Comics

AICN COMICS REVIEWS BATMAN ODYSSEY! IRREDEEMABLE! Bendis' SCARLET! BREAKFAST WITH ROB! & MORE! + RIP Harvey Pekar...

Published at: July 14, 2010, 9:01 a.m. CST

#7 7/8/10 #9

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) BATMAN: ODYSSEY #1 / BATMAN & ROBIN #13 Another Look at BATMAN: ODYSSEY #1 SCARLET #1 CASANOVA: LUXURIA I REVOLVER #1 BREAKFAST WITH ROB #1 TOM STRONG & THE ROBOTS OF DOOM #2 IRREDEEMABLE #15 CHEAP SHOTS! RIP Harvey Pekar

BATMAN ODYSSEY #1

Writer & Artist: Neal Adams

BATMAN & ROBIN #13

Writer: Grant Morrison Artist: Frazer Irving Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

A few months ago I interviewed Mike Uslan, a man that not only knows comics (teaching the only college accredited course on comics out there), but also knows Batman in every sense of the character (makes sense since he has been a producer on every Batman film from Burton to Nolan). Even though we were supposed to be focused on the new directions for ARCHIE, the conversation evolved into an exploration of brand diversification in all comic titles. To paraphrase, today’s comic audience is an eclectic demographic grab-bag. For the first time in comic history you have multiple generations all wanting a piece of comic goodness each week. So how does a company fulfill the story expectations of different generations, while still adhering to the essence of the character and dare I say some semblance of continuity? I think DC cracked the nut with last week’s bat offerings of BATMAN ODYSSEY, which is a gorgeous homage to a time that was, and BATMAN & ROBIN, which is the finest crafted comic book being delivered by and for the ADD generation.
Unfortunately the Internuts are going to shit on BATMAN ODYSSEY. They will spew their verbal vitriol as they half-heartedly read the book while at the same time playing their Xbox, skyping grandma in Florida and downloading their weekly diet of apps that they won’t be using a month from now.
And in response I give a high and hearty fuck you to those naysayers. You scoff at this book, because you don’t understand this book. You see I know how you read, because I am you. Yes, I sit on that ADD cusp between Gen X and what came after. I read my books each week amidst a cacophony of other “entertainment” trappings. And usually we can get away with this laissez faire form of information absorption because the modern comic book only requires 1% use of our already minuscule percentage of accessible brain power. BATMAN ODYSSEY is not your average book though. It’s showing what the silver age story tellers can create with modern tools. After the first few pages I turned off Red Dead Redemption, closed my laptop, and simply immersed myself into what was a glorious labor of love for a time that is no more.
BATMAN ODYSSEY is simply gorgeous in presentation. Gotham City has not felt this alive and real in a long-time, which can all be attributed to the painstaking detail that Adams throws into each and every panel he draws. Right from the very first close-up of Bruce Wayne, as he recounts to a very young Dick Grayson his error in thinking on a gun being more fearful than a bat costume, you can count the hairs on Bruce’s arm, you can make out small details in the background of the Batcave, you can see his expression of disappointment in himself for his miscalculations. At first I thought this page was a fluke; hook me now so I don’t pay attention to later. But every panel in this book whether big or small is meticulously crafted to portray a holistic scene. I can’t fathom how long it took Adams to draw this book, but I’ll tell you, I feel the same way about this title as I do about the work of Frank Quitely. I would rather wait for sporadic moments of genius than be deluged with a constant barrage of timely mediocrity.
So what about the writing? Well, this is where we see the stark difference between the modern day and silver age. Normally I’m the first to lambast the old-timers for relying heavily on the convention of narration bubbles, those usually annoying telegraphs of thought that articulate everything from the current action to what the character had for breakfast. I ripped Claremont a new one when he took over EXILES for this, mainly because it was an old style shoe-horned into a modern book with modern characters. BATMAN ODYSSEY though is set in a different time and the book has no history. Even though it’s not implicitly stated, I truly felt this book was sitting somewhere circa the late 70s. Everything from the style of the Batmobile, to the age of Dick Grayson, to the mention of a gas crisis (never mind on that one I guess) screamed Carter era America. Also, Bruce is a different man; I wouldn’t call him jovial, but he is certainly not the mean-spirited, Miller inspired Bruce that weaned my generation.
If I had one compliant, I will say there was sort of a forced scene with Man-Bat in the Batcave. I understand it serves as necessary exposition for what’s to come, but it really was a bitch-slap of a moment that felt a bit forced. Also, I can’t figure out for the life of me why Dick Grayson is wearing the Tim Drake Robin outfit. Perhaps we are looking at an Elseworld, if so cool I’ll let it go. Dick’s outfit always was a big bucket of suck so there’s no real loss here.
I gained a new appreciation for what was with this title. If you look beyond the “telegraphing” nature of the narration bubbles, you can actually glean insight into the inner-workings of the character. Just so long as the art supports this wordy portrayal of the action and is not just some dippy stick figure standing in a void it actually serves as a delicious a compliment.
Now, let’s get back into continuity with good ol’ BATMAN & ROBIN. Just when I think this title has reached its zenith in awesomeness, Morrison is somehow able to elevate it into a new plane of existence. The cover alone will make long-time bat fans giggle with delight as Douche Way…I mean Damian Wayne, is about to clobber the Joker with the “crowbar of Robin retribution.” When you get into the interior panels and he actually does start wailing on the Joker I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end for this payback that has been 25 years in the making.
I’ll fully admit the first three pages of this book have me utterly befuddled. Thomas Wayne setting up the killing of his wife and child, payoffs to Chill, debauchery abounds. If someone can explain it to me please do: I’m all ears (well actually eyes, since I would rather you write me). If it’s a holdover from R.I.P. please give me a bogey on knowledge, I was one of the haters. Once we get past this dream/reality/hallucinogenic mind fuck, the story takes off in one of our favorite Gotham haunts, Arkham Asylum.
The Sexton Oberon mystery is solved (it was the Joker) and the eclectic cast of villains we have met over the past 12 issues (Pyg, Flamingo etc..) were no more than pawns in what could be the joker’s greatest psychopathic game to date.
Pathogenic DNA viruses aside (great concept I just don’t want to ruin everything), what was truly spectacular in this book were the one-liners. Dick more revered than Bruce by the G.P.D. When Damian is locked up with the Joker people are more concerned about the Joker’s safety, and a car ride with Dick and Gordon that was one of the best conversations in BATMAN to date.
Some will be put off by Frazer’s watercolor approach to art, but not being an art snob I didn’t mind it. It was a refreshing change. Does it work as well outside of a Victorian setting? Probably not, but it is still accomplished and most certainly original.
I had a great time under the cowl this week (obviously) and I’m predicting now that the events in BATMAN over the next year will dethrone the reign of the Green Lanterns.
Optimous has successfully blackmailed fellow @$$Hole BottleImp into being his artist on Average Joe. Look for Imp's forced labor on Optimous brain child in mid-2011 from COM.X. Friend Optimous on FaceBook to get Average Joe updates and because ceiling cat says it's the right thing to do.

Another Look at BATMAN: ODYSSEY #1

Writer & Artist: Neal Adams Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: KletusCasady

“This is new. Feels like a cigarette boat.” “Unfortunate name. but, yeah. same-same.” “No. Hey, right! I got. I like it. I love it! It’s mine! God…”
Last week someone politely asked, “please review BATMAN: ODYSSEY Kletus, I yearn for your opinion on the return of one of DC’s most celebrated artists and I would NEVER use sarcasm to get what I want, not only that but I appreciate the reviews you guys do here on a weekly basis,” and me being the kind, gentle, loving, good looking soul I am, I said “damnit…I’ll do it!” The first thing I’ll mention is that I was not impressed by the preview pages of B.O. that DC had added to the back of their comics. It didn’t grab me but I was curious as to why Batman was brandishing dual pistols and that was really the extent of my interest in this book. For the most part, when “a legend” comes back to a title that they drew or wrote over twenty years ago, it rarely warrants all the hype surrounding it…sorry, it’s true. I know there are a few exceptions to every rule but a lot of times shit just doesn’t work. I’m sorry to say this may be one of those times. In the immortal words of Arsenio Hall this book is filled with things that make you say “hmmm…”
This book is frustratingly confusing. I’m not sure if this was done on purpose but damn, between the dialog and the jumbled panels I was really lost. My first point of confusion was in the Batcave. Kirk Langstrom the Man-Bat just swoops in, picks up Robin, and flies off…all this happens in front of Batman who is unfazed by all of this as he’s giving Robin a lecture about guns, so Robin is answering his questions whilst being flown around the Batcave by Man-Bat. No explanation as to how he got in there or why the fuck he’s flying Robin around…hmmm. Then Batman & Robin get called away to foil a Riddler scheme but Batman chooses to ignore it and go to the pier instead…hmmm. Now why the fuck would Batman ignore a threat from the Riddler robbery in progress, couldn’t people be dying or some shit? Not only that but Batman scolds the Man-Bat for being, well, Man-Bat form, tells him to take the serum to change back but then leaves him ALONE in the Batcave to take the serum by himself…hmmm. Plus another Man-Bat type figure is just hanging out in the Batcave after B & R leave…WTF?!? Isn’t there security in that piece or what? The dialog had me thinking I had missed something on the previous page but really shit was just disjointed as hell and sometimes just weird, “There’s time for talk and there’s time to grab the family jewels, shut up and ride the wind”…this is Robin quoting a phrase that Batman (I guess) frequently says…hmmm. I’d believe that in Frank Miller’s Batman but it was just out of place here and it happens a couple times where dialog/actions just jump out of nowhere and you’re like…why did he say/do that? The artwork was good, no doubt about that, aside from a few panels being a little jumbled together. My problem with it though is that it looked as though he drew it with the intention of it being on the old style comic book paper. It kind of looks like those bad transfers of old story lines that Marvel puts in to trades (MAXIMUM CARNAGE TP) that look blurry at parts not to mention a lot of the detail gets lost. That being said I still think the artwork was good, I just think it would have looked a lot better on non glossy paper which is probably true for a lot of old school artists.
Neal Adams has achieved more in his lifetime than I will in two, thus I mean no disrespect with this review…but B.O. just didn’t do it for me. I had a hard time understanding a lot of things in this book, like the ending; who are those people and why is shooting a car filled with hydrogen a cliffhanger? Was there something important in the car? I just have too many questions and not ones that make me curious about the next issue. Like why, when Batman said he was going to the other side of the pier to contain the baddies, did Jim Gordon deem it necessary to get on the bullhorn and loudly announce what Batman’s plans were? Hmmmm. Anyway, the art was definitely good but not really my cup of tea. It’s kind of a mix between Jim Aparo’s facial expressions and Joe Kubert’s line work but nothing is as sleek as what Jim Aparo would do, being that in most of the panels the subjects were in the foreground masking what was behind them. I guess if you have one of those “I’ll buy what ever Neal Adams does” attitudes like I do for Jim Lee than you probably have already bought it, read it, liked it, bagged and boarded it and are pissed at this review but it’s my story and I’m sticking to it. In the words of the random cliffhanger pier bad guy, “Blow! Blow to hell!!”

SCARLET #1

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Artist: Alex Maleev Publisher: Marvel Icon Reviewer: Johnny Destructo

The world is broken. You know this. I know this. Scarlet knows this. We all have this knowledge in common. You? You're sitting here reading reviews about comics.
Scarlet? Well, Scarlet is doing something about it.
...and I can't wait to see what she does next.
Bendis, for all of his snark, still seems to wonder how he is where he is in the comics industry. It's because of his fearlessness with experimentation. He never seems content to just write comics a certain way, but is always flexing the medium to see what sticks. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, and that's ok. The guy gets a lot of flak from this corner of the internet, even from me (see my AVENGERS #1 review) and I'm sure this book will be no exception. I can see that it's not going to be many people's particular brand of tea, but me? I'm drinkin' it up.
There are a couple different narrative themes going on. One, in the word balloons is Scarlet's dialogue. The stuff that the fictional people around her can hear. Two, in the rectangular word balloons are her words to us, the readers. Then there are the quick cut scenes catching us up on her life, which, in my head play like something out of “Snatch” or “Requie, For A Dream”. And then there's the inclusion of a newspaper article about the story she's telling us. And it all works perfectly. People new to the comics medium may need to study UNDERSTANDING COMICS by Scott McCloud first, but to the seasoned comics reader, these all blend together well.
At first, when Scarlet starts talking about the broken world and how her parents should have warned her and blahblahblah, it felt a little whiny and immature. Like high school I'm-gonna-paint-my-nails-black-and-rage-against-the-machine (what machine?) I-dunno,-any machine (like a vending machine?) I-dunno,-man! A-machine-that-I'm-gonna-rage-against! Stop-harshing-my-buzz! kind of angst. And I had my doubts. But then she tells her story. And it's difficult not to put myself in her place and feel what she's feeling, and understand exactly what it is she wants to do. Cause I think a lot of us want to do the exact same thing.
As for the art, I wish Maleev would convey something besides the static, motionless, traced-over-a-photograph sort of feel. It's not bad, it's just that most of the panels feel "staged". And the Photoshop textures are a bit much. It pulled me out of the story time and time again. Also, a quick note regarding the variant cover by Mike Deodato. There are characters that need to be in sexy poses, in tight clothes. Scarlet doesn't feel like one of those and seeing her portrayed that way takes something away from the character. Leave that sort of pin-up for Velocity or Lady Death or something.
Overall, a great first issue that I'm really looking forward to continuing. Scarlet has some stuff she wants to tell me, and I can't wait to hear it.
JD can be found hosting the PopTards Podcast, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam over at www.poptardsgo.com, graphically designing/illustrating for a living, and Booking his Face off over here.

CASANOVA: LUXURIA I

Story: Matt Fraction Art: Gabriel Bá, Fabio Moon Publisher: Image Comics Reviewer: Majin Fu

I missed CASANOVA when it was originally released, so I was looking forward to finally seeing what all the fuss was about. Matt Fraction is a writer with huge potential to surprise and astonish, no matter what character he is writing (ahem, Thor). I am also a huge fan of Gabriel Bá, so expectations were high. Happily, this did not disappoint. The book features the first two issues of the original story re-colored, plus an additional 8 pages of back-up featuring art by Gabriel Bá’s brother, Fabio Moon. There are also several pages of retrospectives in the back, courtesy of Matt Fraction. With all that material, this is definitely a dense book that earns its four dollar price tag.
Caution: Minor spoilers ahead.
Matt Fraction crafts a story with equal parts absurd action and personal discovery, featuring alternate timelines, sex robots, and a secret agent who looks suspiciously like Dum Dum Dugan. There is a lot happening, but Fraction arranges everything with a flow akin to music, complete with rhythm and multiple climaxes, so you never lose momentum. While you may be able to spot a few influences, like the previously mentioned Dum Dum, most of the material is so wacky that I can’t imagine it being anything other than wholly unique. I won’t spoil anything in case you still haven’t checked it out, but suffice it to say this story will show you at least one thing you probably never saw before.
I may not have read the original stories, but I saw some of the art, so I can tell you how beautiful Bá’s work is now that it gets the full color spectrum treatment. This is a trippy story, and the heightened visuals make the story pop and fizzle appropriately, like when Casanova is falling from one dimension into another. The original color scheme is also kept during a flashback to focus on the personal issues of the protagonist. It’s a subtle narrative twist that pays homage to the original art, while also making the additional colors feel like more than just a gimmick.
Bá’s style here is looser than his recent work UMBRELLA ACADEMY, and especially DAYTRIPPER (or is that all Fabio Moon’s work?), but no less expressive. There is a good balance between chaos and character development with transitions that are not quite fluid, but suit the style of the writing. There is also a lot of variety in the size of panels to maintain the story’s high energy. The images and lettering blend seamlessly in the comic in a strange way that really helps the comic flow. Also, the fonts get a little small at times depending on who is narrating, or what is happening within the panels. It’s a refreshing twist from the more generic layouts that influences the way you read and your eyes move along the page.
The 8-page story at the end helps to flesh out the main story and give the issue a happy ending. Fabio Moon’s visuals are as stunning as they are fun. His more slice-of-life style coupled with some creative layouts help to capture the sensations inherent to the story. Work like this is definitely preferable to a preview when it comes to justifying the extra dollar. I am tremendously grateful to Icon for giving me so many reasons to jump into the zany world of CASANOVA, and will be sticking around to see what happens next. Matt Fraction and Gabriel Bá have created a comic that is supremely energetic and unique. If you missed it the first time and you like your comics on the psychedelic side, pick CASANOVA up and give it a look.

REVOLVER OGN

Writer/Artist: Matt Kindt Publisher: DC Vertigo Reviewer: Humphrey Lee

Before I gush all over this book – and oh there will be gushing – I would implore all interested in this book to check out the Q&A session I had with writer/artist/all around creative guy Matt Kindt yesterday in the AICN comics section. At the least it turned out to be a great look into the creative process of a true talent of the medium, at the most it will be a good precursor for all that aforementioned gushing. Fact of the matter is, the man knows how to use the comics medium for all it’s worth and his newest work, REVOLVER, exemplifies this.
REVOLVER is a book about a lot of things, but at its foremost it’s a book about one’s station in life. The book’s protagonist, Sam, is one of those types that are just barely getting through life. Hates his job, hates the monotony of his life, hates his boss --basically he’s like 99% of us. Then the world goes to hell. Bombs drop, disease starts running rampant, chaos chaos chaos. Until Sam wakes up the next day that is, and everything is back to its terrifyingly tedious state.
This is just one of a plethora of elements at play in REVOLVER. The switch back and forth from a world where Sam and a handful of coworkers have to do everything to survive back to one where he almost wishes he was under fire instead of furniture shopping with his girlfriend Maria perpetuates his drastic desire for change, no matter how severe. It is almost “Fight Club”-ish in nature; once Sam has a taste of life-threatening adrenaline everything else becomes insignificant and muted. The widespread panic and fear everyone seems inundated with daily, the lies, the lack of coherent information in a world seemingly gone mad – sounds almost like any given day of the week but is taken to the nth degree here but also never feels overbearing. It’s great human drama with that proper smack of relevancy to push its weightiness.
And while REVOLVER uses a bunch of thematic elements, it plays with media elements as well. There’s a monochromatic scheme in effect that shifts its color palette each time Sam switches back to the other side. It’s a simple idea but it works wonders in adding to the atmosphere being projected. There’s also a cool little effect down at the bottom of the page, as the page numbering is inserted into essentially a news ticker, putting extra emphasis on the media saturation theme I mentioned earlier. It’s all these little plays on the comic form, the way all these little aspects come together to flesh it out conceptually, that make REVOLVER (and really any Kindt book) such an involving read as Sam’s unusual plight plays itself out over two realities.
Wrapping this up, I’m going to say this is easily the best thing I have read so far this year from the world of comic books. Admittedly, it’s not perfect; some of the character relationships do kind of play themselves out predictably and there’s a villainous conflict within that unfolds and resolves itself rather quickly in its second half. But these are minor gripes overall given what the book does right. It’s introspective, topical, it looks gorgeous from a design and art standpoint and on and on and on. It’s a Matt Kindt book, and if that means nothing to you, well, that’s a shame. Like Sam, you probably need to go out on a limb and break up some complacency (at least with your comic buying). And REVOLVER is a great place to start the growing process.
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.

BREAKFAST WITH ROB #1

Writer: Chuck Messinger Art: Thiago F. Castro Publisher: Creator’s Edge Press Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

It was with great effort that I forced myself to consider having BREAKFAST WITH ROB, a new offering from the gang at Creator’s Edge Press. To be blunt, I’ve read so many fucking zombie comics that I could smell the stench of undead failure before I even cracked the cover. What is there left to say? What avenues remain unexplored? My issue with the zombie genre is that comics, like movies, don’t really know what to do with the walking dead because they make such one-dimensional antagonists. That means writers have to make up for their deficiencies in appeal by lumping them together en masse. The end result is an anemic narrative riddled with barnacles of uninspiring dialogue and gaudy pin-ups that all-too-conveniently make their appearance when the writer runs out of things to say besides grahhh or gurrrrr. You know it’s bad when you start wishing they would go back to using Nazis as the default bad guys.
About three pages in I realized that writer Chuck Messinger must feel exactly the same way I do. How can I be sure? Well, from reading BREAKFAST WITH ROB, it seems quite apparent that he was fed up with the zombie treatment as a device to sell books and set out to do this thing justice. Why was NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD such an amazing movie? The same reason the RESIDENT EVIL flicks are the fromunda cheese of modern cinema. It’s not about the zombies. Nor is it about the body count. It’s about survival. Not just survival, but the desperation to hold on to your humanity in a world that has betrayed you. Now, what’s a more compelling story, turning into a fully-armed Duke Nukem and DOOMing your way to a happy ending? Or trying to use your wits to survive while making difficult choices about what sacrifices must be made in order to stay alive?
Messinger wisely chooses the latter. His greatest strength is his ability to show restraint. One of the more memorable scenes in Hitchcock’s THE BIRDS is early on in the movie when a single bird flies head first into the door of a house. The actors kind of give each other that “What the fuck was that all about?” look and the story just keeps on chugging. There’s a similar moment here and I enjoyed the tease, mostly because it follows another one of Hitch’s rules of suspense: I knew what was coming, but the protagonist didn’t. Then it became a waiting game. When are the zombies going to show up? What is the root cause? How’s it going to end?
Discovering the answers to some of those questions is what makes BREAKFAST WITH ROB such a joy to read. The characters converse like real people, the action is believable and the end reveal is extremely satisfying. You could say the artwork is crudely drawn, but I think it compliments the book instead of detracting from it. Then again, I find the old stop-motion creatures of Ray Harryhausen far superior to the sterile creations of today’s CGI. I’m strongly recommending BREAKFAST WITH ROB. It’s not just a loyal treatment of the zombie genre, it’s one of the finest comics you’ll read all year.
Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at MMaMania.com here. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.

TOM STRONG & THE ROBOTS OF DOOM #2 (of 6)

Story: Peter Hogan Art: Chris Sprouse Publisher: America’s Best Comics Reviewer: Majin Fu

(Minor spoilers ahead, but if you know TOM STRONG, you probably already knew the plot didn’t you?)
Boy, they really don’t make ‘em like this anymore. Really, TOM STRONG is a celebration of pulp fiction at its core. In fact, the connection is addressed between two Toms in this very issue. These stories are all about taking something cemented in the past and molding it into something new, but familiar. What keeps the stories from getting dull is the consistency of quality from the book’s creators. Like its hero, this comic is solid, yet able to leap unflinchingly into the past.
Another reason for this comic’s success is the tremendous presence of a very effective villain. Albrecht Weiss is Tom Strong’s son, raised by his mother Ingrid after she stole his semen in his sleep. Albrecht is a twisted reflection of what his father could have been under different influences. He resembles Tom in his intellect and strength, but being a Nazi puts him at the other end of the moral compass. By issue one, he had already conquered the entire world under the Nazi banner and killed all of Tom Strong’s old family, even reprogramming his faithful robot!
And what would a pulp comic be without some giant robots? The Dero are the key to Albrecht’s plot, as he explains in this issue. The first half of the book is dedicated to Albrecht sharing his exploits like any classic villain would, putting a spotlight on the merciless robots from the title. The Dero are truly an intimidating nemesis, and Albrecht makes it clear just how capable they are, if you make the right compromise. The deal Albrecht makes with them was one of my favorite parts of this issue, and has implications of more exciting action to come.
Both Albrecht and the Dero prove to be so competent that Tom Strong’s only hope for the future is to escape to the past. As a result, the latter half of the story is more of a retrospective on Tom Strong’s family. BOOSTER GOLD used a similar plot structure recently, and it works just as well. Looking back on their pasts allows these heroes to notice things they may have missed before, making for quiet character moments that contrast nicely with the bombastic first half. For example, I was annoyed by Solomon in the first issue, but when he appears later in the story, there is a simple exchange between him and Tom Strong that speaks a great deal about their relationship.
Chris Sprouse continues to illustrate the adventures of Tom Strong with as much clarity, precision, and pacing as he did all those issue ago when Alan Moore was writing. Every page and panel is deliberate and nothing ever feels extraneous or implicit. Alternative Toms are a staple of the series, and the concept is once again presented here. Sprouse rises to the challenge of making two versions of the same character look distinct (Tom has hardly aged for decades), embellishing each Tom with just enough details to distinguish one from the other.
At around 22 pages in length and featuring a preview for a comic featuring vampires in ancient Rome, justification for the four dollar price tag depends on your judgment of the comic’s quality, and the degree to which you enjoy these characters. Tom Strong is pure, unpretentious pulp fiction, complete with Nazis, robots, talking chimps, and time travel, but the characters are fleshed out and the presentation is so utterly professional it propels the book above its inspirations. The plot moves at a slower pace, and the preview hardly justifies the price tag when the story is normal length, but this is a great comic worth any pulp fan’s reading time.

IRREDEEMABLE #15

Writer: Mark Waid Artist: Diego Barreto Published by: BOOM! Studios Reviewed by: BottleImp

For a long while, reading IRREDEEMABLE has been akin to taking a particularly unpleasant medicine. Every month I choked down the bitter tincture of pages and pages of boring backstory and bland visuals in hope that the medicine would finally take effect, and the next month would find this title back to showing signs of life, full of the piss and vinegar that had characterized IRREDEEMABLE at its birth. Well, no need to rinse the taste out of my mouth this month, because the recent steady recuperation of this series has culminated in a comic that crackles with as much tension and excitement as that instantly-addictive first issue.
I could still nitpick and bitch about how long it took Waid and Co. to get back to this level of interest, and how I wish that the background and character details that took up so many boring issues could have been better integrated with the advancement of the plot, but hey…I’m going to focus on the present instead of dwelling on the past. And presently, this series kicks ass. The Plutonian takes on his former teammates the Paradigm in a no-holds-barred rematch that manages to show the reader just how powerful this rogue superman is while making it clear that he is not invincible—it may take the combined power of three heroes and one mercenary villain, but the Plutonian’s power can be countered, if only in a tenuous stalemate. Along with the energy blasts, fisticuffs and all-around mayhem, Waid also sneaks in some character and plot development. Why couldn’t he have been doing the same with all those boring—
No—focus on the present, Imp.
Bette Noir is emerging as the focal character of this superhero soap opera. As a pseudo-Black Canary clone, she doesn’t have much to speak of in the flashy powers department, but as the reader sees more of her in action, it becomes clear that Bette is perhaps the strongest player in terms of spirit. Her guilt complex over not stopping the Plutonian before he went on his murderous rampage has given what was originally seen as a rather one-dimensional character an almost Shakespearean depth. Waid also writes Bette as having a little more going on upstairs than most of her cohorts, as she is the only member of the Paradigm who views the inexplicable return of Samsara (in reality, the Plutonian’s Braniac-like nemesis Modeus) with more than a little suspicion. The Plutonian might be the one for whom this series is named, but it’s looking more and more like Bette Noir will be its hero.
I also have to point out an aspect of Mark Waid’s writing that shines as a beacon of quality in comparison to the narrative caption-laden scripts that have unfortunately become the rule rather than the exception (see my review last week of Bill Willingham’s work on JSA). Waid knows when to shut the fuck up and let the story tell itself. As opposed to the horrible “tell, don’t show” mentality that makes writers feel they need to cram as much textual information into every possible panel (regardless of whether or not said information is actually aiding the plot—most of the time, it ain’t), Waid knows that more power is conveyed by the pure imagery of the Plutonian and Survivor beating the tar out of each other. He knows that showing Qubit’s stealthy machinations does more to show the reader that Qubit is one smart feller rather than if he had given us text blocks declaring his intelligence. Waid shows, he doesn’t tell, and for that I salute him.
Even after praising this issue, I remain wary. I know, I said that I was going to be positive and concentrate on the present, but I can't help also being apprehensive about the future. After all, it can’t be a superhero slugfest every month, and there’s bound to be some more issues devoted to filling in the blanks. I’m hoping that Waid can still manage to keep this same level of suspense throughout the rest of this series (however long it may run… I can’t fathom that this storyline can continue indefinitely), because I’ve finished taking my medicine, and I don’t want a relapse. ‘Cause I really, REALLY didn’t like that medicine’s taste.
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.

SHADOWLAND #1 Marvel Comics

File this under the “too soon to tell” category. There’s a lot of fun stuff in this book, but not enough for me to pass verdict. With only Power Man, Iron Fist, Bullseye, and Daredevil having a chance to shine here, the cover featuring Spidey, Punisher (sans Franken, thank god), and my fave Moon Knight is a bit misleading. But writer Diggle has set a pretty nice stage and given his penchant for writing great action yarns in the past, I’m willing to stick with this miniseries to see what is to become of Daredevil’s new dark reign over the city of New York. Liked the cliff-hangery ending, though I doubt it sticks. - Ambush Bug

IZOMBIE #3 DC Vertigo

My adoration of team Allred’s kitschy pop art and Roberson’s great work on CINDERELLA made me buy issue one of iZombie; it truly had nothing to do with the word zombie in the title. Sorry, I’m just not a zombie…zombie (you know if you write it enough times the word really starts to sound silly). And truly the reason I am still with this book at issue 3 has nothing to do with the undead. Even Roberson’s twist on this genre by making the lead character a sentient zombie (unless she doesn’t feed on brrraiiinnnnsss) with a day job and the unique ability to absorb the memories of her favorite sustenance is not why I read this book. I can’t even say it’s the mystery of a dead man and new vampires in the Northwestern town setting of this book is what has me coming back. So why I am here? Roberson hands down is one of the best writers of strong and smart female characters that can embrace their femininity without ever transcending into objectification. It’s a rare talent. I thought it was a fluke when I read CINDERELLA; I guess I was wrong. You want zombies, dead 1960s movie stars, vampires and some great dialogue, iZombie is here waiting. - Optimous Douche

RED ROBIN #14 DC Comics

Since issue one, RED ROBIN has slowly become one of my favorite mainstream DC comics. Chris Yost did a pretty fine job of reintroducing Tim Drake as this new Red Robin and making sure he didn’t get lost in all of the limelight the new Robin and Batman team was getting. Now Fabian Nicieza is writing this book and Fabs knows his Bat-Family. This issue has Tim and Damian squabbling again, but here, it’s not Damian being a brat, but someone who has been genuinely hurt. Damian shows an all too human side in this book, while Tim (who has always been one of the more “human” heroes) seems to be hardening up more and more as he gets comfortable in his role as Red Robin. Tim’s doing Batman better than Bruce himself here and making the same type of mistakes he did. The writing is crisp and quick. And longtime Bat-fans will enjoy the three Robins (Tim, Dick & Damian) battling it out and interacting like a deliciously dysfunctional family. - Ambush Bug

STEVE ROGERS: SUPER-SOLDIER Marvel Comics

In a natural evolution from STEVE ROGERS: CAPTAIN AMERICA (which is what the CAP series by Bru was called up until Bucky-Cap took over), we now begin STEVE ROGERS: SUPER-SOLDIER. Bru has established Bucky as Cap and whattayouknow? Everybody kinda likes him. So...the logical next step in the saga of Steve Rogers is figure out a way to utilize him as “former” Capt. America. And Marvel has thrown their weight of support behind the idea and Steve is now a presence all over the Marvel U. And now he is featured in his own solo book – a series that should be read and enjoyed by anyone who considers themselves of fan of Capt. America. Steve is the ultimate American espionage agent for the modern age and this first issue featuring him in his new role is tied directly into his origin story from the Golden Age. This is a smart and taut action comic book with a character that is in the midst of his own definitive storytelling period. Brubaker has taken an icon and made him a character to care about and to be interested in. Solid art by Eaglesham, an attractive cover, and a reprint of Cap's very first appearance (thankfully with no obvious p.c. tinkering; i.e., Steve is even shown smoking a pipe in one panel) make this a solid jumping on point for anyone looking for a good monthly fix of espionage, thrills, and character. - Professor Challenger

THE WALKING DEAD #74 Image Comics

Though this was another “talky” issue of THE WALKING DEAD, it definitely was a tense read. Kirkman has taken us this far down the rabbit hole with Rick and all of the other Walking Dead in his crew that seeing them interact with this new community of seemingly regular folks is fascinating in itself. This group of survivors is so damaged that even in the face of paradise, the trauma they’ve experienced won’t allow them to feel safe. Kirkman seems to be having a good time in this arc, unveiling tiny snippets of ugliness from both Rick and his Company and the residents of this new community. I’m still unsure who is on the level. Is Rick just paranoid and going to turn out to be the monsters of this arc? Or are there secrets in this community that give relevance to Rick’s paranoia? All I know is, I’m glued to this book when I pick it up at the store and can’t wait for the next installment as soon as I put it down. - Ambush Bug

SWEET TOOTH #11 DC Vertigo

Mutant animal babies, a post-apocalyptic barren America, an innocent deer boy raised in the woods juxtaposed by a hardened mercenary bad ass with a grudge against life. If you’re saying “WTF”, or if you’re over thirteen “what the fuck,” it’s OK. You are sane, you passed the test. I felt the same way when I stared at and passed by this book on my comic shop shelf for about seven or so months. Despite all the adoration and accolades heaped upon SWEET TOOTH, it just looked insanely ridiculous and weird for weird’s sake. Thank God for a slow “regulars” week a few months ago though and that sweet $1.00 first issue price, because without those two things I would have missed out on one of the most endearing and moving tales in comics right now. I‘m usually a dialogue man when it comes to comics I enjoy, but Lemire is the first writer/artist that has truly made me appreciate the power of silent scenes in a comic. He also proves that when done well they can move a story along better than loquacious word balloons. Lemire doesn’t just work in this medium, he respects and embraces it. I usually grow impatient with books that draw out their purpose, but if Lemire can keep owning the moments of this book, I really don’t give a shit if I ever learn why children are animal hybrids and the world went kaput. - Optimous Douche

SECRET SIX #23 DC Comics

Though this may be a fill in story set out of current SECRET SIX continuity, Gail Simone writes the shit out of this issue giving each member of the team a moment to shine. I loved every panel of this issue. The premise is pretty simple; a bunch of Richie Riches hire the Six to come out to an island for an assignment only to find themselves the targets in a reimagining of “The Deadliest Game.” But Gail’s execution and attention to character is what sparkles here as cool scene after cool scene fills every panel. If anyone doubts that SECRET SIX is one of the best books on the shelves, pick up this one and done issue and lap it up. The art by newcomer RB Silva is absolutely fantastic too, adding to the cool. Clean crisp lines and dynamic poses and panels. Silva is an artist that needs more work and I’ll be looking for his name in the credits from now on. - Ambush Bug

R.I.P. Harvey Pekar

By Ambush Bug

Folks, I’m not going to sit here and try to be cool and say I’ve read a ton of Harvey Pekar’s comics, because honestly, I haven’t. I do know that the man was an important part of modern comics. And being the Indie Jones guy here on AICN Comics, I’m a bit embarrassed to say I haven’t read any of his books since he was one of the original independent voices in comics.
I do know from his many appearances on the David Letterman Show that he was a man with a unique view of the world and one who was never afraid to speak his mind. In the interviews I’ve read with him and all of the soliloquies being lobbed around the web after his passing a few days ago, he seemed to be lauded as a no bullshit visionary who’s honestly made him both famous and got him into trouble in equal portions.
If anything, after hearing of Mr. Pekar’s passing, it’s going to prompt me to do something I should have done while the man was still alive; seek out his comics and read them. And you all should too. If the word I hear about Pekar’s works is true, I’m going to enjoy the hell out of them.
Rest in Peace, Mr. Pekar. Comic book-dom is short one more visionary.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Check out his ComicSpace page for his entries in Cream City Comics’ MUSCLES & FIGHTS VOL.3 and MUSCLES & FRIGHTS VOL.1 anthologies. Bug was interviewed here & here (about AICN Comics) and here & here (on his VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS: THE TINGLER comics). Bug’s latest comic is VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #21: WITCHFINDER GENERAL (available in May’s Previews Order # MAY100828) on sale in July. Fanboy Radio recently interviewed Bug about it here. Bug was also interviewed here & here about his upcoming original vampire miniseries NANNY & HANK (available in June's Previews Order #JUN100824) due out in August.

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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  • July 14, 2010, 9:12 a.m. CST

    ComingSoon.Net has a new Thor pic.

    by Mostholy

    ...and it's not so good. http://bit.ly/ckz0i0

  • July 14, 2010, 9:14 a.m. CST

    College accredited courses exist many places

    by Twickenham

    "teaching the only college accredited course on comics out there" This is not true.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:16 a.m. CST

    Loved Damian's bad-ass lines to the Joker

    by Laserhead

    "Chaos is not being able to go to the bathroom by yourself. Chaos is needing to have your feeding tube changed every day." I can't believe I'm starting to like that kid.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:16 a.m. CST

    The other movie sites have a new Thor pic.

    by Carl XVI Gustaf

    ...and it's oh so good.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Thanks twick

    by optimous_douche

    I guess I should have said Mike was the first...I humbly stand corrected.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Thomas Wayne-- OD

    by Laserhead

    The implication throughout Morrison's run, particularly in R.I.P., has been that Thomas Wayne faked his own death, and Bruce was supposed to die that night too. In this story, of which we don't know how much is true or false, Thomas Wayne was a member of a secret, super-rich gambling club called The Black Glove, which played games with people's lives. Martha and Bruce were meant to be silenced for something having to do with that. There was also the implication in one panel that Thomas Wayne had drugged his wife and forced her to participate in some kind of... degredation. After faking his own death Thomas Wayne took charge of The Black Glove and rose to power as some kind of satanically debauched crime master. Another implication of R.I.P. is that Alfred might actually be Bruce's father.<p>All of this sounds like a lot, but now in The Return of Bruce Wayne, we're seeing that one of Wayne's colonial ancestors was a devil-worshipper-- which might have given him immortality, a'la Mr. Whisper in Morrison's very first Batman story, 'Gothic' (great). So maybe this guy pretending to be Thomas Wayne is really Bruce's deal-with-the-devil ancestor. Uh, I think that's everything.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:22 a.m. CST

    And thank you Laser

    by optimous_douche

    Bailed on RIP so I appreciate the gap fill....

  • July 14, 2010, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Loved Frazier's artwork, unexpectedly-

    by Laserhead

    I really didn't think he'd be a good fit. Now I think they should only rotate between Quitely and Frazier.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Secret Six

    by BonafidePaterFamilius

    Hey, Bug, just wanted to give you a head's up that it was the legendary John Ostrander that wrote that fill-in issue of Secret Six. From what I've read, they've locked down a few issues from him to be used as fill-ins when Gail needs them. Just another in a laundry list of reasons people should be getting this title.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:35 a.m. CST

    Frazier

    by optimous_douche

    It was certainly different and I did dig it, but I do still think his work felt more fitting in the salem setting of Return of Bruce Wayne.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:37 a.m. CST

    Irredeemable - Great review

    by V'Shael

    because that series has been fucking painful recently.<br /><br />I want to see how the hero became the villain. And so far, they've just shown us the "final straw", and really left way too much up to the imagination. I wonder if Waid is up to the task.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Is The Joker still pulling boners on Batman and Robin?

    by BurnHollywood

    http://tinyurl.com/jkrbnr

  • July 14, 2010, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Walking Dead - I think you have to accept that

    by V'Shael

    Rick and his band are the villains of this little interlude. They have been warped by their experiences. And like snakes who can survive in the long grass, they are not welcome or at peace in a garden of eden.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:44 a.m. CST

    Of course Irredeemable redeemed itself

    by optimous_douche

    Last week. That was when I had enough of paying BOOM's insane prices and left it on the shelf for the first time.<p> Fuck my luck....

  • July 14, 2010, 9:53 a.m. CST

    Graphic Novels & Self-Contained Series Suggestions

    by Dave I

    I think I've come to the conclusion the standard Marvel/DC comics' continuity (or lack thereof) are going to be an ongoing nuisance for me. Instead of my usual whining, anybody got any suggestions for good graphic novels, self-contained series, or even arcs of main characters worth checking out? I just want something that is fairly self-contained where I can just read the story and forget about continuity issues, major character changes, or not have any baggage coming into the series. <p><p>If it helps I really liked Sandman, the recent A God Somewhere, I Kill Giants, and think I'll enjoy Preacher. I just don't want something where somebody dies, then two months later they're inexplicably back, or the Devil is a deus ex machina, or the character goes through some sudden and nonsensical change of character with no explanation. I do like the major characters as well (Spider-Man, Batman, Punisher, X-Men, Deadpool, etc.), but just want something with more depth, maybe some finality or at least something where there is actual meaningful change when things happen, not turning Frank into Frankenstein's Monster or the whole One More Day fiasco. <p><p>Any good suggestions (comics a/o writers)? <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 14, 2010, 9:57 a.m. CST

    Walking Dead

    by optimous_douche

    Can Rick come back though -- and can the series survive w/o a "pure" rick. Johnny Destructo and I were at odds on this on a Podcast we did this week. I say if Rick turns evil this is the beginning of the end, Destructo thinks it can survive. If anyone cares to listen go to poptardsgo.com and listen to episode 31.

  • July 14, 2010, 10:13 a.m. CST

    I'm excited

    by Joenathan

    I've missed my LCS the past two weeks and now there is good stuff waiting for me! Exciting!

  • July 14, 2010, 10:17 a.m. CST

    Dave

    by Joenathan

    Try Secret Warriors by Hickman. It's good and tangentally stand-alone.<br><Br>Also, the key to enjoying mainstream long term continuity titles is compartmentalization. Just don't worry about it. Live it the current arc's present and it's much more fun.

  • July 14, 2010, 10:25 a.m. CST

    Good Advice Joen

    by optimous_douche

    That's exactly how I'm looking at the books these days, arc to arc and team to team.

  • July 14, 2010, 10:38 a.m. CST

    Optimous...

    by McFlypaper

    I found a blogger that pretty much breaks down Morrison's stuff into more digestible and understandable parts. You might check it out. http://rikdad.blogspot.com/2010/07/van-derms.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+RikdadsComicThoughts+(Rikdad's+Comic+Thoughts)

  • July 14, 2010, 10:39 a.m. CST

    Or this

    by McFlypaper

    http://rikdad.blogspot.com/

  • July 14, 2010, 10:58 a.m. CST

    So NONE of the AICN reviewers has ever read Pekar?

    by rev_skarekroe

    Seriously?<p>Also, can everyone pop into the Thor talkback and help me remind everyone that Marvel's Asgardian world isn't supposed to look like Lord of the Rings? Thanks.

  • July 14, 2010, 11:05 a.m. CST

    Two Unchanging Commandments of Comic Book Fandom Seems to be the

    by Atkinson

    It seems as if there are two unwritten rules of Comic Book Fandom that's almost taboo to challenge: 1) That Alan Moore is always right, and one should NEVER question the validity of his arguements against anything mainstream - comics, the use of the term "Super Hero" or enjoying honest story telling, without some character in a girlscout uniform being deflowered by Superman. (to do otherwise wouldn't be "cool"). and 2) Harvey Pekar was a genius story teller and comic book writer. I don't want to disrespect the dead, but there are so many blue-collar stiffs out there who could have done the equivalent of American Splendar. The only person that really put it on the RADAR screen was Robert Crumb cutting his friend a break and drawing Harvey's stories. More artists caught on, and the "cult status" emerged. I don't know Harvey all that well, but I like his vibe - yet that doesn't make the man a Mid-West Charles Bukowski. And yeah, I'm from Columbus, so I can talk about the Mid-West.

  • July 14, 2010, 12:02 p.m. CST

    I read Pekar

    by optimous_douche

    Just not enough to pay proper homage to him as a creator

  • July 14, 2010, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Pekar

    by bottleimp

    I've read some of his stuff, mostly the earlier work. I thought it varied from being really good to fairly boring, but I guess that's the point of his comics about the nuances of everyday life. Two of my favorite comics of his were the one where he rants about being behind old Jewish ladies in supermarket lines (which was included in the AMERICAN SPLENDOR film) and a lovely little story where Harvey is agonizing internally about the stresses in his life, but finally finds peace in the simple joy of the smell of fresh-baked bread.

  • July 14, 2010, 12:25 p.m. CST

    KilliK & Joenathan

    by Dave I

    KilliK, I definitely like things that build on the past and think some of the more indie-type or maybe less-popular titles can get away with some things that huge titles can't for various reasons. Thanks for the recommendations. I forgot to mention I LOVE Watchmen (and Alan Moore in general I tend to like, Watchmen & V for Vendetta probably suit me the best, Constantine is good but I've got limited exposure), and stuff like Batman: Year One, TDK Returns, Killing Joke are I liked. Thanks again though. <p><p>Joenathan, thanks for the recs as well. I'll try to take your advice. It's just one of my quirks I guess. I mean, I can accept a lot, I think. But when they pull something that strikes me as being out of left-field or expect us to swallow something like the "death" or somebody or some supernatural event/character that does things out-of-place in a comic or character's little bubble, I tend to hold a grudge. It's also a hangup of mine that I don't like things to stay static forever. I mean, eventually Aunt May SHOULD die, in some continuity Spider-Man SHOULD marry Mary Jane and have that daughter, or get older together, or get divorced, advance, or SOMETHING! But it's my glitch I suppose. I will try to just enjoy them for what they are, but I do prefer something that has real weight (e.g. Sandman, The Watchmen, etc.). I WOULD like to see MJ remember the deal with the Devil, and hold Peter accountable for erasing their happy life together and basically aborting their daughter to save Aunt May. THAT would be interesting. Not sure it would make the whole thing worth it, but I would like to see Peter grow up and not stay locked in as an immature mama's boy to Aunt May. THAT kind of stuff is what really bothers me as it makes Peter immature and just too short-sighted to be a real hero to me. But so be it. But I DO love the medium, it just impacts what I can truly sink into and enjoy. <p><p>/rant. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 14, 2010, 12:29 p.m. CST

    Atkinson, Alan Moore . . .

    by Dave I

    Is Alan Moore "always right?" I can't say that. He IS great though, and there is a maturity and insight into his work that I really, really love. As a writer, I think he is more willing to take chances than most, right more mature(?) stories, and I just see more depth than I see in a lot of other writers in the medium. For whatever reason, what I've read of Moore just speaks to me more for whatever reason than a lot of other writers. He's not afraid to shake things up a bit and progress things more by using what the characters have been through than I believe a lot of other writers in comics, and he seems to not really pull punches. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 14, 2010, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Alan Moore's not always right

    by rev_skarekroe

    Indeed "Lost Girls" is pretty much wrong from beginning to end.

  • July 14, 2010, 12:39 p.m. CST

    I respect your point of view Dave I...

    by Atkinson

    It just seems that dark characters and dark gray nuance has been sexy in comic book literature for more than 20 years. Although I don't want 2 dimensional characters who refer to guys wearing fedoras on the street as "citizen," I also kinda miss the dignity and nobility in having super heroes or pulp heroes who make the difficult and honorable decisions. When I think of Alan Moore, I think of a guy who hates the medium that gave him his bread and butter. He's Miles Davis, playing his proverbial trumpet with his back to the audience - as some Superman archetype deflowers a woman in a girlscout uniform near the stage.

  • July 14, 2010, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Hey Atkinson . . .

    by Dave I

    Yeah, I think he's one flavor. He's a flavor I particularly like. But I DO also like others. I mean, I like Miles Davis (literally, and metaphorically), but I see your point. I like Sushi, but sometimes a nice burger, fries, and a Coke (or even a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, glass of chocolate milk, and package of chocolate chip cookies) for lunch is great too! There is a place for it all. I try to be an equal opportunist, in food, comics, music, literature, etc. even if I DO have my quirks & preferences. For whatever that's worth. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 14, 2010, 12:57 p.m. CST

    Batman: Odyssey

    by KletusCassidy

    i really curious to hear other people's opinion on Batman: Odyssey...did everyone like this and I'm just crazy as hell or what?!?!

  • July 14, 2010, 1:01 p.m. CST

    KilliK; Lost Girls

    by Dave I

    I haven't read Lost Girls, however what I like about it at least in principle is playing with the medium and trying something new. It might not be for me to be honest, but I DO still like things that challenge people to do new things with comics, video games, cinema, TV, etc. Granted, pornographic comics really are not my thing. Still, in some ways I like people pushing the boundaries and trying new things rather than getting stuck in a rut. <p><p>If I ever find a copy of it for a non-astronomical price that doesn't have its pages sticking together, maybe I'll check it out. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 14, 2010, 1:09 p.m. CST

    I really hope Damian sticks around.

    by DuncanHines

    Throughout the run of Batman And Robin, Damian has grown a lot as a character, and he may have become my favorite part of the series. With each issue, I find myself thinking about how I can't wait to see what this kid does next. The best part about his growth is going back and reading Morrison's early issues and really empathizing with the initial, little prick version of Damian. I hope he sticks around and that the Batman 666 future is THE future. Also - when Bruce finally returns, I hope Dick Grayson gets to stay on as A Batman. If we can have 3 Flashes and 3600 Green Lanterns, is there really any harm in having Dick Grayson stay on as the "Caped Crusader" Batman, with Damian Wayne as his sidekick, Robin, and have Bruce Wayne return as the "Dark Knight" Batman?

  • July 14, 2010, 1:23 p.m. CST

    Rev

    by Joenathan

    "Also, can everyone pop into the Thor talkback and help me remind everyone that Marvel's Asgardian world isn't supposed to look like Lord of the Rings?"<br><br>I totally, 100% agree with you... BUT... I wonder if the Normls can handle what they're doing instead.

  • July 14, 2010, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Thanks Killik...

    by Atkinson

    If you're saying that Moore wanted to do what "Brand New Day" didn't do with Spider-Man (or any other character for that matter), that's to say - allowing Peter Parker to become older than 25, to not always be broke, to celebrate a wedding anniversary with his wife - then I want to see story writing like that too.

  • July 14, 2010, 1:30 p.m. CST

    Moore

    by Laserhead

    Whatever his lack of fondness for super-heroes, Tom Strong, Top Ten, and Promethea were all brilliant super-hero books. He can call them 'science heroes who practice magic' if it makes him feel better.

  • July 14, 2010, 1:33 p.m. CST

    The problem with Moore and Ennis and Fanboys in general...

    by Joenathan

    Is that they all want it THEIR way only and it doesn't have to be. Every single one of those assholes actually WANTS Long Term Continuity, but only the way THEY want it. Why can't a married Spider-man exist next to a single spider-man and a teenage spider-man? Are we really that worried that people will get "confused" by wholly separate and yet similiar universes co-existing? Should we worry about a group of people who just might be too stupid to live? The problem with them, with certain creatores, with comics in general, is first, last, and only a slavish devotion to long term continuity. The day it is tossed aside for a more malleable creator by creator approach to continuity, is the day that comics are set free.

  • July 14, 2010, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Also: Dave

    by Joenathan

    I believe (and I didn't read it, so I may be wrong) that it was MJ who actually made the deal with Mephisto (A Devil, not THE Devil), not Spider-man.

  • July 14, 2010, 2:06 p.m. CST

    Joenathan, I think you're right

    by Dave I

    But from what I gathered, Peter wussed out for one. And another, he's a SUPER HERO! He should have been smart enough (and willful enough) to stand up for his wife, the would-be daughter he talked to and interacted with, not to mention his soul. It just seemed week, too passive, and immature. I'd have liked to have seen them have him manned up and made a decision like a man. Not use it as a way for him to just go "gee, I dunno know what to do" and let his wife obliterate their then-loving marriage and the future family they would have together, and just let their past mean nothing and their future just be washed away by some Faustian deal with Mephisto (I know he's not THE devil, but still it was A "deal with the Devil" sorta thing). I mean, where's the guy who accepted the great responsibility with his great power? This Peter was a wuss who made his wife make the decision for him. He could have at least stepped up and said "no, this is my decision to bear" or something. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 14, 2010, 2:24 p.m. CST

    KilliK, Maturity

    by Dave I

    I think you nailed it. Yeah, I would at least like stories that show what these characters grow/evolve into. Why not (kind of what Joenathan was describing, I think at least) have either similar-yet-separate universes, or even different time-periods/chronologies of characters? Don't just erase Peter & MJ, let writers explore Peter as a high school student or in college, as an adult, as a dating bachelor, as a married man dealing with the added weight of protecting his family AND New York (or whatever), during his time with Gwen Stacy, as an old man with his body failing and his wits keeping him alive. That is a heck of a lot more interesting than making characters (not just Spidey, despite him bearing the brunt of this post) exist unaging and unchanging in one era of their lives for all eternity. <p><p>Explore their whole lifespan. How DOES Aunt May's death (her real death, not some quickly reversible death) affect Peter? What happens in the later years of Superman with Lois? Explore more with Batman as an old man. Old Man Logan (which I haven't gotten a chance to read yet, yeah I'm behind) is a great concept. You can still go back and do golden age stories on Spider-Man, or Batman, even go back to previous Flashes (without bringing back Barry), or have an old Question stories without resurrecting Sage, or any number of characters shown in stories kind of like Spider-Man Blue did with Gwen Stacy, where you still write them in without removing the impact of what they did or erasing their death/actions/etc. <p><p>I think ALL of those types of stories within their timelines can exist. People are smart enough to deal with them. It certainly goes down a lot easier than "the devil made us forget" or just retconning the crap out of stuff so they can keep playing out the same stuff ad nauseum. I can accept different continuity or even different periods of continuity and stories that exist within certain portions of characters' chronology. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 14, 2010, 3:29 p.m. CST

    on alan moore, "continuity" and damian wayne.

    by sonnyhooper

    first of all, no one can convince me that the man who wrote "what ever happened to the man of tomorrow" hates super heroes. that book was a love letter to the silver age superman pure and simple. sure, moore might have built the wheels on the "deconstruction" wagon, but that in no way means he "hates" superheroes. if anything i think moore is just a guy who knows that superheroes have passed him by, because he can't imagine that they mean the same thing they used to, in the context of the modern world. in other words moore never lost faith in the superheroes, he lost faith in the real world that NEEDED those heroes. <p> second of all, i've said it before, i'll say it again: continuity needs to die. pick an artist, pick a writer, put them on a book for a year. BAMMM! thats "continuity" for a year. next year new creative team, new "continuity". it's the "all star superman" school of "continuity". just let it the fuck go. <p> third of all, if you don't love damian wayne i don't know what to tell you. the kid is THE "bruce wayne" of generation Z. morrison had this kid go from spoiled trust fund brat raised by super-villains, to reluctant hero, to being an actual honest to god hero in 12 issues. you GOTTA love that.

  • July 14, 2010, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Kletus Batman Odyssey

    by optimous_douche

    Dude, if you hated it you are far from crazy. Hate-on brother.<p> It's a very specific book written for a very specific type of reader.<p> Perhaps I didn't drive the point home clear enough in my review. This is a book for fangeezers that want a taste of the silver age again...this bucks every convention of comic's current state.

  • July 14, 2010, 4:24 p.m. CST

    Ouch, Bug! Error! Comments and Young Avengers

    by Homer Sexual

    Yeah, I'm an ass, that's why I like it here, so I can't help pointing out that Secret Six 23 was written by John Ostrander, not Gail Simone. He's the only other person who can do Secret Six, which ismore or less Suicide Squad. And it was totally awesome, despite the unbelievably tired "Most Dangerous Game" premise. <p> Shadowlands, IMO, was excellent. I'm neutral on Diggle... thought his Thunderbolts was just ok. But this one seems really good so far. I must say that Diggle really made me hate Bullseye in this issue, and the ending was deeply satisfying, though I also doubt it will "stick." Was that pun intended? <p> Also loving Batman and Robin. I did read RIP, etc, and I still don't understand the beginning. But I am waiting until some point in the future when it all makes sense. I didn't even figure out that Joker was behind all the other villains, either, so I'm not that bright, I suppose. <p> Didn't read Batman Odyssey. Told my LCS guy that the preview seemed very dated to me. He agreed, showed me some hilarious art of Man-Bat in the book, and I saved a few bucks. <p> Damn, I already forgot the actual title, but the Young Avengers book that came out last week really made me appreciate Heinberg's work on this book (Unlike his terrible, albeit brief) run on Wonder Woman). He really makes this group come alive, on a level above any other team book I read, which is a lot of team books. However, and this may be intentional for the pov of the book, he makes the adult Avengers look like total assholes, and not in a good way. Ms. Marvel, in fact, is a cunt in the book, and I don't throw that out lightly. She just says the most terrible things.

  • July 14, 2010, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Green Lantern #55

    by SteadyUP

    http://tinyurl.com/28bwm7g

  • July 14, 2010, 5:03 p.m. CST

    Everyone loves continuity

    by gooseud

    What they dont like is bad writing and editorial interference. Joe and the anti-continuity crowd arent actually saying what everyone thinks they are saying. What they appear to be saying: "Continuity hamstrings modern comics, do away with it". What they are actually saying: "Continuity is being ass-raped on a daily basis by intrusive editorial interference, thus making it a negative instead of a positive". Take, for example, one of the greatest books of the modern era, Planetary. There has never been a more continuity-laden book. Every issue refers back to what has happened before, or what will happen in the future. The book basically comes out and says "You are actually only seeing 1/100th of all the things that are actually going on in this title, tons of stuff happened in the past that you arent privy to". Can you imagine around issue #13 if some douche bag writer had come in saying "Ok, now we are dealing with an alternate universe! Forget everything that happened before, time for a new 12 issue arc that ignores all that!" Can you imagine the uproar? And after all, if you want to be free of all that pesky continuity and history weighing you down, you should all be reading Irredeemable, right? Wait, whats that you say? You dont read it because you dont feel emotionally attached to the characters, because you lack a history with them? Interesting.....heres the truth: continuity is the greatest weapon a writer has......IF HE IS A GOOD WRITER. AND if he is left alone to do his thing without editorial hacks sticking their snouts into the process.

  • July 14, 2010, 5:07 p.m. CST

    Irredeemable: Victory is mine!!!

    by gooseud

    When everyone else had jumped off the bandwagon, your buddy Goose stuck in there and put his rep on the line to champion that book when it slowed a bit for a few issues. Seeing my faith rewarding is quite fulfilling, I cant lie. The last few issues have been rocking the shit, and this most recent one was one of the best single issues of the year. The "just in case you thought _____ and ______ might have some anti hero appeal.....nope, they are total scumbags" reveals were especially awesome.

  • July 14, 2010, 5:08 p.m. CST

    Walking Dead

    by gooseud

    is slowly and surely presenting one of the great moral quandaries in recent comics: who are the bad guys and the good guys? ARE there any? They paint the priest as a hypocrite scumbag.....but is he actually wrong? Is Rick? WTF is going on here?

  • July 14, 2010, 5:25 p.m. CST

    but goose...

    by sonnyhooper

    surely something like "planetary " is very much diffrent from a character like batman or superman or spider-man with decades of continuity crashing down on them? <p> continuity is one thing when you have a title that builds on itself like planetary or y the last man or the walking dead. but as far as the corperate owned icon characters go, continuity is a crutch that is no longer need imo.

  • July 14, 2010, 5:31 p.m. CST

    Gooseud - you make me think..

    by Thalya

    The problem about creating resonant characters when they're new and the audience hasn't spent any time with them...do you think that might be ameliorated somewhat by playing with the iconic nature of comics? That is, short bursts of "important panels" interspersed with the regular story, or even in pages outside the story somehow? It's already done to an extent (*going braindead from the overuse the past 5 years in DC*), but I don't know if it's presented to the reader as "these are crucial as-originally-rendered Iconic moments in the character's history", so much as "here are some flashback panels that don't mess with the story's flow". Is there anything like this happening in Irredeemable?

  • July 14, 2010, 6:24 p.m. CST

    Continuity is Bad for DC, Good for Marvel.

    by DOCTOR_VICTOR_VON_DOOM

    As Peter David one said, ""A shared universe, like any fictional construct, hinges on suspension of disbelief. When continuity is tossed away, it tatters the construct. Undermines it." <P> Marvel Universe has always been a shared Universe, DC has only been a truly shared universe until recently, and the majority of it's characters were made to exist in their separate little cities and own comic book universes. <P>

  • July 14, 2010, 6:31 p.m. CST

    Sonny, who says it has to crash down?

    by gooseud

    I see what you are saying completely, and I agree to an extent. After all, the greatest comic story of all time cant ever be written: Superman turns bad. Irredeemable with real characters instead of analogs. Imagine the emotional impact of seeing Supes blast Green Lantern into oblivion and know that it is real, hes dead, no coming back, no reboots. The emotional stakes would be off the charts. That comic would sell zillions a week. Imagine the payoff of the final battle with Batman, or with a Sinestro turned truly good, or with a semi-good anti-hero Lex Luthor in the most kick ass battle armor ever made. My hands would be shaking before opening that issue. Unfortunately, it cant ever happen. Why? Continuity. The stories cant ever end. Stories, from the beginning of time, look like this: Beginning, middle, end.....EXCEPT in comics, where they look like this: beginning middle middle middle beginning middle beginning middle middle phony end beginning beginning middle. This is the curse of Marvel/DC continuity (as opposed to indie, Planetary-style continuity), nothing can end..........BUT.........without that same cursed continuity, you dont get All Star Superman. You dont get The Dark Knight Returns. For all the awesomeness of Planetary, for all the flash and dash of Preacher, for all the storytelling perfection of Walking Dead, they can never duplicate the moment when Dick Grayson, after god knows how many decades of us investing in that character, finally pulls on the cowl. THATS what Marvel and DC have that indies can never touch: the emotional investment and continuity that Transmetropolitan, for all its brilliance, will never have. Continuity is your greatest STRENGTH, if you use it well and make editorial get the F out of the way with their ridiculous 37 part crossovers and meddling. For the record, this argument is only made in comics. If Hurley on Lost suddenly woke up one morning acting cocky, drinking beers, and banging chicks, what would people say? "Dude, hes never acted like this before, WTF is going on here?" What people would NOT say: "Psshhhhh, I'm not going to be a slave to your damned CONTINUITY!!! Whatev, bitch!! New creative team in the house!"

  • July 14, 2010, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Thalya, nah.....

    by gooseud

    its more the standard flashback structure, there is certainly nothing revolutionary in the format/layout/style in which Irredeemable is being told.

  • July 14, 2010, 6:42 p.m. CST

    Mr. gooseud

    by DOCTOR_VICTOR_VON_DOOM

    Are you talking Continuity so much as you are History? We have a history with Dick Grayson/Robin, giving us an attachment to him so when he finally becomes Batman it is because we have a long connection and familiarity with the character. <P> I would say a better example of Continuity would be the return of Bucky, because here is a character long established as dead and Brubaker found a way that brought him back without going against established Continuity. You wouldn't have the emotional payoff of the Winter Soldier story line without Continuity IMO.

  • July 14, 2010, 6:50 p.m. CST

    The Joker WASN'T behind all the other villains

    by Laserhead

    Thomas Wayne/Dr. Hurt was, in his crimelord guise as 'El Penitente'- The Penitent, who has a 'W' scarred into his back from flagellation. The Joker was actually trying to solve the villains plan and help Batman.

  • July 14, 2010, 7:50 p.m. CST

    Technically, Adams' Batman was never "silver age"

    by OutsideChance

    As a general rule, isn't his Batman considered the beginning of the "bronze age" Batman, with the "silver age" Batman being the "Bat-mite" era that Morrison fan wanks over?

  • July 14, 2010, 8:18 p.m. CST

    who says it can't be written goose?

    by sonnyhooper

    DC could put out that book tomorrow. the only problem is that some fan boy or girl would insist on knowing where that "superman goes bad" story fits in the unending, unbroken, rigid "timeline" of established continuity. and THATS the real problem. it's a vicious cycle. the fans want change, but not real change, so the big company tries something new... the fans hate it, the rest button is pressed. superboy punches stuff and time is altered, the multi-verse breaths anew. *yawn* <p> but every once in a while something like THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS happens and everyone loves it. BUT......they still must know where it "fits"..... is it real, is it a elseworld, is it earth 39? who fucking cares? if it's YOUR favorite "end of batman" story than you can keep it as "your" end point. others may choose a diffrent "ending". the point is the big 2 don't even have to balls to even try something like DKR anymore. unless it's a one shot , or elseworld, or part of a mega-crossover event. it was so long ago i think everyone tends to forget DKR was a tale told in the regular ongoing batman title. and the world didn't end, superboy didn't have to punch stuff to make it better, and everything was fine and dandy for batman after those four issues came out. <p> my point being, that until the fans stop insisting every thing "fit" into continuity, the big 2 won't bother trying anything new. and the cycle continues. <p> all i'm saying is that maybe DC and marvel could at least TRY a few "continuity free" books, bring back "legends of the dark knight", bring back "all star superman", and try a "the amazing non continuity spider-man". unless they start throwing some diffrent stuff against the wall, there is no way to see what will stick.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:27 p.m. CST

    Wasnt that the Ultimate line?

    by gooseud

    I thought that is what Marvel was trying to do with the Ultimates, create a new, baggage free continuity. I was all for that actually, those first 25-30 issues of Ult Fantastic Four were pure comics gold. Somewhere the Ultimate thing went off the rails, and I'm honestly not sure why. Although, heres an idea: stop screwing around with other universes. No more Elseworlds. No more What Ifs. Continuity is continuity, one timeline, one sequence of events. Writers only create these tortured, convoluted, "Is this happening on Earth 531?", Old Man Logan style scenarios because editorial wont just let them write the damn stories in mainstream continuity. It can be frustrating sometimes, and its the reason 80% of what I read isnt mainstream stuff. Usually I have 5 or 6 mainstream, super hero, Marvel/DC stuff I will read just to get my super hero kick, but thats about it. I havent so much as cracked the cover on a Batman, JLA, JSA, Titans, Spider Man, FF, Superman, or Flash book since I was a kid, literally.I pay attention to DC's big time mainstream crossovers, and some off the beaten path Marvel stuff (currently anything cosmic, T-Bolts, Secret Avengers, formerly Thor, Cap, She Hulk, X factor, Astonishing when Whedon wrote it). And yes, Vic Von Doom is right, Bucky is a PERFECT example of contuinity used perfectly, and what a surprise, it was by a supremely talented writer on a book editorial didnt care about at that time. Continuity+talent-editorial attention=potential for something pretty cool.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:28 p.m. CST

    I take that back

    by gooseud

    I read All Star Superman, and it was awesome.

  • July 14, 2010, 9:55 p.m. CST

    gooseud, you want a better example?

    by DOCTOR_VICTOR_VON_DOOM

    The one that got me into comics? Fantastic Four issues #258-260 by John Byrne. <P> It is when my namesake gets Tyros the Terrible, the former Herald Terrax, to go against the FF with plans of killing the team before the Power Cosmic burns through Tyros and kills him. <P> And it could have only existed with Continuity. Not just because of the recent story lines folding into that one (Terrax de-powered, Doom back in control of Latveria, Vision injured, etc) but because two of the biggest plot points where taken from old stories and part of established continuity that was broken out again. Doom using the Power Cosmic Chamber on Tyros (but not before killing Hauptmann), based on the idea of rekindling the Power Cosmic that Doom got when he stole the powers of the Silver Surfer in #56; and Doom escaping death by using the rare power he learned from the Ovoids in FF #6 by exchanging minds with a nearby civilian. <P> Both ridiculous things that other writers would have ignored, but John Byrne used them masterfully and made me interested in delving into back issues and other Marvel comics because I realized it was a vast universe not confined by just a couple of issues. It also showed that the events of the past can come back and play a part in future stories, making each story significant and important no matter how ridiculous or forgettable they may seem the first time.

  • July 15, 2010, 12:29 a.m. CST

    I just wish Jean Grey would stay dead.

    by mortsleam

    Fuck Hope.

  • July 15, 2010, 3:23 a.m. CST

    Neal Adams: Wacky, but still THE MAN! :)

    by TheGhostWhoLurks

    The guy's responsible for more clones than Emperor Palpatine.

  • July 15, 2010, 5:22 a.m. CST

    I thought Adams' new art looked kinda terrible

    by Laserhead

    And I'm a guy who traditionally LOVED Neal Adams. I even have that crappy ARMOR series he did. But the whole comic looked like a sketch-book...

  • July 15, 2010, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Actually, Marvel changed a lot til about 1987

    by mortsleam

    Bucky died. Peter Parker graduated from high school, went to college, accidentally snapped his girlfriend's neck, killed his best friend's dad, etc. The original Avengers all quit and made way for a "kooky quartet" though occasionally went back for stints. Scarlet WItch fell in love with a mannequin. Reed and Sue had a kid. The X-Men were replaced, one of them went nutso and died. New memebrs of all of these teams showed up and stuck around. Captain Marvel got the Big C. All that stuff happened, was acknowledged, and used to further the characters. <p>Then, sometime around the debut of the Cosby Show, things started slipping backwards. The actual change that happened over the previous 20-odd years stopped and was replaced by the illusion of change. Jean Grey came back. All the Avengers that ever were at some point or another started showing up again. The most recent Fantastikid was aborted. Then came back. New teams were introduced, but usually only survived about 25-50 issues. The snake started eating itself. <p>I blame Cosby.

  • July 15, 2010, 7:41 a.m. CST

    Doctor Who comics

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    as someone who gets to my local shop about once a year, can anyone tell me if "Doctor Who" is ever going to get around to publishing books set in current continuity??? Seems they are missing a major opportunity with the popularity of the new series. Where are my Amy Pond variant covers?!? ☺

  • July 15, 2010, 8:44 a.m. CST

    Snake Eating Itself, Uncle Ben & Gwen

    by Dave I

    And no, not the rice. Anyway... <p><p>Here is why I HATE retcons, resurrections, and misdirections. Focusing on Spider-Man for a moment, look at the roles Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy had on Spider-Man. Uncle Ben was somebody close to Peter and his death and the reverberations of his "With great responsibility" speech have shaped the heart and soul (so me at least) of Peter Parker and how he projects that heavy burden through Spider-Man. The unintentional role he had in the death of Gwen Stacy have haunted Peter and been a HUGE part of the other side of being a super-hero, or just life itself. Bad stuff happens. People die, or get sick, or get old, change happens. Those losses had a big impact on the character, and nobody offered to bring them back. I mean, if you were Peter and could make a deal with the/a devil, why not go all-out and bring back Uncle Ben & Gwen while also fixing the problems with Harry, Norman's Goblin mental issues, and his employment status? Heck, why not bargain to get your parents brought back to life? <p><p>From a writing standpoint, why not make Aunt May's eventual death into a great storyline and show how that loss (even a peaceful farewell to her) would effect him. <p><p>Same with Bucky and Jason Todd. The impact those "deaths" had on the characters around them is pretty muted when they show up later. Use them to drive the characters, show how that makes the Joker more than a guy wearing clown makeup, and the harsh realities of being a soldier in a war. Look at the crippling of Barbara Gordon. I've read they have considered having her healed, but look at the ramifications of the Joker's brutal assault of her in Killing Joke. It adds weight to his sinister nature when there are actual, permanent (and fairly true-to-life) effects of things like shooting somebody in the spine or beating somebody to death with a crowbar. I realize these are comics, but there has to be some link to the reality. I mean, if Barry Allen dies and like twenty-some years have gone by, I think we can accept he's really gone and maybe DC should as well and just move on. If they want somebody/something new, develop, create, or introduce it. <p><p>It just loses something when things like insanity, paralyzation, death, mistakes, life-choices, etc. can just be wiped away and changes never really mean anything. I'd rather they stuck to their guns and let these things be reflections of how bad things can happen in life yet show that you keep moving on while simultaneously letting these events add to the history and weight/maturity of the characters. That is my biggest gripe with comics. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 15, 2010, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Uh, Dark Knight Returns was its own miniseries

    by rev_skarekroe

    And was clearly part of its own continuity, though they hadn't invented the term "Elseworlds" yet. Goosebud may be thinking of Batman: Year One which was part of the regular Batman series and used as Batman's official post-crisis origin story for a long time.<p>Also, Neal Adams was indeed post-Silver Age. He's part of the oft-neglected pre-Dark Knight, post-TV show Batman era that gave us Man-Bat, R'as al Ghul, Killer Croc, Nightwing, Clayface 3, a more realistic detective style, and probably a lot of other great concepts that I can't think of off the top of my head.

  • July 15, 2010, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Goose and continuity

    by Joenathan

    Goose is somewhat right, but I'm referring to LONG-TERM continuity. There should never be an issue 400. That's ridiculous. And I don't want to do away with it as much as not make every creator shackle themselves to everything that has gone before them, like the 90s, for instance. Short term continuity is not only good, it's essential. Long-term continuity is an anchor dragging the medium to the bottom.

  • July 15, 2010, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Walking Dead

    by Joenathan

    I hope Kirkman keeps up this: Who is good and who is bad, mostly because I think the idea of a "good guy" in a setting like they are in is silly, there would only be survivors and the dead, and I love the eradication of those old first world lines and the conflicts that come out of it.

  • July 15, 2010, 10:04 a.m. CST

    History vs. Continuity

    by Joenathan

    I think this is an excellant point and a really important distinction to keep in mind. History defines the character. Long term coniuity is like a fake story, a cumbersome bunch of oddly shaped and mismatched tales people try to shoe horn into a straight line. <br><br>Of course, we're excited by Dick putting on the Cowl, but that's because we've read the character for years, we have a history... it is NOT because for the past 700 issues they've been building to this moment.<br><Br> I envision a "loose" continuity. If someone wants to do a Jason Todd as Robin story, go for it. When does it fit it? At some point between when he first became Robin and when he was finally beaten to death... or whatever happened to him... How can Wolverine be on so many teams at once? Because fuck you, that's why. Where they fit in, how Wolverine crosses between the coasts... these are unimportant questions and they bog down the creators and the readers.<br><Br> With History, the big moments can stay big charcter defining moments and we don't have to drag around that crappy Judd Winnick three issue fill in story that came immediately after because of the demands and restraints of long term continuity.

  • July 15, 2010, 10:18 a.m. CST

    And of course

    by Joenathan

    this model I propose only works because we already have tons of history to relie on, refer to, yadda, yadda, yadda. New characters should always go the classic route of building three-dimensional personalties and a stong supporting cast and world base. Really, up to five years of issues? To me, that's still short term, so it's good.... and needed.

  • July 15, 2010, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Ongoing History . . .

    by Dave I

    Joenathan . . . or whomever. I guess I'd like to see a timeline. Have a Jason Todd Robin story, but let it be in the past. That's fine. Just like you could have a Jonah Hex story even though he's dead. Or an old Dick Grayson-as-Robin story. I'd be cool with them progressing Batman where Dick becomes the permanent replacement for Batman (until maybe they eventually show the next generation where Tim becomes the Bat, or Damian, or some other character), even if that's like for my grandkids. And I'm cool with them doing Bruce Wayne stories after in the main timeline he's dead, retired, whatever. It'll never happen, but I'D be find with it. <p><p>I guess I like a timeline with a beginning, middle, and end. Bruce Wayne's story as Batman kind of began with his parents' murder, it will eventually end with his retirement or death. I'd love it if DC was comfortable acknowledging that timeline and letting things happen to him that matter, but still let writers write whatever story wherever they want in that continuum (or whatever). I mean Bane breaks his back? Fine. But he recovers and runs around like a collegic athlete with no real repercussions? THAT is kind of a problem. Have him change and adjust, become smarter, reference the back pain or his aging from time to time. And if you want Batman to be totally limber and young, write it as a younger character. Same with Spidey. Let people write stories at different times in the continuity. If you want Spidey and Black Cat to hook up, let it happen in the timeline before Peter and Mary Jane got married. If you want to write a story about Spider-Man dealing with his daughter being kidnapped by Venom or something, it takes place at that point in the timeline. You want a Barry Allen story? Write it from that era. You want to have a Peter Parker reunion with Uncle Ben and Gwen Stacy resurrected by a necromancer and a Peter and Gwen romance post-Mephisto "forgetting" of the Peter & M.J., or even just to bring back dead-soldier Bucky, who was blown up and list an arm before being thrown from a plane or something, or Jason Todd coming back from the dead? Screw off. No. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 15, 2010, 11 a.m. CST

    For me half the fun of Marvel was Continuity

    by DOCTOR_VICTOR_VON_DOOM

    It progressed and things happened, and those events stuck, no matter how insignificant or lame they seemed. Sure, you might have more than one Dimension X which seemed completely different from each other, or have Sub-Mariner use a power which seems lame (radar sense of the blind cave fish or blow up like a buffer fish) that the majority of writers will just ignore, but sooner or later a good writer will come along and even use the lamest character or situation in a good story. And it will resonate because of continuity. Without continuity those types of stories are meaniless because they have no history. <P> I think what most people don't like isn't continuity - it is the STATUS QUO and the feeling that changes are pointless over the long term. Nothing has any true impact. Mortsleam mentioned how things used to change up until after Secret Wars II and Jim Shooter left. I think what happened was that a bunch of bad comics (many under Shooters last years) were produced followed by even worse ones (basically the 90s) and Marvel started looking at their characters like DC used to look at theirs - as brands. Recently that has changed a little, but the mindset of always going back to when they were more recognizable to the casual fans is now here to stay because of movies and television. Since the late 80s we now know no one will stay dead forever, that when something bad happens it will be retconned away, and that if a character is too drastically changed they will just go back and reboot him or something and pretend nothing happened. <P> Every five years writers can write a great series but it won’t resonate because we know none of it will stick or have long term implications. Aunt May dies, so what? Someone else will bring her back. Hawkeye sacrifices himself for the Avengers, he’ll be resurrected. Don’t like the new Green Lanter? Don’t worry, Hal will be back sooner or later. They still might be good stories and well writen, but without any feeling of lasting impact (which implies danger) it is just temporary change and you don’t feel emotionally connected. It is like watching Kenny die on South Park – nice gag. But it’s not like you really feel anything other than be entertained or amused.

  • July 15, 2010, 11:16 a.m. CST

    Continuity Stuff

    by Homer Sexual

    Totally agree with Goose and Dave. Things used to happen and have more impact, like Supergirl dying, Angel committing suicide (well, it didn't last long) Gwen, etc etc. <p> But I wonder how Jonathan feels about Walking Dead, since it's total continuity. But Jon doesn't think comics should last to long, so I'm asking when you think Walking Dead, for example, should end. <p> Now, it's true... someone dies, and you just know they'll be back. The only recent change that has stuck is Scarlet Witch went nuts. (And I actually hate that particular development).

  • July 15, 2010, 11:17 a.m. CST

    "Nothing has any true impact."

    by Dave I

    "I think what most people don't like isn't continuity - it is the STATUS QUO and the feeling that changes are pointless over the long term. Nothing has any true impact." <p><p>Bingo! Those two words. Status quo. <p><p>On the one hand, I feel like maybe I shouldn't care since they're "just comic books." On the other hand, comics can be a great medium and part of it is the notion that things matter. I think that's why I like Sandman or Watchmen so much, or even why I dwell on events like Spider-Man losing Uncle Ben and Gwen, Bruce losing his parents, Barbara Gordon being made a paraplegic. Things happen that make the characters grow, progress, that mean something. If they can just be make all better or just like they used to be, that destroys the emotional impact and creates a huge disconnect. Let some of that add to a character's personal baggage and change who they are a little bit and that will have a much greater impact. If Spider-Man (or whomever) will forever stay the same or retcon/revert to an earlier version to repeat like a scratched record, eventually I'll figure out that it's pretty stagnant, get bored, and not care any more. That's where I'm at now. And it sucks. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 15, 2010, 11:23 a.m. CST

    Various comments

    by gooseud

    Several responses, as everyone is pretty much stating viewpoints I agree with. First, there is no bad continuity, only bad writers. Morrison took some of the most ridiculous concepts of Superman and made them into comics gold with AS Supes. Peter David took Shatterstar (SHATTER FREAKIN STAR)and made him pretty damn cool in X Factor. This is why I follow the writers and not the characters, usually. Abnett and Lanning have taken Cosmo and Rocket Raccoon and made them amazing in the cosmic stuff. In fact, one of my favorite stand alone issues of the past 5 years was Slott's Awesome Andy stand alone in the She Hulk series. I mean, an android with a cinderblock head, and that issue was outstanding, and dare I say it, it even got a little dusty in the room reading that one. The truest axiom in comics is this: there are no bad characters, only bad writers. Secondly, I'm far from a continuity Nazi, if they write a Jason Todd Robin story, I dont really care where it fits in the timeline. There is a certain baseline suspension of disbelief that you need to follow this stuff (Wolverine being in 3 places at once violates my standards, for Joe and alot of others, it doesnt, to each their own). 3rd, thats an incredible point about Marvel up to 1987. Thats where DC gets its "trapped in amber" rep, as much as I like to rag on them good naturedly. Its because throughout the 80s and 80s, they WERE trapped in amber compared to Marvel. Somewhere along the line, the companies flip flopped, and now Marvel is the company of status quo, and DC is like an ADD addled child yelling "TRAPPED IN AMBER?? I'll show you!! We are going to kill off half our universe every 3 months, how ya like that???!?! RAPE! MURDER! HORRIBLE DEATH!!" They dont realize that, in all their sound and fury and spazzy hyperactivity, they just draw attention to the fact that Barry Allen and Hal Jordan are still around, and Bruce will be getting the cowl back in no time.

  • July 15, 2010, 11:28 a.m. CST

    The Bucky storyline is the exception to all this, for the record

    by gooseud

    That ruled. Brubaker, if he never does anything else, is a fucking god for that early Cap run. They should teach that "Bucky returns" arc in comics college, for how to handle something like that absolutely perfectly. It rules, and I'll never rip Bru for pulling it off, even if it does violate the ONE character who everyone thought was dead.

  • July 15, 2010, 11:52 a.m. CST

    gooseud & Suspension of Disbelief

    by Dave I

    Hey gooseud . . . Good points. <p><p>First off, continuity . . . I can accept tweaking continuity, or writing in different eras or whatnot. However, to me major things should stick and have an impact, resonate. Maybe I'm more of a stickler for continuity and history than most, and thus Marvel, DC, etc. can (and obviously feel free to) ignore me and like-minded. Still, small stuff? I can overlook stuff. However, I do not like them conveniently forgetting or ignoring or retconning stuff. I can't stand it. <p><p>Great/Bad writers vs. Great/Bad characters. Good point. I should stick with writers, because you are IMO right. ANY character can be great. Great writers can make me care about the most insignificant character or just one I feel most ambivalent about. For me, it's just getting a feel (or rediscovering in some cases) for who fits that label. My problem is some characters I get tied to. I really LOVE Spider-Man. I mean who doesn't, and he's just one example. But still as that example when I see them take a science fiction-based wise-cracking everyday guy and have him shirk responsibility, let his soon-to-be-forgotten bride make the arguably most important decision of his life, throw away his future, refuse to grow up, make a deal with a DEVIL, and have history erased and thus have him actually REGRESS as a character? Sorry, but I cannot enjoy the character after that even if a great writer does an amazing run. For a long time (at this point I still cannot enjoy the character) he is ruined for me. Same as with Bruce Wayne "dying" (but not really), or Steve Rogers. But with Bruce, it was an obvious play, and now Darkseid's eye-rays do not just kill you, but create time-travel? Do they realize how stupid that sounds? Even for comics? Why wouldn't he just kill people, and if that's what his Omega Effect does, is that so bad, and why hasn't anybody else been able to come back? <p><p>Finally, suspension of disbelief. I can actually accept a lot. Bend and play with science, magic, etc. all you want. I DO ask two things. First, clearly illustrate and follow rules for doing so. Don't just change them on a whim or to further a plot. Second, have lasting consequences. That's just good writing. If somebody dies, that's life. You lose a toe, it is not coming back. If something happens, don't retcon it, just go forth, use it, let the character grow from it and progress. I mean, is that REALLY so hard? I can accept Spider-Man sticking to walls and having spider-sense, Hulk being stronger than everything but God, the Speed Force, Superman flying and having heat vision and ice-breath, even a Lazarus Pit. I cannot accept people just coming back from the dead left-and-right or history changing or real people ending up doing stuff that seems supernatural and impossible for us to accept real people doing in any other medium, or for superheroes to just do things they could not do in the past for no other reason that as a simple plot device unless the writers were smart enough to write up to some character/ability evolution. For me, that is kind of where it ends. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 15, 2010, 12:09 p.m. CST

    I Can Accept Bucky

    by Dave I

    If it's some rare exception where they good reason and story behind a character being "presumed dead" and they pull it off, fine. I haven't read Bru's Bucky's Return arc, I'll try to track it down. But from what I've gathered, it made sense, was logical, so sure. <p><p>What I CAN'T accept is making death something you get over like a cold or a skinned knee. I mean, people bonafide dead & buried coming back from the grave? That's like a big deal in the Bible! In comics, if you die you're almost as likely to come back to life as you are to find a blue M&M in a fun-sized snack pack or something. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 15, 2010, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Walking Dead

    by Joenathan

    I don't have a problem with it in terms of Long term continuity (although, how long has it been? Seven years?) anyway, I don't have a problem with it, because it is self-contained. One book. One world. Easy. <br><br>Mainstream big two superhero stuff is sprawling. It goes everywhere and that is why it becomes a big unmaneagable jumble. Hisotry = Good. Long Term Continuity = Bad. All I really want is for them to relax. I figure, if a writer doesn't want to write for his run a Batman without Damian in i, I say no problem. If someone wants to write a story WITH Damian, I say No problem. Depending on who is writing what, I'll be there and I won't worry how the two titles reconcile against each other. The "true" universe matters less to me than how Wolverine crosses between teams.

  • July 15, 2010, 12:45 p.m. CST

    Abnett and Lanning actually the kings of resurrection

    by Homer Sexual

    It's my main quibble with the cosmic books they write. They kill off sooo many characters, then bring them back, that now I expect it. In fact, I'll be p.o.'d at this point if they keep the dead characters dead, since they died so haphazardly. I think if someone's gonna die in a comic, they should get a "good" i.e. big, dramatic death and then stay dead. <p> Barry Allen is the #1 most terrible return. Now that Marvel has killed off two of it's more prominent charcters, Bullseye and Cable, want to wager how long till they return?

  • July 15, 2010, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Dave has a good point

    by Joenathan

    The whole "Resurrection" thing is lame. I wish Death stuck in comics. Of everything, I wish that was final in at least ONE universe.

  • July 15, 2010, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Cable

    by Joenathan

    He's a time traveler... they're never really dead

  • July 15, 2010, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Damn lack of edit

    by Joenathan

    "I figure, if a writer doesn't want to write for his run a Batman without Damian in i, I say no problem. If someone wants to write a story WITH Damian, I say No problem."<br><br>That's supposed to be: I figure, if a writer wants to write a run of Batman without Damian, I say no problem. If someone wants to write one WITH Damian, I say No problem.

  • July 15, 2010, 12:55 p.m. CST

    Anyone interested in revisiting R.I.P.

    by Laserhead

    due to newly perceived awesomeness, you should definitely pick up this week's Batman #701, the first of two 'lost chapters' from R.I.P. Part of what irked so many of us was that RIP ended without any kind of resolution, and Bruce just showed up in Final Crisis only to disappear. We got, like, two panels showing what happened in between, but all those questions about Bruce's father and the ultimate goal of Dr. Hurt went unanswered. Now it turns out it's all part of five years of storytelling. Works/Doesn't work, whatever. The past three weeks have brought the three best issues of Batman Morrison's done. And now Scott Snyder's doing Detective. Good times.

  • July 15, 2010, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Thomas Wayne alt earth

    by holidill

    Morrison is being given free reign of the 51 alternate worlds that Infinite Crisis brought back (remember there was 52 but it was destroyed in Countdown)My bet is it is a Thomas Wayne from an alt earth come to ours to mess around

  • July 15, 2010, 1:46 p.m. CST

    Thomas Wayne as immortal ancestor

    by Laserhead

    That might be my guess. But alterna-earth is good, too. Best, for me, would be it's actually Thomas Wayne and it's all true. Why DID the Wayne's have that secret room they made Bruce promise never to enter?

  • July 15, 2010, 1:55 p.m. CST

    John Byrne's Generations

    by holidill

    John Byrne's Generations stories for DC was actually quite good. You have Superman and Batman in the 30s when they were created and then advanced them decades where they have kids or they get older

  • July 15, 2010, 3:05 p.m. CST

    I second Generations holidill

    by DOCTOR_VICTOR_VON_DOOM

    The first series (and the Batman/Captain America crossover which is loosely connected to it) are brilliant, the second series is still damn good and interesting. Only when he did the 12-issue series (Generations III) did it fall flat. Good moments, but not nearly as interesting as Genrations I & II. <P> And I think his version of Lex Luthor with Ultra-Humanite's brain is the best depiction of either character ever IMHO.

  • July 16, 2010, 3:57 a.m. CST

    DC comics are static?

    by kungfuhustler84

    I challenge you to tell me Booster Gold is the same character he was a decade ago.

  • July 16, 2010, 8:38 a.m. CST

    kungfuhustler84 . . .

    by Dave I

    I'm a recent fan of Booster Gold from the Justice League Unlimited series, so can't speak with any intelligence to him and his comic book run other than what I've seen 2nd hand. I DO want to read more of him, just haven't gotten around to it yet (time, money, etc.). That said . . . <p><p>Booster Gold is not an overly popular character. Interesting concept, but he flies a bit under the radar. Books/characters like that you get a lot more leeway. Characters like Batman, Superman, Spidey, Hulk, etc., they get eternally stuck in a loop. I realize they plan for these characters to be around for a LONG time, maybe forever, and they have been around for generations now, so they want them to stay marketable to up-and-coming generations. So overall, yeah, things stay static, unless/until you have something like Alan Moore come along and turn Bat-Girl into a real-life victim of violent crime and become paraplegic. Those events are the exception to the rule. Booster Gold probably gets a LOT more wiggle room. Besides, if he became increasingly popular, you'd probably see them try to trap him in amber for as long as possible. <p><p>-Cheers

  • July 16, 2010, 9:26 a.m. CST

    And besides

    by Joenathan

    All it takes is one new writer and Booster is back on some second tier JLA as the biggest goofball screw up of the group.

  • July 16, 2010, 12:09 p.m. CST

    For Booster Education

    by optimous_douche

    Pick up the old JLI trades from 86 and then read the new stuff. he has evolved greatly!!!!!

  • July 16, 2010, 12:24 p.m. CST

    Thanks Optimous!

    by Dave I

    I'll try to check them out! Good to hear there's some nice evolution-of-character. So thanks. <p><p>Roll Out!

  • July 17, 2010, 4:38 p.m. CST

    Alan Moore Isn't Always Right

    by Buzz Maverik

    He did work for Liefeld...of course, it was some really great work. And he did the VIOLATOR mini-series for McFarlane ... which did feature a few hilarious gags.

  • July 17, 2010, 4:49 p.m. CST

    I'll Now Take Good Storytelling Over Continuity

    by Buzz Maverik

    I started feeling this way when I stopped acknowledging stupid stuff that had happened in the long history of some of my favorite comics. Like, Yellowjacket smacking the Wasp was an interesting bit of shock value in its' day but here's the problem: most comic book writers, like most of us comic book fans, are not the most subtle people on Earth. If Yellowjacket hit the Wasp in what must have seemed like a good idea to Shooter at the time, then most writers are going to portray him that way only. If Batman is a psycho in Frank Miller's stuff, that's all he's going to be for years. So, to me, Iron Man for example is a carousing playboy who takes his Grey Goose on the rocks but is not an alcoholic because he can handle it, nail your girlfriend, invent a reverse polarity destablizer and stop the Titanium Man, Radioactive Man and the Crimson Dynamo from spreading the Red Menace across America.<p>Marvel is aging. Strict continuity can loosen up. Just as long as no one writes any more stories defining the Fantastic Four for us. Have all the fun you want, comic book pro guys, just tell us a story and quit telling us what to think about 50 year old characters that you didn't create.

  • July 17, 2010, 4:56 p.m. CST

    But Here's The Fun Of Continuity...

    by Buzz Maverik

    The writer references a previous story that you don't know about. You get to find and read some interesting comics. That's always a good thing. There may not be any new readers any more but all of us can always learn something. I remember, as a new reader, Captain America rescues the Beast from a squad of costumed, super-weaponed mercenaries. Cap tells Hank that he's been following the merc's squad leader since a "friend of mine called Nomad" crossed their path. An editor's note says that Nomad was actually Cap! Why was Cap calling himself Nomad? And I'm off. Continuity, while part of the frustrating thing about fandom, is part of the fun of comic readership.

  • July 17, 2010, 10:54 p.m. CST

    Good Storytelling AND Continuity!

    by Dave I

    Seriously. You CAN have both. If you want to ignore something, sure, maybe have Batman NOT be as violent and psycho as Frank Miller portrays him. Don't just write things that directly conflict with it. On the other hand, if Pym hits Wasp, you know what? @#$%ing deal with it. Have them break up/divorce, or go to counseling, and then either write an Antman stand-alone or a post-reconciliation story. Also, writers SHOULD take note of that stuff. That should not be the sole defining characteristic, but it is still part of who you've written the character to be. <p><p>Maybe I'm not even disagreeing with Buzz. However, keep continuity, but I can accept characters maturing and evolving over time. Just USE that stuff that is in their past though. Explain how/why they change if you write them drastically differently; give us a catalyst or at least mention/write SOMETHING, then move on and write the story. It doesn't have to bog down the whole comic, but at least give some reason rather than ignore what's come before. <p><p>Not that I think comic writers/producers/execs are listening to me, but I can hope for that train of thought to be a bit more common. <p><p>-Cheers