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AICN COMICS REVIEWS: GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS! INCREDIBLE HULK! STINK! ARCHIE & FRIENDS: TWILITE! & MORE!!!

#12 8/11/10 #9

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD WARRIORS #1 THE THANOS IMPERATIVE #3 STINK #1 SUPERMAN #702 ARCHIE & FRIENDS #146 THE LAST FAMILY OF KRYPTON #1 LATE SUNSETS, EARLY SUNRISES #1 INCREDIBLE HULK #611 PHANTOM JACK: THE NOWHERE MAN AGENDA OGN ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #13 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents PEEPO CHOO Vol.1 CHEAP SHOTS!

GREEN LANTERN: EMERALD WARRIORS #1

Writer: Pete Tomasi Art: Fernando Pasarin Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy

Let's play good cop, bad cop, giant space monster from hell cop.
Coming out of “Blackest Night”, we've had the(admittedly huge) cast split into three separate series. GREEN LANTERN still focuses on Hal Jordan and his recruitment of the various other Guardians, and CORPS still centers around Kyle and the events surrounding the low level Lanterns. With WARRIORS, we have the introduction to Guy Gardner’s arc which, if it weren't for Larfleeze, would be the most interesting part of the Green Lantern universe. The lead off is strong, if a little slow. It introduces the aspects of the series, the basic tone of the run, and sets up plot threads to be followed up on later. It's may not be magnificent, but it does everything a first issue should.
Writing 3/5: This series seems to be going the CORPS route, and gives us multiple lead characters. Guy Gardner is the main focus for this issue, which is always a positive. Peter Tomasi has a great handle on Guy, and it's obvious why he lifted him from CORPS for this series. Guy was the best part of that run, and he plays up the loud prick role perfectly in this series. He's a cock, but he knows it, and he doesn't much care. At the end of the day, he stands as one of the good guys. But he does recognize the gray area he's entering into, which deeply troubles him. It's a nice dynamic. The idea is that with the right prod, Guy could start to go villainous. Maybe a prod resembling the Red Lantern powers he temporarily picked up in “Blackest Night”, which show up towards the end.
Ganthet joins up, still running about as a Lantern, and will be Guy's partner for this series. Ganthet provides more of the same, still providing the cryptic warnings and all that. It'll be interesting to see his role once the series begins proper. Atrocitus rounds out the main cast, and does his usual song and dance. "The Guardians and their Lanterns will die for their sins", you know the play. It hasn't been played to exhaustion yet, but hopefully this series can introduce a new role for him to play. One page does appear in the middle of the book, really with no context, but it's welcome all the same. It sets up the return of a certain character, who I'm actually excited to see return to play.
The scripting is strong, if a little lacking. Not many stand out lines, though a few do work (notably, a Guardian asking what "Punking" is), but nothing notably bad either. The characters feel spot on, but could use some fleshing out.
Art 4/5: One of the best things about Green Lantern is and always will be the freedom it presents. Space ships exploding, giant green constructs of whatever the artist feels like, it's brilliant. This issue meets up with that quota, giving out an assortment of interesting constructs, and fantastic shots. The scope of everything, the design, it's all fantastic, though some of the finer details, mainly Guy's facial reactions, are a mixed bag. Some work well, while others seem strange and off putting.
Best Moment: The Guardians questioning the meaning of the word "Punking". I just like the idea that at least one Guardian of the Galaxy will seek a definition for this strange word, come across the program, and love it.
Worst Moment: The dark future event Ganthet sees in the Book of Black is Guy and Kyle brawling. Which would be more exciting a prospect if it hadn't already occurred multiple times in the last two years or so.
Overall 3/5: A fairly good start to what is hopefully another brilliant Green Lantern run.

THE THANOS IMPERATIVE #3

Writers: Abnett & Lanning Artist: Miguel Sepulveda Publisher: Marvel Reviewer: JNCNDAC

I can overlook a lot of stuff: my ever expanding waist line, the personal hygiene or lack thereof of some of my co-workers, the United States Budget deficit, the price of tea in China but I cannot for the love of Stan Lee overlook crappy artwork, especially when it takes away from what is another magnificently mighty Marvel entry in a crazy cosmic comic chapter of Thanosian proportions. That’s right, kids -- I am on a rant of ridiculous rapidity.
As most of you know by now I love me some Thanos and I love me some old school comic story telling. I love most everything those darlings of demented demagoguery Abnett & Lanning can dish out, but I gotta tell ya, Miguel Sepulveda, your art…how do I put it politely…stinkawiff. Ok to Jar Jar. It’s awful, and so was he so maybe that is a good description; either way it is dreadful, downright rotten. It starts off ok, sorta Gene Colan-ish, but then it gets muddy & heavy lined & don’t even get me started on how this guy draws faces! Abnett & Lanning have been using this every other issue or so, swap out with Brad Walker & Sepulveda, but this time at bat he is striking out big time. It is so bad that I had to go back & check if it was the same artist from the last two issues. It is and I don’t know what went wrong but it stinks and the worst part about it is that I am already 250 plus words into this review and the art is so atrocious I haven’t had a chance to talk about the story, which is great by the way. Please in the name of Jack Kirby get somebody, anybody, except maybe Rich Buckler, to handle the chores next time out.
OK I feel a little better, you? Ok, the story: Lots of good connections to my comic reading past; I am digging that only the android life forms in this Cancerverse are all that is left of its Marvel Age and so are leading the subversive revolt. Of course I have a very large place in my heart for the Vision, so I am enjoying his use. It was way cool to see ISSAC again. These guys must have a man crush on all things Jim Starlin. The fact that they are tying this in to Captain Marvel’s Death is just fantastic, I know it is going to end Marvelously & If they throw in Pip the Troll & the Inbetweener I will die & go to heaven, or a alternate realty inside the soul gem, whatever. If they would just send Sepulveda to another dimension this comic would get a 10 out of 10. As it is, unfortunately the art work is so bad it is to the point of actually diminishing the story because an epic of these cosmic stature demands an artist that can capture the cosmic in ways that are clearly beyond Mr. Sepdulveda’s pencil.

STINK #1

Writer: Chuck Messinger Art: Kurt Belcher Publisher: Creator's Edge Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

Ever put down a comic and think to yourself, “What the fuck was that?” Only to pick it right back up and read it again cover to cover? No? Well, have you ever done mescaline? STINK is one of those books that comes along way too infrequently. The kind that somehow manages to breathe new life into an industry that consistently pumps old ideas into new art just to make a few bucks by feeding the rag shop grazers. STINK is not a glass of port you sip while watching Skinemax. It’s an ice cold beer you greedily devour after mowing the lawn on a hot day.
I’ve always been a huge fan of THE WIZARD OF OZ. Of course I’m referring to the celluloid classic though I hear the allegories in Baum’s 1900 masterpiece are worth exploring. Anyway, STINK is kind of a post-apocalyptic WIZARD, with a couple of eccentric characters trying to navigate their way through a world that doesn’t make a lick of sense. Along the way they meet a collection of zany characters, one more fucked up than the next. What immediately struck me about the direction of STINK is how carefully crafted it is. I mean let’s face it, you’re being asked to commit to a narrative that follows the daily exploits of a shit-talking unicorn, a pixie that looks like Chester the Molester, and the WB frog if he was jacked up on steroids and addicted to porn.
That kind of cast, especially in book one, screams “anything goes,” and for the most part it does. But I mentioned how well it was crafted because I think it’s worth noting that Messinger doesn’t fall into the trap of one-upsmanship. If you open with a trio like the one I just mentioned, it sets the bar fairly high. Where do you go from there? This story could have easily burned itself out by trying to outdo itself with every new character introduction. It doesn’t need to and fortunately Messinger has the restraint to keep this thing from turning into an animated circus or WONDERLAND roll-call. Instead, he introduces his cast and then lets them have the floor for the better part of the book and despite the absurdity of the entire premise, it finds a way to work, mostly because of its ability to connect with the reader.
Part of that connection has to do with the absolutely terrific work of Kurt Belcher. His art is beautifully ugly, colorful and jagged with just enough weight to reflect a world in recovery. I particularly enjoyed his faces as most of them are frozen in some sort of awful state of affliction, which I suppose makes sense under the circumstances. Everything just seems to fit. I would have been so disappointed to see a female heroine show up with big boobs sporting a giant ray-gun because it has no place here. A lot can happen to the world and its inhabitants after a nuclear holocaust and for the sake of this story, a lot does. But like Messinger, Belcher knows how to engage his readers without offending them. You eventually get the heroine (if she indeed is), but probably not in the way you’re expecting.
And that’s the key to success for STINK. You get a lot of things you’ve seen before in movies, comics and even dreams. Just not in the way you might expect. I like being surprised because it happens so rarely these days in comics. And it wasn’t the outrageous material that surprised me but how well it was handled. That’s the difference between connecting the dots and storytelling, which these days seems more and more like a lost art. Bottom line? STINK doesn’t.
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.

SUPERMAN #702

Writer: J. Michael Straczynski Art: Eddy Barrows (pencils) & J.P. Mayer (inks) Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Professor Challenger

One of the accusations I hate seeing thrown around at people is the claim of "racism." So, I am loathe to do it here, so I am going to instead hurl a charge of "stupidity" at JMS for writing this comic book and to DC for publishing it. Were I not intent on reviewing this comic I would have tossed it after about 5 or 6 pages. For review purposes, I forced myself to finish it. This comic is so awful that I don't even think a review here can be long enough to truly get across all the problems with it.
The basic gist of the plot, so as it is, is that in this second part of the "Grounded" story arc, Superman continues walking across America to reconnect with the little people and today he strolls on into Detroit. Oddly enough, he is not being followed by our paparazzi. That right there puzzles me. Everyone seems to know that Superman is doing this but, yet, the media has enough self-control to just send Clark Kent along to write about Superman's journey. Really? Really? Also, oddly enough, the Detroit that Superman walks into has little to no street traffic, so he can walk down the middle of roads without having to avoid cars. It's almost like a bizarre dream. While in Detroit, the main plot involves Superman dealing with illegal immigration through the most subtly metaphorical episode since...oh....STAR TREK and the planet torn apart from racial strife over which side of the face was white and which was black. Or maybe I should mention the Sneetches? Either way...its a "club-the-reader-over-the-head" style story that irritates the hell out of me.
In this case, however, Superman encounters a SPACE-alien family living in Detroit disguised as humans. After they unsuccessfully attack him without justification with a huge giant robot (that somehow fits inside their modest little wood-frame 2-story in urban Detroit), Superman decides to preach to them about illegal immigration and then they argue back that he's just as much an alien as they are. What? Hem. Haw. Superman says it's not the same, but he's going to let them stay there at least until he figures out what to do with them. Because, you know, Superman is the American immigration czar and controls the lives of any alien immigrants he comes across.
He's not?
Well, then he must be a superior-minded pompous ass who's using his position and powers as a threat to this family. But surely Pa Kent taught Superman not to be like that. I must be reading this story wrong. But wait...
Superman later encounters an old, bald, toothless African-American man who lost his union job when the factories shut down. Argh. Then he kinda has a heart-attack and brilliant Superman avoids the hospital and flies the man to the alien immigrants from earlier in the story. See? Superman has figured out how to extort technology out of them. They have advanced technology there that can heal the old man. Of course, there's no reason for him to have assumed that their technology would work like that on a human, but let's not dwell on that. And let's not dwell on the implications of Superman arbitrarily deciding to save the life of one old man through extraordinary means while ignoring the many others. I guess that's one of the moral conundrums of "playing" God versus "being" God. But I mentioned that Superman extorted the technology out of the aliens. Basically, what Superman does here is demand that they use their technology to heal the old man and then require the aliens to use the billions of dollars worth of gold that they brought with them to Earth to reopen the factories and develop their advanced technology for use by us humans. So, everything is so syrupy sweetly wrapped in a bow. The aliens are after-the-fact "paying" for the right to immigrate here. The old man is healthy again and working at the new factory...as are his former co-workers. New technology is being developed and built to help further our society. And Superman can stand back and smile at another story of the great white savior who knows what is best for the lesser folk and he can start walking off into the sunset....while a menacing Batman looks on. Aren't we all happy now?
Oh...did I forget to mention what happened at the beginning of the issue that made me want to throw the comic away? Yeah, I did. That's the sequence whereby urban black youth (looking to be age-ranged from about 17 to 22) are shown playing basketball. Because, y'know, black kids like to play basketball. And there's one nerdy kid there with his nerd haircut, glasses, and a baggy basketball jersey hanging on his skinny body. Because, y'know, nerds are skinny and wear glasses. The other players, all teh kewl type buff, bald, tatted, etc., mock the nerd and won't let him play because obviously...well...obviously he sucks. Superman steps up in his increasingly un-heroic way and offers to play ball against all of them...including the nerd (who looks suspiciously just like Steve Urkel...because...y'know....all nerdy black kids look like Urkel). The ball players, though, surely aren't stupid. Right? That would be racist to portray them as STUPID street-talkin' basketball players in urban Detroit. So, they make sure and get a promise from Superman that he “ain't gonna fly”. Ah! Now they done gone and beat Superman in the game of street-smarts. Now it's all fair! Five or six street basketball players against Superman and his...super-strength, super-speed, invulnerability, heat vision, etc. Shoot yeah. That's fair. They look so smug because they know that since Superman “ain't gonna fly” then he'll be “E Z pickins”! So....Superman proceeds to use his powers (except for flyin') against these guys and easily defeats them and then, in that demeaning way that a parent might act with a child, he lets Urkel knock the ball out of his hand. And these adult men are so stupid that not a one of them challenges that. They just start treating Urkel like a basketball star because he knocked the ball out of Superman's hand. And Superman looks on in smug self-satisfaction.
The great white savior strikes again.
“Prof. Challenger” is actually Texas graphic artist and lifelong reader of comics Keith Howell. He really digs Green Lantern, most recently completed the cover art for the upcoming book THE WORLDS OF PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER, and has contributed award-winning art, design, and editing to a number of books and magazines. He occasionally updates his website at at profchallenger.com and welcomes feedback from readers, both pro and con, but if female please include an attached pic in a tasteful state of undress. Thanks for all the fish.

ARCHIE & FRIENDS #146: TWILITE PART 1 OF 2

Writer: Angelo Decesare Artist: Bill Galvan Publisher: Archie Comics Reviewer: Lyzard

I’ll admit that Archie Comics is a guilty pleasure of mine. Having collected JUGHEAD DOUBLE DIGESTs since middle school, I’ve enjoyed escaping the sometimes over-sexed and ultra-violent state of present day media. Do I enjoy comics like KICK-ASS? Of course, but sometimes I need a break. What I have always enjoyed about Archie Comics is their timelessness. But that is not always the case these days. Rarely, but more often now than in the past, the writers have taken on current events and pop culture. One example is the upcoming issue with President Obama and Sarah Palin coming to Riverdale High to pick candidates for School President. Another example is ARCHIE AND FRIENDS #146: TWILITE PART 1 OF 2.
The comic is obviously a take on the (inexplicably) highly successful “Twilight” saga. Even if you haven’t read or watched anything to do with “Twilight”, having a vampire named Edwin will not escape your attention as a spoof. But the comic takes on more than just “Twilight”, it also quickly satirizes another film: “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”. Though I don’t mind the overall arcing spoof, I think picking films such as the animated food tale will only hold back the legacy of this particular book. What I love about old Archie comics is how I do not need to know pop culture dating back to Archie’s inception to get the jokes.
Personal prejudices aside, ARCHIE AND FRIENDS #146 is not like “Vampires Suck”, where direct plot moments are taken from “Twilight”. Instead of having a Bella character come to Riverdale High, we have Ivan and Jared. Ivan is your typical shady, bad-boy character, while Jared seems like your normal teenager. But both hide a terrible secret, that according to Ivan could put “the entire town of Riverdale…in grave danger!” The end of the book reveals Ivan’s secret, but Jared’s is still up in the air. If they are going to follow the Twilight books/films, maybe Jared will be a werewolf. But I’m leaning more towards evil vampire.
I’ve never really paid attention to the artwork in an Archie Comic…until now. I found it extremely repetitive. Also, last week when I reviewed NANCY IN HELL, I argued that the drawings were overcomplicated. ARCHIE AND FRIENDS #146 has the opposite problem, where at times it is oversimplified. A mouth missing here, lots of closed eyes (ignoring Jughead, that’s his trademark), much more simplistic and basic in its style. The color scheme was too traditional for the subject matter --bright, bold colors that did not ring true for the horror material being spoofed.
But the story and artwork are what readers of Archie have come to expect. There’s no sex, or violence, just good, clean fun. Is it cheesy? About as much as the burgers at Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe. Vampires are overdone today (this coming from undead aficionado) but it seems that Archie Comics is just jumping on the bandwagon. They bring nothing new to the mythology. Hopefully in Book Two there will be some surprises and twists that even I don’t see coming.

THE LAST FAMILY OF KRYPTON #1

Writer: Carey Bates Art: Renato Arlem Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: BottleImp

The wonderful thing about DC’s Elseworlds comics is that by placing the stories firmly outside of the boundaries and strictures of continuity, the writers and artists are free to explore, alter and just plain fuck around with the status quo. There have been great Elseworlds comics (THE GOLDEN AGE, KINGDOM COME, and THE NAIL, to name just a few of my favorites), and there have been not-so-great stories told under this banner (my nominee for the worst Elseworlds comic is BATMAN: CASTLE OF THE BAT, in which The Batman mythos is mashed up with Frankenstein’s Monster…yeah, it’s just about as bad as it sounds). Having read the first third of this new Elseworlds miniseries, I’d have to place THE LAST FAMILY OF KRYPTON somewhere in the middle.
Actually, the basic twist of the plot—having not just Kal-El but child AND both of his parents rocket to Earth to escape their doomed homeworld—reminds me more of DC’s “Imaginary Stories” that were once a mainstay of the Superman and Batman titles during the 1950s and ‘60s. Like those tales of old, THE LAST FAMILY takes a seemingly minor detail and expands upon it exponentially. The Kryptonians arrive on Earth in a much more direct fashion than the “real” Superman did; Jor-El and Lara immediately make their history and desires known to the world’s population. Cary Bates goes on to show the effects that this meeting of cultures produces over a short span of years, ranging from the obvious technological advancements made with Kryptonian science and the slightly humorous, “self-help” style cult of “Raology” spread by Lara.
Bates manages to merge several different interpretations of the Superman myth in this series, and, for the most part, he is able to blend these elements fairly well. There is the obvious influence of the Richard Donner movie, right down to quoting Marlon Brando verbatim in Jor-El’s thoughts on his new home. “They can be a great people. They wish to be. They only lack the light to show them the way.” There are the nods to the Imaginary Stories, as I’ve said, and also to Superman’s history as it was revealed in the SUPERBOY comics, which finds Clark Kent and Lex Luthor as schoolmates in Smallville. John Byrne’s revamp of Superman from the 1980s is present in some capacity, as Jor-El’s detachment from his wife in favor of spreading Kryptonian science across the Earth recalls Byrne’s imagining of a Krypton that placed emphasis on the rational rather than the emotional. There is even a touch of the Bruce Timm/Paul Dini SUPERMAN cartoon—the El family’s spaceship (and later their skyscraper) is run by an artificial intelligence referred to as “B”…three guesses what that letter stands for, and the first two don’t count.
Renato Arlem provides nice visuals to go along with the words, although he seems to be one of those artists who likes to use photo shopped images for backgrounds rather than drawing them from his reference. The buildings of Metropolis, the classrooms of Smallville—even cars and trees—all have that slightly speckled look of photographs that have been run through a “poster edges” filter on the computer. There’s nothing wrong with that technique per se, but in this case the backgrounds can tend to get too busy with detail and can clutter up the panels in some places. And another thing about Arlem, and this is totally a personal preference thing, whatever floats your boat—he gives Lara an absolutely enormous, Kim Kardashian-sized ass.
I must also point out the cover of this comic. When I first saw it, I automatically assumed it was Alex Ross, based not only on the painting technique but also the lighting and look of the faces of Jor-El and Lara. Looks very similar to Ross’ Superman and Wonder Woman paintings, right? Well, it turns out that the artist is NOT Ross, but Felipe Massafera, an artist whose work I am unfamiliar with, though I’m betting we’ll be seeing a lot more of him. I’m not a big fan of such an obvious aping of one’s style, but at least Massafera picked a good artist to steal from.
So far, THE LAST FAMILY is a decent read, though it lacks the emotional intensity of some of the better Elseworlds stories. Maybe it’s due to the fact that the twist is such a small one from the established continuity, or maybe this series just needs a little more time to reach its payoff. But even as a middle-of-the-road comic, THE LAST FAMILY makes a hell of a lot more enjoyable Superman story than, say, James Robinson’s recent run.
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.

LATE SUNSETS, EARLY SUNRISES #1

Writer: Theo Scheresky Art: Idiceanu Mihai Publisher: BloodyDisgusting.com Reviewer: Ambush Bug

BloodyDisgusting.com is tossing their mangled hats into the comic book making ring as site editor Theo Scheresky offers up a post ( and pre-) apocalyptic tale of crime and horror. It's not exactly necessary for someone who likes horror to be good at writing it. In this case, though, Scheresky is both. LATE SUNSETS, EARLY SUNRISES is proof positive that a little genre bending and some strong ideas can still go along way.
The premise for LATE SUNSETS, EARLY SUNRISES is a good one. Nodding to many noir-ish tales, our hero Will Morris is a gardener for a wealthy crime boss who falls for the boss' wife. The two steal some cash and then make their way out of Vegas. Think you've heard this story before? Sure you have. But writer Scheresky pulls the rug out from under you by having the end of the world occur as these events are going on. Will wakes up with a hole in his head and is told by a shadowy figure that he is one of the undead and his girlfriend is one of the all the way dead. In order to rectify this situation, Will must kill 99 evil men. And that's where the fun begins.
Remember when SPAWN first came out and it had that little clock counting down to...something? I didn't stick around that title long enough to find out what the countdown was leading to, but was fascinated and immediately enthralled by the ticking clock premise. Here, Scheresky uses that count down plot device to hang some real tension. Though he doesn't want to, Will must kill, and kill, and kill in order to save himself and his girl. Artist Indiceanu Mihai does a nice job of making the countdown look bloody and gruesome as the death toll numbers splatter up from the victims as Will blows them away. Mihai's art style is painterly and fluid, giving the story a ghostly feel. She also has a gift for vivid and varied camera angles which she uses for maximum shock value and tension building effect.
Though somewhat reminiscent of the old TV series BRIMSTONE (a favorite of mine), LATE SUNSETS, EARLY SUNRISES is original enough to make me want to check out future issues of this six issue miniseries. It's an original slant on the noir genre with some nice zombie and vampire bits tossed in to spice things up. This first issue is a strong one, leaping into the action, then taking the time to explain what's going on later in the issue. LATE SUNSETS, EARLY SUNRISES #1 is available free to members of BloodyDisgusting.com and available for all later this month. Be sure to check out this original and well-scribed horror yarn.
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 the MUSCLES & FIGHTS VOL.3 & MUSCLES & FRIGHTS VOL.1 anthologies. Bug was interviewed here & here (about AICN Comics) & here & here (on VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS: THE TINGLER #1-2). Bug’s latest comic is VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #20: WITCHFINDER GENERAL (available in June’s Previews Order # JUN10 0825) on sale in late August. Bug was also interviewed here & here about his upcoming original vampire miniseries NANNY & HANK (available in June's Previews Order #JUN10 0824) due out in late August. Bug also has a 10 pg story in Zenescope’s upcoming WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 (in July Previews Order # JUL10 1200). Support a Bug by checking out his comics!

INCREDIBLE HULK #611

Writer: Greg Pak Pencils: Paul Pelletier Inks: Danny Miki Cover: JRJR, Janson & White Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: JNCNDAC

Where to begin, where to begin? Oh! I know, for all you Petulant Peters out there I will make it easy for you.
Story is a 10.
Art is a 10.
Cover Not so much.
Ok, good bye you can go now. See ya, ba bye, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
The rest of you Merry Marvelites, Distinguished Competitors & Independent others, let’s talk some HULK. Some Holy Hannah How about dat Hulk! If ya like smashing Hulk, you get it, you like you some Peter David, ID, Ego, Super Ego, check, you got it, you like some outstanding artwork of incredible astuteness you will be covered, speaking of covers, if you hate JRJR you get that too…. A Cover….By JRJR…That you can hate, cause it’s weak and for a Hulk comic and weak = bad. Really that is the only bad thing I can say about this issue. This issue deserved a MUCH better cover.
And now a word about the writer…
It is as if Greg Pak said, “Eeeeh, watch me paste these pathetic palookas with a powerful, pachydermous, percussion pitch” ok, Bugs said that, but it is true! Mr. Pak has pitched perfection with this issue. Why? I’m glad you asked. This title has been kind of a little under the radar of late; ever since World War Hulk and the ensuing Red Hulk abbondanza it has been meandering a bit. The newest story line returning the Leader to the mix along with other big brains WAS a good story until the Hulked Out Heroes crapola. Said meandering is now over and it is in my humble opine that we have just turned a major corner in the life of the Jade Giant and that my friends is no easy task. This character has at times suffered from the same thing that has made the movies a difficult sell. I mean, how long can you keep people’s attention with “Hulk Smash”? If ya think about it ol Green Jeans has had this problem from his inception, canceled after 6 issues, inserted into the original Avengers line up with a hope that he would catch on, and when he did it was childlike “Hulk smash!” that droned on and on for almost 20 years! Then Peter David came along and picked up all the loose ends and gave us his epic turn on the title giving us the shattered personality due to a abusive childhood -- good stuff, that. Ever since then I am sad to say the title floundered until “Planet Hulk”, a great storyline based on the gladiator movie motif, again good stuff. Then “World War Hulk”, eh, lots of smashing, but not really moving the character along anywhere exciting. BUT now, wowza!
And now a word about the artist…
Paul Pelletier. Positively Powerful Paul Pelletier with that way cool I am channeling Todd McFarlane at times artwork. You know the shot, the one were the character’s face is in shadow and all we see are the teeth or the eyes, love it, uses it well & he can draw some smashing! We get a throw down of epic epicness, page after page of pulse pounding pounding. Not to mention earth shattering shattering, If you are still with us oh Petulant Pete THE…ARTWORK…IS REALLY GOOD…, I LIKED IT…A…LOT.
The beauty of comics is that as a story telling medium, we forget, in this microwave age of give me everything now that comics are at their best when stories are allowed to percolate. Slowly simmering to a sauté of something bigger than the whole, Greg Pak knows that & we now know it too. He has reached back to that Peter David era and tied it all up in a nice little gamma radiated bow. It could have really gone nowhere and been forgettable, all this son of Hulk crap -- what was next, Hulk Dog, Hulk Cat & Hulk Gerbil? Hmmmm a green gamma radiated gerbil, it just might work. Anyway, as I was saying, it could have gone south very easily but Great Gamma Greg is not going south he is going forward and I really don’t want to spoil it for anyone out there who hasn’t been reading this title, but he brings this issue to a startling conclusion that I did not see coming & in the same breath sets the Hulk off on what could be a fascinating journey of discovery, or it could really suck and they could cancel the title again and create purple Hulk. I was especially intrigued by the acknowledgments on the back page and can’t wait for the next issue.
If you have been turned off by the lameness that was the tie-ins to this latest Hulk mini crossover, and it was LA LA LAMMME! Hulked out heroes, puh-lease spare me. But that is a review of a different color. Do yourself a favor and check this title out, I think Mr. Pak is about to give us something special.

PHANTOM JACK: THE NOWHERE MAN AGENDA OGN

Writer: Michael San Giacomo Artists: Andy Belanger , Andy Finlayson and Sean McArdle Publisher: IDW Publishing Reviewer: Optimous Douche

When I'm reading the last panel of a book through the milky haze of my girlish tears...to be affected to that level...well, that's pretty much the best you can ask for from paper and ink. But I shouldn't have been surprised; I've loved this series in concept and execution since San Giacomo slid the first collected edition across the table at me during Wizard World Aught Something so many years ago.
PHANTOM JACK is a phantom, but there is nary a stitch of spandex to be found in these pages. During the first trade we learned that after a freak chemical accident, cub reporter Jack Baxter is bestowed with the gift of turning invisible at will. A pretty handy trait, as the first volume (set circa early 2000s) led Jack on a journey to the Middle East and a foot-to-balls confrontation with one Saddam Hussein. What struck me about the first book was how real the "newsroom" angle came across. A quick Wikipedia search told me that the authenticity came from the fact that San Giacomo is a reporter first and a comic writer second, although neither takes a back seat to the other from a quality perspective. That was then; this time around there is less of a focus on Jack the reporter and more so on Jack the man as San Giacomo traverses a much darker path (yes, darker than meeting someone who has committed mass genocide) and offers a sense of closure to the series that was one of the reasons for my river of tears at the end.
Make no mistake, while I loved NOWHERE MAN I came into the story with the rich history of the first trade saddled to my cerebellum. Does this mean a new reader won’t enjoy this continuation? No, because it is a well crafted comic. Plus San Giacomo was smart enough to provide a Reader's Digest version of the first book's events and characters. Now, will new readers be affected by the new trade? Tough to tell. PHANTOM JACK'S allure rests in San Giacomo's deep characterization of not only Jack, but also the development of his once friend and now douchetastic foil that was introduced in the first trade. NOWHERE MAN is a continuation for both characters: Jack the moral beacon and Vinnie the moral wasteland.
The select few that were blessed to read the first trade thought Vinnie's fate was sealed shortly after he and Jack received their powers. San Giacomo was able to take what appeared to be a throw-away moment in the first book and transform it into the foundation for this new tale. It was the kind of twist we love as comic fans, all of which was orchestrated by the perfectly named clandestine government organization Miscellaneous (so named because that's how their funding appears on various government budgets). Miscellaneous realized Jack was far too moral to be an invisible agent of destruction and let him go on with his life as a mild mannered reporter. Vinnie, however, was just the sort of scumbag the government was looking for. So while Jack thought he was dead all these years, Vinnie was actually globetrotting around the world performing the dirty deeds that only an invisible man could.
And therein lies the rub. Apparently invisibility comes with a price. That price is the rapid degeneration of your internal organs. Jack was always A-OK, because he only used his powers sparingly and his internal mushy stuff learned to adapt to this new power. Vinnie...not so much. Through over use of his power and the chemical abuse that comes with too much money and idle time, Vinnie is dying much sooner than his maker intended. To get a new lease on life, Vinnie pulls on Jack's heartstrings in a game of cat and mouse that will ultimately lead to Jack becoming an involuntary organ. Vinnie does not get Jack's organs in the end, yet this book does not end anywhere near to what I would call "happily." However, San Giacomo does keep you guessing though right up until the last panel. While I think this story could go on indefinitely I am not the writer. So while I was crying over Jack's ultimate fate, I was also deeply saddened to see one of the best comic concepts I've ever come across also draw to a close. But what do I know? I also once thought there was no return for Vinnie either.
Sadly, most people will think PHANTOM JACK is the $19.95 a year phone service from Radio Shack. You know, the one that plugs into any phone jack. That's the unfortunate reality of today's comic landscape; the world where the mighty marketing dollar can perform fantastic flights of fanfare heralding subpar material while innovative ideas like PHANTOM JACK are left to be carried Douche-of-mouth. Through publishing hand-offs and other traditional comic publishing fuckbaggery, this series is the ugly step-child that is neither ugly nor should be ignored. This is actually a mine of pure comic gold and thankfully IDW was able to recognize this for THE NOWHERE MAN AGENDA and saved it from the infinite delays that plagued the first trade.
When you go to Amazon to buy this book, do yourself a favor and get the first trade as well. It will not only deepen your enjoyment of NOWHERE MAN, but perhaps it will give me a few comrades in arms to petition San Giacomo to reset the story of PHANTOM JACK with all new tales.
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.

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #13

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Art: David Lafuente Publisher: Ultimate Marvel Comics Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy

Oh ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN, I'll never doubt you again.
What a difference one issue makes. I railed on last issue for its lackluster villain, overplayed story, and tired writing. This issue ratchets up the villain by revealing his partner, lets the story hit some unexpected beats, and all around, is just brilliant. Alright, Chameleon still has his moments of annoyance, but the storyline picks up considerably, which is very impressive for a story that has been retold numerous times over the years.
Writing 4/5: While last issue had multiple scenes with the supporting cast, this issue focuses on Chameleon, his partner, J. Jonah, and Peter. And despite some troubles with Chameleon, every character works. They sell the scenes, playing up the humor and the horror brilliantly. Chameleon gets an early scene to himself, wearing Spider-Man's suit and tech. While it does have some very silly moments (he's quite fond of the word 'stupid', isn't he?), he makes up for it with a great little moment of trying to webswing. He, of course, fails miserably, slamming into two buildings. I got a huge laugh out of it, and Chameleon ends up taking MGH to use it properly, and robs a bank in front of a crowd. He stays confident and fun to read, before becoming downright frightening in one panel. The scene helps to offset his partner, revealed as the Chameleon’s sister, who provides us with the horror aspect of the issue. Jameson and Peter are tied up when a woman walks in, and holds a gun to Jameson's head. And she has no face. It's just a blank slate. Followed by her morphing into Jameson. Holy fuck, that's going to be my night terrors for the next three weeks. And then she casually puts a bullet into Jameson's head. This is a version of Chameleon I could get behind. Unsettling, casual, and memorable.
I hope the shot was fake, mind you, because I'd really like this version of Jameson to remain in the cast. He's provided some good moments over the course of the series, and in the Ultimate universe, he isn't thick. He figures out Peter is Spider-Man. That's a good twist on their relationship, and I rather hope he remains a part of the cast. Peter doesn't get much in here, but what he does have, works as well. He snarks, he tries to remain calm, while clearly closing in on his limit. The supporting cast gets literally one page, but it's brilliant. Bobby, Gwen, and Johnny discuss Spider-Man "robbing" the bank. Aunt May immediately knows it's not Peter, tells the boys to "suit up", and go find the real Peter. Have I mentioned lately how much I love this version of May?
Art 5/5: Lafuente has become one of my favorite artists in the business, and if you need proof why, take a look in this issue. The faces, the designs, the spreads, they all work, every single one. The issue opens, like last time, with a page shot of Chameleon assuming Peter’s life. The smile Chameleon has on when he puts on Spidey's mask is so deliciously evil, so creepy, you can't help but be worried and excited for the rest of the issue. The whole issue, whenever we flash over to Chameleon, it's worth a look. Just the expressions he has let you know we're not dealing with Peter, and it's such a well done part of the comic. You don't need dialogue or exposition, you know that's not Peter.
The layouts are just magnificent. The physical humor is spot on, notably the first hit into the wall. The panel of Chameleon jumping out of the window references the first arc, as Chameleon has to sell that it's Spider-Man doing this. It's such an iconic Spider-Man thing to do, it's just brilliant. The next spread, of Chameleon taking down coppers left and right, next to a shot of him admiring his handiwork. It's brilliant. And of course, his sister. You have this fit woman come out, corset and jean shorts, no face. That's just creepy. Followed by two panels over, she goes Clayface on us, becomes Jameson. Holy fuck. I don't need any other scene of her, I'm sold on the premise of her as a villain. I immediately want more down the line with this character.
Best Moment: Either goes to the swinging into walls sequence, which still makes me chuckle, or the spread of Chameleon’s rampage. That was just brilliantly done, no other words for it.
Worst Moment Chameleon still has a tendency to talk, and it doesn't always work. Notably, his whole "stupid" monologue.
Overall 5/5: This is one of the reasons ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN is one of my favorite titles. Well done characters, brilliant artists, fantastic writing.

PEEPO CHOO Vol.1

By Felipe Smith Released by Vertical Reviewer: Scott Green

Felipe Smith's incendiary MBQ got a bit lost in the wild expansion and contraction of manga in North America. I felt that the violent, satirical rapture announced Smith as the kind of artist whose bandwagon you want to be on early. Unfortunately, my hopes/predictions didn't really pan out, and MBQ became a work that some had high regard for, but which was never really been widely read.
Instead, Smith went on to what some would call "live the dream." He moved to Tokyo where he created a manga for publishing powerhouse Kodansha's Morning Two anthology - an eclectic collection of unusual works, including Natsume Ono's (NOT SIMPLE, RISTORANTE PARADISO, HOUSE OF FIVE LEAVES) American police series COPPER , Hikaru Nakamura's comedy about Jesus and Buddha as roommates - SAINT YOUNG MEN and Ching Nakamura's GUNJOU.
PEEPO CHOO is the kind of work bound to evoke comparisons. By no means is it derivative. It's ferociously its own beast. However, thinking about it gets blocked out in terms of other narratives and modes of storytelling.
PEEPO CHOO's banner characteristic is its maniacal culture clash comedy. Beyond Smith's unmistakable flare, as it series was running in Japan, it garnered talk among manga followers for how it handled humor based on assumptions fostered by reductive cultural/linguistic understanding. Specifically, it granted an American geek his wish of travelling to Japan, then it bathed in the disastrous misstates spewed out. Erica Friedman has explained how, in its original language, the geek "renders Japanese into something utterly alien that only special people can understand and is, without fail, a phrase that enrages any American fan who has through sheer effort learned any Japanese. Japanese is not, obviously, a random, bizarre, incomprehensible language".
There's a supposedly true story that's been adapted as Densha Otoko. A geek prevents a young woman from being harassed on a train. He then goes to popular message board system 2ch for advice on how to pursue a relationship. And, with the internet's help, the couple finds happiness. Maybe it's really true, but in its popularity and its many TV/film/manga interpretations, that story has been thrust into the realm of fairy tale. It's the shared hope of geeks and those concerned about geeks, that a wall off introvert can integrate into normal society with the right nudge.
PEEPO CHOO is another fairy tale concerning geek hopes. Rather than the idea that with the right happenstance, a geek can be made happy, it's that in the right context, a geek can find kindred spirits and validation.
However, unlike Densha Otoko, it's not of the wave a magic wand, set things in order sort, but of the darker, classic variety... featuring obscures rules, fantastic lands, and a somewhat earnest, somewhat foolish hero. And, it's quite dangerous, full of violence of the more "oh no!" rather than "f' yeah!" variety.
That explicit danger draws in another point of comparison. The tapestry of colorful people in and just outside its violent circumstances calls to mind a sort of a geek variant Guy Ritchie movie. North America has gotten a sample of the kind of gruesome, grinder of violence that seinen manga can offer... BERSERK, GANTZ, BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL, BASILISK, ICHI THE KILLER in the form of its live action adaptation. There are a lot of parties criss crossing PEEPO CHOO. A few of them are willing in eager to engage in a bit of seinen brand ultraviolence: sticking fingers in eye sockets, disemboweling and so on.
Milton is from a crowded household in the South Side of Chicago. He leaves his family looking like a semi-respectable student, then, once outside spotting range, he takes off his glasses, puts a bandage on his face and a bandanna on his skull, skews his hat, throws on a White Sox jacket and adopts a hard expression. A train ride away, he ducks into a donut shop, leaps into the bathroom, and changes that attire for baggy white shorts, a "P" emblazoned jersey and a floppy eared cap. He leaps up and down, puts his ankle behind his neck and declares "Howdy Sir Milk Dog! Peepo Choo!" See... Milton is a hard core, self defined otaku.
Rather than attend school, he's been working at a comic shop.
His manager, or rather the guy whose work he does, Jody, hates geeks of all stripes. Jody's thing is sex. Day and night, barking insults at the nerd or alone in his room, he's attached to some form of pornography. And that smut become the basis for the wild stories of imagined experiences with which he enthralls the worshiping customers.
And, Enyo's Game, Comics and Collectable's owner is ex-con, Gill, a hulk with a saw blade mustache who combs out his Mohawk and looks dauntingly semi-respectably when he's not out on non-enthusiast consumer business.
Business takes Gill to Japan. For Milton, it represents an opportunity to dive into a culture he knows of and worships via the comedy adventures of mascot character Peepo Choo. For Jody, it represents the prospect of getting strange in a land that he holds out hopes works like the plots of his porno fantasy.
The course of this American trio is evidently heading in the direction of a trio of Japanese counterparts. There is Rockstar, formerly Takeshi, Morimoto, the adopted protégé of a yakuza big brother who seems to have cooked his head by massive consumption of American gangster stories; Reiko Kawamori, a teen pin-up queen who seems to be add odds with everyone despite being an object of adoration, and "Butt-Ugly" Miki Tanaka, a bullied girl who finds some escape in grotesque/cute loli-goth curios.
PEEPO CHOO is millimeters away from being luminously fun. There's a glint in its eyes as it launches one charged, cartooned image after another. And, Smith serves that up with a remarkable command of the medium.
You can argue about distinctions between original English language manga versus Japanese manga, and whether those arguments are useful or appropriate. In this case, the conversation truly doesn't seem very relevant. Smith's work doesn't need much comparison to Japanese or American comic book traditions because he has an understanding of how comics work that allows him to tell stories in his own way.
Some artists have a real grasp of how a reader’s attention moves from panel to panel page to page. For example, among her gifts, Rumiko Takahashi is a master of this, selling gags in the paced transition from one panel of Ranma to another or shock in the flip of a page in her horror manga series MERMAID FORREST.
Comics/manga can rest on isolated ideas. A gag is presented on one panel of a comedy. An attack is presented on one panel of an action story. Plenty of respected creators come up with concepts that connect to their audience well enough that these snaps shots are more than sufficient. The boldness of Smith's characters and situations could have stood alone. But, he is also able to embellish it with a command of how reading the manga flows. Peepo Choo's gags are given more impact by the discernable beat in the delivery of lines and interaction between characters.
Big, brash, and boisterous, full of potential for vicarious thrills, PEEPO CHOO could have been tremendously fun. It's not, and not just because it's exceptionally nasty business of grotesque propositions.
Add BIG FAN to the list of stories that PEEPO CHOO calls to mind. With the internet; with the glut of media out there; There's the notion that if someone surrounds themselves with selected ideas and trapping they can be what they want to be. The heated argument from North American enthusiasts about whether the extensive baggage attached to the term "otaku" can be pruned off and a person can/should identify themselves as one is a demonstration of this idea. For many of PEEPO CHOO's characters, this adoption of an identity isn't just a matter of how they spend their private time, it's how they project themselves and hope to interact with the world.
And here, all that runs into a brick wall. The characters' escapism and their coping mechanism come face to face with authentic reality. In the way that its gory violence is exceedingly confrontational, the shattering of what these wannabes erect around themselves is equally a broadside on the reader. The prospect of the violent characters meeting up is cringe inducing, but the prospect of Milton and Jody walking into a Japanese city also looms like psychological torture porn.
This is more an assault than a subtle discourse. Shoving out foul caricatures, PEEPO CHOO crowds the reader with a host of characters, all of whom are in some respect, disquieting. There's no apparent control group; no counter example that the reader can acknowledge has their business together. So, it all compounds itself into one brutally ugly picture.
No one comes out looking well, but geeks come in for an especially brutal brow beating in this savage aversion therapy, with their fantasies warped into hairy, misproportioned sexualized images. Jody might later have his knees cut out from under him, but that doesn't make his rant about the unified wants of warring anime and comic geek factions any more caustic. The titular POKEMON-ish mascot critter of the title might not seem like the kind of anime to be the object of a teen geek's obsession, but its absurd juvenileness is very much at home with the series' argument.
Exactly how dire PEEPO CHOO's world view really is remains to be seen. At the end of volume one, it looks to be on a rather nasty precipice. Specifically, Milton is seldom more sympathetic than when he's pouring over PEEPO CHOO anime, trying to teach himself the Japanese language... and on some level, even he knows the results of this method of learning are bound to turn out disastrously. More generally, the landscape it's sketching is offering few non-pathological avenues for personal satisfaction.
On the other hand, as dangerous as this fairytale's dark forest might be, maybe Milton can navigate it towards reward.
A volume in, I respect PEEPO CHOO more than I enjoy it. The craft is exciting, but it's intentionally abrasive. I like abrasive and I like provocative, but I also feel that the qualities put an onus on a work, as they're liable to take out its bottom if not carefully applied.
Caustically amusing Milton is a difficult center to hold the story. While there is room to shift here, the inclination is to withhold investment in the character until he shows some sign of being more than the butt of the joke. At the same time, the manga doesn't foster reader sadism. It is difficult to like disliking this cast. Don't let the unpleasantness hold you back. Smith is skillfully, provocatively exploring some relevant ideas. Just, as amazing as it is to watch him do it, if even neither violence nor the message offends you, PEEPO CHOO is still decidedly prickly.
Scott Green has been writing for AICN ANIME for over nine years. If you like what you see here and love anime & manga, be sure to check out his latest AICN ANIME column every week on AICN.

LOCKE & KEY: KEYS TO THE KINGDOM #1 IDW Publishing

Okay, can we please, PLEASE get on with the plot? I appreciate the stylings of this issue, what with the tribute to Bill Watterson’s CALVIN & HOBBES in both Bode Locke’s witty and philosophical internal monologue and Gabriel Rodriguez’s cartoony, CALVIN-esque pages, and the page format is certainly interesting, but come ON! Another key? Don’t we have enough keys already? It’s the start of the fourth volume in this series; I think it’s time for Joe Hill to start taking the multitude of plot skeins and start winding them together into a single plotline. Sigh…this is why this series is so much more of a satisfying read in collected editions rather than month-by-month; at least in the collected volumes you can actually feel like you’ve experienced an advancement of the plot, rather than running into a cul-de-sac. -Imp

TIME BOMB #1 Radical Comics

This is the type of comic book a comic fan jaded by the same old same old longs for. A mash-up of sci fi and the DIRTY DOZEN with heavy helpings of the coolest aspects of both. A Doomsday device is uncovered in an abandoned Berlin bunker unleashing a bomb containing a plague that will kill the entire planet in 72 hours. An abandoned military project involving time travel seems to be the only hope. Trouble is, the tech is tricky and when a military team is assembled to take out the bomb before it was discovered, they soon realize that they’ve been zapped to the heart of WWII. Written by uber-scribes Jimmy Palmiotti & Justin Gray, this story only teases with just enough sci fi to be fun without over explaining or lingering on things like paradoxes. Once the team is shot into the past, it’s pure action movie with a team of crusty pros with modern weapons facing down Nazis. This book is pure gold and far and above one of the best comics Radical has ever produced. To top it all off, the crisp and distinctive style of Paul Gulacy brings Palmiotti and Gray’s words to life. Just fantastic comic booking going on in this issue and I can’t wait for issue #2. - Bug
Readers Talkback
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  • Aug. 18, 2010, 8:49 a.m. CST

    First!

    by LuminousBeing

    Boom!

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 8:51 a.m. CST

    P.S.

    by LuminousBeing

    I don't actually read comics. Hell, I barely read AICN anymore because there is no news that this site posts that isn't up at Latino Review. Pfft. Just go to a convention, Harry. Quit pretending to run a website...you're doing us a disservice.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Stink #1? Did Joe Quesada renumber Spider-Man?

    by jericho1368

    With Quesada's schizo constant renumbering at Marvel (Start w/new #1, go back to old #'s, etc) I mistakenly thought he was renumbering Spidey when I saw the thing for Stink #1. And JMS' Superman is just awful. It's a rip off of Superman #64, the infamous Christmas issue where a woman accuses Supes of not being there to cure her son's cancer and he tells her he's not god and can't be expected to cure all the world's illnesses. Period. End of Story told well the first time in one issue by Dan Jurgens, not like JMS' idiot Superman who becomes so depressed, he decides to walk around like a mope trying to cure all the world's problems.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 8:56 a.m. CST

    Am I first?

    by gooseud

    hmmmm

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 8:58 a.m. CST

    Mopey Superman

    by jericho1368

    And JMS is taking 12 issues to tell a story that Dan Jurgens told in one. Talk about verbal diarreah, JMS... maybe you should go back and read Superman #64 to find out why Superman is not responsible for curing illness.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:02 a.m. CST

    Love the Bugs Bunny quote, but....

    by None_So_Blind

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't the quote "Ehh, watch me paste dis pathetic palooka wit' a powerful, PARALYZING, PERFECT, pachydermous, percussion pitch" ?

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:03 a.m. CST

    JMS Is Basically Killing Superman

    by LaserPants

    The first one was bad, but the second one was WAY worse. An incredibly, bizarrely smug, self-righteous and racist shitstorm of abject hackery. JMS should be fired and DC should be ashamed of themselves. I'm dropping the book today. <br><br>For the life of me, I do not understand why they don't have Morrison write Superman, or someone who can effectively channel Morrison. He wrote one of, if not THE, Greatest Superman Story of all Time -- ALL STAR SUPERMAN. THAT'S what the Superman book should look like, not some completely outta touch middle aged white guy's "White Man's Burden" fantasy. FUCK JMS for doing this.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:05 a.m. CST

    That Superman comic sounds beyond awful..

    by Righteous Brother

    after being burned a few times by Straczynski - on Supreme Power, Thor and Spiderman, I will never buy any of his comics again.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:10 a.m. CST

    So wait, Superman isnt good? NOOOO!

    by gooseud

    Say it isnt so! I mean, when I heard the premise of what the story would be, I mean, it sounded like such an outstanding idea!! How could that premise POSSIBLY be lame?!?!?! All kidding aside, that book sounds hilariously bad. Not like bad bad, but good bad.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:11 a.m. CST

    JMS should just die.

    by Holeman

    He's good for fucking nothing anymore.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:12 a.m. CST

    SUPERMAN is so bad...

    by Prof

    ...that when I read the review to my family to gauge reaction...my 15 yr old son immediately wanted to read it just to see if it was all true! :)

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:12 a.m. CST

    And then he laughed from start to finish...

    by Prof

    as he flipped through the stupid comic.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:14 a.m. CST

    ROFL I'm picturing the editorial pitch for Supes

    by gooseud

    JMS dramatically unveils a few panels of his new, different, radical take on Supes.....the panels show a stereotypical StepnFetchit Jar Jar Binks style "gangster" holding a gun sideways saying "We gon' git dat SupaBOY, we sure is, he gon' learn not ta step in DIS hood!!!"..........dramatic pause in the editorial conference room.......then DiDio and the rest burst into wild applause, "We love it!!! GENIUS, I tell you!!! The kids will eat it up!! They love that rap music stuff!!"

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:14 a.m. CST

    hahaha

    by Prof

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:25 a.m. CST

    Thanos Imperative

    by gooseud

    is one of the coolest stories I've ever read being ruined by mediocre art. I mean, they had a Galactus engine. Its a giant planet-sized locomotive train engine with a giant Galactus skull on the front. I mean, the awesomeness knows no bounds if they would just get someone remotely competent on art.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Thanos Imperative

    by Prof

    should be drawn by Dustin Weaver who's doing the new SHIELD series. His Galactus story this month was a beauty to look at.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:33 a.m. CST

    gooseud

    by LaserPants

    I think that's EXACTLY how it went down.<br><br>Btw, totally agree on THANOS IMPERATIVE -- great story, AWFUL artwork.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:40 a.m. CST

    Prof. Challenger

    by A-COD

    How do you sleep at night with all that liberal guilt? You know who is racist? The sky because it turns black at night when most people aren't working. What's it trying to say? You should sue.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:40 a.m. CST

    gooseud

    by LaserPants

    An addendum to that scene. Johns and Morrison quickly look at each other in horror, then look away. Morrison face palms, then gets up from the table, instructs his girlfriend / assistant to roll the biggest joint she can with whatever magical superweed is left in her subspace-pocketbook, and leaves the room, informing all and sundry that he'd be back later or not.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Liberal guilt?

    by Prof

    That's one accusation I have absolutely never had hurled in my face. :) That may be the funniest thing I've ever heard. And everyone who knows me knows why that's so funny.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:54 a.m. CST

    been reading the @$$holes for a long time...

    by maxwell's hammer

    ...and I enjoy the mosaic of varied opinions you guys always offer, even when you start to get a little too cute and clever for your own good. For every misfire, there's usually a genuinely entertaining review within all that unconventionality.<BR> <BR> But some of the new guys (cough*Henry Higgins*cough*JNCNDAC *cough) are a bit too amateurish for me to take very seriously. I've noticed this over at ComicsBulletin too. Is there some kind of shortage of qualified comic book reviewers? Are they @$$hole interns angling for a big break? Are those two holding your loved ones hostage?<BR> <BR> Haven't lately been seeing the insightful lunacy I'm accustomed to seeing around these parts.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 10 a.m. CST

    Crappy Art... It's those friggin' Brazilians

    by HarryKnowlesNonExistentInceptionReview

    ...It's like when DC hired all those artists from the Philippines back in the 70's because they worked for dirt cheap. Difference is, some of those Filippino artists were'nt too shabby and could mimic the DC house style pretty well. The Brazilians for the most part draw like Brazilians and I just can't get into their style, especially the painted covers in garish pastels that all look like Latin American murals except everyone's wearing spandex.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 10:05 a.m. CST

    LFO Krypton cover looks like a Ross Swipe

    by Squashua

    Almost too much like one. As in, someone should really consider doing a comparison.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Also, PEEPO CHOO features GIANT NIPS on the cover

    by Squashua

    Just sayin'. Describe the target audience.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Am I the only one liking Superman?

    by 8footTallGopher

    the story is called 'grounded' because, well, that's what it is... A much more grounded tale of Superman than we've seen in a long time. This isn't punch strong superman heat visioning the shit out of giant spaceships and attacking aliens... This is more Christopher reeve going to smallville for little ricky's birthday (you know, before he went all crazy and shit). This is the superman that gets cats put of trees. I'm sure after this JMS Will take us on a big giant roller-coaster of an epic superman adventure... But for now this is a reintroduction to what makes Superman so great and iconic... And it's not his powers... Was it racist? No. I'll admit that scene was a little naive maybe. I think JMS is stretching things a little bit in order to get his story across... But at least he is getting his story across. Remember there was a time that comic books were for kids? Or at least family friendly, before they had to have special "kids" versions of comic books? This is a throwback to those days...

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 10:12 a.m. CST

    All that great work by Johns and Morrison on Superman

    by Laserhead

    is now getting wiped away by JMS's hand-wringing cliche of a contrivance. Man, for like four seconds there, between All-Star and Johns and Frank's Superman, the character was really awesome.<p>JMS, I think, has slid over the edge of the chasm, into the pit already occupied by Loeb, Smith, Austen, and Winnick. And Robinson (forgot him).

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 10:13 a.m. CST

    Yep. It's a throwback to those days...

    by Prof

    ...when comics were stupid.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 10:18 a.m. CST

    I think I've figured out JMS.

    by V'Shael

    He can only tell a limited number of story-types, and he shoe-horns them into whatever medium he's writing at the moment. He could just as easily have done this stupid walking thing as a standalone, or a Thor story, or whatever. But he's writing Superman, so it'll be shoe-horned into a forced Superman-sized story. <p> That sucks.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 10:48 a.m. CST

    hulk needs to go vampire hulk.

    by alice133

    hulk sparkle!

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 11:05 a.m. CST

    You're the only one liking superman...

    by Kint

    Comics weren’t created for kids though... they began as illustrated short stories straight out of pulp science fiction and hard boiled crime magazines and took off as cheap entertainment for soldiers during WWII. Kid-safe / centred stuff didn’t come along until later – and had it stayed kid-centred, DC, Marvel, et. al. would already be long dead and broke. They live on because they’re either collector / adult / movie tie-in focused or good quality episodic story-telling geared for an older audience (and advertised in every second TV show / movie by pop-culture references). I don’t think JMS is racist (intentionally anyhoo – which doesn’t make it ok – it’s amazingly cool though that everyone is so quick to see it), he’s just horribly out of touch. Writers like (alleged director) Kevin –is self-deprecation boring yet? – Smith will be just as out of touch in ten years (use that E.G. because like JMS, they’re script / treatment writers... it is different) and his stuff will be just as hard to read. Would love to see Morrison back (or actually, anyone who hasn’t written for TV – maybe that’s where the ‘shoe-horning’ thing comes from) on the book, but we’ll just have to wait for whoever DC hires to clean up the shit JMS has left behind...

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Are You Kidding Me? Not Racist?

    by LaserPants

    Dude, Superman befriends an OUTRAGEOUSLY OFFENSIVE Steppinfetchit stereotype and shakes down "illegal alien immigrants," extorts technology from them, and threatens to expose them / destroy them for being illegals. Now, on the second point, yes, I realize they weren't *real* people, but cmon. It's not hard to see who he's *really* talking about (essentially any non-white immigrant). Why not just change the S to a U, call him Ubermensch and have start talking in a German accent. "Ve haff vays of making you talk."

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 11:57 a.m. CST

    Vampire Hulk

    by rev_skarekroe

    Is now appearing in Ultimate Avengers. FYI.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:04 p.m. CST

    This how it went down

    by gooseud

    JMS: "So the, ya see, Superman will play BASKETBALL against the homies, as long as he agrees not to fly so he cant dunk. Because ya know, if you live in downtown Detroit, your playin some B-Ball, ya feel me?? Cmon, up top, gimme some skin."......Morrison: http://tinyurl.com/2a zaq5v

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Oh, and the Boys.....

    by gooseud

    gets more prophetic every day, when they start publishing Superman stories like this with a straight face and expect us to take them seriously. Supes gets a little closer to Homelander with every passing day.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:07 p.m. CST

    Must be that time of month...

    by socalactor

    When I once again come out to defend what, in my opinion, was another well-penned issue of Superman. <p> The elements that seem to be irking everyone so much (Basketball/Space Aliens), were actually among my favorite moments in this issue. <p> I, for one, thought that Superman taking a moment to boost the ego of the nerdy kid on the basketball court was a terrific character moment. As for it being filled with young african-american men playing basketball... really? That's what you're going to gripe about? Is there another activity which Superman could have intervened with the same effect? Is there another demographic that they should have used? The population of Detroit as of the 2009 is over 80% african-american. Grow up. <p> If you prefer a Superman story where he is smashing spaceships, battling super-villains, and generally doing very little besides ripping open his shirt and fighting, go back to the 90s where you belong. <p> Kudos to JMS for attempting an intelligent, modern and, most importantly, CULTURALLY RELEVANT story in these pages.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:09 p.m. CST

    And here I thought

    by optimous_douche

    you guys were calling it racist because of the basketball scene.<P> But racist because of the aliens -- allow me to channel ted Kord -- Bwahahahaha.<p> I was soft in the first issue, but yes this one was just bad.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:10 p.m. CST

    Cool moments from Thanos Imperative

    by gooseud

    1. Galactus Engine 2. Demon Hulk having a lethal stroke induced by a talking cosmonaut dog. 3. A massive 2 page spread of every cosmic god-like creature in the Marvel U (Galactus, The Celestials, Chaos and Order, etc) opening up a huge can of whoop ass on an invading army of giant grotesque tentacles 4. Thanos being the biggest bad ass anti-hero since Stone Cold Steve Austin.......I mean, if you arent reading this book, what can I say. Its one of the best storylines of all time, seriously.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:14 p.m. CST

    So what your saying is.....

    by gooseud

    that a story in which inner city teens think they can beat Superman in a game of basketball because he isnt flying, leading to the aforementioned teens falling for the "Rudy" trick and accepting the nerdy kid? Did they give the nerdy kid a slow clap after he tapped the ball away from Superman? http://tinyurl.com/2ds 35e5 So basically, your reading this story and thinking....."God, this is the most intelligent thing I've ever read!!"

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:19 p.m. CST

    Gooseud

    by socalactor

    I'm sorry, but you didn't actually finish your question about what I was saying, so its hard for me to answer it. <p> No, I did not say that I think that this is the most intelligent thing that I've ever read. I think that its fun watching a Superman who actually interacts with regular people, rather than his immediate supporting cast, the Justice League, super-villains, or a slew of Kryptonian expatriates. <p> I grew up reading the classic Superman stories of the 40s and EARLY 50s, when Superman was stopping assassins, mob bosses, bank robbers, and the like. This is a hearkening back to the Golden Age when he was a people's hero, not simply the global deus ex machina.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:20 p.m. CST

    clap...

    by Prof

    .....clap.......clap.......clap...clapclap...clapclapclap....clapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclapclap...trap

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:21 p.m. CST

    Not intelligent, not culturally relevant

    by Laserhead

    Trite, cliched, uninspired, pretentious posturing-- these are the adjectives you were looking for.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:48 p.m. CST

    Laserhead

    by socalactor

    Actually, no, I'm pretty sure I picked precisely the adjectives I was looking for. <p> With regards to topicality, you can't really do better than the plight of Detroit in the early 21st century. <p> I would recommend "Requiem for Detroit" if you want to get a hard look at what has become of the once-fabled Motor City. Mile upon mile of blighted suburbs are being reclaimed by the environment. The city boasts the largest standing ruin in North America in the Packard Plant. Over 500,000 people have left the metroplex in the last three years alone. While it might be wish fulfillment to see Superman bring a new and thriving industry to the city, the fact of the matter is that Detroit is already being called the first post-industrial American city. <p> Next time try to come up with something intelligent to say or don't bother wasting bandwidth.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:51 p.m. CST

    There is a difference....

    by Prof

    ...between having Superman fighting mobsters, gangsters, and crooked politicians and having Superman preach and manipulate minorities in a misguided attempt at connecting with the "little" people. Which, I guess, growing up on a midwest farm and then traveling around the globe before settling into the big city wasn't enough for the great white savior?

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Prof

    by socalactor

    Superman has always been a bit of an opinionated cuss, but typically those opinions come from a strong moral core. Being a midwesterner myself, I can understand the character saying what's on his mind. <p> Notice that nowhere in the series does he go out of his way to find someone to lecture, but when something that he doesn't agree with is staring him in the face, he confronts it. <p> This, more than anything, I have truly enjoyed in Grounded. Give me a Superman with an opinion who states it rather than one who moans and groans about the state of the world and its inadequacies while doing nothing about it. <p> He tries to solve every problem he comes across. All he asks is that those he encounters do the same. After all, isn't that the sort of hero that we should want? He takes matters into his own hands when he must, and tries to inspire us to do the same. <p> What is it, exactly, in the ideas that he propounds that you take such offense to? <p> Should immigrant populations not strive to contribute to the communities that they join? <p> I challenge you to defend your statement, sir, in the spirit of good, well-thought-out, friendly debate.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:03 p.m. CST

    My review speaks for itself...

    by Prof

    ...I have nothing to defend. Superman was not speaking his mind in this comic. He was extorting and manipulating minorities. And the entire time, he never acted like he was learning anything. He acted like a smug, superficial, egalitarian who knows better than everyone else and smirked to himself with self-satisfaction everytime he did something. That's not Superman. That's a writer out of touch with the subject matter he's attempting to write about.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:03 p.m. CST

    So he is saving Detroit....

    by gooseud

    by helping a nerdy kid be accepted by his peers on the basketball court? How about this: Superman says "I'm not leaving Detroit until all crime is eradicated. I dont need to sleep, so I will be patroling the streets 24/7 and any gang member who attempts a crime is getting his ass kicked". Is there a reason Superman isnt doing that? OH yeah, there is: because once you start going down that road, there is no turning back out of the rabbit hole. Morrison realized you CANNOT put Superman in realistic settings, or his whole reason for being falls apart. How would the populace of Detroit feel about Superman helping to rebuild crumbling homes in the inner city, as opposed to helping Eugene the nerd be accepted by peers who probably have less promising futures then he does? Given the urban setting of that story, would Eugene be better off NOT being accepted by those guys, thus resulting in perhaps him going to college and escaping that urban setting? Superman cannot exist in modern day realistic settings without looking hopelessly idiotic or callous.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:05 p.m. CST

    Prof

    by thx185

    "That's the sequence whereby urban black youth (looking to be age-ranged from about 17 to 22) are shown playing basketball. Because, y'know, black kids like to play basketball." You go on.. and on.. and on for a very long paragraph whining about stereotypes. Black people often do play basketball. Some people do wear basketball jerseys. Some people do have tattoos. Your point is invalid, no bird hair required. <br><br> JMS' Superman sounds genuinely bad. But it's not racism, it's just hackneyed and tired writing.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:10 p.m. CST

    I never said it was racist...

    by Prof

    ...I said it was STUPID!

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:11 p.m. CST

    And I ask...

    by Prof

    ...what happens the first time those guys finally try to play a "real" b-ball game with Urkel and realize that he can't play worth shit and that Superman played them for chumps?

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Awesome Superman review

    by letsfightinglove

    makes me want to go home and download it tonight!

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:16 p.m. CST

    Prof

    by thx185

    You go on.. and on.. and on for a very long paragraph whining about stereotypes. Black people often do play basketball. Some people do wear basketball jerseys. Some people do have tattoos.<br><br> JMS' Superman sounds genuinely bad. But stereotypes are sometimes true. Now what?

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:20 p.m. CST

    LaserPants & Prof

    by thx185

    LaserPants: Dude, Superman befriends an OUTRAGEOUSLY OFFENSIVE Steppinfetchit stereotype <br><br> Some people speak that way. But if we depict that in a story it is OUTRAGEOUSLY OFFENSIVE? <br><br> LaserPants: Superman.. shakes down "illegal alien immigrants," extorts technology from them, and threatens to expose them / destroy them for being illegals. <br><br> Prof: He was extorting and manipulating minorities. And the entire time, he never acted like he was learning anything. He acted like a smug, superficial, egalitarian who knows better than everyone else and smirked to himself with self-satisfaction everytime he did something. <br><br> Did you guys ever stop to think that JMS may be making a point here about illegal immigration? I think JMS is making the exact point that you guys are: that immigration reform is wrong, wrong, wrong and we should not be trying to enforce our draconian immigration laws on innocent illegal aliens. And I think all 3 of you (LaserPants, Prof, and JMS) are wrong with your liberal bent on that issue.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:22 p.m. CST

    Prof

    by socalactor

    Your review, and what is says, do require defense. To wit, lets look at it, shall we? <p> "The basic gist of the plot, so as it is, is that in this second part of the "Grounded" story arc, Superman continues walking across America to reconnect with the little people and today he strolls on into Detroit. <i>Oddly enough, he is not being followed by our paparazzi."</i> <p> This is the first statement that bothers me. Perhaps if you had payed attention when reading the previous issue, you might remember that a member of the media essentially says that there's no story, he's just walking, and they all pack up and go home. <p> "Also, oddly enough, the Detroit that Superman walks into has little to no street traffic, so he can walk down the middle of roads without having to avoid cars. It's almost like a bizarre dream." <p> Again, do some research on the current state of Detroit. That is the real deal. There are vast portions of the city where roads have literally degraded to the point where cars simply can't use them. There are others where, because all city services have been eliminated, people simply do not live there any more. Don't blame JMS for your lack of knowledge regarding his subject matter. <p> "Well, then he must be a superior-minded pompous ass who's using his position and powers as a threat to this family. But surely Pa Kent taught Superman not to be like that. I must be reading this story wrong." <p> I believe that I would agree with that assessment. For one, they ARE illegal immigrants and Superman IS the defacto protector of the entire planet from such creatures, much less America alone. For another, remember the whole power/responsibility dynamic? JMS spent some time writing something about that with some character I believe... Superman has the power to ensure that no harm is done to the world by aliens (to an extent) and therefore, has the responsibility to do so. Finally, the DCU is still recovering from a massive war with a species of aliens who tried to destroy their world. Is it really that hard to understand why Superman would be somewhat dismayed at discovering this enclave in America's heartland? <p> As far as your whole rant about the "old, bald, toothless, African-American man"... What is it that you have a problem with? Superman demanding that the immigrants actually add something of value to their community. Perhaps that's where we philosophically differ. Legal immigrants are required to show that they have something to contribute. Where would our country be if people like Oppenheimer and Fermi had simply been allowed to sit on the knowledge that they possessed? Are you really THAT ticked off when he's managed to revitalize a dying man, dying city, and dying economy? <p> I will leave the basketball section alone, since I think that has been adequately discused. <p> Simply put: CHILL, man, and try to enjoy a story about a guy attempting to right wrongs.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:24 p.m. CST

    socalactor

    by Kint

    Supes is not a mid-westener - he's an iconic comic creation espousing the views of a writer... you can imagine JMS leaving the editors meeting, the claps still ringing in his ears from the big “supes will be a Christ-like figure, wandering the land solving problems and attacking social evils” presentation – then getting back to his desk and going “oh, shit, now what?... Ah, where are my A Writer’s Guide to Stereotypes and DVD of The Littlest Hobo – Seasons 1 & 2?”

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:31 p.m. CST

    Kint

    by socalactor

    Superman IS a midwesterner. Fictionally raised in KANSAS, created by a couple of kids from OHIO, constantly referred to by various iterations of "farmboy". <p> A good writer, when taking a previously established character under his wing, will attempt to derive the character's opinions and actions from their background. Don't believe me? Spend some time in the midwest and see if people don't actually talk and act a little bit more like Clark Kent than what most people on the coasts are accustomed to. <p> As to your other point, I won't dignify it by debating it. We have no idea what went on in the editorial meetings, so flights of fancy serve very little purpose other than to try and make you feel smarter.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:37 p.m. CST

    oh....my.......god

    by Prof

    socalactor. You are serious? You are seriously trying to defend the lack of cars on any of the roads other than, I think, 1 or 2 parked at one point and directing that to me as ignorance? You are defending that by arguing that Detroit streets are in such disrepair that people can't drive on them? Where's the disrepair in the comic? Where's the disrepair when Superman is heading off into the sunset at the end? And why the hell is he stopping to play basketball when he could take some time and fix the damn streets that are apparently in disrepair...even though there's no indication in the comic book of that? Detroit may have terrible streets but if this comic is any indication, at least they MUST have the cleanest air in America what with all the closed factories and no cars driving around.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:39 p.m. CST

    socalactor

    by Kint

    There’s you're good-natured debate huh? thanks for the lesson on what a good writer does... i was for a moment lost in the notion that supes, like any other comic, was sold for money and therefore, subject to market forces - but it's good to know that all dc has in mind is ensuring that current writers stay true to the socio-political demands of a couple of 'kids' writing in the 1930s. If that wasn’t true... supes coulda’ been used to sell everything from cereal to war.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:43 p.m. CST

    I want to see the sequel to this SUPERMAN issue...

    by Ambush Bug

    where this nerdy kid with this new sense of confidence returns to the basketball court the next day all confident and cocky and gets his ass handed to him by the sporty kids on the court and then the kid forms a deep resentment toward Superman for making his life a lie. Much more interesting than the saccharinated after school specials that are occurring here. If JMS were really interested in a writing a grounded story, show how his interference in the lives of humans is often the very thing that destroys them by making the common man reliant, delusioned, and lazy.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Don't forget James Kuhoric on Freddy/Jason/Ash

    by holidill

    I used to work for Jim Kuhoric and he is a great guy, on top of that he is also a damn good writer and he co-wrote the Freddy/Jason/Ash mini series with Katz. Just some props for him.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:49 p.m. CST

    Prof

    by socalactor

    You're actually not far off. Currently, the largest industries in the metroplex are scrapping (the stripping of anything valuable from the ruins of downtown and the 'burbs) and urban farming. In fact, the level of services in Detroit is so poor that many people don't even bother worrying about zoning and keep livestock in areas that were once urban. The personnel simply don't exist to enforce those rules. <p> Why should Superman bother repairing roads? No one lives on them anymore, not to mention that the themes of what happens when Superman lets people think that he will act directly on the infrastructure were covered years ago. That's simply not what this story is about. Grounded is about people, and its the people that feature in the story, not the landscape. <p> Where's the decay? Try page 1, with shattered windows and dilapidated buildings. How about page 7, with chunks missing out of building walls? Page 20, with house after abandoned house in industrial areas and OH LOOK, streets filled with cracks, sprouting grass among standing water that is no longer draining. <p> You're actually right about the air quality. People are remembering that before it was plowed under to build suburbs and auto factories, Detroit was situated on some of the best land in some of the prettiest country in the world. <p> Honestly, I feel a little bad going on and on about the state of the city. I reiterate that you should check out Requiem for Detroit. It will seriously open your eyes, and probably answer a great many of your questions.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:51 p.m. CST

    Ambush Bug

    by socalactor

    I'd actually love to see that. Either that or perhaps something along the lines of the kid realizing that, if Superman was willing to just cough up the rock, perhaps there really are better ways he could be spending his time than trying to master this game for which he was not born. <p> But then, that's just me being an optimist...

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:52 p.m. CST

    Rudy was offsides

    by holidill

    Just saying...

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:55 p.m. CST

    thanks holidill

    by Ambush Bug

    fixed it in the review.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:55 p.m. CST

    Bug, or the sequel

    by gooseud

    where they show Superman exclaim that he is just a Midwestern dude righting some wrongs, leading the citizens of Detroit to ask why the wrongs that he chose to right were teaching some kid to play basketball and helping some elderly dude who was having a heart attack. Then they could show the citizens of Detroit egging Superman and throwing bottles at him for being a complete idiot tool who is wasting their time rather then actually accomplishing something.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 1:56 p.m. CST

    Kint

    by socalactor

    Now you're just being petty. Of course Superman is subject to market forces. He's a proprietary entity. So is every single fictional character that isn't in the public domain. This does not mean that the writer can't treat the character well. In fact, the argument could be made that the character is at his best when being written truest to the core values determined by his creators. <p> A character is most marketable when he/she is connecting to the audience. Whether or not you believe he is succeeding, that is the stated intent of the Grounded storyline.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:01 p.m. CST

    So...what you're saying...

    by Prof

    ...is that to understand and appreciate the nuanced masterpiece of SUPERMAN 702, I need to (1) read REQUIEM FOR DETROIT so I am aware of the reality of modern Detroit and (2) have read enough DC comics to be aware of the fictional reality of the current DC America. Yeah. That's some good writing for a monthly pamphlet. I remember how I was told to read THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH so I could understand the latest Captain America comic back in '78 because it was a flashback to his origin. I remember how when I was reading FIRESTORM I had to go buy a textbook on nuclear energy to (1) understand the difference between nuclear fission and nuclear fusion and (2) read and write a report on THE CLOSING OF THE AMERICAN MIND by Bloom so I could understand the current state of the American college system.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:02 p.m. CST

    Gooseud

    by socalactor

    "why the wrongs that he chose to right were teaching some kid to play basketball and helping some elderly dude who was having a heart attack." <p> Probably because one of the points that Superman has been making over and over in this story has been that people should be doing these things themselves, he just lends a hand. <p> Could whatshisname have fixed the fuel line himself? Sure he could have, he just got it done a little faster with Supes' help. <p> Should some parent/teacher/adult-authority-figure-of-choice have helped Markey G? Of course they should have. They didn't, so Superman did. <p> Citizen: "But why let a kid beat you at basketball?" <p> Supes: Why not? Didn't take very long and he seemed to feel pretty good about it. <p> Citizen: Okay, well why'd you waste your time helping some old dude who's having a heart attack? <p> Supes: I didn't hear him complain. <p> Citizen: But why you? <p> Supes: No one else would.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:06 p.m. CST

    If Superman talked like that to people...

    by Prof

    ...he would be Super-Asshole instead. And, truth is, that's basically how he talked in this comic. So...there you go. You like the Super-Asshole. Go ahead. But if I see a pile of crap, I'm not going to sit there and try to spit-shine it and pretend its something other than a pile of crap. If I step in it once, I know its there and can avoid it. Like SUPERMAN 702 lets me know to avoid 703, 704, and so on.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Prof

    by socalactor

    Look, I'm sorry if I've offended you. I would simply offer that you shouldn't blame an acclaimed writer for being more well-read than you and using that knowledge in his work. Consider that, perhaps, part of the point of this series is showing US what we don't see in our own back yard. <p> Call me crazy, but I consider comics that tell me something I didn't already know a hell of a better read than ones that simply catered to my pre-existing knowledge. <p> Were you going to write the present day Firestorm, I'd say that's a good reading list. Were you going to write a period Cap piece, I'd say that Rise and Fall would be a good starting point. <p> If you're going to call a writer out for supposedly misrepresenting the environment in which he places a character, then don't be offended when it turns out that what you thought you knew about that environment is wrong.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:12 p.m. CST

    Prof

    by socalactor

    Can I ask: where in 702 does he talk down to anyone? Sure, he asks that the aliens step up and be responsible citizens, but beyond that, he basically spent the issue listening. <p> Sorry that this book has turned you off of the series. I, for one, hope that its the beginning of a long-lasting run. I enjoy JMS deeper-looking take on comics, rather than "punch-the-villian-of-the-week".

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:19 p.m. CST

    thx185

    by LaserPants

    "Did you guys ever stop to think that JMS may be making a point here about illegal immigration?"<br><br>Uhh, ya think? Duh. <br><br>The problem isn't that he's addressing illegal immigration, it's that the POINT he's making, and the way he's making it, is wildly anti-immigrant and racist. Understand? Good. <br><br>Oh, and if you don't think Custodian Steppinfetchit is a wildly offensive racist stereotype, I honestly don't know what to say. It is racist and it is offensive. BUT, the fact that you said we have a "liberal bias" for noticing this (dude, REALITY has a liberal bias), can only lead me to conclude that you're one of those right wing conservative guys who thinks your being oppressed because it's not legal to make black people drink at separate fountains anymore. Enjoy your crappy Ubermensch book, I'll wait until someone who isn't a racist hack is writing it again. Like, hey, I dunno, THE TWO GUYS WHO MADE SUPERMAN AWESOME FOR THE 21ST CENTURY -- Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:21 p.m. CST

    And this is why Superman sucks.

    by fiester

    And will always suck. Easily the least interesting superhero of all time.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:28 p.m. CST

    Laserpants

    by hst666

    Haven't read Superman 702, but what's with Custodian Steppinfetchit? The basketball court scene sounded naive and hokey (and I agree with Ambush Bug about the follow up) but not racist in my opinion. Prof did not mention a custodian.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:31 p.m. CST

    At least "Punch the villain of the week" would be less pretentio

    by stones_throw

    No, I'm sure JMS is making a serious point about society. Like, how post-industrial decay can be miraculously solved by piles of alien gold, as happens in everyday life. Or is it an allegory? For, uh ... there being simple, quick-fit, top-down solutions to ... no, that doesn't work either. Still, I'm sure it's all very profound and well-intentioned.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:34 p.m. CST

    "less pretentious"

    by stones_throw

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Haters of Superman...

    by 8footTallGopher

    Love it or hate it you're doing exactly what JMS and DC want you to do....... You're talking about it!

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Socalator

    by Redmantle

    I wish I had read the issue to chime in here. But I like that Socalator has a well thought opposing opinion. I haven't read this particular issue, but it seems to be that most of the @ssholes reviews are overly negative and stuck within a past paradigm of viewing a character... attached to the character's history and not open to new interpretations of a character. Every generation these icons need to be reinterpeted or else they become stale. Further, writers should be able to put their own spins on these characters. All the fans rage that "so and so got the character right" and "so and so is writing him wrong". It's just impotent rage, stuck in a viewpoint that a character "should be" this... but isn't when another writer is writing it. The @ssholes often seem to be "shoulding" all over themselves... in the words of Beck and that is the point of their rage and frustration. I think some more open minded reviewers should be allowed into the ranks of the @ssholes. I always hear: Bendis doesn't write these characters properly... or blah-blah doesn't write these characters the same as blah-blah. It isn't possible. If I was writing Superman, I'd damn well write him however I wanted. If it isn't a popular approach the marketplace will tell. A lot of reviewers and fans seem to view themselves as the custodians of these fictional characters... which is ridiculous. Just look at the story for the story. I don't think all these comparisons to the characters previous history are warranted or necessary. All of these icons have SO MUCH previous history that to respect it all would be fruitless. Prof who is so infuriated with JMS's take on Superman because he thinks Supes is acting like an a-hole dismisses all the times in Superman's history that he did act like an a-hole (there's even a website devoted to it). Yeah that stuff isn't in continuity any more probably... but that's just more nonsense. Ah well, I'm just spouting off. Sometimes I would like to see more balanced opinion among comic book reviews rather than frustration and rage. I've read many Bendis avengers stories and liked them... but in the eyes of many they aren't the "real avengers" yet there they are... on the comic book shelf. What is a "real" interpretation of a comic book character anyway... Just some rambling thoughts.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Not ignoring the past...

    by Prof

    ...that's just not what I was reviewing. You want me to mock some old comics with Superman acting like an ass? I'm happy to do so...oh wait...I did that a few years ago when DC released the first SUPERMAN SHOWCASE collection. But I don't blame you for not being well-read in this area. Maybe Socalactor will be able to enlighten you.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 2:56 p.m. CST

    Stereotypes, Racism, JMS... and Thanos Imperative

    by Homer Sexual

    THX185 took most of my comments, but I want to chime in that for someone to say that showing young black guys being tatted up, talking smack and playing ball...well that is a very true stereotype and it's not racist. Is showing latinos playing soccer racist? Next you'll call me anti-gay cause lesbians love softball. <p> That said, the story sounds incredibly stupid and ridiculous. Which is surprising because the Darfur issues were handled so well in the Nighthawk mini (now watch, someone else, not JMS, wrote that). <p> His WW remake is weak as well. I am one of the few who has bought Wonder Woman since Rucka, enduring Heinberg and just when Simone FINALLY started to get a feel, she's gone...and now I am dropping the book because issue 601 was just...weak! <p> Goose, I really think the Thanos Imperative is highly over-rated. I didn't like the Galactus Engine, and in fact this is my least favorite storyline since Annihilation started all this cosmic stuff. I'm actually considering dropping it, but will stay to the end and see how it all works out. But really, I don't feel the love you and some others do. <p> JoeNathan, I just re-read some Bendis/Maleev Daredevil and it was better than I remembered. Murdock is kind of a dick back then, too. <p> I'm still fussing over everyone upset about DD "killing" Bullseye, bunch of hypocrites. It's Millar crap, writing characters acting stupid in service to a necessary plotline and me no likey!

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 3:11 p.m. CST

    Redmantle

    by Ambush Bug

    I don't think its a case of "shoulding" the character or comic or writer, but there is often a sense of character that a lot of readers (reviewers) who know when a character is written incorrectly feel when reading a comic, especially one as iconic as Superman, about a character with such a long history. Although, I did mention a "shoulda" in the talkbacks, I try to stay away from trying to do that in my reviews and encourage my reviewers to do so as well.<br><br> The good thing about the @$$Holes is that they are quite a varied bunch and unlike many assume, there is no official mandate to love a book or a writer or hate a writer given at a meeting where all the holes gather at a circular table. I do invite all opinions into the ranks of the Holes. And hopefully, more Holes will give their thoughts on SUPERMAN as the story progresses.<br><br> As far as the Bendis example, while I know he is not the favorite writer of many of the reviewers here, I don't think it's a case of "shoulding" when we talk about his work. It's the lack of variety in character speech and tone, his weak endings, his trade pacing, his inactive storylines, and other faults that are cited again and again in the reviews.<br><br> Sounds like a case of you "shoulding" the reviewers here though.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 3:13 p.m. CST

    I just hate all the Krypton shit in Supes so damn much

    by David Cloverfield

    I'm ready to give JMS more time to win me over. I didn't think it was so terrible (but then again, I'm not American, so I'm not that sensitive to all the racial stuff.) But from what I udeststand the the "fine, live here, but contribute your culture to our culture" is a valid point - and most US immigrants seem to live by this (if the music industry is any indication). The story was more against seclusion than against immigration. "We only talk to each other, we're not really part of the rest of the nation" is the kind of attitude Supes was dissing. I enjoy this a lot better than Johns's reign of terror. Gosh, will Zod be trapped in the Phantom Zone once again and everything return to Status Quo? Really exciting stuff, worth the years put into it.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 3:21 p.m. CST

    Here I go "shoulding" again, but I can't help it...

    by Ambush Bug

    Wouldn't it be cool if Superman did become the more assertive "dick" he was when he first appeared, but did so with the other heroes of the DCU? So while someone like Batman is working on a tough case against Zsasz and dissecting it meticulously, Superman whisks in and solves the case. Then he whisks over to Central City and takes care of Captain Cold in a few seconds. Teen Titans in trouble? Supes comes in and super breaths Deathstroke in his tracks. Pretty soon, the rest of the heroes get pretty sick of Supes involving himself in all heroic activities on Earth and decide to do something about it. Kind of the opposite of Grounded, but sounds much more exciting to me.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Ambush Bug

    by socalactor

    Sounds like a great idea. Someone "should" write a treatment for it and submit it to DC.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Okey-dokey Socalactor. This one's for you...

    by Prof

    :) I've taken no offense. Don't read a tone into my writing other than genial mockery. It's just a friggin' comic. But...I took it upon myself to review this one and I deliberately chose to take a tone of mockery because...well...it is so profoundly stupid. Some comics deserve a serious, and thoughtful, review. Some comics don't. And some comics even deserve to have some serious criticism couched within mockery and cynicism. I really hate trying to explain a "review." It's like explaining a "joke." You either get it or you don't. You are so persistently thick-headed in your posts today, demonstrating an astonishing ability to completely miss not only my points, but the points of others, yet...somehow...you exhibit an equally astonishing ability to grasp points made by JMS in this comic...that he didn't even bother to make. Which makes me either think you are bi-polar or are intentionally blinding yourself to what others say through your own internal sense of confirmation bias. But let me go ahead and address a few things here. (1) I am reviewing this comic book. On its own. This is a single-issue chapter...in other words...everything necessary to the story should be found within these two covers. So, looking at this comic book on its own...it is my opinion that the average reader would find their intelligence insulted by it. (2) Regarding your obsession with the streets of Detroit. Again...congratulations to you for your knowledge about the streets of Detroit. I'm glad that JMS wrote a comic book just for you. However, may I once again point out to you (and hopefully you will take note this time) that at no time is this addressed in the comic book itself. You ascribe knowledge to the writer that neither of us have reason to know of unless you are the writer yourself...or it is addressed at some point within the comic. Since it is not addressed within the comic and even the streets leading into and out of Detroit are shown with no cars...I once again have to question it. If the writer intended to be accurate in his presentation of Detroit then the ingress and egress should've been crowded with traffic. The truth is, that within the comic itself, taken on its own, it simply appears like lazy artwork. And because of that, if the writer were actually knowledgeable about this situation, which is highly unusual obviously, then there would be a moment somewhere in which Superman himself makes note of the situation and wonders about it. The fact that some grass sprigs are shown and buildings are shown in disrepair does nothing to explain the absence of cars on the street. Especially the fact that the streets should be lined with parked cars...unless all these people have garages to park in. The bottom line is that you're fixating on an assertion of information in the mind of the writer that is not communicated within the comic. So, once again, a failure in storytelling. Maybe that book you mention helped JMS learn this about Detroit. Maybe it didn't. Unless you are JMS, pretty big leap to assume such a localized bit of info that is not widely known. And it would seem to me that it would be something worth mentioning in the story so readers are not left wondering. (3) Regarding the paparazzi, I remember that moment. I still think it's worth mentioning in this comic because I don't buy it for a second. Considering our obsessive paparazzi chasing people around I don't believe for a second that they would not follow him from town to town. And I felt like mocking that. (4) The entire immigration issue was handled in such a juvenile manner, that I once again, could not tackle it without mocking it. Superman as "immigrant" is an aspect of the mythology. But the sense of him as unilateral decider of what should be done with immigrants is nothing but egalitarian fantasy and offensive to every notion of fairness. And if you don't see extortion in his behavior...then you are willfully blinding yourself. (5) And finally, because I am tired of typing, I don't think the comic is outright racist and nor do I think JMS is racist. I do, however, think the writer relied on simplistic stereotypes throughout the book. Some of the stereotypes were racist...but not all. Even Superman himself is an egalitarian stereotype. But what you have consistently done throughout the talkbacks is defend the comic and the writer NOT for what was actually written but for the INTENT behind the words. I'm sorry, but this isn't a criminal charge. Intent doesn't matter. What matters is actions here. And in this case, the action is the writing. So, I dealt only with what was printed. If you want to mind-read the writer. That's awesome for you. And I empower you to go on about your business and allow your intelligence to be insulted. Myself, I will avoid any further chapters in this misguided piece of garbage.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 3:41 p.m. CST

    Some points on Supes

    by gooseud

    First, I take everything Socal says with a bucket of salt, considering he has never posted in this column ever before. He seems like one of those dudes who spends his days searching for topics on which he can pull a politically oriented troll job. There really isnt a more tedious brand of person alive. Secondly, heres the thing: if Hal Jordan flew down from space, took off his ring, and went head to head with some dudes from the hood on an even athletic playing field, letting the nerd school him so he gets cred, and that was the end of it, no one would care. We would all laugh about how god awful it is and move on. However, this isnt a ringless Hal Jordan. This is Supes, who can run as fast as the Flash and thus could score 7,309 baskets in the time it took for those dudes to blink. Therefore, the story has an entirely different spin on it. Heres my thing: JMS could have set that story on a baseball field in Iowa, playing baseball with the good old boys, with him letting the nerdy kid strike him out on 3 pitches. That would have been merely dumb and thats that. However, he didnt. He conciously chose to set that story where he did. So thats my question: why there? What was he trying to say by making a deliberate effort to have Supes take that course of action? For the record, I'm the last person to call racism and consider myself politically agnostic. However, I'm also not going to intentionally ignore something that appears to be blatantly racist just for fear of being called "liberal". OOOO scary, being called a liberal, not that!

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 3:43 p.m. CST

    Prof

    by gooseud

    Hes trolling you bro, dont sweat it, I'll bet $10.00 that guy hasnt cracked the cover on 5 comics in the past month.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 3:48 p.m. CST

    Gooseud

    by Prof

    :D Yeah. You're prolly right. :) It's especially funny to me to be called "liberal" when most "liberals" who know me will tell you I'm so far right politically that the Libertarian party disappoints me. heh.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 4:06 p.m. CST

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    by onlineinc

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  • Aug. 18, 2010, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Ambush Bug

    by Redmantle

    Good point! I was "shoulding" about the reviewers! Usually I keep these thoughts to myself! Point taken. Ultimately, I just read comics for fun, and I have fun reading them...when I think they're lame or the story gets tedious, I just drop it... but I guess that "shoulds" are a part of human nature... it just depends on how intense it gets. I don't usually succumb to frustration and rage w/ regard to comic books... not that you guys are necessarily, but some do... I'm just try to enjoy the story for the story. Though, every so often a bug gets up my ass...For example, one character I like a lot is Doctor Strange... although I realize I have a fixed interpretation that I like of him, and dislike others... (Ex: I gave away my copy of the animated movie because it didn't jive with my viewpoint on the character, and irritated me). I think that's the frustrating nature of the beast w/ regard to comic books... the story goes on and on and is passed from one writers hands to the next. The characters can never die, and one writer isn't the custodian of them... so everyone is an "expert" on the character, and no-one is.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 4:23 p.m. CST

    Prof

    by socalactor

    And now for the response: <b> :) I've taken no offense. Don't read a tone into my writing other than genial mockery. It's just a friggin' comic. But...I took it upon myself to review this one and I deliberately chose to take a tone of mockery because...well...it is so profoundly stupid. Some comics deserve a serious, and thoughtful, review. Some comics don't. And some comics even deserve to have some serious criticism couched within mockery and cynicism. I really hate trying to explain a "review." It's like explaining a "joke." You either get it or you don't.</b> <p> <b> You are so persistently thick-headed in your posts today, demonstrating an astonishing ability to completely miss not only my points, but the points of others, yet...somehow...you exhibit an equally astonishing ability to grasp points made by JMS in this comic...that he didn't even bother to make. </b> <p> - This is called "subtext", which is a vital underpinning of literary analysis. I, for one, do not look on comic books as "just a friggin comic", but rather pieces of literature in their own right. Perhaps, if you are going to be reviewing them, you should take a more serious bent. I sincerely doubt that you'll find an art critic worth their salt who would use the phrase "its just a friggin' painting..." <p> <b> Which makes me either think you are bi-polar or are intentionally blinding yourself to what others say through your own internal sense of confirmation bias. But let me go ahead and address a few things here. </b> <p> <b> (1) I am reviewing this comic book. On its own. This is a single-issue chapter...in other words...everything necessary to the story should be found within these two covers. So, looking at this comic book on its own...it is my opinion that the average reader would find their intelligence insulted by it. </b> <p> I would contend that in the modern comics marketplace, it is fallacious to try and look at an individual issue outside of the context of the larger story line. In this instance, where the story is, as you said, a chapter, the onus is on the reader to ensure that they have the back story. Very rarely will you find a novel, or even a serial story where you can fully grasp the story by starting with chapter 2. That's why its not chapter 1. <p> <b> (2) Regarding your obsession with the streets of Detroit. Again...congratulations to you for your knowledge about the streets of Detroit. I'm glad that JMS wrote a comic book just for you. However, may I once again point out to you (and hopefully you will take note this time) that at no time is this addressed in the comic book itself. You ascribe knowledge to the writer that neither of us have reason to know of unless you are the writer yourself...or it is addressed at some point within the comic. Since it is not addressed within the comic and even the streets leading into and out of Detroit are shown with no cars...I once again have to question it. If the writer intended to be accurate in his presentation of Detroit then the ingress and egress should've been crowded with traffic. The truth is, that within the comic itself, taken on its own, it simply appears like lazy artwork. And because of that, if the writer were actually knowledgeable about this situation, which is highly unusual obviously, then there would be a moment somewhere in which Superman himself makes note of the situation and wonders about it. The fact that some grass sprigs are shown and buildings are shown in disrepair does nothing to explain the absence of cars on the street. Especially the fact that the streets should be lined with parked cars...unless all these people have garages to park in. The bottom line is that you're fixating on an assertion of information in the mind of the writer that is not communicated within the comic. So, once again, a failure in storytelling. Maybe that book you mention helped JMS learn this about Detroit. Maybe it didn't. Unless you are JMS, pretty big leap to assume such a localized bit of info that is not widely known. And it would seem to me that it would be something worth mentioning in the story so readers are not left wondering. </b> <p> This is where you and I differ on what our opinions of what needs to be spoon-fed to the reader. First, as a clarification, "Requiem for Detroit" is a terrific documentary film that saw a lot of play on BBC, but has sadly been relegated to mostly online play here in the states. I sure hope that JMS has seen it, but a lot of the information in it is available from secondary sources which, from his past work, he has probably checked out. <p> Its here where that I ascribe (though you may well disagree) a certain level of quality to this work. I feel that any work of art, be it literature, paint, or any of the millions of variants in-between, should inspire the viewer to dig deeper into its subject. One of my personal favorite JMS moments is the Mark Twain quote in Civil War, delivered by Captain America. Though a Twain neophyte, that text prompted me to delve into some of the more political writings of Twain, much to my enjoyment. I highly recommend his recently released memoir. It made me wish that he were around writing comics nowadays. <p> I would hope that a lot of people asked the questions that you asked, and wondered why Detroit, once a vibrant American city and the heart of Motown, would be depicted as an empty suburban waste. The deeper social implications of what has happened to the city should resonate with most of America and peoples across the globe. <p> <b> (3) Regarding the paparazzi, I remember that moment. I still think it's worth mentioning in this comic because I don't buy it for a second. Considering our obsessive paparazzi chasing people around I don't believe for a second that they would not follow him from town to town. And I felt like mocking that. </b> <p> I'll grant you this one from a realism perspective. While I understand, from a writing standpoint, not wanting to make this a story where Superman is constantly being harangued by the media, I think that it would have been much more potent if he had to and I might have even chosen to make it a story device. Not to start "should"-ing... ;) <p> <b> (4) The entire immigration issue was handled in such a juvenile manner, that I once again, could not tackle it without mocking it. Superman as "immigrant" is an aspect of the mythology. But the sense of him as unilateral decider of what should be done with immigrants is nothing but egalitarian fantasy and offensive to every notion of fairness. And if you don't see extortion in his behavior...then you are willfully blinding yourself. </b> <p> Another point for you, sir. I will, however, make this caveat: as the "ultimate" immigrant, Superman has the ability to speak with a certain authority with regards to immigration issues. Considering the recent history (I know, I know, you believe that one should not have to have a doctorate in DC history to understand a story, but the background is SO recent that I think to ignore it does a disservice, not only to the "100 Minute War", but to the current story as well), Superman is well within bounds to call out a cloistered alien enclave and demand that they step up. And, really, everyone truly does win in the end. The aliens, in their human guises, get to be the saviors of Detroit and make it a decent place to live, the people get jobs, and Superman doesn't have to worry about them chucking robo-suits at the first census agent who comes by. <p> <b> (5) And finally, because I am tired of typing, I don't think the comic is outright racist and nor do I think JMS is racist. I do, however, think the writer relied on simplistic stereotypes throughout the book. Some of the stereotypes were racist...but not all. Even Superman himself is an egalitarian stereotype. But what you have consistently done throughout the talkbacks is defend the comic and the writer NOT for what was actually written but for the INTENT behind the words. I'm sorry, but this isn't a criminal charge. Intent doesn't matter. What matters is actions here. And in this case, the action is the writing. So, I dealt only with what was printed. If you want to mind-read the writer. That's awesome for you. And I empower you to go on about your business and allow your intelligence to be insulted. Myself, I will avoid any further chapters in this misguided piece of garbage.</b> <p> Here's where we'll have to agree to disagree. I have always enjoyed delving into the underpinnings of a story. I think that good writing is far richer in its depth than it is on the surface. Good writing challenges the reader to reexamine his/her preconceptions and look beyond what is on the printed page for what is unsaid. Try reading Shakespeare aloud. Its boring as hell (with a couple of notable exceptions). However, when you SEE Shakespeare, or even hear it read by an accomplished actor/actress, you realize that there are a million interpretations of the words and that the truly exciting parts of the story are crafted FROM the words, but are not OF the words. <p> Thanks for reading, writing, debating, and not being offended. ;)

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Gooseud

    by socalactor

    Not a troll, bud. Go and look at last month's talkback about Superman 701. I pretty vigorously defended that one as well. <p> I've been a die-hard Superman since I was four years old and the first word I managed to sound out from the page was, you guessed it, "Sooo... per... maaan... SUPERMAN!!!" <p> I love comics, love the form, and am actually looking into going back to school to get some letters behind my name that say I know something about them. <p> I contribute to this debate because I have a deep and abiding love for the character, as well as a long-standing respect for JMS, who wrote my favorite quote regarding 9-11 in his landmark Amazing Spiderman black cover issue. <p> In short, I love to challenge, love to be challenged, and love very few things more than debating the merits of various comic books. :)

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 4:35 p.m. CST

    No one is a stronger defender...

    by Prof

    ...of comics as literature. But there's a big difference between an issue of SUPERMAN and, oh, ASTERIOS POLYP. It's just patently obvious that you don't take, say, a Hardy Boys novel and analyze it the way one would a novel by Melville. The line of demarcation between what cream rises to the top and qualifies to be dissected as "literature" is, by its very nature, something special. If this latest issue of Superman was "special", it was "special" like an old ABC After-school Special or a very "special" episode of BLOSSOM. It's about as deep as that. Regardless of the good-natured intent behind it.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Current or recent happenings in the DC Universe...

    by Prof

    ...in this story are simply subtext for the fans. This story is presented in a manner that sets it purposely somewhat outside current continuity. It builds on the continuity from the Superman titles themselves as to what motivated him to do this. But, there is no internal monologue or external dialogue or narrative exposition to establish any recent continuity-based motive on Superman's part in dealing with the alien immigrants.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 4:48 p.m. CST

    Prof

    by socalactor

    I would definitely agree with you that there are books that don't even approach the quality that one would expect from literature. Regardless, if its penned and printed, its literature. Its only the quality that's up for debate. Is Goosebumps literature? Yes, literature for children. Is it good? It was when I was 8. <p> If you want to find the depth in it, you can't wade in the shallow end of the pool. You have to dive in to the deep end and see what's under the water that you couldn't view from the surface.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 4:54 p.m. CST

    I get jokes...

    by Prof

    "If you want to find the depth in it, you can't wade in the shallow end of the pool. You have to dive in to the deep end and see what's under the water that you couldn't view from the surface" LOL! No real person dialoguing about funnybooks could have come up with that, only a smarmy prick who avoids actual communication with meaningless platitudes. I have been officially played. I bow to the character you are playing. You have more tenacity than I.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 5:06 p.m. CST

    (Chappelle) Jokes and jokes and jokes...

    by socalactor

    Sorry, I couldn't resist. Sometimes I do have a tendency to wax idiomatic. I truly do wish that I could be THAT witty off the cuff, instead of taking a few moments to write and review. <p> I guess I was going for the metaphor and my endless assertion that the real meat of this book, at least for me, was in the subtext.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 5:29 p.m. CST

    Redmantle

    by gooseud

    Heres the thing: you are (if I may make an assumption) holding comics to a lower standard then you would hold other forms of entertainment. If, at the end of Return of the Jedi, Vader simply turned off his lightsaber and said "You know what, Luke? Your right. Lets talk it out", or if at the end of Die Hard 4, John McClane set his gun down and said "You had a bad childhood, didnt you? Lets talk it out", and in post movie interviews you read Lucas and Willis, respectively, say they "simply wanted to try a new approach, a new spin, on the character", would you be ok with that? Of course not. Those characters have a well established pattern of behavior and history, and to simply disregard it midstream would be ridiculous. Which brings us to writers like Bendis and Millar, who regularly simply discard fundamental elements of established characters that dont "fit" with the story they are trying to tell, in the name of "putting a new spin on things". These characters are not blank slates on which you can simply project the story you wish to tell. There is a history that needs to be respected. If you want change that still respects history, I would direct you to the Maestro himself, Grant Morrison, and the current Batman and Robin title, as well as Johns on Green Lantern and Brubaker on the first 35 issues or so of Captain America. THATS how you bring about true change to a seemingly static medium, as opposed to Millar's one-trick-pony approach of "WHOOOO, kill everyone!! The bad guys win!! WHOOOO!"

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 6:19 p.m. CST

    Gooseud

    by Redmantle

    Interesting... I like Bendis' avengers... but they ARE the Avengers to me, because I never read the Avengers before (or not very much... I found them a bit stale) so I like Bendis take. But generally speaking I don't like things that are generally considered trash. I think that it gets to the issue why people like certain things and don't like others. Have you ever gone to a movie based on a book and thought "That movie sucks!". I have. But then upon second viewing looked at it on it's own terms, and thought...hey this isn't so bad. I think that's where the point of differentiation lies. If John McClane talked it out with the badguy and I was expecting hard hitting action- then I'd have balked. But with comics, I don't think its so much that I hold them to a lesser standard than it is I don't generally get attached to a certain conception of a character...most of the characters have had such long histories that I don't know how they can be made consistent without playing out every last thing that's done with them. So I kind of detach a little more with comic characters. I remember getting into Wonder Woman, a character I always thought was lame, due to Rucka's writing. Then the torch was passed and a new status quo for WW established that bore little resemblance to her previous self. Then the torch was passed again... and again new changes. Some I thought sucked, and I dropped the book, and I picked it up again when a new interpretation came along that I liked. Millar I will confess I have trouble reading his non-independent stuff, because the characters all seem to be vapid or uncaring, and that Millar is using the characters as set pieces to move the plot along. Bendis, I think does care about the characters and their psychology, but I DO think his interpretation is different, and more modern, than previous interpretations, which I found a bit stale. I don't know the answer... I kind of wish there was a comics continuity where characters could age and die, like in novels. I love a lot of the Marvel staple of characters in particular. I wish Spidey could develop into a leader type, for example and get over his insecurities and make real progression. I wish that Banner would be able to solve his MPD and grow and be one with the Hulk. But that stuff doesn't sell... so it will likely never happen for more than short term.... I've detached, I don't have much hope for characters in the main titles, other than for them to entertain me a little when I'm on lunch break...so in that respect... maybe I DO hold mainstream comics from the big 2 to a lesser standard, because I recognize the limitations of the model (sell! sell! sell! Keep the characters fresh! Illusion of change!)

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 6:21 p.m. CST

    Best talkback in a while!

    by superhero

    Keep 'em coming Prof! Love the review...have yet to read the comic but it sounds like ass...

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 7:01 p.m. CST

    yeah. now i HAVE to pick up superman 702...

    by sonnyhooper

    ...next time i'm at my shop. because now i have to judge for myself. sounds intresting...of course, i'm one of like....5 people who actually LIKED superman; FOR TOMORROW by azz and lee. so superman kinda acting like an asshole is cool with me.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 7:29 p.m. CST

    REdmantle

    by gooseud

    You and I are in total agreement actually. The stuff I read from the Big Two are fairly minimal, for the exact reasons described. The "illusion of change" without ever achieving real change (as typified in all its glory by the literary acid reflux known as One More Day) has soured me on most mainstream stuff. I read the Cosmic Abnett and Lanning stuff, Secret Avengers, Iron Man, Secret Six, maybe a few others on and off. I follow Green Lantern in TPB form. However, most of my main reads are not Big Two stuff. Its not impossible for the Big Two to tell good stories, but you need high quality writing talent, and there isnt alot of that to go around. Its the form itself that is broken, not any one particular title.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 7:30 p.m. CST

    Oh and

    by gooseud

    I dropped Cap and Thor when they went back to their same old same old typical Big Two ways, so I put my momeny where my mouth is.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 7:49 p.m. CST

    Superman #64 > Superman: Grounded

    by jericho1368

    Everyone is just missing the point. JMS Superman is something a sloppy, amateur would write in fanfiction. As I said in an earlier post, JMS' Superman makes no sense. His story begins when Superman returns from New Krypton and some woman slaps him for not saving her husband by blasting his tumor with heat vision. HUH? Since when is Superman responsible for curing all the world's illnesses? And how many other times has he left on a mission and someone died of a tumor or cancer and Superman couldn't save them? Oh, that would be in Dan Jurgen's Superman #64, when reading Christmas letters, someone wrote that they were upset Superman couldn't save their child from cancer or something. Superman explained he is not God and cannot nor is he responsible for curing illnesses. If that were the case, there would be a MOB of people wanting Doctor Superman's head for not saving them. But Jurgens accomplished in one issue what JMS cannot grasp in 12. Bad writing is bad writing I don't care who the heck JMS is. It's terrible.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 7:56 p.m. CST

    Superman's Walking Too Fast

    by optimous_douche

    He'll be in California by issue 4 at this rate. Is he going to walk back and forth 3 fucking times?

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 8:54 p.m. CST

    JMS Superman is a giant 1970s PSA ad

    by OutsideChance

    Remember those Neal Adams drawn "Justice for All Includes Children" ads that DC ran in the 1970s? Superman would wander through the city and deal with "real life" problems like graffiti and civil rights. They were heavy handed, cliched, preachy and insulted the readers' intelligence. Sound familiar?

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:18 p.m. CST

    Serial Killer Scott Pilgrim Apprehended

    by SteadyUP

    http://tinyurl.com/256mqav

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:21 p.m. CST

    Jericho

    by gooseud

    And keep in mind, by Supes wandering across the country dicking around with old guys having heart attacks and giving nerdy kids self esteem, you can assume there are very real and far more pressing problems that he is missing. Superman cant win, you can wander across the country shooting hoops and miss the major threats, or fight Brainiac and miss out on the cancer patients. WHICH IS WHY, AS A WRITER, YOU NEVER PUT HIM IN THAT SITUATION TO BEGIN WITH. Superman, as a literary conciet, falls apart if you try to apply read-world parameters on him. This is because, if Supes ever existed in a real world context, he would be Supreme from Supreme Power. Or Homelander. Or the Plutonian.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:40 p.m. CST

    Yes Lara's ass is something to behold.

    by SID 8.0

    The story is good too.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:46 p.m. CST

    When I read Guy Gardner, I hear Bender as his voice.

    by George Newman

    If John Di Maggio lost some weight, he'd be a fun Guy Gardner in the Green Lantern film series, if they decide to explore other earthling Lanterns.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 9:53 p.m. CST

    As a person living in Detroit

    by mortsleam

    I can tell you that what JMS is really talking about is the failure of the movie industry to follow through on its promise of creating jobs by building studios in Pontiac and West Bloomfield. In short. I need a job Superman, hire me.

  • Aug. 18, 2010, 11:27 p.m. CST

    Brainiac gives Lois cancer...

    by loodabagel

    First issue-Superman's really freaked out because his wife might die. Second issue-Superman uses his powers to cure Lois. Issues 3-5-The public is pissed off at Superman. Why the hell hasn't he been curing their cancer too? Superman spirals into a suicidal depression. Issue 6-Of course, it was Lex Luthor's plan all along. Superman snaps and kills Luthor when he crushes his skull with his hands. As an act of finality, Superman rips off his own head. The end.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 12:23 a.m. CST

    Guy Gardner's voice

    by Ambush Bug

    I always pictured him as either a younger Matt Dillon or maybe even Nicky Katt. Even when I read the comic, Gardner has Matt Dillon's voice. It just seems to fit.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 5:41 a.m. CST

    “E Z pickins”

    by Star Hump

    We all knew JMS was going to shit his pants with his "Superman walks the land" arc, but who knew it would be this bad? This garbage makes Neal Adams' bat book look like the Great Gatsby.<p> It's not really JMS' fault. He's clearly a submental. It's DC editorial's fault. Now, it's fine to hire the handicapped; this is America and everyone deserves a chance, but sometimes you have to draw a line.<p> All this book really does is prove that absolutely ANYBODY can write a Superman comic book. What's the pay like? It must be decent. 30K? Nah. 80K annually? Probably. 175K? More? I wouldn't be surprised at all. Remember, we live in an era where the mentally retarded fail up, and they get well paid for doing so.<p> Lord, I gotta get a piece of this pie. I'm pretty stupid. I'll be a superstar. I'm gonna write me some superheroes comics books, like. Yeah. Huh. What?<p> Next issue, Superman walks through downtown Cleveland and wonders why he suddenly feels so sad and inadequate, like he's let a couple of old friends down, totally disappointed them, destroyed a legacy even. This feeling gnaws at him until he sees Leon Powe on a run-down basketball court and then suddenly -- his destiny is clear.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 6:19 a.m. CST

    I Will tard Wrestle You Hump

    by optimous_douche

    Seriously man I will trip you with my fat tongue and slap you for top tard of DC.<p> That's no lie, they start hiring pure idiots I AM FIRST!!!!!

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 8:17 a.m. CST

    Superman finds LeBron James

    by gooseud

    and threatens to pimp slap him until he does the right thing and returns to Cleveland. Of course, he doesnt do this until mid-December. Because, ya know, he has to walk and all. Even though he can fly. And is just, ya know, kinda choosing not to. And at that point, the NBA season has already started and its too late. So Cleveland boos Superman because if he just would have flown, LeBron would have made it in time. Coming soon in part 3 of......."Grounded".

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 8:30 a.m. CST

    Hulk #23

    by leo54304

    was good read. Concluded fall of hulks and set up what marvel has in plan for Banner and Ross. Last pages really got me pumped with the way they set things up. Included a nice cameo by Steve Rogers. Gamma base looks like its going to be interesting place to visit.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 8:53 a.m. CST

    DC is an Equal Opportunity Employer... of Idiots

    by jericho1368

    Optimus Douche, it seems the train has left the building. They've already HIRED the idiots. The company is such a mess, they hired three people -- THREE PEOPLE -- to do a one job. I guess that might even be ok if they had one brain between them but instead, WB hired the Three Stooges to steer the train, that's why most of their product is a big joke. Seriously, its a comedy. But, at least they can all take comfort in knowing they truly are equal opportunity employers because the company is staffed by idiots.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Larry, Moe, & Curly

    by Prof

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 9:08 a.m. CST

    As one who is not reading the HULK comics...

    by Prof

    ...it's my understanding that the Red Hulk turned out to be Thunderbolt Ross? Correct?

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 9:54 a.m. CST

    I wouldn't call any of the big 3 Idiots

    by optimous_douche

    You can't be an idiot and get to where they are in life. <p> I will say though, I think there are times where they have truly lost touch with their base and expanded the universe more out of greed than for the sake of quality story-telling.<p> DC needs to rest...not a soft pussy footing reset. RESET -- start from square one. And take that opportunity to set the industry on it's ear by delivering a schedule of weekly delivered trade size books.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Prof, you are correct sir

    by leo54304

    Hulk #23 as I posted above details his future in the marvel universe. Somehow I got a feeling Steve Rogers is gonna use him on a few missions. And the relationship between him and Banner will continue to be one to watch.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 10:23 a.m. CST

    MODOK wanted to create own super soldier program

    by leo54304

    Using gamma and cosmic radiation. Ross agreed to be a volunteer to protect america and keep an eye on MODOK. MODOK then pissed off Ross by doing the same to his daughter changing her to the red she-hulk. A-Bomb (Rick Jones) was also a test subject of MODOKs super soldier program (although unwillingly). Red hulk is still around just a prisoner on gamma base run by Banner with approval of Steve Rogers. Isn't that ironic?

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 10:33 a.m. CST

    Regarding the whole Red Hulk story...

    by Prof

    ...is this something worth picking up in the trades? Feedback for me to mull over. Thanks! :)

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 10:44 a.m. CST

    Guy Gardner -- Young Dennis Leary

    by Buzz Maverik

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 10:47 a.m. CST

    The definitive Guy Gardner

    by Prof

    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_98zZGlDC3HY/R95LOfi_efI/AAAAAAAAAZE/y4SV5gjws1s/s400/justiceleague5.jpg

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 10:47 a.m. CST

    Batman re. Superman's Walk Across America

    by Buzz Maverik

    "What exactly do you think yer doing, Clark?"<p>"Don't call me Clark. I'm getting in touch with the common man."<p>"Is that a fact? Yeah, I caught you double-dutching without your x-ray vision."<p>"Think what you want."<p>"You want to get in touch with common man? Come on patrol with me tonight. I'll put you in touch with the common man."

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Bug--on Baltimore

    by Fuzzyjefe

    Mignola & Golden wrote a novel a couple years back about Baltimore...great read. Had to do with Baltimore's vengeance-fueled quest to eradicate a nasty vampire. Highly recommended.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Yeah, I would

    by leo54304

    Art is fantastic, plenty of action and just the interplay between the intelligencia on one side and Banner/Ross/Jones on the other is really well done. Just a fun read. Oh and the island where AIM grows clones of MODOKs body for harvesting is pretty gross and cool at the same time.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 10:55 a.m. CST

    Worlds Finest:Public enemies the TPB is worth getting

    by leo54304

    but not the DVD. The public enemies comic has same pacing and narrative as the Red Hulk stories. The crisis DVD and RED HOOD DVD are good also. Also the TPB for WF:Supergirl worth buying and the DVD for it is coming out in September and really looks great.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 12:38 p.m. CST

    Thanks Fuzzy

    by Ambush Bug

    I'll have to seek that one out. Sounds very cool. I figured Baltimore had been used in something before.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 1:06 p.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    What bizarre alternate reality is this where the art in Thanos Imperative is considered so bad that it detracts from the story? I literally could not believe I was reading the same book you people are talking about, and had to go back and double check.<p> The art is fine (particularly the cosmic stuff, ie: Celestial having her head exploded by tentacles).

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 2:54 p.m. CST

    agree about the art

    by Homer Sexual

    I also re-read Thanos Imperative 3 last night and found I actually kinda liked the art. The story isn't bad, but it doesn't grab me. I could barely recall having read it before. I just consider it disappointing in comparison to earlier works with the same creators and cast.

  • Aug. 19, 2010, 4:52 p.m. CST

    Star Hump

    by hst666

    Horrible Superman arc aside, JMS is smarter than you.

  • Aug. 20, 2010, 2:35 a.m. CST

    RE: FF short-sleeve costumes.

    by njscribe44

    I don't mind changes to superhero costumes, particularly the Fantastic Four. The short sleeves over the past several issues look dumb, however - particularly when Reed is stretching is arms. Choose any costume color or design, but keep them in long sleeves. Thing can always rock his shorts, however.

  • Aug. 20, 2010, 9:02 a.m. CST

    The long-sleeves return in 2 issues.

    by Prof

    Though I was just now starting to get used to them. lol

  • Aug. 20, 2010, 7:23 p.m. CST

    See...

    by Joenathan

    Superman comics by JMS = dumb. I can't wait for him to quit midway through his run... <br><br> On a brighter note: I finally read Second Coming and that was a damn good X-men story. Well told and fun. I was impressed. Great stuff.

  • Aug. 22, 2010, 9:02 p.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    I know this is a dead thread, but for the sake of posterity let me just echo earlier comments by saying that, yes, you really could walk the streets in downtown Detroit and not run into any cars.

  • Aug. 24, 2010, 10:28 p.m. CST

    Also, Mike the Spike

    by mortsleam

    Pretty much any group of black kids you see in Detroit are going to be playing basketball. Or just hanging around outside a house trying to get me to buy them liquor. What the fuck, was he supposed to have Superman interrupt a game of rugby? (Actually, there's a pretty lively rugby team at Wayne State University, and this Superman Walks shit is horrible, but still...)

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