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Issue #4 Release Date: 5/26/11 Vol.#10

Hey folks, Ambush Bug here. Let’s start off the column with a fresh little ditty called “Ring Capacity” from our pals Kirby Krackle.

And now on with the reviews!

The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)
A Block of Aarden Comics: FLASH GORDON #2 / COMEBACK KINGS #1 / MINX #1
A Block of Atlas Comics: GRIM GHOST #2 / PHOENIX #2 / WULF #2
dot.comics presents RATFIST


Writer: John Rozum
Art: Frazer Irving


Writer: Scott Snyder
Art: Jock
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Ambush Bug

One of the most disturbing things about hearing yesterday’s bombshell that DC will be restarting this fall with all new #1 issues is that little books, which no doubt were not considered (but to be fair, I’m sure the folks making the smaller DC books weren’t considering FLASHPOINT either, in their grand scheme of things) and be quickly swept away under big releases of the same old same old. Sure, DC starting anew is a good way to get new readers, but it’s also a good way for folks who have been looking for an excuse to quit buying so many books to drop an entire line. I wouldn’t want to encourage doing this, but if XOMBI isn’t in the list of #1’s come August when DC hits the reset button, I may seriously consider taking my toys and leaving. Not to say that DC is doing everything wrong right now. Johns is writing well on GREEN LANTERN and FLASH for the most part, while steering the rest of the DCU in an interesting direction. But there are pockets of DC that I wish wouldn’t be swept under the rug and I fear that with the status quo being shaken up and rejiggered for a new generation of youthful hipsters, it’s going to do more harm than good for books like XOMBI and DETECTIVE COMICS—both of which came out last week. Both of which are two of the absolute best books DC has to offer right now.

XOMBI tells the story of a supernatural weirdness magnet named David Kim, who can regenerate from any injury from any nearby organic matter—kind of a supernatural Wolverine with better social skills. Being a weirdness magnet, Kim gets into all sorts of troubles with walking shambling husks made of wasps’ nests, a group of nuns with super powers, and fiery lion monsters made of pure rage. John Rozum has garnered a lot of comparisons to Grant Morrison with this book, which may be accurate in the fact that he comes up with ideas that are pretty “out there” (much like Morrison), but while Morrison vomits out a truckload of crazy ideas mostly to fill word balloons and form some sense of history for new characters, Rozum actually uses those weird things to tell a story. Kooky concept, I know. But while Morrison will forever be a master idea-smith, Rozum is a storyteller with a stable of crazy creations of his own as exemplified by the first three issues of XOMBI. Rozum is establishing David Kim as an unlikely hero with a group of outcasts backing him up and a cadre of monsters poised to attack from all directions. In issue #3, Kim’s regenerative powers are pushed to the limit as insidious forces continue to gain power around him. Rozum has set the stage for a huge battle with a newly regenerated Kim leading the charge.

Over in DETECTIVE, the thot plickens. Writer Scott Snyder has been filling the comic with something we haven’t seen in DETECTIVE COMICS in a while—an actual mystery. Plots layer over subplots which naturally surface in a delicately orchestrated story of Gotham’s history with Gotham’s current protector Dick Grayson in the middle of it all. Scott Snyder’s Gotham City is rich with history. It’s a character in itself and given life by characters who we’ve taken for granted like Commissioner Gordon, who under Snyder’s pen has been the most fascinating take on the character ever. For the last year, Snyder has put Dick through the ringer with foes new and old popping up and attempting to take a bite out of Gotham. Though this issue is the second in Snyder’s second arc on the title, themes are carried throughout such as the GCPD’s reluctance to use the equipment the Wayne Foundation has provided for them, the mystery of Commissioner Gordon’s insane but now sane son, and Dick’s acceptance as the role of Gotham’s new Batman. Much like his AMERICAN VAMPIRE series, Snyder lays little eggs in his story to hatch later on in the narrative. Snyder seems to be the kind of writer who has a master plan and a clear vision of where he’s going…

That is, as long as something doesn’t come along to disrupt it, like say, an all encompassing event which plans to reboot entire series (even one of the longest comic book series ever put to print) back to number one.

Sidebar: I thought ACTION COMICS #900 was a pretty monumental issue and was looking forward to something similar for DETECTIVE when it reached 900. We were going to see the 1000th issue of these two titles in a few years. Now, are we to expect DC won’t take the opportunity to celebrate (i.e. cash in on) issue #1000 of ACTION and DETECTIVE? Not likely. But if we are to believe the DC hype machine, it looks like they have no interest in it.

On top of the fantastic stories in these two books, there are also a pair of artists that have few equal in comics today. Frazer Irving’s unique style and genius gift for color make every issue and every cover of XOMBI an optical adventure. Though his forms are often wispy and ephemeral, he seems to be able to draw just about everything and twist it just enough surreality to allow you to follow, but feel unease in doing so. Perfectly matched with a writer full of original and insane ideas, the pairing of Irving and Rozum is unequalled.

But the art on DETECTIVE COMICS ain’t too shabby either as Jock channels early Frank Miller and Klaus Jansen with a pinch of Bill Seinkiewicz to make a Gotham and a Batman grittier and more visually iconic than twelve Jim Lee’s. Jock takes every page and makes it worthy of a frame, with double page splashes that carry a whole book’s worth of info without feeling cluttered or spaced out. If you’re looking for the best art in comics, these two books have it.

Notice anything about the descriptions of these books. No FLASHPOINT. No crossovers. Just rock solid storytelling and even more adamantine art.

Which is why I fear for the end of these titles come summer’s end. Here’s hoping DETECTIVE COMICS and ZOMBI survive the latest desperate grab for new readership. They are two books that don’t deserve to be disrupted by what’s going on in the comics around them on the shelves. They don’t need to be concerned because they are the best of the best. Hopefully editorial mandate won’t disrupt DETECTIVE’s delicately constructed mystery or forget about fun but obscure characters like XOMBI in the upcoming reboot. At the very least, I hope the disruption only leads to new number ones for both.

Here’s hoping DC’s new decision doesn’t hurt the best books they put out today. Check out DETECTIVE COMICS and XOMBI so they survive the coming avalanche of #1 reboots.

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 (click on the covers to purchase)!

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Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche

For the first time in a looooonnnggg time, I audibly screamed at a book, and I believe any longtime X-fan that possesses a modicum of romance or even a soul will do likewise at the end of this book.

X-MEN: LEGACY may be subtitled with the “Age of X Aftermath” moniker, but in my opinion this is a clear beginning, the genesis of the next blood feud on the ironically named mutant island of Utopia.

Carey, doing what he does best, starts the book off by leveraging his big brain to once again infuse real-world happenings into the canon of comic lore. Specifically, we’re talking the Holocaust. Knowing this it’s easy to figure out who the issue focuses on, the master of magnetism and former Auschwitz resident himself, Magneto. But, what’s this? Why is Magneto carrying a Rogue-shaped backpack on the cover? Well, that’s why I ended up screaming from the depths of my man-cave. Read on, but be warned you are entering spoiler country.

All of the X-Men have been perpetually mind-fucked by Legion’s recent alternate reality war game simulation during “Age of X.” For those that bemoaned (including this reviewer), “this is an alternate reality, it didn’t change shit like the marketing promised,” now is the time when Marvel can truly say “in your face, fanboy naysayers”, because while nothing changed in the literal sense, the time spent in Age of X made all of the X-Men realize what they have been suppressing over the years. All of the hidden desires, passions and fury that remain controlled by their governing ids become much harder to ignore when fully manifested in flesh and blood.

“Am I bad or did Stan Lee just make me this way?” Magneto’s lament is as true today as it was when Claremont and others tried to find redemption in the soul of Magneto close to thirty years ago. Yet somehow, Carey makes this soul-searching feel new and fresh. The “new” Magneto wants to be good, but there is still this inexorable draw to crush anyone who stands against him. He takes Rogue to the Holocaust museum to show the work of a particular Auschwitz butcher, who Magneto made take his own life in a verbal tete-a-tete I won’t spoil here. Young Magneto was simply an evil little bastard. But the question becomes, why? Magneto takes the stance that our circumstances define who we are, not the other way around. It’s a philosophical debate he has had for years with Professor X, but without Chuck in the picture you actually find yourself sympathizing with the polarized one. None of this is surprising, but again Carey breaks Magneto down to his basic elements, and it has been a long time since we have seen Magneto question the nature of his “old” self.

The real surprise in this issue and the reason for my exclamations of “whore” when I got to the final page was Rogue. During the “Age of X” time, Rogue and Magneto were close…real close. Now that everyone has snapped back to reality, Rogue in particular must grapple with the fact that someone occupied a place in her heart other than Gambit. We’ve seen these brief wisps of a developing relationship in the past. Remember back when Magneto was able to control Rogue’s powers? Personally I saw a hint of a possible May/December romance budding, but the writers and editors never carried it to fruition. Carey must have seen the same thing, because no matter how repulsed Rogue is by Magneto, yes folks, they end up getting busy. Try not to think about the old balls, think instead to those times we have all had where we end up with someone we are as equally drawn to as repulsed by.

I said earlier that this issue is an indication of things to come and a possible blood feud on Utopia. Please understand this is mere speculation on my part. The way the X-books have been going, though, you can see clear moral boundaries being formed in this tiny mutant ecosystem. Legion, Rogue, Frenzy, Gambit…we’ll call them the damaged goods kids. They are all working through their problems on Utopia, itching to become something bigger than who they are today. Over in UNCANNY, the X-Men are still fighting their galactic battles and keeping global peace as best as they can. Then you have X-Force--I fear to utter their exploits lest I want a SNIKT to the back of the head. These three books are all playing on different levels, and as we have seen with the X-Men in the past, that can only be sustained for so long.

I was ready to bail on LEGACY after AGE OF X, since I wasn’t the biggest fan of the book beforehand. In the past, though, when X-MEN tagged itself LEGACY it was simply too detached from the rest of the X-verse for my liking. I want these books to stand alone, but at some point they must acknowledge the larger mutant and Marvel universe. LEGACY seems to have learned that lesson and is keeping me utterly enthralled with its unique differentiators and respect for its place in the grand scheme of things.

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.


Writer: Joe Simon
Illustrator: Jack Kirby
Publisher: Titan Books
Reviewer: superhero

Sometime in the fifties Timely Comics (now known as Marvel Comics) decided they were going to revive Captain America about a decade before the Avengers discovered him floating in a block of ice. In response the two creators of America’s forgotten Sentinel of Liberty decided, knowing that they weren’t going to be included in the planning of the re-launch, to try another go at it and create another soldier of freedom.

Hence we have the FIGHTING AMERICAN and this collection. It’s obvious that the FIGHTING AMERICAN never reached the heights that his predecessor did and by reading this trade I can see why. It’s not that the stories here are any worse than any of the Golden Age Cap stories I’ve read but there’s an obvious sort of copycat quality to the FIGHTING AMERICAN that I couldn’t escape while reading the book. So much of the feel of FIGHTING AMERICAN’s stories are an obvious response to what Captain America was that it’s hard not to think of Cap when reading the book. Plus, it doesn’t help that FA was born during the paranoid patriotism of the Red Scare instead of the justifiably patriotic World War Two era. It’s all of this stuff that, in my mind, makes the FIGHTING AMERICAN seem a bit less than the original he was based off of.

But all of these shortcomings don’t affect how terrifically entertaining a comic Simon and Kirby were able to put out despite the central character’s built in weaknesses. The FIGHTING AMERICAN is full of what you’d expect from a Jack Kirby co-creation--crazed action, wacked-out villains, and simple yet forthright superheroes. It’s all here and it’s a great read, especially if you’re as appreciative of Jack Kirby’s work as I am. It’s obvious that Kirby was a humongous talent and the stories here add credence to the theory that it was his genius that was responsible for a lot of the magic behind the early Marvel Universe. Kirby’s talent is evident on every page, as usual, and there’s nothing new that I can say here about Kirby that hasn’t been said before about the man.

I don’t want to leave out any praise for Joe Simon, however. While I’m sure that Kirby was a big influence on much of the stuff going on in this book it’s obvious that Simon was a mad genius himself. Some of the ideas and characters in here are so out of the loop even for comic books that only someone with a crazed intellect could come up with them. Just look at some of the villains and supporting characters in the book: The League of Handsome Devils, Doubleheader (a two headed mobster), Square Hair Malloy, Jiseppi the Jungle Boy, and the list goes on and on and on. The FIGHTING AMERICAN is full of harebrained and goofily crazed ideas that kept this reader on his toes and left a smile on his face for the duration of the book. It’s the kind of stuff superhero books were made for and every page is a joy to read.

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 and check out his blog at

Prof Challenger Reviews a Block of ARRDEN Comics!


Writer: Brendan Deneen
Artist: Eduardo Garcia
Publisher: Ardden Entertainment
Reviewer: Professor Challenger

“I guess I should be surprised that you're still alive, Ming, but I'm not.” – Flash Gordon

A good follow-up to the first issue in this newest miniseries. Artist Eduardo Garcia settles in quite nicely on the art chores as we pick up on the cliffhangers of the first issue. The plot complication that scrambled the translators on Mongo so that the various races and tribes could no longer communicate is quickly resolved and Ming moves to the forefront.

I continue to really enjoy the pacing and storytelling in Arrden's FLASH GORDON comics. Vultan is developing into a favorite and plot points to pick up on are well laid regarding his relationship with his daughter. Likewise, Dale is proving herself to be a strong, attractive character fully justifying the attentions of both Ming and Flash. That I'm inwardly rooting for Ming is a sign of a well-developed villain.

This issue adds more depth to Ming's background and makes the reader almost clamor for an unlikely partnership between Ming and Flash against a common enemy – the humans who are invading the planet Mongo.

I look forward to what comes next and recommend this series and the trades of Arrden's previous FLASH GORDON series.


Writers: Matt Sullivan & Gabe Guarente
Artist: Ethan Young
Publisher: Ardden Entertainment
Reviewer: Professor Challenger

“The fame justifies the means!” – Jean-Luc Lambert (before blowing himself up live on television)

Okay. Not so hip to this one. Billed as a “dark satire.” I get the “dark” part, but I'm not feeling the “satire” part. It seems right now like just a “gag” project--the type of thing that a couple of guys might come up with while sitting around a beer tower at a hotel bar after hours at Comicon.

Anybody else seen “Bubba Ho Tep”, where an aged Elvis Presley and John F. Kennedy still live and have to team up to take down a resurrected evil Egyptian mummy? It's good stuff. Played straight, but a very dark comedy/horror flick that (I think) is growing in cult status. Well, this is sort of spiritually in the same ballpark but instead of Elvis and J.F.K, we have Elvis and Bruce Lee and Jim Morrison and Andy Kaufman and Tupac Shakur.

It's Project Resurrection and an older Bruce Lee has to come out of hiding, for some inexplicable reason, and “get the band back together.” In this case, the “band” is the above odd grouping of dead celebrities who, in this comic, faked their deaths.

I wanted to like it. The art is pretty good, though very inconsistent in the look of the characters. It was almost like the artist couldn't decide from page to page whether our “celebrities” were supposed to look the way they looked when they “died” or actually age them by the decades that they should be. Plus the appearance of Tupac seemed especially out of place and the interaction between him and Bruce Lee was just odd and implied some kind of a past relationship that didn't quite gel with the timeline as best as I could tell.

Now, if it had been played a bit broader with a go-for-broke style comedy (like, say, BLACK DYNAMITE) I could probably appreciate it more. However, I think I could tell when something was intended to be funny...but it wasn't working for me. And especially, I didn't see the “satire.” What exactly is being commented on here? I get that it's a funny thought that these (and the big “surprise” not-dead celebrity) are actually out there functioning like a super-secret A-Team of dead A-List Celebrities (though Kaufman would be the oddball there). But beyond that, I lost interest about halfway through.

I give it a “B” for effort, but a “C-” in the end.


Writer/Artist: Andrea Grant
Publisher: Ardden Entertainment
Reviewer: Professor Challenger

“Where do humans go when they dream? Does the soul leave the body and wander in another dimension? There is an urban legend which claims if you die in DREAMTIME you'll not awaken in real life. THIS IS TRUE. It's the reason the gods never dare to slumber sound.” – Andrea Grant

This comic intrigues me. I find Andrea Grant's art very good; in fact, I am an instant fan! And I love that she is aspiring to touch something deeper, more primal, and archetypal than your average comic book. That intrigues me.

Apparently Grant is a member of a Native American tribe and she is building this comic book around a certain spiritual worldview that believes and accepts that there is a dream dimension that we live in during our sleep. In our waking hours, we lumber along through the world of the mundane, but when we sleep we enter a world of fantastic possibilities and adventure but also horrific dangers.

Minx is the story of a woman who seems able to blur the dimensional lines and is attacked by a creature from the dream dimension and nearly killed. Instead, she spends the next seven years in a coma. In the comic, she closes her eyes in one panel and opens them in the next and it is seven years later.

Her struggle to adjust to the world and her relationships when seven years have passed for everyone else but merely moments have passed for her make a good set-up for her story. I may be inferring too much, but I get the impression based on the way this issue wrapped up, that she has quite a lot of history built up in the dream dimension called “Dreamtime” from the last seven years asleep in a coma and it is not going to be an easy transition back to the world of the mundane.

Her story is one of two worlds and I want to read more of that story. Check it out and see if you agree.

Prof. Challenger is running for office in 2012. Vote for him because that is also a vote for America, Comic Books, and...the children.


Writer: Warren Spector
Artist: Leonel Castellani, Jose Massaroli, & Magic Eye Studios
Publisher: BOOM! Studios’ Kaboom!
Reviewer: Lyzard

As much as I loved “Darkwing Duck” as a kid, I remember more fondly “DuckTales”. I must have watched “DuckTales: The Movie – Treasure of the Lost Lamp” over a dozen times. Even now I can remember the “DuckTales” episode “The Curse of Castle McDuck.” So when I heard that Boom Studios (or Kaboom! as printed on the comic) was following up their highly popular DARKWING DUCK series with a DUCKTALES comic, I felt like I had dived into a pool of gold coins. Sadly, it was a bunch of fool’s gold. DUCKTALES #1 did not capture my attention as DARKWING DUCK #5 (I started on the second story arc) did. However, because “Rightful Owners Part 1: Many Happy Returns” is not a complete story, there is time for those fowl birds to win me back.

DUCKTALES #1 starts off with Scrooge McDuck parachuting in on a new exhibit of his. John D. Rockerduck happens to be in attendance as well, as the museum puts on display many of the golden objects Scrooge has picked up on his many adventures. But Rockerduck has plans for Scrooge’s treasure trove. He induces McDuck to return all of the items to their rightful owners. But will McDuck survive his trip around the world or is Rockerduck’s plan even more malevolent?

I cannot put my finger on why DUCKTALES did not resemble the TV show’s artwork as much as the DARKWING DUCK series did. Maybe the colors were not bold enough or the drawings were not as exact. I lean towards the latter, but I would hate to say that the artwork is bad just on the basis of fidelity. The style is consistent and remains close enough to the character design of the late 80s television show to be satisfactory.

I felt like the first few issues of DARKWING DUCK I read were a bit wordy and had some flat jokes. These problems are found again in DUCKTALES #1, but even to a greater degree. I would say a majority of the jokes miss their mark and that the comic is overly wordy, filling the pages with numerous speech bubbles that take up quite a bit of space on the page.

There aren’t as many pop culture references as appeared in DARKWING DUCK, though there is a play on the Dungeons & Dragons game. This is entitled Ducks & Danger and is played by the four young ducklings. Speaking of Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webbigail, their voices are all spot on to their television counterparts. In fact, though they speak too much, all of the characters are consistent in how they speak in relation to the television show.

What was lacking from this issue was conflict. The complications of the story came in too late and even by the end there wasn’t a big enough cliffhanger to leave the reader on the edge of their seats. For those that have not seen the television show you may miss out a bit. All of the museum artifacts are references to episodes on the show. However, there are some new characters and it is nice to see that the writer is pulling in some originality along with referencing the source material. I’m not going to give up on DUCKTALES just yet, because hopefully it will soon reach the par of the DARKWING DUCK comics.

Lyzard is actually Lyz Reblin, a film student at Chapman University. Lyz’s love for comics stems from an internship at Dark Horse Entertainment as a freshman, which may explain why some of her favorite comic book writers are Gerard Way and Steve Niles. You can find her on Facebook, but only if you follow her band: Castle Town Convicts (possibly a Zelda reference?).


Writer: Mark Andrew Smith
Art: Armand Villavert
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy

B+ Really Doesn't Do It Justice, I agree…

Every once in a while, I indulge in the non Marvel/DC comic. All too rarely, I know. And I really do lose a lot of "self-respecting-comic-nerd" points for it. But it's mostly just because I can never truly justify it. For every good non-big company title I read, I end up buying three that I feel waste perfectly great potential (and on occasion, just spend my day reading shit). But picking up GLADSTONE’S SCHOOL FOR WORLD CONQUERORS, a new Image title, might be one of the best choices I've made in a while. Fun, funny, inventive, and memorable, it's one of my favorite reads in ages.

Writing: (5/5) While this concept has been done before, I've never seen a more interesting and broad take on it. Smith is simply brilliant with this issue, writing a great "all ages" book. When you see those words, fear usually follows of a simplified, basic story. But it never panders-or oversteps, for that matter. This is the kind of writing you want to read when you're a kid--creative and accessible enough to get, but still having some honest substance. This book would have been my favorite read as a kid, but it holds up under an adult reading of it. The language and dialogue flows fast, but with purpose. There's never a wasted line, or something that feels off. Each character has a distinct voice and personality, none of them really stealing the show (well...maybe the Skull Brothers).

The origin of the school is actually one of the most inventive origin stories I've read in a long time. Focusing on the shite life of some random C-list bastard, and his epiphany of "those who can't do, teach" is a great idea. His fate is one of the coolest things I've read in a long time, and it's been a rather good year.

Kid Nefarious and Martian Jones fulfill the typical lead roles, but they don't take center stage. They're used just enough that they're probably the two big characters, but never once overcrowd or distract from the supporting cast. Mummy Girl is a fun character to read, as is her friend Ghost Girl. All four fulfill atypical "student" story roles, but they have enough charm to them to carry the clichés. But the book is at its best when it ventures away from the typical. Like the Skull Brothers. God the Skull Brothers are cool. Their dialogue, their actions, they are just two of the most interesting characters I've seen in a while. Even the adults (or what little we see of them) are a good indicator. Gladstone is a great little look at a C-list mook, and Ironside is a very cool design and intimidating figure, with some nicely added humour in there. It makes the baddie of other stories a relatable figure and teacher here.

Mr. Greensleeves takes a traditional power set and cliché character and breathes some new life into it. He stands out as an entertaining character, a happily retired villain. It's fresh, and it's great.

Also, this is a silly little comic that features a William Blake poem. I love this thing.

Art: (5/5) Villavert and Carrasco are perfect choices for this story, both being simply incredible on their respective art duties.

Remember when I said the Skull Brothers were cool? FUCK, they are cool. The design of them is silly in an endearing way, while also remaining absolutely terrifying. They go from adorable to scary in a heartbeat, something that should be harder for to convey. But it works so well here. The entire fight scene on the school grounds is engaging, each part of being better than the last. It's paced and fought at a great speed, and is neither too long or too short. It gives you a real idea of what these characters can do without going too overboard.

The art has a distinctive, colorful look to it, which sets it apart from the pack. Each page practically jumps up at you, brilliantly colored and paced. The layout of each page is fantastic, distinctive and all. Carrasco makes this issue with an always entertaining art scheme, helping sell the already great visuals of Villavert.

Best Moment: The school brawl!

Worst Moment: Maybe the narrator. It'd be better with a bit more explanation of him.

Overall: (5/5) This is a fantastic read, and you'd do well to pick up a copy yourself!


Writer: Clay & Susan Griffith
Art: Chris Noeth & Todd Tennant
Publisher: Bluewater Comics
Reviewer: Ambush Bug

Known mainly for their line of bio comics, its a little known fact that Bluewater also does horror. It’s a littler known fact that the company has produced some hidden gems in horror in recent years including the book we’re looking at today; IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA…AGAIN! As the title would suggest, this is a tongue in cheek sequel to the 50’s film about a giant octopus created by the late great stop motion genius Ray Harryhausen. If you’re a fan of the original film, this sequel is going to be something worth seeking out.

Being a huge fan of all things horror, I have a special place in my black heart for the American giant monster films of the 50’s which was a reaction to the Atomic Bomb scares the public was facing at the time. The films are simple; don’t fuck with mother nature, she bites back. Here a giant octopus, much like the one from the original film, surfaces and destroys everything in its path. It’s up to a dorky scientist, a drunken fishing boat captain, and a hard as nails Marine chick to save the day. Everything about this story screams old school and if you’re a fan of the way movies used to be, then you have to pick up this homage to the classics. The Griffiths Clay and Susan do a great ob of capturing the tone of those old films where science was wonky and quips were lobbed back and forth like hand grenades. Here even though the feel is classic, the writers Griffiths do a great job of keeping the story punchy with some unexpected twists and turns including an invasion of baby man sized octopus that seemingly can crawl on land.

The art is pretty damn good too. Unfortunately, the duties are split between two artists. Though I read this in trade and am not sure who did what issue, there’s a pretty jarring shift in art style halfway through. Chapters One and Two are done with distinct lifework and crisp colors. The scene of the giant octopus wrapping itself around an ocean liner is truly monumental. Though the shift to soft tones and muted colors in the Third and Fourth Chapters are definitely different in comparison to the first chapters, the artist does do a good job of making the characters consistent throughout. I hate to see an artist switch midstream like that. It’s noticeable, but both are pretty competent artists, despite the fact that they have completely different styles.

IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA…AGAIN! is a fun adventure throwback to an age of cinema that screams fun. There are plenty of laughs and chills to be had in these pages and the scenes of octopi wreaking carnage with tentacly glee were both terrifying and fun. Though films such as IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA are often remade in a disappointing manner these days, it’s apparent with the creators behind this comic book sequel that there is a love and respect for the original that can’t be duplicated in today’s Hollywood. Another reason why comics will always be cooler.

Prof Challenger Reviews a Block of ATLAS Comics!


Writers: Tony Isabella & Steven Susco
Artist: Kelley Jones
Publisher: Atlas Comics
Reviewer: Professor Challenger

“The Fringe. It's a world wrapped around and within the living world, a place where lost souls seek their ultimate fates.” – Michael

Better and better and better. The first issue of GRIM GHOST was good. This second issue is better. The pacing picks up. The art gets more expressively dark and moody.

Michael, the man who has passed from this world into “The Fringe” but can't remember his past, begins to...remember. At the same time, we get the backstory that was missing from the first issue as to the earthly relationship between Dunsinane (Grim Ghost) and the evil, demonic Braddock.

And the thing is, neither of the three come out smelling like roses. They are all flawed yet powerful, and morally nebulous. Braddock is the most outright cruel and evil, but both Grim Ghost and Michael show aspects that reveal that they are willing to be less than holy themselves in order to accomplish their purposes.

I'm hooked. Really enjoyed it. There's something about the look and feel of this series that evokes the nostalgia inside of me but is as modern as anything else out there.

GRIM GHOST, like the other Atlas Comics titles, is solid, good comics and well worth taking a look and committing your time and energy.


Writers: Jim Krueger & Brendan Deneen
Artist: Dean Zachary
Publisher: Atlas Comics
Reviewer: Professor Challenger

“You should have killed me when you had the chance!” – Max

I don't have much more to say on this title other than, if the first issue intrigued you, then this issue does not disappoint.

The art is gorgeous. The storyline a bit harrowing when putting yourself, as the reader, into the footsteps of Ed Tyler and his resurrection nightmare. He's on the run from the aliens who were killing him repeatedly and just trying to stay alive and sometimes failing at that.

This is a comic that hits the ground running and never stops running. It is over before you realize it and leaves you on another great cliffhanger moment. The mystery is not only unfolding but deepening with the appearance, almost Constantine-like, of a mysterious “detective” who seems out of place but also knows much more about what is happening to Tyler than he should.

I continue to be impressed by the way the characters react to this situation and I noted the first inclusion of a reference to Detective Lomax from the WULF comic to tease the reader with knowledge that these Atlas characters do indeed co-exist within the same world.


Writer: Steve Niles
Artist: Nat Jones
Publisher: Atlas Comics
Reviewer: Professor Challenger

“I let you down. Ever steady, ever strong, always by my side. Rest well, my friend. Rest well.” – Wulf (saying goodbye to his dead horse.)

Saving the best for last, WULF ran away with the Atlas prize this month. Simply put, the synthesis between writing and art was complete once this team had their footing after a somewhat lighter-paced first issue.

This one really does have it all. A sword-wielding barbarian with an honor code, a hard-boiled New York police detective, terrifying bloodthirsty other-dimensional monsters, and a horribly disfigured powerful evil wizard.

With a radical twist on the “buddy cop” formula, I really dig how Niles is developing the relationship between Lomax and Wulf. There is a real sense of sadness in Wulf, the Barbarian, who has lost everything (seemingly) and Lomax picks up on this and reaches out to him. He can see the good heart within. However, in a shocking scene, Wulf demonstrates violently how he still is a barbarian raised in a world where brutality rules the day and is the first choice when confronted by evil.

The desperation and depravity of the villain in this story is dark and tortured--perfect for the tone of this violent but entertaining comic book. Not for the faint of heart though.

The writing rocks this comic and the art is just slightly primitive enough to give it a look and feel of something other-worldly.

I recommend WULF highly. This was my favorite comic of the past week.


Writer: Conor McCreery, Anthony Del Col
Artist: Andy Belanger
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: Lyzard

Why must the end be nigh? The twelve issue series of KILL SHAKESPEARE is nearing its end and I for one will miss it. McCreery and Del Col have captured the voice of the Bard, with Belanger providing visuals worthy of Will himself. Even more important is the fact that they have taken advantage of the serial format the comic was printed in. Just like old Superman radio shows or the Batman television show of the 1960s, each book ends on a cliffhanger that leaves the reader wanting more. KILL SHAKESPEARE #11 is no exception.

Juliet and Othello’s army is being demolished by that of Lady Macbeth and Richard III’s troops. But after some wise dying words from Falstaff, Hamlet has chosen to step up. He places Romeo in charge of Juliet’s safety, despite his own tender feelings for her. Then Hamlet returns to the Globe, in an effort to once again bring Will or his quill back to the Prodigals. On the side of villainy, Lady Macbeth and Richard III are no longer seeing eye to eye. Is this the change in the tide needed for good to triumph over evil?

When I reviewed KILL SHAKESPEARE #9 I felt that there was information overload and possibly a bit too much dialogue. Now, in KILL SHAKESPEARE #11, McCreery and Del Col have found a perfect balance of maintaining Shakespeare’s voice and skill with language, while keeping a grasp on readability for the modern day audience. You don’t need a side by side translation for KILL SHAKESPARE, unlike the plays that inspired the comic.

As for artist Belanger, I will have to admit that the artwork is not highly kinetic. But when flourishes such as fire are added, there is some movement perceived within the panels. Also, kudos for his drawings of the fairies. Dangerous and monstrous creatures they may be and Belanger captures this portrayal properly. Despite the violence, and really what is a Shakespearean tale without numerous deaths, Belanger keeps the gore in good taste. Another element I enjoyed, though there usage was minimal in the comic, were the backgrounds that showed through the guttering. Instead of simple black space in between panels, at times larger drawings filled the page.

In my earlier review, I stated that knowledge of Shakespeare was not needed but that one did have to read the earlier comics. I stand by this and add on: Shakespeare is not the end all and be all. Though the characterization of these famous figures is mostly accurate compared to their theatrical counterparts, sticklers may be angered by, for instance, Juliet’s strength. Just keep in mind that Shakespeare was not original, he built upon older tales and adjusted those. So, in a way, KILL SHAKESPEARE is following in the footsteps of the Bard, advancing the characters once again.

There is only one more issue of KILL SHAKESPEARE left, but I do hope that IDW finds a way to keep this property going. Word is that KILL SHAKESPEARE has started making movie deals and I for one will be first in line at the box office. KILL SHAKESPEARE is a shining example of how comics can be literary masterpieces as well.


@@@ dot.comics presents @@@


Written and Illustrated by Doug Tennapel
Reviewed by:

The first thing I have to say about RATFIST is that it’s wacky. Really wacky. I mean, it’s wacky.

I’ve been a fan of Doug Tennapel’s work for a long time. Ever since I picked up “Creature Tech” I’ve absolutely loved his stuff. So I know to expect something different from his stuff than what the average comic book has to offer. Tennapel’s work is usually unique and irreverent in its own way. His cartooning style always boasts an energetically brilliant brushwork that delivers impactful storytelling on every page. His writing usually presents a different type of narrative that frequently delivers a world that differs from the norm. As far as I’ve always been concerned Tennapel is treasure among our modern cartoonists.

Which is why I was more than psyched to check out RATFIST when the opportunity presented itself. I was expecting something unusual with RATFIST but I guess I just didn’t expect it to be this unusual. It seems that with RATFIST Tennapel has decided to use the fact that he’s no longer constrained by a set number of pages to just go in any direction he wants with the story. And that’s great. That’s what webcomics are for. But with RATFIST the story is a bit…all over the place. I have to say, as the comic started out I had no idea what was going on. Hell, as I continued to read, I still had no idea what was going on. But it’s a testament to Tennapel’s skill that I continued to read. I stayed interested. Even though the story was weirder than what I was used to, even though the comic’s structure didn’t seem to have any structure, I was enthralled. RATFIST, to me, came across as some sort of brilliantly weird hybrid of a Looney Toons cartoon and a Fellini film. And it kept me reading for the whole run of its ninety-some pages.

And it wasn’t just because I was fan of Tennapel’s previous work. Trust me, when it comes to comics, I’m about as loyal as a whore in a Vegas brothel. If you’re not giving me something engaging to read, especially on the web, I’ll drop you like a hot potato. So Tennapel’s RATFIST definitely delivers the goods. Yes, they are stranger goods than usual but they are the goods nonetheless.

But the best part of RATFIST is the fact that it’s one of the few times that I’ve actually been able to see Tennapel’s comic art colored instead of in black and white. Colorist Katherine Garner does a fantastic job of adding an extra dimension to Tennapel’s work. It’s a real pleasure to see Tennapel’s work rendered in these beautiful colors. There’s a warmth to RATFIST that you don’t get in a lot of Tennapel’s graphic novels because they are usually in stark black and white. RATFIST offers up a slightly different feel than what Tennapel usually is able to give us just based on the fact that it’s in color.

So is RATFIST worth reading? I’d say the answer is a definite “Yes!” Check it out for something different. Besides, it’s on the web and it’s free so what better incentive is there than that?

Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
Proofs, co-edits & common sense provided by Nick Harris

Remember, if you have a comic book you’d like one of the @$$holes to take a look at, click on your favorite reviewer’s link and drop us an email.

Readers Talkback
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  • June 1, 2011, 9:08 a.m. CST

    DC's restarting everything with #1?

    by rev_skarekroe

    How long until they go back to the old numbering like Marvel did when they tried this scheme a decade or so ago?

  • June 1, 2011, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Also, shouldn't Magneto be about 80 years old now?

    by rev_skarekroe

    He hasn't been drinking special life-extending formulas like Nick Fury, right?

  • June 1, 2011, 9:28 a.m. CST


    by hst666

    I believe Magneto went through a 2001-like rebirth at one point.

  • June 1, 2011, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Really not looking forward to any Flashpoint reboots

    by Laserhead

    But my suspicion is that the reboots will be temporary; like 'Age of Apocalypse', a bunch of books will be replaced by alterna-world versions, then after four months everything will go back the way it was. Unless somebody's alterna-world version was more popular than their DCU version, in which case the alternate version gets to remain in the DCU (like X-Man, Dark Beast, or Blink). My guess.

  • June 1, 2011, 9:39 a.m. CST

    I never understood why the comic section doesn't get more comments,

    by Citizin_insane

    since the comic book movies seem to be over filled with sofa experts???

  • June 1, 2011, 9:54 a.m. CST

    DC Reboot

    by ThomasFlynn

    I have a bad feeling this will seriously blow up in their face. Comics cost serious bucks these days, and I know at least half a dozen readers who have been looking for a reason to cut back on the titles they pick up. If the majority of stories are coming to an end this summer -- what better time to get off the train than now? Why invest time and money in reboots of these characters when we've gotten restarts previously? Not to mention how many times a "brilliant writer" has had a chance to tell their version of the character's origin? Plus, If we know DC, they'll muck up this new setting in a few years with convoluted plots and characters from the "old universe." They should have run their own version of the Ultimate Universe when they had the chance instead of the Mediocre all star books.

  • June 1, 2011, 10 a.m. CST

    More Grant Morrison Superman

    by hst666

    and John Rozum is apparently getting at least one post-reboot title, although it's not Xombi. No word on Xombi. I will continue to buy titles by creatoprs I like, but I will be pissed off if imho important character histopry and/or development is sacrificed.

  • June 1, 2011, 10:28 a.m. CST

    DC: Doing retarded shit Marvel tried 15 years ago.

    by hank henshaw

    How long until someone realizes Dan DiDio needs to join the unemployed ranks? The promo art with all the heroes sporting brand new V-neck collars is stupid beyond belief. Thank Jeebus there is a lot of pre-Infinite Crisis material available that I haven't read yet.

  • June 1, 2011, 10:56 a.m. CST

    OMG DC!

    by Homer Sexual

    I don't see this news posted elsewhere on AICN, so shouldn't this column have a bit more explanation of what is happening? Will these be like Zero Hour? Will they be the same characters just starting new story arcs with new numbering? Will they be Wonder Woman style reimaginings? This fills me with dread because, while I buy big books like "Flashpoint" and "Batman and Robin" I fear the smaller books I love, such as "Zatanna" and "Gotham City Sirens" will bite the dust. And even "Batman and Robin"... a very popular series, what will happen there? I'd guess just a new story arc, they wouldn't really reconceive that book since it barely began, would they? I'm freaking out,,, haven't even read the reviews yet, but as others have posted, this may be the time for me to break free from my serious comic addiction.

  • June 1, 2011, 11:10 a.m. CST

    Look! All DC's characters have new V-neck collars!

    by Laserhead

    This is cutting edge creativity! This will save me mad dollars.

  • June 1, 2011, 11:15 a.m. CST

    Hey! Jim Lee is hep to the jive...

    by Prof

    ... if I want 20-somthings to be outfitted in hip new 21st century garb that speaks to the new generation, I definitely want to hit up a 47 year-old guy. Cause you know he has his finger on the pulse of what all the kewl kidz are wearin' yo!

  • June 1, 2011, 11:15 a.m. CST

    V-notched high collars screams "kewl"...

    by Prof

    ...or don't you read too good?

  • June 1, 2011, 11:17 a.m. CST

    As Long As They Leave Morrison's Batman Alone, I Don't Really Care

    by NeonFrisbee

    I think there's a strong chance that this is going to blow up in DCs face, but as long as they leave Morrison's Batbooks alone, I don't care. Btw, so, does this mean that Flashpoint, all of those related books, and every other book currently running is going to end in August? Sounds like it's gonna be a disaster.

  • June 1, 2011, 11:19 a.m. CST

    Get New Readers By Losing All The Olde Ones?

    by NeonFrisbee

    I don't think they've thought any of this through.

  • June 1, 2011, 11:22 a.m. CST

    Yeah, I want them to leave Morrison's Batman alone, too

    by Laserhead

    But I know they won't. I think the big 'Leviathan' story, which is the reason Batman Incorporated was formed, will be finished by the end of Flashpoint, and so Bats will be there for the reboot. No Batman, Inc., though. Maybe Morrison will still write him, I dunno. And, against my own eye-rolling chagrin, I will still be grateful that Morrison's writing a Superman comic, and still buy it.

  • Also the DC Universe website itself has some info.

  • June 1, 2011, 11:34 a.m. CST

    They should have given the DCU to Paul Pope.

    by superhero

    Just look at what he did with Batman. Plus he's kewl. Kewl with a "K" and a "W". All the kewl kids woulda loved it. I know I would have. Instead we get visuals that seemed hackneyed in 1999.

  • June 1, 2011, 11:50 a.m. CST

    Lee's costume designs did indeed seem hackneyed in 1999

    by Laserhead

    Also in '98 '97 and '96. Also in all the years after 1999.

  • June 1, 2011, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Just got back from Bleeding Cool...

    by Homer Sexual

    I sort of wonder why I had to leave AICN to get the pix. What I saw was underwhelming. The Justice League? Well, I guess people will like it since it was popular when Johns did the exact same book some years back. The costume updates were indeed highly "meh" (at best). I am hoping for the best but expecting... well, not the best. But if Barbara Gordon is back as Batgirl, I will buy that book (I am kinda shamed to admit this).

  • I heard that he was a big Ducktales fan and wanted to make a new game based on them, but him writing the comic is equally cool ... ... and a little weird if you think about it. That's be like Alan Moore writing the next Final Fantasy or Stan Lee doing the next Resident Evil. Not only did he shift mediums, but he also shifted gears - from the conspiracy heavy Deus Ex to Ducktales. =P Funky. Reminds me of when Warren Ellis briefly wrote Marvel's teen mutant book Generation X back in 2000. Total mind fuck.

  • June 1, 2011, 1:23 p.m. CST

    It isn't a reboot. Can't you people read?

    by Doctor Manhattan

    No one has said they are rebooting anything. All I have seen are the words "tweaking" and "revamp," which is way different than a reboot. For instance, all the Blackest Night stuff is staying. I am guessing most of Morrison's Batman Inc. run is staying. Plus, rumors of Morrison on a Superman book are good news. The Lois/Clark marriage will be over. Honestly, they should never have been married in the first place. From what I see, we are getting younger characters, more realistic costumes, and some minor changes in origins, etc., to bring them up to the present. I am sure some continuity will be washed away, but no more than usual (you all realize Kara Zor-El is already back, right?). Until there is some hard facts, people need to chill out. I believe they will keep what works and ditch what doesn't.

  • June 1, 2011, 1:24 p.m. CST


    by Ambush Bug

    See, I have the opposite reaction to Babs as Batgirl. Seeing that pic makes me seriously consider leaving DC for good. All of those years of development. All of those stories. THE KILLING JOKE made irrelevant? No thanks. We didn't post the news of DC's big change because, although we are on Ain't It Cool News, AICN COMICS have always covered reviews and interviews (plus the occasional preview). News is too big of a monster to tackle and other sites do it best. We focus on the best reviews here.

  • June 1, 2011, 1:33 p.m. CST

    DC is simply approaching the comics...

    by Prof

    ...linewide in the same manner that Timm & Co. approached the DCU for the various interconnected animated series. Not sure how that's not a good thing in the long run. And it doesn't invalidate any past stories. They all still exist. Just as we had Pre-CRISIS and Post-CRISIS, we will have "DC Classic" for reprint purposes referring to the "Pre-FLASHPOINT" stuff. Jump on, jump off. Doesn't really matter to DC, because this isn't really just a DC choice, this is a WB/DC decision and they aren't going to roll it back. So, everyone needs to look at it and decide whether they are willing to give it a taste or sit on the yard with a shotgun and bitch about how great it was when they were kids instead of moving forward with a new, less-cluttered status quo.

  • June 1, 2011, 1:44 p.m. CST


    by Lyzard

    I didn't point it out, because I felt DuckTales wasn't up to the par of his previous works.

  • June 1, 2011, 1:44 p.m. CST

    "More realistic costumes" "Less-cluttered status quo"

    by superhero

    Feh. If ANY of you believe that nonsense I've got a bridge to sell you.You guys crack me up.

  • June 1, 2011, 1:48 p.m. CST

    You want some ammo for that shotgun, old man?

    by Prof

  • Just yesterday you were making fun of the new outfits. Now they're "hip" and "cool"? Nah. Superhero costumes will never be realistic. THEY ARE SUPERHERO COSTUMES!!! And if you think that any giant, shared comic universe can be "uncluttered" you haven't been reding comics for the past thirty years. Within a few years it'll all be the same stuff over and over again...but there may be less readers because, well, comics are 'spensive.

  • June 1, 2011, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Reading comics! Danm typo!

    by superhero

  • June 1, 2011, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Damn typo! Dammit!

    by superhero

  • June 1, 2011, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Ambush and Superhero

    by Homer Sexual

    Ambush, I told you I was ashamed. I have every single issue ever of Birds of Prey, I have Killing Joke, etc, and putting her back in that costume is clearly going backwards.... yet I am drawn to it anyway. I have no excuse. But that's the only thing. Will Secret Six still be around? I won't read Morrison's Superman because honestly, he shot his wad on Superman and I don't think anything else he does will be as good. Superman bores me. Jim Lee's designs look stupid, sorry. As someone else posted, they don't look young, or hip, or fresh, or anything. They look 90's. Superhero is right.

  • June 1, 2011, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Same old new costumes

    by Scott

    Both DC and Marvel know that a costume change means good, cycling money. Change an iconic outfit like Superman's and rubberneckers will join the devout to see how the company is screwing up their hero. Sales go up for the event. This lasts for a little while and, occasionally with a good story, interest lasts for about 9 months to a year whereupon, it's time to welcome back the classic costume with a great deal of relief and celebration. They change it so that they can change it back. Then after a few years, the cycle starts again. Superman is the easiest example of this. Four Fake Supermen, then back to basics, Electric Superman, back to basics, Mullet Superman, back to basics...etc. Flashpoint Superman with the collar and blue panties will last long enough for us to get used to hating it and then...Some ancient Kryptonian cleric ghost will remind Superman how vital and sacred red panties are to his personal heritage and he'll triumphantly return to the classic undies. I just hope the movie doesn't make the mistake of thinking there is any true Superman costume besides the one worn by Christopher Reeve.

  • June 1, 2011, 2:29 p.m. CST

    I like red panties.

    by superhero

    An not just the ones worn by Superman... ;o)

  • June 1, 2011, 2:38 p.m. CST

    I never said the costumes were hip and cool..

    by Prof fact I think the changes are ridiculous. However, tweaks to costumes do not a reboot make or break.

  • June 1, 2011, 2:40 p.m. CST

    well...unless you didn't catch the snarkasm...

    by Prof my earlier comment about 47 year-old Jim Lee designing "hip and kewl" costumes for the younguns.

  • June 1, 2011, 3:05 p.m. CST

    I find it funny...

    by Ambush Bug

    that the guy who is saying they need to unclutter the DCU is the same guy who reintroduced the 52 Earths and cluttered the whole universe the fuck up in the first place.

  • Altering the color/neckline/whatever of any of the characters is like shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. Why anyone thinks one spandex outfit looks any more dated than another is a bit of a puzzle - unless you're a professional wrestler, the chances are you wouldn't be seen in one anyway, regardless of extraordinary powers. It's a good call that DC is finally going day and date release on the digital versions of their product; the easier to obtain the product, the better. Still - the best of all worlds would be to quit trying to sell comic books as a product per se. Warner and Disney need to re-think their whole business model - comics should be considered promotional material for their character properties, and be distributed as such. Quit trying to make money off of them - they're not a viable product in and of themselves anymore; the time has come to re-categorize them as advertising. Find a way to get them into mass markets, and give them away if you have to. If they really want the medium to pay off for them, quit pandering to the Goatee Universe and make the product available to people who don't hang out in musty old buildings on the bad side of town. There's a very large potential out there for comic books if they evolve with the changing entertainment market. But both DC and Marvel don't get that yet. They still look at comics as a niche product, totally missing the larger picture because they're operating within a 70 year old paradigm.

  • June 1, 2011, 3:47 p.m. CST

    Bottom line is that the judge's ruling today...

    by Prof

    ...puts the DC Reboot in the proper perspective. This is driven by them losing partial rights to Superman in his current incarnation to the Siegel Estate as of 2013.

  • June 1, 2011, 3:48 p.m. CST


    by xsikal

    I like Jim Lee's redesigns (and art). Then again, I think Morrison's writing is nonsensical and anything but "brilliant" so I'm clearly one of those who jusr doesn't "get it." Like many people, I'll take this relaunch as an opportunity to re-assess what series I follow. I suspect I'll add some and drop others, so this will be an economic wash.

  • June 1, 2011, 3:51 p.m. CST


    by xsikal

    I'm a lot more likely to give some titles a try due to the same-day digital initiative... which I think may be a deathblow to many LCS' but is incredibly convenient for consumers who don't care about a hard copy.

  • June 1, 2011, 4:04 p.m. CST

    DC Universe Reboot... since no one is talking about it...

    by codecrackx15

  • June 1, 2011, 4:35 p.m. CST

    I big shout out to my friend Armand Villavert!

    by captaincosmos

    Congrats on the success with "Gladstone's" man! Can't wait to check it out! - BPC

  • June 1, 2011, 6:07 p.m. CST

    Your cry is mistaken. Whores get paid, Sluts do it for free

    by DOGSOUP

    Rogue is a total slut and I love her for it. Wouldn't it make sense? You can't fuck anyone your whole life without possibly killing them, so when you finally can touch GET BUSY. And didn't she fuck Magneto in the Savage Land that one time? Hell Jack LaLanne was way old and still built better than any of us when he died so maybe Magneto is a fucking bull in bed?

  • Re-arranging the chairs on the deck (yet again) isn't going to bring in new readers. I thought the All Star line and Earth One books were going to be for that. I started reading comics right when DKR, Watchmen, and the COIE came out. Now, you are going to wipe out all that history and screw loyal fans to cater to "fans" that aren't going to come? Things like The Killing Joke, Wally West Flash, Dick Grayson, Kyle Rayner are now going to be either de-aged or wiped out? DC isn't going to get my money and I say this as a big fan of the DCU and Batman. Is Etrigan going to wipe out the Lois and Clark marriage? Jim Lee has time to draw a book? Still waiting for All Star Batman, Batman Europa, and Wildcats #2. Brian Michael Bendis's tweet made me laugh: "I haven't been this excited since Morrison and Lee were relaunching Wildcats!"

  • It's been 26 years since the original Crisis. In that time, the sheer volume of comics on the shelves has more than doubled. Reportedly, DC is putting out something like 56 or 59 books each month. That's somewhere in the neighborhood of 700 issues a year, not including double ship months, specials, or last second additions. You can't exclusively blame 52 for the problems that DC's having with continuity. How many individual issues has DC shipped in the past 26 years? 15k? 18k? 20k? That's a sick number. If the DCU were a daytime soap, it'd have to air for nearly 70 years just to rack up the same number of episodes. I'm not discounting the problems created by multiple worlds. Don't get me wrong. Marvel is in deep, deep shit with all of the parallel universes and alternate futures. The Marvel U is even more fucked up really, nearly impenetrable for most complete newbies, at least those not willing to invest in an omnibus. Stuff like 52 worlds is nothing compared to the hundreds of the Marvel U. Having said that, we're just looking at the inherent drawbacks of having too many ongoings and books that ship way too often. A weekly miniseries like 52 racked up 4 years worth of continuity in 1. That's a problem. DC has done this more than once too. This helps to contribute to the glut. Let's also not forget that the comics industry has been heavily event driven in the years since Crisis. Crisis did for DC what Secret Wars did for Marvel. It created the near annual trend of super brawls. And it's not like they can limit it to a simple 6 issue mini. No. They've got to tie that event in with 50+ ancillary titles. So, if you want to get the entire story, you're forced into reading nearly 60 issues each summer. Stuff you may not want to read. All done in the name of the great mamoo. These annual events have probably done way more to complicate continuity than 52 worlds. Nearly every year, DC and Marvel use these event to change the status quo of their lines. That means that, every year, things get just a little more weighed down with the burden of continuity. Each event is like a layer of paint. You can only paint the room so many times before you're boxed in and have less space to move around than before. Complain about the reboot/revamp all you want. It's a necessary evil. If DC settled for fewer monthly books, counting on merchandising and licensing for the real money, then the rate of collapse to the DCU would've been much slower. The fact is, they put out too much garbage. Marvel and DC run "tofu" publishing operations where only 35%-40% of their books are essential and the rest is filler. Empty calories that make their respective universes (and wallets) fatter. Marvel is going to be forced to do the same thing in due course. Mark my words. All of these mini-reboots and status quo shifts are messing up the 616 as much as the DCU, more maybe. The Ultimate Universe can't save Marvel in terms of new readers either. That line is treading water. It's so bad in the Ultimate U that they're revamping barely a few years after the last revamp. It's sad. Also keep in mind that the DC revamp is necessary because DC wants to take their characters global and digitally. This is because they've got a whole movie universe waiting to explode onto the screens. The revamp is necessary because they have to make their characters that much more accessible to the much larger global movie going population. With the way the DCU currently looks, it's totally impenetrable for non-fans looking to explore the comics after they just seen the latest and greatest DC movie. DC messed up their universe line-wide. Stripping it down and rolling things back just a little bit is for the greater good. I can't say that I'll like all of the changes, but they're necessary from business AND creative POVs.

  • June 1, 2011, 10:37 p.m. CST

    I love all of the deep history and all of the crossovers

    by room23storeblogspotcom

    But then I love collecting things so since day 1 I've been ernestly hunting down back issues and trade paperbacks and best of all the Marvel Essentials books. Frankly I don't really think that the stories are that accesible to newbies. The thing is ether your into jumping in or not. I guess that its the difference between someone getting into Lost as opposed to Law & Order though. Somehow we need both. Because theres individuals who really want the stories that you really have to dig deep to enjoy and then theres those who just want to read an issue occationally. For those that want that I know that the kids comics Marvel Adventures have non continuity, maybe they should do more mature versions of those for the occational reader or someone who wants a jumping in point and don't want to dive right into it? I say though that if Marvel tries to even touch the continuity of X-Men like they might be doing at DC and that they did with Spiderman, I'll stop buying the new stuff.

  • June 1, 2011, 10:51 p.m. CST

    I ment Frankly I think that the stories are accesible to newbies.

    by room23storeblogspotcom

  • I've been collecting comics since I was 7. As of my birthday this month, that's 30 years as a comic dork. Having said that, I think that a lot has changed at Marvel and not all of it being for the best. Let me start with the positive changes I've seen happen to Marvel over the years. Among those: 1. Modern writing at Marvel is generally more mature. That's not to say that Marvel was ever one for talking down to its readers, but modern writers certainly use far less needless exposition. Back in the day, the Cyclops might shoot a bad guy and actually say that he's doing it. Modern writers have taken to heart the old rule of "Say. Don't show." Equally appreciated is how modern comics tell compelling stories about some very difficult topics like terrorism and such. That's not to say that comics never did that high level of social commentary, but it was often done with the tact of a horny rhino. 2. Thankfully printing tech has evolved and not every sentence ends with an exclamation. Not every Marvel book did that, mind you, but some certain did. A workaround for cheap paper stock. Pick up Secret Wars to see what I mean. All exclamation marks. I'm not kidding. Even during the more subdued scenes. Thankfully, due in no small part to price increases, this managed to change and better stock was used, allowing for more subtlety. 3. Computer coloring and the use of Photoshop. Okay. Part of me misses the simpler 64 shade palettes of old comics. However, another part loves some of the stuff that's been done by the likes of UDON over the years. Amazing work. The use of fonts does take some of that love out of the craft, but it's certainly appreciated on Bendis type books where characters are essentially talking heads. Having said that.... 1. Modern Marvel books have have turned their characters into caricatures. Not all of them, mind you. Marvel can still turn heads with its deeply human storytelling when it wants to, but that's a rarity compared to the cartoon/WWE antics that they churn out monthly. Apparently, the X-Men all sleep in costume and exclusively refer to one another by their codenames nowadays. Likewise, like a WWE fight, there are many predictable (and avoidable) superhero cliches that make their way into every fight. Modern writers at Marvel have all of the social graces of Michael Bay. More often than not, they'll exchange characterization and all other character focused storytelling for bombastic explosions, gratuitous violence, and hackneyed action flick plot devices. It's sad really. I blame the overstuffed 90s, if we're to be honest. More guns. More pouches. Women who dressed for battle in thongs. Porn star and roid cases replacing relatable people. Violence for violence's sake. Thank you 90s.... or not. 2. Hey, Days of Future Past! Fuck you! =) Don't get me wrong. When it first debuted, it was a great story. A simple, uncomplicated two issue arc and that's all she wrote. However, it set a very bad precedent. Marvel is weighed down by countless alternate futures and parallel worlds. The stuff that used to be relegated to What If? comics has now become a normal device in modern Marvel storytelling. It's sickening. It's gotten so bad that you almost need a score card just to keep track of which character hails from what timeline and what future they're struggling to avoid. This isn't exclusive to the X-Men either. The Avengers, Spider-Man, and Heroes lines have all been plagued with this BS for years now. 3. Remember when actions actually had consequences in the Marvel Universe? Gwen Stacy would die and you'd be sure that Peter Parker would be scarred for life because Gwen would never return and he'd blame himself forever. Tony Stark would abuse alcholol and it would totally trash his life. Hank Pym would slap his wife once and forever be branded a wife beater. ETC and so on. Do you really think that any of what's going on now actually matters? Characters die and nobody cares since we, as readers, are sure that they'll be back in 12 months. Life altering mistakes are chalked up to mind control, Skrull impersonators, or simply never mentioned again. Good guys turning bad? Mind control or some evil 3rd party entity being the true culprit. (I'm looking at you, Onslaught. Asshole.) Nothing matters in comics anymore and everything is trivial. 4. Can we PLEASE think about the children? Remember when Marvel used to put out good teen hero comics like New Mutants vol.1 or Cloak and Dagger? Those kids had adventures to be sure, but they also had relatable teen problems. In New Mutants alone, they dealt with real teen topics like suicide, drug use, who's crushing on whom, class struggle (poor vs wealthy), or just hanging out like kids do. What are our alternatives at Marvel these days? Avengers Academy or Generation Hope? They're both good read all on its own, but pretty sad excuses teen hero books when compared to the greats like New Mutants vol.1 or the Wolfman/Perez years of Teen Titans. Somewhere along the way, Marvel forgot how to write for anybody younger than 25. Ultimate Spider-Man is the only good book of its kind now that Runaways looks to be on permanent haitus. The average Marvel reader must be much older now, which certainly limits Marvel's future. 5. Decompress THIS!!! So many classic Marvel stories were either "done in one" or finished in a scant few issues. Nowadays, thanks to trades and the bookstore market, everything is written in either 4 or 6 issue arcs. It all feels forced, inorganic, and entirely too contrived. Worse than that, many writers will take a one issue story that might've had amazing impact and expand it to four issues for the sake of milking the cash cow. Decompression has been the death of Marvel this past decade. Great old school limited series like "Fantastic Four VS" or "X-Men/Avengers" never felt rushed by finishing in 4 issues. Today, Marvel editorial might stretch that same story out to 7 or 8 issues. Back in the day, if Marvel felt that Secret Wars deserved 12 issues then it was probably because the event (the first of its kind) warranted that sort of massive coverage. I'm not saying that SW was high art, but it certainly didn't feel like 2 issues of story and development expanded out to 12. Compare that to the more recent Young Avengers limited series. Good goddamn! That think is just chugging along at an epic glacial pace. Tell the damn story and be done with it! 6. Apart from money, why do we REALLY need a bazillion Avengers or X-Men books? Clearly, they don't tell much more story as some of them are mindless filler - junkfood for the masses. Remember when the X-Men "line" consisted of 3 or 4 books? Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, New Mutants, and the first ever Wolverine ongoing looming on the horizon. The storytelling done in those 3 books was a thing of beauty. The event stories were epic since there were so few books and not every schmuck with an X on their belt got a spinoff. Fall of the Mutants. Inferno. Mutant Massacre. Asgard Adventure. This whole modern "Mutant Messiah Trilogy" loses its impact when you consider how few of the books actually were impacted. Too many books like Deadpool living on the fringe of the line. The X-universe feels disjointed by there being so many books. Wolverine going to hell in his solo has no impact on what he's doing in Avengers. And so on. 7. Remember when "Marvel Universe" actually meant something and everything felt connected? Now, the X-Men live in their own corner of the 616, as do the Avengers, Spider-Man, and all of the other heroes. Thank you, bloat. Marvel no doubt puts out maybe 60 books a month, or close to. When they put out only 20-25, everybody felt that much more connected. If Illyana opened the gates of Limbo in New Mutants, Daredevil was surely fighting off demons that month. If Thing resigned from the Fantastic Four there was no need to wonder why he was still appearing as a team member in some random Spider-Man appearance because it didn't happen. Again, thank you 90s. Bloating the lines and thinning the market helped nobody. Marvel has lost its way in the past 15 or 20 years. In some ways, the company is better now than it has ever been. In other ways, that human touch, the spark that made it so unique. I can't call it the "Marvel Universe" anymore because it isn't. Calling it the 616 is more accurate because these just happen to be characters who share the same world, but not necessarily the same space anymore. With a few exceptions, Marvel's characters no longer feel like actual people burdened with actual problems. They feel like approximations of people who live or die on their good looks and power sets. It's sad. IMO, the "House of Ideas" is all of of ideas. Marvel needs to take some very big steps back in order to mover forward. I would absolutely LOVE a Crisis level event to force Marvel to realign, rethink, and streamline their universe. Origins need simplification. Actions need consequences. Some characters need de-aging. Some need to be allowed to grow up. Titles need to be cut or given renewed purpose. Apocalyptic/parallel timelines need to be wiped from the slate. ETC. I'm not saying totally, 100% reboot Marvel continuity. Just roll it back some and bring everything back to some sense of coherence and meaning.

  • I've got somewhere in the ballpark of 15k issues or so. Not including standalone graphic novels. Mostly Marvel. Some DC and a tiny bit of Image and Dark Horse.

  • June 2, 2011, 1:50 a.m. CST

    I guess that I like comics now because I started in the early 90's

    by room23storeblogspotcom

    I love the old stuff a lot, but I also love the new stuff like the many Alternate timelines because to me its interesting. I don't mind the deaths not sticking because it means that for awile things are different which is interesting, but then after awile I get my favorite character back. For instance I really can't wait until Jean Grey comes back and drops that Emma Frost off a cliff (I hate you Morrison) or we get Nightcrawler back. I read only the trade paperbacks now so I don't mind the arcs. But I do agree with you that it would be nice to have one offs every once in awile. I remember in the 90's there was an awesome Daredevil issue where he was just swinging around helping people, no bad guys, just an ordinary day. I agree that there could be more of that and the 70's and 80's had some great stories. But I also love the current stuff. Its interesting seeing Cyclops running things differently and the whole Messiah/Second Coming stories. I agree to some level about the massive amount of books. I usually buy Uncanney and Legacy along with Essential and reprints of the Marvel GI Joe's and then anything else I find other methods to read them. I might start picking up the Hope series since its bound to eventually tie back into the main two books.

  • June 2, 2011, 1:55 a.m. CST

    And I have to agree about the exclamation points

    by room23storeblogspotcom

    I love Dark Phoenix Saga (I know that this is blasphamy) but I hate it how during that whole period Psyclops and other characters had to mention that they were shootin g a bad guy and discribe how their powers worked in order to do so.

  • June 2, 2011, 2:52 a.m. CST

    One more long post and them I'm out for the night. =)

    by cookepuss

    Alternate timelines ARE interesting. I'm not saying that they aren't. However, they've become the crutch of many lazy writers. When Marvel actually has to put out a special version of their handbook just to list them and STILL manages to leave many out, there's a problem. Their multiverse is a mess and it's all their fault. For decades, Marvel was happy to relegate this alternate world stuff to "What If?" books and take it no further. That was great - simple one-off stories that showed us what might have been. "Days of Future Past" rolled around and rewrote the rules of how this stuff should be handled. In time travel theory, there are two basic schools of thought. There's the "one world" theory of time travel and there's the "multiple worlds" theory. On the one world theory, going back into the past means that I can alter the present. That presents the unique problem of me being accidentally undoing my existence. It presents the even more problematic conundrum of that is temporal paradox. After all, how could I have gone back in time if I never existed? To skirt this, we've got the multiple worlds theory. That theory basically suggests that I can indeed go back in time and kill my grandfather without it negating my existence. What would happen is that the mere act of traveling back in time would create a splinter timeline. How much this new timeline would differ from my own would be based on how much I interfere. If you're a "Back to the Future" fan, it's the difference between timelines A and B in #2. (It should be noted that BTTF1 and BTTF2/BTTF3 subscribe to different versions of time travel. Marty can negate his own exitence in #1, suggesting one world. However, he somehow creates a divergent timeline in #2 & #3, if we're to belive Doc Brown. That suggest a multiple worlds approach that the BTTF universe follows. That, imo, is a little screwy since it also suggests that Marty, having altered the past in the first movie, should have a twin who's native to the "happy McFly" timeline. Remember, his family had a kid, but Marty's memories never caught up with the changes a'la Butterfly effect.) Anyway, I digress. Time travel, as a writing convention, is a tricky beast. It's even trickier when you're dealing with characters who are iconic and have to remain so. Marvel, to keep time travel from mucking up these iconic character, decided to subscribe to a multiple worlds theory. They actually noted this as far back as the Fantastic Four issues relating to the time platform. Ben Grimm even met up with an unmutated version of himself in an issue of Marvel Two-in-One. By allowing their characters to play around with time and not directly affect continuity, Marvel gets to have their cake and eat it too. The only side effect is that they create these splinter timelines. Unfortunately, every time they do this, an extra layer of convoluted BS is added on top of what's already in place. I love "Age of Apocalypse" as much as the next guy. I'd love it even more as a "What If?" sort of story. Because.... having it take place as a sort of side-effect of mucking with time makes things even messier. It makes it possible to have some characters like Blink cross over, which is cool. It also allows us to revisit that world, which is not so cool if you're an editor and have to keep track of it all. It's even less cool when you consider that you can create a spaghetti-like tangle by splintering off a new version of the previous splinter timeline. All of these parallel worlds and dystopian futures make for fun stories. I agree with you 100%. However, for editors and even readers, they can become like the proverbial albatross after many decades. AoA was awesome when it happened. Exactly how awesome will it sound in 20 year when it's been rehashed, expanded on needlessly, or otherwise pissed all over? Not so much I think. Look at how Marvel has beaten to death the Days of Future Past world. In the end, all of this amounts to crazy amounts of excess baggage. All of those layers make it damn tough for a total comic newbie to get up to speed. It's bad enough that Marvel is still referencing 45 year old Spider-Man stories and expecting readers to catch the references. It's even worse when you've have all of this other stuff to reference. Editors and writers don't always get it right either. If they can't, how can you even expect readers to keep track of it all? We're not just talking about the weight of continuity as if it were one single straight line of events. We're talking about continuity that branches and branches AND branches many times throughout a period of 50 years now. It's insane. That Marvel has avoided a Crisis-level revamp so far is amazing. They're either very good at covering up the problem or we're just very good at overlooking it when we have to. Personally, I don't think that Marvel can avoid a revamp forever. The X-line alone is in the toilet, collectively, because this weight is crushing it to death. Lots of awesome stories are still coming out, but it's getting trickier and trickier with each new event and each new reality/timeline that pops up. (Let's not even mention how much uglier continuity gets every time you relaunch with a new #1 issue or shift creative teams so suddenly.) As far as not minding regulated arcs... Consider this: How many times have you wondered why the writer won't get to the point. How many times have you read an issue that was basically just one long fight scene or where nothing moved the story forward? How many times have you bought a trade with no resolution, yet labeled with some cool sounding arc title? It's crazy. Writers have always written story arcs. Since day one. However, they haven't always been forced into these 4 or 6 issue constructs, devised only for the sake of compilation. You could literally go back to some old comics and find concrete story arcs that lasted as little as 2 issues, but as many as 12 or 18. And all sorts of variations in-between. Editorially mandating that writers either compress long stories or decompress short ones into these 4 or 6 issue blocks is harming the organic nature of storytelling. That's like saying, "Every meal you eat must take 15 minutes to complete. EVERY MEAL." Sometimes, you'll finish in 15 without even trying. Other times, you'll either force the food down your gullet hastily or find some way to stretch that single M&M to a full 15 minutes. That's the problem with a forced arc length "made for trade" structure. You don't always finish that meal in 15 minutes naturally. As far as 80s VS 90s goes, my problem isn't that the 90s failed to produce good stuff. The 90s produced some WONDERFUL stories. Classics. However, in an effort to be "extreme", "hip", and "edgy", they traded away a lot of the humanity. They traded away stories about people with powers for stories about costumes with people in them, placing the priority on iconography and bombast over relationships and struggles. If the 80s were a off-the line Corvette then the 90s were a Corvette tricked out with rape van airbrushing, hydrolics, and spinning hub caps. You lose some of the beauty and elegance in a meal when you over-garnish. Wrong priorities.

  • June 2, 2011, 3:14 a.m. CST

    ONE more thing.

    by cookepuss

    In the 80s, you know what made Wolverine so cool? On a team full of straight laced X-Men, he was the only badass. You know what made Wolverine decidedly less cool after the 90s? Everybody had to be just as badass. Teams like X-Force are basically teams where everybody gets to play the Wolverine. When the next guy is as much of a badass as the one before him, what's the point? Like it was pointed out in the movie "The Incredibles", when everybody is special then nobody is special. When everybody is a badass then nobody is. The 90s turned everybody into a Wolverine or Cable. That totally killed the whole "rebel without a cause" vibe that Wolverine had going on. By making X-Force a hit squad, it has also managed to make Punisher less of a deranged anti-hero outsider. That's like people saying, "I'm goth or emo because I reject society." Then they all go out and dress the same. Great. Now you're a norm unto yourself. You just destroyed the specialness of it all. IMO, that's one of the things that the 90s did wrong to the comics that came in the decades before. It devalued stuff, from life and death to just being the "bad boy" of the team.

  • ....would it be the first mainstream american comic ever to do so?

  • June 2, 2011, 9:15 a.m. CST


    by cookepuss

    I know that lots of comics have artificially bumped their numbering as a gimmick. However, there aren't many mainstream comics left from the 1930s. AFAIK, Action Comics (1938) and Detective Comics (1937) are the oldest. Detective may be older by a year, but Action's current numbering is higher. Detective is up to #878 while Action is up to #902. Action's shipping schedule has been played around with over the years, allowing it to pull ahead of Detective. Marvel did the same thing with Spider-Man. The "thrice monthly" deal is what pulled it past 660 issues. In Marvel's camp, while ASM and Journey into Mystery probably has the highest numberings, Uncanny X-Men is the only Marvel book to legitimately pass the 500 mark without having been rebooted or creatively renumbered. I can't think of any title from the big two to have gotten this close to the 1,000 mark. Honestly, if you're a new reader, tackling a title with 900+ back issues is a mighty intimidating prospect. Even if the title is new reader accessible, the numbering alone can be a burden. Not making a case for launching new #1s, but I can understand how it might put off younger readers. After all, 1,000 issues would mean that it's a comic that even my grandfather might've read when he was younger. Can you imagine sharing a whole lot in common with somebody who grew up before even your parents? Action and Detective predate even WWII.

  • June 2, 2011, 11:37 a.m. CST


    by room23storeblogspotcom

    Well to each their own, I actually don't mind those points that you mentioned. To me its like when you meet someone new who has lived a long time. The fun is in trying to dig in and get to know them and about their long and eventful life. But to each their own. It would be nice (but probably impossible) if both mindsets could be pleased somehow. Problem with Reboots is that in another 30 or so years maybe sooner you have to reboot again just because the reboot has gained history also. Maybe they could keep the main two lines for people like me and then take all of the un-needed Astonishing/Amazing/To Serve and Protect/ etc, etc, etc and use those for an Ultimate type line that gets rebooted every 5 years, But I guess thats already being done with Ultimates.