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AICN COMICS REVIEWS: NOVA! COLOR BLAST! SWEET TOOTH! & MUCH MORE!!!

#38 2/3/10 #8

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here with a special announcement before we start with the reviews. Mark Millar of KICK-ASS and ULTIMATES fame is auctioning off the name for the title character in his upcoming book NEMESIS to raise money to buy a bus for a school for the handicapped that Millar’s brother teaches at. Highest bidder will be able to go down in comic book history for naming the world’s greatest super-villain! The bidding is up on eBay now and closes Thursday night. Interested? Just follow the link here for more details. Good luck, Mark!
And now, on with the reviews!

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) ULTIMATE X #1 / ULTIMATE ENEMY #1 BLACKEST NIGHT: THE QUESTION #37 COLOR BLAST: VOL. 2 SWEET TOOTH #6 BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT SPECIAL #1 NOVA #34 / GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #22 RED ROBIN #9 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents DEADMAN WONDERLAND Vol. 1 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

ULTIMATE X #1

Writer: Jeph Loeb Artist: Arthur Adams

ULTIMATE ENEMY #1

Writer: Brian Bendis Artist: Rafa Sandoval Publisher: Ultimate Marvel Reviewer: Optimous Douche

In 2000 the Ultimate Universe rose like a Phoenix from the dead ashes of what was one of the most hellish decades in comicdom. It was a salvation from dwindling sales and strangling continuity, promising to reinvent the treasured characters of the Marvel Universe for the modern age.
After ten years of exceeding expectations the decision was made to let it all end. Well sort of…because here we are in 2010 with three Ultimate titles again. Naturally there is Bendis’ 800 pound comic gorilla ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, and now two new offerings, ULTIMATE ENEMY and ULTIMATE X.
This resurrection feels different though, less like a Phoenix and more like a Central Park pigeon with a busted wing rising to lamppost height after wafting a hearty cloud of that sweet sweet New York crack into its lungs.
None of the offerings are bad; all are surprisingly palatable as a matter of a fact. They just don’t seem anywhere near as delectable as what once was. Is this because ol’ Optimous is a fangeezer as opposed to a cherub faced fanboy? I don’t think so. I love a lot of new stuff. This doesn’t feel new, though. More like a resurrection akin to your grandmother that’s been dead for 14 years showing up on your doorstep, rotting flesh and all. You're happy to see her, but then again, not really.
I’ll say part of this is akin to FINAL CRISIS syndrome: the art of leveraging an old name for something that is entirely different. A name (and, more importantly, a brand) sets certain expectations. You learn this day one of corporate communications boot camp. When FINAL CRISIS raped the nostalgia of CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS is it any wonder there was a revolt in the kingdom of Dorktopia? Ultimate is a brand that has set the expectation of new beginnings, not merely hitting a reset button on a universe we all bid a fond farewell to six months ago.
All right, I will now climb down from my Ultimate pulpit to take a Douche-eye look at this week’s Ultimate offerings.
ULTIMATE X definitely deserves top billing. The cover pretty much alludes to the story’s grand reveal, so I’m not sure if SPOILER ALERT is warranted, but regardless you have been warned. ULTIMATE X is the son of Wolverine. Growing up in the middle of trailer park alley, Jimmy is a strapping young man that knows he’s different, but doesn’t learn just how different he is until he flips his car in a drag race and heals almost instantly from injuries. An appearance by Kitty Pride explains that Jimmy’s lineage. Apparently Wolvie and Jimmy’s Dad were army buddies in Iraq. Like friends tend to do, Wolverine gives Jimmy to his buddy…well because. What, like none of you guys ever got a child as a birthday present? Get some new friends -- I’m collecting them like Beanie Babies. Naturally, I’m being flip; we can assume that Wolverine gave up the child knowing that his own life would be one shit storm after another. When Jimmy pops his claws and sees bone instead of metal, he is confused. Kitty lets him know that the metal was an after market add-on because Wolverine just didn’t think he would look good with a moon roof. Then Jimmy grows metal -- and therein lies the mystery of Ultimate X – we know who Dad is, but who the hell is Mom? Probably the highlight of this issue was the interactions between the “adults” of the book. There was just a genuine authentic feel with all of the conversations between Jimmy’s parents, and between Jimmy and his Dad at the end. Probably my only complaint was the fact that Jimmy’s adopted Mom looked like she was born five years after Jimmy and had just entered Junior High. No way I’m buying the fact this chick is in her late 30s.
I wanted desperately for ULTIMATE ENEMY to be a known Marvel character that is generally considered one of the good guys so I could do my ULTIMATE FRENEMY joke. Sadly, no such luck. For now it looks like the ULTIMATE ENEMY terrorizing New York is some kind of sentient afterbirth. This book serves as less of an original title and more of a check-in on the fully recovered world after the events of ULTIMATUM (does it bother anyone else that Magneto destroyed the globe and now everything is back to fine and dandy after a mere six months? Bygones).
The book opens with Jessica Drew, Spidergirl, seeking retribution against the corporate overlords that made her. I’ve never seen a character so ungrateful to exist. Then she sees Ultimate Afterbirth and we are whisked away to the life of the Ultimate FANTASTIC FOUR.
Reed Richards is living back at home. You know, like every other world-famous eighteen -year old. That is until the sentient afterbirth comes in through the Internet and blows up his house (I think that’s what blew up the house – I’m actually not sure, the blast was purple and so is the afterbirth so I’m making assumptions). That’s about all from Reed.
Then we check in on Sue Storm. This was by far the most memorable moments in this title and I would say one of Bendis’ top ten endearing moments. Sue is still being all sciencey in New York when she is visited by Air Force member Ben Grimm. I won’t do the moment justice so I won’t even try. Suffice to say, Ben professes his love for Sue and the unrequited glance she gives back was well worth the price of admission alone.
Given my natural negative tonality (grow up in Jersey and you’ll sound this way too) it would appear that I hated these books, which is simply not case. Both built mysteries that will bring me back for issue 2. While I’ll say this new kid friendly art style that seems to be permeating books is not to my liking, I understand the need for change. My real issue boils down to the same problem I had with FINAL CRISIS. Is it that hard to come up with new fucking names? Or, why did Marvel proclaim the end of the Ultimate universe if it wasn’t really the end? Ponderous, truly ponderous…
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.

BLACKEST NIGHT: THE QUESTION #37

Writer: Greg Rucka Art: Denys Cowan Publisher: DC Comics Guest Reviewer: KletusCasady

What do I know about the original Question? Not that much really. I know he’s kind of a detective type figure with no face…told you I didn’t know that much. One thing I learned about the Question is that his name (Charles Victor Szasz) is very similar to a certain Batman villain with a penchant for knives and self-inflicted pain. The new Question is currently featured in the back of DETECTIVE COMICS. I actually really like her story because it’s action packed and just enough filler to keep the story organically moving and the artwork by Cully Hamner (cool name) ain’t bad either. What I do know about the original Question, I learned from 52 and his story was pretty interesting. I’ve always liked heroes training someone to take on their mantle after they have passed on…I don’t know, it just seems like the right thing to do. I mean, you don’t want the legacy you built to disappear after you die, right? This is basically their story in 52: Victor Sage (the Question) was dying of cancer and had formed a close relationship with Rene Montoya, a cop from GothamCcity. He trains her to become the new Question before he dies of lung cancer thus making him a prime candidate for….drum roll please….a Black Lantern.
The story picks up with Renee meeting Tot (her intel/ Microchip/Oracle) who is apparently obsessed with life’s…wait for it…questions... I don’t really want to spoil the whole thing so I’ll try to do this with out falling back the synopsis. Basically they have a couple unexpected guests; the first is a certain female who trains people in advanced martial arts including one Tim Drake. The second guest is on the cover so if you can’t guess who that is then you probably shouldn’t be using the internet by yourself. Guest number 1 said they were there to fight the new Question and test Renee’s skills but when guest number 2 shows up, guest number 1 reveals their real reason for showing up which was to fight one of the undead Black Lanterns. Which I guess makes sense if you’re one of the best fighters in the world. You’d probably get bored kicking ass all across the globe and fighting a reincarnated hero with a black power ring is…well..something new so...what the hell?!? FIGHT!!! There are a few surprising moments in this issue, specifically a new way to deal with Black Lanterns that I haven’t seen explored in any other book, a technique that leaves the Black Lantern…well, I shouldn’t tell you that. The more Questions the better...get it...see what I did there…because it’s a book about a character called the...nevermind.
The artwork is done by Denys Cowan, who actually did the artwork for the 1987 series with Denny O’Neil (thank you wiki). I’ve always liked his artwork but it’s not the type of artwork that fits every book. He would be really good on DAREDEVIL or something similar where the tone of the book is very somber. Rick Leonardi (artist from VIGILANTE) has a very similar style with a lot of line work, which when done well gives the appearance that everything is moving, which is definitely cool during fight scenes. His style is sort of like a mix between Joe Kubert and Alex Maleev with a little more detail. A little known fact about Denys Cowan is that he did the artwork for one of the best hip hop albums (in my opinion) of the mid-90’s…who, you might you ask? (See, another question). Wu-Tang’s Gza: Liquid Swords, and he’s credited as Denys Cowan for DC Milestone Comics. Milestone coincidentally has a comic that comes out the same day. Did they do that on purpose or just a coincidence? Maybe that’s a question for…ok ok I’m done.
I recommend this book if you are into the BLACKEST NIGHT tie-ins or if you are into the Question and I imagine if you aren’t you’ll probably overlook this book. The story is interesting and easy to follow thanks to the all star team of Greg Rucka (Detective Comics, 52, Wonder Woman) and Denny O’Neil who has been writing DC comics since before I was born. The one thing I can say about Greg Rucka’s work is that everything that happens in his comics makes sense, meaning there is a logical progression to the actions his characters take without many “Well why would she do that if…” moments that some writers tend to over look. The artwork is pretty good, although I don’t think Denys Cowan’s art is as easily likable as some other artists, not that it’s bad, but his style is an acquired taste.

COLOR BLAST: VOLUME TWO

Writer: Jakob Westman Art: Jakob Westman Publisher: Strokirk-Landstoms AB Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

A funny thing happened this week on the way home from wasting my life. I found a large, black envelope waiting for me at my front door. The package was glossy and tightly wrapped and labeled with stamps that were clearly not United States issue. I immediately thought of the digital dump I took on DARK TIMES last week and wondered if shelling two straight STAR WARS books motivated ol’ Georgie to say thanks in a special way.
After convincing my mother-in-law to open it, I was pleasantly surprised to find a complimentary copy of COLOR BLAST: VOLUME TWO from Swedish Art Director Jakob Westman. For those of you new to the COLOR BLAST experience, it reads like a photographer’s portfolio -- assuming that photographer was on mescaline and taking screen captures of his mind. I’m not sure how Westman is able to create and sustain such lasting effects with such simplicity, but his creations are an exercise in synesthesia for the creatively impaired.
COLOR BLAST is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a blast of colors. But this isn’t some pretentious jack-off hurling watercolors at a jet engine, it’s more of a stained glass view of the real world. And I think that’s where this book triumphs. So many of the pictures, sometimes with little or no text to accompany it, leap off the page or even better, draw you into the book with an animated seductiveness not found in most of today’s “art.” One print in particular titled “Airport Vampires” astounded me with its story. Yes, story. A single page of art equates to several hours of deconstruction. That print in and of itself is why Westman has the gift, that eye for the fantastic in a world of mundane. I wasn’t sure I would “get it” at first, because I’m the kind of dope that stares at those 3D prints for hours on end with no clue as to what I’m supposed to be seeing.
Fortunately, COLOR BLAST is not a cheap gimmick or an experiment in ego. People tend to find value in art where none exists simply because they think they have to. Sometimes a cigar really is just a cigar. But in Westman’s case, you see the cigar but your mind will see the humidor, the tobacco plant – heck, maybe even the sweaty Cuban who was forced to roll it up and ship it to some corporate CEO. That’s why I like COLOR BLAST. It’s like a collection of the best comic book covers all in one place.
There’s also an affection for women here that I found endearing. Lots of bright pink and confident tones. Wonder Woman has a surprise cameo early on and I must say I’ve never quite seen her in that light. I wonder what she’s trying to say? Another favorite has one of the better stout beers representing all that’s good in life (cute chicks and good beer if you haven’t figured it out). The art in COLOR BLAST is like nothing you’ve ever seen, unless of course you were lucky enough to snag VOLUME ONE. While this collection of prints will mean different things to different people, Jakob Westman was able to help me see the world in a more colorful way. And I can go back at a later date and it’s just as fresh as the first time I read it. I’ll be enjoying this book for a long time to come.
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.

SWEET TOOTH #6

Writer/Artist: Jeff Lemire Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics Reviewed by Humphrey Lee

Sometimes you have to sit back and be honest with yourself when something you are extremely hyped for plays out. Being the huge fan I am of Mr. Lemire’s ESSEX COUNTY work and his THE NOBODY graphic novel, his finally doing an ongoing seemed like a slam dunk. “Seemed” being the key word in that sentence. SWEET TOOTH started off solidly in trying to establish the setting and getting us familiar with Gus, our protagonist, and his condition and why it is going to mean a lot of trouble for him. But other than the first issue, there really has not been much of an emotional tether established so far, which is always the best and most glorious part of a Lemire book. There’s been some okay action, coming from would-be protector come turncoat Mr. Jepperd, but there was also some awkward pacing accompanying all of these elements Lemire has been playing with the first handful of issues for this series. Not bad stuff, but not the sure thing I was hyping myself up for.
But what a difference an issue makes…
To put it in the hockey terms Mr. Lemire holds so dear, while the first few issues seemed to be him taking some fanned on shots from the point, this issue is him crashing the net full speed. My hopes and expectations perked up a bit at the end of the last issue, when Mr. Jepperd ended up being not what he seemed as he turned in his young, antlered companion to some very unseemly types. This issue is quick to turn around that perception of what this would infer about Jepperd, and it is finally that emotional tether that I so crave from a Lemire work.
Mr. Jepperd, one would have assumed from his badassed mannerisms, was some sort of armed servant or whatnot. Finding out he was once a great hockey player is unsurprising in that regard (and given Lemire’s writing tendencies). But his story presented in this issue, that of a fallen from grace star, a loving husband that finds himself fearful for the life of his beloved as the world starts to fall down around them, and how this all relates to his Judas turn was just fantastically executed. This is a turning point for this book in so many ways, most importantly for the characters. Now that we know what’s in the bad that Jepperd took as his thirty pieces of silver for turning in poor, innocent Sweet Tooth, you can get how torturous a decision that had to have been for such a man. And you can, given the violent streak we have seen from this man, almost feel bad for the poor bastards that put him in such a position because it has to be assumed that he’s coming back for them and for his young ward, hell or high water.
This issue also serves as a turning point for Gus, as one can assume his naivete is hopefully going to start to crumble. And maybe it will start to be a push towards the revelation of just why Gus and the others like him – most way more animalized than he – are what they are in the wake of the plague or whatever it was that set the world the way it is now. I’m guessing that’s more a long term mystery to be played out down the line, but at least it’s throwing out some more conceptions to work with. There are a lot of elements coming into play now, and this book is benefiting greatly from them as well as making the most of them.
All it takes is one defining issue to take a very competent book and make it a must read. This was that issue for me and hopefully Mr. Lemire can build off of the momentum this issue presents. It would seem a safe bet to me, now that I consider it, because his ESSEX COUNTY books started out like this. Not so much with all the, y’know, bloodiness and bullets flying, but by playing around a bit and getting some establishment work going and then BAM! there’s the personal hook to drive the momentum of the rest of the story. An ongoing is a little more beastly than an OGN though, so it will be the old “wait and see” on whether or not he’s able to hold pace from here on out, but this will be a lot of momentum to build off for a while. Trust in great talent and great talent will usually come through, and Jeff Lemire is a hell of a talent. Despite my initial reservations, my taste buds are warming up and I’m getting a pretty vicious SWEET TOOTH going myself.
Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to Ain't It Cool comics for quite a few as well. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to - funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He's a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, The MySpaces, Facebookand a Blogger Account where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn't the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.

BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT SPECIAL #1

Writer & artists: Various Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: William

This special was so distant from the usual orders that my local comic shop places for their store, that I had to put it in as a special request. I don’t blame them though for not ordering it in mass quantities. I mean seriously, how much demand is there right now for a collection of Batman stories from over 10 years ago? But my local shop was great in honoring my unique request, hence allowing me to review it here.
First off it’s such a breath of fresh air to be able to read stand-alone stories of Batman again. I received an overdue taste of it with DC’s recent Batman 80-page giant, which made me want to order this special afterward. Let this be a note to all comic book publishers out there. Sometimes comic book fans can get sick of all of these 40 issue epic events that simultaneously clog ALL of the rest of comics. Despite what the publishers seem to think, we won’t be turning away from comics if we’re not hooked into the latest multi-issue epic. Fans can still purchase smaller, character-focused issues and still stick to the industry. I can see though the rationale with comic book publishers these days. To paraphrase a great line from “Glengarry Glen Ross”, you don't sell one comic to a guy, you sell him 5 comics over five visits.
In any case back to this special. The selection of stories here remains an excellent pick in my opinion. You want interesting stories featuring Commissioner Gordon, Two-Face and the Joker, you have them here. Out of the bunch my favorite remains “Slayride”, done by writer Paul Dini and pencils by Don Kramer. Paul presents another great Joker story, this time from the viewpoint of Robin as he’s being held hostage within a car the Joker is driving. Writer Dini is able to truly convey the horror that is the Joker. Within each page you have no idea what he is about to do, and that in itself is terror. In one page he decides to call in an emergency to 911, the “emergency” being the hit and run he causes as he smashes his car into a woman pedestrian so hard that the car’s front grill caves in. In another page, he calmly shoots a fast-food manager in the face, as a teen girl coworker watches no less, because she couldn’t understand the order he had tried to place through the drive-thru. Throughout all of this a helpless Robin can only sit and watch as he tries to free himself. Again Dini creates a true sense of horror here, and makes you realize how truly horrible the Joker can be when written by the right author. The artwork by Kramer is phenomenal too. I love photo-realistic, highly detailed artwork, and Kramer provides plenty of that here. His Joker remains one of the best I have ever seen, even up there with Brian Bolland’s IMO.
Overall I recommend this special to any Batman fan out there. If you’d like to be able to enjoy some short, self-contained Batman stories again, then this is the comic for you. One small complaint, though: I don’t know if it was DC’s or the printing company’s fault, but that Joker story had some pages completely out of sync. Page 56 was printed before page 52, and so on. It took a while to rearrange the pages in order (as some of the pages didn’t have numbers printed on the bottom), but that’s the only minor gripe.

NOVA #34

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning Penciler: Mahmud A. Asrar

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #22

Writers: Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning Penciler: Brad Walker Published by: Marvel Comics Reviewed by: BottleImp

It can’t ALL be nostalgia, right? I mean, I’m sure that the whole “good old days” mentality is playing a big part, and I realize and appreciate that there is some damn fine storytelling going on out there, but come on—is it just me, or do the majority of today’s comic books lack that special spark that made us all fans in the first place? Comic creators and publishers have spent so long trying to convince the general public (and perhaps themselves?) that the medium now has more to offer intellectually than the four-color serials of yore that they seem to have forgotten that this old sense of edge-of-your-seat adventure is a powerfully addictive drug. When used properly, a good cliffhanger can generate enough excitement to hook those kids for life.
That’s right, kids. It used to be the kids who bought comics, saving up their allowances so that they could exchange them each month for the latest exploits of their favorite characters. Kids don’t tend to have a lot of disposable income (at least, most kids don’t—those who do have a lot of scratch lying around are probably more likely to spend it on video games or illegal narcotics), so the purchase of a comic book would not be taken lightly. If the comic became less enjoyable, the kid would most likely stop buying it and spend his cash on more amusing fare.
Nowadays it has become increasingly (and somewhat depressingly) evident that the majority of comic buyers are those of us who got into the medium when we were kids, and we just kept on reading them into our twenties, thirties, and beyond. The older comic book reader DOES have more disposable income—hence the older reader would be far more likely than a child to continue spending money on a comic book that was no longer entertaining, merely out of habit. And since that monthly cliffhanging hook has become less of an essential component to tantalize the older comic reader, publishers have focused more of their attention on the inevitable trade paperback collections—after all, the adult comic reader usually has the money to plunk down $20 at a time, so why should he spend it a little at a time for individual chapters when he can just buy the whole book? Unfortunately this emphasis on the trade paperback market has led to writers who write monthly comic not as serials, but as chapters of the trade—in other words, the focus has shifted from bringing a sense of excitement every month to thinking only about the completed storyline. Now we have comic books out on the stands that end up providing little to no entertainment, containing only filler for the trade, without consideration of the integral serial nature of the medium.
(A similar medium is television, and a similar example of this shifted focus from chapter to gestalt can be found in HEROES from the second season on.)
And so it seems as if comics are doomed to slowly collapse under the weight of their own pretension, all the while desperately trying to assure us that this turgid style of storytelling is better and more “mature.”
HOWEVER…
There are still those comic book makers out there who remember the childhood thrill of following the monthly adventures of their spandex-clad heroes, and they succeed in producing the most entertaining superhero comic books on the stands today. I am speaking, of course, of Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett, whose titles featuring Marvel’s spacefaring heroes truly capture the best qualities of the medium.
In this month’s NOVA, for instance, the title character’s arch-enemy The Sphinx is locked in battle with a younger version of himself inside the space/time anomaly dubbed “The Fault” (currently the McGuffin of many of the “Realm of Kings” storylines). Nova and other heroes, including the recently-deceased Black Bolt and the less-recently-deceased Namorita, have been plucked from their timelines by the older Sphinx to act as champions in his fight against Sphinx Junior, who has summoned his own motley assortment of oddballs from the corners of the Marvel Universe. It’s a tip of the hat to an old Marvel standby, the Legion of the Unliving. Remember that? Every so often a villain such as Immortus or the Grandmaster would pit the Avengers against a smorgasbord of characters who had shuffled off Marvel’s mortal coil, the two sides would be separated so it turned into one-on-one combat, and chances were that at least one of the Avengers was going to end up losing (though that unfortunate soul usually found a way to be resurrected before the final page). This good guys-versus-bad guys, living-versus-dead contest was always a blast to read even if only to take a look back at some of the wackier characters that Marvel had introduced over the years, and the similar contest in this issue of NOVA is no exception. I mean, Bloodstone and the Basilisk? I never thought I’d ever see them in continuity again, let alone the Basilisk putting a smackdown on the king of the Inhumans. It’s a wonderful throwback to those old comics while at the same time retaining enough of its own identity to feel fresh. The reader can sense that Abnett and Lanning really love the world they’re playing in without the writing ever falling into the trap of winking at the audience, and saying “look how clever and post-modern we are.” There’s a sincerity to the work that elevates action/adventure to a higher level of art. Oh, and speaking of art, Mahmud Asrar’s pencils are pretty slick.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is a little different, since the comic is less of the traditional superhero fare and more like a four-color equivalent of THE DIRTY DOZEN—a rag-tag bunch of misfits thrown together and fighting against impossible odds. But Abnett and Lanning are also practicing the Mighty Marvel Method of storytelling here. I know that it’s become standard for Marvel’s comics to have the one-page recap/credits in every issue, and I appreciate how that makes it easier for a new reader to be brought up to speed on the characters and plot, but if a writer is doing his job (as Lanning and Abnett certainly do theirs), all the information that a reader needs should be right there in the story itself. And in this issue, within the first three pages, we learn all about the Church of Universal Truth, the fact that Moondragon is a telepath, the fact that she’s a little bit preggers with a monster from inside the previously mentioned Fault, and that the Church thinks this monster is their new God. And this information is woven seamlessly into the dialogue; plot exposition while the plot advances rather than a clumsy, clunky “last issue” text box. This issue comes to an action-packed finale that neatly wraps up the current story arc (which clocks in at a brisk and breezy two issues) and ends with that classic comic convention, the cliff-hanger… and just like I’m a kid again, I can’t wait until next month so I can fork over my allowance to find out what happens next.
These comics aren’t literature. You’ll never have to read NOVA for a college course, unlike, say, almost anything by Alan Moore. But in a time when so-called “comic book superstars” are churning out storylines that drag on for months and even years, when publishers are looking to the trade collection sales and Hollywood deals as the ultimate goals, and when you realize (as I have done not once, but several times over the years) that you’ve been throwing away money month after month on bland, insipid material out of sheer routine, you’ll come to realize that comic books shouldn’t work so hard to be taken seriously. Don’t forget about that little thing called fun.
When released from his Bottle, the Imp takes the form of Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from the Northeast. You can see some of his artwork here. He’s given up comics more times than he can remember. But every time he thinks he's out, they pull him back in.

RED ROBIN #9

Writer: Christ Yost Art: Marcus To Publisher: DC Comics Guest Reviewer: KletusCasady

Ever since I was a kid I’ve always loved Robin; there is just something about being the sidekick to one of the coolest heroes ever that appealed to me. I mean I couldn’t be Batman because I was just a kid and Batman was obviously an adult and frankly Batman has a lot of responsibility, which to this day I’m not sure I could handle. But Robin was a kid and so was I and so it seemed totally feasible that Batman could come to my window and say “I need a new sidekick…let’s roll,” which I don’t think Batman ever said but you get where I’m coming from. Not only that, Robin was always smiling! He was having fun for god sakes and he was fighting crime, saving lives and hanging out with Batman and his awesome toys. That being said, Tim Drake is my favorite Robin (one of my coworkers would fight me for this, he loves Nightwing). Not that I don’t like Dick Grayson but in my opinion he never really wanted to be Batman (and still doesn’t) and Tim Drake, no matter how much he fights it, wants to be Batman deep inside and after every issue he’s more and more like Batman and I like it.
When all the “one year later” stuff came around I was excited. I liked the fact that there were actual repercussions from some wild cosmic crisis event. Everything was not ok, everything was different and really this, to me, was better than INFINITE CRISIS. Enter Robin with a new costume and a new creative team to boot. Beechen and Williams II (Freddie not J.H. who is the III) were that team and I liked their run. Robin was on the lam from the cops, he had to escape the police station at one point with out hurting anyone and the art work, while at first I didn’t like because of its cartooniness, grew on me. He had a different attitude because of his Dad’s and Conner’s death (two factors that largely contributed to the more Bruce like Tim), and the stories were fun, well drawn and you could see that Robin was becoming his own bat (sorry I couldn’t resist). Then the creative team changed again, Chuck Dixon wrote one or two issues then had some snafu with DC and left the book, then Fabian Nicieza was on for a hot minute and his run wasn’t bad it just seemed as if he had to pick up the pieces from the Dixon fallout. One FINAL CRISIS and “Battle for the Cowl” later we are at the most current incarnation of Tim Drake as Red Robin. This book is awesome! Tim is his own man now and he’s searching for Bruce Wayne because he believes…no he knows he’s alive and he IS going to find him. What I like about this book is that Tim is smart as hell and it’s really a joy to see his cunning as well as his determination in finding his surrogate father. I don’t know if Chris Yost (of X-Force fame, another bad ass book that constantly has me saying “HOLY SHIT!” every issue) always had a desire to write Robin but it seems like he was destined to write Robin at some point in his life. Tim Drake not only manages to stay alive while working for Ra’s Al Ghul (long story...pick up the trade…trust me its good), but he fights off a group of assassins called the Council of Spiders (they are cool as hell!), saves his lady friend and cripples Ra’s Al Ghul’s computer infrastructure all over the world…whew!
That leads us to issue #9 and it’s really just Tim going back to Gotham but now he’s got to worry about Ras Al Ghul’s revenge which is really a testament to how good Tim is. I mean for Ra’s to crawl out of his hole, come to Gotham and hunt down people that Tim cares about shows how deeply Tim burned him. Ra’s even called Tim a “very dangerous young man,” and that’s a complement and a half coming from the Demon’s Head. He fights an old villain from the first appearance of Batgirl, runs into an old non Black Lantern friend, and talks shit to Ra’s Al Ghul. Basically, the meat of this book is Tim getting reacclimated to Gotham and lamenting about how he missed it. The thing that makes this book awesome, besides the stellar art work by Marcus To not Raymond Bachs as printed on the front of the cover (come on DC the guy hasn’t been on the book in 4 or 5 issues!), is the internal dialog which, to me, can make or break a Batman book (see Batman 692-current..for the make..not the break) and Tim’s dialog is spot on. Last issue the scene where he’s sizing up his opponents was sooo cool: “Remember everything your teachers gave you. Don’t be any of them. Be all of them.” This is the dialog of a confident person who knows what to do but also knows they can’t just cruise through a fight with deadly assassins…awesome! Chris Yost and Marcus To, I thank you, you have made Robin even more awesome, despite how much my friend Josh makes fun of me for liking him. Now lets hope they stay on this book for…well…forever!

DEADMAN WONDERLAND Vol.1

By Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou Released by TokyoPop Reviewer: Scott Green

In the wake of the Great Tokyo Earthquake... err... pop entertainment with earthquake tie-ins are a bit tough these days. I wonder if anyone was looking at licensing TOKYO MAGNITUDE 8.0 and how Haiti's tragedy effected that.
In the wake of the Great Tokyo Earthquake, Japan built the privatized prison/tourist attraction Deadman Wonderland. Despite this transformation of Japan's geographical and social landscape, middle school student Ganta Igarashi grew up under recognizably familiar circumstances. This mundane life was shattered in his early teens. In a normal classroom setting, Ganta looks out the window and sees a red, rag covered figure floating, trailing chains and dripping blood. The shocking presence unleashes a spray of hexagonal planes, slicing up Ganta's classmates. In the bloody wake of the event, Ganta is arrested for the killings and sentenced to death, to be carried out at Deadman Wonderland.
It's Wonka's chocolate factory with brutal beatings. Walking through the death's head emblazoned Magic Kingdom gates, Ganta is lined up with other newcomers and given a bit of an orientation by a shapely young woman in a fascist flight attendant number. "Any questions?" she prompts... "Yup... how big are those cans." "G cup."
Another young inmate bumps into Ganta. After the clumsy prisoner helps Ganta up, the curvy officer warns this pick pocket to return what he stole. Without giving him much time to respond, the woman draws a sword, slices into the chest of the thief, then steps on his head with her high heeled boot.
In the midst of the brutal inmates, brutal administrators and brutal death spectator sports, Ganta finds an ally of sorts. Pale peer girl Shiro, outfitted in a skintight number that manages to make her look both naked and restrained, crawls through the installations rafters and utility tunnels, coming to Ganta's aid. Her regard for the hero is bewildering. Her manner is that of a young child. However, it certainly appears that there are few she can't overpower.
There are elements of the shonen power progression tournament here. And, childish/physically impressive Shiro does possess characteristics of the kind of girl on which anime/manga rest their appeal. Neither of these is the hook of the series.
DEADMAN WONDERLAND is unusual. It doesn't conform to a simple "if you like X, you'll like it" pattern. However, even if the recipe of elements is a complex one, whether it receives a cold reception or an embrace is dependent on a connection to its particular constellation of points of comparison.
On one hand, DEADMAN WONDERLAND is the quintessential SHONEN ACE title. This anthology is known for its many anime tie-ins, mostly of the mecha variety such as NEON GENESIS EVENGELION, various GUNDAM and various MACROSS. As the name implies, it's for a shonen, teen boys, audience, but it skews older than periodicals like SHONEN JUMP or SHONEN SUNDAY, as it features darkly disturbing, and/or violent works, often populated by older characters such as GOTH (teens investigating murders due to their pathological fascination with violent crime), ANNE FREAKS (a teen on the run after killing his mother combats a terrorist cult), MPD PSYCHO (a police detective/criminal profilers/serial killer with multiple personality disorder, adapted for TV by the infamous Takashi Miike), and KUROSAGI CORPSE DELIVERY SERVICE (underemployed Buddhist college grads find work transporting corpses to where the dead need to be).
DEADMAN WONDERLAND hits both SHONEN ACE notes. It's not anime adapted, but it's certainly anime ready (and to be adapted into anime). Beyond its colorful vision of prison theme parks, this impression is enhanced by illustrations from Kazuma Kondou, the artist who adapted mecha anime EUREKA 7 into manga (published in SHONEN ACE). And it's violent. Late in the volume, Ganta is revealed to have a tool to facilitate his survival. It's a decidedly gruesome concept for a super power. Apart from the massacre of Ganta's class, DEADMAN WONDERLAND is not one of the more graphic manga you'll find in SHONEN ACE. The two elements find a away to complement each other in DEADMAN WONDERLAND in a way that they don't in the violent SHONEN ACE manga that have or would lend themselves to live action. It doesn't have the spilled organs of GOTH or the exposed cadavers of KUROSAGI CORPSE DELIVERY SERVICE. More often, DEADMAN WONDERLAND operates with cartoonish attacks and windshield spray gushes of blood.
Beyond DEADMAN WONDERLAND's SHONEN ACE-ness, it applies a mind for social satire to silver age comic extravagance. Ganta is set to fight for his life on the raised platform of a Ninja Warrior obstacle course at the behest of cruel institutions, for the amusement of the crowd. The occasional bits in which we see the spine of an anonymous inmate as he's sliced up by a pendulum blade might not pass Comic Code muster, but the situation is strikingly like ones in which a super hero is dropped into a death trap. With institutions, schemers and violent elements threatening him, the odds are against Ganta to a dire extent. Terrible circumstances and violence are afflicted on the desperate Ganta throughout. Even if there is pointed cultural criticism implied, it's too exaggerated to get too exercised about the ideology. That's not necessarily a flaw. It does skew young. A dose of jadedness can easily poison the fun of DEADMAN WONDERLAND. Still it has the right amounts of transgression, spectacle and attitude to enthrall readers of the right mindset.
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.

Ambush Bug here. Enjoy these comics that celebrate the awesomeness of independent graphic literature. Take a walk on the wild side and check them out…

THE ARGONAUTS #1 Timeless Journey Comics

The second offering from new publisher Timeless Journey Comics has a great premise as warriors are gathered from across history to battle a common threat. Sound familiar? Sure it does, but there’s something to be said about old school super-heroing seen through a modern lens. Though more questions are asked than answered here, this first issue does its job by introducing the reader to a cast of lost heroes and a premise that reeks of old school without the musty stench that usually accompanies those qualities. The makers of this book know comics and know how to make fun comics. I especially like the character designs; original and iconic. This book is worth a look.

THE ORDER OF DRAGONET #1-2 THE ORDER OF DRAGONET

This is a satirical and entertaining read. It’s got a Monty Python feel mixed with a bit of HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY as the modern world is overrun with magical creatures and an unlikely group of humans are knighted by Merlin as humanity’s last hope. The story by Jeremy Whitley is something original and fun with a tone that juggles light humor with dire consequences. The art in this one is especially nice by Jason Strutz. His panels take on a more chalky feel than anything else, though I guess it could be categorized as oil pastel. All in all this is an off kilter and offbeat take on an age old knights’ tale.

INTREPID #1 Crucial Crisis Comix/Graphic Illusions Comics

This is a very cool story about a not so distant future where heroes are no longer looked up to and it’s up to the military to take on super powered villains. What happened to make the populace lose faith in the heroes? Where are all of these villains coming from? And how frikkin awesome is the art in this comic? I can answer the last question easily: pretty frikkin awesome. Reminiscent of art you may see in a 2000AD book (very Kev Walker), the one-named artist Montos doles out some truly unique and gritty looking art that booms off the page as the villains and military clash. I’m going to be keeping a close eye on this book. So far, so good. Can’t get over how awesome the art is on this one. Fantastic stuff.

DEAD MAN’S HOLIDAY #1 www.deadmanholiday.com

Like magnets of the same polarity, as I read this book, the closer I come to understanding this story, the further away it goes. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There’s a TWIN PEAKS disconnected vibe going on with this story that is all too intriguing as a lone hero boats through a city with rivers for streets and battling a costumed skeleton and a haunted pile of rags. This is a very dreamy, very surreal adventure/horror comic that will induce just as many chills that it does questions.
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 comic from Bluewater Comics, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS: THE TINGLER #1-2. Look for more comics from Bug in 2010, including 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). Bug’s latest comic is VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #16: WITCHFINDER GENERAL on sale February 24, 2010. Fanboy Radio recently interviewed Bug about it here.

NEW AVENGERS #61 Marvel Comics

Pretty, pretty, prettyyyyy good. This was a pretty good issue. Hold this comic up next to one of his earlier DAREDEVIL issues and tell me which one is better. To me, Bendis’ DD run doesn’t hold a candle to his current stuff. Sure there the uhm’s and the hell’s and all of the other stuttering Mamet speak is still here, but lately Bendis has reeled that in a notch. And though there are some Tarantino discourse asides in this issue, it’s also a pretty pulse pounding actioner. Cap and Bucky take on the Living Laser and the Controller while across town Spider-Man and Spider-Woman face off against the Griffin and Mandrill. For once, Bendis isn’t treating the villains like idiots. He’s highlighting their personalities along with the action potential that beasts of these guys’ power set have to offer. The result: some cool scenes of broad stroked action. Not what Bendis is known for, but it’s good to see the guy evolving. - Bug

RED SONJA: WRATH OF THE GODS #1 Dynamite Entertainment

I never get tired of reading the RED SONJA series. One of the few gems in the animated landfill known as Dynamite Entertainment, it continues to satisfy on so many levels. I think the best compliment I can give it is that it feels like a comic book. I like that. Not every “graphic novel” has to be Hemingway and to his credit, Luke Leiberman plays it straight in WRATH OF THE GODS. Of course the story is preposterous, as a bikini-clad Sonja treks through a frozen wasteland with a bratty sidekick, but who cares? Leiberman makes it entertaining and delivers the perfect balance of dialogue and action. And Walter Geovani? Forget the pencil. This man draws with a lightning bolt from Zeus himself. No mere mortal can accomplish what he does with her buxom figure and I’ll put Sonja’s ass up against any animated ass in the business. RED SONJA looks hot, kicks ass and swashbuckles her way through monthly adventures that usually involve Gods, monsters and demons. I can’t get enough. - Pasty

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #35 DC Comics

Man, this was a stinker of an issue. I hate to say it, but outside of the FABLES universe, Willingham is not impressing me. I wasn’t a fan of his SHADOWPACT stuff mainly because it seemed uninspired, as if Willingham’s heart wasn’t into it. Here once again, really lame stuff is going on. Wildcat fighting stuffed animals. Mr. America runs from a pack of wolves. Flash runs from giant bees. Dr. Mid-Nite creeped out by zombies looking for his healing touch…ok that one was kind of cool, but the effect was lamed when one goes on about his need for Viagra. Everything is wrapped up in a little bow in the end a little too neatly and quickly, making this entire two-parter read like a fill in story that had gathered dust on a DC shelf for a few years. Willingham needs to come out guns a blazin’ with a little bit of that FABLES awesomeness in this next arc or I’m out of here. - Bug

DAREDEVIL #504 Marvel Comics

Apart from some pretty intense action going on in this book, the main reason to keep you radar sense attuned to this book is because of the fantastic art by Roberto De la Torre who is taking this book to new artistic heights. I’ve seen De La Torre adapt and evolve his style over the last year or two and with every issue of DAREDEVIL his stuff gets more distinct and amazing than ever. DD has been forced to make some pretty morally ambiguous decisions so far as leader of the Hand. Now with a battalion of HAMMER troops as prisoner, DD heads to Japan next issue. He’s keeping busy and though Diggle is keeping DD in character, he’s walking a tightrope between good and evil more than ever before. One thing’s for sure; as long as De la Torre is in the artist’s chair, I’m there. - Bug

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #41 DC Comics

I know this book came out a week or two ago, but I just got to it in my stack. Have you read the first issue of CRY FOR JUSTICE? You know, the one where the hero is fighting a villain and then two more heroes stand smugly to the side and say something like, “The Justice League needs YOU!”? You know that issue? Well, this issue is basically same shit/different issue. How can Robinson get away with using the exact same formula for an issue for two different stories focusing on the same characters? Completely ridiculous. I want to like the JLA again after what seems like an age and a half of following the wannabes in one useless adventure after another. While DC saves all of its good adventure for its event books, Robinson takes us on another tedious “gathering the gang” issue. I understand comic book storytelling has come a long way since the first JLA #1 many, many years ago, but in that issue it took just a few panels for a bunch of heroes to join forces and battle a common foe. Now it takes twelve issues just to get them all on he same page. There’s something I can appreciate about getting to the damn point and telling some compelling stories. These modern writers need to consult the classics, take some notes, and get the hell on with it. - Bug

PUNISHER #13 Marvel Comics

And now for the “I read it so you don’t have to” book of the week. Frank Castle is still one of the undead, reanimated with bolts and spare parts in one of the worst editorial decisions since…well, ever. There’s a reason people still remember Angel Guns Punisher and the arc where he’s played by C. Thomas Howell from SOUL MAN. They were awful runs and proof positive when you start tossing too many fantastical elements into a Punisher story, it just doesn’t work. Three issues in, and my point still stands. This comic is the worst of the year. Remender is a good writer and Moore a good artist. But together and on the Punisher they’re toxic. Moore’s art is too cartoony for the tone of the book. Had this been done with an artist with a more horrific and less comic style, it just might have worked. But the ridiculous, “throw a bunch of shit against the wall and see what sticks” tone Remender uses with the book would’ve sabotaged even the most horrific of art. This comic reads and looks more like a MAD MAGAZINE version of the Punisher, making fun of the premise rather than honoring it. Stay away from this book. It reeks.

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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  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Wait...Art Adams is drawing something?

    by superhero

    Holy Cow...will miracles never cease?

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Sweet Tooth was my favorite book last week.

    by OBESE_WAN_KENOBI

    I thought Siege #2 was pretty good as well. But I know eventually that will succumb to a piss poor ending like most EVENT books do.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:29 a.m. CST

    Holy Cow! I was First!

    by superhero

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:29 a.m. CST

    First! First! First! First! First!

    by superhero

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Another thing about Siege...

    by OBESE_WAN_KENOBI

    Since Bendis has essentially turned The Sentry into a god, with no apparent weaknesses. (like kryptonite or magic) How exactly is he going to be stopped?<br></br> Oh yeah, and first doesn't really count in a comics talkback.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:45 a.m. CST

    If you're not liking Franken-Castle...

    by Dogwelder19

    you're not liking good, fun comics!

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:58 a.m. CST

    The Question & Robin

    by Dave I

    I always thought The Question was untapped gold. One of my favorite characters in the comic book universe.<p><p>Red Robin . . . I have always been kind of a fan of Robin when handled in a non-camp fashion. He's like a less-polished (and somehow maybe more approachable?) version of Batman, and the Dick Grayson backstory is in its own right as tragic as Bruce Wayne's. For some reason the character spoke to me. I tend to prefer Batman as a lone vigilante, or with a more mature sidekick, but Robin in and of itself tends to have a pretty good character concept.<p><p>-Cheers

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:59 a.m. CST

    Sentry's Weakness

    by Katet19

    The specific exclusion of Phobos from the fight is the big tip off as far as this matter is concerned. Sentry's biggest weakness has always been his mental instability. The boy god of Fear will join the fray and tear the Sentry apart, cementing himself as one to be watched, and eventually a massive villain Vader style.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:16 p.m. CST

    Ultimates and Optimus

    by Joenathan

    Ultimate Avengers is still being put out, right? That's four Ultimate comics.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Ultimate X, Guardians, New Avengers...Smallville

    by Homer Sexual

    I agree...why call it "Ultimate X" since it doesn't seem to be the same Ultimate U just devastated in Ultimatum (which I actually enjoyed). Clearly that Wolverine wouldn't have a teen kid. So what gives? Comparing it to overuse of the word Crisis is exactly right. Just annoying. <p> Guardians is always solid, and the latest issue revealed what I've been hoping for...Mantis and Co. aren't all going to be dead. Guardians and Marvel's cosmic stuff in general is an example of All Ages stuff done right. <p< I liked New Avengers as well. I enjoyed the Spider-Man, Spider-Woman interaction most of all. I didn't like Spider-Woman being taken out so easily, but expect that her immunity will kick in next issue so she can get back at the Mandrill. <p> Finally....did you all watch the Absolute Justice Smallville last week? My friends thought the costumes looked really cheap. I have to admit some of it was corny (and Hawkman was horribly cast) but overall I got my geek rocks off. Loved Checkmate, Waller, Icicle. Stargirl was a'ight. Only Dr. Fate and Hawkman were cheesy. Good enough for me. Too bad Wesley Dodds had to die, though.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:37 p.m. CST

    It's a goddamn tradition...

    by Joenathan

    Once every few weeks apparently, some sadsack bastard has to come on here and moan on and on about spinner racks and how sad it is that kids no longer buy comics.<br><br> Boo Hoo! <br><Br> You know why comics aren't "for kids" anymore? Because kids moved on YEARS ago! YEARS, man! YEARS! They are gone! They are out of here! They are not interested or looking back either. There isn't even a dust cloud, they've been gone so long. I mean, besides the Internet and Video Games, blah, blah, blah, all those comic book cartoons, the comic book video games, the comic book movies-- all that stuff we wished and wished and wished that we had when we were kids... They have it! It's all over the place. Christ, you can even buy a ton of super hero action figures instead of conscripting your Transformers and G.I. Joes! They make an Iron Fist Action Figure! I don't buy them because... you know... I enjoy having sex, but sometimes, I stand in that toy aisle and my mind is blown! Kids today? (Let me get my walker...) They don't need or want comics because they can get the same stuff, with the same characters only faster, louder, brighter, and much, much easier elsewhere. That's the way it is and refusing to accept that fact is akin to refusing to accept that the earth is round. The fact that kids moving on, isn't a mistake on the part of the comic companies, its the natural evolution of the market. The smartest thing comics ever did was to quit pretending that children as new readers is a large and viable market. With a few exceptions, we're all that's left, people. Our great love is a dinosaur, my friends, and it is wandering a field nearly picked clean of food. So enjoy the sunset glow of these glory days, folks, for they are fading.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Also...

    by Joenathan

    Kids DO have a large amount of disposable income. That's why almost all rock hows are all-ages or 18+.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:39 p.m. CST

    the Punisher

    by v1cious

    ok, someone explain what the fuck this is all about.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:39 p.m. CST

    Ultimate X

    by Joenathan

    Should be called Ultimate Jeph Loeb sucks balls, but Art Adams is awesome Wolverine's son!

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:42 p.m. CST

    James and Heather Hudson..

    by Bootskin

    Am I the only one who picked up that this was the first appearance of the Ultimate version of these two characters? And the irony that they (the original "discoverers" of Wolverine) are raising his son? I thought it was a nice nod to the uncomplicated former days of Wolvie's background where we didn't need to know everything about his past.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Joe is right...

    by Homer Sexual

    But we've talked about it so much, I didn't bother to say the same thing. <p> Half my other post got cut off... <p> I really enjoyed New Avengers, especially the interaction between Spider-Man and Spider-Woman. I felt like Bendis really enjoyed writing that and it played to his strengths. I didn't like Spider-Woman going down so easily, but I imagine Bendis is going to use her rapid immunity next issue to take down Mandrill. Hope so, anyway. <p> Smallville: Absolute Justice. Written by Geoff Johns. What did you all think? My comic-neutral friends (who basically only read my Deadpool, Simpsons and Jonah Hex comics) thought it was cheezy and they made fun of the costumes. I agree that Hawkman was badly acted and visualized. Fate's helmet was cool but the costume sucked. Stargirl was ok..very Stargirl. Loved Waller and Icicle. Sandman was great in a brief appearance. I geeked out on it! <p> Ps: Kids today read some comics, they like Deadpool and the big events like Secret Invasion. But they don't buy them. They read them in the school library, borrow them off their teachers (a lot of teachers like comics, believe you me!)

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Cross overs vs. stand alones

    by jbs9200

    <i>Sometimes comic book fans can get sick of all of these 40 issue epic events that simultaneously clog ALL of the rest of comics. Despite what the publishers seem to think, we won’t be turning away from comics if we’re not hooked into the latest multi-issue epic.</i> <p> Actually the reason I gave up on comics was the many many never ending cross-overs. If I want to read a character, I want to read that character not some GD universe shattering cluster-F'. <p> I used to love and follow Batman and X-men in their various titles. But after a few super-cross overs it just became a mess. I stopped buying comics (aside from trade paper backs, which I rarely buy anymore). It was only Hellboy and Conan that got me buying again. But still I am not buying Marvel/DC. I am buying comics from Dark Horse, a small enough publisher that they really can't do mega-cross-over stories.<p> So well done Marvel/DC your cross-over craziness lost you a loyal follower. And you lost me for good.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Hey jb

    by Joenathan

    Pssst... No one is forcing you to participate in the cross overs... You can buy the ones you want and avoid the ones you don't. <br><br> Also, the comic companies have figured out... no matter how much some guys get on-line and complain about crossovers or matur storylines or Millar, the fact is: The sales aren't showing any displeasure. SOOOOOO, that means that either the guys complaining on the internet are either are very tiny minority or lying and buying the comics anyway. Either way = Comic Publishers FTW

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Kids still buy comics

    by rev_skarekroe

    It's just they only buy Manga. It's not grown ups plopped down in the middle of the aisle at Barnes & Noble reading some indecipherable backwards-printed story about teen love and robot vampires or whatever. It's 10 year olds.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Katet19

    by Joenathan

    Nice spot. I like that.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Intrepid looks Interesting

    by Watch_The_Birdie

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:03 p.m. CST

    Rev, we both know why they buy Manga...

    by Joenathan

    Tits

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:06 p.m. CST

    New Avengers

    by Joenathan

    I also enjoyed that one. I really like Cap and Bucky together. It's good stuff. Anyone have any guesses what Steve is going to be doing now that it's official that Bucky is the new Cap Post Seige? <br><Br>Smallville: Absolute Justice. I've downloaded it, but I haven't watched it yet. I'm scared of the level of it's possible terribleness. Smallville is usually pretty bad, but man... some of the pics... What's with Star Girl's mask?

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:11 p.m. CST

    Cap's post Siege activites..

    by Bootskin

    ..Leading the newly reformed Shield?

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:13 p.m. CST

    The fate of Steve Rogers

    by rev_skarekroe

    Maybe he'll be Nomad. Maybe he'll be the Captain America for Secret Avengers. Maybe he'll be Steve Rogers: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. They got all kinds of stuff they can do with him.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:20 p.m. CST

    No, kids still READ comics...

    by superhero

    But they're not buying at Barnes and Noble. They're treating it like a library...not a bookstore. They're not BUYING them...as much as they used to anyway. It'd cost them almost their whole allowance!

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:26 p.m. CST

    Punisher=One of the funnest books around

    by RedGobbbo

    Bug doesn't know from fun.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Nomad

    by Joenathan

    They've already got Girl Nomad and apparently there are plans for her. And with U.S.Agent around, Steve probably won't go back to The Captain... Shield would be cool...

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:47 p.m. CST

    Manga and American Comics = No Difference

    by Prof_Ender

    Both mediums are fine. Both have their fair of shit and genius. People need to stop being close-minded and try both.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:50 p.m. CST

    PUNISHER is Swanky...

    by Prof_Ender

    Be it PUNISHER MAX or just PUNISHER. They both offer what they promise: a guy shooting things in entertaining/horrific/overly-violent ways. If you have a problem with that then please stop reading comics.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Supergod 3

    by NippleEffect

    anyone seen this?<p> Rock Star Ellis must still be on his Planetary schedule

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:58 p.m. CST

    Wait...WHAT?

    by Gozu

    I stop reading comics from the big two for like a couple months and Punisher's a goddamn Frankenstein?!? I love "Fear Agent," but fuck that noise.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 1:59 p.m. CST

    Manga- there is a difference

    by Joenathan

    Seriously, There's hidden boobies in there, kids, and the adults don't realize it. They think they're being culturally sensitive, but you and me? We know... and it's awesome.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Well at least you gave it a shot Gozu

    by RedGobbbo

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:10 p.m. CST

    Looks like Marvel's Heroic Age.....

    by cookylamoo

    Leads directly into the Martian Invasion and the end of all Super-heroes but Killraven.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:12 p.m. CST

    I agree with rev_skarekroe

    by Chewtoy

    When I first noticed the explosion of manga and kids devouring it, I took a look at some. It was filled with every convention that US publishers tried to beat to death in the last decade... Secret Identities, crazy costumes, dramatic villains, goofy premises, humor and romance. It wasn't at all like some British crime drama with Tarantino-esque dialog and 5 issues of build-up to a disappointing climax. What's frustrating is that there's obviously room for comics that have that adult spin (and are all the more awesome for it), but the general idea to make everything resemble some movie version strangled a lot of the fun out of the US comics scene. I don't think there's any chance to get kids back to the paper comic medium... *Maybe* digital comics could capture a future youth market though. We'll see.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Robin does, and will always, suck.

    by THE_ONE_MAN_GANG

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:54 p.m. CST

    Martian Invasion

    by Joenathan

    THAT would be awesome. Then a rag tag band of heroes and villians can travel across a ruined and dystopia globe to Latveria and dig down into the rubble and find Dr. Doom's timepad (no, not his Ipad) so they can use it to travel back to just before Disassembled and then kill the Scarlet Witch, thus disrupting history and saving the future.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Another reason why Rob Leifeld sucks...

    by mortsleam

    He made me hate Art Adams. I can't look at the New Mutants/X-Men Asgardian wars stuff without thinking, "This is where Leifeld got his inspiration. Damn you Art Adams!"<p>Except of course that Adams took the time to draw things in proportion, and limbs that ended in hands that held guns properly and feet that could be used for standing. But still... lotsa cross hatching and extra teeth and slightly too-skinny chicks and slightly too-buff dudes. It's a shame.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Im convinced Joe

    by gooseud

    refuses to read the Marvel cosmic stuff specifically BECAUSE everyone describes it as old school fun. Joe like to be a rebel like that. Regardless, it goes without saying how awesome those titles are, although the Nova Sphinx storyline has been terrible, no two ways about it, those last few issues have sucked. Guardians, on the other hand, has been freakin awesome. Those two books may be "old school" in feel, but there is nothing kiddy about them, that issue of Guardians a few issues ago where.....everything happens...... was as adult as it gets, and one of the best stand alone issues of the year.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:14 p.m. CST

    I'm totally going to read it

    by Joenathan

    I just haven't got the first trade yet, but I will read, mostly because I'm convinced that the cosmic stuff is what is going to come crashing into the Heroic Age

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:14 p.m. CST

    My local LCS guys loves Frankencastle

    by gooseud

    for the exact reason the reviewer hated it: because it is so astoundingly dumb, you dont even really know what to make of it. I mean, how did it possibly get through editorial? How could they possibly have pitched that and gotten it approved?

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Normally I would love that idea

    by gooseud

    to have the cosmic stuff crash into the Earth stuff, but honestly, given how the crossovers never fail to ruin any book I really like (see America, Captain), I really dont want "Marvel proper" mucking up what has been several years and counting of pure awesomeness.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:19 p.m. CST

    Kids and comics

    by gooseud

    Yeah that ship has pretty much sailed.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:21 p.m. CST

    Its funny, its like DD doesnt exist

    by gooseud

    Talk about being in your own corner of the universe. No one ever mentions that book around the LCS. He never plays a role in any big "Marvel Events". You never hear particularly good or bad things online about it. Its like its the invisible book. He's kind of Flash-y in that way, a big name character who has kinda slipped from the popular awareness.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:29 p.m. CST

    It's even more funny that...

    by Joenathan

    Bug brings it up in a review of a Bendis book he can't bag on, so he switches to something else safe.<br><Br> Green Boxing gloves

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 3:30 p.m. CST

    Cosmic Goose

    by Joenathan

    There's been a lot of Heroic Age Avengers and Cosmic adventures talk bandied about. It'll probably only end up side-swiping the Guardian stuff and focus on a new Kree/skrull war, but still... that's where it's headed.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 4:12 p.m. CST

    Heroic Age...with trepidation.

    by Homer Sexual

    As someone who has talked a lot of smack about Dark Reign, I approach the Heroic Age with trepidation. <p> A friend lent me Deadpool 15-18 last night. It is exactly why I don't like Dark Reign. Everyone plays right into Osborne's hands and the public buys every piece of bs Osborne spouts. I don't like that at all. (and don't get me started on Dark Wolverine's claws). If the public is as easily led as the MU Civil War/Dark Reign era, I guess they deserve to be treated like rabble. <p> OTOH, I don't want to see a bunch of cheesy "positive role models." I actually hate that even more than the "dark" heroes currently in vogue. If the Heroic Age is going to ape the whole Cosmic Marvel, that would be great. It isn't really all light and sunny, it just isn't cynical or political. I grow weary of all the pseudo-political-commentary in many comics.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Sweet Tooth and The Sword....

    by arzbest

    ...are my 2 favorite comics right now and I read more of them than I'm willing to admit. Great, great stuff!

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 4:20 p.m. CST

    Fuck this TALKBACK

    by SmokieGeezer32_PSN

    If they CGI MAXIMILLION, I will burn down Hollywood. I mean it.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 7:16 p.m. CST

    Thanks @ssholes!

    by Star Hump

    Ask and you shall receive. Last column, I asked for Nova to get a featured review. Best comics column on the internet.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 7:34 p.m. CST

    Guardians: Far from Sunny

    by gooseud

    Same with Nova. They manage to incorporate an old school feel with some new school sensibilities. Nova has had platoons of Nova trainees getting massacred by the Shiar. Guardians, as I mentioned, had one of the single darkest issues I can ever remember of ANY TITLE a few issues back. It made Civil War look like Archie Comics. It was also freakin amazing. Although plot wise, they have nothing in common, these two books are the closest in tone to the kick ass Masters of Evil Invade The Mansion-Era Avengers then anything in recent memory. Did you like Avengers back then? If so, you will love these. And if you didnt like Avengers back then, then you need to GTFO, because for a few years there in the mid-80s, that comic was absolutely killin it.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 8:06 p.m. CST

    War Speedball & Namorita having a 3some with ol bucket head

    by JeanGrey_X23_lesboSex

    New Warriors still rock. And X-Force is the best book out there.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 8:50 p.m. CST

    Blackest Night reading order?

    by Jaka

    Anybody? I know that, technically, it shouldn't really matter. "Just read everything", right? Well, I tried that with an armload of issues and some of it really feels out of place, or order. Checked all over teh internets and nobody seems to have a definitive answer. Thought I'd go ahead and ask here. I agree about Red Sonja; it's always a nice easy fantasy read and it has a very consistent look. Two things I like in a comic book. Can't COMPLETELY agree about Sweet Tooth as I've been diggin' it all along. I do think it's something anybody whose ever been a regular Vertigo reader should be checking out, though. It's got the twisted what-the-fuckedness? vibe that their best books always have. Good lookin' out on The Order of Dragonet. I'll be checkin' those out.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 8:51 p.m. CST

    "Another reason why Rob Leifeld sucks..."

    by Jaka

    That cracked me the hell up. I didn't even need to read the post. The headline was fulfilling enough all on it's own.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 9:12 p.m. CST

    My computer broke, son...

    by loodabagel

    Looks like I gotta get a new motherboard. Fuck that noise. But hey! There's a new issue of Frankencastle out! That should be fun. I do enjoy me a more lighthearted Punisher story, because I know that the Punisher nuts will hate it.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 9:34 p.m. CST

    Guardians rocks...

    by Johnny Ahab

    ...as does DnA's take on the new and improved Ass-Kicking Inhumans. LOVED the cliffhanger of the latest RoK-Inhumans issue! DnA lulled us into accepting Maximus as harmless and a team player - and then he sneaks up and shows his true colors once Black Bolt is seemingly out of the picture. And yes, agreed, I miss the old cliffhanger endings that made you itch for 30 days to get the next issue!

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 9:46 p.m. CST

    Guardians of the Galaxy is old-school fun...

    by loodabagel

    How do I know this? Because I bought the first two issues and quickly gave it up. Moreso than anything else, I found myself not giving a shit about any of the characters. However, if there's some Inhuman action going around these days, I might have to check it out sometime.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 10:09 p.m. CST

    I was reading GofG at the beginning, too

    by Jaka

    I had no idea the issue count was that high already. Still not really interested, though. Too many other interesting things to read right now.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 10:21 p.m. CST

    Frank Castle is terrible

    by Nezzer6364

    I stopped reading it. It's not the Punisher. I keep thinking as soon as I turned the page I'd see the Punisher say, "Wolfman's Got Nards"

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 10:33 p.m. CST

    Frankencastle is NOT the Punisher...

    by loodabagel

    That's exactly what's great about it. To me, the Punisher is not an interesting character. I've expressed the pointlessness of a non Garth Ennis Punisher for a while. I guess he's more compelling than say, Bullseye or Deadpool, but I'd just rather be reading about Daredevil or Spider-Man, I guess.

  • Feb. 10, 2010, 11:40 p.m. CST

    Question!

    by maelstrom_ZERO

    God, I love the Question. Well, the 80's o'Neil/Cowan version of the Question with Vic Sage. . .not that the Rucka/Renee Montoya iteration is that bad, either. Seeing the original O'Neil and Cowan team back on a Question comic is glorious. I may have to actually pick this one up.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 8 a.m. CST

    For the record, I have no problem with Manga

    by rev_skarekroe

    It's just my observation about what kids these days like to read in their funnybooks. I must say, I DO find most of that stuff incomprehensible, but that doesn't mean I don't think anybody else shouldn't enjoy it.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 8:21 a.m. CST

    I've expressed the pointlessness of a non Garth Ennis Punisher f

    by RedGobbbo

    I lol'd. I've expressed the pointlessness of a non Frank Miller Daredevil for a while. No one cared about that either.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 9:47 a.m. CST

    I've expressed the pointlessness of Ennis...

    by Joenathan

    just keepin' it going...

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Bottle Imp

    by Snookeroo

    Congratulations, you understand comic books at their core.<br><br><br>The publishers, unfortunately, don't.<br><br>Superhero comics were born out of a desire to explore a better world where good kicked evil's ass, and had a fun time doing it. They lived in a world that resembled ours, only cooler. It was a great place to escape to -- with one foot in pseudo-reality, and the other in pure escapist fantasy. But the driving mission statement was always "fun". Hell, some of the periodicals even sported it in their titles: "More Fun Comics", etc.<br><br>You know, if I want stark reality, I'll watch the news. That's plenty "gritty" (God, if I hear that term one more time), violent and gorey, and I don't have to pay $4 to see it.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 10:16 a.m. CST

    I'm not so sure about that......

    by gooseud

    If you look at what comics get optioned into movies, its almost universally the grim and gritty stuff. Wanted. Kick Ass. You can go back to Road to Perdition, even. Nolan's incredibly gritty take on Dark Knight. Iron Man is the obvious exception, they actually seem to want to make that LESS grim and gritty then the comic. Green Lantern (coming soon) is another exception, although 99% of comics readers seem to think that book has been in its golden age over the past 6-7 years, coincidently when they dropped the "Why don't you just.....COOL OFF!!" giant green freezers and started taking the material a bit more seriously. I mean, what exactly is "more fun"? The 80's? As I've stated in these talkbacks many times, have you actually tried READING those comics? They are almost universally horrible. FYI, think of Teen Titans, whats the first thing you think of? The Judas Sanction. Planetary was as adult and gritty as it gets.....and also "lived in a world that resembled ours, only cooler". Are we saying Planetary wasnt a towering achievment in comics? Or that publishers somehow "dont understand good comics" by publishing that one? Or that Walking Dead, for my money a top 3 comic of the past decade, somehow cant hold a candle to......what, Supergirl or something?

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 10:52 a.m. CST

    Gooseud

    by Snookeroo

    I think it's a balance. Sure, nobody wants to return to the silliness of the Silver Age, but I think the pendulum has swung too far into the uber-violent, ultra gore, Supergirl-has-a-teenage-pregnancy end of the spectrum.<br>And yeah, I've read "those comics". I began reading comics in the Silver Age, and so there's probably a prejudiced part of me that hates to see that aspect of the industry completely disappear forever.<br><br>And while I agree that most of the comics that get optioned into movies are the grim and gritty stuff, I think that's more a product of the fact that so much of the name-brand source material is now "grim and gritty". I'm an avid comic reader - love the medium. But I hate that the Green Lantern Corps has degenerated into the monthly slice and dice. I'm sick of seeing our heroes as zombies and feckless targets. I'd like to see the good guys win once in a while.<br>While I'm sure I'm the vast minority, I think there still is an audience for super heroes that are -well, super. Batman Brave and the Bold walks that tightrope very well. Don't get me wrong -- I REALLY don't want everything to be bright colors and bright heroes -- I just think the medium has lost something at it's core, because of it's drive to make everything "epic". Sure, comics can deliver some great messages, and be a wonderful mode for artistic expression -- but they are, at the core, entertainment.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 11 a.m. CST

    No Snook,

    by Joenathan

    Comics initially reflected the time they were created in, a time when they were shackled by Comics Code. The "driving statement" was NEVER "fun", it was "do not offend". There's a difference.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 11:07 a.m. CST

    It's not the 90s anymore

    by Joenathan

    Its a gross overstatement to make the comics are too grim and gritty claim. There are MANY different types of comics and ways that their stories are told. Just because the one you prefer isn't the way you like it, is not reflective of the whole industry.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 11:12 a.m. CST

    You'd like to see the good guys win?

    by Joenathan

    Soooo... besides the upcoming Heroic Age and Brightest Night, where else were you feeling that the Heroes were being underserved. You've heard of the Hero's Journey, right?

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Joe

    by Snookeroo

    While I agree comics reflect the time they are created in, the Comics Code was not created until the 1950's (and so was not a factor in their inception; as far as I know, most comics have ignored the Code for some time now. So I disagree that it's a matter of being shackled. <br>BTW, I stopped reading comics in the 90's (more or less) and only recently picked up the habit again in any kind of meaningful way.<br>By no means am I up to date on the thousands of titles that come out every month. And you're correct -- I probably am seeing things through the lens of the titles that I prefer. On the titles that I don't buy, I just have to go by the outlines and reviews I'm reading on sites like this one.<br><br>In general, comics aren't written for guys like me anymore. I get that. That doesn't mean I can't find the occasional title that I DO enjoy. And it doesn't mean I won't stop bitching about trends that I see that I think are diminishing the art form.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 11:39 a.m. CST

    I do find the Punisher an interesting character...

    by stones_throw

    I've been flickin' through THE ESSENTIAL PUNISHER VOL. 1 and it's interesting to see the core of the character is there even in the original AMAZING SPIDER-MAN issues, back when Garth Ennis was yet a faint twinkling in the distance. He's sort of like how Orson Welles saw Hank Quinlan in A TOUCH OF EVIL; we don't agree with a self-appointed vigilante taking it upon himself to kill, but we should see that he gets results by killing. That's the dramatic conflict of the character and why it's an interesting contrast with more idealistic heroes like Spider-Man or Daredevil or Captain America. <p>Frank Miller did that issue of DAREDEVIL where DD toys with killing Bullseye, but finally admits that when it comes down to it "My gun has no bullets". The Punisher is willing to cross that line. Couple that with his haunted past and man-on-a-mission schtick and I'd say you have a fundamentally interesting character. Though what that has to do with Frankenstein is entirely another matter.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 11:59 a.m. CST

    It's not even grim and gritty that's bad.

    by Homer Sexual

    I know we're all being repetitious. But it's not grim n gritty that bothers me. It's the lionization of pricks that bugs. And the portrayal of the public as a bunch of morons. <p> I didn't like when Tony Stark was a total asshole. I don't like everyone swallowing Osborne's crap for so long. etc. etc. <p> But Walking Dead, Wolverine Origins, Captain America...like all those. I honestly can't think of any grim'n'gritty DC Comics. Oh, well, Batman related books, kind of. Like many of them. I guess it's the obviously totally insane murderers being celebrated as heroes over and over and over again is my issue. Like, Siege. Yes, thought I'd start that one up again.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 12:11 p.m. CST

    But don't you see how thats a story?

    by Joenathan

    Tony made some mistakes and now the story of his redemption is being told. The Heroes slipped and Osbourne took control, now they're taking it back... that's a story... you know?... through the dark tunnel and out into the light again? I mean, that's what makes them heroes, persevering through tough times. <br><br>As for people being morons for accepting Osbourne, there are certain real world parrallels that shows that as not only a plausible situation, but an extrememly likely on at that

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 12:16 p.m. CST

    BTW Seige

    by Joenathan

    Second Issue? Awesome.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 1:17 p.m. CST

    I'm on the fence about grim and gritty

    by gooseud

    See, heres the thing: its all about talent. You know what one of the best comics of the past 5 years was? All Star Supes. You will never, ever, ever, find a sunnier, more optimistic, ray-of-light comic then that. And you know what? It was fantastic. Walking Dead, which is as pitch black as it gets? Certain TBers reservations aside, that book is generally viewed as awesome. Planetary? A cross between sunny, fun, "WOW!!" sci fi and pitch black sentiments. And oh yeah, absolutely amazing. The common thread? Fantastic writers. See, theres no such thing as grim and gritty or sunny. There just are great writers, and not great writers. Good stories, and bad. Remember, the same guy directed ET and Schindler's List. If Snook wants sunny, Grant Morrison is his man (Batman and Robin is ridiculously fun and kind of "silver age but yet not"). Kirkman will serve up the gritty like nobodies biz. Ellis will give ya sci-fi craziness if ya want it. Check out Irredeemable, The Plutonian isnt an anti-hero, or a bad ass "cool heel" (to use wrestling parlance), hes just a cowardly, completely douchey scumbag. In fact, Irredeemable and Incorruptible should be right in Snook's wheelhouse. I'm just saying, if Snook wants that stuff, there are some books out there serving it up really well, alot of which I read myself.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 1:18 p.m. CST

    DC Grim

    by gooseud

    Keep in mind, this is the same company that had Superboy Prime ripping people to shreds in Infinite Crisis. They are plenty grim, in fact if you want to point a finger at the main culprits of "Grim Overload", look no further then that company.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 1:25 p.m. CST

    Hmmm...

    by Joenathan

    I agree with Goose.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 1:33 p.m. CST

    although...

    by Joenathan

    as much as I want to get behind Irredeemable and Incorruptible, I just can't. There's no connection to the other background character/pastiches or th world itself. It's all recognizeable, but it's only surface, it lacks depth.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 1:43 p.m. CST

    Infinite Crisis was hardly grim.

    by Homer Sexual

    Superboy ripping up Pantha, to me, was violent but neither grim nor gritty. And while I enjoy the books I've read, Blackest Night makes me laugh, a far cry from grim. I think Marvel is grim a lot, DC pretty much never. I need better examples than Superboy Prime (makes me giggle just typing that) to convince me DC is grim. Wait! Kingdom Come was grim. <p> And, yes, Joe, those are stories. Stories I don't like. Stories that, honestly, I find irritating. I still buy some books but in spite of Osborne, totally not because of him. And I still don't care for Iron Man and have no intention of reading it, my loss though that may be.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 2:05 p.m. CST

    Don't like them?

    by Joenathan

    That's fine. Personal choice is personal choice. However, you must acknowledge that there was an obvious point to it all. It wasn't done in the service of a grim and gritty god, there was a story being told, one with conflict, rising action, climax and resolution. If it's not your cup of tea, fine, but the mega-story you can track from Dissassembled to now is an achievement.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 2:54 p.m. CST

    mega-story from Disassembled to now?

    by Homer Sexual

    Rather stretching it. If you really believe that, how can you hate on Jeph Loeb's Rulk mega-story? <p> I don't see a connection from Disassembled through Dark Reign. But that's a good thing, because while I have issues with Dark Reign, I still buy a lot of the books (but not the ones with "Dark" in the title) while Disassembled just sucked. It sucked soooo much!

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 3:39 p.m. CST

    Well, thats true

    by Joenathan

    Dissassembled itself, wasn't that great, (but then neither were the issues preceding it...), but the events in that story started the ball that ultimately brought us to Seige, no need to be obtuse now. Also, I don't hate Rulk, because I haven't read it, I just think Loeb is poo.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 4:17 p.m. CST

    BottleImp said it better than I did

    by Snookeroo

    without being such a wet blanket. <br><br>Point taken -- to make such a sweeping assumption with the limited exposure I have to the current titles is probably talking out my ass. Still, I don't like the trend that I'm seeing in the medium, but I'll keep looking. And -- of course, just buy what I like. That's the strongest statement I can make.<br><br>On a different note, (JSA #35) Liberty Belle's emblem looks like a raw t-bone steak. Just sayin'.

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 5:51 p.m. CST

    I certainly wasnt rippin ya, Snook

    by gooseud

    I was just sayin, dont pack it in yet. Theres lots of stuff out there you would like. Batman and Robin should be #1A on that list, you'll love that. I would say Invincible, but that took a bit of a dark turn. Although no more dark then Supergirl getting blasted out of her boots but the Anti Monitor, in Crisis, I suppose. (shrugs).

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 5:55 p.m. CST

    I would be more willing to forgive this "Mega-Story"

    by gooseud

    at Marvel if it didnt require pissing all over and ruining one of my fave runs ever, Brubaker's on Cap. Sacrificing that book on the altar of some crossover is alot to ask

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 7:09 p.m. CST

    Goose

    by Joenathan

    Bucky is staying Cap, though... That's good news. And Bru is doing the Secret Avengers.

  • Feb. 12, 2010, 5:34 a.m. CST

    80's comics

    by hst666

    Marvel 80's comics were great. Then they decided to stink it up in the 90's (with a few exceptions like PAD). DC was pretty weak in the 80's with a few exceptions, such as the Teen Titans (an attempt to do a DC X-men, really) and the Legion of Superheroes. Late 80's DC (Justice League, Byrne's Superman, etc.) was better and the writing at DC in the 90's was much better without being overly grim and gritty.

  • Feb. 12, 2010, 8:26 a.m. CST

    I Never Cared Whether Kids Or Anyone Else

    by Buzz Maverik

    read comics or not as along as comics were always available for me. I think the kid angle has come up a few times in my posts because there's nothing worse than getting a hold of a pretentious comic book or a posturing comic book.

  • Feb. 12, 2010, 8:59 a.m. CST

    Goose

    by Snookeroo

    No worries - I understood where you were heading. But it did get me thinking...I think each generation has it's own version of dark and gritty. When I was reading comics as a kid in the sixties and seventies, covers featured things like Metamorpho getting sliced into chunks by a laser beam, the Atom getting turned into a plant while a maniac with hedge trimmers hints at what's to come next, Robin turning into dust and dribbling through Batman's hands, etc. And I thought those were great! So..it's all relative.