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AICN COMICS REVIEWS SAVAGE DRAGON! MEMORIAL! WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN! SIMPSONS! JUSTICE LEAGUE! & Another AICN COMICS Podcast!

Issue #40 Release Date: 12/21/11 Vol.#10
The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: SAVAGE DRAGON #177
JUSTICE LEAGUE #4
MEMORIAL #1
WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #3
Advance Review: MONOCYTE #2
INVINCIBLE #86
SIMPSONS COMICS #185
PUNISHER MAX #20
Advance Review: THE ACTIVITY #1
AICN COMICS PODCAST #9!


Advance Review: In stores this week!

SAVAGE DRAGON #177

Writer/Art: Erik Larsen
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Johnny Destructo


Part of me knows I should be, at the very least, mildly concerned at the callous, inappropriate way an actual human is being treated posthumously…but considering the person in question is Osama Bin Laden, I’m finding it VERY difficult to give a grat’s blass. This book was AWESOME. So cheesy, so silver-agey, so much fun!

I haven’t read SD for a lonnnng time. I used to love the book for the first five or so years of its run, but somewhere along the line, I dropped it. Well, not just somewhere--it was at the exact point that The Savage Dragon killed a certain character, thus destroying his own time-line and creating an entirely NEW timeline for his book. I didn’t drop it because of this course of events; in fact, I was really impressed with how ballsy it was to just change everything about his long-running story and, in essence, start from scratch. No, it was his adjustment to how he wrote the book. Larson, from what I could tell, didn’t want to write the sexy, borderline inappropriate book that he had been writing up until that point, and instead wanted to change it to be more of an all-ages book and starting writing in an almost Stan Lee from the 60′s and 70′s style, which just didn’t work for me. I dropped it that very same issue. I just didn’t care anymore. That was my last experience with SD (except for when I went back and re-read all those original stories last year. I got to the same point in the book’s history and gave up. Again.).

But come ON, how do you see the image on the front cover of this issue and not at least flip through it? And flip through it I did. More than that, I read every expository word of this book and loved it.

Larson’s style is MUCH looser than I remember, with more shortcuts than I remember, but it was still basically the same Larson I used to love when I was growing up. The characters have all moved on as well. His son is a teenager, his not-really-daughter-from-another-alternate-reality is a teenager (and has had sex! G-A-S-P!), he’s apparently the leader of a cult of aliens and is out in space leading them to a new planet, or something…and he’s wearing a silly outfit with Magneto’s neckline, a logo from one of the characters of Legion of Superheroes, Captain America’s gloves and random stars for no real reason. What? Why not? And that’s pretty much all we really get of the actual Savage Dragon in this issue.

The rest showcase Dragon’s kids Malcolm and Angel fighting…YUP…the giant green reanimated corpse of Osama Bin Laden as it thwomps and thooms its way through the city. Why is he giant and green? Go with your first guess, it’s probably right. And what does Whitney Houston have to do with his defeat? I don’t want to spoil any more, so you’ll just have to read it.

JD can be found hosting the PopTards Podcast, drawing a weekly webcomic, discussing movies, comics and other flimflam over at www.poptardsgo.com, graphically designing/illustrating for a living, and Booking his Face off over here. Follow his twitter @poptardsgo. His talkback name is PopTard_JD. He is also now co-hosting another Comic Book discussion show on Party934.com alongside Bohdi Zen. They discuss comics and play music, check it out live every Saturday from 4-5pm.


JUSTICE LEAGUE #4

Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jim Lee
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: KletusCasady


Disclaimer: lengthy review…sorry I got a lot to say.

Le sigh…I really wanted to like this book…well, I wanted to love this book, and maybe that’s the problem--maybe I shouldn’t have had super high expectations for this comic. But it IS the golden boy Geoff Johns and Jim “whatever I draw, Kletus will buy” Lee, so why do I feel like this comic isn’t all it could be? I’ve browsed reviews on other sites…{ahem}…inferior sites…and they seem to be heaping praise upon praise for this book and while I don’t hate it, I think it pales in comparison to what I was expecting. Maybe I’m the problem…ha! Yeah right!

My first problem with some of the writing in this book is that it feels like someone who would beat me up in high school wrote quite a few of these scenes. Every issue has to have one of the heroes saying, “What are your powers?!?” then fighting only to realize they should have just tried talking to one another rather than immediately throwing each another through walls. I really don’t have a problem with heroes fighting because fights happen, but it seems so played out--I mean, aren’t these people supposed to be somewhat reasonable adults? I could understand if another superhero ran up on Batman whilst he was choking out a perp to get info, but fighting at the mere sight of another person with powers seems a little over the top.

This again would be more understandable if we were dealing with the Teen Titans, as they are supposed to be irrational, young, and less disciplined. I guess my major gripe with this comic and story is that I expected more than these guys just bumping into each other, fighting, arguing, standing around, then forming the Justice League. Also, with Darkseid showing up now, I kind of feel like this comic is blowing its load a little bit too early…I mean, who is really more deadly and powerful than Darkseid? And this JUSTICE LEAGUE, at this stage, would get their asses handed to them by Darkseid and if that’s what happens I’m all for it but nothing in this JL’s attitude and the way they deal with each other shows me that they could win this fight. Which brings me to another problem: when the city is being attacked by evil otherworldly beings (seems that people in the city are still being attacked by the Parademons in Cyborg’s part of the story), why are the only people that can do something about it standing around conducting a dick measuring contest instead of helping get this mess under control?

I really would have preferred a story where Batman formed the Justice League because he sees a pattern of threats that he can’t handle on his own, so he tracks down the other heroes, discovers their secret identities (thus causing the heroes to fight if it MUST be in there), Batman has a plan, they execute and decide “hey, we work well together—let’s save the world a billion times together.” I realize that just because this is not the story I would have told, that it doesn’t make it a bad story, but I think a flagship title with this level of talent could have come up with a more concise story.

For example, AQUAMAN--a tight story where character’s actions make sense, GREEN LANTERN--a concise, well thought out story, hell I’d almost say it’s better now than it was before the reboot. I know Geoff Johns can do a great job on a team book (JSA!) but this ain’t doing it for me. However, I will continue to read. Why, you say? Jim Mothafuckin’ Lee.

The art in this book is not as good as HUSH or SUPERMAN: FOR TOMORROW but Jim Lee’s been working…slaving…on that damn DC RPG for like 17 (4) years so I don’t expecting him to jump back and immediately be as good as he was but…but…the art is still in the top 5 of DC artists in my opinion. The detail that goes into each page is amazing and while I’m not really digging the story, I think the art is great and enough to keep me invested in this book. I know, I know, you hate the redesigns he did—well, get over it because the costumes (other than Superman’s) are already looking more and more like the old ones so untwist your nuthuggers and marvel in the glory that is Jim Lee. I think most folks either love Jim Lee’s art or hate it, so basically you know what you’re getting into artwise with this book.

I don’t hate this book, I’m not pissed at this book, I don’t think this issue was a slap in the face to every JUSTICE LEAGUE fan out there, I’m just disappointed because I expected to really love every damn issue of this and instead of enjoying the story, I’m finding more and more I don’t like about it. I actually think the Cyborg story is the best part of this book because we are actually learning things about him and he’s really the only one not acting like an idiot...yet. Seriously, though: why…why would Superman and Flash attack the army (maybe Checkmate?) helicopters instead of going after the Parademons that were attacking the city? And why would the helicopters be firing on the only people fighting those Parademons? Doesn’t Checkmate (a somewhat CIA-like agency) know who is wreaking havoc across the city and who isn’t? Ugh…every time I think of certain scenes in this book I get frustrated. Anyway, this issue isn’t the worse thing ever but man it could/should have been A LOT better.


MEMORIAL #1

Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Rich Ellis
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: BottleImp


At first glance, MEMORIAL looks to be a doorway to a new and magical fantasy world. We have our protagonist, the amnesiac Miss “M” (or as she’s referred to, “Em”), who knows nothing of her past or identity. We have the antagonists, agents of a mysterious queen who are sent to find a certain mystical artifact. We have the fantasy realm of the Everlands, a landscape seemingly populated by beings from literature and film, myth and legend. We have the kindly old antique shop owner, who is most certainly more than he seems. Oh, and we also have a talking cat. Yes, all the ingredients for a new fantasy classic are definitely present.

Here’s the problem, though. The mere presence of so many borderline-cliché fantasy elements does not make for a whole new fantasy world. Rather, MEMORIAL reads more like a potpourri of snippets from some of the classics of the genre, where each singular element can easily be recognized without ever combining with each other to make a new, cohesive story. Reading this first issue, I found myself being constantly reminded of other stories I’ve read over the years. The inclusion of characters inspired by fantasy classics (Captain Hook and Pinocchio show up as the comic’s heavies) brings to mind Alan Moore’s similar usage of literary characters in his LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN books. The protagonist finding a magical key in an antique shop echoes the finding of the titular book in “The Neverending Story,” while Em’s passage from our world into the fantasy realm recalls C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books (along with the countless fantasy novels those books inspired). The entire structure of this issue matches almost beat-for-beat the beginning of Neil Gaiman’s SANDMAN story arc “A Game of You,” in which a young woman is drawn back into a fantasy world which she has forgotten—right down to the cutaway scenes of strange and fantastic creatures talking about some plot point which the reader is not yet privy to. And the talking cat (named “Schrodinger,” which I have to admit is a pretty good gag for all the quantum physics nerds) is another cliché that’s been done to death, but reminds me mostly of the cat in “Coraline.”

This preponderance of fantasy tropes might have been palpable if the writing were more clever about it, but as read, this premiere issue of the series relies far too heavily on narrative captions to describe the settings and characters rather than revealing these details through the plot and characters’ actions. I understand that it’s difficult to plop the reader into a brand-new, fantastic setting and make sure that the reader doesn’t get lost, but there are better ways to give information than just stating it in blocks of text. Roberson seems to be another of those writers who needs to get out of the habit of telling and do a little more showing.

Unfortunately, Rich Ellis’ artwork doesn’t do quite enough in terms of visual storytelling to elevate the narrative. His style is kind of a cartoony realism (if that makes any sense), his figures simplified stylistically in the manner of animated cartoons. It makes for appealing character designs that wind up feeling oddly flat; Ellis just doesn’t imbue his drawings with the sense of dynamism in pose or composition that would impart a spark of life, and the end result is limp and lifeless. I would have loved to see this comic either embrace the animation aesthetic fully and deliver a bold visual, or change the art direction entirely to go for a more ethereal and magical tone with the interior artwork—more like the lovely and compelling Mike Kaluta cover, which has nothing in common with Ellis’ interiors in terms of mood or style.

Can a collection of genre clichés rise above being merely the sum of its parts? Is it possible that MEMORIAL will develop and hold its own as a new fantasy tale instead of feeling like a “greatest hits” mix of Narnia, Harry Potter and Fantasia? Frankly, this first issue doesn’t inspire a great deal of hope. But if you’re starved for new fantasy comics, it may be worth your while to check out this series… just in case it grows into something that actually feels new and special.

When released from his bottle, the Imp transforms into Stephen Andrade, an artist/illustrator/pirate monkey painter from New England. He's currently hard at work interpreting fellow @$$Hole Optimous Douche's brainwaves and transforming them into pretty pictures on AVERAGE JOE, an original graphic novel to be published by Com.x. You can see some of his artwork here.


WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN #3

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Chris Bachalo
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: The Dean


This one is really a lot of fun. I haven’t read much of Jason Aaron’s work outside of Scalped, and was incredibly curious to see how he would handle not just a superhero book, but a fairly lighthearted one at that. After three issues of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN, it’s becoming pretty clear that Jason Aaron speaks both “mature audiences” and “family friendly” fluently! It can’t be easy to write an X book these days (unless your name is Remender), and more often than not it can be just as challenging to read one. But so far, Aaron’s WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN is proving to be the most refreshing X title out there for long time fans, and a surprisingly accessible jumping on point for new readers.

This issue opens with a short flashback of Wolverine asking Captain America to give Quentin Quire one last chance under his tutelage to become something more. Cap of course agrees, Wolverine and Quentin exchange sarcastic remarks/threats, and we’re thrown back into the action of Krakoa wreaking havoc throughout the school. If the Wolverine and Quentin relationship doesn’t work, this series fails, but Aaron’s handling Quire’s bratty, precocious, snobbery in a thoroughly entertaining way, by essentially making him the Wolverine to Wolverine’s Cyclops. It’s all carefully and cleverly written so that Quire is more annoying to the other characters than he is to readers. Almost everyone is a foil to Quentin Quire in this issue, with every exchange he has highlighting a trait of the character that is either humorous, or at one point, touching. It’s a good sign when I have a hard time picking just one great moment in an issue, but that’s what we have with WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN number 3, so I’m going to break it into two categories: most entertaining moment goes to Quentin’s frustration with his classmates having never heard of him, while most heartfelt goes to his ability to reach, and communicate with Krakoa. This issue had absolutely nothing to do with Christmas, but Krakoa’s telepathic therapy session and **SPOILER ALERT!** subsequent X-Men alliance made the issue this month’s most uplifting, Christmassy read.

It’s not ALL good in the land of WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN, however, and I don’t mean the looming threat of Sabretooth. Instead, I’m talking about the artwork of Chris Bachalo, and while it’s hard to blame just him, as there are 9 pencilers, inkers, and colorers on this issue (maybe that’s part of the problem), his name is on the cover. I’ve never been a big fan of Bachalo’s art, but there are times when it certainly works. The character designs in WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN is one of those times, as the style fits the fun atmosphere of the writing. Where things start to fall apart are with the action, and layouts, as quality rapidly deteriorates whenever there’s a lot going on because…well, because there’s a lot going on. I’ve spent far too much time with this series trying to figure out who got hit, with what, and from where, because there’s simply too much crammed into a panel or page making characters and backgrounds sometimes indistinguishable. This issue is better, but only because there’s less physical action than in others, and while it’s certainly nothing to drop the title over, it’s annoying and hinders the overall experience.

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN has me excited for an X-Men title again, and that’s just what I was hoping for with this series. It’s not perfect; I think I’d rather see Bachalo clean it up a bit rather than have a new artist, but the series is still strong despite it. This introduction to the Jason Aaron X-Men is, I think, exactly what the X universe needed: a short, easy to follow, self-contained bit of fun. With a promising cast of new characters being developed, plus lively takes on veteran ones, this is shaping up to be one of the more entertaining titles in the Marvel lineup for what I hope turns out to be a long run.


Advance Review: In stores this week!

MONOCYTE #2

Story: Menton3 & Kasra Ghanbari
Art: Menton3
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: Ambush Bug


When I reviewed the first issue of MONOCYTE, it was full of comparisons to Herbert’s DUNE, Barker’s HELLRAISER, Morrison’s DOOM PATROL, and even Barlowe’s GUIDE TO ALIENS. But the main reason I compared MONOCYTE to those stories was because it shared that original and unique vision so prevalent in those classic tales. It’s that type of totally fresh feel that makes MONOCYTE something to howl about.

Those leery of this book because the first issue was exposition heavy should breathe a sigh of relief with issue two because much by way of action occurs in this book. While the original issue needed to establish the intricate and layered world these gothic and horrific characters inhabit, Menton3 & Ghanbari are able to play around in their sandbox with this issue. This leads to some great interactions and some brutal acts taking place as the Monocyte rips and tears his way though legions of sucker-faced monsters.

Over the last year, Menton3 has become one of the most original artistic forces I’ve seen in comics for quite some time. Though his panels are bleak with heavy blacks, whites, and greys, his characters shine through with anatomically possible, but still grotesquely haunting shapes and forms. Menton digs deep into the blackest of nightmares and pulls out some truly terrifying creatures to inhabit his panels. Each page an exercise in frightening darks, with light tones only revealing true horrors in those shadows.

Filled from cover to cover with content, MONOCYTE #2 has no room for ads and previews. Supported with two short features set in the Monocyte-Universe, Ghanbari and Menton seem to know all of the levels and layers in this twisted world they’ve fleshed out. So far, MONOCYTE has been one of the most unique comic experiences this year, making other comic books seem lesser in comparison in terms of art, writing, bleak tone, and heavy atmosphere.

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole / wordslinger / reviewer / co-editor of AICN Comics for over nine years. Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment. He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND and has just released FAMOUS MONSTERS first ever comic book miniseries LUNA (co-written by Martin Fisher with art by Tim Rees) You can order it here! Support a Bug by checking out his comics (click on the covers to purchase)!















NANNY & HANK’s Facebook Page
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INVINCIBLE #86

Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Corey Walker
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


A few weeks ago during the @$$hole Podcast (we’ve still yet to figure out what to name this thing, so any suggestions, send them our way – any suggestions except @$$hole Auto-Play that is) we were trying to convince Ambush Bug what the secret nugget of awesomeness was that has kept the INVINCIBLE train rolling for 86 issues. For me it’s simply the modern-day humanistic look at what a God among men would be like while still tethered to the Clark Kent virus of trying to be a real boy. Johnny Destructo had a soft and special mushy place for the surprises Kirkman has thrown in every two or three arcs, specifically (spoiler alert from 2006) the great surprise, that pivotal issue when Invincible’s father revealed his true purpose for being on Earth was to pave the way for our colonization by the Viltrumites.

While we were both right, we missed the third leg of the stool – progression. It’s easy not to stay trapped in amber when you write a book that only goes on for two years and releases almost quarterly, but as we’ve seen with the big two, rolling out new material while staying true to characterization is a might bit more difficult when you have to carry a book past the decade mark. INVINCIBLE is about to turn nine soon, folks; while not quite a decade, I think we should all take a moment to give Mr. Kirkman his just due for creating a title that has shown constant character progression and perpetually acknowledged that time marches on. Issue 86 is the perfect embodiment of these principles.

Only history will be able to truly tell whether this is the aftermath of the Viltrumite war or a new arc altogether. Kirkman’s books kind of work that way, with his propensity for slow burn payoffs. Like Peter David in X-FACTOR, the lines of different epochs within a title’s life become extremely blurry. These lines of demarcation are easier in WALKING DEAD since they go state-to-state, location-to-location. INVINCIBLE is a different nut, though; its progression is marked more in emotional and life-changing character turning points. Again, issue 86 gives us this, but instead of this being a new epiphany for Mark, bug-brother Oliver now makes a life changing decision that will affect the fate of Earth and perhaps the entire galaxy.

At the “end” of the Viltrumite war, the INVINCIBLE family (another great part about this series, you care just as much about the ancillary players in Invincible’s life as you do Mark himself) was definitely splintered. Alan the Alien, as the new grand poobah of the galaxy, invited Mom and Dad Invincible to come back to the galactic center to spend some of their golden years. Not wanting to be a third wheel in Mark and Eve’s cohabitation, half-brother Oliver decides to join his biological Father and adopted Mother on this sojourn.

All seemed well until Alan got whiff of a truce papa Invincible made with the last few Viltrumites that they could spend the rest of their days on Earth as mild-mannered citizens just as he had done so many years ago. Kirkman equates this treatise to the Nazis spending the rest of their days in South America, leaving President Alan with no other choice but to release a virus in Earth’s atmosphere that will definitely exterminate the Viltrumites. Now, here’s the rub; while the virus will definitely kill the Viltrumites, it could possibly kill every human as well.

Alan takes the side of acceptable loss, while Papa Invincible, Nolan, disagrees vehemently. So we not only get a fisticuff battle in this issue, a bloody and glorious fisticuff, but also an ideological debate not only on acceptable losses, but also on the virtues of mankind.

As I stated earlier, the real surprise in this issue is how Oliver responds to the situation. One would expect a young man to jump to his Father’s aid in such a battle. Kirkman doing what he does best, though, surprises all of us with Oliver not giving a flying fig about humanity and actually aiding Alan in subduing Nolan and heading off to Earth to do likewise with Mark. There were some great and poignant space telepathy bubbles in these pages that truly make you wonder whether we actually are worth saving.

I’ve lamented several times in this column that the issues after the remaining Viltrumites were stranded on earth felt a little strained and more than a little slow--many issues of Mark and Eve pondering the future of their relationship and discussing Eve’s new found love of carbs. These issues weren’t bad; they were just too much of a talky dichotomy to the splendorous action that occurred the seven or eight months prior. Now it seems, though, that there is a major conflict brewing once again to interrupt Mark’s domestic bliss and will once again pit him against a member of his own family.

If you’ve been away from the INVINCIBLE fold, this is a perfect issue to bring yourself back into the fray. If you’ve never read INVINCIBLE before, this is not the issue to start; there is far too much history at play here for you to truly “get it.” As a long time fan, I have a bright and shiny hopes for a truly dystopian tomorrow.

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-2012 from COM.X. Friend Optimous on FaceBook to get Average Joe updates and because ceiling cat says it's the right thing to do.


SIMPSONS COMICS #185

Writers: Patric M. Verrone, Evan Dorkin, Ian Boothby
Artists: Hilary Barta, Evan Dorkin, James Llyod
Publisher: Bongo Comics
Reviewer: KletusCasady


“We wanted to do Swan Lake but couldn’t afford the rights, so we’re doing Goose Lake!”

I’m pretty sure almost everyone on this site is familiar with and probably likes the Simpsons to some degree. However, most people like me overlook this comic thinking there is no way they could recreate the magic in comic book form. Well, I was wrong; this comic may not be a good as the cartoon, but it was one of the funniest comics I’ve read in a long time (sorry, DEADPOOL). What got me to pick this comic up and read through it (I usually just flip to a few pages, chuckle, and put it in the box destined for the local public library) was that one of the three stories had a USUAL SUSPECTS theme with Abe Simpson and a cameo from Sergio Aragones (currently doing a comic, also out on BONGO, called FUNNIES…also pretty good). I was immediately hooked and I’m glad I sat down and read this issue. Much of the humor is retained from the show and I think this book benefits from being able to tell shorter weirder stories than the cartoon would allow (although there are some episodes that are pretty out there). An interesting aside about this comic is that Sergio Aragones was asked to draw a random cover featuring the Simpsons characters and each writer (three) was shown the cover and asked to write stories based on the cover. The result is actually pretty cool, with each story being somewhat connected to this odd cover. This is a pretty interesting idea that works really well for this issue.

The art is…well…exactly the same as the cartoon; maybe somewhere there really is a bomb shelter with a sweat shop in the basement (like the ‘controversial’ Banksy intro) and Matt Groening is pruning new Simpsons artists, so that even after the disastrous world ending prophecies of 2012 actually happen this time, the SIMPSONS will still be able to be produced and watched by all the irradiated mutated (but no cool powers) masses that roam the earth searching for entertainment and are sick of Tina Turner’s stupid Thunderdome…hmm…where was I?

Oh, yeah--this comic is funny as hell, the art is great and I highly recommend picking up this issue whether you’re a Simpsons fan or not. iI you fall in the ‘or not’ group, I am suspicious of you and would not trust you around my pets.


PUNISHER MAX #20

Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Steve Dillon
Publisher: Marvel MAX
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


Homeward Bound…

With PUNISHER MAX, Jason Aaron may have written one of the most engaging takes on Frank Castle's crusade ever. Never before (even, I'd argue, more so than Garth Ennis's stellar run) has the war felt so real, so personable, and so horrifying. With each issue, the arc has become more and more devastating, and with its forthcoming ending, the series reaches a new zenith; this is one of the best Punisher stories I've ever read, and Aaron, Dillion, and Hollingsworth deserve every accolade they can receive.

The penultimate issue in the run flits back and forth from the past to various moments in Frank's life to the present, where he engages Elektra in a grisly brawl. The brief glimpses into the past are all extremely well done, alternating between a young Frank (learning to shoot, and maybe the happiest I've seen The Punisher in a long time) and times with his own son, already affected by Vietnam and colder. These scenes serve as a perfect backdrop for the ending of the series, tying everything together; Frank must return to his beginning before the end, and the comic beautifully follows that. Everything from this run seems to play a role, at the very least within Frank’s head, and it's been fantastic to watch unfold.

The fight proper is brutal, but in a completely different way than the Bullseye fight from previous in the series. Frank's ferocity is brutal, and it's only when the Punisher lets loose and goes almost feral he is able to strike back. It runs with the thread of Frank's innate nature from earlier in the series, and feels right at home here. The fight is fast and entertaining. It shows Elektra's finesse surpassing Frank's strategy, forcing him to fall back on sheer power/mad tactics. Following that comes a brief confrontation between Fisk and Castle, setting the stage for the finale. It's expertly written, never feeling cliche', despite the obviousness of the reveal. It's a testament to Aaron's writing that it flows this well.

Art: (5/5) Dillon and Hollingsworth are tremendous throughout this entire series, but this issue might be their best. Dillon communicates so much through simple facial cues, in a way that other artists could only envy. The opening page, showing Frank killing his first man in Vietnam, is one of the most interesting pages I've read in some time; In the first panel, he appears surprised, almost childlike with big front teeth and wide eyes. When we see his face again, it's hardened slightly, not only in expression, but in sheer appearance. He seems older, harder. The third panel, showing his face from farther away, appears almost as stone; it's a young man's face, but clearly the gaze of someone else. This kind of skill is evident throughout the rest of the book, with each panel looking amazing in its own way. And that goes double for the brawl between Frank and Elektra; every punch, every stab and shot feels intrinsically real. The sheer brutality of it is tremendous.

Assisting all of this is the colouring from Hollingsworth. The use of shadows is remarkable, concealing all but what is absolutely necessary. The most noteworthy aspect, though, holds to the way Hollingsworth shows Frank's memories. Each one is placed in its own hue, bright and vivid such as when his family dies, or muted and quiet during a short talk with his son.

Best Moment: "July 17th, 1969. The First Time I Shot A Man."

Worst Moment: I got nothing.

Overall: (5/5) I'm not the biggest Punisher fan; I usually find him a bland character whose stories make light of murder and have you rooting for a despicable person. But this entire run has done something miraculous and turned him not into a bold, heroic character, but an almost pitiful shell of a man. It’s a fascinating read, and one of the best runs I've read in some time.


Advance Review: In stores today!

THE ACTIVITY #1

Writer: Nathan Edmondson
Art: Mitch Gerads
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Johnny Destructo


Wow. Talk about a slow burn. Maybe I missed something here, but isn’t something supposed to HAPPEN in the first issue of a new series? Don’t get me wrong, the pages weren’t blank or anything. There were words and illustrations and the introduction of the team, but…where’s the rest? Something to make readers want to come back? I know they give Brian Michael Bendis a hard time for “writing for the trade”, but each of his issues have something, some development or hook to keep the reader involved at least long enough to want the next issue. This one…doesn’t.

Ok, so here’s the scoop. We see the team kidnap a fella and hand him off to some people in Mexico. Why? Don’t ask me, I can’t read Spanish. We do find out that the team “are the problem solvers”. We find out that the aforementioned solvers of aforementioned problems recently lost a team member, and that they are getting a new member. We also see her being recruited and going out on their next job with them. She does well and gets approved and is awarded a codename. Weatherman, Bookstore, Speakeasy, Switchfoot and Fiddler. It was interesting to see how they accomplish their assigned goal and to see the tech used and the techniques put into play…but is that all there is to get out of this book?

I kept waiting for the shady business to go down--some hint that maybe the dead member died mysteriously, or that the new addition to the team is infiltrating the team for some secret reason, or that someone is corrupt. There is no hint towards any of these things. It all goes down smoothly, everyone gets along, the job gets done...and then it’s over.The design of the book is interesting, and the artwork is strong enough (sometimes peoples’ eyes don’t really line up) but overall it works. And like I said, it was interesting in a purely procedural way, but daddy needs some DRAMA to keep coming back to a comic. Daddy also needs to stop referring to himself as daddy, cause it’s wicked creepy. Despite just this very second saying that I need drama to come back to a series, I AM going to check out issue two because I’m so very curious to see if anything happens in the second issue. Surely SOMEthing must…I just wonder what.


AICN COMICS PODCAST #9

Ambush Bug here. The below hour-long conversation took place between myself, Matt Adler, Optimous Douche, KletusCasady, and our host Johnny Destructo of PoptardsGo.com as we talked about general jack@$$$ery and quite a few comics this week!


Looks for more of the Holes rambling about comics on Poptards in future AICN COMICS columns!


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

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.

Check out AICN COMICS on Facebook and Comixpedia.org!

 
Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 29, 2011, 10:43 a.m. CST

    ALL HAIL DOOM! No, wait...

    by Doctor Manhattan

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 10:51 a.m. CST

    I have to say Kletus...

    by Doctor Manhattan

    I would love your version of Justice League. Having Batman track down and form a team would make more sense and make for a better story. I don't hate Justice League as is, but it could be better than heroes just running into one another.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 11 a.m. CST

    RE: Monocyte

    by oaser

    I picked up the first issue but was VERY overwhelmed with the depth of the story -- I felt like I missed a whole back story. Did I? Is Monocyte a continuation of something else, or is it a new, independent project? I loved the art in issue #1, so I planned on picking up the second issue but I had a hard time rapping my head around the story. Also, completely agree about Memorial #1 -- too much fantasy, not enough originality.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 11:19 a.m. CST

    I love Chris Roberson, but...

    by BlaGyver

    First issue of Memorial was a letdown. I think he's an exceptionally talented writer and I know that this is very much a passion project for him. A lot of stuff just kind of felt off in this issue. There's enough that I liked, however, to keep me coming back. I think he'll get into the swing of things. I know the guy personally and I will say this, for what it's worth: He would never half-ass something like this. It may not turn out great, but it won't be for lack of effort. I also get the vibe that this'll read better as a trade. That might just be me, though.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 11:27 a.m. CST

    And Kletus...

    by BlaGyver

    Spot-on about Justice League. I've already dropped it. What a letdown. And I love your idea of how the story SHOULD be going. I think my biggest issue with the way that Johns is writing Aquaman is this: There's the old adage in writing of "show, don't tell". He loves Aquaman, clearly. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I've never disliked Aquaman. If he wants to make this C-lister cool, he need do nothing more but write a GREAT story, which he is fully capable of doing. He needs to SHOW us that Aquaman is cool. But instead, he's TELLING us. He's making everyone make fun of Aquaman and then having Aquaman just be like "No, I'm actually really cool, see, cause I'm posing like this and I have a determined look on my face." The couple of quips in the first issue were actually pretty funny. BUT HE'S STILL FUCKING MAKING THEM. We get it. Aquaman isn't a joke anymore. But by making these jokes about him all the time, he's not showing us that Aquaman is cool. Instead, every time Aquaman does something cool (every time Johns SHOWS us something great about the character), it's countered by a joke made by another hero, a civilian, a police officer, therefore drawing the fact that Aquaman has been a joke for a long time back to the forefront of our minds.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 11:29 a.m. CST

    You should call the podcast "Poo" or "Giant Boobs"

    by tonagan

    Apparently, I'm a 12-year old.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 11:33 a.m. CST

    on Aquaman

    by KLETUS_CASSIDY

    completely agree...we get it already, everyone thinks Aquaman is a joke, let's move on...i like the way the story is going but that joke is getting stale.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 12:01 p.m. CST

    Simpsons Comics are the most underrated comics ever!

    by billyhitchcock1

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 12:02 p.m. CST

    I have every issue.

    by billyhitchcock1

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Simpsons comics

    by KLETUS_CASSIDY

    you gonna get the Ralph Wiggum comic? i bet it'll be hilarious...

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 12:07 p.m. CST

    I second "Giant boobs"

    by Joenathan

    It sceams "interesting" to me.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 12:35 p.m. CST

    My review of RED WING tpb

    by Autodidact

    IT SUCKED. Jonathan Hickman really fucked me off with this one. It's all concept, no delivery... not only is there no payoff, there is no setup. He throws in a couple massively predictable cliches. The art is good, but Red Wing as a whole is an incoherent bore. Don't waste your time or money.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 12:42 p.m. CST

    My review of THE WALKING DEAD tpb vol. 15

    by Autodidact

    IT SUCKS (as opposed to "sucked" used erroneously above... I assure you it continues to suck). This comic has become repetitive and plain tiresome to read between the predictability and the verbosity.. this is Chris Claremont's zombie apocalypse, everyone talks so fucking much. This series held more appeal to me in the first five years when I thought it was meant to end at some point. Now I realize it's going to go on forever and it has become nothing more than a soap opera with occasional gore. I really need to admit I pretty much don't like comics any more. I can still enjoy reading classic stuff... but seriously I think I enjoyed maybe one out of ten comics that I bought in 2011 (bought about 50 tpbs/gns or so, so about five of those things... ).

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Finally got an iPad

    by Snookeroo

    and damned if digital comics isn't the best thing to happen to the medium in decades! They're beautiful, easy to navigate and I don't have to trek down to Hastings on Wednesday to buy my books. (Yesterday was the first time I bought all my New 52 titles on-line). In fact, I'm buying MORE comics because I can scan through back issues and download them when I have time to browse.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 1:10 p.m. CST

    Good to hear, snookeroo!

    by TheDean

    I'm happy to hear someone speak highly of digital comics for a change! I too got an iPad over the holidays, and the first thing I did was head to DCs digital library! I told myself with the new 52 that I would fully convert to digital, but wound up buying the hard copies as well because it just didn't feel right for some reason. The color is amazing in the digital format, and it's nice that big reveals aren't spoiled because I accidentally turned a page too far or even just saw it on the adjacent page. I think the only reasons paper comics are still on top are mainly nostalgic, or for security - I'm more likely to have my computer/ereader crash and lose my comics that way than to have my comics burned or stolen in a housefire, so I feel safer with hard copies. any other pros/cons?

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 1:13 p.m. CST

    edit to above

    by TheDean

    Should be burned in a house fire or stolen...but I suppose you do have to look out for the brave comic thief as well

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 1:20 p.m. CST

    thedean

    by Snookeroo

    I've been buying comics since the 60's, so the uber-glossy paper magazines we call comics today are not part of my nostalgia wheel-house (MY comics nostalgia is for the old newsprint variety). So switching to digital is not that big a thing for me. The other up-side is being able to carry your collection anywhere. The downsides are not being able to let your friends borrow an issue, and also not being able to access a book if a wifi connection is not available.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 1:43 p.m. CST

    ouch!

    by TheDean

    didn't know that about needing an internet connection to access your comics. I assumed you'd be able to get to them just like your magazine or book purchases. Hopefully that'll change soon.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 1:50 p.m. CST

    the walking dead i mean

    by dahveed1972

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 2:07 p.m. CST

    Sabretooth?

    by Doctor Manhattan

    Anyone know how he has returned from the dead/Hell? Did I miss something?

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 2:21 p.m. CST

    Sabretooth's return

    by TheDean

    I don't think it's been explained yet. I know he made an appearance in *SPOILER!!!!* Wolverine #20 as well, but I haven't read it, and I believe it was similar to Wolverine and the X-Men 3 where he's the cliffhanger. More to come I'm sure. Can anyone who read Wolverine confirm this?

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 2:38 p.m. CST

    Sabretooth

    by KLETUS_CASSIDY

    yeah that's what happened but it hasn't been explained yet...

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 2:57 p.m. CST

    You don't need wifi to access comics on an iPad

    by UserIDGoesHere

    Maybe I misunderstood the exchange up there, but just to clarify, if you've downloaded the comic to your iPad and haven't deleted it, it's there, whether you have Wifi or not. You can't access the comics store, but that's not much of a problem ... you can access the store in more places than physical copies. I spent my flights home and back for Xmas reading comics. I'm 100% digital and love it, the iPad works great ... except for the Flash, where the very dynamic double page spreads are a little small on the device. I prefer to look at that book on my computer, instead.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 3:41 p.m. CST

    ah, that's better

    by TheDean

    Yeah, I was thinking you had to have wifi at all times, even to view your purchases. I think I'm going to try and pick one series to go strictly digital with in the future and see how that goes. Thanks for the clarification!

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Justice League review is spot on ...

    by Tom Fremgen

    It comes across like an average big blockbuster movie. Effects are good, and the story and characters are just tolerable. Two bits that bugged me this issue: -Cyborg running off into the night because he's now a freak (so over done) -Superman deciding to attack the army instead of fighting the parademons (wtf?) I was sooooo looking forward to this- even with the reboot. But man, if it wasn't for the 5 year jump ahead in the next arc, I'd probably drops this. About the only thing that could save this story for me now, is having Darkseid own them. And them figuring they better get their act together for next time.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 4:27 p.m. CST

    I can't do iPad comics

    by Autodidact

    The physical aspect of comics is too important to me.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 5:01 p.m. CST

    Didn't Quentin Quire join the Phoenix force or something?

    by rev_skarekroe

    Do I really care? Not enough to hit Wikipedia, that's for sure.

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 5:48 p.m. CST

    Wolverine and the X-Men and Uncanny X-Force

    by DOGSOUP

    It's been a good year to be a filthy mutie lover

  • Dec. 29, 2011, 8:48 p.m. CST

    New 52

    by TDavis

    I told myself I'd give the "New 52" about 6 months and see where it was going and whether or not to keep pumping money into it. Looks like it ain't gonna happen. Superman isn't Superman anymore, so those books go on the shitpile. Batman might make the 6 issues, but it's gonna have to improve some. Swamp Thing and I, Vampire are looking to make the cut. Jonah Hex is pretty good, but, c'mon!, $3.99 an issue!?!? Justice League? Lovely to look at but nothing upstairs so Bye-Bye to that. A few of the other books look interesting to some degree but I just don't have $150.00 plus to toss around every month to try and keep up. Too bad, really. I had some high hopes for this but I don't see half the titles (a third?) making it to ten issues.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 1:19 a.m. CST

    tdavis I'm down to a few Bat titles

    by DOGSOUP

    As a longtime Marvel reader I decided to be a grown up and give the 52 a go. I got all the number 1's and told myself I'd collect all of them until they fail to impress me. I only bought half of #2's, a quarter #3's, and if the crop of #4's is any indication, I'll be down to one or two titles by #5. I guess the DC style of storytelling where things happen at a snails pace just isn't for me.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 1:26 a.m. CST

    pretty big news...golden apple up for sale

    by unclejoe

    and you can bid on her on ebay end of an era

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 5:34 a.m. CST

    Justice League

    by Mankind

    This whole reboot was DC trying to become Marvel. They weren't expecting the sales numbers they got. They just wanted to become marvel. So they threw out everything we loved about DC and picked up everything they thought people loved about Marvel. The blantant sexification, instead of the DC demure sexuality, the heroes who fight each other, instead of the heroes who fight bad guys, etc. I expected this from Lee, but not from Johns. I really thought that guy got DC.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 6:44 a.m. CST

    Bin Laden comes back from the dead...

    by buggerbugger

    ...and joins the French Foreign Legion? Hmm, that's a direction I didn't see him going in, to be honest. Bin Geste. Interesting.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 7:27 a.m. CST

    For as disappointing Justice League is...

    by Tom Fremgen

    I'm still enjoying Aquaman, and think it is a great book.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 8:16 a.m. CST

    sexification!

    by Joenathan

    Ha!

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 8:22 a.m. CST

    New 52

    by Joenathan

    Action, Snyder's Batman, and Wonder Woman are top notch books. I'm still getting those. And I don't think DC necessarily wanted to "become" Marvel. They just realized they were choking to death on their own mountains of crappy continuity, that the problems with adhering to so much inconsistant garbage, in order to keep a few bits of awesome, was just becoming unweildy and no amount of Crisisies(?) would ever right that ship. They knew (rightly) that they had to start over with a clean slate. Unfortuately, they fumbled the relaunch by keeping some of the old, instead of ditching everything and starting fresh. And also starting too fast. They should have bit the bullet and started with the New Three... just Bats, Supers and WW and then added titles each month, expanding their universes, carefully monitering the editorial, re-tell your origins and get the machione running again more smoothly. But no... DC, even when moving forward, is still somewhat trapped in amber.

  • That's exactly what they did in '86. Superman started from square one but Batman just kept going like the character had been at it for 10 years. You'd think they'd have learned their lesson.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Totally Agree, autodidact

    by Bob

    Glad to see I'm not the only one who thinks TWD is getting ridiculous. It's always been overrated imo, but they keep pulling the same-old-crap over and over. After a while you just don't care anymore. It's like torture zombie porn, except there's no porn and it's just a lot of talking instead. It seems like most of the people who die or get maimed get so from battling each other rather than from zombies. Book needs to wrap up and end, or end and start a new book that focuses on some different suvivors.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 11:46 a.m. CST

    I've been saying that for awhile, darthvadersbadside

    by rev_skarekroe

    Do Walking Dead 2 in a completely different part of the country with a completely different group of people. Kirkman's probably afraid of killing his cash cow if he ends or refocuses the book, though.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 12:23 p.m. CST

    Justice League of Pop-a-Collah.

    by 3774

    1.) I agree that everyone on the team seems to act like teenagers, instead of adults. It's like reading Adventures in Babysitting, and Batman is the only adult in the house. 2.) I also agree that it should not jump forward, and simply continue to gradually cover the 5 year period. Think of the set-ups they could accomplish for the solo titles. 3.) I think there's some fantastic material that could be gleaned from WW gradually losing her 'child-like' persona. It's too bad it will be simply skipped over, like a lot of story-telling character possibilities with the jump. They should have either waited at least a year or more for this title to come out, or not do the jump at all. Agreeing with you, even on just a couple of things, may have broken the Seventh Seal of Hell. Check with your weather forecaster. As far as Other Things go: I think Supergirl's lack of the ability to understand English (or any other Earth language for that matter) is ripe with dramatic possibilities. Here's hoping they don't jump right over the top of that potential also.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 1:39 p.m. CST

    Ok, seriously

    by Joenathan

    I know you think the "pop-a-collah" thing is REALLY funny or clever or something, but it just sounds dumb. I'm telling you this so that you'll stop, because it makes you look bad. Justice League is an uninteresting, shallow comic, but your constant trotting out of that lame old dog of a "joke" (notice the quotes) doesn't help make the comic look worse through ridicule, as you intend, instead it makes your opinion seem somewhat suspect, because of your obvious lack of taste or humor, as evidenced by your use and regular re-use of such an unfunny, uncreative misfire of a slam/joke... So please... PLEASE... retire that lame ass joke. Please. It's awful. And unfunny. And stupid. Very, very stupid. Please. Stop.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 2:15 p.m. CST

    I'll retire the joke, when they retire the popped collars.

    by 3774

    It's no more and no less funny then the endless wave of moronic, junior-high-level sexual innuendo jokes you guys make. Which makes all of you collectively look far worse, and puts all of your opinions in suspect as well. We'll call it even. Even though it's not. Not by a long shot.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 2:42 p.m. CST

    No really

    by Joenathan

    It's really not funny. Like: At all. Please. Stop. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that "endless" is an exaggeration and that perhaps "occasional" is a better word, but you feel free to point out the next out of control batch of "moronic, junior-high-level sexual innuendo jokes" and I'll back you on shutting those down, especially if you retire the God fucking awful joke. It's totally stupid and unfunny.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 3:07 p.m. CST

    This may surprise you...

    by 3774

    ..but I'm not only President of the Go Fuck yourself Club, but also a member. I welcome you to join at any time.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 3:31 p.m. CST

    That doesn't surprise me at all...

    by Joenathan

    You're sitcom unfunny, after all...

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 4:15 p.m. CST

    You know what really isn't?

    by 3774

    Maybe I wasn't clear with my last comment. Some of the stuff said annoys me, but I just ignore it. Apparently you're incapable of that. Of all the inane, not-even-remotely-funny, truly non-constructive comments made on this site recently, you very specifically chose to target me, and single mine out for over-the-top criticism. Particularly when there are plenty of other people in talkbacks, who give no honest feedback, with actual harmful intent. Followed by an insulting, condescending offer that can in no way be sincere to any honest 'betterment of dialogue' attitude, since if you had such an attitude, you would have done something about it before now. Seriously, you can take your attempt at getting me to accept your slapping me down, in exchange for telling the boys to 'calm it down' with a smirk, and go fuck yourself with it. I hope that clarifies things.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 6:17 p.m. CST

    you know what, I liked Justice League...

    by Redmantle

    This may be terrible unpopular here, but I liked Justice League for what it was... the equivalent of a big budget action movie. A few bits of choice dialogue. The introduction of the characters, a few comedy bits, and the set up of the big bad. I'm sure we'll get some deeper character stuff later, but as far as characterization on the fly went, it was pretty good as far as that went. Supes and Flash went after the army because... hello... the army was firing on THEM, and not all of the JLA are immune to heavy machine gun fire- Batman and Green Lantern to name a few. Batman especially, but the novice Green Lantern might not always know to have his auto shields up- at least that's how I see it. And it's at least possible that Wonder Woman could fail to block one of the bullets. And from Superman's perspective, he wouldn't want his teammates fired upon, so the army has to be stopped- THIS Superman is not very keen on this sort of thing, so they have to be taken down. Also, they don't know each other's strength's and weaknessess all that well. It's not like Superman can say- well, it's all good, the whole team can just laugh those heavy machine gun fire bullets off. So, story wise, I didn't have a problem with it. Not sure why so many readers did... other than... it's a CHANGE. The OLD Superman probably never would have done such a thing. The NEW Superman doesn't like it, and stops it.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 7:01 p.m. CST

    Wolverine & The X-Men

    by KCViking

    I'll have to admit I was tempted to drop this after issue # 1 just because I didn't like how Wolverine was portrayed as comic relief and I had no desire to read about "kid" X-men.As the reviewer stated,it's a mix between mature and light hearted. jd-if you have any interest in the X-Men,reading A.O.A. is required imho. Happy New Year!

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 8:02 p.m. CST

    Sitcom hit a nerve, apparently...

    by Joenathan

    Relax, you aren't the center of my universe. I have no idea who you are, so it's not about you. I don't think anything about you is special besides that stupid joke, so don't worry, I promise it's not personal, if you never say that stupid joke again, I won't mention it again. And please refrain from swearing.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 9:43 p.m. CST

    No.

    by 3774

    If I feel like I've been insulted, I swear if I feel like it. I couldn't care less what anyone might think about it, least of all you.

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 11:44 p.m. CST

    I wish I knew what was going on.

    by Poptard_JD

    I guess I don't get the pop-a-collah reference or why it's so offensive? It's fun to see two people who have come at me so heavily in the past go at each other though. For once I'm not the abused!!! ;) Settle down kids, it's the holiday season! If you aren't good the..New Year's fairy won't bring you any presents?

  • Dec. 30, 2011, 11:46 p.m. CST

    kcviking: AoA

    by Poptard_JD

    WHY???? why is it required reading? Why do people love it so much? To me, it comes across like FLASHPOINT..a useless alternate reality that doesn't really effect anything. Of course, I'm sure everyone thinks I'm wrong, but I'm not sure why.

  • Dec. 31, 2011, 1:37 a.m. CST

    FUCK popped collars

    by kungfuhustler84

    and fuck the Justice League. Who needs 'em.

  • Dec. 31, 2011, 1:41 a.m. CST

    Simpsons comics ARE great

    by kungfuhustler84

    This year's Treehouse of Horror issue was one of the best singles of the year. Woodring's EC homage creeped me out! I still like Snarked! more though :)

  • Dec. 31, 2011, 1:48 a.m. CST

    JD, you're judging AoA even though admit you've never read it

    by kungfuhustler84

    So for all you know, it's nothing at all like Flashpoint. For the record, I haven't checked it out either because I simply don't care.There are lots of other comics I have yet to read that take priority over AoA so I completely understand you holding off. Maybe if they made the collection into a motion comic like DC did with Watchmen, I could turn it on while I'm working.

  • Dec. 31, 2011, 2:19 a.m. CST

    AoA

    by Xenodistortion

    JD, it's not brilliant. That's for sure. And it's not the best X-story ever written. But in a sea of crappy 90's X-Men stories it was pretty damn cool. All the stories tie together nicely, there's some really cool & different takes on some great characters, plus everything is explained pretty clearly as far as origins & character relationships go too. Also they touch on what's happened to a lot of the regular non X-related Marvel U which kind of gives it this bigger presence than it being just an X-Men story. Plus there feels like there's a real sense of urgency behind everyone's actions because everybody knows that if Magneto and the X-Men don't kill Apocalypse, the planet (maybe the universe) is fucked. This is the last chance they get. And it feels like it. I don't know, that's just my opinion. To me, if you even slightly like reading X-Men, it at least deserves one flip-though. On top of that I also believe it's the point in time that Joe Mad peaked artistically. He designed some really damn cool costumes for everybody in AoA.

  • Dec. 31, 2011, 8:18 a.m. CST

    Did I say I never read it? If so, I mispoke. I never read it FULLY.

    by Poptard_JD

    I gave it a shot when it was coming out, but was unconvinced for the same reasons I was unconvinced about the recent Flashpoint series. kungfu: that's another thing..I'm always finding something more interesting to read than AoA so I haven't bothered going back...yet. Xenodistortion: Thanks so much for giving me the low-down on why you liked it so much. I'm about to dip into the Uncanny X-Force storyline that brought all this up, so maybe I'll see what you're talking about in that story. How did you like that one, btw? Was it cool for you to go back to that storyline?

  • Dec. 31, 2011, 12:06 p.m. CST

    @redmantle

    by Tom Fremgen

    Glad you are liking the series, I'm cool with that. As I said, to me it's disappointing, not bad. As for defending Superman's discussion to attack the army, still pretty flimsy. Was the army really the bigger threat? It was more important to Superman to attack the army, rather than attack the Parademons? Superman needed to protect Batman and Green Lantern from the army, but not the Parademons? I see it as showing us that this Superman don't take no sh!t- I just wish it was more clever. But I suppose this JL is young and dumb- And I've never like stories with young and dumb characters- just me.

  • Dec. 31, 2011, 1:35 p.m. CST

    JD and Pink apocalypse

    by Joenathan

    JD- Xeno is right. AoA is a really well done X-men short story. It's fun, it's fast, it's super cool, and it's mythology all supports itself. It completely works It's one of the better, tighter-edited multiple title crossovers I've ever seen. It all ties together really well and tells a complete story. If you never read any X-men before or after, you'd walk away satisfied. And especially considering what the 90s were like for comics (the X-men being some of the worst perpetrators)... it's practically genius. Read it all, in order. I think you'll enjoy them. If it came out as an omnibus, I'd consider getting them. It's good. Pink Apocalypse- You know you care what I think. You can claim you don't, but everyone here knows you're lying. And please stop swearing. I'll respect you more, if you do.

  • Dec. 31, 2011, 2:33 p.m. CST

    X-Force

    by Xenodistortion

    You know normally I'm against it when they bring back old plots or somebody tries to build on something some other people did but the stuff they're doing in X-Force is totally worthy of AoA. I love me some X-Force too, even back when Liefeld (ugh!) did it I read it. It works. And it's hard to make stuff like that work in today's age it seems. I wasn't a huge fan of eXiles even though I loved the Blink character, but it took place after AoA so to me it doesn't count as part of that saga. I do like what they've been doing in X-Force though since they brought it back. The story they're doing now totally holds up. I think you'll like it. Also, JD, I listened to the podcast and am glad you're still pumped about USM. #5 was awesome. Love the costume, love the fact that his uncles The Prowler and I just love the fact that Fury cares about the kid. There's a panel in #5 where Electro is attacking and Fury & Miles are leaving a room. Fury is holding Miles hand. To me that signifies that Fury is concerned and truly doesn't want anything to happen to yet another innocent child thrust into this crazy world of superheroes. It was a tiny action, but I felt it spoke volumes on how Fury feels about the whole situation with Miles. The only thing I can't get into in this series is Miles' friend Ganky. Seems like too much of a fanboy. Like Foggy Nelson, but more useless because he's not an adult or very smart. I have a feeling he's going to get Miles caught in some way. I'm sure it'll make for a great story because I have total faith in this comic, but so far Ganky is the only thing in USM that bugs the hell out of me. Love everything else though.

  • Dec. 31, 2011, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Age Of Pink Apocalypse

    by MattAdler

    Ok, this post doesn't really have anything to do with Pink Apocalypse. Sorry. --a useless alternate reality that doesn't really effect anything.-- Well, that's what I was trying to get at in the podcast; the original conceit of Age of Apocalypse was that it *wasn't* an alternate reality; it was the real Marvel Universe, transformed. But with the changes later writers made, now it really is a useless alternate reality that doesn't really affect anything, except when refugees from it show up.

  • Dec. 31, 2011, 10:04 p.m. CST

    Superman, JL of Pac, etc....

    by 3774

    When I was little I got into Byrne's Superman launch through the Krypton 6-issue miniseries. The science-fiction angle and art concepts drew me in, and then against my normal impulses I bought Superman issue 1, and kind of got sucked in. I started losing a lot of interest over the course of time, and also got frustrated with all the other Superman titles I had to buy to keep up with the story. Eventually the death of Superman happened, and I formally checked out. With what I've seen of so far, Superman isn't Superman anymore. I don't know. I just don't care anymore. Justice League of Pop-a-Collah is neato in concept, but it just comes off like a bunch of teenagers. Lee's designs seem 90's dated, and everything he is as a creator is why I left comics. WildC.A.T.S. was good enough for me to hang on to, but Imagizing the DC universe? Meh. It's one of my boyfriend's titles, and we both read it. But to be honest, we still pick it up to hand it off to the young boy next door (the same one I gave my comic collection to), since he and his mother can't afford to feed his geekdom. If somebody were to say, 'Hey Pink, that insult's played, come up with something else. Peace.' I would have dropped it. But fuck-stick tried to assert some sort of dominance via insult, so I think I'll be using it for quite some time. I truly don't care what joenathan thinks, but if thinking I do brings a mental hug to his hollow existence, he can knock himself out.

  • Jan. 1, 2012, 1:51 a.m. CST

    A useless reality that doesn't really affect anything

    by kungfuhustler84

    Isn't that the entire Marvel universe in general? Hell, isn't all fiction just an alternate reality which doesn't directly impact our lives? Regardless, I consider a story to be capable of leaving ripples in our reality. The Bible certainly has. If a story has a compelling conflict, interesting complex characters and a well paced plot it's worth reading no matter what. Morrison's run on New X-men ended with an alternate history story where Beast turns evil and it was AWESOME. That said, if I check out AoA and it contains none of the above, then it probably is useless and I will have to cry over all the wasted time. I still enjoyed the heck out of Remender's Uncanny X-Force run, despite having never read AoA. I like how the alternate characters created new conflicts for the team from the 616 universe. I also really enjoy seeing today's writers play with older story ideas, polishing them and giving them a new sheen. Can anybody think of any other writers that have done that?

  • Jan. 1, 2012, 3:52 a.m. CST

    Morrison Evil Beast Pseudo Future/Follow Ups

    by Xenodistortion

    I loved that goddam story. Like AoA, it seemed super epic and cool as hell. I love how he threw in all the things that mad up his whole run, like those 50 plus issues were just a back story to this epic battle taking place a hundred years later that oly lasted four issues or something. If you read it and didn't read his whole run before that it makes zero sense. Good shit. Also, kungfujustler84, I do indeed love it when a writer can successfully play with an older story and make it awesome. I'm not a huge Remender fan, but I agree he's pulling it off well. Not alot of other people I can think of. At this point in mainstream superhero comics isn't everyone just playing with old story ideas at this time? I understand AoA is a specific thing and my previous statement is more of just a generalization, but I feel it holds a wee bit of truth. But hey, it's crazy hard to follow up on something spic and awesome. In movies we get shit like "The Thing" remake. We get more of the same in comics too. Did anybody read the Neil Gaiman Miracle Man run before it was cut short? I love me some good Gaiman, but it didn't come close to Moores'. In fact I was rather disappointed. I give props to anyone who can do a strong follow up to something interesting. Though I would take a cool original idea over a follow up to anything any day.

  • Jan. 1, 2012, 7:04 a.m. CST

    I have yet to read any of Moore or Gaiman's runs on Marvelman

    by kungfuhustler84

    or Miracleman, whatever. All I've seen are some reprints of the much earlier issues. I was hoping Marvel would re-release them but so far they have let me down in that regard...probably due to legal matters. ...and correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't that The Thing remake a remake of a remake? Carpenter's version is still my favorite though.

  • Jan. 1, 2012, 3:08 p.m. CST

    I take it back.

    by 3774

    I think it was a 4-issue miniseries for Krypton, that led into a 6 issue miniseries establishing Superman, before beginning with issue 1 of the regular series. I remember Krypton being pretty good, then the miniseries very good, and then thought 'what the hell' with issue 1, even tho I tend to prefer short, definitive runs. It sure would be neat if Huntress would get a regular title now.

  • Jan. 2, 2012, 4:30 p.m. CST

    I'm gonna go back and buy some of that old Morrison JLA stuff

    by Autodidact

    When I flip through it, it all looks incredibly goofy with amateurish art.. but I'm gonna give Vol. 1 a try.

  • Jan. 2, 2012, 5:51 p.m. CST

    Morrison's JLA

    by KLETUS_CASSIDY

    is great. I was put off by the art at first too but it grew on me. He makes the JLA larger than life and they are pretty much never just standing around...it goes from mission to mission with no down time...it's good stuff! i think i probably read the first two story arcs(?)...

  • Jan. 3, 2012, 7:12 a.m. CST

    Joenathan

    by Slaphappy Slim

    You know what tends to reflect poorly on a person? Starting a pointless, lengthy pissing match over their harmless attempt at humor. If you find a joke unfunny, ignore it and move on. Also, it's probably not a great strategy to tell someone their joke is "god fucking awful" and then tell THEM not to swear. Smug and superior doesn't tend to reflect well on a person, either.

  • Jan. 3, 2012, 11:41 a.m. CST

    autodidact- For your JLA adventure

    by kungfuhustler84

    I recommend Rock of Ages. Morrison had a couple of memorable stories, but I think my favorite is when Speedy has to use his dad's old trick arrows to save the rest of the team. That moment appears in Justice For All.

  • Jan. 3, 2012, 12:25 p.m. CST

    JLA

    by KLETUS_CASSIDY

    the story with the jail break and Prometheus is pretty awesome...

  • Jan. 3, 2012, 12:56 p.m. CST

    Alternate realities

    by MattAdler

    I'm not arguing that alternate realities are never fun to read about. I enjoyed the late '80s/early '90s volume of What If, because glimpses into what could be are usually fun. I enjoyed reading about Spider-Girl, because they built an entire world for her that stood on its own, just as the regular MU did. Where I think alternate realities fall down is when they're built on a specific premise (eg; "Oh noes, our world has become a nightmare/warped version of itself" or "We're headed for a disastrous future" and then someone pulls the rug out from under that concept and effectively tells you "Nah, that's just that other reality, we're not headed for that in the real timeline." If a world is compelling enough to stand on its own terms, then tell its story and let that be that. But if its entire impact is built on the possible effect it will have on the "real" timeline, and then you tell us, no, that's not a threat anymore... then what's the point? Hope I managed to articulate the difference there.

  • Jan. 3, 2012, 8:18 p.m. CST

    Threats, real or not, offer opportunities to reflect on characters

    by kungfuhustler84