Comics

AICN COMICS REVIEWS: BATMAN! DAREDEVIL! ARCHIE & FRIENDS! INCORRUPTIBLE! & MORE!

Published at: Sept. 15, 2010, 9 a.m. CST

#16 9/9/10 #9

The Pull List (Click title to go directly to the review) BATMAN #703 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #641-642 ARCHIE & FRIENDS #147 DAREDEVIL #510 IRREDEEMABLE #17/INCORRUPTIBLE #9 DRAGONSTORM #0 JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #9 A double shot at NEW AVENGERS #4 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents MOYASIMON: TALES OF AGRICULTURE Vol. 2 Big Eyes For the Cape Guy presents DEADMAN WONDERLAND Vol. 2 Indie Jones presents… CHEAP SHOTS!

BATMAN #703

Writer: Fabian Nicieza Aritsts: Cliff Richards Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: Optimous Douche

I understand the past two issues of BATMAN, even if I didn’t like them. I can fully appreciate the soul’s thirst to mea culpa against past plot hole transgressions. But I'm with Bug's review on those issues and I am gloriously thrilled the apologies for RIP are now behind us. Bruce Wayne is certainly coming back, but even his broad shouldered shadow can't cast any darkness on the radiant rays of joy that have been the dynamic duo of Dick and Damian.
A mystery unfolds, folds, and gets tightly wrapped up with a bow in this issue. But that’s just the surface, a vehicle if you will to drive the character exploration of the binding ties and vast chasm between the three Robins.
When you think about it, Batman has had some fairly ridiculous foils over his seventy-plus years of existence. I don’t fault these past writers. After all, trying to be original in a universe that has “seen it all” can be quite a daunting task for even the most proficient storytellers; also when America sees better times our tolerance for fluff and camp rises exponentially. Damian, however, is far less tolerant than your old Uncle Optimous. Damian chews the fourth wall in this issue like Al Pacino chews scenery. He rips through the tissue paper of ridiculousness to articulate the same exact thoughts we’re having as readers. After chasing down and losing an adept escapist, Dick and Damian go through the bat-archives to uncover that their foil might be the elusive (and poorly named) Getaway Genius. Thank you Damian for pointing out that if Batman and Robin had caught him once before, the word “genius,” while delivering great alliteration, might not be the best name for the guy. Getaway Guy…perhaps…Getaway Proficient…Sometimes, is far closer to the mark. Also in this scene Dick and Alfred discuss how the “genius” went underground back when The Joker and Killer Croc tried to consolidate Gotham’s Underworld. In one line I fell in love with Damian once again, “Killer Croc!?” Yes, we know Killer Croc is an animalistic brute with little mind for strategy, but thank you for reminding us little fella.
I mentioned before that all three Robins resurface in this issue. Yes, the infamous Tim Drake makes an appearance in this issue as well. Although outside of stopping the reappearance of the “genius” I’m not sure why he was here. Oh I know why, simply so Damian could call him “Drake” in the most condescending tone possible. And really that’s about all Tim is good for at this point. I know, he’s got his own thing going on in RED ROBIN, but I just can’t bring myself to care. No, for me it’s Damian or bust!
Speaking of Damian (since I haven’t enough already), there’s also a grand moment between the young one and Alfred. As Damian is training, he wonders why Batman had let this second-rate villain off the hook in the days before Killer Croc…organized crime (hehehehe). Alfred reminds Damian that he really knows nothing about Bruce…at least not the man. All he really knows is what he heard from his whore mother and his sadistic grandfather. While I appreciated the moment for what it was, a nice touching moment of reflection, it did make me start to wonder about how this kid will one day interact with Bruce. Part of me is starting to wonder if ALL STAR BATMAN wasn’t too far off the mark. Dick tolerates everything with a smile and “aww shucks” sort of laissez-faire attitude. I don’t see Daddy being quite as…forgiving. And also don’t see Damien changing his ways for an absent father he hardly knows. As much as I am enjoying Dick and Damian, this moment kind of got me excited for the inevitable return of Bruce.
Finally (as if all this wasn’t enough for 22 pages) there was some actual detectiving in this book and some nice building tension with Vicki Vale inching ever closer to exposing the House of Wayne’s night time activities. Great story coupled with great art. “The Road to Bruce Wayne” is off to a damn smooth start.
Oh, there’s also a Knight & Squire back-up story. But since I abhor their existence even more than the Krapdashians, I didn’t read it. Sorry.
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.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN Double Shot

This week, Marvel released AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #641 and #642. 641 finishes up “One Moment In Time”, while 642 heads in a new direction and starts off the next arc, “Orgin of The Species”. I'm taking both to town, so let's see how they go.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #641

Writer: Joe Quesada Art: Joe Quesada & Daniel Miki Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy

End Of The Day: I've been very critical of “One Moment In Time”...no, I've been full of hate. I've been acting like this story killed my father and molested my mother. The plot holes, the inconsistent art, the dialogue--none of it connected with me. I've been doing my very best to be objective about it and not let my feelings regarding “One More Day” to seep in. And with the final issue...well, I'm still trying my best to be objective. I'm not judging the story or the direction overall, I'm judging this issue of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN. And it wasn't bad. That's not saying it was good, because it wasn't. But it was a definite upswing from last issue.
Writing 2/5: Quesada has been very off for this entire story. I think Quesada makes a good artist, but not a good writer. And it shows. Segments of the dialogue and pacing are very weak. Iron Man is fairly hit and miss here. At some moments (such as his line about Miss September), it just feels like the old fashioned Tony jokes, which have been getting incredibly boring. But his moment of deciding to ignore his own feelings and assist Peter, it's a good little scene. It shows Tony, even through being a douche at times, can still come through for his friends. Reed as well plays the usual card of being "dickish scientist", but like Tony, gets a nice "For Peter" moment. Tony and Reed's interactions are played well, giving them the needed air of old friends. The process of going about helping Peter, I'm not sold on. But, it's not worse than some of the other ideas I've seen thrown about online. The Peter/MJ moments are lacking. One moment in particular just pisses me off. The conversation at the end of the issue, where MJ tells Peter she's not strong enough to be with him. Bullshit. Yes, MJ's panicked and left before. But a lot, A LOT of story time since her introduction in 1966 have been nothing but proof that she is strong enough to be with Peter. She's the weight that keeps him stable, one of the few constants since they were married. So, again. Not strong enough? Bull. Shit.
Art 3/5: Quesada's art has not been good for this entire arc, but this issue is an improvement. More consistency, better facial reactions. The first segment is actually pretty good. Peter’s face looks more like Peter. In particular, there's a two page spread showing the pair at their best, and it's fantastic. Then again, some moments are, well, terrible. Spider-Man's mask in the final moments; stuff like that. But the Quesada portions of the issue are well done.
For most of the story, the only real redeeming moments have been Miki and Isanove on art. But this issue is very sporadic. While in Doctor Strange's home, Peter watches over MJ (where she, after being assaulted and possibly shot, has a slight bump on her head. Yeah.), which leads to a nicely done flashback of MJ. But the art, especially regarding the faces of various characters, is very hit and miss. For every little Tony smirk, there's Peter with tiny facial features.
Best Moment: Quesada's two page spread. It's just great.
Worst Moment: Quesada's explanation of MJ being too weak. It's just bollocks.
Overall 3/5: The story overall has been terrible, but this issue does show some improvement.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #642

Writer: Mark Waid Art: Paul Azaceta Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy

"Origin of the Species?" I'd rather be a creationist then.
Following up on some loose plot threads, “Origin of the Species” is supposed to be a set up for Dan Slott’s arc in November. Here's hoping it picks up. The opening issue for this arc is not good reading, in any sense of the word.
Writing 2/5: With a lack of action, laughs, or charm, Waid has turned out an extremely subpar issue of SPIDER-MAN. Waid is usually quite good, but this issue doesn't have a lot of redeeming qualities. There should be a sense of urgency when almost your entire rogues gallery shows up, but none of it feels on. It's more boring then anything else. The various villains are horrified by Doctor Octopus' appearance, which is also strange. Some of you are living vampires, made of sand, and you've worked alongside a walking lizard. Why is the old guy in the mechanical suit disgusting? It's unexpected, but not untread territory in the superhero universe. This issue should install a sense of urgency, and it fails to deliver.
Art 1/5: Paul Azaceta doesn't do a good job here. Peter specifically is drawn badly throughout the issue. His face, his body movements. None of it works well. And even though Peter is the worst, doesn't mean he's the only one. Harry is terrible looking too, especially once the coffee shop scene plays out. The art fails to sell any of the writing (which, to be fair, isn't that good either). But it just doesn't work.
Best Moment: Peter's sweater is a little cute.
Worst Moment Most of the art.
Overall 2/5: The issue falters about, and doesn't set in any real confidence for the new story. Here's hoping it picks up.

ARCHIE AND FRIENDS #147: TWILITE PART 2 OF 2

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

In between the two part issues of ARCHIE AND FRIENDS’ TWILITE, the film “Vampires Suck” came out. My friends and I agreed that though the idea of the film was great, since anything that makes fun of “Twilight” is beautiful in my mind, the execution was beyond poor. To make a parody funny, you need more than pitiful material to mock. You need strong writing. Sadly, part 2 of ARCHIE AND FRIENDS’ TWILITE does not provide this. It is predictable and cheesy, sadly written just as “well” as the very material it parodies.
ARCHIE AND FRIENDS #147 opens up with a shocker, at least for me. After waking up from a nightmare, reveal Veronica in just her underwear. What girl just sleeps in her underwear…don’t answer that. When did ARCHIE AND FRIENDS start showing skin? Getting over that, the comic then moves on to a montage filling the reader in on the past issue, done un-creatively through Ronnie reading her diary. Then comes the big reveal about the character of Jared. I won’t tell it to you dear readers, but I did (sort of) predict it in my last review. But you’ll probably figure it out before it is exposed anyway. Though there are questions answered from part 1, the comic ends with even more questions unanswered, leaving many plot holes.
Now the narrative structure is weak, but the characterization is strong. Archie acts like Archie, Jughead as Jughead, etc. But the character I have come to love is Ivan. Ivan is, dare I say it, a better version of Edward Cullen. Unlike Edward, who fears that he may harm Bella at any moment yet stays near her at all times, Ivan is afraid he will hurt Veronica and tries to keep his distance. A vampire with a brain, how refreshing! Jared, sadly, is a throwaway, one-dimensional character in this book.
Last time I complained about the art. Bill Galvan and Al Milgrom turn in for pencil and inks, but I felt the artwork was more detailed and complex than ARCHIE AND FRIENDS #146. Sure, there are some panels that scream laziness, especially in its colorization, but not nearly as many as the last book.
At the end, though, I felt a bit cheated. I think I gave ARCHIE AND FRIENDS #146 a better review due to my bias (and collection) of Archie Comics. But this time I cannot let my fandom get in the way of an honest review. Archie Comics merely jumped on the bandwagon with these two books, but they hardly stand out amongst their past pop culture parodies and mockeries. The jokes fall as flat as some of the characters are, the plot is pretty predictable, and (in this issue) go back on their clean image. That was probably the biggest disappointment personally. For me, Archie Comics has always been a shining beacon in a sex and violence driven world. For them to have opened the comic with Veronica in underwear instead of pajamas may seem like a minute detail, but as far as I am concerned, it is a black mark on the comic company.

DAREDEVIL #510

Writers: Andy Diggle & Antony Johnson Artist: Marco Checchetto Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: KletusCasady

I think Daredevil has now solidified himself as Marvel’s official whipping boy. For a while it seemed like Spider-Man might be that guy but I’m pretty sure it’s Daredevil now. Not only was his identity revealed during Bendis’s run which caused loads of trouble, his wife is now in the looney bin do to Mr. Fear’s fear gas, he was briefly locked up, his friends get assaulted on a daily basis, his undead ex from hell Elektra pops up from time to time sometimes good sometime bad, his other brief multiple personality psycho ex Typhoid Mary is back, and on top of all that he may be {blank} by an evil {blank} and being hunted down by Ghost {blank}. I wouldn’t have it any other way because all that mess makes for some great comic books. I honestly feel sorry for Matt Murdock because no matter what he does, his life is in the shitter and it’s probably not getting better soon.
I thought the Bendis/ Maleev run was ok even though I wasn’t a fan of the art (seems like a lot of people liked this run); the Brubaker/ Lark run was amazing. “The Devil Inside and Out” is a really good arc there were some moments in jail that scared the shit out of me (Ol’ Kletus is too pretty for prison), the DAREDEVIL ANNUAL with Black Tarantula is the one of the best single issue comics in the last two years and the last issue of Brubaker’s run is muah (that’s me doing the thing that French cooks do when that make a good meal). Basically his run ended with Daredevil deciding to take the top spot in The Hand and try to make them a force for good. Noble idea but that leads us to our current state where Daredevil has built a massive Ming Dynasty-esque palace in the middle of New York City where he and his undead ninjas deliver brutal vigilante justice to any criminals (including crooked cops) operating in Hell’s Kitchen. This obviously leads to a tiff in the superhero community thus spawning Shadowland. This issue mostly deals with the friends of Daredevil trying to decide what to do with him now that multiple lines are being crossed by the once heroic Daredevil. I was really sad to see Brubaker leave and although the stories aren’t as tight (Brubaker is a crime story god), they are still really good. One might think that starting your run with Daredevil as leader of The Hand might be kind of tough but Diggle has taken it in stride and has crafted some really good issues. The tone of Daredevil has stayed the same which also benefits the story because Diggle didn’t come in and do a 180 and make this a happy book. I guess the tone was originally set in Bendis’s run where we saw that Matt’s life was going to be downer for years to come. From the secret clan trying to control Daredevil from the shadows, to Kingpin slinking around trying to knock Daredevil even more off his game, to the return of Typhoid Mary, to his friends thinking the only way to help Matt is to take him out, this comic is shaping up to be a pretty interesting story.
I’m really glad they decided to go with a different artist than Billy Tan. For one, the transition from Lark to Tan was like going from whiskey to breast milk. There were just too many jagged lines and too many bright colors; I like the guy’s covers but his body dimensions and faces are just weird as opposed to the subtle smoothness and gritty feeling of Lark’s work. This issue is done by Marco Checchetto (who I think is trading off with Roberto De la Torre), whose artwork fits DAREDEVIL a lot better and looks similar to Lark’s but I think Checchetto’s detail may be a little bit better.
DAREDEVIL is one of those books that sits comfortably under the radar but still delivers compelling stories month after month. It’s been about 5 solid years of good DAREDEVIL stories if you include the Bendis stuff and I dare you to try to find a bad Brubaker Daredevil story. While this current run of DAREDEVIL isn’t better that than Brubaker’s run, to me it’s more fun than the Bendis issues and it’s better than most of the stuff Marvel is putting out. What makes DAREDEVIL so good is that it’s really hard not to feel for Matt Murdock; he’s a good guy who wants to do the right thing but much like anyone in the real world, gets caught up with the wrong crowd (evil ninja clans) and ends up spiraling into a situation they can’t control. The art is pretty good and Checchetto seems to be able to handle the action and drama equally well. I’m not sure what’s going to happen to Daredevil after this but I hope Diggle can create a situation that keeps him in that perpetual downward spiral…sorry Matt, it’s just better that way.

IRREDEEMABLE #17

Writer: Mark Waid Artist: Peter Krause

INCORRUPTIBLE #9

Writer: Mark Waid Artist: Horacio Domingues Published by: BOOM! Studios Reviewed by: BottleImp

What is it about these two titles that makes for such a rollercoaster of reading experience? Why do they shift so drastically from being edge-of-your-seat exciting to downright dull and back again? Is it the fact that the stories are taking place in an unfamiliar world, populated with heroes and villains that we’ve never seen before? Is it the stories themselves? Is it the artwork? A combination of both? Or is it just that when I’m shelling out four bucks for every issue, my threshold level for paying good money for pages of boring, stagnant storytelling is really, really low?
Whatever the reason, I’ll let it go for now—lord knows I’ve already beat that dead horse, and it ain’t getting any livelier. Suffice it to say that IRREDEEMABLE (which started out with a bang, trailed off to a whimper, and within the last few months is crackling again) is currently the more entertaining of the two titles, while INCORRUPTIBLE (which also started out with a bang, trailed off to a…well, not quite a whimper, let’s say trailed off to a low constant hum) is currently languishing in the doldrums of the comic book world.
In INCORRUPTIBLE, villain-turned-hero Max Damage is searching for information that will help him defeat the hero-turned-villain Plutonian, while at the same time stopping any criminal activity that runs across his path. That’s all well and good, but it’s also a little one-dimensional…and unfortunately, one-dimensional is all we get when it comes to Max Damage. We know that he wants to turn over a new leaf as a way of balancing the scales, so to speak, since the Plutonian’s switch to evil leaves a rather large vacuum on the side of the good and virtuous. We know that Max is also trying to atone, in some part, for the acts he committed when he was a criminal. But’s that’s about it when it comes to our protagonist. The conceit of a character struggling for redemption and atonement is a powerful one, but not when it is presented sans struggle. In Max Damage’s case, it’s more like he flicked the switch on his back from “Evil” to “Good,” and if there’s any kind of internal struggle going on, we the readers are not privy to it.
The flatness of Max’s characterization is extended to his supporting cast, although (somewhat surprisingly) these roles are fleshed out a little livelier than our cardboard-cutout protagonist. We have the corrupt, alcoholic police officer attempting to turn his life around, and the underage teenage sidekick—no wait, she’s out of the picture, instead we have a rescued hostage who poses as the underage Jailbait, and whom we’re supposed to believe might be a little nuts. There’s some good material to work with, but unfortunately, the recent issues (including this one) have been more of the same-old, same-old Max Damage running around the city. One good thing about this issue, however, is that is gives the reader a little information about the Plutonian’s “Lois Lane” figure, Alana Patel, and promises more about her in next month’s issue. So maybe I’ll hang on one more month…
IRREDEEMABLE, on the other hand, has broken free of the dullness that had me resolving to drop it from my pull list and has bounced back to the top of its form. I’m not sure if these recent issues have gotten quite up to the level of that incredible series premiere, but they’re pretty damn close. And this month Mark Waid has raised the bar a little more with the revelation within this issue. SPOILERS ahead, for those of you who haven’t yet read it!
One of the things about IRREDEEMABLE that must be exciting for Waid as a writer is that he’s creating his own universe within the title, and as creator he can do pretty much anything he feels like doing. Though the characters share some attributes with certain iconic figures from other publishers—Hawkman as Gilgamos, Batman as Hornet, Brainiac as Modeus, and of course Superman as the Plutonian—Waid isn’t bound by the same strictures that hamper the writers of these established heroes and villains. Like, you could never write a story where Superman kills Batman and his whole family (I know, Batman has no family, but you get what I mean), or where Superman bangs Hawkman’s wife. Or, in this case, where Superman finds out that Brainiac has been building fuck-bots of him because Brainiac is in love with the Last Son of Krypton.
Yup, that Freudian spin on the hero/nemesis dynamic is one that I guarantee will never see the light of day in Big Blue’s own series at DC (unless Dan DiDio really, REALLY wants to screw with continuity more than he already has), but Waid is free to play “What If?” in his own world and give us a moment that is at once shocking and laugh inducing. The panel where the Modeus-possessed Samsara tries to deny it is especially giggle-inducing. The drawback, however, is that the Plutonian’s delivery of this startling fact draws attention to some inconsistency in the series. Specifically, the inconsistency in the depiction of the Plutonian’s mental state: he has vacillated between being a vengeance-fueled bringer of destruction, a petulant child whining about how he’s been treated, an off-his-rocker, crazy-as-fuck murderer, just a plain ol’ douchebag, and (as in this case) a cold and calculating villain. Maybe all these aspects can be united into one picture of a hero gone bad, but at present they seem like a bunch of different characters rather than a single one. Hopefully, Waid will be able to bring it all together as the series progresses.
As it stands right now, IRREDEEMABLE is edging out INCORRUPTIBLE in terms of storytelling quality, though I’m docking IRREDEEMABLE a few points for Peter Krause’s art. It’s not horrible, but his scratchy drawing style lacks a certain level of finesse that I enjoyed while Diego Barreto was on art duty for this title. INCORRUPTIBLE’s Horacio Domingues has a more enjoyable visual flair, with bolder lines and cartoonier characters, but it’s not enough to make up for the flatness of the main characters. At best, this title is “Fair.”
And at four bucks an issue, “Fair” just ain’t gonna cut it anymore.
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.

DRAGONSTORM # 0

Written by: Jay Rosario Pencilled by: Nicolas Valente Published by: Unstoppable Comics Reviewed by: superhero

Man, I hate it when this happens. You get a creator owned book and you can tell that the people behind it wanted to make a good comic. You can tell that they were inspired to make their own comic book because they love the medium. You can tell that they wanted to put something together because they just want to do something in the vein of old school superhero comic books. They want to make a comic where guys fought other guys and there were dramatic undertakings and there was a hero against a villain and there was all kinds of all ass kicking going on.
And when I get a book like this I want to like it. I’m rooting for it. I want it to be a great book…
But this is a bad comic book.
I’m sorry it just is. Almost everything about this is bad. The writing, the penciling, just everything. It’s just bad.
I’m so sorry. I wanted to like this book. I did. But I can’t say it’s good. I can’t. The artwork is really bad. The artist’s anatomy is terrible, the movement of the characters is stiff, the panel progression is perplexing at times. The only thing that saves the art from being all out terrible is the colorist. The colorist saves the art. So, yes, the colorist in this book is good. He should be thanked for making what could have been a really bad eyesore of a book to something that’s readable. In the end it doesn’t matter, because it still doesn’t look all that great. You want to know what this book looks like? Do you remember when Image comics made such a splash with SPAWN, YOUNGBLOOD and WILDCATS and then there were all of these second tier Image comics that came out and were trying to follow in McFarlane, Liefeld and Lee’s footsteps? Only they were horribly rushed and badly produced and came nowhere near McFarlane, Liefeld and Lee’s supposed genius? That’s what this book looks like: a really poor Image Comics knockoff from 1994. I’m sorry to say it but it’s true.
And I could forgive bad art. I’ve read comics with bad art that have been saved by excellent writing but I’m really sorry to say that this is not the case with this comic. You want proof? This is an actual line of dialogue from this comic book: “You are so weak and pathetic, how’d you even make it this far I’ll never figure it out.” No I’m serious. That’s a line from the book. But beyond the mangled English of this comic is the fact that I learned absolutely nothing about the main character in the story. In the sixteen pages of DRAGONSTORM that I read there was no character development, no real plot, nothing. Just a drawn out fight sequence and an introduction to a couple of badly drawn villains who, again, I learned nothing about, and a cliffhanger…which wasn’t really a cliffhanger because I couldn’t have cared less about anyone in the book!
So, again, I’m sorry. I wanted to like this comic, I did. But I think that the creators behind this should’ve taken the money they put into this book and taken some writing and art classes. They really need to learn some of the basics behind comic book storytelling before they get to the first issue.
Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. He's been an @$$hole for three years. Some of his work can be seen at www.kristianhorn.com and check out his blog at www.parttimefanboy.com.

JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST #9

Writer: Judd Winick Artist: Fernando Dagnino Publisher: DC Comics Reviewer: KletusCasady

What I have to say about this comic will crack the internet in half! Well it will at least lead to ol’ Kletus getting insulted in the talkbacks but my town might go up in a ball of flames do to some cultist nutbag on Saturday so what the hell…I, honestly, like this comic better than BRIGHTEST DAY. Yes, I know that Judd is writing it…yes, I know that the invincible Geoff Johns is writing BRIGHTEST DAY. I am fully aware but this is my opinion and I’ll take it to the grave…which could be sometime soon.
The story in this series ties into BRIGHTEST DAY because Max “Mind Control” Lord is back and not only has he made it so no one remembers anything about him, he also seems to be up to no good as he’s reassembled Justice League International and seems to be toying with them for some unspecified reason. Is he up to his old tricks or has his brush with death caused him to rethink his Scanner-ish ways? I like this comic better because it’s a straightforward fun story. We still don’t know what Max Lord is up to but the last time he was…well…alive, he had Superman under his control and was doing some major damage. This leads the JLI to want to investigate why the hell he’s back and why no one can remember him (I think Batman was slightly suspicious but since Bruce is on his way back, he’s kind of distracted). If you liked JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL you’ll probably like this seeing as the same characters are in it except for a few and the feeling and comedy is very similar to the Giffen/ DeMatteis stuff. I won’t say that it’s as good but as far as the kind of loose feeling these heroes have about the serious events around them and the group dynamic is similar. Rocket Red is by far the funniest with his misquoting of American idioms; I’m not sure why but that whole “foreigner trying to blend in by using broken American catch phrases” is always funny to me. Does that make me a bad person? Ehh…I don’t really care.
The benefit of this book over BRIGHTEST DAY is that you are taking less of a gamble on this comic. Right now in BRIGHTEST DAY with every issue there’s more and more questions and way less answers; that’s not to say that cool things aren’t happening but I really could care less about the return of Aqualad (who looks exactly like Static Shock by the way) or why the White Lantern Deity is telling Deadman to eat a cheese burger. Because BRIGHTEST DAY has so many unanswered questions, readers run the risk of not being satisfied once all the answers are revealed. JLGL has only two questions: What’s Max Lord up to? And how can the C-list Justice League stop him and prove to the world that he exists? Max Lord’s end game could be to get illegal apps for his iPhone and it wouldn’t bother me. Honestly I’d read a comic about this group getting an oil change because their interactions are just that good. It’s very similar (not nearly as good as) SECRET SIX where some of the best parts of that comic are the way the characters gel or don’t gel with one another thus making it so the story itself doesn’t have to be that great for a fun reading experience. One criticism I have though and this goes for BRIGHTEST DAY as well as JLGL is that if things don’t start moving forward soon, both these series run the risk of becoming really repetitive. There’s nothing bad about the artwork but there’s also nothing special about it either. At times the faces look a little weird but the action always looks on point. I’m pretty sure there are two artists working on this title and I think I like the other guy better (Aaron Lopresti maybe?) mostly because his faces don’t look constipated.
This title is fun and I don’t really care what Max “Bloody Nose” Lord is up to because of how well the interaction between these characters are written. I’ll be the first one to say that I’m not a huge Judd Winick fan (easily my least favorite character on “Real World San Fran”…long live Puck!). I hate most of what he does with BATMAN, TITANS was a complete unnecessary crap fest and I’m concerned that if this series makes it to a regular title that it may end up like THE OUTSIDERS where it’s pretty awesome for the first 20 or so issues then divulges into a boring mess. That said, I’m a fan of this series and hopefully Judd can keep up the goods (I will say that Geoff Johns on a bad day still kicks the shit out of 90% of the writers in the biz). The art as I said serves it purpose but there is a noticeable difference between the two artists, not enough to jar you out of the story but its worth mentioning. 52 was great because almost every story was interesting and the talent involved was stellar, DC’s been trying ever since to recreate that magic of their first weekly series (in recent years) but really haven’t done it yet. I don’t think either one of these series will end up as good as that but hopefully both BRIGHTEST DAY and JUSTICE LEAGUE: GENERATION LOST will move in to the next phase soon otherwise the repetitiveness of both these titles may be their downfall.

NEW AVENGERS #4

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Art: Stuart Immonnen Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy

Dr. Strange does not approve.
And the other shoe drops. I've been enjoying the hell out of NEW AVENGERS, and while this issue is mostly enjoyable, it loses a lot of its charm by the ending. Immonen's art is brilliant as always, but the final scenes are just painful.
Writing 3/5: Bendis, in one issue, shows both his greatest strengths and his worst weaknesses. The little interpersonal stuff, such as Spider-Man just yelling during the fight, the bickering between the three mystics, Luke and Jessica, all the little character driven moments are great. Dr. Strange being Dr. Strange and saving Ms. Marvel is utterly fantastic, and Bendis still writes a great Carol Danvers.
Until the last few pages, that is, when the threat disappears. It's explained as the big bad saying he could do a lot worse, but the idea of having the threat just leave well enough alone, to have the edge and just say, "Eh, fuck it.", is anticlimactic--which is a recurring problem in Bendis' writing. Then we have the moment where a returned Iron Fist accuses Dr. Strange of stealing the Eye of Agamotto and punches him out. Strange looks guilty and they try to figure out who it belongs to. If it does turn out that Strange stole the Eye, then another hero will be villianified for no discernable reason. If he didn't, then it's just a bad writing twist. Either way, it's not a well written move.
Art 4/5: I can never say enough good things about Stuart Immonen. He's utterly fantastic here—the Ms. Marvel save, the various fight scenes, all of it. He never misses a beat. There are some weaker moments here and there, mostly compounded in the final scene, but it's nothing to noticeable. Nothing much more to say; the art for this book is marvelous.
Best Moment: Dr. Strange being awesome.
Worst Moment: Dr. Strange being annoying.
Overal 3/5: While not a necessarily bad issue, the final moments rub me in just the wrong way. While some scenes and most of the art are great, the final moments still detract a lot from the issue. Still a great series, just a weak issue.

And now for another view on NEW AVENGERS #4!

NEW AVENGERS #4

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis Penciler: Stuart Immonen Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger Publisher: Marvel Comics Reviewer: Johnny Destructo

There are two aspects of the Marvel U. that I’ve never quite glommed onto: the cosmic and the mystic. That may be sacrilegious to some, but I’ve always been a street level guy when it comes to the big M. But despite all the mystic shanananananigans, NEW AVENGERS is still my fave of the lot. Actually, it might be the only one I’m still reading! Despite the presence of Doctor Strange, Daimon Hellstrom and Brother (I’m sorry…DOCTOR) Voodoo, this team is actually a very low-key Avengers, by comparison, and that tickles my danglies.
However, not much of great importance happens in this issue until the end. Much of it seems like a holding pattern. Grunt Avengers: keep fighting mystical baddies to no avail! Mage Avengers: keep trying to figure out who’s behind the mystical baddies, even though the readers already know who’s behind it because they read the last issue! Not to say that it wasn’t an enjoyable ride, with the Ms. Marvel bit and the Jessica bit and the what-nots, but looking back, it feels like we could have skipped most of this issue and gone straight to the next portion of the story, wherein we actually start dealing with the fella behind all this. And that is the good stuff, as far as I’m concerned. I don’t wanna spoil it for those who haven’t read it yet, but a character from Dr. Strange’s past is NOT pleased with Stephen. I love this idea! And what about the origin of The Eye of Agamotto? I don’t much care for Doc Strange, but I have to say, I’m dying to know where this is going. This could definitely change things for the character. These last couple years have not being going well for the poor guy and it seems like things are gonna get worse.
A couple of quick notes: New York is a shambles. Again. Why do people still LIVE in Manhattan in the Marvel Universe??
Iron Fist finally gets a new color scheme. And it works! Can we keep it? The white and gold actually look pretty cool. Though, colored by anyone but the amazing Laura Martin might make it look too disco, and it does NOT need to look any more disco then it does.
Ms. Marvel actually yawps out “Gooyiha” at one point. BMB was definitely chuckling to himself as he typed that.
I want more Jessica Jones! I LOVE that character, and it was cool seeing her do some bad-assery in this issue.
Stuart Immonen is one of the artists that make it an absolute joy to read comics. One of the few that make me take the time to sit and absorb every panel, occasionally going back after I’ve finished the book. He and Von Grawbadger make a great team, though occasionally VonG can get a little carried away with the thicker outlines around the characters. In the double-page splash, Ms. Marvel is farther away then Spidey, but her hair is outlined thicker then he is. My eye goes directly to that hair! Overall though, the art team here is nothing less then amazing.
The cover: Out of all the characters that have had a bad experience these past 4 issues, why is Spidey the main guy on the cover being tortured by The Eye? Iron Fist, I could understand, or Ms. Marvel. Spidey has little to nothing to do this ish. Weird choice.
Despite the holding pattern here, it was still a wacky, fun read, but I think the next issue is going to be the one to get! Can’t wait to find out the answers to Iron Fist’s questions.
JD can be found hosting the PopTards Podcast, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam over at www.poptardsgo.com, graphically designing/illustrating for a living, and Booking his Face off over here.

MOYASIMON: TALES OF AGRICULTURE Vol. 2

By Ishikawa Masayuki Released by Del Ray Reviewer: Scott Green

From what I see of manga blogger talk, I'm not the only one wishing success upon MOYASIMON: TALES OF AGRICULTURE. Clever, smart, informative and hard working, few manga are so endearing. Being so worthy, it's the kind of manga that gets recommended for non-manga readers. I've certainly done that. I put volume one on my gift selection list during last year's holidays. Yet, I've developed some doubts as to whether MOYASIMON would be a universal pleaser.
Tadayasu Sawaki leaves his family's rural home to attend agricultural college. This education takes a unique bend, because he's gifted with the ability to see microbes with his naked eye and even hear them. Germs appear to him as thumbnail size mascot like forms chirping to "eating" or "brewing."
He hooks up with Professor Keizo Itsuki, disconcerting by virtue of the fact that despite not looking ancient, he's reputed to have been a veteran researcher during World War II and disconcerting due to his zealousness for his area of research. He promotes the belief that an understanding of microbes can change worlds (terraforming for example) and his deadpan enthusiasm finds him taking actions like following an Inuit recipe for fermenting seagulls in the body of a rotting seal... consumed by sucking up the stuff from the dead bird's anus.
With Itsuki in a Merlin role, the person actually shoving Tadayasu along is Haruka Hasegawa, a grad student marked by a decidedly serious no-nonsense and by her wardrobe of tight, leather outfits.
On the other side, Tadayasu is also dragged into trouble by the ignorance and poor judgment fueled misadventures of elder students Kaoru Misato and Takuma Kawahama.
Volume two extends the cast with the introduction of Aoi Muto, a beauty who left campus for a while to do often dirty, often smelly field work.
There's isn't that much plot there. There is not an over abundance of characters. But, there is a lot going on.
For starters, MOYASIMON is decidedly didactic manga. With Itsuki, Hasegawa or other topic experts lecturing Tadayasu or pushing him towards discovery, MOYASIMON is constructed from blocks of factual discussion. The whole group, along with colonies of microbes, crowd into cellars of a sake vendor where they'll talk through sake's brewing process, economics, marketing, distribution and so on. While the manga will spin narratives out of the discourse, it's also inclined to dive right in.
MOYASIMON does not rely on its readers desire to learn. It's supported on the leg of its likable, well handled cast. With plenty of levity, there is never a sense that MOYASIMON takes its cast too seriously. This runs in seinen anthology Evening, and as such does not have the shounen propensity to get too over excited. No one is screaming about their intensions to be the best. At the same time, it does take its collection of eccentrics seriously enough to provide solid foundations for their behavior. The characters might dress, act or smell oddly, but by the time MOYASIMON has gotten through its second volume, it's established reason to have faith that this is not without reason. Even if exploring how humans interact with microbes is MOYASIMON 's raison d'être, there is an interesting shadow focus, beneath the didactic element and humor, exploring the very seinen subject of the mechanisms and behaviors people establish to get through their lives. This tone complements character design that are stylized in such a way as to be broad and cute, but not over idealized. The results are the opposite of Jessica Rabbit's classic, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn that way." There are a lot of difficult types here. Between the likes of the sad sack upper classmen and the pushy grad student, many of these aren't entirely pleasant personalities. Most of these are people you'd only want to spend as much time with as needed. Yet, there's connection established by the glint in the eyes and tightness in lines that makes them appealing. Even when what's being depicted is a bit gross, there isn't a page or a panel that doesn't pleasantly greet the eyes.
As winning as MOYASIMON is, I can see manga/comic readers having to work to read it. And, while it's the kind of series that would be recommended to casual/non readers, that audience is liable to struggle with it. The density of the art and the writing is praise worthy. As packed as the information rich dialog is, the art keeps pace. As the cast discuss matters of sake, the wine shop is given with dark, woody specificity. Characters appear in thought out backgrounds with plenty of line work, an abundance of zip tones, margin illustrations and notes... compounding all there is to digest in what's being read, there's even more to digest in which being seen. Ishikawa's command of how to connect with readers via design is as strong as any manga author's. Some authors can anticipate and work with how their manga is read, maximizing the effect of the transition between panels and pages. This isn't the case with Ishikawa, and the consequence is a viscous manga that moves slowly. Even if there aren't dead stops, it doesn't flow easily.
Manga has a strong tradition of persuading its audience to be interested in just about any subject from curling to train station box lunch tasting, but MOYASIMON is far more fun than might be expected from a manga dedicated to discussing bacteria and its agricultural usage. Then again, it is set in college and much of it is driven by alcohol. And beyond that, between the stylization of the humans and the mascot-like bacteria, MOYASIMON is inviting manga to look at. You can turn to any page of the manga, probably find something informative and definitely find something amusing to look at. Unfortunately, there's too much of a good thing. Even as an avid manga/comic reader, I found myself choked by the density of MOYASIMON; reading it more slowly than I wanted to and more slowly than the speed that the story lent itself to. And, I'm critical of it because MOYASIMON could have accomplished as much with a bit of slack and space in which it could move more easily. Looking at later volumes, especially ones using the same locations, they do seem to showcase a lighter visual footprint, suggesting Ishikawa recognizes the problem too.
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.

DEADMAN WONDERLAND Vol. 2

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

This case is the opposite of MOYASIMON. I can recommend it more confidently than I like it.
DEADMAN WONDERLAND throws plenty into the blender, but the dominant flavor that comes through is action manga meets super heroes. A sort of silver age X-Men confrontation with the extravagant funhouse deathtrap building villain Arcade meets Battle Royale. Heading in that direction with gleeful abandon, DEADMAN WONDERLAND achieves everything that manga for teenage guys should. It's sexualized... there's a girl perpetually wearing a flesh colored leotard, often with a straight jacket over it. It's gruesome, up to an including organ harvesting. It's rebellious and trangressive.
DEADMAN WONDERLAND is comparable to BIOMEGA, but its lack of restraint and enclosing danger zone is Wonka to the other series' Lovecraft. Hero Ganta is the lone survivor of a being known as the Red Man's attack on his class. He's framed for the schoolroom massacre and sentenced to the death's head emblazoned Magic Kingdom known as DEADMAN WONDERLAND. Trapped in that mad/fun house, as a plaything for the powers that be, Ganta is forced to run obstacle courses against other inmates to win "candy" that retards a regularly administered poison, and, he must fight one-on-one in Carnivals of Corpses, the losers of which have body parts surgically removed. To his surprise, Ganta finds himself not entirely out of his depth. Faced with a desperate situation, he manifests the Branch of Sin, the ability to control his own blood, generally used for shot gun blasts. Blood manipulation is an odd power, made odder by being THE super-power in DEADMAN WONDERLAND.
As someone older than DEADMAN WONDERLAND's target audience, I prefer BIOMEGA's cold, to business manner to this adolescent hero constantly being excised by sadistic adults and dangerous peers.
I can see DEADMAN WONDERLAND connecting to a teen audience. The sleepy eyes of that mentally impaired girl in the skin tight leotard and restraints on the cover of volume 2 might serve as a bit of misdirection here. DEADMAN WONDERLAND accentuates teen worry. If he had any time to think, Ganta might develop a case of paranoia from all the people looking to use or abuse him. The world-against-me is spun into frantic manga with silver age super hero business to contend with. And, it all get thrown at Ganta... from busty, sword wielding wardens to probing mad scientists to giant attack robots.
The fuel on this fire is Kazuma Kondou's ability to pack plenty of narrative into the panels. Ganta grabs a pipe and runs at a foe, and the expression of dismay on his face as the foe dices the pipe heats the manga to the proper boil.
Personally, I'm disinclined to be interested in its set of characters, and so far, rather than managed to overcome that resistance, DEADMAN WONDERLAND made me aware of it. Yet, as the manga progressed, I increasingly appreciated the execution and got a charge out of action with bits of rage and naughtiness. As a sucker for action manga, the slashing, eye extraction and rib cracking won me over.

Welcome back to the indie corner of AICN Comics! I’m Ambush Bug. Try the veal…

THE GATHERING: THE THING WITH FEATHERS Vol.1 www.thegatheringcomic.blogspot.com

Though the only tying theme of this anthology book is a love for the comics medium, this book does have a lot going for it. Each entry is about a page or two long, making this an easily digestible read. The variety here is refreshing as well, with some very entertaining strips covering subjects like relationships, cancer, demons, secret identities, child birth, fatherhood, the process of healing, weddings, rejections, and baseball. It's a safe bet you'll find something that strikes a chord with you on some emotional or intellectual level. There's a strong independent voice coming from this one. Here's hoping there's enough support for more issues of THE GATHERING.

A TREASURY OF VICTORIAN MURDER: JACK THE RIPPER OGN NBM Comics Lit

There's no such thing as a bad Rick Geary book. Having read many of his dissections of murders both solved and unsolved, I know this to be true. One of the problems though with Geary's choice to tackle probably the most famous of all unsolved murders is that there's been so many books (factual and fictional) on the material, that it's hard to narrow it all down into one story. Here Geary chooses to tell the story of Saucy Jacky through the eyes of a historian, journaling as the murders take place. This narrative decision deviates from the other works I've read from Geary in that they usually assume a more omniscient tone. To me, the omniscient of those works made the reading all the more haunting. Although Geary writes yet another amazingly chill-inducing yarn, grounding the story as if it were happening in the here and now makes this a more personal story. And while some might perceive that as a positive, from someone who has enjoyed many a Geary book with that cold narrative distance and had my marrow chilled by Geary's attention to detail and deadpan delivery, I can only wonder how awesome a Geary-penned Jack the Ripper tale would be. This would be especially amazing if Geary used all of the Ripper research up to the present. Nevertheless, this was another amazing achievement, though not my favorite Geary masterpiece.

LADY DEATH WW CHICAGO PREMIERE BOOK Boundless Comics

Guess who's back? Yes, Lady Death may have devolved into T&A toward the end of her run in popularity, but coming from someone who enjoyed the character since the first EVIL ERNIE series, I know she can be more than that. This preview book sets our buxom albino beauty in a new direction. Though LD's cups still runneth over, there's a nice little story here by creator Brian Pulido and writer Mike Wolfer. The set up is strong as a replacement LD tears our Lady's power from her body (and tears her brassiere too!) and hurls her into the past. Looks like Lady Death has a harrowing quest ahead and although they haven't forgotten the reason (reasons) why LD got her fame, there's a little heft to the story to accompany the heft in her chest this time around. Looking forward to this new series bouncing into stores this winter.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Support a Bug by checking out his comics! MUSCLES & FIGHTS VOL.3 & MUSCLES & FRIGHTS VOL.1. VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS: THE TINGLER #1-2 (interview, interview, preview, & review) VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS #20 WITCHFINDER GENERAL (preview, review, in stores now!) NANNY & HANK miniseries (interview, interview, interview, preview, & review, still available to order in Previews Order #JUN10 0824, in stores Sept 2010!) Zenescope’s upcoming WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 (in July Previews Order # JUL10 1200, in stores in September!) THE DEATHSPORT GAMES miniseries (in September Previews Order #SEP 100860, in stores in November 2010!)

WEIRD WAR TALES #1 DC Comics

This was a fantastic first issue with some of the most creative folks in the biz. The first story by Steve Pugh sets the tone of the book, which uses equal parts horror, war, and fun to tell a story of an afterlife for warriors who pay shooting games and drink whiskey for fun. The two other tales in this issue were pretty strong as well, my favorite being the story of a sunken sub and a lone survivor told with Rod Serling-wit by Ivan Brandon with gorgeously scruffy art by Nic Klein. The second piece features a rookie private and his last moments in battle which is both touching and thrilling and will have you hoping for the optimistic kid to survive all the way until the last panel. If the rest of this series holds up by way of quality storytelling and art, this is going to be one miniseries you won’t want to miss. - Bug

INVADERS NOW! #1 Marvel Comics / Dynamite Entertainment

OK, I must admit, I liked the last THE TORCH miniseries mostly for its use of the Mad Thinker as a big bad and focus on the more interesting of the two torches, Toro. Though I think keeping the Human Torch around at the end of the series is a mistake since it could have forced Toro to grow up and become his own hero, the series ended much better than the AVENGERS/INVADERS miniseries before it. Now a threat occurs that requires the living Invaders to come together again. It just seems kind of nuts that these characters have all been resurrected. Only Union Jack is a legacy character. Everyone else is the same which kind of serves as a testament of that “stuck in amber” feel one gets when reading all mainstream comics. The story spends way too much time getting the band back together with each pair of Invaders facing a z-level threat which only serves to move the page count forward a skosh. A four panel montage of all of the members fighting their respective foes could have summarized the book and made it a much for efficient read. Reading filler in the first issue is not a good way to start off the series. Sure it establishes where each of the characters are, but again, most of these characters have been around for fifty years and their r

Readers Talkback

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  • Sept. 15, 2010, 9:06 a.m. CST

    SECOND FREEQS!!!

    by Valenni

    OH YEAH LOSERS!! LOOK AT ME!!!!

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 9:07 a.m. CST

    On a serious note....

    by Valenni

    Gotta love those funny books....

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 9:26 a.m. CST

    R.I.P. needs no apologies!

    by Laserhead

    And the 'missing chapters' weren't covering any plot holes-- it was simply revisiting the material through a perspective of deep characterization, giving us a couple extra beats before Bruce comes back.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 9:36 a.m. CST

    I want all these books!

    by Darrenjiju

    and i'm not kiding my brothers in arms... http://movienews.pipeno.com/

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:09 a.m. CST

    Two Things

    by Waylaid-by-jackassery

    1) Weird War Tales isn't a mini-series - it's part of a series of one-shots of DC's old war titles. 2) Why is Dr. Evil on the cover of Daredevil? That's an awful-looking Kingpin from someone who's a good artist

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:27 a.m. CST

    hey thats interesting. Look at the

    by Seph_J

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:45 a.m. CST

    New Avengers

    by maxwell's hammer

    The key to its success is that Bendis is finaly focusing on a single idea and moving the plot forward in a straight line. All the non-linear stuff can work when your book is about a single character (see Daredevil and Scarlett and Alias), but in a team book it just gets in the way of all those characters doing anything (see Dark Avengers and the current Avengers).<BR> <BR> New Avengers seems to move forward with one main plot, and every character has something to do. You've got the Sorcerors spell-casting, the leaders plotting and planning, and the brawlers just fighting. Despite its focus being just a single action sequence, I liked it, because it gave everybody something to do and it let their personalities shine through a bit.<BR> <BR> New Avengers is easily the best team-book Bendis has ever written.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:48 a.m. CST

    oh, and...

    by maxwell's hammer

    ...Henry Higgins needs to stop writing comic 'reviews' and go back to writing his 8th grade essay on 'The Outsiders' which he didn't actually read but will get an A on anyway using his mastery of generalized summaries laced with superlative adjectives. You've got a winning formula for good grades with minimal effort. keep it up!

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:53 a.m. CST

    Wha? Quesada is a shitty writer?

    by Star Hump

    Gee, I'm just gobsmacked. What a shock.<p> Yeah, he writes as well he manages the line of Marvel comic books.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:53 a.m. CST

    JLI, DD, NA

    by Homer Sexual

    Justice League Generation Lost generally gets a lot of hate here, but it must be doing ok since there's a new JLI book on the horizon, and what would the point of that be if not to give Fire/Ice/Red/Gold/Blue a series again? I was initially among the naysayers, but this book has really grown on me. I am actually invested in the story, wanting to know what is going on, and enjoying the characterizations. Id say it is considerably more serious than the old JLI, for better or for worse. Actually, JLI kind of went off the rails after about a year back in the day, anyway. This book is doing a good job with interacting B-list heroes, which is right up my alley. It's kind of like a Bendis-lite style, with more focus on story and less gloom and doom, even though the actual situations are every bit as full of gloom and doom. <p> Daredevil: Well, I am buying Daredevil and three of the Shadowlands spinoffs, so I must be enjoying it... but it's a lot of ado about not much. I feel this story has gone off the rails and every major ramification will be 100% nullified by the end of the story. One of the two "biggies" has already been undone, and I'm just waiting for the other to happen near the end of the story. It's fun if you have the spare coin. <p> Totally agree with Henry Higgins' review of New Avengers. Good book, enjoyed it all the way through.. then a typical Bendis ending, which is to say a crappy anticlimax. I can honestly say that Bendis writes the worst endings of any major writer and I'll have to challenge JoeNathan to come up with a Bendis book that had a strong finish.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:57 a.m. CST

    DD....no one touches the old Gene Colan's.....

    by rben

    but Brubaker came close.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:59 a.m. CST

    NYC in the Marvel U

    by Joenathan

    "Sorry, I'm late, there was a dimensional rift or something and so, of course, the train is late..."<br><br>"Hmmm... yeah, I saw on TV... must be Tuesday..."

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Homer

    by Joenathan

    Bendis book with good finishes? Ultimate Spider-man.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Last Week's Top 2 and a Trade....

    by Homer Sexual

    Start with the trade. After one issue of Old Man Logan, I dropped it because it seemed muy retarded. I kept reading the debate here, and it sounded so awful. Especially the event that caused Logan to sheathe his claws once and for all. <p> Well, I sprang for the TP and I was wrong. Very wrong! Old Man Logan did, in fact, kick a lot of ass. The art was great, the story played out really well and the "big event" that sounded so terrible actually read just fine, handled very well and believably. I'd give it a big fat "A." <p> Last Week's best comic: Ultimate Avenger 3, Issue 2. Lame system there, but excellent story. Steve Dillon actually seems to be developing the ability to draw more than two standard faces and everyone isn't unbelievably ugly for a change, but it's really the story that makes this book rock! So much happens. Very twisted vampiric developments that are pretty exciting. While I fear that the premise of "Ultimate" books, that anything can happen, even to major characters, won't actually stand in this case, it would be ca-razy good if it did! This book is action-packed, somewhat original and pretty damn exciting! My #1 of the week. <p> Number 2 is Red Hood. Again, everyone, Winick sucks blah blah blah (although if you are a fan of Puck, we are polar opposites anyway. Bet you wouldn't like Puck if you'd had to live with him). But Winick is writing the hell out of Jason Todd. He also wrote the animated flick, which is the BEST DC animated movie EVER, IMO. Winick really has a feel for Jason Todd. <p> It has been a very long time since anyone has really written an ambiguous "anti-hero." Wolverine used to be like that, but he's a total hero these days. (yes, a hero who can kill with abandon, unlike Daredevil who can't kill ANYONE ever, no matter how evil he is or how manypeople he's killed and will continue to kill, but I digress...). The only other character I can think of is Daken, and Jason Todd is way more interesting than Daken. The Lost Days of the Red Hood makes me feel like I can totally understand the choices Jason Todd has made and why he became the man he did. And I give credit to Winick, because a lot of writers just portray the Red Hood as a crazy bad guy. So big ups for that!

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 11:15 a.m. CST

    New Avengers ending

    by maxwell's hammer

    What exactly was wrong with it? its not necessarily a jaw-droppingly WTF moment, but it doesn't have to be at this point in the story.<BR> <BR> SPOILER: There's crazy mysical shenanigans going on in some astral realm; Iron Fist learns the motivation behind the villian and reveals to the audience on the last page that its somehow Dr. Strange's fault. That seems like an appropriate beat on which to end a chapter, and has me wanting to read on to find out what exactly Stephen did and what his explanation is going to be.<BR> <BR> Bendis is totally hit-or-miss with his team books, but New Avengers is chugging nicely along, and that includes this ending.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Well, depends on if it is the "ending"

    by Homer Sexual

    If New Avengers next issue continues this story, ok. If it is a new story and this issue was supposed to be the ending, not ok. <p> I still think this book is great, even if it doesn't have good endings.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 11:32 a.m. CST

    One Moment in Time - my last word on the subject

    by SteadyUP

    http://tinyurl.com/28bwm7g

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 11:32 a.m. CST

    DC's letting Morrison destroy Batman

    by OutsideChance

    He's putting a gritty, post modern, sheen on it, but all in all Morrison is just bringing back the silver age tropes that nearly got Batman canceled in the early 1960s: Science fiction plots, Batmen of Many Lands, the Second Batman-Robin team, even Bat-mite. Yeah, it sells right not because Morrison's a rock star, but once Morrie leaves what's DC left with for a character? A warmed over dilution of their flagship brand who bears little, if any resemblance to what kept the character popular since the 1970s (while most of DC's other characters faded in out of favor) and who reflects the failed stories of the past. Seriously, what kind of publisher or editor says "our character just starred in one of the most successful movies of all time, the first movie that finally captured what the comic book fans love about him....let's make the comic book character nothing like that"? I feel bad for whichever writer and editor has to clean up this mess in about five years when the book is selling like crap.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 11:50 a.m. CST

    Bah

    by Joenathan

    It's comics and even more so, it's Batman, his titles hardly ever link up. In an issue, they can turn him back to movie Batman. One issue.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Homer

    by Joenathan

    I told you Old Man Logan is good. You should always listen to me, because I'm always right.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 12:05 p.m. CST

    Joen Bendis

    by optimous_douche

    hey man I'm one of the biggest defenders of bendis in general and Ult. Spider-Man.<p> But that ending to volume (issue 130 something) one was more gruesome than watching Ron jeremy rape a kitten.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 12:12 p.m. CST

    Homer...

    by maxwell's hammer

    ...so you're willing to concede that the ending to New Avengers was okay, but only if that wasn't the end of the whole story? Which is obviously wasn't? It was a cliff-hanger. Not a gobsmacking one, but one that ends that chapter on a mystery and makes me want to see what happens next.<BR> <BR> Explain how you feel it was 'crappy' and 'anti-climactic'.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Optimus

    by Joenathan

    Are you talking about the Ultimatum one? I didn't have a problem with it, it was just a cliffhanger... Besides, he was obviously at the mercy of the Ultimatum schedule, so there were other comics and their schedules to consider.<br><br>Besides, ONE ending out of 150-ish issues, especially an ending during an entire line crossover? Still a victory.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 1:01 p.m. CST

    NO NO NO

    by optimous_douche

    Bendis is a great writer (IMHO) especially in the "marathon" sense of things, but that last Spidey issue made me Jesus cry still born kittens.<p> Bendis writing an issue without words is like a mime without arms and legs. His strong suit is dialog plain and simple.<p> Crossovers be damned...that was a piss poor choice and ending.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Oh yeah...

    by Joenathan

    I forgot about the silent issue... (shrug) whatever... arty, indie comic fuckers have to do shit like that every once in awhile for self-mollification... Besides: A) it was Immomen and B) He still "wrote" the book...

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 1:43 p.m. CST

    It's "due to" not "do to".

    by V'Shael

    For fuck sake, you read comics, you'd think you would have learned to spell by now.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 2:08 p.m. CST

    Yeah, I bought the Old Man Logan trade, too

    by rev_skarekroe

    I still can't really go for the reason for Logan's pacifism (does Mysterio have that kind of power? Maybe they'll explain it in the sequel), I think it's weird that Millar always wants to make the Hulk a villain, and it has another silly use of the healing factor (and did Hulk swallow Logan's adamantium skeleton? WTF?). Overall though, it's a big check mark in Millar's win column.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 2:14 p.m. CST

    Rev

    by Joenathan

    Mysterio's power was amped to previously unseen levels by other villans (tech, magic, etc). He then used Logan to take out the X-men. Logan losing control and hurting somone he loves is his worst nightmare, so when he woke up from Mysterio's clutches to see that he slaughtered the X-men, he tried to kill himself in grief and guilt and then ended up retired and a pacifist. <br><br>Yes, Hulk ate his skeleton too... and you thought White Castle was bad the next day...

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 2:16 p.m. CST

    New Daredevil

    by Joenathan

    I just read that the Black Panther is the new Man without Fear... hmmm... wonder what's going on there...

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 2:17 p.m. CST

    Morning Glories

    by Joenathan

    Is anyone reading this? Good? Bad? Ambivalent? Gold? Poop? Tastes like? Thoughts? Hello?

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 2:30 p.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by v1cious

    The first was issue was fantastic. In fact, it sold out twice. AICN is the only site I know that Ignored it, which is really sad.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 2:49 p.m. CST

    Those bastards...

    by Joenathan

    I totally missed the boat on something that is apparently super-frickin-awesome... Bug!... I blame you.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 2:51 p.m. CST

    If ignoring it...

    by Ambush Bug

    means an interview we ran yesterday and previews run for the last two months in our Monday previews section, then yes we ignored MORNING GLORIES, v1cious...

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 2:58 p.m. CST

    Is it just me..

    by Thalya

    Or is there not much out there that's genuinely excitement-worthy? I'm getting a vibe of holding-pattern blahs around here..

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 3:53 p.m. CST

    by MikeTheSpike

    Are Henry Higgins and Merrick one and the same? The guy's reviews are, as mentioned, crap. <p> PS: Did Quesada even do that two-page, Peter/MJ spread?

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 4:16 p.m. CST

    Why cruel world, WHYYYYYY?!?!??!

    by Thalya

    Do I always seems to kill TBs?<BR><BR>What are you fellas lovin' right now? Anything, everything - doesn't even have to be comics. You have a captive audience. I'd raise my hand to indicate I'm part of it, but I'm kinda manacled at the moment..

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Thalya - I'm Lovin

    by optimous_douche

    The fact we have some estrogen around here.<p> I would actually like to hear what the fairer sex is groovin on these days.<p> The sausage party is always more than vocal.<p> Since you asked though, my favorite read right now is SWEET TOOTH.<p>

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 8:35 p.m. CST

    Well, Optimous, let me pull out my pull list..

    by Thalya

    'Cause I'm lucky to get to my comics shop once a month. (I feel so out of it, not able to keep up with the weekly stuff)<BR><BR>Batgirl - one of my faves. A young blonde DC superheroine who doesn't act like a bimbo - whodathunk? Real fun writing, art that fuses with the writing (Lee Garbett, we're losing you too soon), and just a general sense that there's nothing (house-style, editorial, whatever) holding it back. <BR><BR>Booster Gold/Time Masters: Vanishing Point - Booster has never lacked for being in good hands. It's just nice to read old-fashioned adventure stories with character work that doesn't feel like we're being spoonfed dribs and drabs, every one of which is telegraphed as a plot detail for the next upcoming crossover event. I love how Jurgens gets the opportunity to do some Rip Hunter work too. <BR><BR>Doom Patrol - THIS. I love how Giffen's irascible demeanor has translated into a writing style that has no patience for paint-by-numbers pamphlet storytelling (see: Geoff Johns). <BR><BR>Gotham City Sirens/Streets of Gotham - when Dini's writing. <BR><BR>Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors - hard-ass Guy and co. + Tomasi & Pasarin? Ye gods, yes! <BR><BR>Return of Bruce Wayne - Batman is God of America.<BR><BR>I have a few other things on the list, some of which I'm buying out of obligation to keep up, some are decent reads. But even for my faves, I don't have anything that demands "get to the shop Wednesday, don't wait!" level of excitement. I did manage to get through all of Scott Pilgrim for the first time last month for a discussion group my LCS was doing (wish I had been reading it all along, it would've helped me make more sense of my 20s as they were happening. That, and it was what Season 6 of Buffy ought to have been). And I've been catching up on some required reading in trades (e.g. Batman: Year One, which I'm liking so much more than Dark Knight Returns).<BR><BR><BR>So what precisely perks your fancy about Sweet Tooth? Honestly, seeing previews and reviews for it, the dystopian aspect of it scares me away a bit.

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 8:55 p.m. CST

    Thalya - Sweet Tooth

    by optimous_douche

    Yeah....so....not going to be able to sell you on Sweet Tooth if the Apocalypse and depressing landscapes give you the icks...sorry...it's more depressing than a lesbian with a tongue cramp.<p> But...with that depression...comes a sense of endearment. Lemiere's marriage of art and words just make you connect with the protagonist so that you can feel his emotions through the page.<p> It ain't about a kid with antlers...it's about being alone in the world...and finding out it sucks 95% of the time. But ohhh that sweet sweet 5%!<p> Also there's a pretty cool X-Filesish mystery building behind, "Hey why does this kid have antlers?"<p> Here's my interview with Lemiere, might help...might not: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/45314

  • Sept. 15, 2010, 10:49 p.m. CST

    Yeah, never really got that dystopian vibe..

    by Thalya

    Watchmen, Dark Knight Returns, anything Cable-related, Terminator..<BR><BR>Huh, I sense the meaning of "Sweet Tooth" now. Good to know Lemire's such a good craftsman. Though frankly, I'm burned out on conspiracies after X-Files and Lost (though I only watched through season 2 of the latter). The interview does help somewhat, it bumps the book up to my peripheral radar at least, though I might get it as trades some time down the road. Thanks for all the deets!

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 2:48 a.m. CST

    I love the Dystopian

    by Joenathan

    Which reminds me of this: http://tinyurl.com/2w2esxg <br><br>I'm sure you've all seen it. I love it. Love it. Love it. So, here's my questions... how come they don't do a feature in this style? Remember all the Ultimatre Alliance cut scenes? WTF, people!

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 5:32 a.m. CST

    Joen DCUOnline

    by optimous_douche

    I now must go change my shorts...God I can't wait for this....

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 8:18 a.m. CST

    Millar & Hulk As A Villain

    by Buzz Maverik

    Millar is a very modern writer, even though he isn't all that young any more. He's more of a whiney, Euro "Americans are bad but I like getting their money" type leftie, as he would call it because who else says "leftie"?, whose idea of anarchy is bitching online from the coffee house, as opposed to the concept of Hulk as big, American destruction machine agent of dissidence and change.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 8:43 a.m. CST

    Optimus

    by Joenathan

    I caution calm... there is NO WAY that game is even a FOURTH as cool as that trailer. NOTHING can be as cool as that trailer...<br><br>Seriously though, why no feature length movie in that animation style?

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Holy God, that trailer..

    by Thalya

    My life's gonna be derailed for at least a year.. I already have 7 or 8 potential characters (if only they'd allow shape-shifting..) and I have plans for illegal moves if I can track down a certain math-based supervillain.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Joen

    by optimous_douche

    Agreed -- never 100% trust a game trailer that solely relies on cut scenes. Every gamer should know that lesson since the late 90s with Final Fantasy<p> As to your second point, that shit is easy...cost! Although now that the assets have ben built for the game you might get your wish since repurposing is much easier than creating.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 9:43 a.m. CST

    Thal

    by optimous_douche

    I'm going to be on vacation during game launch, but as soon as I return keep an eye out for Optimous.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Aye, that I will Optimous

    by Thalya

    You might see a Muse of Doom, Sparta, Brid Brannaugh, Flutter, La Pythie, Sango, Tantrum, or Violet Vesper at that.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 10:16 a.m. CST

    BTW - who's preordered and from what outlet?

    by Thalya

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 11:05 a.m. CST

    I Don't Understand Pre-Orders

    by optimous_douche

    Unless there's an extra incentive.<p> Back in the day when the games had a level of scaricity I totally understand (I remember my second Zelda game was in French and English b/ my parents finagled a version from Quebec). but these days...it's not like they ever run out...

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 11:12 a.m. CST

    They don't?...

    by Thalya

    Granted, I can't remember the last time I ever bought a game just-released, but for big event games like this I figure the demand still outstrips supply for the first few weeks at least.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 11:27 a.m. CST

    Cost

    by Joenathan

    I'm sure, but there's always cost AND they do this shit all the time with their games and whatnot, it can't be SOOOOO much more expensive then the current sweatshop of animators they employ now... <br><br>Hey, did you notice that Harley Quinn is wearing Robin's cape... and that there's a big hole blown through it... Shit like that gives the old What if...? shivers. I used to both love and fear those comics...

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 11:37 a.m. CST

    What Ifs

    by optimous_douche

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 11:38 a.m. CST

    What Ifs

    by optimous_douche

    Were indeed awesome, sadly they devolved into crap.<p> I also love Elseworlds...the new SUperman one is pretty damn good and looks like theseEarth 1 titles coming out will be in that vein as well.<p> But damn do I miss the days when they flowed like water.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 12:51 p.m. CST

    What ifs

    by Joenathan

    The main thing I learned from those books is: If Captain America hadn't been revived when he was, America would have been fucked.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 1:33 p.m. CST

    Were any of those new What iF's any good?

    by loodabagel

    There was Civil War, World War Hulk, some others... I read a bland Daredevil one, and didn't bother with any of the others.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Rawhide Kid and Niche Marketing

    by Homer Sexual

    Well, last night I read two comics from my new stash, and they both rocked. <p> First was DV8, a book I've always loved. While I don't like recasting Sublime as a "villain," she wasn't in the issue. Bliss and Powerhaus were, and it was an outstanding issue. Especially the characterization of Bliss and the take no prisoners writing style. <p> As awesome as it was, it was nothing compared to Rawhide Kid. The Sensational Seven wrapped up and it was incredibly satisfying on every level. Chaykin's art was the weak point, but it was still very good. Just not as good as the action and whip-smart characterization. The reimagining of Rawhide as an out gay a hundred years ago who is just so friggin tough he can be as queeny as he wants to be is extremely satisfying to this old homo, and I bet a lot of the younger ones would eat it up as well.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 1:50 p.m. CST

    loodabagel

    by Joenathan

    No. Sadly.... just: No.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 3:03 p.m. CST

    What Ifs

    by KletusCassidy

    The What If Spider-man vs Wolverine was pretty good, where Wolverine trains Spider-man to be an assassin or something like that. One of the Best of recent times was the What If? Spider-man: The Other it was really good. Way better than the actual story. What ever happened to Spidey's "new" powers anyway?!?! The new What Ifs mostly suck and have horrible artwork...they used to be really awesome.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 3:17 p.m. CST

    One other thing.. (DCUO)

    by Thalya

    What platform are you guys getting? I'd have to be on the PC version else get a PS3 as well.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 4:57 p.m. CST

    Fuck Console MMORPGS

    by optimous_douche

    Be happy you have to get the PC version. A PC you can scale as the game grows -- console not so much. A console has its place - its just not for MMORPGS

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 6:56 p.m. CST

    everyone always forgets...

    by sonnyhooper

    that batman is "the hairy chested love god" of america. morrison said so, and after all what good is it to just be an american god? any self respecting american god, would HAVE to be hairy chested and love obsessed. it's in the constitution , or the bill of rights, or some damn thing.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 7 p.m. CST

    BTW, thalya...

    by sonnyhooper

    ....i finally hunted down a copy of "violence and the sacred" by rene girard. thanks for the recomendation. you will be glad to know that now..... i am afraid to go into my own back yard at night. ;)

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 8:01 p.m. CST

    :D ! Glad you like, Sonny!

    by Thalya

    Now be good or you'll be thrown in prison then be scheduled to sleep with your mother..

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 9:02 p.m. CST

    yikes...and pre-ordering games

    by sonnyhooper

    if i NEED to get a game the day it comes out....amazon. all the way. it ships to your house the day it comes out. boom. no going to a gamestop or target. perfect. <p> halo4, 0r 5, or whatever, just dropped tuesday. they did a mid-night release thing. can you imagine going to one of thoses? uggh.

  • Sept. 16, 2010, 11:24 p.m. CST

    Morning Glories...

    by loodabagel

    Based on talkback vibes, I decided to get the first issue. Could be good. I can't afford many comics these days, but I think I'll stick with this one. The story isn't wildly original,the plotting was very formulaic, but it's been a while since I soaked in some boarding school intrigue. We've got one already intriguing character in the evil-genius kid, and the rest of the cast seems mildly colorful, at least. Hopefully they'll develop with time. One thing I could do without-The artist looks like he won a contest on Deviant Art. Incredibly bland. There's a lot of empty space in here. The backgrounds aren't missing, they're just empty. Apparently, Morning Glories Academy is a very spacious school. Some of the fault lies with the colorist too. There's a lot of pages with that shitty computerized blurry background tone. Still, only one of the teenage boys looked like they were 35, so he gets points for that.

  • Sept. 17, 2010, 11:41 a.m. CST

    lood

    by optimous_douche

    looking for boarding school kids -- give BAD KIDS GO TO HELL a peep<p> Their uppance shall come....

  • Sept. 21, 2010, 7:50 p.m. CST

    Brubaker's run on Daredevil was horrible

    by dingleberry96

    KletusCasady is nuts. Brubaker's run on Daredevil was one of the most forgettable runs in comics. It lacked focus and only picked up when Greg Rucka started co-writing. I love Brubaker's Captain America run, but hailing his DD run blows my mind.