Comics

AICN COMICS REVIEWS: Brian K. Vaughan’s SAGA! FAIREST! UNCANNY X-MEN! AKA! & MORE!!!

Published at: March 14, 2012, 9:14 a.m. CST

Issue #51 Release Date: 3/7/12 Vol.#10
The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: SAGA #1
RED LANTERNS #7
A.K.A. #1
UNCANNY X-MEN #8
SUPERBIA #1
NIGHT FORCE #1
THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #1
FAIREST #1
HELL YEAH #1


Advance Review: In stores today!

SAGA #1

Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


It takes confidence in your writing prowess to name a book with such gravitas and power. Even though Vaughan has been responsible for birthing some of the great classics of the new millennium including EX MACHINA, Y: THE LAST MAN and RUNAWAYS, I had a few reservations about him penning a sci-fi/fantasy hybrid that chronicled an eternal galactic war. His past books were also high concept focusing on epic worldchanging events, but as an author he has always remembered no matter how cool a concept might be it will never sustain without being wrapped within the shroud of human turmoil and triumph.

I should never doubt a batter who hits a thousand. While the story of SAGA is high concept and does involve a cavalcade of characters, Vaughan took the approach of chronicling events from the viewpoint of a lone individual and borrowed heavily from the works of Shakespeare and the Bible. SAGA is a little bit Jesus, ROMEO & JULIET, HAMLET and finally LORD OF THE RINGS. Vaughan pulls at every emotion tied to human existence from birth to death, while remembering his audience’s thirst for the fantastic and imaginative.

It all begins with birth, with a woman concerned about the same things any woman pushing a new life from her holiest of holes would be concerned with: “Am I shitting the sheets, will my man ever go near my vagina again after seeing the horror show that is new life, etc..” Quite honestly I thought the scene was playing out on Earth until we widen out the panels to see that Mom has tiny dragon wings and Dad is sporting the horns of a ram. For a minute I had to ask myself if another culture would be so close to our own, that the universal truths of human existence and our interpretation of the universe would transcend to other species on other planets. Would they say shit, would they care about vanity, would an advanced species be giving birth to a child in the back of a body shop? Then I realized I’ve never been to another planet…so why the hell not. Perhaps “Battlestar Galactica” is right and there really is only one interpretation of the sentient experience.

The birth is quickly interrupted by forces looking for both Mom and Dad and here’s where we get our first sense of the larger universe beyond simple physical alterations. Apparently this child is the spawn of two warriors fighting on opposite sides of a galactic battle. Mom comes from the largest planet in the universe, appropriately called Landfall, and Dad is from Landfall’s sole satellite called Wreath. As the book states, there is no time in recorded history when the inhabitants of these two celestial bodies were not at war, but realizing the destruction of one would wreak havoc on the ecosystem of the other, the war moved away from these two worlds to be fought amongst the stars--hence why our warring love child is born on a backwater planet called Cleave on the other side of the galaxy.

Without giving away too much (too late?), it seems like the war is imbedded firmly in the ideology of “to magic or not to magic?” Wreath wields magic with the effortlessness of Merlin’s taint and Landfall seems to subscribe to a technological doctrine. Of course, any technology seems like magic in the right context, but in the SAGA reality the two live side-by-side. Landfall’s defensive technology seems aptly suited for tracking and thwarting magic users in this great war and Wreath’s magic seems more than apt to battle Landfall’s technology, as our two new parents quickly learn by escaping forces looking for the product of their copulation. Apparently this star child is the first of her kind and both sides want a piece of her and the heads of her parents.

From this launch point we are dribbed and drabbed story threads to come: an aristocracy in decline on Landfall as a young Prince tries endlessly to gain his father’s approval, a bounty hunter sent to look for the new parents and the parents quest on Cleave to find a ship that will take them to a part of the galaxy untouched by war (Earth perhaps? time will tell).

I applaud Vaughan by letting the new life narrate the story from a past perspective. This lets us know the little girl Hazel will live, most likely to Vaughan’s usual end game of issue 60, but as she foreshadows on the last page, not all characters in SAGA will share the same happy ending – including her parents.

Staples’ art is glorious. She is a master of facial expressions, which is a must for anyone drawing a Vaughan book since so much of his wonder is found in the subtlety of his dialog. She also owns the grand sweeping space shots and other sci-fi trappings like Landfall’s creepy monitor-headed elite. There is not one panel of this book that felt stilted or unnecessary.

I have been thirsting for a book like SAGA. The sci-fi space opera has been all but dead in recent years, while the mix of magic makes it something wholly unique in the genre. I’ve also been desperate for another Vaughan book since he forsook comics to go write that damn TV show.

Welcome back, sir--let the SAGA begin.

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.


RED LANTERNS #7

Writer: Peter Milligan
Art: Ed Benes/Diego Bernard
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: The Writing Rambler


So the past several years of GREEN LANTERN lore, in a nutshell, have all been about colors and after I’ve finished reading this 7th issue of RED LANTERNS you can color me confused. I actually found myself going back and re-reading the 6th issue thinking I had possibly missed something because this issue seems out of place from where we left off. Unfortunately it wasn’t just in my head and we have yet another issue of missteps as I’m left waiting for this series (that I so often staunchly defend) to show something that will make me believe it will survive in the long run of the DCU. Help me, RED LANTERNS; give me something to defend you!

That’s just the start of my problems. I’d say I’m better now for venting, but I’m not. Let me clarify my feelings. Last issue we were left with Atrocitus and Bleez fighting for control of the Corps. The fight was brief and one sided as Bleez was manhandled, but it did give way to the idea that Atrocitus is truly losing control of the Corps. That’s where we stopped. Just an idea brought out to grow upon in future issues. Yet here we find ourselves just one issue later and apparently Bleez (who in case you forgot from my reference one sentence ago was just pummeled by Atrocitus) has seized control of the Corps and is leading them on a revenge mission against former members of Sinestro’s old Yellow Corps (which, unless you also read GREEN LANTERN, you’d be completely confused). On the flipside, Atrocitus seems to have gone on a vision quest and is off soul searching around the Red Lanterns’ home planet. The story still has not gone anywhere, but here we are branching off into new areas. I didn’t even mind seeing Bleez leading the Red Corps on a mission of revenge but we still haven’t even addressed the result of last issue so I can’t get behind it.

Speaking of behinds, I’m also officially getting tired of the cheap Bleez @$$ shots as well. I get it; she’s a hot monstrous alien. Seriously, I love the way Ed Benes draws this book but it’s like we can’t get through one issue without a forced close up shot of her best assets. Not to mention I read this comic digitally and noticed that when reading in panel view it actually moves to focus on her best cheesecake pose. Were this book better, I probably wouldn’t even care, but knowing effort is being wasted on things like this instead of building a great story is just getting under my skin.

Then we have my absolute biggest issue with this book right now. Besides the writing becoming more convoluted each issue and leading me to believe that Peter Milligan is just at a point where he is overwhelmed by too many ideas and doesn’t know where to go next, I have a personal vendetta against DC Comics right now as to their handling of the newest member of the RED LANTERN CORPS. For several issues we’ve been force-fed a backstory about a human who has become the first Red Lantern (despite both Hal Jordan and Guy Gardner having briefly possessed a red ring in the past, but that’s a whole ‘nother issue). It’s a story I haven’t particularly warmed up to as I care much more about the alien characters in the story, but nonetheless he’s here to stay so fine. What’s his RED LANTERN name you ask? Well, it’s Rankorr, of course…no, wait, it’s Rancorr with a C…no, wait, I’m looking at issue #6 and it’s definitely a K…what the #%^* is going on here? I’ll tell you what’s going on here. DC apparently cares so little about this book that on their own website they have his name spelled 2 different ways in the solicitations for issues 6 and then 7 (here check it out for yourself). Am I nitpicking? Sure I am. But it pisses me off either way and it’s a perfect example of how this series has become its own worst enemy by constantly jumping back and forth changing things.

Ohh, and don’t even get me started on the way the issue ends. It’s spoiler territory for anyone who follows the book, so I won’t comment, but yet again I don’t like where they have chosen to go in regard to Atrocitus, either. Sigh.

I think I’m going to stop here because frankly it just upsets me to have to rip on a book that I want to like so bad. I’m done reviewing this book for a while. I can’t see a point in wasting time angrily stewing in my thoughts about how much better this book should be by now. Sure I’ll keep reading because I have hope and I’m a sucker for Benes’ solid art on this series. I hope in the future I can report a positive change for this series but for now I’m going to leave it as it is, a big old mess that I wish I could help clean up.

You can follow The Writing Rambler on his blog here and follow on Twitter @Writing_Rambler !


A.K.A. #1

Writer: Stephen Walters
Illustrator: Rob Reilly
Publisher: Graphicly.com

Reviewer: Mr. Pasty

When you see that a comic book has “True Love” in its title, you probably don’t expect the opening panels to feature a big black pole and a little white hole. But then again, A.K.A is no ordinary comic. And if my way of dancing around interracial sex is lost on you, I’ll go ahead and spell it out: Page one opens with a big strapping black guy getting ready to penetrate a voluptuous white woman, who admits (while on all fours) that she’s scared of his hot beef injection. Yes, this is the kind of material you can expect from co-creators Stephen Walters and Rob Reilly, who use a tried-and-true (but nonetheless slippery) tactic of sheltering outrageous material under the “grindhouse” umbrella. Does it work? Well, that depends on your interest in the genre. Mine is tepid at best, but I have an appreciation for the presentation, much in the same way I like to ogle steampunk, despite not really having much of an affinity for it. As for A.K.A, I got a kick out of the way Reilly overdraws his characters to fit that 70’s grindhouse mold. Every male lead looks strong enough to bench-press a Volkswagen and every female is hotter than anything I’ll ever shag – excluding my wife, in the off-chance she’s reading this.

The plot is so thin you could practically floss with it and revolves around a mob enforcer, a bounty worth a lot of money, and someone they call “The Black Terror.” I won’t spoil it and tell you if it’s the same guy with the scary shlong, but this material is unbleached formula. So much, in fact, it should come in a bottle with a rubber nipple on it. But who cares? It’s also a blast to read but be forewarned, this is adults only. Funny, violent and slutty, A.K.A is the kind of comic where anything goes and no stereotype is safe. In fact, you’ll probably trip over a few of them from page to page. That said, the opening love scene (she says the L-word, therefore it qualifies as one) is a great piece of symbolism to kick this story off because everything gels here. No parts seem out of place and when you look at this book as a whole, it doesn’t just call itself “grindhouse” and go about its business, it actually plays out like a trip to the drive-in, circa 1976.

Before you ever set foot inside the bedroom of scandal, you get “coming attractions,” which are three mini-stories that play out like trailers before the “feature presentation.” They not only hold their own against the main story, they may even equal or surpass it, because they have such an energy and Creepshow-esque arc to them, it really kind of acts like a graphical fluffer. By the time the actual A.K.A story got underway, I was already revved up and ready to go. As far as recommending this book, I can’t imagine anyone getting a hold of it and being disappointed. Is it the kind of story you immerse yourself in on a lazy Sunday afternoon? No, but it’s not designed to be. This is a Friday night thrill-ride with wacky characters and outrageous action. Sorry, no caped crusaders or brooding super villains here, just the 1970’s in all its exploitative glory. Or is that gory? Either way, this one is definitely worth a look.

Web heads who can’t get enough of Mr. Pasty’s word vomit are encouraged to watch him operate as Nostradumbass over at MMaMania.com here. Love, hate and Mafia Wars requests should be directed here.


UNCANNY X-MEN #8

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Greg Land
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: The Dean


As far as wrap-up issues go, this one is pretty solid. It’s the kind of conclusion that makes me reflect on the arc it’s closing more favorably than I had expected to, and aside from the standalone Phalanx issue, UNCANNY X-MEN #8 is probably the best installment of the series so far. I’m still not entirely convinced that Kieron Gillen is a great long-term solution for the series, and I don’t see it excelling past its middle of the pack spot in the X title hierarchy anytime soon. With this issue, however, I’m at least convinced that Gillen can manage a title of this magnitude, and that he has a clear idea of who these characters are individually, which helps to define and separate them as a team from Jason Aaron’s X-Men as well.

The most noticeable difference with this issue is how quick it reads, despite the relative lack of action compared to previous ones. Where other issues felt a little flat and drawn out at points, this one keeps the momentum moving by limiting scenes to three or four pages at a time, in which Gillen manages to squeeze a great deal of personality or drama – be it the playful banter between Hope and Namor (Sue Storm may find his advances significantly less flattering if she hears about his diplomacy tactics here), or the brief but touching moments after the Cyttorak deforms Colossus, which was a plot point I hadn’t really cared for much until that moment. Magneto and Psylocke enjoy a tense moment toward the end, but Magneto still feels a little too absent in this series overall. I’d love to see him butt heads with Cyclops a little more, seeing as how they represent two radically different ideals that are bound to reveal themselves, and since all Cyclops seems to do is check in on people. I could lead the X-Men if all I had to do was ask them what they were working on.

I think what I’m most excited for about the X-Men leaving Tabula Rasa behind is escaping the melancholy greys, reds, and blacks that dominated the color from Guru eFX. Greg Land has been doing a great job on the title to this point, but the redundant colors have me begging for a change of scenery, and even the final pages of blue sky in this issue felt like a long awaited breath of fresh air. There are a number of panels in this issue that are worthy of pause to really admire his work, but Colossus on his knees, having an especially difficult time overcoming this particular Cyttorak indulgence, takes a while to leave.

Gillen captures a very classic X-Men vibe in this issue, which help to define a great deal of this past arc, and his run on the series as a whole. This may be an exception, since Cyclops’ intent has been to present his X-Men as a dominating force, but it was nice to see him and the rest of the team revert back to their more peaceful and understanding ways for an arc, before AvX really kicks off and Cyclops is made out to be a huge dickhead (merely a prediction, since events are usually not kind to Cyclops, and I’m one in a very small number of Cyclops lovers out there). This is no WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN, nor does it try to be, but it’s a decent enough alternative to the less than serious take on mutie life at the Jean Grey School for now.


GRACE RANDOLPH’S SUPURBIA #1 (of 4)

Creator & Writer: Grace Randolph
Artist: Russell Dauterman
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


The world of superheroes has always fascinated me, especially once you leave the capes and masks and instead examine what it would be like to live in that kind of world.

Clearly I’m not the only one, as countless of tremendous series have focused on such a concept. SUPURBIA is a fun, thoroughly enjoyable look into what it means to be married to such a character. What Randolph manages to do here, however, is really explore the spouses’ lives and their relationships with these characters. While each of the heroes offer interesting looks into these people, it’s not the driving force. Jeremy Metzger (the stay at home dad to an Amazonian warrior) and Helen Heart (the girlfriend of a reformed supervillain) especially present some very cool places that haven’t often been explored, at least to my knowledge.

All of this is complimented by enjoyable dialogue, clear characters, and the very solid art/colour by Dauterman and Cassata. A very fun start to what I hope continues to be a good title.

NIGHT FORCE #1

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artist: Tom Mandrake
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Professor Challenger


“Merlin, your damned Book of Night is becoming less helpful with every passing year.” -- Baron Winters

The original NIGHT FORCE comic book is one my favorite comic books ever. It was almost a spiritual sequel to Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan's work on Marvel's TOMB OF DRACULA (which they had recently concluded). TOMB OF DRACULA, itself, had developed over the years into quite easily the most complex and finest continuing horror comic ever published – at least up until Alan Moore took over SWAMP THING and broke new ground in the genre.

At the time that Wolfman and Colan completed their work on TOD, they both soon jumped ship over to DC to work on other titles separately (such as NEW TEEN TITANS for Wolfman and WONDER WOMAN for Colan). The two got back together to work on NIGHT FORCE--essentially a horror anthology book made up of multiple issue story arcs and Baron Winters serving as the supernatural “Mr. Phelps” to a group of, usually, unwilling participants on an impossible mission into the world of the occult. With TOD, there were still some limits at the time as to subject matter, but by the time NIGHT FORCE came about, there was more openness at DC to allow the exploration of more mature subject matter in books like NIGHT FORCE.

Each issue is a masterful excursion into horror noir with dramatic dynamic page layouts, cinematic pacing, and deep, dark shadows. Wolfman crafts unique individuals for each adventure – each with their own personal motivations and limitations. Somewhat unique to NIGHT FORCE was also the fact that it was highly unlikely that all the major participants were going to survive to the end of the story, or even succeed in their goals.

Baron Winters himself was a gruff, mysterious but aristocratic gentleman whose constant companion is the leopard named Merlin. There is much more to Merlin than he appears to be, but Wolfman wisely leaves that an ongoing mystery.

Flashforward to today and the environment at DC is once again open to giving NIGHT FORCE a shot. This time they are wisely doing the series as a closed mini-series rather than an ongoing series of stories. This way, if the title sells, Wolfman and crew can be commissioned to tell more stories of Baron Winters and his Night Force. If it doesn't sell, then they can collect it into a trade and make it available forever to those who search it out.

So, did I like it? Yes I did. Did I love it? No, I did not love it. I will reserve that judgment for the end of the story. But for right now, it's a good little start to another bloody and supernatural mystery. For now, all we need to know is there is some demonic, or otherworldly, conspiracy at work that looks to be attempting to birth some kind of demonic messiah or somesuch. For now, we get a bit of a hodgepodge of happenings that are not immediately clear as to how they are all connected. In fact, while Baron Winters seems nearly omniscient about most things, he is frustratingly in the dark about much of it at this point. For example, his mansion, which operates on differing planes of realities, has been infiltrated by agents of the Big Bad, but he is pulling together his Night Force and doing his best to work it through.

Visually, Tom Mandrake is doing some of his best and slickest work yet. Lots of moody shadows – perfect pairing of artist to writer (if we can't have the ghost of Gene Colan). He is well complimented by the color work of Wes Hartman. The story has a definite creepy feel to it. Winters is physically different than he was in the original series. That takes me a little getting used to, but I'm sure new readers wouldn't have a problem. In the NuDCU, there's an abundance of superheroes. How about giving a little non-superhero horror a try? I think you'll like it.

Prof. Challenger is Texas artist and writer, Keith Howell. You can read his stuff here and over at profchallenger.com. You can also get in on the ground floor of his new endeavor, "Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from Comic Books" here.


THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS #1

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Nick Pitarra
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


The Impossible Lab...

A good number of the comics I read are centered around some “Super Science Lab”, and even as a fan of that trope, it can get tired. It takes an especially good comic to make that pitch seem fresh, and Hickman’s new series for Image, THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS, is one of the finest examples in recent memory. Following Dr. Oppenheimer as he is recruited into the service, the comic is a tremendous first issue.

Writing: (5/5) Hickman has a knack for “Super Science”, which is on full display here. The main plot of the book centers on Dr. Oppenheimer’s induction into the Project, and is presented in the very cliché’ “Walk through the lab” sequence. What makes this scene stand above the usual fodder, however, is the sheer inventiveness of it. This is a comic that features Buddhist monk samurai death cyborgs. That’s one of the weirdest sentences I’ve ever typed, but it manages to be both surreal and believable at the same time. There’s a certain insanity to it all, but it never feels like it’s there to be strange just for the sake of being strange. Rather, it’s all quite exciting, and opens the door for future endeavors within this universe.

That’s not to say the personnel side of things is forgotten. Almost half of the issue is centered on Dr. Oppenheimer’s history, and it’s fascinating. Jumping back and forth between Joseph and Robert’s history, the reader is given an intriguing look into their stories, their differences, and scarily enough, their similarities. While the discrepancies are apparent, it’s the small similarities (the attention to detail, the spirituality present in both) that stand out the most. It takes what should be a simple background description and makes it extremely engrossing. These pages are brief but flawlessly convey so much about the characters.

Art: (5/5) Pitarra is tremendous in this issue. The framing is remarkable, leaving room for broad landscapes and tightening up for more personnel scenes. The attention to detail is tremendous, especially during the siege on the facility. Just look at the numerous grisly fight scenes and movements during the scene. All the chaos and brutality, amidst the leisurely pace of Oppenheimer walking up the stairs. It’s a brilliant character moment, and shows an attention to detail that’s regularly cast aside. It compliments the writing thoroughly, especially during the section where the history of Oppenheimer is shown. All of this is complimented by Peter’s colouring, which is likewise sensational.

Best Moment: The montage of the Oppenheimer twins growing up.

Worst Moment: I honestly can’t think of one.

Overall: (5/5) It’s rare that I’ve been this excited about a comic this early, but if the rest of the series can maintain the same energy, edge, and intrigue as this issue, then we’re looking at something special here.

Also, I am perfectly willing to kill a man if it means we get more of Einstein and the slab.


FAIREST #1

Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Phil Jimenez
Publisher: DC Vertigo
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


“Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the FAIREST of them all?” With Willingham’s latest spin-off to the FABLES-verse this question is more loaded than Lindsay Lohan and Drew Barrymore at their thirteenth birthday parties. Why? Because everything about this inaugural issue focusing on the fairer, but certainly not more gentle sex, is downright spectacular.

I’ll fully admit this review is written by a self-professed FABLES-aholic. Since issue 1, Willingham’s respect for Grimm canon made this universe and its inhabitants instantly recognizable, while his imagining of them in modern society made characters like Snow White, Bigby The Big Bad Wolf, and eventually Geppetto insanely interesting. Willingham is the only one to take the Grimm characters and give them a sustainable ongoing story. Sure, there’s always been one off comic miniseries and TV shows that have taken a swat at these characters, but they are either short lived or simply suck (looking at you ABC with The Charmings and “Once Upon a Time”). For over 100 issues, though, FABLES continues to reinvent itself to remain interesting and vibrant as each arc and mega arc close and lead to new adventures.

In recent years, though, fans have gotten antsy. As we grew to know each character better we saw a more finite focus given to individuals rather than the entire FABLES team. Miniseries like the wonderful CINDERELLA and story arcs like the current one involving Bigby & Snow’s cubs competing to become the new North Wind have almost obliterated the focus on other fan favorites. This is the problem with success: when faced with a stable of interesting characters how do you satiate fan thirst for deeper detail while balancing the need to sustain the greater universe? One could say “Have another big event.” The problem with that strategy becomes sensationalizing something that’s really a minor event, or even worse turning the term event into so much white noise.

The answer? Spin-off, baby…spin-off. Yes, these are usually sub-par material looking to monetize a trend (Remember The Ropers or the X-Men in recent years), but I’ll buy 1,000 books for a universe I love if the quality is top-notch. With FABLES I’ve never had to worry; there’s a care to all of the books that touch FABLES and it’s clear to see Willingham as a continued guiding force, even when he is not the primary author.

Future installments of FAIREST will see some of FABLES’ expanded universe creators like Chris Roberson from CINDERELLA coming back into the universe. For now though, we have the man himself, Willingham, tying together some loose threads from the Great War and unweaving a minor plot from the end of issue 107. The fiery redheaded narcoleptic Briar Rose is our first lady in waiting for some solitary story treatment. Even though her participation in the Great War was about as passive as one can get, her ability to sleep turned the tide of events in the Fables’ favor. Fans will remember her slumber being interrupted recently when she was absconded from the great city by the goblin hordes in their quest for treasure and glory.

FAIREST introduces us to another treasure hunter, the one and only Prince of Thieves, Ali Baba. In a routine scavenger mission, the “Prince” happens upon a magic bottle. Instead of delivering a wish granting genie though, this bottle is at first a perceived dud, delivering a wise cracking Bottle Imp that grants sarcastic quips over any monetary gain. He’s also a huge headache as Ali tries to understand the li’l fella’s propensity for mixing American culture with fable lore in each sentence he utters. He does it partly to be obstinate, but he’s also a victim of war, specifically the Great War where he served as a satellite of sorts providing intel to Geppetto’s forces on the strange ways of the mundy world.

Apparently Bottle Imps can’t provide direct monetary gain, but their ability for knowing things allows them to know where to ferret out money. In the case of this Imp, he knows of a Princess with a dowry that’s been sitting in a high yield 401K for years. To get this treasure Ali merely needs to wake Briar Rose with a kiss…oh, and fight off about a gazillion goblins as well.

Despite Jimenez’s august comic history, I worry whenever someone other than Buckingham takes on pencils. This goes beyond my love for illustrated margins; FABLES simply is not for every artist. Remember Allred’s turn at bat? Not so good. Fortunately, Jimenez is more than ready for this challenge. Each page is a visual sight to behold, whether close up on the Imp’s grimacing face or doing wide shots of the landscape. Exceptional cover art has also been a continued stable of the FABLES Universe. No one thought James Jean could be replaced until we met the wonderful João Ruas. Chrissie Zullo kicked major ass in CINDERELLA even though the cupie doll renderings were a far cry from the typical FABLES macabre. And now Adam Hughes has joined the club with his own unique style portraying the series as a whole as opposed to this singular issue. I’ll never fault a guy, though, for adding as many beautiful women as he can to…well, anything.

Great story, great art, and I think the episodic nature of this title will give it much greater staying power and variety than the more linear ongoing JACK OF FABLES.


HELL YEAH #1

Writer: Joe Keatinge
Art: Andre Szymanowicz
Publisher: Image Comics
Reviewer: The Writing Rambler


In comics we have some books whose title tells you what to expect. You’ve got your BATMAN, SPIDER-MAN, WALKING DEAD, AMERICAN VAMPIRE, etc. You have a good idea of what you’re getting into before you even open the book. Seeing a title like HELL YEAH had me curious at the least. I didn’t know what to expect; my thoughts ranged from a Stone Cold Steve Austin graphic novel to a story about following a heavy metal band. Interestingly enough, HELL YEAH is a superhero title, though not as simple as an origin story of someone getting powers and strapping on tights.

The book introduces us to Benjamin Day, a troublemaking student at one of the world’s most elite colleges (that’s in Portland) for people with powers. He has your typical anti-hero demeanor, getting in fights, not caring if he ruffles The Man’s feathers and all that other fun stuff. We learn that he’s the son of a war hero, who coincidentally was the first person to come in contact with superhumans. We also get to see some of Ben’s personal day to day interactions with his father and best friend (assumingly a future love interest). It’s a decent introduction to a new character, and although there’s a lot to process in this first issue, I enjoyed some of the quick flashbacks to roughly 20 years ago when this world was first introduced to superheroes. Joe Keatinge clearly has created a world he wants to share with readers, and although it jumps around at times I still think with time he can grow this book into something worth picking up on a monthly basis. Andre Szymanowicz follows suit with a decent outing here bringing the artwork to life, and while it’s not something that has me blown away, I do think it’s the right mix of real looking characters without becoming to “cartoony” like so many books often suffer from.

Overall I think this first issue did more right than wrong and I look forward to checking out where the series goes from here. There’s a decent cliffhanger and some other questions I’d like answered (like why is this society still using blimps? Is it just a WATCHMEN homage or is there more to it? I need to know!!!) that will keep me coming back for now. I found this book more enjoyable than several other #1’s that have been released recently (especially from DC & Marvel) so for that alone I’d say it’s worth your time.


Editing, compiling, imaging, coding, logos & cat-wrangling by Ambush Bug
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Readers Talkback

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  • March 14, 2012, 9:25 a.m. CST

    I just might have to pick up 'Saga'. Sounds interesting.

    by OSAMP1

  • March 14, 2012, 9:38 a.m. CST

    Damn you, Comics...

    by SpiderHarshaw

    I've been trying really hard to keep my expenses cut to the bone while my wife is in college, but I really, really want to follow Saga, Fatale, The Manhattan Projects, The Sixth Gun, Swamp Thing, and Animal Man monthly. Stupid poverty.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:43 a.m. CST

    I had to google "Bleez"

    by rev_skarekroe

    She's supposed to be hot? She looks like she's wearing one of those Kooky Spooks Halloween costumes with the inflatable heads.

  • I love BKV, Runaways and Y are two of my all time top 5 or 10 comics. But Saga sounds "less than" his other projects and I think I'll wait for the trade. Despite a postive review, it all sounds so very "been there, done that" and almost exactly like an old Hellblazer story I still have. Great X-Review, it puts a finger on why that is actually a favorite X-book of mine. It's not as silly as WatXM, not too continuity heavy (endless stories was a major reason I quit X-books back in the day) and yes, they don't all act like a$$holes, so thats a plus for me. Two glowing reviews for Superbia in two weeks.? With all this pimping, I guess I'll give it a try. Re: Last week. Animal Man storyline still not finished? Man, this is taking forever and lowering my love of the title. Swamp Thing is now better than Animal Man. Mostly because Im feeling that Animal Man hasnt had any big plot advancements. Last issue was a total filler and this issue has a large segment of "dream sequence" Also.. Children's Crusade. Wanda Maximoff has long been possibly my favorite Avenger, and I am very glad that she is back. I love the Young Avengers as well, so glad to see them getting published. But this last issue was so anti-climactice. It was more like the climax was in issue 8... except #8 was like the big build up to the titanic conclusion and there wasnt one. I guess it happened betwen issue 8 and issue 9? Issue 9 was like the standard denouement issue, with all the characters getting on with their lives. Just. So. Disappointing. Also, apparently Scarlet Witch has the power to make anyone in the Marvel Universe suddenly act like a huge douchebag. And not in a good way.

  • I may still buy the occasional volume of CRIMINAL, but I think I have to face the fact that I finally outgrew/lost my taste for this medium at some point in the past five years.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    I'll review my last trip to the comics shop

    by Autodidact

    THE BOYS vol. 9 Ennis has really gotten on a treadmill with this series. I thought the repetitiveness had gotten bad with vol.8 where Hughie spends the entire volume having the same argument about his girlfriend over and over again. In this volume, they pick up the argument again. And the rest of the volume is an endless repetition of "I need you guys to trust me"... "we do" over and over until I wanted to puke. I'm going to read volume 10 because I do want to see the final big fight that the whole goddamn series has been building up to. But after that I swear I am going to officially switch status from "guy who buys comics semi-regularly" to "guy who pops in the comic shop four times per year to get caught up on only the best non-superhero stuff." SUPERIOR hc collection This was so disappointing. I am now officially BEYOND SICK of Millar's juvenile superhero deconstructions. KICK-ASS, NEMESIS, and now SUPERIOR... they all suck and don't really deliver on the high-concepts that they promise. RED SON and WANTED are the only things Millar has written in the past ten years that I've found satisfying. CRIMINAL vol. 1 ("Coward") Have not read yet. Expect I will really enjoy it if it's anywhere as good as volume 6.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:14 a.m. CST

    Uncanny

    by NightArrows

    I really enjoy Greg Land's art, but over-all I MUCH prefer Wolverine and the X Men. THAT series has had some great laughs, and some great writing. The art needs improvement though. Bachalo's work was great, except for his action sequences. The current artist is capable, but the art does nothing for me. Cyclops IS a huge dick and I'm sure during, and after, the events of X-vs-A he will truly and finally be dead to me.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:31 a.m. CST

    I agree with nightarrows...

    by art123guy

    Wolverine and the X Men is quite a bit of fun and much better than Uncanny because it's different from the usual X-Men stuff. Uncanny X-Men just feels like a continuation of, well, the first Uncanny X-Men series. Wolverine and the X Men has a mix of new and old characters which is what also makes it fresher than Uncanny. I love Broo, Kid Gladiator and Quentin and how they interact with the teachers. It's just fun all around for me.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:41 a.m. CST

    Blurg.

    by 3774

    Alpha Girl hit me on a deep personal level, because the depiction of her home life was like reading a biography of mine. So I freely admit that my opinion on the quality may be distorted by that. But as far as the artwork goes, I thought the whole rough, indi fan-zine-style enhanced the grittiness and humor, not detract. It's a funny thing that you guys tore down Once Upon a Time in the podcast, because I recently got heavy into that show. I've never read Fables before. I'll pick up Fairest issue 1, and if I get hooked on it, I'll take a look at any trades Fables might have. Here's a tip, guys. If your girlfriend watches a show you think is dumb, and she admits it's dumb but watches it anyway, it means you're probably making her feel guilty about it. Leave her alone and let her watch it in peace. @ Optimus: I was sold on Saga from a review on another website. A recommendation from you is shaky with me now, because I bought the first issue of American Vampire after all the prostrating worship here, and it was somewhere between 'meh' and just ok. It was only $2 (the back issues are all discounted, and I'm wondering why), so I might or might not get issue 2 to see if it gets any better. I saw that there was a miniseries at some point. Maybe I should have got that instead. @ Homer: What was with that disturbing sexual moment at the end of Children's Crusade, with a grown man giving a teen girl a backrub, and Spidey shooting an unwanted wad into a guy's hands? That just looked really wrong, somehow. But I don't follow the series, so is there context I'm missing, or was the artist just being weird?

  • March 14, 2012, 10:51 a.m. CST

    Wolverine and the X Men

    by NightArrows

    Having Toad as the janitor is just awesome. The "I'll kill you all in your sleep" mumbled line was hilarious.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:56 a.m. CST

    Yes, the Toad is also incredible...

    by art123guy

    ...again, it's nice to see these older characters in a different light.

  • March 14, 2012, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Pink - Am Vam

    by optimous_douche

    Fair enough, our tastes very well might be different. You can't judge Am Vam on the first issue alone though and here's why: Stephen King. Once he gets out after the first arc is over it becomes a wholly new glorious experience. I also think you will appreciate Pearl's journey as time progresses.

  • March 14, 2012, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Stephen King?

    by Homer Sexual

    Eww... worse decline than Chris Claremont or Frank Miller. Maybe I'll check out the second trade then. Maybe...hard to get into anything Vampiric at this point. Pink... I dont recall those specific scenes but it sounds like more dumb Spider Man stuff. I don't know who was getting a back rub? Hawkeye? I think she's the only teen girl left at this point. From who? I just cant remember enough to comment. Like I said, that whole issue was just a bunch of disappointing fluff/nothingness.

  • March 14, 2012, 11:52 a.m. CST

    Wreath wields magic with the effortlessness of Merlin’s taint....

    by Gabe Athouse

    ...aaaannd that's where I stop reading.

  • March 14, 2012, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Your Loss Will Be Felt Across Comicdom Hyperdyne

    by optimous_douche

  • March 14, 2012, 12:06 p.m. CST

    Am Vam

    by optimous_douche

    The first arc is very disjointed. Snyder handles the task of Skinner Sweet in the roaring twenties and introduces his "protege" Pearl. Great stuff. King has the second half cementing Skinner's name from the Old West and here is where the book really slows down. King simply isn't a comic writer - too verbose. Exhibited this chink in armor time and time again.

  • March 14, 2012, 12:39 p.m. CST

    My LCS guy said that saga

    by gooseud

    Was one of the best first issues he had read in 10 years, since Walking Dead #1. Take that for what it's worth.

  • March 14, 2012, 12:41 p.m. CST

    Am Vam gets way better

    by gooseud

    The first arc is disjointed. It picks up like a Mack Truck going down a mountain. Then you get to be like the rest of us, agonizing over whether you love Skinner Sweet or want him to die a horrible death.

  • March 14, 2012, 12:46 p.m. CST

    Wolverine and the X men is the best Marvel book on the stands....?

    by gooseud

    I'll type one sentence: Kitty gets infected with miliions of microscopic Brood, making her look pregnant, leading Kid Gladiator, son of Gladiator, to shrink himself to microscopic size and jump into Kitty's bloodstream, gleefully smashing Brood left and right in Kittys veins while exclaiming "I will not be defeated, white blood cells!!" Now , if upon reading thAt sentence, you find yourself thinking that Book sounds lame.....I recommend taking the Autodidact route and quitting comics altogether, because you have lost your capacity for fun.

  • March 14, 2012, 1:08 p.m. CST

    My biggest fear with Wolverine and the X-Men is...

    by art123guy

    ...keeping the humor going. I fear that once Jason Aaron leaves, so will the humor, or maybe the TONE of the humor. Jason Aaron gets it and is nailing it each issue. gooseud--I couldn't agree with you more.

  • March 14, 2012, 1:42 p.m. CST

    This gets me to thinking.....best writer in comics?

    by gooseud

    Is it Aaron? I mean, he writes wolverine and x men.....and Scalped. The breadth of talent is staggering. But does he hold the belt? Or maybe...Snyder?

  • March 14, 2012, 1:59 p.m. CST

    It's BKV for me...

    by Homer Sexual

    Vaughan is totally my favorite, even if Ima wait till the trade for this latest Saga of his. He does human and he does story. He has action plus characterization. Palmiotti and Gray are next on my list. Aaron and Snyder are both solid, to me, much like Liu, Simone, Cornell... I dont think Wolverine and the X-Men is that good (its good, but not THAT good) and I don't like Snyder's Batman, it bored me.

  • March 14, 2012, 2:40 p.m. CST

    Homet, bkv

    by gooseud

    Only lack of output gives me pause. Ex machina was a Masterpiece of slow burn storytelling , where those last 12 issues changed everything you knew about the story. Also probably in my top 5 as far as final issues go.

  • March 14, 2012, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Homer, submitted for your scrutiny...

    by 3774

    http: //i42.tinypic. com/30rpmd2 .jpg[/IMG] 15 will get you 20, Ant Man!

  • March 14, 2012, 3:02 p.m. CST

    pink_apocalypse--I agree, but it's Scott Lang, Ant Man

    by art123guy

    not Eric O'Grady, Ant Man.

  • March 14, 2012, 3:46 p.m. CST

    SAGA was amazing.

    by bob_uzumaki

    I want our daughter to see the Universe

  • March 14, 2012, 3:48 p.m. CST

    The best marvel book on stands

    by bob_uzumaki

    Definitely is Waid's Daredevil. Or Slott's Spidey. Amazing, they are.

  • March 14, 2012, 4:02 p.m. CST

    I wont object to Waid's DD

    by gooseud

    That book is freakin great. Waid is on friggin fire right now.

  • March 14, 2012, 6:40 p.m. CST

    Y: THE LAST MAN....

    by Tom Fremgen

    Seriously what was up with that book? I read half of it and found it boring and very cliche. Mind you, that's not a horrible thing, but when people call it a master piece- then I just don't get it.

  • March 14, 2012, 7:59 p.m. CST

    I found Saga to be highly derivative

    by Majin Fu

    And I'm a huge fan of Vaughn's Runaways after reading the whole series for the first time a few months ago. Now that was some exciting, original writing! Next to that, Saga looks like a cheap Star Wars knockoff with some L. Frank Baum tossed in for good measure. Not a bad story per se. It's a decent comic with serviceable art but not the second coming some have made it out to be. Prophet, Glory, Orc Stain, and even the new Conan the Barbarian were all more memorable, enjoyable reads for me, and the art was much better for all of those other books as well, imo.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:05 p.m. CST

    Maijin, you really think Prophet's art is better?

    by gooseud

    I think that book is really intruiging in its premise, and I am certainly reading it, but the art looks like it was done by the Geico cavemen

  • March 14, 2012, 9:12 p.m. CST

    Okay maybe not better than Prophet, it's arguable

    by Majin Fu

    I just like the way Campbell illustrates big tough women as big tough women.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:20 p.m. CST

    While ABC's Once Upon a Time is no Fables...

    by Gislef_crow

    It's perfectly adequate in its own right, given the constraints of network TV, special effects, and how much of an ensemble cast you can afford. OUaT is above average for TV, but merely average by comic book standards. So by comparison, it tends to suffer next to Fables.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:48 p.m. CST

    Saga and Wolverine and the X-men

    by Joenathan

    I didn't buy it, but I almost did. Good art, but I fall on the trade-wait side on that one. Also, I echo the Wolverine and the X-men love. I'm glad Bacchelo is gone, but this new guy is just alright. The book has got all the great flavor of the old X-books, but doesn't wallow and stagnate in nostalgia. It feels familiar and brand new. Really funny and great adventures so far. Love the kids the most. Between here and FF, I'm already jonesing for a new future of Marvel book starring these characters. Love issue #4 with the phopetic flash forward. Great book.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:50 p.m. CST

    Best writer in comics?

    by Joenathan

    Between FF and Ultimates and SHIELD and Secret warriors, I'm going with Hickman. I went to the LCS today and can't believe I missed the Manhatten Projects, I'll have to go back tomorrow.

  • March 14, 2012, 9:53 p.m. CST

    Finally

    by Joenathan

    Let's applaud Autodidect. It's hard to admit that something you used to love just isn't for you anymore, that in fact, you don't even really like it. I had to do the same for Star Wars. It's difficult, but it is for the best. You'll be happier and so will comics. The sooner the day comes that the rest of the angry old fans who didn't change with the industry find something else to do that they actually enjoy, the better. Good job at recognizing the truth, man.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:22 p.m. CST

    it cant be Hickman

    by gooseud

    Because, while he writes like Ellis if Ellis actually cared about characters ..... The Red Wing was a clunker. There is no other way to put it, it wasn't good. You can't be #1 with a misfire like that on your recent resume, although Hickman is clearly wildly creative. Almost too much so, I worry he's going to simply float away into head-up-own-ass zone like many gifted comics writers....except of course Bru, who I picture hanging out in smoky jazz bars after hours drinking whiskey and smacking around dames.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:38 p.m. CST

    Mocking Hyperdyne means mocking a national treasure!!

    by 3774

    I'm just kidding, I don't recall ever seeing him before. But in his defense, a lot of the humor here should come with a disclaimer reading 'Warning: Not For Mature Readers'.

  • March 14, 2012, 10:42 p.m. CST

    Y The Last Man IS overrated...BUT.......

    by gooseud

    overall I have always thought YTLM to be wildly overrated and kinda, dare I say, boring.....However, it goes in the pantheon for me (and I suspect, alot of people) because of two reasons: a plot twist near the very end that took balls the size of watermelons to even consider doing, and what I would argue is pretty much everyone's favorite final issue of all time (or top 3 at worst), and deservedly so. What a fantastic ending. If there is ever a comics Hall of Fame, the last issue of Y gets a plaque.

  • March 15, 2012, 12:06 a.m. CST

    What?

    by Joenathan

    Come on. Red Wing may have clunked at the end, but everyone gets one failure, especially if they're shooting for the stars when it happens. Besides, it looked good while it was thunking... Either way. Fantastic Four #600. Fucking awesome. 99 pages of all new content. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

  • If I hated it THAT much, I wouldn't sit there and watch it with her, I would go read in the other room. The show is terrible IMO, but I keep hoping that the actors involved will bring something interesting to the cheesy, jilted scripts...and occasionally they do. There are genuine moments in the show, but they are few and far between. I don't put anyone down for liking the show, I just wish it was better. And the first seasons of MANY shows suck, but get better as it goes, so I keep hoping it'll improve.

  • March 15, 2012, 7:33 a.m. CST

    Hickman

    by Laserhead

    The Fantastic Four finale this week was fucking great. But Hickman's way too spotty. SHIELD is awful, and The Red Wing was a senseless turd. He's definitely up there, for Secret Warriors and Fantastic Four, but I'm more inclined to label Jeff Parker or Jason Aaron or Rick Remender the best guy at Marvel right now. We might say 'Jeff Parker is the best writer of Marvel characters at Marvel now'. And, of course, the best comic book writer in the world is now and will always be Grant Morrison.

  • March 15, 2012, 7:35 a.m. CST

    So DC's new 52 was built to streamline their universe...

    by Mickster_Island

    ...because they think that new readers will reject anything complex or confusing. And they have a whole series called Red Lantern. I've even read a hundred or so GL comics in my time and I don't know what the hell the Red Lanterns are. And their very existence makes me resistant to buying any of the new GL stuff.

  • March 15, 2012, 7:39 a.m. CST

    Wolverine and the X Men

    by NightArrows

    Alright, the current issue is simply awesome. This is one of, if not my favourite read right now. Haven't read the new Uncanny yet, but it's on the table waiting for me...

  • March 15, 2012, 7:42 a.m. CST

    Once should be good. It's ripping off a great book.

    by Mickster_Island

    I've watched most of them with my wife. They just refuse - at every turn - to ever be engaging. It's like they think that dullness is the key to maintaining that real-world facade. There have been a few moments where feelings could have been stirred that are just wasted. No tension. Except for Carlyle. He's good in the fairy tale world. And all the meaning in any given fairy tale is stripped because connecting them is more valuable than their simplicity. So Rumpelstiltsken is the Beast? I thought Beast was supposed to be a good guy in the end? So you're saying Belle's love is not good enough then?

  • March 15, 2012, 8:19 a.m. CST

    Overreaction, thy name is Joe

    by gooseud

    I'm not saying Hickman isnt good LOL Hes clearly really good. He and Warren Ellis were born to write FF, just like Bru was born to write Cap, Morrison was born to write Shazam/Captain Marvel (even though he will never get the chance), Ennis was born to write the Punisher, and Bendis was born to write Spidey. I'm just saying that Red Wing was, as the guy above me said, a turd. And do you know WHY it was a turd? Because I truly believe there are a small cadre of really talented writers who work far better on corporate Big Two stuff where they have an editor to rein them in and make sure they arent going too far off the reservation. Mark Millar is absolutely head and shoulders at the top of that list, and Hickman is right there near the top as well. There is no denying the man's talent though.

  • March 15, 2012, 8:22 a.m. CST

    Saga was derivative.......of what, exactly?

    by gooseud

    West Side Story maybe?

  • March 15, 2012, 9 a.m. CST

    C'mon Gang Every Story is Derivative

    by optimous_douche

    I defy anyone on this board to find me a story that hasn't borrowed or outright stole from a prior. These days it's all about the mix and match.

  • March 15, 2012, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Mickster Don't Write Off GL

    by optimous_douche

    GL proper has very little (almost nothing) to do with the Skittle League. Yellow Lanterns yes, but they've been around before. Avoid GL New Guardians if you have little tolerance for the new status quo in GL

  • March 15, 2012, 9:04 a.m. CST

    Sage is amazing

    by MainMan2001

    I really fucking loved this comic. Damn. When I was reading it, it felt like i was reading something special.

  • March 15, 2012, 9:06 a.m. CST

    Hell Yeah and The Manhattan Project is worth checking out too.

    by MainMan2001

  • March 15, 2012, 9:09 a.m. CST

    Pink - Poo Poo Wee Wee Ha Ha

    by optimous_douche

    I think it goes without saying that AICN is no Time Magazine. I don't fault Hyperdyne for bailing on my review, his choice, different strokes for different folks. I wish him the best. To call it out in the TalkBacks though is reviewing the review. That I find very very sad. There's a gazillion other sites that provide your basic plot synopsis weeks before we give the books coverage. Don't like a little 14 year old humor mixed with deep pontificating, the Google search is at the top of everyone's browser.

  • March 15, 2012, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Saga is NOT derivative! You know what is? Hell Yeah

    by gooseud

    There is a difference between "utilizing classic themes" and "derivative". Sure, Saga seems to be using the "lovers from the opposite sides of the tracks" theme........like 5,417,942 other works of fiction. All I know is, when you got to the splash page where the giant fucking turtle is battling the techno-dragon-flying thingy while the armies blast away at one another, I was thinking alot of things, but "Gee isnt this derivative" isnt one of them. Hell Yeah on the other hand........havent we seen this before? Yet another "What if super heroes were actually real in our world" story? Heres the thing: Ennis has pretty much written the book on this with The Boys (terrible first 15 issues aside). You arent going to do it better then he has over the past few years (to say nothing of Kick Ass (hmmm.....Kick Ass/Hell Yeah?), LAst of the Greats, A God Somewhere, etc etc. Its just a theme that seems sooooooo.........tired. Why do you think people love Wolvy and the X men? Because that book says: "What if super heroes were actually real? Well guess what? THEY ARENT, MOTHER FUCKERS!! Space Casinos, Living Islands, and Micro Brood pregnancies up in this shit!!"

  • March 15, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    You want something totally original? Read X Force

    by gooseud

    I have no idea whats going on in that book on an issue to issue basis, but Ill give it credit: there is NOTHING like it.........maybe ever. It is 100%, completely and totally its own thing. This current Captain Britain arc, I only really understand maybe one out of three panels..........but it is interesting, Ill give it that.

  • March 15, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    'The Strange Talent of Luther Strode' was great.

    by Laserhead

    That was some fun comics. Spider-Man meets Flex Mentallo meets Asian grindhouse. Best super-hero origin story I've read in a few years.

  • March 15, 2012, 10:09 a.m. CST

    LAserhead, and the Luther Strode guys are awesome

    by gooseud

    They did a signing a few weeks ago at my LCS and you couldnt find two nicer guys. Although the artist looks like Justin Bieber and the writer looks like the 3rd guitarist for ZZ Top. There a second Luther Strode book coming this winter.

  • March 15, 2012, 12:26 p.m. CST

    Why the fuck are you guys talking about Once upon a time?

    by Joenathan

    For reals

  • March 15, 2012, 12:31 p.m. CST

    Rememder and PArker

    by Joenathan

    are definitely NOT the best. They're bland and clunky. Their dialogue is terrible. To call someone "the best" they have to have multiple mega successes and Rememder and Parker have zero Mega-successes, they just have middle of the road books, no cross-overs and no icons. Brubaker? (not enough humor and Cap has gone a bit stale.) Millar? (his failures are now out weighing his successes) Bendis? (highest of highes, but some of the Avengers have been low) Hickman? (SHEILD is great, Redwing stunk) I think it should be him for MArvel, at least right now. Maybe Morrison is the answer. Sea Guy IS awesome...

  • March 15, 2012, 12:54 p.m. CST

    Wrongo!

    by Laserhead

    Parker and Remender far from clunky. They both write great dialogue. Remender has the only genuinely funny Deadpool. Parker's Thunderbolts and Red Hulk are two of Marvel's best superhero books. Bendis? No highs! SHIELD? Clunks to a halt due to the turgid grinding of its filigreed plot convolutions. Morrison? No defense needed.

  • March 15, 2012, 1:05 p.m. CST

    Because it was brought up on the podcast...

    by 3774

    ...And it's indirectly related to Fables. It's not rocket science, Joe. Or should I assume by your grammer that you've been drinking. That's bad form this early in the day. Get your life in order. Reminds me of a Family Guy clip that made my boyfriend laugh his butt off, when the guys are at the Clam and get sidetracked with a discussion of something or other. Then Joe freaks out and pounds the table. THIS IS STUPID, I WANNA TALK ABOUT VAGINAS!! @ the apparently wounded JD: I'm not saying you're a guilt-dispensing ogre. It's just that trying to watch something with someone who isn't getting nearly the same enjoyment can be an unspoken drag. Nothing ever applies to everyone, but you're only going to find a minority of women that are genuinely into action movies, horror or porn. The same is true for guys and romantic drama, particularly what I like to call, emotion porn. That's clearly what Once Upon a Time is, or at least is becoming. Griping about what the show is would be like complaining about mindless kills in a horror movie. Yes, what you are watching may not be very good, but are you sure it's a demographic you're truly intersted in? It's not high fantasy - it's a soap opera wearing a high fantasy halloween costume. Accept that and go in peace, or continue to bemoan how it isn't Fables. Frankly, I'm stunned there are guys watching it. My boyfriend watched it for about five minutes, and I patted the couch next to me. He just laughed and said 'no thanks', and took his dog outside. He's a hardcore fantasy fan, and he saw right through it for what it is. I watch it guilt free, just like I do with YnR.

  • March 15, 2012, 2:04 p.m. CST

    Why All the REDWING hate?

    by optimous_douche

    I'm curious....

  • March 15, 2012, 2:13 p.m. CST

    I hate to agree with Joe, but....

    by Homer Sexual

    I agree with all of his assessments, except I'm not super into Hickman. But I've only read his Secret Avengers, NOTHING could make me interested in the Fantastic Form. If Mark Waid was cooler, he'd be Jeff Parker. Parker does a decent Thunderbolts (cause he does a good job with story, less so with characterization) but everything else I've read by him was super boring and dry. Remender has a following, that's apparent, but the X-Force intro to Age of Apocalypse was terrible, just awful. His parts of the Venom Circle of Four were fine, but nothing outstanding. X-Men Legacy was good again, surprisingly... it's like the 90s X-Men, but it doesnt suck.

  • March 15, 2012, 2:16 p.m. CST

    Optimus, the Redwing Hate

    by gooseud

    is because he fell into the latter day Warren Ellis Supergod trap: he got so caught up in all that super-cool-wowsers science he wanted to tell us about that he forgot to give us actual characters to care about. I have no idea who anyone was in Red Wing. I dont know their name or why they were doing what they were doing. Some kid and his dad or something....? In addition, the science was damn near inscrutable in its complications. Dont get me wrong, theres a place for that, but you have to have the characters. Look at Brubaker on Incognito. Do you realize we are, what, 10 issues in? 15? and I still have no idea what Zack Overkill's powers are? Because Brubaker understands that stuff isnt nearly as important as making you care about the characters. You cant fall so far into techno jargon that you forget to give us someone to give a crap about.

  • March 15, 2012, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Oh, and Suicide Squad also rocked!

    by Homer Sexual

    Very much enjoyed the conclusion to the Hunt for Harley Quinn... great characterization of Harley, for the first time since the reboot. The end would upset me if I thought it was "real" and it was effective as a cliffhanger. Final book I read was the new Stormwatch, which was kinda good but heavy on the "tech geek" aspect, making me wonder how long people will stick with it..

  • March 15, 2012, 2:45 p.m. CST

    I Guess I'm Truly A Nerd

    by optimous_douche

    Agree on all points Goose. I'm just so geeky that the technojargon was enough to keep me entertained. Explains why I always preferred Star Trek to Star Wars.

  • March 15, 2012, 2:50 p.m. CST

    Greg Land sucks

    by textual

    It's those goofy ass grins he puts on everyone. Can't stand it.

  • March 15, 2012, 3:25 p.m. CST

    GOOFY GRINS

    by Homer Sexual

    totally true! I never paid that much attention, and overall I like his photo art, but everyone does have joker grins.

  • March 15, 2012, 3:46 p.m. CST

    *deep breath* NUUUUUUURRRRDDDD!!!

    by 3774

    This was the first February since 1984 to have 5 Wednesdays and Marvel is padding [their own and the industries] numbers by double-shipping the heck out of their catalog and having the most expensive comics in the market. So while more comics were ordered this month and more dollars were spent it seems like at least one publisher is squeezing more out of their current readers rather than gaining any new ones.

  • March 15, 2012, 3:50 p.m. CST

    Ok, let's try that again.

    by 3774

    Star Trek over Star Wars, definitely. That doesn't even need discussion. Back to comics, check this write-up of numbers out. Sales are up, but not really. But are. QUOTE DESIGNATED HERE DUE TO STUPID ANTIQUATED SITE - This was the first February since 1984 to have 5 Wednesdays and Marvel is padding (their own and the industries numbers) by double-shipping the heck out of their catalog and having the most expensive comics in the market. So while more comics were ordered this month and more dollars were spent it seems like at least one publisher is squeezing more out of their current readers rather than gaining any new ones. - QUOTE END DESIGNATED HERE DUE TO STUPID ANTIQUATED SITE SHATTERED LINK HERE DUE TO STUPID ANTIQUATED SITE - http : // tinyurl. com / 828naxv

  • March 15, 2012, 4:56 p.m. CST

    JD is ALWAYS wounded.

    by Poptard_JD

    like stigmata. i WANT to like the show..I have no problem with the concept, it's awesome. I don't think it's a "guy" thing, it's a "bad quality" thing.

  • March 15, 2012, 5:58 p.m. CST

    Oh wait, I got the art from Prophet and Glory mixed up!

    by Majin Fu

    Glory has the big tough women as big tough women, while Prophet has the gritty alien world. Both still look more intriguing than Saga in my opinion.

  • March 15, 2012, 6:26 p.m. CST

    Saga

    by Majin Fu

    Ok, so criticizing a story in the 21st century for being derivative is silly, but when your story is a hodgepodge of every other "saga," it's hard for me to get interested. Like I said earlier, it was a solid first issue (the extra pages helped) but it's par for the course when a dozen other writers have already told the same story before. Also, this is supposed to take place in a magical new world right? So why is one guy complaining about stuff like an app auto-updating on his phone? Like the rest of the story, that's just not very imaginative, or creative. But if you guys want to cream your jeans over it, I won't stop you.

  • March 15, 2012, 6:56 p.m. CST

    Mr. Cream Jeans hehehehe

    by optimous_douche

  • March 15, 2012, 6:57 p.m. CST

    I Got Pink's Back with Once Upon A Time

    by optimous_douche

    Seen every episode and it is chick porn. Let's move on

  • March 15, 2012, 7:27 p.m. CST

    did someone disagree with it being chick porn?

    by Poptard_JD

  • March 15, 2012, 8:58 p.m. CST

    Once upon a time

    by Joenathan

    I've never watched it, but I read several chick reviewers who like "that kind of stuff" and they basically called it the crappiest crap in all of crapdom, so I'm just surprised to find people who like that shit. It's like the Birds of PRey TV show, you assume there were a few fans, but still... it's shocking to actually see one in the wild. They're like Big Foot.

  • March 15, 2012, 9 p.m. CST

    Laserhead

    by Joenathan

    You may have terrible taste, as evidenced by your trumpeting of Remender and Parker, but to say that Bendis has NO highs...? Now you're just being obstinate. He has several great books. I mean, shit, man... I don't take Kingdom Come away from Waid, do I? No. I just say he sucks NOW... See? Bendis is hands down one of the greats. Even if you don't like his stuff, to deny that he hasn't made some good books is to lie.

  • March 15, 2012, 9:02 p.m. CST

    Optimus/Red Wing

    by Joenathan

    I didn't hate Red Wing. I thought it was cool, but in the end, it really was nothing but nonsense jibberish. Cool nonsense jibberish, but nonsense jibberish all the same. Also, the main vein of BOTH Star Wars and Star Trek suck balls. Enterprise? The Prequels? Eat it, nerds.

  • March 15, 2012, 9:03 p.m. CST

    Homer

    by Joenathan

    I love you most of all. Of all of them, you recognize reason, even if you don't like that it's true. You are a paragon that all Talkbackers strive for. Post on, you beautiful bastard, post on.

  • March 15, 2012, 9:05 p.m. CST

    That being said Homer

    by Joenathan

    Before Hickman joined Fantastic Four, I would have felt the same way: Uninterested. Since he's been on them? Pure awesome sauce.

  • March 16, 2012, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Joe

    by Laserhead

    Thanks, man. I needed a good laugh. To each his own, I suppose, but all I see in Bendis is a fifth-rate TV writer who couldn't make it in Hollywood, shoving his Aaron Sorkin West Wing worship into the ill-fitting form of comic books. You seemed to indicate you had a problem with clunky dialogue (while also demonstrating that you don't exactly know what clunky dialogue is). So here's an indisputable fact: Bendis writes and has always written the clunkiest dialogue in all of comicdom. I started to make a list here, but you know what? I don't need to point out how poorly Bendis writes. He does that for me. And really, you're just waving your ass in the breeze where Remender and Parker are concerned. It sounds like you haven't read any of the books I've mentioned. So you should just politely say, "You know what? I don't really know what I'm talking about. I'll go study Thunderbolts and X-Force, good books, good films, and then, maybe, realize that Bendis is just the world's most frustrated 'Gilmore Girls' writer." Or don't. I could give a shit.

  • March 16, 2012, 10:23 a.m. CST

    Puh-lease

    by Joenathan

    I've read them both. I just finished the first volume of X-Factor after attempting to give Remember a chance because Secret Avengers wasn't half bad. And it was...? Fart. The problem with him and with Parker (his Thunderbolts is a pale, pale shadow of Ellis' greatness) is that they aren't bad, they're just very much NOT great. Neither one has ever written a single scene as true, funny, and awesome as the time Ultimate Kitty called Ultimate Peter up on a date. You know why? Because Bendis is waaaaaaaaaaaay better than them. That's why he's on top and they're just B-squad bitches. Face

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