04 p.m. CST

    Secret Warriors

    by Bluejack

    The pacing was off for the first few issues. But now that we have some action I am enjoying the book. The art is solid as well. I like the characterization of fury and Ares' little twerp.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 1:06 p.m. CST


    by Bluejack

    Speaking of Ares, I'm getting pumped for his eventual turn on Norman. I would love to see some deeper strategy to his loyalty to Norman, perhaps a double agent or he turns when cap comes back as he wants to back the side of the greatest soldier the world has ever known...or somesuch. I tried to get the Ares Mini in trade but it's out of print.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Ilyria's vagina...

    by Zardoz

    You weren't the only one that thought that when you saw the crotch shot, um, I mean cover!

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 1:28 p.m. CST

    It's pretty blatant.

    by loodabagel

    Is this Angel cover some sort of weird abstinence campaign? I thought Joss Whedon was cooler than that.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Deadpool readers - The Stink of Liefeld...

    by Joenathan

    You're soaking in it!

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 1:34 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I disagree, especially when compared to what has happened since. Those first few issues were establishing issues. They were needed for later issues, in order to support the story and flesh out the characters. Besides, the art was fantastic.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 1:45 p.m. CST


    by Psynapse

    "Deadpool? You mean Liefeld's jacked up Deathstroke/Spider-Man?" (actual quote heard in Emerald City Comics here in Florida)

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Why Is Spider-Man funny and Deadpool Isn't?

    by cookylamoo

    I guess some comic characters just know how to tell them.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 2:21 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    Deadpool and Spider-Man are just two different types off humor. Deadpool has always been about breaking the 4th wall kind of humor. Personally I don't find either to be very funny. Deadpool's self awareness is a schtick that wears thin in large doses and Spider-Man's quip and remarks lost their charm for me a long time ago. I know I'm in the minority but I think all of the Spider-Man quips are distracting and hurt the character's believability.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 3:07 p.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    Deadpool hasn't "always" been about the 4th wall nonsense at all. That was a very, very limited bit of Kelly's run (maybe two or three jokes, max, over 33 issues) that was later expanded way too far starting around Nicieza. Now it's almost a staple. 4th wall humour is just way too easy, so it's disappointing to read it in every fucking issue of Deadpool.<p> Saw a Deadpool poster book came out this week. Surely we're at the tipping point for this Deadpool overexposure, but, then, he's also getting a *third* (?!!) monthly soon, so who the hell knows? Hopefully it bottoms out soon.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Humor in comics is hard to do...

    by loodabagel

    And I have never enjoyed an issue of Deadpool. His unfunny fourth-wall breaking, self referential shtick has been to death about twenty times now, but still people keep coming back for more of the same tired, lazy crap. He spends so much time making jokes, there's nowhere for any personality to come through. Not that he has any personality. Bugs Bunny has more depth. Deadpool's just a stinky leftover from the era of rap-metal, zuba pants and white guys with multi-colored dreadlocks. I bet he spells cool with a K.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Angel Va-Jay-Jays - you people are only noticing this NOW?

    by Thalya

    Post-After the Fall I wound up dropping Angel because the new artist had an distinct overfondness for lady crotch shots. Gah. Joss Whedon should be ashamed to put his name on the book, aside from the weak production standards and lackluster story. As it is, I really don't think I'll be picking up any Angel comic again (and I loved the show more than Buffy). *grumble grumble*

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 3:44 p.m. CST

    re: X-men Forever

    by nofate

    Two things that stand out. "...this book isn't even in continuity. It doesn't even really count" and "The thing is, I like this book. I don't loooove it."<br> <br> Let me put that in my own words, I liked watching reruns of Benny Hill for the chance to see some scantilly clad girls, then I discovered porn.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Galactica 1980 the comic?

    by lockesbrokenleg

    Must we have MORE shit on BSG's legacy?

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 4:31 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    The TB is dead today, how am I supposed to make through my workday afternoon with nothing to distract me from work.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 4:39 p.m. CST

    I know!

    by loodabagel

    On the day I picked to make my talkback-comeback too. I haven't posted anything here since forever ago, man.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 4:49 p.m. CST

    Final Crisis Aftermath

    by Homer Sexual

    Not much has been said here about the FC follow up books: Run, Escape, Dance and Ink. Has anyone been reading them? <p> I found Run to be top-notch, very interesting and somewhat (not completely) fresh take on a small-time crook trying to upgrade. <p> Escape was the least fulfilling, but had some original ideas. Maybe the whole sort of space-warpy genre just doesn;t work for me. <p> Dance started slow, but has now become a favorite. It's kind of like a DC rip off of X-Statix, and I loved X-Statix. <p> Finally, Ink. Ink is very popular with my friends who don't read many comics. It seems typical to me, but then casual comic friends like it the best.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 5:10 p.m. CST

    X-Men Forever

    by Jinxo

    I'm saying I LIKE the book. It's entertaining and fun it just isn't one I have to read right away. And with a lot of my comments I'm trying to speak to feelings I know a lot of people have towards the book. Like it not being in continuity. As I said, to me that's actually a plus in many ways. But for other people that's a reason to write the book off instantly. Similarly with the style. Not trying to hem and haw and not give Claremont full praise or anything. Some people though could write it off as being old school. It is but I like it. The only hedging I do is that sometimes the plot shortcutting can read a bit unintentionally funny. Which sorry is in its way good and bad.<br><br> As to Benny Hill and porn, hey, I have yet to see girls in porn running around in fast motion to comedy music. Well... except for that one...

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 5:13 p.m. CST

    Ooh. X-Statix.

    by loodabagel

    I might have to illegally download those issues. (If I really enjoy it, I'll buy the trade.) I saw the single issues at the store, but the covers all looked really hideous. And out of curiosity, did these have anything to do with Final Crisis, because I have no intention of reading that.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 5:23 p.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    What?!!! X-Statix covers were fucking great. That's a scientific fact right there. Goddamn Galileo knew that.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 5:34 p.m. CST


    by loodabagel

    I was talking about the Final Crisis tie-ins. How dare you accuse me of insulting Mike Allred covers!

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 6:21 p.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    Jesus Christ, glad we cleared that one up.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 7:44 p.m. CST

    Final Crisis Aftermath Confused Me

    by optimous_douche

    Aren't all DC titles the Final Crisis Aftermath?<p> I just didn't want to buy the same book twice...<p>

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 7:53 p.m. CST

    Benny Hill Porn ☼ Claremont

    by optimous_douche

    For Benny Hill porn just hit fast forward on any DVD and fart through a kazoo.<p> As for Claremont. I appreciate what he did, but it just doesn't work for me anymore.<p> It feels like I'm being spoon fed the story — frankly I would rather work for it.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:25 p.m. CST

    Too bad.

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    Not a single comic this week that's as good as Loeb's Hulk.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:47 p.m. CST


    by steverodgers

    What is that sun thing in the subject line?! That is even better then BOLD! That is some West Coast Avengers shit right there.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 8:47 p.m. CST

    Series 7 - X-Men Legacy

    by Mr_Sinister

    I'm reading that too. In fact, it's the only monthly X-Men I get, apart from Wolverine: Weapon X (Jason Aaron = excellent). The whole focus on Xavier was great, but not sure how it will go now that it has shifted to Rogue. I guess a lot of the younger students not appearing in New Mutants will be around, seeing as Rogue is now supposed to be a mentor figure to them. Mike Carey's writing always keeps things interesting and entertaining though.

  • Oct. 21, 2009, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Final Crisis Follow-ups

    by bottleimp

    I bought ESCAPE just 'cause I remembered Nemesis from waaaay back in his first appearance in one of the Batman titles. I initially enjoyed its "Prisoner"-esque weirdness, but the series kind of fizzled out at the end for me. I was hoping for a little more... trippiness? Bizarreness? Something less mundane, I guess.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 1:12 a.m. CST


    by krushjudgement

    X-Factor aside, X-Men Legacy is the best thing going right now for Marvel Mutants.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 4:35 a.m. CST

    I would definitely start buying x-men forever..

    by TheManWhoCan

    . IF Jim Lee had come back for the art. Not that the current artist isn’t good, the art looks great but it doesn’t FEEL the same. How cool would that be? Lee and Claremont bury the hatchet Pleeese!

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 6:32 a.m. CST

    Steve ♥'s my ☼

    by optimous_douche

    Alt codes are my friend and yours sir.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 6:34 a.m. CST


    by optimous_douche

    Perhaps I need to give Legacy another whirl. I picked up the this week's issue at my LCS and plopped it back down again becasue of the awful art. Is the story really that good again? What's going on over in it?

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 7:50 a.m. CST


    by steverodgers

    Well now your just showing off. Alt codes... there like the cosmic cube of the talkbacks.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Too Bad.

    by Psynapse

    Loeb's Hulk isn't any good.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 11:12 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    Nothing is better or more alluring than the mystery of BOLD!

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Too bad.

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    Psynapse drank the haterade.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 11:38 a.m. CST

    Red She-Hulk

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    I was thinking that she was the daughter of Rulk and Thundra from the future, but now after reading the preview pages for #16 at newsarama I think that it's probably Betty. <p> I doubt that Thundra has cigarettes in her future. Or radiators. I also don't think that her daddy would have been there disciplining her. Betty seems much more likely now. <p> Here's the preview, since I know that Psynapse can't wait to read it: <p>

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 11:40 a.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    Comic Book Resources, not Newsarama. <p> I must have been over-excited from getting to read a few pages early, since Hulk is one of the best comics out there. By one of the best writers out there. <p> Peace to y'all haters!

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Too bad, We_pray

    by Joenathan

    Loeb is just WAY too mediorce for anyone to want argue with you about him

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 3:06 p.m. CST

    And again!

    by Psynapse

    Joenathan and I are once more in agreement.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 3:57 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    While I think old mad_skillz might actually like Loeb's Hulk like he claims (he's way to knowledgeable not to) at this point he is just trollin the TB hoping for some reason to get a rise out of people about it.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Oh, I know

    by Joenathan

    That's what makes it sad. He keeps tossing bloody meat among the dogs and we barely even raise our snouts off our paws... ew... Loeb, no thanks.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 8:18 p.m. CST


    by steverodgers

    Agreed, the mystery of BOLD! is still the best. Some day...

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 8:47 p.m. CST

    get this strait

    by h8tersbeware

    deadpool is cool(only in 1 title at a time not 3)liefield is shit(joe kelly is the original man behind deadpool, in my opinion) x-men legacy is fucking awesome (mike carey dominates, empath sweet return)red robin just became super chronic in this last ish( but a slow start)blackest knight batman (it must be a joke, it's like a girl wrote this comic, and by girl i mean a adult male that writes like a 12 year old girl who loves twilight:the movie)

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 9:12 p.m. CST

    Too bad, Joenathan

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz


  • Oct. 22, 2009, 9:29 p.m. CST

    I'm dumb

    by h8tersbeware

    emplate not empath, p.s. Carey has wicked crazy skills with a pen. the unwritten and x-men legacy.

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 9:38 p.m. CST

    I'm Digging

    by optimous_douche

    <b>Pak's Hulk. Is that a bad thing, I was never a Hulk guy in the past.</b>

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 9:40 p.m. CST

    Loving Unwritten

    by optimous_douche

    <b>I'm just not feeling Legacy. Although it has been about six months since I picked it up. Those that are loving it - new found affection?<b>

  • Oct. 22, 2009, 11:41 p.m. CST

    Pak's Hulk

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    It's cool. That Ariel Olivetti art is so good. It's not a bad thing to dig stuff, that's great. It's only a bad thing to hate on stuff that you don't know anything about. Or hate on something just because you don't understand it. <p> Bruce Banner becomes the sidekick and his son becomes the main character for a while. It's a good idea for a temporary twist. I really like how Banner got Skaar to accept his companionship by promising to train him to kill Hulk when he shows back up. Since Loeb started writing Hulk it has meant that Pak has really had to step his game up so that he isn't left in the dust. <p> I just wish that they'd get more Rick Jones as A-Bomb in there. <p> World War Hulks is going to be fun stuff.

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 1:36 a.m. CST

    So would it be safe to say that Jeph Loeb's utter-shit period is

    by loodabagel

    At least for a while? I really have no interest in Hulk, but word is that it's been improving lately, and now they decided to give him some new Ultimate books too. I hope he can keep the foolish shit to a minimum.

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 1:37 a.m. CST

    By foolish shit I mean Hawkeye's costume...

    by loodabagel

    And, uh, everything else about Ultimates 3.

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Secret Warriors

    by Bluejack

    J- I like the first few isues now that I see the direction. I thought they were a bit slow at the time. I agree in retrospect that they were good comics. I wonder what the status quo will be for the Dark Avengers after Norman melts down. Invincible Iron Man is showing the cracks already, great read for the end of 'Most Wanted.' Also, won't Soften die of VD soon? Maybe alien VD?

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 9:39 a.m. CST


    by h8tersbeware

    Maybe not new found affection, but with this last ish the art in emplate's dimension is fantastic, we dont have to be worried about being tied into utopia crossover, so with Carey being able to do his own thing. The series feels like it's back on It's feet.

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 10:46 a.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    So you think that Loeb wrote a costume? <p> What else was wrong with Ultimates 3? I'm asking that completely sincerely. It didn't seem to me to be that much different than any other Ultimate book, except for being written a little bit better and the slightly cooler art. <p> By Loeb's "utter-shit period" are you meaning to imply that he's written good stuff in the past, and that you're only upset because of recent "Ultimate" comics? <p> Maybe it's the haters that are having a "period" and not Loeb. I think Joenathan might need some "heavy flow" tampons for his. Just a joke! I know that everyone loves Joenathan's single-mindedness and inability to see anyone else's point of view. It's part of his charm, for sure. <p> But seriously, how can a Marvel zombie hate on what's currently their best comic? Is it because Loeb served Bendis in that Wizard interview, and Joenathan feels the need to defend his favorite writer against Loeb every chance that he gets? <p> I think that Loeb has been improving lately. He's gone from pretty damn great to totally fucking great with Hulk. You should check it out. Check out any other non-Ultimate comics too while you're at it. <p> I've already ordered Ultimatum off of to see what the fuss is all about. But, since I'm not 17 years old and I know a lot about all comics and their entire history, I probably won't be as offended as anyone who started reading comics with Ultimate X-Men volume 2. Ultimatum probably won't throw me into a state of mindless, raging hateration. <p> Peace to y'all haters! Keep doing what you do! The world needs you as much as the people who realize greatness when they see it!

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 11:10 a.m. CST

    I have no idea what you're talking about

    by Joenathan

    Is Loeb improving? He used to be so bad, I stopped checking in years ago... I always wondered who still bought his books. It's like fans of the TV show Dark Angel, you know they have to be out there somewhere, you just don't think you'll ever actually meet one.

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 11:13 a.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I don't think Dark Avengers is going to last past Seige. I'm not sure how it could. Speaking of Norman's secrets... did anyone else hear the rumor that the "guy behind the door" in the Cabal issue was Miracleman?

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 12:01 p.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    Keep on hating! Just give your ill-conceived opinion and then make a completely unrelated comment about an old television show. That will make you right. Never mind being able to back up what you say. Nobody cares about that stuff. <p> Sorry, but it's looking like you've got nothing except your period.

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 12:28 p.m. CST

    I'm not trying to convince you...

    by Joenathan

    I honestly don't know if Loeb is improving or not, like I said, he's always been so unbelievablly bad that I just stopped caring about his stuff years ago. I'm glad you enjoy him though, good for you!

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 12:45 p.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    ...and my point was that he's only "unbelievably bad" in your mind, and simply stating your wrong opinion doesn't make it true. Maybe it's because you keep compulsively (and ironically) sharing it over and over again that I thought you were trying to convince someone. It's good that you're not, because to do that you would need to be able to back up your statements with something. Anything. <p> But, if there was anything behind what you say then you wouldn't be a hater, or the Joenathan that we all know and love! <p> Thanks for being happy for me in my enjoyment of Loeb though. In return I will be happy for you to enjoy Bendis and "Ultimate" comics. I will also follow your sterling example of not needlessly mocking someone for their personal taste. Peace!

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Dark Avengers.

    by Bluejack

    I could see an Ares/Moonstone led team lasting after Seige, keeping some of the villains and mixing in some middle of the road types. I didn't think Thuinderbolts would keep going, but it seems to have been resuscitated a few times.

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Actually, We_Pray....

    by Psynapse

    Many of us despise Loeb's writing. I too am really glad YOU'RE enjoying Loeb's Hulk. Mystified, because you seem otherwise quite intelligent but glad nonetheless.

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 2:40 p.m. CST

    I'm not sure why you think I'm hating,

    by Joenathan

    I mean, sure, personally, I've almost aggressively sub-par across the board, but shit, if there are people out there who like Smallville or Heroes, then it's certainly no less surprising to meet a Loeb fan. And you know what? I really admire that you, despite prevaling opinions, continue to publicall profess that love. Nice work. Keep swimming against the currents, big guy!

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 2:41 p.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    A handful of you despise Loeb's writing, but none of you have any actual reasons as to why you despise it. Literally all I've heard is "He ruined Ultimates!" <p> As if: <p> 1. That would negate all of the totally great stuff he's done before and since. <p> 2. Ultimates could even be ruined. Doesn't Ultimates come pre-ruined? Isn't the whole point of Ultimates to be outrageous, shocking, and ignore established continuity and characterization? What did he do wrong, exactly? Keep in mind that I haven't read Ultimatum yet, but I have read Ultimates 3. <p> If you are glad that I'm enjoying Hulk, then why, when I try to talk about it, do you have to make completely baseless jabs at it/Loeb? It seems that you're saying one thing and doing another. Are we respecting everyone's views here, or not? I can work with either way, but I just want to have a legit discussion about comics. <p> For example: It's fine with me that Joenathan loves Bendis. I personally don't think that he hung the moon, but he's had his moments. Whenever Joenathan writes a comment about Bendis, I don't chime in with "Too bad Bendis totally sucks!" That's because I'm not threatened by Joenathan or his views. The opposite seems to be true for Loeb's haters. Why so sensitive to people liking Loeb? I'm sure that there are a lot of people that do, if you look at a combination of his sales and critical acclaim amongst his peers. I think that the haters are a very vocal e-minority in this case. How many are there here? Less than half a dozen? <p> Do you see how my positive statements about something that I like are being used as jumping-off points for the negativity of haters, or not? <p> If I were to disagree with someone, I would at least attempt to give some kind of explanation as to why, which is another thing that the Loeb haters seem to be incapable of. That's just how an intelligent discussion works. Otherwise we're just shouting "What you like sucks!" at each other. I would rather enter into a meaningful dialogue as to the "whys" myself. <p> Is it because I do seem "otherwise quite intelligent" that you're threatened by my opinions? There's no reason to be. My communications are sincere, and I don't feel the need to bag on someone else's tastes to make myself feel more "right" than the next guy. I've engaged Joenathan sincerely on more than one occasion to completely agree with what he had to say. Because I sincerely agreed. <p> I am at a loss to understand what drives a hater. Can you really hold that much antipathy for someone who writes Hulk comic books? <p> Is it aspergers? What? <p> Peace to haters everywhere!

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Dark Avengers

    by Joenathan

    I don't see them surviving becausae the infrastructure that protects them will, most likely, be in shambles. The Dark Avengers, for the most part, aren't like the original Thunderbolts, they don't have a redemption mission, they're just pretending. I can't imagine that the government would keep endorsing them or that they'd take that act on the road. That's okay though, it's a great book, but it's concept could get stale or too unbelievable, if the current status quo changes too much.

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 2:44 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    That was supposed to be: <br><br>I've ALWAYS FOUND LOEB'S WORK TO BE almost aggressively sub-par across the board

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 2:48 p.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    Can't say that I fully understand the first run-on sentence in your last post, but I think that you might have accidentally given me some insight into your belief system. <p> It has to do with television shows and not comics! <p> I watched the first half hour of the first Smallville, shut it off, and haven't tuned in since. Didn't like it at all. 90210 Superboy or something? Lame. I've fallen behind watching Heroes, because I think that it really started sucking during season 3. <p> But I'm here to talk about comics and not mediocre television. I base my opinions on the comics and not the mediocre television. Although, I do like Commando and Teen Wolf. <p> As far as "prevailing opinions" and "swimming against the currents" goes, I don't think that 4 people on an AICN talkback make either one a reality.

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 2:50 p.m. CST

    "That was supposed to be: "

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    ...and what it actually is, once again, is a little bit of irony. What with you criticizing his writing ability and all. <p> Your hate will never die! Peace!

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Not to mention

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    that just because someone has written something mediocre in the past, that doesn't mean that they aren't able to write something great in the future. <p> Especially in two different mediums with two separate sets of production conditions. <p> Peace to all haters throughout the interwebs!

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 3:40 p.m. CST

    That's all I asking...

    by Joenathan

    Is Loeb getting better? As I'm sure you're aware of by now, I've always considered the man's work to be almost embarassingly remedial, for the most part, as if it were penned by a particularly retarded monkey possessed of only a rudimentary knowledge of the most basic nuts and bolts of storytelling and as a result, I avoided his work like the As a result, I honestly don't know his current level... Has he gotten better?

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 3:45 p.m. CST


    by Joenathan

    I avoided his work like the PLAGUE... ahem

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 3:48 p.m. CST

    The Ultimates...

    by loodabagel

    </p>Well, I suppose it's only because the first series were so enjoyable that Ultimates 3 was so disappointing. Millar's writing was certainly a little over-the top at times, and there were times when it seemed like all the characters were just aping Millar's attitude, but most of the time, they were believable people, and coupled with Brian Hitch's renditions, the comic often seemed exceptionally realistic. When the ultra-violence really kicked in, it was better because the characters and scenes had some weight to them, not to mention the masterful execution of said action. It was always possible to tell what was going on, and the most outrageous moments were more jaw-dropping than head scratching. </p> <p>Ultimates 3, however, was gratuitous for gratuitousness's sake. The character's were one dimensional cut-outs and any subtlety had been graciously obliterated in the first issue. Brian Hitch's costume designs had been thrown out in favor of really skimpy outfits for the girls and 90's Image pouches for the boys. Ultimatum was everything that was wrong with Ultimates 3 magnified tenfold, and I think even a guy who worships Loeb as much as you do will be hard pressed to dismiss it's faults. But what really pissed me off about Ultimates 3 was how little effort Loeb put into it. The man CAN write, he can write well, but it seems that instead of trying to write a better comic than Mark Millar, he decided it best to not even try, and just shit out the script in his sleep.</P> <p>As for the rest of Loeb's work, I've enjoyed the Batman stuff I've read (Long Halloween and Hush; Dark Victory is coming in the mail) I like Spider-Man: Blue and Daredevil: Yellow, even Fallen Son had some surprising depth to it. I only watched the first four or five issues of Heroes, and I found it dumb, pandering, and unfulfilling. Haven't watched it since. </p>

  • Oct. 23, 2009, 3:49 p.m. CST


    by loodabagel


  • Oct. 24, 2009, 12:50 p.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    So it's only because you liked the first two Ultimates so much that you disliked the third one? Alright, but since I wasn't that impressed with the first two Ultimates series (I didn't even read the second one), maybe that's why I didn't mind the third one. I didn't think that it was "great" either. Not Loeb's best stuff, but it was certainly in line with what the "Ultimate" universe is all about, and I think that he was obviously intending to write an "Ultimate" comic. <p> Do I like Hitch's art? Sure I do. But I like him more when he's drawing treasury-sized Justice League comics than when he's drawing celebrities as superheroes. He's a great artist, though. <p> I differ with your take on the characterization. I think that it has *always* been really shallow in the Ultimates. I never viewed any of them as "believable people," and I definitely never thought that the comic was in any way "exceptionally realistic." You admit that at times the characters sound like Millar, which seems to run counter to them being well-rounded or realistic. I generally like Millar's writing as well. His regular Marvel stuff, not really Ultimates or Kick-Ass or anything like that. <p> My reason for thinking that the characterization in Ultimates 1 and 2 is shallow would be that all of the characters are simply the "real" Avengers boiled down to their most despicable traits, which in my opinion makes them all much more one-dimensional and boring. I could see how some people would view this as a "realistic" take on superheroes, but I find that most real people have a bit more to their personalities, and I've never been one to view "grim and gritty" takes as being more "realistic." Those are just my personal taste and beliefs, admittedly. <p> If Ultimates 3 had "one-dimensional" characters, that would be because Loeb was simply following what was already laid out for him in the "Ultimate" template. I think that's one of his strengths: Really knowing the essence of what he's writing. <p> I have used this example before, but The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver being incestuous seems like the perfect "Ultimate" change. It's outrageous and shocking, but rather than seeming completely random like most of the "Ultimate" changes, it actually seems like something plausible, since many long-time readers of the regular Marvel universe will probably have noticed that their relationship has always seemed a bit much for brother and sister. That's Loeb trying to actually add *more* dimensionality to The Ultimates, which I think is admirable. It's far more true to the characters roots than making Captain America a bigot or making Colossus gay. Those changes range from utterly ridiculous to merely arbitrary. <p> As far as your problems with the costume designs go, I can't say that I have any problems with "skimpy outfits for the girls," since I have never really viewed that as a bad thing. "90's Image pouches" does *sound* really bad, but you could make it sound better by saying "Dark Knight Returns-style" pouches (just go back to what influenced all the 90's Image books to do it), and then it doesn't sound quite as bad, since most people really dig TDKR. At any rate, I would see this as being your problems with the artwork, and not really Loeb's writing. Loeb doesn't write costumes, those are designed by the books illustrator. Having said that, I like the look of Ultimates 3 better than I do the previous two series, which I thought could be a little drab and overly concerned with "realism" at times. I do see your point though, about how Loeb's choice of artist could be viewed as a betrayal to fans who desired more of the same. <p> I can also see your point about the "Loeb putting little effort into it" thing, and I think that could be true. But, I also don't think that any more effort was really required, since it's Ultimates, and the whole point is kind of that "anything-can-happen-cuz-it's-totally-different" sort of vibe. My personal opinion is that he probably put about as much effort into it as the Ultimates deserved, and the results were neither spectacular nor abysmal, kind of like the entire line. I also find it kind of funny that fans of Ultimate comics are upset because one came out that's "different," which is really the whole point of the entire line, and it might mean that the fans don't even really know what they want... like a "We want our different comics to stay the same!" sort of thing. I'm a little bit surprised that I'm the only one detecting any irony in that, but not really I guess. <p> I'll let you know what I think of Ultimatum once I read it. I might think that the "faults" you percieve are inherent to the subject matter, though. Only time will tell. <p> Yeah, those Loeb comics that you mention having read are great. You will really enjoy Dark Victory when you get it, I'm sure. If you haven't checked out Hulk: Grey yet, you might want to get that one as well. Have you read Superman/Batman by Loeb yet? Those are great comics too. <p> I would say go ahead and pick up Loeb's Hulk issues. Don't be scared just because there are a couple of people telling you that you're not "supposed" to like it, or because of something that happened in "Ultimate" comics, which don't really have anything to do with anything, anyway. Both "Ultimate" comics and Loeb's television work kind of stand separate from his "real" comics work to me. I think that they do for Loeb as well, since they're different things, and I don't think that it's wrong to treat them as such. Someone who really likes comics should know the difference between the "real" Captain America and the "Ultimate" Captain America (I know I do), and I think that Loeb does. <p> Thanks for a real response, rather than just parroting the same retarded shit over and over again (as some people seem to like to do). <p> Peace!

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 3:24 p.m. CST

    The Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver incest thing was AWFUL.

    by SleazyG.

    It's not a plausible change compatible with the Ultimates Universe, and when previous writers in the Ultimate U. hinted at it I thought it was crap. It's childish, immature, snickering work I'd expect from a 12 year old. It's like if you let Garth Ennis actually do what he wanted with Marvel characters instead of letting him do THE BOYS. It was also written really, really poorly, regardless of subject matter.<p> Did it ever occur to you that "simply stating your wrong opinion doesn't make it true", and Jeph Loeb isn't actually a good writer at all? That the reason so many people here dislike him is that he's written many, many things we thought were bad?<p> Look, I think you're completely wrong about Loeb based on his recent work on two ULTIMATE books, HULK, "Heroes", the "Hush" storyline in BATMAN, and so on. You think the rest of us are wrong cuz he's your favorite writer. But in the end, none of us is "wrong", per se--we just have different opinions, which is okay. You can keep liking Loeb and we can keep hating him, and the reviewers here who are praising his current run can keep standing in the middle, liking some stuff and disliking some stuff.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 5:43 p.m. CST

    Buzz Maverik Is Always Right!

    by Buzz Maverik

    First of all, I don't know who this Loeb guy is. We all know that Stan has written every single Marvel Comic ever published. DC comics are all written by slumming novelists and blacklisted screenwriters like Norman Mailer and Dalton Trumbo. Comics are drawn by advertising artists hoping to pick up a little extra cash for the holidays and maybe a summer vacation.<p>I'd like to see uncredited comics, just to see how we'd like or dislike them.<p>I've looked at a few Loeb Hulk comics in the shop while I was buying whatever it is my kids collect. They seemed A-OK to me. I'm surprised that no one ever thought of the Offenders before (okay, so I'm the only Defenders fan in the world, I'll take the Defenders over the X-Men any day!) and jealous that I didn't.<p>Not having read any of whats his name's ULTIMATE books, I'll offer an opinion any way: he's the wrong guy for ULTIMATE anything because he isn't cool. You've got to be cool to write an Ultimate book. It doesn't matter how well you do or do not write, it only matters how cool you are for the Ultimates. If you're not cool, you'll do something foolish like try to be cool and it won't be a pretty comic.<p>Finally, I agree with Psynapse and support him not giving reasons for giving "whys" about Loeb's stuff sucking. Giving reasons is weak! I hate it when people give reasons for things. Reason sucks!<p>I also agree with that Mad Praying Guy that the Ultimates came pre-ruined. If the Ultimates is ruined, well, what goes around bay-bee...Don't get the aspbergers line though. I think it's the other way around, Skillz Pray Mad. If you don't get Psy in that post of his, that fits the aspbergers symptoms more.<p>Finally, the Ultimates were never believable people ... uh, characters because Mark Millar isn't a believable character himself. Which makes him kind of cool some times.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 5:47 p.m. CST

    And What Drives A Hater? In My Case...

    by Buzz Maverik

    ...the Riders of Doom thundered into my village on horseback. They killed my mother, they killed my father, they took my fathers sword. I was marched north with the Vanir and shackled to the wheel of pain for the next 12 years until my master Red Beard saw my value as a pit fighter. But now, I do not have time for this. I only ask one thing, Crom! Grant me revenge ... and if not, then to hell with you!

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 5:50 p.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    I see myself as being somewhere in the middle. Loeb is far from my "favorite writer" (probably doesn't even break the top 10), but I'm just into giving credit where credit is due. The guy has written some great stuff and he's written some not-so-great stuff. I don't think that he's written anything so terrible that it would make me fly into a blind, haterade-fueled rage. <p> I have never told anyone to stop hating Loeb. In fact, quite to the contrary, I've encouraged the haters to keep on with it. I'm from the Katt Williams school. <p> I realize that everyone has differing opinions, and all that I've really done is say, "let's discuss those differences of opinion intelligently." I believe that to do that, people usually exchange whatever reasons they may have for thinking the way that they do. I have suggested that shit-talking, mud-slinging, shouting tactics probably are an impediment to rational, intelligent discussion. <p> When I told Joenathan that "simply stating your wrong opinion doesn't make it true," I was pointing out that Joenathan doesn't back up what he says with any sort of reasoning, but instead resorts to the simple-minded "Loeb is the suxxor!"-style shout-downs that are detrimental to achieving any real understanding of where someone is coming from (thereby halting an intelligent exchange of ideas). Did my remark to Joenathan have a little bite to it? Sure it did, because I called his opinion "wrong." But, Joenathan's comments often have a little bit of bite to them as well, and I don't think that Joenathan is crying about what I said. I'm sure that since he dishes it out often enough, he's able to take it. I didn't tell loodabagel that he was "wrong." I disucssed the issues with loodabagel like we were both adults, and showed loodabagel the same level of respect that he showed me. It certainly isn't hard to understand. <p> While you are absolutely correct that none of us are necessarily "wrong," I would still assert that the very thing that makes one person *more* right than another (on the sliding scale) is the quality of their reasoning. If someone says, "Loeb has always totally sucked" and then just leaves it at that, he has only stated an opinion. When he goes on to say "The incest thing was awful *because* of this, that, and the other thing..." then he's showing that he has at least thought a little bit about what he's saying. Talking about those "whys" is usually a more elevated discussion. I don't just state my opinions. I state my opinions and then back them up with an explanation of the reasoning behind them. What makes someone a "hater" is not simply that they dislike something, but that they vehemently dislike something with no thought process to behind their hatred. <p> I want you to know that I think that it's great that you hate Loeb! Let's talk about it and share our reasoning, and then the everyone can join in and decide for themselves what they think accordingly. <p> On to your "whys" now... <p> I thought that Loeb had come up with the incest thing. Where had it been referenced before? I don't follow "Ultimate" titles very closely, and only have a passing familiarity with them. It's mostly because I find them kind of crap and immature. Written for the younger fans with an emphasis on shock value and pseudo-realism. I thought that I had made it clear that was the very reason I found the incest thing to be so appropriate. It's the ultimate "Ultimate" change, for the very reason that you dislike it. I completely agree that it's that "Garth Ennis school" of writing, because, well, that's what Ultimates is, right? That's what Millar does pretty often as well. No offense or anything, but that's kind of what I was saying about "Ultimate" fans not even knowing what they want. How are you going to complain that the immature, shock value line of comics is immature and relies on shock value? It's kind of like complaining that your orange juice tastes like it has oranges in it. <p> As I said above, it was a case of Loeb really understanding the essence of what he was writing, as all great writers do. Loeb wrote an "Ultimate" comic. <p> When you say that it was "...written really, really poorly, regardless of subject matter." what exactly would be your examples of this poor writing, regardless of subject matter? I didn't see any writing that was exceptionally "poor" by any objective standards in Ultimates 3. I now understand that you don't like things that are "crass" or whatever. Fair enough. I personally don't have any moral problems with characters in stories being incestuous. It's a story, just like "Measure for Measure." Incest happens, just like murder, suicide, and rape. I don't think that the inclusion of it is something that makes a story "bad" or not. If you disagree, fine, but you're probably missing out on a lot of literature that utilizes cultural taboo. There's quite a bit. <p> As I said before, we can talk about "Ultimate" comics all you want, but I'm not really into them. I was defending Loeb's "Hulk" as being great, and I certainly don't want to defend "Ultimate" comics, because I don't think that they're worthy of my defense (or my scorn, for that matter). I will defend Loeb's writing on Ultimates 3, to an extent, because I think that it was very "Ultimate." I stand by all my statements regarding the greatness of Loeb's Hulk, and if you would like to offer any of your thoughts on what you think it is that makes Loeb's Hulk so bad, I would like to discuss them with you. <p> I notice that you listed very few Loeb comics as examples of "bad" stuff that he's written (along with the obligatory reference to the non-comic-book-television-show "Heroes"). Are those the only ones you have read? Because he's really done a lot of great stuff outside of those. <p> Peace!

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 6:03 p.m. CST

    "uncredited comics"

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    That's a great idea, Buzz. A lot of haters wouldn't know what to do with themselves. <p> I agree that The Offenders was a great idea, and I was also surprised that it hadn't happened sooner as well. <p> Now I'm the one who's confused about the whole aspergers thing. Maybe I don't have a full understanding of the illness. Something's been miscommunicated there, at any rate. Sorry. <p> Seems like we're mostly in agreement about everything, except how reasons are weak. But I have a feeling that you're just making a joke with that one. <p> Peace!

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 8:23 p.m. CST


    by loodabagel

    Mark Millar hinted at it a few times, trying to be all subtle and what not, but then Jeph Loeb came along and said "Quicksilver fucked his sister." Classy.

  • Oct. 24, 2009, 8:29 p.m. CST

    Mark Millar's realism...

    by loodabagel

    I'm just one of those cynical people who thinks The Avengers would be a bunch of assholes. The real "realness" that I like is how visceral the violence can get.

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 3 p.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    When you say "classy," do you mean "classy" like Shakespeare, Milton, Sophocles, Nabokov, Faulkner, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Gabriel García Márquez? <p> Or do you mean "classy" like J.R.R. Tolkien, Theodore Sturgeon, Doris Lessing, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, Ursula Le Guin, Alan Moore, and (local favorite) Warren Ellis? <p> Just curious. <p> I like visceral violence as much as the next guy, but nothing like that really sticks out in my mind from reading the first series of The Ultimates. I hear that Ultimatum has some pretty violent stuff in it though. <p> Sounds like the "Ultimate" universe was made for you! <p> To each their own. <p> Peace!

  • Oct. 25, 2009, 10:52 p.m. CST

    Asshole Avengers Isn't Millar's Problem

    by Buzz Maverik

    The problem is that he judges his characters. Too often, we see what he thinks of them rather than what they think of themselves. Now, mind you, I'm sure that Mark Millar is far more interesting than the characters he writes about. Most comic pros are.<p>"Classy" can't really apply here. We're talking ULTIMATE. Ultimate is always several notches up. I mean, regular Yellowjacket smacks Jan once. Ultimate Pym sprays her with Raid.<p>Next issue, in the ULTIMATE ULTIMATES...

  • Oct. 26, 2009, 12:13 p.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    Again we're in agreement. "Classy" seems like it doesn't apply to "Ultimate" titles at all. <p> Once again, the whole "Ultimate fans not really understanding what they like or want" thing seems to apply. <p> I like visceral violence that's perpetrated by heroic assholes, but only when it's classy.

  • Oct. 26, 2009, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Not to mention

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    that the term "classy" is usually only used by classists, which is why I ten to stay away from it. <p> Bigotry doesn't sit well with me in my personal life, or in my Captain America comics.

  • Oct. 26, 2009, 12:16 p.m. CST

    tend to

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz


  • Oct. 27, 2009, 1:06 p.m. CST


    by loodabagel

    <p>Now you're combining my opinions into one self-contradicting all-encompassing credo that I never said. Let's argue about something else this week. This Ultimates shit is going nowhere. </p> <p>Joy Division is the punk equivalent of The Doors</p>

  • Oct. 27, 2009, 2:58 p.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    I know that you never said it the way that I wrote it, but it was done for comedic effect and to help prove a point, and you did say those things. <p> If your opinions contradict themselves that can hardly be seen as my fault. <p> As far as "going nowhere," well, that's because each side of a discussion must have enough intellectual flexibility to realize when the other side has made a good point and given a solid argument supporting their perspective. <p> Joy Division is the punk equivalent of The Doors, eh? Not sure what there is to argue about there, except the arbitrary classification vis-á-vis genre. <p> It helps to recognize the complexity of musical evolution/mutation, and see them as simply different chronological points in a vast continuum. Punk would never have existed without the hippies, so in that sense you're correct, but "this band from this genre is equal to this band from this genre" is just splitting hairs to a ridiculous degree. Not to mention extremely reductive. <p> Peace!

  • Oct. 27, 2009, 4:57 p.m. CST


    by Mr.FTW

    Since you love Loeb so much and took a shot at Smallville I just thought I'd let you know loeb wrote episodes of Smallville and was a supervising producer who shaped the progress and story lines of the show for 3 years. Maybe you should check out Smallville before offering the same kind opinion of it that you are fighting with people over Loeb's writting. I'm just saying.

  • Oct. 27, 2009, 11:19 p.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    Please tell me that you're just pretending to be really dense.

  • Oct. 28, 2009, 7:58 a.m. CST

    You Know, It Is Possible...

    by Buzz Maverik generally like the masterpieces of these literary geniuses without liking every single thing they've done. I mean, Alan Moore wrote both WATCHMEN (did you guys know that?) and the VIOLATOR mini-series. Little bit of difference there.

  • Oct. 28, 2009, 9:38 a.m. CST


    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    Once again, we're in complete agreement. <p> Thanks for re-enforcing my point for me. <p> You hear that, Mr.FTW?