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AICN COMICS REVIEWS BATMAN! ALIEN VS PREDATOR! AVATAR! A WHOLE BUNCH OF INDIES, & MORE!

#34 1/13/10 #8

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) Contest Winners review AVATAR: A CONFIDENTIAL REPORT ON THE BIOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY OF PANDORA BOOSTER GOLD #28 ALIENS VS PREDATOR: THREE WORLD WAR #1 BATMAN: THE WIDENING GYRE #4 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents BIOMEGA Vol.1 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

Contest Winner Reviews AVATAR: A CONFIDENTIAL REPORT ON THE BIOLOGICAL AND SOCIAL HISTORY OF PANDORA

Hey all, Ambush Bug here. Below are the reviews of the winners of the AVATAR Contest we ran last month. Check out a few pages of this slick read here. Congrats again to the winners.

Contest Winner: 41Q

What follows is my review of the book AVATAR: AN ACTIVIST’S SURVIVAL GUIDE. Now, I'm a big James Cameron fan. I grew up in South Carolina in a nice little city. At some point, I grabbed a copy of 'The Abyss' and loved it. In fact, I discovered the set was up in Gaffney and checked it out. I was amazed. These days I'm a visual effects stereographer, so I've been looking forward to seeing just how this film was made for some time.
Having just come back from my second viewing of AVATAR(once in a Real-D theater and once in a faux IMAX screen in Canoga) I decided to sit down and share my feelings on the book. I know what you're thinking. What the hell has this got to do with the damn book? Well, at first glance, I was kind of pissed about the content. The book contains a lot of information about various plants and animals in the movie. As such, I was afraid the book would just reiterate crap I'd seen in the movie. So, after I read a few entries, I waited a bit and decided to check out the film!
Flash forward. The book is actually pretty cool. It has some information on creatures and stuff that I had gathered from Cameron's work, but it contained a lot of details that they'd added I had not noticed. For example, there is a cool entry on the drums the Na'vi (natives, for those that haven't seen the movie yet). They aren't just drums - they're drum tops suspended in water. The amount of water changes the tone. Cool, right? Bad-@$$!
So the book’s information is great. What I didn't like was the Activist part. I thought this might be a bigger part of the story, given the whole 'activist' thing in the title. But it's actually RDA files with scrawls of activist anti-information, refuting many of the claims made in the text.
There are three immutable laws of movies: 1:) Every group splits up. 2.) People only get sick and fall over if a table of food is nearby, and 3.) All activists write in crazy, whack-o chicken scratch.
And that's the part that didn't work for me. They didn't really do much with the whole activist thing. And that's the real downfall of it - it wasn't quite sure how to be fun and faux-informative. The book might have worked better as an in depth creature guide (like the cool Star Wars creature guide - the one with the faux lizard skin on the outside - the hardback one) or a cool file-like book, with lots of notes and observations from the scientists.
Ultimately, my interest in a fact-dictionary book depends on the source material. In this case, the source material was AVATAR. So, not surprisingly, my enjoyment of the book was not too far from my enjoyment of the book. AVATAR: AN ACTIVIST SURVIVAL GUIDE gets a solid B from me. I'd give the movie a fair B+ (or an A- in 3D, as I'd award extra points for technical achievement in immersion technology).
Secondary note to theater going public: If you see ‘Avatar’, see it in 3D. However, if you see it in 3D, make sure you get a good seat. Never, EVER sit too close watching 3D movies. You want to be at least 1/3 of the way back to really get a comfortable viewing. In fact, you can see a lot more cool stuff the further back you sit. Sitting in the back during a 3D movie is pretty cool! If someone said the 3D made them feel sick, check and see if they have crooked eyes. If they don't, ask them how far forward they sat in the theater.
James Cameron is great at 3D. He's not perfect.. for example, very early in the movie, during the zero G floating scenes, watch the neck of the technician/nurse/spaceman float forwards and backwards. Somebody did a poor conversion! However, watch the depth of the things Cameron filmed - perfect! Comfortable! Cool looking! Never distracting! My only real complaint is while Cameron has mastered the technical aspects of the 3D, he hasn't quite gotten the artistic to 100%; I'd say he's about 85% of the way there. But with 3D, it would have been more comfortable and cooler to simply follow critters and peoples a little longer...and to pull back a little farther. NOTE: EXTREME CLOSE UPS ARE NOT FUN. I tend not to look at things super closely. Ever. It hurts my eyes to concentrate on the super close. Please avoid.
Anyhow, that's my review, plus a 2 cent bonus!

Contest Winner: darfnader

As an artist and graphic designer, I have to say that I find the book rather cheap in appearance. Each and every page is the same simple repetition of crumpled paper, and every item that appears to be "clipped" to the book via faux paper clips has the same lifeless and unrealistic drop shadow. The visual corner-cutting even extends to the one of the coolest parts of the guide. The makers want it to appear as if someone has commandeered the guide and scribbled in information that the RDA doesn't want leaked to the general population of Earth, but unfortunately they chose to use a lame 'scribbly' computer font rather than paying someone to just write it out themselves and therefore add a much-needed touch of humanity and realism. Also, the majority of the images contained within the guide appear to be varying degrees of simple 3D model renders. However, the few full-quality, photo-realistic renders there are just incredible to see. Although I do find the guide's content wonderful, and it completely serves its purpose of further drawing me into the world of Pandora by adding layers upon layers of new information (especially on the state of things back on Earth, which was utterly nonexistent in the film), the guide's visuals come across as a series of mockup/pre-visual matte paintings for the film rather than a revelatory photographic exposé (that being the supposed reason for the guide's existence).
Favorite bits: The science behind the giant stone arches, the origin of the bola-like 'Banshee Catcher' used to subdue the Banshee, and the background of 'Unobtanium' and the origins of its somewhat silly name.

Contest Winner: Richard Chapman

My Thoughts About “A Confidential Report on the Biological and Social History of Pandora” Or Everything You Wanted to Know About EVIL SPACE FISH but Were Afraid to Ask
I have not seen “Avatar,” but I am a fan of James Cameron. I even enjoyed “Piranha 2.” However, I don’t enjoy talking for hours about the minutia of made-up worlds. That said, any book that employs the phrase “Evil Space Fish” has at least some entertainment value. Unfortunately, this book reads like Cameron’s notes for his design team. And why is there nothing remotely bad about Pandora? There’s no evil there. Yeah, there’s danger. But everything is just so much “more” than Earth. There must be something wrong on Pandora, some kind of evil, besides invading capitalists. Maybe I’m just a homer “Terran,” but surely Earth could be great at something. I guess the biggest issue I have with the book is that some of the mystery and magic of Pandora dissipated as I read it. As Dave Gibbons said, “Sometimes a glimpse is much more evocative.” That may be the real test. If you are one who is fascinated by the smallest biological deviations of fictional planets, this is definitely the book for you. For the rest of us, well…we can read about evil space fish, or we can just watch “Piranha 2.”

Thanks to those who sent in the reviews!


BOOSTER GOLD #28

Writer: Dan Jurgens Artist: Norm Rapmund Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

As soon as you shit-can the heavy exposition, this issue of BOOSTER GOLD finally starts to go places. It also didn’t hurt that the events of this issue ultimately send Booster to one of my favorite times in the DC universe — the days after the death of Superman and the days leading up to the destruction of Coast City.
For those that are unaware (and actually give a shit – which will be few), BOOSTER GOLD, was one half of the 1980s JLI version of the Two-Coreys. Along with Blue Beetle, Booster demonstrated that sarcasm and snark can work as delectable garnishes in portioned amounts to balance the bitter direness of comic book situations. These days this “Douche from Tomorrow” is a super-celebrity by day, never breaking a sweat thwarting the nefarious deeds of DC B-list villains, while keeping his true mission as savior of the time stream behind the scenes to avoid disrupting the space-time continuum.
Truly my only complaint about this issue and the series overall is all of the valuable real estate that keeps getting wasted to get new readers up-to-speed. At this point BOOSTER GOLD is about as accessible to new comic readers as the top of the Washington monument is to the paraplegic. Sure they CAN get to the top, but it’s going to be a damn tough row to hoe. Likewise, new readers CAN read BOOSTER GOLD, but even with the heavy-handed exposition, much of what makes this series great will be completely lost. It’s the contrast between a normal person visiting Pearl Harbor and an actual WWII veteran visiting that hallowed watery grave. There’s a stark difference between “getting it” and actually “living it.”
For months this series has been a delicate balance between an exploration of “Booster the man” and as an Elseworlds in waiting. With each mission to correct the time stream, one small misstep on Booster’s part could turn the main DC continuity into anything from RED SON to GOTHAM BY GASLIGHT. Fortunately Booster always saves the day, but these missions to remember when are for old as fuck fan-geezers like yours truly, not someone born during the Clinton or Bush eras.
Let’s take this story for example. Booster is sent to the days just after Superman died to stop a mysterious time traveler from sabotaging the mission that turned Hank Henshaw, destroyer of Coast City, into The Cyborg. Being a fan-geezer I remember these events when they first transpired, but it begs the question as to whether younger readers will care or should care about these events at all. With the multitude of ret-cons over the past few years and Blackest Night continuing the charge, even I’m left wondering if these events ever took place — and I actually read them.
While Booster tries to ensure that the events that led up to Coast City’s destruction happen as they should (remember, protecting the time stream does not always mean doing what’s right, merely ensuring that all events, even the atrocities, transpire as they should) we finally learn the fate of Booster’s resurrected sister Michelle.
It turns out that 2010 was not as appealing to Michelle as the days of the grunge. Feeling displaced (rightly so, since she was dead for almost twenty years), Michelle forgets her history lessons from the 25th century and ends up in Coast City face-to-face with Henshaw himself.
As I’ve repeatedly stated, the moments in this book are nuggets of pure comic goodness for those of us that remember when cover prices were a paltry $1.25. Before I get beat up in the Talkbacks for saying that the days after Superman’s death was one of my most favorite time periods, please look at this in context. Forget the multiple covers, forget what took place immediately following this time period; instead remember standing in line the day the death of Superman was released and the zealot fandom we all experienced until the dark days came a few years later.
In the end analysis, BOOSTER GOLD is a great book for the right type of comic fan. The right fan of course is someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things DC. Now if DC editorial could just realize they are not ensnaring new readers with this title and simply focus on the fan-geezers buying the book, this book could reach perfection for those of us that love nostalgia. Part of this realization will also make someone wake up to the fact that we don’t care about the new BLUE BEETLE back-up stories. I applaud DC for taking Blue Beetle in a new direction, but this kid ain’t Ted Kord. Remember DC write for your audience, the old bastards buying BOOSTER want the Blue & Gold, not some kid.
Optimous is lonely and needs friends. Even virtual ones will fill the gaping hole, join him on Facebook or he will cry like a newborn kitten.

ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: THREE WORLD WAR #1

Writer: Randy Stradley Art: Rick Leonardi Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

I’m a PREDATOR guy, let’s just get that out of the way. I had the good fortune to see the celluloid classic in theatres when I was in eighth grade and hastily scooped up the CONCRETE JUNGLE series when it debuted a short time later in 1989. It’s been an up-and-down ride since then but it’s a universe that can always bring forth an entertaining story when handled correctly. Such is the case with THREE WORLD WAR. I guess World War Three as a title seemed a bit too banal? Then again if the title is the only knock on your book then things must be going right between the covers and believe me, AVP:TWW is comics done right.
Right off the bat I can tell you to forget everything you know about Aliens vs. Predator. In fact, I’m not sure how accurate that title is to begin with because yes, you have Aliens and yes, you have Predators. You even have a few hapless humans stuck in the middle. So far, so good. So then why aren’t the Aliens attacking the Predators? (SPOILER ALERT) Well, in THREE WORLD WAR they have apparently come under the Predators control, led around on leashes like rabid Pitbulls trying to break free and feast on some human d’oeuvres. They have gone from enemy to weapon -- but why would the usually sport-minded Predators now begin killing for the sake of the kill and not the sport? That my friends, is one of the many storylines that will be explored going forward and I have a feeling the answer may surprise us.
What isn’t a surprise is the vibrant and fluid artwork by Rick Leonardi. I’ve said it before and it bears repeating: Stories with grim subject matter don’t always have to be drawn to resemble the bottom of a Weber grill on July 5th. I like the clarity Leonardi brings to the story and his pencil (as usual) strikes just the right chord. In addition, I think he draws military-types as good as anybody in the business. Of course none of that would mean a whole heck of a lot if it wasn’t complimented by such a strong narrative. True, Randy Stradley is the quarterback of Dark Horse’s All Madden team but he proves he’s not resting on his laurels with a fantastic opening sequence followed by a slow build to issue #2. Ironically so many books do the opposite by starting with the build and ending on the climax but it works here and had me hooked from page one.
ALIENS VS. PREDATOR: THREE WORLD WAR is based on a premise that most of us are familiar with and perhaps even tired of but let me assure you that everything you know goes right out the window by page three and what lies ahead is a new and exciting story that I can’t wait to uncover. If there is any shred of interest in the ALIEN or PREDATOR franchises – or if you just like to see humans get their comeuppance – pick up this book. It doesn’t disappoint.
Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at here. MMAmania.com. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.

BATMAN: THE WIDENING GYRE #4

Writer: Kevin Smith Artist: Walter Flanagan Inker: Art Thibert Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: William

Kevin Smith has always had a love/hate relationship among his comic book fans. From his stint on Daredevil to Spiderman to the recent Batman: Cacophony, if there’s one thing that’s certain is that no one ever knows how his comics will be treated by the comic book fan base.
Enter his latest entry into our world, this time once again through the eyes of Batman. I’ve been giving this series a shot based on the last Batman work that Kevin did, Batman: Cacophony. Even though that series wasn’t fully satisfying, it did have its moments of grandeur here and there. Anytime someone can add a new angle to the Batman/Joker mythos, even after 60 or70 plus years and still make it seem fresh, is a testament to good writing.
This series however…I’ll flat out say it in one word, is DULL. Nothing about this series is exciting, and it’s doing the worst thing that any comic book publisher can do, which is to make me NOT want to buy any further issues of this comic. (C’mon DC Editors that’s what you’re paid to do, to ensure that writers give enough of an interesting angle to keep the fans coming). Sure there’s Cornelius Stirk getting his due end in this issue, and there’s some vigilante out there with a ridiculous looking goat mask (I kid you not) who’s trying to mimic Batman, but everything just seems so boring to me.
Then out of nowhere, like another one of those forced relationships that Hollywood is now insisting within their superhero movies, there’s this love-struck relationship that Bruce Wayne has with Silver St. Cloud. Imagine if we can go back to the Joel Schumacher world of Batman & Robin. Just for a moment, I promise. Remember how all of a sudden Batman had a FIANCE! And it was some supermodel that he seemed to adore and giggle about in every scene. That’s what this feels like here. All of a sudden Bruce Wayne, yes our Bruce Wayne and not some alternative universe clone, is suddenly in a whirlwind romance with someone named Silver St. Cloud, and most of this issue is spent with him frolicking in the sand with her like some love-sick puppy. I kept asking myself, where did this come from? Sure Bruce Wayne is the true mask of Batman, and he has to constantly keep up with the public façade of the billionaire playboy in order to hide his nightly work. And yes there’s even the remote chance that Batman truly wants some daily loving/grinding, because he is a man after all. But all this lovey-dovey stuff seemed straight out of today’s Twilight world, and I couldn’t keep thinking how forced and fake it all felt. I fully blame Kevin Smith on this, as it seems as if he’s writing from a phase in his life where his own marriage is enjoying the best success its ever had, so he feels he must impress it upon us readers through his writing. That’s great if it were Superman, but with Batman?
In any case, the ONLY thing that is keeping me going with these issues is to see how it plays out. If nothing else is good on the comic book racks the week I’m there, I’ll continue to add this series until something else catches my eye. (With everything negative that I’ve mentioned, I haven’t even covered the uninspired artwork by Walter Flanagan). But if anyone out there hasn’t read this series, I wouldn’t recommend it as you’re not really missing out on much. In fact, chance are that (in true Kevin Smith fashion) we will never know who the goat-headed vigilante is, or see a final resolution to his romance with Silver St. Cloud. Much like his Cacophony series, things started and ended without much resolution to anything, and I feel the same thing is going to happen here.

BIOMEGA Vol.1

By Tsutomu Nihei Released by Viz Media Reviewer: Scott Green

To my mind, one of the mysteries of manga in North America is why Tsutomu Neihei (BLAME!) is not a more recognized figure. He renders armed men in immersive biomechanical labyrinths in a way that few others in the field and match. The visceral thrill that he taps into would seemingly find a receptive audience in the fans of first person shooting games of the DOOM/GEARS OF WAR/KILL ZONE lineage. This thought appears to have struck Marvel Comics too, because they've paired Neihei with properties such as WOLVERINE and HALO. As such, you can't really say Nihei is underexposed to North American readers. I can't name many other manga creators who've had that sort of bridge to build a reputation off. And yet, the demand for Nihei manga appears to be far from exceptional. I don't think "Nihei" on the cover moves copies of manga. The deduction does not hold up to logical scrutiny, but this makes we wonder if first person shooter fans are manga buyers.
My Twitter description of BIOMEGA was "Terminator/Kamen Rider enters a cyber-Lovecraftian zombie haunted town, meets talking sniper bear. Fearless guy in madness." That, and "Wouldn't want the job of the person who had to localize the art in BIOMEGA (Sam Elzway)." It's the kind work whose high concept accelerates the heart rate of a geek/fan, and one perfectly suited to Nihei's distinctive imagery. There isn't much more than that, but it does deliver the promised spectacle.
In 3005, humanity accomplishes its first manned flight to Mars in seven centuries. The crew, enchased in heavy exploration suits, feels their way through a girdered hall, until they come face to face with a pale woman with dark, dishevel hair, standing in the believed to be abandoned structure with no breathing apparatus.
Six months earlier, a black clad, black helmeted man rode his black motorcycle towards the towering perimeter of a locked down megalopolis. Warned of the danger inherit in going in alone, our man Zouichi brushes aside the advise with a "whatever." Surrounded on all sides by walls and overpasses, Zouichi tracks the rollercoaster like highways. With little space to avoid confrontation, he attempts to steer around a swipe from the bludgeoning arm of an shambling ex-human, and Akira-Tetsuo's into an out of place, normal-if a bit-pail young woman as she walks across the street. Zombified N5S infected drones swarm. Zouichi responds with a drawn pistol and hail of bullets. While the onrush doesn't challenge Zouichi's composure, he is taken a bit aback when the young woman's body begins to stitch itself back together, at least to the extent that a grizzly bear carry a sniper rifle is able to get the drop on him.
What works in a Nihei manga like BIOMEGA is the technology-retrofitted Lovecraftian sense of being entombed by something man-made, yet incalculably malignant. He is not a great action manga artist. The space and interaction between physical objects occasionally does not look right and generally don't hold up to scrutiny. The intension is clear, but the sense of speed and weight is lost. Similarly the logic behind panel to panel transition is certainly discernable in a way that can't be said of all manga, and yet, how the illustrations advance from one panel to the next is not as considered or effective as it could be.
What Nihei does excels at is design of sense of scale assaulting artificial landscapes and their ghastly inhabitants. Rather than aping Geiger, he offers his own nightmare vision of sanity consuming landscapes. With its spires stretching up a against a black sky and streets that are alternately empty and full of rampaging ghouls, Nihei's scope of astronomically misaligned architecture is projected onto a SILENT HILL/MIST damned settlement. His best known work, Blame! was set in a cyclopean labyrinth of endlessly stacked layers. Whereas BIOMEGA is still cyclopean and labyrinthian, BIOMEGA is set in a sort of Innsmouth, a town (well, large city) corrupted by something extremely dark, perhaps as the spearhead for something larger. Rather than GRAND CANYON meets METROPOLIS, meets ALIEN infestation, this one is HOUSE OF USHER meets SPACE MOUNTAIN meets METROPOLIS meets ALIEN infestation.
As in BLAME!, BIOMEGA is situated in a terrifying landscape. And, as in BLAME!, there is a disparity between the mind shattering immenseness of the threat that surrounds the hero, and that hero's cool, professional detachment. This is man with no name versus town of zombies Tull scene of Stephen King's GUNSLINGER magnified into MATRIX sci-fi proportions. You can accuse a character whose unaffected by that Lovecraftian menace of being underwritten. As with the sequential illustration, Nihei's writing talents are more workable than impressive. But, he does pull off the trick. Rather than thinking about a poorly defined trouble shooter, attention is turned to how hard/inhuman the guy who went in alone against the city of infected monster might be.
Based on past performance and the trajectory established by BIOMEGA's first volume, I don't imagine that one should expect much depth, insight or humanity from the manga. It's not BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL or VAGABOND, in which the author is working from some larger vision of how people think or interact. BIOMEGA is an effect. It's an effect that has become familiar from video games, but Nihei's mastery of it is so particular that it has to be seen.
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 folks, Ambush Bug here. Due to the holidays, I fell behind a bit on my Indie Jones duties, but I’m setting a goal for myself to catch up over the next few weeks. So if you’ve sent me your comics to review, thanks for your patience. Now, enjoy the indie goodness…

LOGAN’S RUN: LAST DAY #1 Bluewater Comics

I may lose some geek cred for admitting this, but I’ve never seen LOGAN’S RUN. I’ve always meant to check it out, but haven’t had the chance yet. Luckily, the fact that I haven’t seen the film wasn’t important since this new miniseries from Bluewater catches the reader up with the futuristic world and all that goes on with it quickly then moves into a pretty intriguing story thereafter. Writer Salamoff does a great job of tossing the reader into the action as Logan is in mid-chase of a runner, someone who decides to not go into the deep sleep once they reach adulthood. Logan’s job is to track and eliminate these runners. Of course, from the title, it’s pretty obvious that Logan will make a run of his own soon. The thing that elevates this book from good to great is the art which is reminiscent of Sean Chen’s exquisite linework. The artist does a great job of varying the panel size and shape, and conveys some pulse-pounding movement to the action sequences. All in all, I’m sure fans of the movie would love this book. It makes me want to seek out the classic film and it definitely will have me back to the stores for issue two.

GOD OF ROCK/GOD OF ROCK STRIKES BACK Space-Gun Studios Available for purchase here. By Paul T. Milligan

These comics were done in the span of 24 hours each, but you wouldn’t know it. With the way the comics industry works these days, it may do all of the so-called professionals good to pay attention to this guy. Milligan churns out two full stories that ooze fun. GOD OF ROCK never takes itself too seriously, but the book does kick serious @$$. Pan just wants to hang with his girlfriend and live the simple life, but his past as the God of Rock keeps pulling him into a life of danger and adventure. Part Tenacious D (when they were funny on HBO, not the movie), part Gods walk the earth story, and all indie, GOD OF ROCK and it’s sequel are pretty amazing reads. The fact that Milligan can come up with so much funny in a 24 hour span shows that this guy has real talent. The book will be collected in trade soon and was part of the Indie Comics Week (which can be found here).

GEEK GIRL #0 FanBabes More info found here.

Every hero has to have an origin story, this is Geek Girl’s. This book is every geek guy’s fantasy come true as a librarian-ish chickadee happens upon some glasses that grant her super powers. There’s a lot to like out this issue. Hot nerdy chicks. Pretty decent art by Sally J. Thompson. And a solid, though standard, origin story. The pacing is good here too and even though it’s hard to believe that a doll with curves like that can really be called nerdy, GEEK GIRL is a book that I’d like to see more of.

PLAN B: SAMUEL PROVIDENCE & THE NEFARIOUS DOCTOR FOIL OGN Plan B

My biggest critique of the previous OGN by Josh Jenkins was that artist, Karl Slominski’s art was a bit dark for my tastes. Having read the second novel in the PLAN B series, I have to say I’m getting used to Slominski’s thick inking. In fact, it gives this story of science gone mad and the men behind it an ominous and dark feel. Jenkins seems to have an elaborate plan at play with this story; one that he’s only just begun shedding light to. This installment continues the tale of warring mad scientists. Jenkins imagination is truly admirable in his use of variations of the mad scientist archetype. This is a fun series and definitely one that is getting better with each installment in story and art.

OMNITARIUM #1 Ronin Studios

A damn fine and spooky read. I’m not sure if I know where this one is going but it’s got a man who can’t be hanged, a creepy executioner, and a turn of the century setting. J.C. Grande provides some amazing art here; very reminiscent of Tom Mandrake of SPECTRE and MARTIAN MANHUNTER fame. The moody panels of this one sets the stage for a very ominous read. Looking forward to reading more of this cool miniseries.
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, ROGER CORMAN PRESENTS DEATHSPORT, and the just announced vampire miniseries NANNY & HANK (and check out Jazma Online’s new interview with Bug about NANNY & HANK here).

THE MARVELS PROJECT #5 (of 8) Marvel Comics

This series runs hot and cold for me, alternating between some damn fine reading and bland and forgettable. This issue falls into the latter category, mostly because half the issue is spent re-hashing Captain America's origin. Come on, people-- we all know the story; this should take up no more than a single page in the re-telling. Maybe that's the problem with the series in general-- the story is being spread too thin over too many chapters. It's a shame, because I'm still digging Epting's art. I'm just getting tired of spending four bucks for a sliver of narrative. -BottleImp

DAYTRIPPER #2 DC Vertigo

Just like I kind of suspected given the ending of the first issue of this wondrous series by brothers Moon and Ba, I simultaneously get what this book is trying to say and have no fucking clue what it is really trying to tell me. I hate to give away a part of this book, but since it is the central theme/plot device, we now have two deaths for Bras de Olive Domingos in just as many issues. The central theme is a little bit of a “standby” but a powerful one: Live life to its fullest. I am not exactly sure where the brothers are going with the Death Device, but the message it portrays each outing is beautifully executed in a playful and mysterious way. Execution aside, I would like to see maybe some hints towards what the bigger picture is, if there really even is one, to the way this is being told. But, even if there isn’t some grand plot point or overlaying machinations at play here, the presentation of this story alone is a joyous sight to behold. - Humphrey Lee

NATION X #2 Marvel Comics

Though I don’t really keep up with all things X outside of X-FACTOR and the occasional NEW MUTANTS issue, I couldn’t help but check this issue out mainly for the cool cover featuring Northstar, Jubilee, and Gambit. Out of the stories featured in this issue, my favorite was CB Cebulski and Jim McCann’s touching story centering on Jubilee. Though it isn’t high on action, there are some moments of tension and some real character development for our favorite little sparkler. I was unaware that Jubes was depowered in HOUSE OF M and the rift between mutants and used-to-be mutants is clearly mapped out here. Seeing some of the younger mutants discriminate against former mutants is a smart shift in the outsider theme that has been a part of the X-books since the beginning. This is a smartly written tale in a nifty book. - Ambush Bug

WEEKLY WORLD NEWS #1 IDW Publishing

There's some good stuff here, as Chris Ryall spins his story of super-right-wing journalist Ed Anger and his relationship with an intelligent ape, a precognitive alien and of course, the famous Bat Boy. And Alan Robinson's art strikes a nice balance between cartoony and realistic. The sum of all the parts isn't quite gelling for me, though-- the balance of humor, drama and social satire (which can come off a little forced, as with the cameo by Brangelina) needs a little tweaking. Nevertheless, the concept of taking the NEWS stories and interweaving them is a good one, and I'm going to stick around to see where this series takes me. -BottleImp

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #22 Marvel Comics

I feel like a snail on the back of a turtle reading and liking this book. Though I dig the art by Salvadore Larroca and appreciate the direction Matt Fraction is taking this book, I can’t help but be frustrated at the snail’s pacing this book has been palsied with for what seems like months. Even a semi cool appearance by Depowered Doc Strange only serves to inch this book along towards Tony’s inevitable recovery. We all know what’s going to happen. Tony’s gonna wake up just in time for SEIGE. Just get there already…enough of this Tony walking through the dream-verse crap. - Ambush Bug

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #617 Marvel Comics

While on the overall I have actually been greatly enjoying this book since this tri-monthly incarnation, I especially enjoy it whenever one Joe Kelly gets his hand in the rotation. And this issue is the absolute most perfect example of why. There is just such a great handling of the characters here, especially the Rhino, who has been so one note pretty much every and anytime he has appeared in a Spidey comic for as long as I can remember (with his TANGLED WEB story being the only exception I can think of). Right here though, Kelly shows more depth for this character than I have ever seen. There’s a big heart in the big man that used to don the horn and Kelly draws every bit of sympathy one could to turn a “Lovable Loser” into an actual winner for once. Well, as much as you’d ever expect to see the Rhino “win” for once. This was just a great one off story that exemplifies why this book actually does warrant the multiple issues each month. There are just so many characters to work with in the world of Spider-Man, it doesn’t always have to be about the Webslinger himself, and this is a prime example of why. – Humphrey Lee

NEONOMICON Hornbook Avatar Press

Being the H.P. Lovecraft junkie that I am, I couldn't help but notice this comic on the stands. Add Alan Moore to the mix, and it was a no-brainer. I still don't know how it is that I missed Moore's THE COURTYARD when it came out, but he and artist Jacen Burrows return to that world for this sequel series. One problem: I didn't realize until I got home that this was just a preview for the NEONOMICON series, due out in... August? Fuck. I should have known that the $1.99 price tag was too good to be true. In any case, the slender nine pages of story made me mark my calendar for when the actual series debuts. And made me resolve to get my hands on a copy of THE COURTYARD. -BottleImp

BATMAN #695 DC Comics

This storyarc has surprised me. Artist Tony Daniel has always been a gifted penciler, but his current “Life After Death” storyarc running through this series has been exceptionally good. What impressed me the most is how Daniel juggles a massive cast of characters and has them bumping around and beating the snot out of each other in imaginative and new ways. This issue alone has Batman, Alfred, Robin, Catwoman, Dr. Arkham, Huntress, the new Reaper, the Falcone family, Riddler, Penguin, and the Mad Hatter. And never did the book feel crowded or a cameo unnecessary. Fun, solid action and a pretty fine mystery makes this the other Bat-book people should be talking about. - Ambush Bug

PUNISHER MAX #3 Marvel MAX

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Garth Ennis must feel pretty goddamn flattered by how this run by Jason Aaron and Ennis’ usual cohort in crime Steve Dillon has turned out. Not that I’m meaning that as a dig or anything, far from it given this is the kind of storytelling that should be happening for Marvel’s Mob Mangler (sorry, I love alliteration), i.e. not Frankencastle. If I were to have any issue with this “mimicry” is that with this issue, Aaron somewhat devolves from his dirty and methodical approach that was more like Garth’s MAX take on the book, to the sophomoric, gross out joke for the sake of gross out joke take that made the tail end of his Marvel Knight’s run almost unreadable. While the first two issues were pitch perfect in making the arrival of the MAX Kingpin as brutal and systematic as you could ever hope, this went to far into juvenile humor and diminished what it’s accomplished so far just a tad. I still have high hopes for this run, obviously there’s two talented men who get this character involved, but if there’s going to be any further aping going on here, I hope it’s of what these guys put on page the first two issues of this series. – 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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  • Jan. 20, 2010, 9:14 a.m. CST

    DC Should run an ongoing Elseworld's series

    by I_Snake_Plissken

    Almost always interesting stories.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 9:14 a.m. CST

    William?

    by Doctor Manhattan

    William, how long have you been reading comics. First off, it is Spider-Man, with a hyphen. Not Spiderman. Would you write "Bat-Man"? No, you wouldn't, because it is wrong. Second, Silver St. Cloud is a classic Batman love-interest, from the Steve Engleheart/Marshall Rogers run. She was even recently brought back and her fate revealed in a sequel to that run, just before Marshall Rogers passed away. If you are going to review comics on this site, at least get your basic history straight. Smith didn't come up with the character. And Bruce was head over heels for Silver. She knew he was Batman, he thought about giving it all up for her, he felt like maybe it was time to find a real life, etc. This is all established cannon. Maybe if you read some books older than 2000, you would know this.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 9:15 a.m. CST

    Counting down to Batman #700...

    by Daytripper69

    Can't wait!!

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Agreed I Snake

    by optimous_douche

    Love the entire Elseworlds line.<p> Those stories along with the older What Ifs from Marvel (not the current drek)are some of my all time favorites.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 9:37 a.m. CST

    @Doctor Manhattan

    by KoozyK

    Chill with the fanboy continuity history shizz. And just so you know, Batman was originally known as Bat-Man by Bob Kane. It was dropped later-on after the character's creation.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 9:49 a.m. CST

    @KoozyK

    by RedGobbbo

    Why should he cool it? It's a good point. Also,you're wrong. http://www.coverbrowser.com/image/detective-comics/27-1.jpg

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:21 a.m. CST

    Adventures of Superman podcast

    by kalel21

    There's a daily podcast that started just a few days ago replaying episodes of the "Adventures of Superman" radio show from 1945: www.clickcaster.com/radioserials

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:26 a.m. CST

    Sweet Lord

    by Joenathan

    That's a giant-ass fucking Tea Cup.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:28 a.m. CST

    Silver St Cloud...

    by film11

    ...did not come out of nowhere. Admittedly, I haven't read a BATMAN comic in years. But Silver was one of Batman's great loves (and she was even smart enough to guess his identity because, even masked, she knew his facial structure). Character appeared during the great Englehart/Rogers run. I also see that Flanagan doesn't draw BATMAN with those dumb "mouse ears". The cowl should have long ears. I may have to check this book out!

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Never any Star Wars on here

    by Drsambeckett1984

    Just saying

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:32 a.m. CST

    Marshall Rogers gone???

    by film11

    First I've heard of this. If true, what a great loss. Anyone know what happened? For my money, he was the BEST Batman artist in his multi-decade history. Very sad news indeed.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Nation X and What If

    by Homer Sexual

    I loved the Nation X as well, all 4 stories. Something for everyone: Jubilee, Gambit, Northstar and...Martha Johannsen. All with neat little stories. A nice break fromthe angst, while still in character and continuity. <p> Some of the current What If stories are actually very good. The most recent issue, featuring Electra not gone bad, was one of my favorite, and most remembered, comics of the past few weeks. <p> Jonah Hex 51 was a winner last week as well. After the somewhat soft, Darwyn Cooke drawn issue 50, 51 gets tough again, and Giordano's old school style works great for this story.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Englehart/Rogers

    by Homer Sexual

    Is that run collected? I remember the art as so very beautiful. Joker Fish was the main storyline from that era. The only thing is, why is Silver St. Cloud the only person smart enough to recogninze someone with a mask on? I know..it's comics, so I'll shut up.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:38 a.m. CST

    I hear you on the Iron Man pacing

    by Joenathan

    but I bet it reads better in trade. I think this book, more than most, is being written for that format.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:54 a.m. CST

    Elseworlds

    by Joenathan

    I love post apocalyptic superhero stuff and they always delivered. I loved the alien takeover one with Batman as the lone defender and Flash had broken legs and Superman had gone into hiding. It ended up as an Up with Superboy story, but it was still cool. Everybody had on goggles and leather jackets and shit... awesome. <br><br>What happened to the What ifs? They used to be awesome and ballsy... The last few years they've been crap. My favorites were the "what if Cap had been revived today" stories because without fail, the Marvel Universe that didn't have a Captain America early on? It went totally Fascist.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:57 a.m. CST

    Kevin Smith Can't Write Comics Worth a Shit

    by Autodidact

    I still can't shake the disappointment of his Daredevil run.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11 a.m. CST

    Elseworlds Annuals

    by Autodidact

    It was either 1993 or 1994 when all DC's Annual issues had an Elseworlds theme. Some really great stories came out. Same thing in 1991 when the big crossover was Armageddon 2001, so instead of random Elseworlds we got a look at ten years down the road.. in one of them Superman had gone bad and become supreme dictator of the planet. Great stories.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:02 a.m. CST

    Batman Love Interest

    by Autodidact

    Holy not-getting-it, Batman! It's the same thing as using Robin... it's marketing-driven thinking. The guy is an obsessed billionaire psychotic, he doesn't have much mindspace for getting laid.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Also

    by Joenathan

    Here's something that just occired to me as I was thinking about the What if Cap had been revived today stories... Not only would America always go Fascist, but it was always under the thumb of the evil 1950s Cap and that made me wonder:<br><Br>How many times has that guy gone on TV and claimed to be Cap only to have the Press Conference interrupted by the real Cap?<br><br>Imagine if you lived in the MArvel Universe. <br><br> "Hey, what's going on?"<br>"Huh? Oh... The fake Cap is on TV again..."<br>"Again? God, somebody needs to put that guy back in his tube."<br>"He could at least sew some stripes to the back of his uniform, maybe make it difficult to spot him... for once..."

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:11 a.m. CST

    Regarding Booster Gold----

    by GoodTimeBobby

    --Does this issue explain how come Green Lantern, standing in the rubble of Coast City, is smiling and waving, with his broken arm in a little green sling, as Supermullet flies off into the sunset, telling him he's "earned a vacation" at the end of Superman's book - while at the same time over in his own book, he is potrayed as having suddenly snapped at the moment Coast City was destroyed, becoming an Instant Sociopath? THAT is something that should be Retconned!!!

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:11 a.m. CST

    If you think Batman is "psychotic"

    by rev_skarekroe

    Then you fail.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:12 a.m. CST

    Autodidact

    by Joenathan

    It was 94. That was a good group of annuals

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:14 a.m. CST

    Bobby

    by Joenathan

    That is a famous Editorial slip up. The Superman issue was penned before the Green Lantern.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Still no Seige?

    by Joenathan

    Tsk, tsk, mother fuckin' tsk.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Batman is on the Verge of Psychosis

    by Autodidact

    At least, my Batman is. He's a guy whose life would have been perfect if not for some stupid criminal thug. And he spends the rest of his life doing rather extreme things to combat that trauma. If he's not psychotic, well let's just say he has MAJOR issues.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Kevin Smith Shits the Bed...Again

    by Star Hump

    Any fanboys who still pay for comics these days, send a message to DC and do not buy Kevin Smith's latest abortion. Please? Just look at is a gesture toward the greater good.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:27 a.m. CST

    @Autodidact

    by GoodTimeBobby

    There WERE alot of great stories that summer- I think the one your thinking of is where Jor-El managed to build these giant space arks for almost the entire population of Krypton- They all migrated to earth, had the power of a Superman- then began to impose these fascist kryptonian beliefs on earth. Batman was the lone voice of dissent trying to fight against a ruling class of supermen- constantly getting his ass kicked and put back together again- which eventually inspires a young Kal-El to question his father for imposing his beliefs on humanity. GREAT Story.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:33 a.m. CST

    @RedGobbbo - nope, not wrong

    by KoozyK

    the cover may say 'batman,' but bob kane's script says 'bat-man.' http://gol.ly/bat81 http://gol.ly/bat82

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:40 a.m. CST

    Tsutomu Nihei

    by Tumor_Binks

    Get a hold of a copy of Tsutomu's NOISE. Tell me the Wackies didn't read that before they did the Matrix, just try.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Nah, Batman's not psychotic

    by Laserhead

    Beyond the Miller version, Batman has typically been super-sane. And he's bedded more chicks than anybody else in the DCU, as far as I can tell. I always thought of him as a combo between James Bond/Sherlock Holmes/Ultimate Ninja. So no, not psychotic.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Just read the first Scalped trade

    by gooseud

    everyone was right, its just as awesome as everyone said

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Giffen/DeMatteis taking over Booster Gold...

    by MisterE

    Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis are taking over Booster Gold in a couple of months: <p> http://www.newsarama.com/comics/Giffen-DeMatteis-Booster-Gold-100114.html <p> Plus Giffen is back on JLI, but with Judd Winick as his co-conspirator: <p> http://www.newsarama.com/comics/justice-league-international-returns-011012.html <p> (remove any spaces from the above links!)

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Anyone read The Sword?

    by gooseud

    Anyone?

  • Jan. 20, 2010, noon CST

    I've flipped through it

    by Joenathan

    and was somewhat interested, but never picked it up

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:05 p.m. CST

    God Damn DC --- Sneaky "new" JLA

    by optimous_douche

    Just got back from the LCS.<P> Low and behold a Justice League America Special #1 is sitting on the shelves with Batman on the cover.<p> Interest piqued.<p> Open it up to discover Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman playing got-it, need-it with the JLA roster.<P> Kept getting the overwhelming feeling I've read this before. BECASUE I HAVE!!!!!<p> Mother fucking reprint touted as a #1 NEW special. Now given my position as comic reviewer, yes I should have known this. But from that cover, it looks like a brand spanking new JLA.<p> This simply sucks DC....BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:11 p.m. CST

    I'm changing my name

    by Homer Sexual

    to Homer-Sexual, and if you spell it wrong, I will be vewy vewy angry. <p> Oh, God, I knew I wanted to say something...The Ultimatum trade came out last week in paperback, so of course I bought it and... <p> I liked it. It was very entertaining, although it didn't take long to read. <p> I always liked the Ultimate Universe, so on one hand, it is a shame to see Dazzler, Nightcrawler, et.al. dispatched so offhandedly. But the big kills are all highly entertaining, and if Marvel decided they wanted to kill of the Ultimate U, this wasn't such a bad way to do it. <p> Now, if this were set in the REGULAR Marvel U, that would be another thing. <p> Joe, I bet they're waiting a few issues to review Seige, but you could write it up, just say more than "Awesome Bendis shakin' up the Marvel U in an edgy way" por favor.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:13 p.m. CST

    Aliens as pet wolves, or whatever.

    by Homer Sexual

    BOO to that! I suppose it's all good for the Predator fans, but that was why Predator vs. Aliens didn't really work either, too much Predator, not enough Aliens. So I won't be picking up that book.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:18 p.m. CST

    Silver

    by Waylaid-by-jackassery

    It bothers me that William has no idea who Silver St. Cloud is. It bothers me more that none of the other AICN comic guys looked over his review and told him about her

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:32 p.m. CST

    For Homer

    by Joenathan

    My Seige review:<Br><br>The Super awesome Bendis is shakin' up the Marvel U in an edgy way, yo...

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Predators vs. Aliens

    by Joenathan

    I never understood why none of the films did Aliens vs Predators with Space MArines in the middle. Why not? It seems so easy. Who wants to watch normal people running from Aliens when they could be watching Space Marines? It makes no sense.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Ultimatum

    by Joenathan

    It was the tone that put me off, its the same tone that makes Smallville so terrible. It just reads so lame. The little decisions within the story are so... lame. I like the idea. I hate the execution.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Maybe...

    by Joenathan

    William is Liam the Kid, all grown up. I smell a conspiracy

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:40 p.m. CST

    gooseud

    by CaptainBass

    "The Sword" is great! Only problem I have is that you can read an issue in just about a minute. I know they say "leave 'em wanting more" but I'd like a larger portion in the first place please! I've liked all the other Luna brothers stuff I've read but that's always a problem for me with their books.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:50 p.m. CST

    Silver

    by Doctor Manhattan

    I'm with Waylaid-by-jackassery. It is one thing to not know about some random one-off character, but Silver St. Cloud is a major character in the Batman mythos. And William's entire review is about how he thinks the love story doesn't ring true for Batman and that Smith must be imposing his own marriage on the book. It would be like saying, "Smith created some goofy character called The Joker that attacks Batman with silly gags. Smith must have been thinking of his comedic youth with Jason Mewes when he wrote the character." Just really poor editing and research all around. I read these reviews because most of the A$$holes have a firm background in comics and can tie recent titles back to stuff from the past. William shows none of that. If you are going to knock something, at least understand what you are knocking.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:56 p.m. CST

    I'll Take The Psychotic Batman Please

    by Autodidact

    You guys can have the version who hangs aroudn with little boys in their underwear.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 12:59 p.m. CST

    Three World War: duh!

    by Zardoz

    It's not WW3, it's a war on three different worlds: Earth, Predator Home planet, Alien home planet. (Whatever those planets are called)

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 1:08 p.m. CST

    @koozyK-still wrong

    by RedGobbbo

    Youre gonna tell someone to "chill with the fanboy continuity history shizz" then use a bob kane script to make your point? Lol. It's Batman not Bat-man-and thats the word!

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 1:12 p.m. CST

    @koozyK

    by Doctor Manhattan

    Agreed RedGobbbo. It is one thing when stupid MSM outlets write "Spiderman", but when actual supposed comics fans do it? Just wrong. Especially since reviews are supposed to be fluent in what they are discussing.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 1:14 p.m. CST

    Englehart/Rogers Batman...

    by Doctor Manhattan

    is collected. I believe the TPB is called "Strange Apparitions". Hugo Strange is the main villain.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Armageddon 2001 Superman Dictator

    by Autodidact

    It wasn't a world full of kryptonians. It was the normal DC universe some time between 1991 and 2001, and Superman accidentally killed a large number of russians who were hiding in the lead lined reactor chamber of a nuclear sub. The guilt drove him nuts and he decided to take over the entire planet to best protect everyone. I'll have to pull those issues again.. I remember almost all the Armageddon 2001 annuals were fun to read.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 1:35 p.m. CST

    Armageddon 2001 Superman President

    by Autodidact

    There was another one where Superman's secret identity is revealed on national television. Since he can't hide among normal people anymore, he gives up the Clark Kent persona and accepts a nomination for president. He basically turns the world into a utopia and then gives up all the power when he's unable to save his mother from a heart attack (I think, it has been years since I read it... I do remember thinking it was a really good Superman story though).

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 1:36 p.m. CST

    People quoting 'history'...

    by Psynapse

    Should actually know a little before they attempt to quote it.<p>"Batman, originally referred to as "the Bat-Man" and still referred to at times as "the Batman"<p>From Wikipedia, which in this instance IS correct.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Nope.

    by RedGobbbo

    Nope.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Auto...

    by GoodTimeBobby

    Yeah I see we are talking about 2 different summer events- the 2001 event was good (until they blew the ending by chickening out on WHO the Monarch was actually going to be) I was referring to the summer where all the annuals were actual Elseworlds tales- and had the EW logo on them. But I think crossovers should go back to that- if Blackest Night were handled that way I think it wouldve been better- an issue in the beginning of summer to kick it off- Annuals of every title involved in the ongoing storyline throughout the summer-if you cared to pick up any other character's books to see how they are involved- then an issue in the fall to resolve it. It would work much better that way- remember the "Eclipso: The Darkness Within" event was like that as well. I was excited about Blackest Night- but now it has worn out it's welcome, and I think DC must now realize that their business model must suffer by being tied into knots of continuity for months or years after the Final Crisis debacle.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 1:57 p.m. CST

    So wait, Good Time.....

    by gooseud

    your tired of endless amounts of zombies coming back, all with the exact same personality and strategy (use harsh language to make the heroes cry, thus charging up the Boo Hoo Power Battery)? Whatever for?

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 2:01 p.m. CST

    I Know The Difference

    by Autodidact

    I was just trying to clarify about that Superman story. I have virtually all the annuals and from both years. I have most of the Eclipso stuff too, which I believe was 1992. That was a great concept too... DC was pretty good at this back then. Zero Hour was also a great event, think it was 1995?

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 2:09 p.m. CST

    yeah, I can't remember the last Star Wars issue reviewed here

    by Tall_Boy66

    I just dug through the "Tales of the Jedi" series (I was playing "Knights of the Old Republic" and there is a lot of reference to the Xar Kun war) and it might make a good "it came from the back bin" take. Of course, the first reviewer to invoke the horribly, horribly cliched and lazy line of "Unlike the prequels, this is Star Wars the way it was MEANT to be" or a variation therein should be fired. Out of a cannon. Into the sun.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Blackest Night

    by GoodTimeBobby

    ....wouldve been the perfect old school 90's DC Summer Event. Instead of bogging things down by giving out entire miniseries to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Teen Titans to see how they deal with the same repetitve theme- just pick up an oversized annual if you REALLY cared.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Batman is not even going to be in issue #700.

    by Subtitles_Off

    Dick Grayson is going to still be pretending to be Batman in #700. Batman isn't going to be in-continuity until after all the time-traveling ridiculousness. I don't even think they start that until May.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 2:25 p.m. CST

    Besides,

    by Subtitles_Off

    once he can put time-traveling on his list of qualifications, he ain't even Batman anymore. He might as well come back with the ability to actually turn into a giant bat.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 2:30 p.m. CST

    WHO'S WHO in the DC Universe is coming.

    by Subtitles_Off

    It's irrelevant before it gets published, but they have to put it out so Grant Morrison will know who to fack up next.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 2:36 p.m. CST

    I Heard batman 700

    by optimous_douche

    Will be written by Winnick and Smith.<P> Batman not only will have AIDS, but when he was thrown through time he fucked a silver-back gorrila thinking it was Silver St. Cloud and actually STARTED the AIDS virus.<p> Never nay say the power of the Bat.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 2:39 p.m. CST

    Whatever Happened to Annuals

    by optimous_douche

    I know they still put them out, but they are so scattershot now.<P> Every summer you could always look forward to MORE comics whne you actually had the time to read them.<p> Now, they come out whenever and follow absolutely no pattern, theme or continuity.<P> Fuck — Armageddon 2001 was excellent. I need to reread those.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Batman's Future....

    by GoodTimeBobby

    ...I don't think that Batman as we've known him will ever be "Back". I think they are setting up Bruce Wayne to be the living patriarch of a family of Bat-themed heroes. He is like the Zeus on a Mount Olympus of crime-fighters. I believe this time traveling maxi-series is designed to seed the timeline with this elemental, folk-loric idea of a Batman all throughout human memory, then you have him passing on the mantle in the modern day to Dick Grayson to establish some idea of a Legacy character (like Flash and Green Lantern were until they RUINED that) and you have Damien tied into family tree now with Lazarus Pits that can revive him or his descendants indefinitely all the way up to the DC One Million event in the 853rd Century and beyond.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Batmans future, and a defense of William

    by Homer Sexual

    Goodtime Bobby, that wouldn't be a bad idea...certainly preferred the successors to Ollie Queen and Barry Allen.. but the originals always come back. Batman as we've known him will most certainly be back... it's only a question of when, and what will happen to Dick Grayson. <p> And while William should've known about Silver St. Cloud, that doesn't mean his analysis of Smith's writing is wrong. I bet it's right, because that's what Smith does.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 3:29 p.m. CST

    Legacy Characters...

    by GoodTimeBobby

    ...Yeah they really screwed up Roy Harper, the 2nd Green Arrow- he had his arm ripped off or something? ugh. Somebody must've been rereading Dark Knight Returns. Also, I grew up in the Wally West era- and LOVED him as Flash- I liked the way his mentor's death seemed to color everything he did - the hero he tried to become- and as much as I enjoyed him,I was ready for Bart Allen to take over after being vetted for years as Impulse- but DC hopelessly bungled that transition- and then decided to bring Barry back for what? So he can become a Blue Lantern? Also, his characterization seems all wrong..tying his origin into some hoaky murder mystery involving his parents and having him speak like a McCarthy-era Commie Smasher with a crew cut is all wrong. Don't even get me started about how Kyle Rayner was a perfectly acceptable heir to Green Lantern!

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Optimus

    by Joenathan

    Bendis does Annuals.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 4:02 p.m. CST

    gooseud The Sword RULES!

    by StrokerX

    loves me some Luna.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 4:35 p.m. CST

    I just finished Sword TPB #2

    by gooseud

    where she fights the water guy in a fight scene that lasted like 4 issues, it was the War and Peace of fight scenes. It was like the They Live fight scene that goes on for like 12 minutes or something.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 4:42 p.m. CST

    Roy Harper got his arm ripped off?

    by rev_skarekroe

    Checking Wikipedia, looks like that's true.<p>They also apparently turned Connor Hawke into Wolverine. That's really stupid.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 4:44 p.m. CST

    While I hate to bring up or defend Batman and Robin

    by mortsleam

    Elle MacPherson played Julie Madison, who was Bruce Wayne's fiancee from almost the beginning of the book. She took off when he kept breaking dates to go be Batman. So they at least used a correct name for the character. Everything else... shudder...

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 4:53 p.m. CST

    The best part of Batman and Robin

    by Autodidact

    Was the mental image of Vendela and Elle Macpherson grinding their freshly shaved pussies together.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 4:55 p.m. CST

    Hit Girl vs Predators

    by Snookeroo

    You know it's coming.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 5:11 p.m. CST

    Silver Redux

    by film11

    I just remembered...didn't Englehart/Rogers do a limited run (may 6 or 8 issues) a couple years back? Wasn't Silver in that series as well?

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 6:36 p.m. CST

    That's right film11

    by Star Hump

    It's called Batman: Dark Detective. All the principles return: Englehart, Rogers and even Terry Austin on inks. Silver St. Cloud returns, and the Joker is the villain.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 7:19 p.m. CST

    Thanks Star Hump

    by film11

    I'm going to look for this book, despie the bad review. Although I'm still bummed out to hear that we will never enjoy the beautiful artwork of Marshall Rogers, from what I've seen, I may like Flanagan's artwork. And I'd look forward to seeing Silver again (one of the most beautiful women in comics, at least the way Rogers drew her.)

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 7:37 p.m. CST

    My pleasure

    by Star Hump

    Dark Detective was the best comics news of the past decade for me. I'm crazy about the original Englehart/Rogers run (it's the definitive Batman IMO) and I was blown away to discover that they'd teamed up for an encore.<p> Be warned, the artwork is a bit different. Rogers' pencils aren't as amazing as they were the first time around and Austin's inking is looser, less detailed. But, it's still the same gang of creators and it has the same feel as the original run, if not the exact look. The story is a good bit of fun as well. It's one of my favorite TPBs.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 7:58 p.m. CST

    GoodtimeBobby, that's an awful idea.

    by Subtitles_Off

    Which is exactly why it is the likeliest. You, sir, should write comic books.<P>Batman - comics-wise - is ruined for the foreseeable future. Anyone who champions "legacy" Batman is an idiot.<P>Sorry. I don't like to call anyone an idiot, but often an idiot just throws up his hand and says, "Me, me, me, me!"

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 8:10 p.m. CST

    Renaissance Batman!

    by loodabagel

    I think those Elseworld annuals were 93. I picked up the Batman one because it had a cool Mike Mignola cover and it was cheap. What I got was a story about Batman being the personal assistant to Leonardo da Vinci. He was always really moody and pissed off because he was an orphan and not as good at painting as Leonardo was. He smashed a few of his canvases because they weren't as good as The Last Supper, if I recall correctly. Of course, Da Vinci was having an affair with the lady who posed for the Mona Lisa, she gets kidnapped, and Tomas (the assistant) becomes Batman to rescue her. Da Vinci paints Batman into the Mona Lisa as a token of his gratitude, but Tomas gets pissed because he thinks the Batman is evil, so he paints over it. Anyway, I hope Grant Morrison weaves that into continuity in this coming event.

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:26 p.m. CST

    Steve Englehart once said that the Batman...

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...isn't insane or a fascist; but he's as close as you can get without going over the line. Combine this with Morrison's "But the Batman thinks of everything..." approach, and you get a guy supremely aware of the possibility of going over the line, and not only never lets it happen, but probably has backup plans in case it happens.<p>That Bruce has issues, I don't doubt for an instant; but being psychotic would make him ineffective,and that's the last thing he wants. After all, being insane is probably why the Joker never wins. (Isn't there some issue of something where some hero tells a villain who asks why he always loses, "Because you're insane," and the villain says, "You're right"?)<p>Indeed, you'd think that most genuinely mad scientists would be coaxing moonbeams out of cucumbers and, thus, no threat at all. I think there's a mixup here between "psychotic" (which generally decreases ability to function, & "psychopathic" (which means someone lacks any empathy with others, but can otherwise function). It wouldn't be surprising in an industry that usually calls someone suffering from Multiple Personality Disorder a scizophrenic.<p>(Oh, and the Batman isn't a psychopath, either. The guy's supposed to be a _hero_, remember, not a nutjob in a costume. _That's_ the Badger.)

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 10:31 p.m. CST

    That should be "who not only never lets it happen."

    by kisskissbangbang

    ...And it's _schizophrenic_, too, with an h after the 1st c. (Damn lack of editing function.)

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:14 p.m. CST

    Subtitles...

    by GoodTimeBobby

    ...why all the hate? I personally don't care what they do with Batman- I'm just forwarding a hypothesis based on the upcoming release info and a few interviews where the creators went on about the importance of legacy characters. I think you happen to be right- Bats IS ruined for the near future- in the same way that he was during the Knightfall/Knightquest era which drove me away from the bat books in the first place. Creatively, it seems to me, that these characters always fluctuate- people get tired of the same old story where a lone batman captures the Joker and takes him to jail a hundred times- so they begin to branch out and build a large supporting cast around him that take up more and more story space of their own; then somebody gets sick of them and wants to take it back to basics and have Batman chase the Joker by himself again. it's a cycle. But thanks for the vote of confidence, May I use you as a reference whne I forward by resume to DC? I cant do any worse than Miller on All Star Bats!

  • Jan. 20, 2010, 11:42 p.m. CST

    Dwayne McDuffie...

    by GoodTimeBobby

    ..is a comic writer I really RESPECT. I think his ideas about how DC should handle it's continuity are worth considering.. http://dwaynemcduffie.com.lamphost.net/opinions/archives/BTYB2.php

  • Jan. 21, 2010, 1:21 a.m. CST

    I Was Being Internet-Stubborn, I Don't Literally Mean Psychotic

    by Autodidact

    "psychotic" is not meant literally. Let's not get too hung up on that specific word. Because yeah my favourite aspect of Batman is his total self-control and his genius in contingency planning. But think about it, to be Batman, you gotta be seriously intense and just a little bit whacked. No time for romance and a sidekick is simply incongruous with the premise. <p>I shouldn't refer to the movies all the time when discussing Batman as a comic property, but when I say psychotic I mean in the Tim Burton movie sense. The character was clearly tetched in those two movies. I'm sure the word "psychotic" is thrown around in both of them (not that I'm defending that specific choice of word, let it go). And if you have to give him a love interest, the way to handle it is along the lines of Batman Returns. You give Batman a love interest, not Bruce Wayne. Bruce Wayne's not a real guy, he died in that alley when he was 9.

  • Jan. 21, 2010, 7:42 a.m. CST

    GT Bobby - Thanks

    by optimous_douche

    Cool article from McDuffie...thank you.<p> I think that resonates with what a lot of the @$$holes buying habits.<p> My only critique is that he doesn't offer a way out really.<p> Not that he said this,but he implies that continuity should end.<p> Not the answer. Part of what we love (or at least I love) about this medium is that events do touch on other events.<p> he's right thought that the swell of books is not only intimidating to new readers, but I would also say all of us old geeks. As life takes up brain space it becomes very hard to keep track of the minutia.<p> Personally, I think everything needs to move to trades. this would stop the deluge of cross-overs.

  • Jan. 21, 2010, 9:50 a.m. CST

    Optimus...right on!

    by film11

    One reason I haven't read any Bat-books in years (except for Neil Gaiman's 2-parter) is that there are just too damn many! In my day, there was only BATMAN and DETECTIVE (and later, TALES OF ZTHE DARK KNIGHT). Now...they even have a BATWOMAN comic! (WHY???) I wouldn't even know where to start.

  • Jan. 21, 2010, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Good Blackest Night Crossovers this week...

    by Homer Sexual

    In case anyone is still reading, last night I picked up two Blackest Night crossovers. Now, I haven't been reading the main story, waiting for the trade I guess, but some of the crossovers are pretty good. <p> Last week everyone agreed that the Suicide Squad/Secret Six BN story was excellent. This week brings a Starman BN that is even better. I have not liked James Robinson's recent work, but this issue shows he can still do a top notch story with the right characters. Jack Knight, Starman, isn't even in the issue, but it's very moving and entertaining. I loved it. <p> The Catwoman BN is also great. I don't really follow her, but I saw Harley Quinn inside so I picked it up. Harley and Ivy definitely add to the story, but it's still Catwoman in the lead, and makes me interestd in her, which I usually am not. Big ups to those two issues!

  • Jan. 21, 2010, 5:07 p.m. CST

    film11...

    by loodabagel

    Batwoman in great. They just wrapped up the second story in Detective Comics, and I highly recommend you pick it up. Apart from the name, she's not really connected to the rest of the Bat-Gang. She's still a superhero in Gotham City, but it's an entirely different book than any of the other Bat-stories. One of, if not the single best superhero comic in recent times. Intelligently written and J.H. Williams art. My favorite comic right now.

  • Jan. 21, 2010, 6:02 p.m. CST

    The Sword is My Favorite Comic!

    by arzbest

    The Luna Brothers absolutely have their act together. "Girls" was a great read, although I think there were too many characters to keep track of. I know, that's what trades are for. But, "The Sword". This is one for the ages.....

  • Jan. 21, 2010, 6:25 p.m. CST

    Kelly Jones

    by film11

    Is Kelly Jones still drawing Batman? If so, which book?

  • Jan. 21, 2010, 6:38 p.m. CST

    kisskissbangbang - an answer to your question

    by Thalya

    >> (Isn't there some issue of something where some hero tells a villain who asks why he always loses, "Because you're insane," and the villain says, "You're right"?)<BR><BR> And tying right into the Batman discussion, from Wikipedia's page on The Riddler: <BR><BR>>>>The Riddler is typically portrayed as a smooth-talking, yet quirky, victim of an intense obsessive compulsion. This was first introduced in the 1965 issue of Batman (titled, "The Remarkable Ruse of The Riddler") in which he tries to refrain from leaving a riddle, but fails. This compulsion has been a recurring theme, as shown in a 1999 issue of Gotham Adventures, in which he tried to commit a crime without leaving a riddle, but fails: "You don't understand... I really didn't want to leave you any clues. I really planned never to go back to Arkham Asylum. But I left you a clue anyway. So I... I have to go back there. Because I might need help. I... I might actually be crazy."

  • Jan. 22, 2010, 12:28 p.m. CST

    Jones had a 12-part Batman series last year.

    by stones_throw

    It was called BATMAN: GOTHAM AT MIDNIGHT and in it he drew almost nothing but Batman. It wasn't bad, either, especially Jones's art. I should think a trade has been predictably released.

  • Jan. 22, 2010, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Englehart & Rogers issues released in the trade STRANGE APPARITI

    by stones_throw

    Great stuff. Marshall Rogers runs with Neal Adams' realistic depiction of Batman in a slightly different direction. Silver St. Cloud is a great love interest and, as has been said, "The Laughing Fish" really cuts to the heart of the Batman/outsider hero myth. Batman's dedication leaves him almost closer to colorful psychopaths like the Joker than the one woman he might love. So I wouldn't really call him insane, but there's more than an element of obsession when handled by an intelligent writer like Englehart.

  • Jan. 22, 2010, 12:36 p.m. CST

    Btw, Steve Englehart is convinced THE DARK KNIGHT...

    by stones_throw

    ...stole from his miniseries DARK DETECTIVE. Check it out:<p>http://tinyurl.com/yzkj34t<p>Also, the above title should read STRANGE APPARITIONS. Not STRANGE APPARITI.

  • Jan. 22, 2010, 1:19 p.m. CST

    awesome:

    by we_pray_for_mad_skillz

    http://tinyurl.com/yz7h7mm

  • Jan. 22, 2010, 2:22 p.m. CST

    batman coppin w.b. yeats now?

    by foree forehead

    what's that all about