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AICN COMICS REVIEWS: BEFORE WATCHMEN THE COMEDIAN! DAREDEVIL! FLESH & BLOOD! DANGER GIRL/GI JOE! MARS ATTACKS! SHOWDEVILS! & MORE!!!

Issue #12 Release Date: 7/18/12 Vol.#11
The Pull List
(Click title to go directly to the review)
Advance Review: BEFORE WATCHMEN: THE COMEDIAN #2
DANGER GIRL/GI JOE #1
SHOWDEVILS #1
FANTASTIC FOUR #608
FLESH & BLOOD: BOOK ONE
DAREDEVIL #15
BROKEN PIANO FOR PRESIDENT #1
JUSTICE LEAGUE #11
THE LOOKOUTS #1
MARS ATTACKS #2
Advance Review: GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK #4
CHEAP SHOTS!


Advance Review: In stores today!

BEFORE WATCHMEN: COMEDIAN #2

Writer: Brian Azzarello
Artist: JG Jones
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


For the purists who got @$$ed up about the liberal changing of history and comic/movie canon in COMEDIAN 1 (especially the Jackie and Marilyn scenes) it is now time to rejoice. COMEDIAN 2 not only adheres to historical accuracy it blends it in such a way that I immediately closed the last page and began to hella-Wiki and super-Google to see if I could catch the Wonderful Wizard of Azz with his proverbial pants down.

While Wikipedia or any source named after something Hawaiian should never be considered the panacea of factual information, the great Wiki-Wiki has proven close enough to perfect that it is the bane of my existence as an Internet marketer in trying to trump its position for longtail keywords. Page trust is the new barometer for bullshit.

So, as the COMEDIAN sat next to Robert Kennedy at a Mohamed Ali boxing match lamenting the queerness of Hoover (my words – the book was not so blatant), the corruption of Hoffa, and RFK’s next level of political ambition, my mind began to piece together what year we jumped to since issue 1. Thanks to Azz and Jones’ attention to detail, a quick trip off Wiki to YouTube showed the exact fight where Ali was shouting, “I shook up the world” and the defeated fighter’s handlers wore “Sonny” on the back of their shirts (not a sports fan, sorry - the only Sonny I know is Bono).

For those that still don’t know the year, it’s 1964. Now of course I could piece out the rough timeframe we’re in when the COMEDIAN mentions he’s being sent as an “Advisor” to Vietnam, the inappropriate term for soldiers before Vietnam escalated to a wa..a conflict, but when we talk WATCHMEN the deliciousness is always in the details.

The rest of this chapter shows Eddie bonding with his new unit and sets up a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream. Many believe we were in Vietnam, not to stop communism, but to set up drug channels and thin the ever burgeoning herd of US citizens. During these scenes we get to see a softer side of Eddie, the side with the utmost respect for fellow soldiers. Now, since he’s insane he still charges into battle with reckless abandon and I give kudos to Jones for making these moments intense without bleeding into outright gore and guts. Sometimes things are more impactful when left to the imagination.

The book ends where Vietnam officially began, with the firing on the USS Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin. Here Azz masterfully wove in LBJ’s speech of this event in the dialog bubbles as Jones’ art work showed the jungle and the world about to burn.

Again, if you had history problems with the last COMEDIAN they have been rectified. Personally, I liked the other side of Jackie in issue 1 and feel that Marilyn’s death was more than appropriate for a piece of fiction. I was also perfectly fine with Eddie being a friend of JFK as opposed to the man on the grassy knoll in Dallas. Really, what other President could have out drank and out screwed the COMEDIAN?

Next stop, bungle in the jungle with our favorite big blue dick (literally and figuratively), Dr. Manhattan.

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.


DANGER GIRL/GI JOE #1

Written by Andy Hartnell
Art by John Royle, Phillip Moy (inks), J. Scott Campbell (covers)
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: Russ Sheath


DANGER GIRL/GI JOE #1 is a book that seems such a natural occurrence that it’s a wonder that this team up didn’t happen years ago. Danger Girl, the brainchild of Wildstorm Alumni artist J. Scott Campbell and writer Andy Hartnell is the story of an all female team of secret agents and was a smash hit from the outset. With a seven issue mini-series penciled by the hottest artist of the era, Danger Girl continued in the form of several mini-series, even teaming up with Batman and Ash from the Evil Dead.

Under the watchful eye of Hartnell the adventures of the Danger Girl team have continued with a revolving door of artists, but, arguably always in the shadow of co-creator, Campbell. GI Joe, needs no introduction, least of all to Hartnell and Campbell, who were heavily influenced by the 80s era Marvel GI Joe stories. You can see the tendrils of Larry Hama’s work throughout the original Danger Girl series from the diabolical scheming of the Cobra-esque Hammer organization to the Snake-Eyes Vs Storm Shadow orientated Agent Zero and his arch nemesis, Assassin X. Danger Girl wore its influences on its sleeve, from Indiana Jones and James Bond to the aforementioned GI Joe, the defining factor was that by being so open to embracing its influences Danger Girl was as original as it was a homage to all the great movies, comics and TV shows that helped shape it.

All things considered a pairing of Danger Girl and GI Joe, a creation that is so heavily responsible for influencing Danger Girl, is something that by rights, shouldn’t work.I’m glad to say that DANGER GIRL/GI JOE #1 proves the exception to that rule and is, hands down, the best follow up to the now ‘classic’ Hartnell / Campbell first outing. Beginning with a fast paced arial showdown between the Joe’s and Cobra and fan favorites Joe's Flint and Scarlett having to eject over the jungle. With the Joe team finding their hands tied by the President of the USA, the Joe's call upon an old contact, ladies man and Danger Girl supporting cast member Johnny Barracuda. The Joe’s launch a plan to help track the missing team members down culminating in a surprise ending and the return of a Danger Girl favorite in a very different and unexpected guise.

From the outset DANGER GIRL/GI JOE #1 feels like the first genuine follow up to the original series not least because of the art of British artist John Royle whose pencils takes you right back to the 1997 mega hit. Campbell’s art was a trademark product of the Image style of comics storytelling but in Danger Girl, he had his first opportunity to really show what he was made of with inventive camera angles and a dynamic, kinetic energy that cemented Campbell as a comics superstar.

In places, if I didn’t know better I’d have said that it was in fact Campbell and not Royle who put pencil to paper so similar are their artistic styles. Its interesting that, after several mini-series, that IDW chose to go with someone who’s style is so similar to Campbell’s and that they didn’t do so before. My own reckoning being that Cambell’s work on the original DG series is far enough in the past that Royle’s take is refreshing and dynamic rather than what might be considered a ‘Campbell Clone’.

Story wise, the book has the hallmarks of a classic Danger Girl story and if anyone knows how to offer readers a high octane, roller coaster ride with intrigue and cliffhanger endings, its co-creator Andy Hartnell. The pairing with GI Joe feels natural, like this is a team up long in the making and Hartnell makes the two worlds cohabitate naturally, letting the influences that helped shape Danger Girl form a common bond between the two. Hartnell uses the key GI Joe characters sparingly too. It must have been hard to resist the temptation to throw Snake-Eyes straight into the fray but we know that when he does appear it will be worth the wait.

DANGER GIRL/GI JOE is, to put it simply, a well written, visually dynamic book starring some of your favorite characters. It lacks the hang ups and naval gazing of many books on the shelves, which is quite the breath of fresh air, taking you back to the Danger Girl heyday of Cliffhanger studios and a time when comics were allowed to be, whatever the age of the reader, fun. Throw in some trademark J. Scott Campbell covers (hot girls...check) and I challenge you NOT to enjoy yourself.

Oh, and while you are at it, check out the Treasury Editions of the classic Hartnell /Campbell DANGER GIRL series reprinted in an oversized format for the first time.

You can follow Russ Sheath's blog Russwords here and on Twitter here.


SHOWDEVILS #1

Writer/Cover: Daniel Crosier
Art: Karl Christian Krumpholz
Publisher: Mother Mind Studios
Reviewer: Ambush Bug


Giant warthogs, midgets wearing gas masks and a couple of side show freaks make up SHOWDEVILS, a new book by uber-talented artist and writer Daniel Crosier and artist Karl Christian Krumpholz. The star of this book is the real life Enigma (you know, the guy who tattooed his entire body with blue puzzle pieces) and his partner in freakdom Sarana Rose. In this intro tale, the freaky pair make their way to a mansion in the middle of the desert where a masked man invites them in for entertainment. Soon they are attacked by monsters and must fight their way out. Seems like a pretty straight up adventure tale, but when The Enigma is involved, it’s anything but typical.

With body torture and madcap fights with chainsaws, Crosier is able to capture a nice sideshow-esque vibe to this story. Both the villains and heroes are twisted creatures, giving the reader pause to see who exactly they want to come out on top in the story. In the end, the most fun win (I’ll give you a hint, it’s The Enigma), but Crosier writes some fun scenes of madcappitude throughout.

Adding to the mayhem is Krumpholz’s frantic artwork. Angular and twisted, each panel is both easily digestible and warped visionary achievements as well. Krumpholz does a great job of giving the Enigma just enough cartoonish flavor to suggest Wonderland-ian warps, but does so in a manner of making everything easily readable and communicated. I love the puzzle patterns across the Enigma throughout this book. Some of the imagery makes him look a bit like Hellboy with his lank, yet muscular frame and head horns.

This book deserves a reserved place in the library of the weird. With a real life protagonist and an embrace of all things bizarre, SHOWDEVILS is off to a great start. With a fantastic cover, burned into wood with a torch (Daniel Crosier’s art method of choice), if you’re into something a little bit freaky, SHOWDEVILS is the book for you.

Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/reviewer/co-editor of AICN Comics for over ten years. He has written comics such as MUSCLES & FIGHTS, MUSCLES & FRIGHTS, VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, WONDERLAND ANNUAL 2010 & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He is also a regular writer for FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND & has co-written their first ever comic book LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in October 2012 as an 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark has just announced his new comic book miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment to be released in March-August 2012 and the next arc of GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-80 beginning in August!


FANTASTIC FOUR #608

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: The Dean
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Jungles, time travel, alternate dimensions. These are three of the things I hate more than anything else in comics. The Savage Land can bite me, I don’t care what Dr. Doom would be like in Medieval times (though Dr. Doom AT Medieval Times would be worth a read), and the only numbered alternative I care about is Coke Zero. Of course it’s not always terrible when one or more of these bastards are put in play, but I generally despise their presence in a story, as they tend to slowly drift off into the realm of boring convolution, making a series so tangled and opaque that it becomes unreadable (what’s up, every X-Men series ever?) Seeing the jungle background of FANTASTIC FOUR #608 gave me pause, but the name on the cover gave me hope! Jonathan Hickman has made brilliant use of time travel and alternate dimensions in his run thus far, so could he possibly pull the Triple Crown and make me care when he brings Marvel’s First Family to Wakanda? The answer is yes, which was a given, considering the pairing of title and talent.

I’m thoroughly convinced that Hickman can do no wrong on this title, and though I’m sad to see it all end come October, I’m very pleased to have lived through such a run that’s sure to become as iconic as those of Byrne, Waid, Simonson, or even Kirby and Lee. But even those classic periods of abundant excellence have their missteps here and there, while Hickman’s just never seems to letup! It may never reach the seminal level of Kirby and Lee, but for the comics as literature aficionados, this run has been a workshop on brilliant sci-fi writing. The Fantastic Four’s latest trip to Wakanda may be the most “missable” story in his time on the series, but by no means am I recommending you pass this up. Confused? You should be, but I’ll try to clarify anyway…

FANTASTIC FOUR #608 is a Black Panther story on the surface. We follow Reed as he accompanies T’Challa behind the threshold beneath Wakanda, where we learn, more or less, that this may be the only interesting thing happening right now in AVENGERS VS X-MEN. The foreshadowing dropped here in Reed’s and T’Challa’s destiny was a real AvX saver for me, and while I haven’t really hated the event, I needed something to pull out of it that I can look forward to, and this did it. The Black Panther mythology thrown into the mix accompanied by T’Challa’s individual journey really make this issue feel like the debut of a new Black Panther series, and it gave me an IMMORTAL IRON FIST vibe in the suggested possibilities of a new ongoing. But it’s still a FANTASTIC FOUR issue for me as well, not only because Reed and Sue are in it, but because these stories of exploration are what the team is all about to me – they’re a vehicle for exploring new concepts and characters, and work best when they’re showing us something new, or forgotten about the Marvel Universe. Throw in fun, well-written family dynamics, and you’ve got a good run on your hands, which is what Hickman has been doing with apparent ease since he joined the title in issue #570. So is this sojourn to Wakanda necessary reading? At the moment, it wouldn’t appear so, but it’s a really fun issue that whets your appetite for a Black Panther series, while still managing to be a FANTASTIC FOUR installment that should have some serious implications in the future. I would have liked more from Sue, Storm, and Shuri, but if their story needed to be shortened to wrap this up by the next issue, it’s understandable. So like I was saying above, this issue isn’t essential FANTASTIC FOUR reading, per se, but it’s still one of the best comics out there, and passing it up for almost anything else on the stands right now would likely be a mistake.

Giuseppe Camuncoli draws the story for this one, and does his typical excellent work. I’ve been enjoying his art on AMAZING SPIDER-MAN when he pops in, and he’s a really great storyteller with a pencil and in panel breakdowns. There are plenty of examples of his capabilities to site here, but I particularly enjoyed the scene in which the panels gradually tighten as Reed and T’Challa proceed into the unknown, which blended perfectly with Hickman’s dialogue, and set up the next pages reveal perfectly. The image of the T’Challa accepting his new fate, with the ghosts or memories of Black Panthers past in the background was another memorable page here, in what was overall a very well-drawn issue. If you’re just jumping onto the series, you may want to hold off until #609, as this comes closer to being the Fantastic Two, and focuses more on Black Panther lore which you may not want when picking up a FANTASTIC FOUR title. If, however, you’re a fan of the Black Panther, or have an interest in the larger Marvel Universe, go back to issue #607 and have at it, as you’re likely going to be witnessing the birth of a new ongoing, as well as a significant AvX subplot. But what you should really do if you’re new to this series is buy all of the trades, including the FUTURE FOUNDATION ones, and spend a weekend catching up on what I believe has been one of the best Marvel runs of the past ten years. I’d loan my issues to you, but you’re likely a stranger and I just don’t trust you.


FLESH AND BLOOD: BOOK ONE

Writer: Robert Tinnell
Art: Neil Vokes
Publisher: Monsterverse
Reviewer: superhero


I’ve been a big fan of the old school Hammer Studios horror films for a long time now. While many modern horror fans may find those movies limited in their scope and hokey in their execution I find nothing but pure joy in films like THE BRIDES OF DRACULA or THE REVENGE OF FRANKENSTEIN. To me, these classic horror films have creepier atmosphere than any of the so-called horror that the studios are trying to pass off as fright films these days. There’s a certain feel that the old Hammer films embody that just hasn’t been replicated by modern horror movies. Sure, I don’t think that a lot of filmmakers these days are trying to replicate what Hammer did in the 60’s and 70’s but even when a production does attempt to do so they tend to fall short of duplicating the gothic and freaky fun of a classic Hammer film.

So it’s my unbridled love of the Hammer Studios that makes my eyes roll a bit when I see a comic company that tries to imitate the formula in the pages of a comic book. While I love a good horror comic, I have to admit that many of the ones I’ve come across have been somewhat unspectacular. Especially when trying to copy the structure of something like THE BRIDES OF DRACULA or DRACULA AD 1972. Sure, there’s Marvel’s TOMB OF DRACULA which, to me, is the high benchmark of Hammer wannabe comics but beyond that I can’t think of any comic book series that’s captured the essence of some of my favorite Hammer chillers. And, let’s face it, while TOMB is fantastic, it’s still a book that was hampered by the 1970’s comic code. Meaning it lacked the extreme blood flow and, um, feminine charm that many of Hammer’s films became known for.

So when I came across Monsterverse’s table at Comic-Con and they shoved this volume of FLESH AND BLOOD into my hands I was excited to read it. This seemed like a bunch of folks who were simpatico to my adoration of all things Hammer horror. At first impression, this seemed like a comic company that was putting out a horror book that I’d actually really like.

Luckily for me, my first impression of the folks at Monsterverse was a correct one.

FLESH AND BLOOD is a comic that gives TOMB OF DRACULA a run for its money. The story here is classic Hammer horror. It begins with a very sexy vampire meeting her end at the hands of some badass vampire hunters. The death of this succubus attracts the attention of another female vampire who appeals the big daddy of all vampires, Count Dracula himself, to do something about the group that is wandering the countryside eliminating bloodsuckers. Dracula, however, perceives the vamp hunters as being beneath his attention until he is made to see that what they have planned for vampires is a lot worse than just a stake to the heart. While that’s a great basic setup to any horror adventure, what’s even better about the story is the group of characters being assembled to battle against the nocturnal horde. Some of the names may be familiar to horror fans out there, a certain Doctor Frankenstein and a Professor Abraham Van Helsing are just two of the band of hunters looking to create a final solution to the vampire menace.

At first glance I thought that Neil Vokes’s art might be a bit too cartoony for the subject matter. Once I started reading the book I found that Vokes was more than capable of fulfilling the artistic requirements needed to pull off a Hammer-style comic book tale. He’s able to illustrate the inherent horror of a savage vampire attack while at the same time making his vampire maidens as sexy and alluring as any actress that graced the silver screen in a Hammer production. Vokes’s style may not be as gritty as other horror artists but it’s incredibly effective in the pages of this book and delivers in spades when it counts.

In the end FLESH AND BLOOD was a more than pleasant Comic-Con discovery on my part. It’s a solid horror book that embodies all the best aspects of classic 60’s and 70’s gothic horror. I’d recommend it for any fan of the genre trying to find a great horror escapade to sink their teeth into.

Discovered as a babe in an abandoned comic book storage box and bitten by a radioactive comic fan when he was a teenager, superhero is actually not-so mild mannered sometime designer & cartoonist, Kristian Horn of Los Angeles, California. Some of his work can be seen at www.kristianhorn.com and check out his blog at www.parttimefanboy.com. You can check also out his webcomics at www.babybadass.com and thediplomatics.com, which is currently in development.


DAREDEVIL #15

Writers: Mark Waid
Art: Chris Samnee
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Reviewer: Masked Man


In case you haven’t heard, the critics are falling over themselves praising this book. Well I’m not going there, because some of the adventures Daredevil has gotten into don’t feel right- for the street crime base hero that he is. And that the whole super crime hard drive plot device has gone on way to long. But all those critics aren’t wholly wrong either, because this is still a damn fine comic book. Which is amazing considering the things I feel it’s getting wrong.

Let’s take this issue; Daredevil is the prisoner of Dr. Doom- fallout from the super crime hard drive thingie. Just like when DD took on Klaw, it all seem a little too fantastical for Daredevil. Again Daredevil is more of day-to-day crime fighter, than a super powered super villain pugilist. In a parallel world, where I’m the boss, I could see Mark Waid pitching this story to me, with me saying, “Nope don’t like it”. But now that I’ve read it, yeah it works well.

One interesting thing about the story is Dr. Doom never appears. This is always a double edge concept. On the hand, it pretty interesting to see how super villain organizations operate without the super villains around. But on the other hand, we don’t get to see the super villain! So sans Dr. Doom, DD has to deal with his underlings. Getting into spoiler area - - What they have done to Daredevil, to make him a prisoner is pretty cool. They have removed all his senses, viva naobots, so Daredevil is now really blind and more so! How does he deal with this, well Mark Waid does what Mark Waid does best. Instead pulling something out of his @$$ that would make very little sense- like most writers today. Waid knows how to push and pull a concept without breaking it. So he re-defines, just what Daredevil’s superpower are. Not merely a radar sense, Daredevil has whatever he needs to compensate for any loss of his senses. Now that’s pretty cool, and it makes sense- thanks Mark! So while you might not be down with the story Mark is writing, he does it so well you don’t mind. How many writers can you say that about?

Chris Samnee continues his tenure as the new artist. He definitely fits the artistic vibe of the book that Paolo Rivera and Javier Rodriguez started, though his finished line is bit clunkier than theirs. His storytelling and layouts, like the others, are well done and interesting to look at. Though his figure work could be a bit more heroic, the cameo superhero was rather weak looking. Overall he adds nicely to the book.

Lastly I’ll ask, why was Daredevil’s costume just laying there?! Either way, Mark Waid and company are still knocking out a solid book. Scoring a 3 out of 4.


BROKEN PIANO FOR PRESIDENT #1

Writer: Patrick Wensink
Illustrator: Property of Jack Daniels
Publisher: Lazy Fascist Press
Reviewer: Mr. Pasty


One thing I hate about reading books is all those little words they cram onto a bunch of tiny pages. That’s why I love comics so much, I can stare at the pretty pictures and control the ingress of those little black bastards. There are, however, rare exceptions to the rule. One of them is anything written by Patrick Wensink, who happens to be a pretty rare exception himself. The reason I give the author of BLACK HOLE BLUES a free pass (in exchange for a free copy of his books) is because Wensink does for me what comics do -- but without the haughty illustrator or annual royalties. He draws beautiful pictures inside my head.

That’s quite the feat, especially considering how goddamn crowded it is in there to begin with. I mentioned BLACK HOLE BLUES (BHB), a book I committed to the annals of AICN at some point over the last 12 months, because it prepared me for BROKEN PIANO FOR PRESIDENT (BPFP), a book that handles alcoholism, fast food and the pursuit of the American dream. You know, lots of money and total autonomy! To describe Wensink as “weird” or “creative” or any number of readily-available adjectives would be a disservice to his style of writing, which is like a dream in its vividness and even more so like a nightmare in the way it haunts you long after it’s over. His world is utterly preposterous in its construction, but suspension of disbelief is voluntarily surrendered at the gate, a charge I would file with even the most hardened or cynical reviewer. Why? Because Wensink is a talented writer who can engage his audience without pandering -- and I think we can all relate to the joy of a good burger, a hard night of drinking and the dream of making it big.

So how do I categorize BPFP for readers new to Wensink’s work or those unfamiliar with the mad scientists at Lazy Fascist Press? I would simply tell them BPFP is an ordinary tale told in a very extraordinary way. Just as BHB wasn’t about the death of mother earth, despite the fact that is was getting swallowed by a black hole, BPFP isn’t about secret hamburger formulas or raging alcoholics. It may end up that way, since I recently learned that Wensink received a cease-and-desist order from the legal eagles at Jack Daniels, who were “flattered” by his cover design, but ultimately unwilling to let him continue using it for his second printing. That means people like me, who own the first edition, have themselves a bona fide collector’s edition, because it’s become a special kind of book you will only see once in a blue moon. Truth be told, you could have described BPFP the same way, even without the sanctions from the whiskey conglomerate. There’s nothing broken about this piano. The bottom line is I liked this book, a lot, and I hate everything in print. That’s gotta count for something.

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.


JUSTICE LEAGUE #11

Writer: Geoff Johns
Art: Jim Lee
Publisher: DC Comics
Reviewer: Henry Higgins is My Homeboy


This…. This Is The Premiere DC Title?

This was the flagship; This was the first title to be released under the new 52 banner. I managed to get through the first six issues, just barely. The characters had been simplified into action figure blurbs (“Wonder Woman is brash! Green Lantern likes sex!), and the story proper was all over the place. At that point, I happily dropped the title. But recent summaries have piqued my interest, so I returned to Justice League. I hoped it would have improved over time, found its voice.

This was a poor decision.

Writing: (2/5) Geoff Johns isn’t a bad writer. He proved himself on JSA and Flash, he can write an engaging, entertaining story. But this title has lacked any real merit. The motivations are weak, the team interactions are spotty, and the action is bland. The biggest problem with the book is, sadly, the character work. Johns has the ability to get to the core of these individuals, to make these characters sincere and engaging. This is a team that has apparently been working together for five years, but it never feels like that. Instead, it reads like a group of hotheads who can barely stand one another. It robs the story of any real gravitas, especially when Wonder Woman heatedly tells off the rest of the team and instead wants to go after Steve alone. There’s no inner politics at work, no exploration of the characters. Instead, it’s just Wonder Woman being unreasonable and Green Lantern being a dick. And the argument is never really resolved, with Aquaman repeating Green Lantern’s response and getting a different result. It’s sloppy writing.

And none of that compares to how much I hate Graves. I hate his actions, I hate his origin, I hate how his one scene in this issue is him monologueing. I hate that he’s actually the writer from the first story, I hate that he just wants to bring down the Justice League and does so by making them sad. It’s just not interesting, at all.

The few highlights of the book can’t outweigh the bad. An interesting development with Cyborg is brushed aside with a curt response from Batman. That about sums up the title, and to an extent, the new 52 as a whole. Something cool? Moving on. WE HAVE TO DO MORE PUNCHING.

Art: (2/5) Jim Lee is usually one of the most reliable artists in the industry, and while his stuff is always the same, it’s always good art. But here, it feels like he’s phoning it all in. The faces are lackluster and don’t posses any real emotion. Everything is drawn not with purpose, but under the impression that it’ll look awesome. And occasionally, it does. But it never compliments the story or the dialogue. Some of the stuff, such as the valley of souls can look good, but everyone always has the same slack jawed or gritted teeth appearance.

And Graves. Holy shit, Graves looks fucking stupid. He looks like a rejected Spawn villain. I can not stress enough how much I hate him.

<Best Moment: There’s a panel of Green Lantern constructing a giant hammer to attack Wonder Woman with. He’s finally getting to hammer her. It cracks me up.

Worst Moment: You’d think I would say Graves, seeing how much I’ve come down on him. You may have also noticed I never once mentioned the Captain Marvel backup. Because all of that is the worst moment.

Overall: (1/5) Sloppy, tired, and never engaging. And I’m docking a point for the Shazam backup. Because I can only see red after reading about Billy Batson, in this order; Trying to break into a car, pushing a crippled kid into the bushes, causing a car accident, pushing Santa, committing a public transit felony, and yelling at a dog.


THE LOOKOUTS #1

Writer: Ben McCool
Art: Robb Mommaerts
Publisher: Cryptozoic
Reviewer: Optimous Douche


THE LOOKOUTS won’t appeal to most people that read this column, at least I pray from the bottom of my soul that our profane and insane ramblings aren’t tainting the fragile minds’ of the grade school set.

Many of you have children though, or at least know a wee one. Gentlemen and lady, it’s our responsibility, nay…a clarion call from God, Shaka Ri or whatever higher power you prescribe to, for us all to find comics suitable for kids and stick them in their chubby little Adderall dust covered hands. If you want to be reading comics when you’re 80, children are indeed the future (Props Whitney).

I get a lot of children’s comics to review; publishers seem to enjoy the naughty irony of one of AICN’s filthiest finger wagglers smothering his cynicism into child mind fodder. The problem with 90% of them is that they’re story books, not children’s comics. If your panels don’t have pages, you ain’t a comic, no matter what paper stock you publish on. The rest are just terrible, creators think that kids are dumb and will buy crap because their little brains can’t discern from quality material. To the contrary kids are the toughest critics alive and remember gang you’re competing with fucking Pixar and Disney for their time and parents’ dollars. I’ve shown some kids comics that I thought were wonderful and they looked at me with the same “your time has passed” disgust that Elija Wood showed Michael J. Fox in BACK TO THE FUTURE 2. After a few failures II now have a patented system for what will pass muster with the pull-ups and underoos crowd. I’ll tell you now, the fact you’re reading about LOOKOUTS in a review as opposed to a “thanks, but no thanks go back to the drawing board” email means this group of pint-sized forest protectors passed the following trials of muster with flying colors.

Is it a team book? Never is the desire to belong stronger than in childhood. Kids want a team or at least want an individual protagonist to find some friends quickly. Now, the great part about THE LOOKOUTS is that they are a team comprised of all the right archetypes, making even the dopiest kid feel like they could one day be part of something great if they surround themselves with the right friends. The brainy, the brawny and the funny all gel together in THE LOOKOUTS as they are led by their adult guide to solve the mystery of the Sphinx that is eating people on the road to Yarrow.

Does it pander or bludgeon the moral? I won’t say all kids’ stuff should have morals; they need to learn sooner or later that entertainment past the age of 14 is mostly amoral. However, if a book does go this route, if it outright states the moral anywhere I will fly to the author’s house and bludgeon them with my comp until they change it. THE LOOKOUTS has a moral, but it’s cleverly woven into the “power-up” theme of video games or the badge system for anyone old enough to remember the Boy Scouts. THE LOOKOUTS all work to gain honor badges that are clearly displayed in the “join our club” supplemental material in the back. This melding of the comic world into the real world is a much forgotten addition to books in this age where we rely on Facebook and Twitter icons to indicate belonging. Since the gang is matching wits against a Sphinx that will only let you pass after answering a riddle, receiving the honor badge in this arc involves using the mind to defeat mystical matter.

Can it sustain? There are too many books these days, not just children’s books, which follow the prevailing trend of having a great idea for a first issue, but withers on the vine afterwards. The sad reality is most people want to make one issue and have Hollywood come knocking on the door to buy their concept. I hate comics like that. THE LOOKOUTS with their honor badge system not only whet my appetite for future arcs very different in nature than this one, it set-up a perfect adventure for issue 2. If you’re going to fight the panacea of riddle givers, the Sphinx, you need to practice. So issue 2 will see the gang go against the Sphinx’s riddle giving duller cousin the bridge troll. Appetite whetted.

Is the art too childish? Nope, there are no corners cut in this book and no attempts at pandering to the latest animation craze. Mommaerts provides straight up good comic art with a distinct flair for the dramatic and the humorous.

I know very little about the site that spawned THE LOOKOUTS, Penny Arcade, but I keep my ear close enough to the geek grapevine that it has resonated through quite a few times. If you want a GREAT kids’ book that you won’t mind reading as well, look no further than THE LOOKOUTS.


MARS ATTACKS #2

Writers: John Layman
Art: John McCrea
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Reviewer: Masked Man


The attack really kicks into high gear with this issue. The first issue laid the ground work for the Martians invasions with entertaining flashbacks. This issue now moves us into the presents, with the first stages of the assault.

Only one thing bugged me about this issue, which was when the Martians showed off their technology. It did set-up a cute rebound, but I can’t see why the characters would do that in the first place. It’s not like they were monologuing or anything. They should’ve just starting destroying humans (huge fan of those video games by the way).

So what makes this issue so cool? Well it’s a nice little story with some clever writing. This is my first time reading Layman’s work, and I have to say he’s got everything going on that is missing from a lot current comic book writing. And that is fun and clever writing. Most writers seem to be trying to write something cool: stealing attitudes and epic set pieces from popular movies. Layman doesn’t go into for that. He’s focused more on writing something in a clever way, rather than trying to impress us with awesomeness of his story. He knows Mars Attacks is as old as… MARS ATTACKS! So there’s no point in trying to make too cool for school.

This issue continues the trading card chapter markers (again not very hip, just clever and fun). And he brings more humor into this issue. Not as broad as the movie, but much more than what was in the first issue. The first two pages are hoot. On the second page splash I could hear the Destroy All Human’s video game theme music in my head (told you I love the games). Another thing I appreciate in Layman’s writing: text boxes! Actual frick’n text boxes! And with said text boxes, Layman nails a great gag that could only be done with text boxes (I did say the writing was clever didn’t I). So this issue is very entertaining as the Martians start to lay waste to our world. Our hero, former soldier and astronaut, Senator Buck Spencer gets up close and personal with them as well.

John McCrea’s artwork continues to look good on the book as well. He’s no Ivan Reis, but his cartoonish style fits the tone of this adventure book quite well. He can draw quite a bit of gore and some mean looking Martians, while not getting too grim and gritty. His two page splash of the invasion is pretty impressive as well.

So John and John are doing a great job with this book. It doesn’t disappoint, scoring a 3 out 4.


Advance Review: In stores today!

GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK #4

Writer: Mark L. Miller
Artist: Carlos Granda
Publisher: Zenescope Entertainment
Reviewer: Lyzard


This version of Ruydard Kipling’s THE JUNGLE BOOK is a radical adaptation of the short stories. As many of the Zenescope’s GRIMM FAIRY TALES, of which this is a spin off of, the classic stories serve as a merely a jumping off point for these new angles. Since fairy tale adaptations have flooded the entertainment world, taking on a popular literary character that was not born from the magical tales of collectors/storytellers such as the Grimm Brothers and Hans Christen Anderson is refreshing.

THE JUNGLE BOOK series deviates immediately from its source material. Mowgli is a girl, or young woman I should say, who crashed on Kipling Island with three other children. The quartet was separated, each adopted by a different animal tribe. As in the stories, Mowgli becomes part of the wolf pack, while the meerkats, tigers, and monkeys choose the others.

In THE JUNGLE BOOK #4, Mowgli is reacquainted with the last of her three former companions. Having already met Bomani of Shere Khan’s group, Dewan from Bandar Louis’s mission, Mowgli is now saved by Akili from the Tavi tribe from the python, Kaa. However, Mowgli has little time to catch up with Dewan and Akili as she pursues Bomani through the jungle in order to enact revenge for the death of her wolf mother.

With the reintroduction of the human characters I would presume that the rest of the series would be filled with less exposition. Though each issue features plenty of action, these introductions became formulaic and slowed down the pacing of the books until the new humans were left behind.

As in most adaptations of THE JUNGLE BOOK, with the exception of Disney’s live-action version, the animals are anamorphic and thus speak and are understood by the humans. They are a quite chatty and I would prefer it if they didn’t sound so well educated. I mean, these our jungle creatures. Of course, Rudyard Kipling’s work was criticized as Orientalist in its depiction of the African and Eastern cultures in general, so I could see how “dumbing down” the animals speech may be criticized for such, but I would hope that comic readers wouldn’t be so politically correct.

However, this is an action-based comic and therefore shouldn’t be judged as heavily on its dialogue (though less speaking and more fighting would be desirable in an book so kinetically driven). As for the depictions of the battles, they are clear, easy to follow, and pop off the page.

The comic industry and been criticized for its depiction of women as busty and scantily clad. I have no problem with the figures of Mowgli and Akili in this series, but bearing so much skin does seem ridiculous with the dangers of the jungle, so there is a legitimate reason to criticize the practice in this case without it being a feminist complaint.

The book does adapt some of Kipling’s work fairy accurately. All of the animal creatures retain their characteristics, for example Bandar Louis remains quite insane and Shere Khan is still the bane of the jungle.

Overall, THE JUNGLE BOOK series is part of this postmodern trend to adapt classic stories with the tales working as a foundation for newly created stories. It isn’t necessarily the most creative of this movement, hardly any FABLES, but it isn’t a rip off of any properties I know of so I have to give it my respect for that fact. THE JUNGLE BOOK #4 shows the potential the series has now that it has completed its sort of first-act feel with the introduction of all the characters and setting up the conflict. The next issues should be able to provide more of the action that attracts me to these comics.

Lyzard is actually Lyz Reblin, a senior screenwriting major with an English minor at Chapman University. Along with writing for AICN, she has been published twice on the subject of vampire films.


X-FACTOR #240
Marvel Comics


If there has been anything I feel I can say about this X-FACTOR run that Peter David brought back to us these past few years is that it always feels like there is a plan for the characters, which is pretty apt when one of your main characters is someone that “knows things.” This particular issue I enjoyed because of the way PAD has fragmented Layla Miller’s ability to know what is going to happen; things are no longer so certain for the once teenager that said she’d be Jamie Madrox’ love a couple years ago and was proven completely accurate in recent book history. And now she’s suffering in an almost Minority Report meets Butterfly Effect way as the she can see what her actions could mean AND where those little wave changes take effect but it’s never completely apparent what leads to where. The girl with the plan is now lost within the book with the plan, and it’s not the only thing poetic about this issue as Layla does everything she has to save the man she loves, even if it’s kicking down a domino trail that will not see the last one fall for years now. And with issues like these I keep hoping we still have some years left with PAD’s plan for these characters he obviously loves so much. -
Humphrey Lee


JUSTICE LEAGUE #11
DC Comics


OK let’s run down what happened, the Justice League is being owned by spirit monsters, lucky Batman threw a batrang at it. Graves threats Steve Trevor’s sister because… oh hell I don’t know. Wonder Woman says she wants to recue Steve now, but then decides she’d rather beat the crap out of GL for seven pages (some nice two page spreads by Jim Lee showing how hard she likes to hit her friends). Cyborg then Boom tubes everyone to Graves’ house, and Batman is somehow now an expert on Graves, though he knew nothing about him moments ago. Lastly they trace Graves to the Valley of Souls, a place that no one can see, unless they are in it… I don’t get that either. Anyway, that’s Justice League #11, you now know as much as I do. – Masked Man


SAGA #5
Image Comics


Usually when I type up “this book has it all!” for one of these reviews, it’s usually a nod toward the characters, the setting, the tone, action, etc all being of high caliber. SAGA, in just five issues, has upped the ante on such a billing. For every plot point you’ve probably seen before, there’s just that little pile on top. The leads of this book, Marko and Alana, are not just star-crossed lovers, they’re aliens of different races with child on some weird backwater planet. They also have a dismembered ghost of a teenager(ish) alien riding shotgun. Bounty hunters aren’t just pursuing them; some slutty arachnid named The Stalk and a guy named The Will who just wants to get some kid out of a galactic brothel are pursuing them. There’s also an empire ran by these weird, stuff assholes with TV monitors for heads. Basically it’s a mishmash of extremely well handled tropes you’ve seen with quirks or anatomy or just overall fiction you just know no one else could have thought of. And that’s why BKV is one of the best in the business and was sorely missed while he was go, and it’s why SAGA is not even half a year has already solidly placed itself at the top of my reading list. - Humphrey Lee


A VS X #8
Marvel Comics


Adam Kubert is a good artist. He draws nice figures, good action, and has good storytelling skills, but he’s not Olivier Coipel, so I was a bit disappointed. I was also disappointed not to see a serious confrontation between two of the Phoenix Five: Cyclops and Namor. Instead it was more of the same, the Scarlet Witch is greater than any and everyone. The story keeps evolving though, with what happened to Namor. I’m curious how he feels about the Phoenix Force now. Professor X has finally returned. You’d think he’d be more active in an Avengers vs X-Men story- so nice to have him back in the fray. Overall though, the story is missing the emotional impact that Bendis was trying to get on the last page. So far there really is no villain in this story. Neither side has really fleshed out what they want and why they are at odds with the other side. So there’s no sense of drama or dread here. Even when they were fighting over Hope, the story has never really conveyed the importance of each side’s point of view. So while it’s interesting, there’s no emotion core to this comic. – Masked Man


SAUCER COUNTY #5
DC Vertigo


I’ve always felt the “proper” time to give a new series or run before you judge it is at least a full arc, so that way you have an idea of the tone, characters, themes, etc instead of the snapshot you only get in an issue. Sadly, after an arc of SAUCER COUNTRY here, while I understand what this book’s version of those elements, I’m not sure they really jive with me. I appreciate the scope of the story and it very much fits in the vein of the “new Vertigo” with the surreal meets the real given the possibility that the first female President may also be an alien abductee and what that implies. But outside of Governor Alvarado, I honestly have no draw or affinity toward the side character. She does her job well of being the “tough as nails” Latina that has her emotional side she has to keep in check for public perception reasons, but the entourage around her feels paper thin with one-sided roles to be played as the paranoid, the political advisor with the chip on her shoulder, the regretful ex, etc. I also do not feel completely compelled with how the alien abduction plot is playing out (essentially being three issues of hypnosis and dreaming droppings to play it up now) to keep running with it to see if the side-characters start panning out more. So, essentially, after my five-issue grace period for a new book, I have to say I’m not really buying what it is cooking up, but I could see this being one of those occasional books that needs a little more time in the over to really open up the flavor. - Humphrey Lee



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Readers Talkback
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  • July 25, 2012, 8:31 a.m. CST

    Justice League

    by SonOfChiba

    Has so far been a BIG let down. Everyone be phoning it in. Someone, please take the keys to the castle off Johns.

  • July 25, 2012, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Daredevil Versus -- DOOM! But DOOM Beats JUSTICE LEAGUE!

    by V. von Doom

    Don't knock DD fighting out of his weight range; the Man Without Fear helped the accursed Four many, many years ago versus DOOM ... classic Lee & Kirby, FFs 39-40. There's a long history here that Waid is playing off of if you read carefully and pick up the hints. DOOM is tired of watching Johns fail on JUSTICE LEAGUE when he is capable of so much more. Maybe he's tired? Maybe he wants to be replaced? When one thinks of how good the characterization in JSA was, compared to what the JL currently gets, DOOM's heart falls as low as DOOM's metal socks.

  • July 25, 2012, 9:20 a.m. CST

    Still wish Disney could purchase Capt. Marvel

    by Sinestro

    Disney could do something right with the Marvel Family.

  • July 25, 2012, 9:27 a.m. CST

    Scarlet Witch

    by Dlgothv

    I have a huge problem with Scarlet Witch. I mean, she's basically a war criminal, she genocided the mutants, if not she personally murdered quite a few that relied on their mutations to actually, you know, breathe/live/exist. I find it pretty hard that barely any of the Avengers, especially those who are MUTANTS (ahem Beast and Wolverine) aren't outright trying to have her arrested. Wolverine basically had it out to kill her on the spot. Captain America seems nonchalant about letting her walk around without any supervision even though she killed how many Avengers in her rampage? Personally, I hate the character, I hate her powers, and I really hope one of the Marvel writers takes a serious stance and addresses some of these issues. Just venting. But does anybody else share a similar opinion?

  • July 25, 2012, 9:52 a.m. CST

    FUCK BEFORE WATCHMEN

    by Autodidact

    FOR SHAME

  • July 25, 2012, 10:02 a.m. CST

    Oh yeah, the Scarlet Witch redemption is shit

    by HalJordanSuperstar

    AvX is so badly written and conceived, it's amazing. It's basically a "What If?" story, but set in continuity. And what I've heard of Marvel NOW is actually driving me away from all non-Ultimate Marvel. I find that the SW is actually being positioned as this ridiculously powerful Mary Sue, just forgiven and back as part of the team. You'd think there'd be some sort of suffering she has to endure or angst about throwing this unpredictable, uber-powerful monster into battle, but nope. Tony Stark was even egging her on when she screams at Magik, "Don't you know what I can do?" Yeah, crazy lady, you can kill a shitload of mutants, which is why Magik is attacking you. Hope says the X-Men hate the SW. Why doesn't Hope hate her, too? Since her whole life has been miserable because of the SW, you'd think she'd hate her, too, but the story needs Hope to side with the SW over the X-Men, so she does? Insane. Given the Avengers and Wolverine have caused every single problem in AvX, it's amazing anyone can side with them: (1) attacking Utopia, driving Hope from the Lights, who would have helped her control the Phoenix; (2) splitting the Phoenix and creating the P5; (3) attacking new Utopia and starting a war with the up-to-then benevolent X-Men; (4) kidnapping Transonic and holding her prisoner in Wakanda.

  • July 25, 2012, 10:03 a.m. CST

    Can't get into the new Daredevil either

    by Laserhead

    Art is wonderful. But Waid fatally bores the shit out of me, and the whole thing seems like a Marvel comic created by DC for grade-schoolers. Eisners be damned.

  • July 25, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Agree on A vs X

    by Laserhead

    How anyone could side with the Avengers in this nonsense is beyond me. They have literally caused every inch of this shitstorm. Emphasis on the 'shit'. At every point, character action and motivation has been forced to the point of absurdity. The Phoenix arrived-- it didn't kill us-- it's making paradise on earth-- let's beat it up! Just crap.

  • A single issue comic is like a single taco. You can't order just one taco. Have a half-dozen of them.

  • It was like DC decided to make them the Avengers. GL is cocky like Iron Man, Wonder Woman sounded and acted like Thor (people even think she might be crazy and don't believe she's a real Amazon), Batman is giving orders and direction like Cap (he even wants to be the leader!), and Supes is the quiet secret weapon. I'm waiting for GL to say, "We have a Superman." Hard to believe Johns is writing this. EPIC FAIL.

  • July 25, 2012, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Yay, wednesday.

    by Metroid_Fetish

    More toilet paper to wipe the feces away from my asshole.

  • July 25, 2012, 10:50 a.m. CST

    Hold on to your collectors item Mr. Patsy

    by thelordofhell

    Jack Daniels apparently has the nicest legal department in the world..........http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/jack-daniels-gives-obscure-author-a-mega-shot-of-publicity/

  • July 25, 2012, 10:53 a.m. CST

    If the Scarlet Witch is so powerful, why aren't the Avengers afraid of her?

    by Jason Bartlett

    I mean, they bitch and moan about the Phoenix, yet this mass murderer is ok? It's ridiculous.

  • I knew they needed an escape clause to end the series in some way, but this is absurd. If she doesn't die for her sins then everything that has happened in the last five years is pointless.

  • July 25, 2012, 11:23 a.m. CST

    kildeer1

    by Dlgothv

    Oh no, please don't take it like I'm huffing and puffing seriously about this. I seriously couldn't take this more than just as entertainment value. It just bothers me that the characterizations are just so off. It makes me as a creative person seriously just want to get in there and re-write how they're handling some of this. I'm just hoping that Bendis and Remender are taking notes in fan-boy reaction. But meh, I'll gladly go back to other comics and games and shows. My rant is over. But I am agreeing whole-heartedly with some of the other folks on here that feel the same way as I do.

  • July 25, 2012, 11:24 a.m. CST

    haljordan, laserhead, jasonicus

    by Dlgothv

    Right on!

  • July 25, 2012, 11:32 a.m. CST

    A monthly justice league book is so dumb.

    by eric haislar

    These team up stories should only be done once every few years when they have something to write about. DC needs to focus on telling good stories, not publishing as many books as they can. Why do I need 5 batman books? One batman book will do. Comics have gotten way to complicated to follow. The new 52 has been a major let down. The only bright spots have been (The bat family books, Swamp thing) everything else has been meh. Don't get me started on Action Comics or superman. Christ they are awful. Dc needs to simplify things. The books will be better and so will the stories.

  • July 25, 2012, 11:43 a.m. CST

    Ah, the old "They're comics, they're supposed to suck" argument

    by Laserhead

    Enjoy your culture.

  • July 25, 2012, 12:03 p.m. CST

    erichaislar is right. Comics are too complicated to follow.

    by Raptor Jesus

    It's a fun hobby collecting comics, not a job. Remember the old Valiant? You'd get to the end of an issue and it was 'story is continued in blah-blah #8' and you had never read blah-blah. I hated that. Greedy fucks wanted you to buy EVERY SINGLE FUCKING BOOK THEY MADE. Ran that company into the ground. How is the new Valiant stuff?

  • July 25, 2012, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Dean

    by Joenathan

    Great review of a great comic.

  • July 25, 2012, 12:20 p.m. CST

    What's with the derogatory comment about Hawaii and Hawaiians??

    by 3D-Man

    I'm 10% Hawaiian and therefore 10% offended.

  • July 25, 2012, 12:22 p.m. CST

    @erichaislar

    by Ambush Bug

    Your post got me thinking. Since big events seem to be where the focus always is, why not get rid of the notion of a monthly JLA book and only have them come together when necessary. So once a year, we get a 6 -8 issue miniseries and fodder like the JLA we've been getting since Grant Morrison left would cease to clog up shelfspace. Very interesting notion and one I would totally support given the quality of the title at the moment.

  • July 25, 2012, 12:27 p.m. CST

    Laserhead is right

    by Joenathan

    I like the art on DD, but Waid bores me. He's the King of the Silver age apologists.

  • July 25, 2012, 12:37 p.m. CST

    A vs X and the Scarlet Witch

    by Joenathan

    To me, it isn't so much: The Avengers are wrong, it's: Why is this happening. Regardless of how it worked out, why the hell did Scott think that THIS TIME, the Phoenix was gonna be a good thing? Why? I don't get that and it's that contrivance that holds up the entire story. Masked Man is right, there's no emotional weight behind this, even for a big Event book. As for Scarlet Witch... she's always been inconsistant shit. What are her powers? Whatever they are, hexing, probability, reality-warping, they change radically all the time and if that wasn't lame enough, she just looks stupid as fuck. Granted, her classic costume is waaaaaay better than when Perez had her dressing like a gypsy, but still... God, it's so stupid. I think the only reason she is back is that Bendis is finishing up his Avengers and he's returning all the toys to the toybox... which is nice of him, I guess.

  • July 25, 2012, 12:40 p.m. CST

    Phoenix 5 are fucking crazy.

    by Volllllume3

    It's written right there in black and white. That Magik chick even locks up Avengers in her own personal hell ffs.

  • July 25, 2012, 12:44 p.m. CST

    I love Scarlet Witch! Plus, BW and JL

    by Homer Sexual

    Scarlet Witch was my favorite Avenger for most of my childhood. Her development from nervous teen to confident woman who marries an android, etc, was awesome. The real travesty was BMB using her as a pawn to disassemble the Avengers. Also, all this screaming for blood and saying "no redemption for her" seem sexist to me. Look at Hal Jordan. He became Parallax and then became GL again, and no one cared (not even me since I find that character very boring) In true comic fashion, all the Avengers Wanda killed are alive again, so no harm there, and the "no more mutants" angle was the ultimate dummy plot advancer because for no good reason Marvel wanted to have fewer mutants. Don't get me started on how stupid that was and how fortunate no prominent mutants were depowered. I look forward to Comedian. Nite Owl is the only book I haven't really liked so far. Last week's Silk Spectre #2 was the best comic I have read in memory. Really awesome! If those who say there was nothing left to say about the Watchmen can read her mini and still say that, well, they are just unconvincable. OTOH Justice League has been terrible since the get-go, yet it remains the top-selling comic, so who cares how much it sucks cause everyone is buying it. I mean, not me, but clearly a whole lot of people.

  • July 25, 2012, 12:44 p.m. CST

    I love that

    by Joenathan

    I haven't actually read what I'm bitching about, so pardon me while shart on for a paragraph or so about how the reviewer is wrong, fart-fart-fart-fart-fart-pppphhhbbbt!

  • July 25, 2012, 12:47 p.m. CST

    Joe, AvX

    by Homer Sexual

    The AvsX is moronic on both sides: My biggest beef is that the Phoenix force, with no host, ate all sorts of planets, so why the concern about finding a host? How would it be stronger with Hope? How would "hiding" Hope work? The entire plotline is just too stupid for words so I have had to pass. I knew you'd have to bag on SW, and yes her powers have been inconsistent. but why hate her and not any other magic user? It's the same with all of them, from Dr. Strange to Zatanna.

  • July 25, 2012, 12:49 p.m. CST

    Homer

    by Joenathan

    No kidding. I have heard NOTHING good about Justice League and yet... how is it selling so well? Also, I've never understood your affinity for Scarlet Witch and agree on the GL point.

  • July 25, 2012, 1:02 p.m. CST

    Magic users

    by Joenathan

    That's just it... IS SW a magic user or is she a mutant? Or is it her mutant power that she is a magic user? Which is it? What is she? I'm not a big fan of either Strange or Zatanna. I'd like Strange to be in less physical fights and his spells to be more grand and involved (side note: I think this would give the Defenders a good reason to exist: Defend Strange while he works) and I've never liked Zatanna's backwards toalk, although I enjoyed her in Seven Soldiers, at least you have magic. With magic, you can explain a lot. It's magic. With SW, it's like... I can remember a Forceworks (I didn't buy it, I just read it) where she had to strain to break a pier beneath a guy's feet and now... she's a hurricne or something? What is she? As for the Phoenix, that's a good point. So, it's usually just out there in space smashing planets, what's it need the host for? It's not like it's a breeding cycle or anything. Maybe the host has to "die" in order for the Phoenix to be reborn to smash through planets? But I could understand the Avengers: "Get Hope off planet" stance. That made sense. Cyclops's stance just came out of nowhere. And why do the majority of others believe him?

  • July 25, 2012, 1:06 p.m. CST

    So which is worst JL or AvsX?

    by Tom

    Funny that they are both companies top selling books :p Gosh we are such suckers. I have heard from a friend who is reading all the AvsX ties-ins that the whole story is quite good- and that the main book is pretty much just cliff notes to the whole story. Which is probably why it's so weak at times. Meanwhile, the people who enjoy the Justice League the most comes from the same crowd that loves Michael Bay movies. High octane action is all they require.

  • July 25, 2012, 1:12 p.m. CST

    Justice League

    by Dlgothv

    Why does it sell so well? I'm guessing the names Johns and Lee are the selling points...

  • July 25, 2012, 1:17 p.m. CST

    Why would Scott think the Phoenix w/host would be bad?

    by HalJordanSuperstar

    Unlike the writers/editors at Marvel, Scott's (along with many readers') experience with Phoenix is broader than UXM 134-137. Phoenix has done a lot more good than harm. It is important that the Avengers were wrong, because their moral superiority, Wolverine's redemption and the assimilation of mutants coming at the end of AvX is predicated on the Avengers being right all along. The fact is that their approach put earth in danger. Scott's saved it. From what I've read about WatXM (I dropped the book), that's Aaron's whole approach - Logan was right, the teachers who sided with the X-Men were wrong! But Logan wasn't right, which is one of the reasons why AvX is crap. As for SW, I liked her, back when her powers were mutant hex spheres. It's okay to try and fix what Bendis did, but they needed a few steps before making her the omnipotent heroine of the event, IMO.

  • July 25, 2012, 1:18 p.m. CST

    Justice League is the worst

    by Joenathan

    A vs X isn't bad so much as... weird. When I read it, I feel like I've missed issues.

  • July 25, 2012, 1:20 p.m. CST

    High Octane

    by Joenathan

    How High Octane can a comic be though? It's static images? I mean, how exciting can a poorly written comic of splash pages be?

  • July 25, 2012, 1:22 p.m. CST

    @joenathan and harry_cox

    by TheDean

    Thanks, joenathan! Glad you're enjoying it as much as I am harry_cox - didn't say it was better, made a point of saying it may never be considered as essential as theirs. Sorry it's too wordy for you, and I hate when Bendis fills a panel with text too, but I just don't feel that same dialogue exhaustion with Hickman. We have differing opinions. There's no need to insult my knowledge or presume I don't know what I'm talking about, when I certainly do, since what I'm talking about is my own assessment of the issue, and perception of the Four's published history. You're thoughts on the run would have been just as valid without the jab

  • July 25, 2012, 1:22 p.m. CST

    SW

    by Dlgothv

    My main complaint is yes, her powers are inconsistent, and she is a psychotic mass murderer. How does that get her Avengers status and a free pass? I initially sided with Cyclops, being that for so long, not a single government or Avenger lifted a finger to help mutant rights. Sentinels scouring the cities, incinerating mutants? No Avengers. Genosha created as a prison state for mutants? No Avengers. Genosha wiped off the map by rogue Sentinels? No Avengers. Secret Invasion? X-Men helped out. Civil War? X-Men helped out. If the goal of Marvel NOW! is to help integrate what seems like two different aspects of the Marvel universe blend, I'm cool with that, I just hope these characterizations get written well. I want to see an angry Wolverine point out to Cap that mutants have been persecuted and hunted down and systematically wiped out just like, hmmm, what other government did something similar that Cap fought a war against? Or how about an Iron Man that's going to come up with cool countermeasures for Sentinel mutant-hunting tech? Or an actual trial for the Scarlet Witch? Just little things like these that would help bring cohesion back. Oh, and I love that idea of the Justice League only forming for special events. That would be pretty cool!

  • July 25, 2012, 1:24 p.m. CST

    Wait

    by Joenathan

    "Phoenix has done a lot more good than harm." Are you talking about now? As in after the Phoenix Five happened? Because if so, I say: So what? That doesn't matter. It doesn't matter because before that ever even comes close to happening, we have to have a reason for Scott to believe that this is a possibility and given his (everyone's) history with the Phoenix, I can't think of a single one. And it is that belief that starts the whole Event off, everything hinges on that and I can't figure out where it came from.

  • July 25, 2012, 1:24 p.m. CST

    *edit

    by TheDean

    should be your at the end, not you're. obvious, but it annoyed me

  • July 25, 2012, 1:25 p.m. CST

    joenathan

    by Dlgothv

    Agreed. And I think Strange has a lot of potential but the rules need to be figured about magic. He's supposed to be the Sorcerer Supreme. There should be nothing that's beyond his capabilities, but the question should be what's the price to be paid? Kind of like how magic works in Game of Thrones, you can't have something for nothing.

  • July 25, 2012, 1:29 p.m. CST

    My New 52 are down to a couple of issues after this month

    by Snookeroo

    Since the reboot, I haven't missed an issue of: • Action • Superman • Aquaman • Supergirl • Batman • Justice League • Flash • Wonder Woman • Batman and Robin And occassional issues of Nightwing. But I gotta say...no more. I have several months of some of these titles that I still haven't read, and don't intend to. They're just not worth the time (or future money). I'm not looking for great literature, but I do want a few minutes worth of reading pleasure. And most of these are either tedious, indecipherable, or just plain annoyingly rote. And this from a lifelong DC guy. I'll still buy Superman and Action (because I'm a hopeless groupie), but that's it. Otherwise, I'm done.

  • July 25, 2012, 1:38 p.m. CST

    I'm stcking with Batman and WW

    by Joenathan

    That's all I get. Otherwise I buy both FFs, at least until Hickman is gone. Ultimates and Ultimate Spider-man. I just noticed that Brian Wood is writing Ultimate X-men, so I may pick that up. Love Wolverine and the X-men. I'm interested in MArvel Now, there's some titles coming that have caught my eye. Also, I read the first Captain Marvel and it's all right, could be fun. I'm also really enjoying Danger Club, that seems to be getting more interesting, although the art's not the best. And Walking Dead is on a clock, if it peters out with this storyline, I'm dropping it.

  • July 25, 2012, 1:50 p.m. CST

    After Before Watchmen 2.

    by Metroid_Fetish

    The hit parallel series companion to the original Watchmen written and drawn by Rob Liefield has been announced and will be released early in 2013. Expect lots of political intrigue, impossibly proportioned nudity, and explosions. Do not expect feet. There will not be any.

  • July 25, 2012, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Re: Wait

    by HalJordanSuperstar

    Joe, I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or maybe you're just not a fan of X-Men comics. Maybe Scott's position only makes sense if you've read X-Men books. The Phoenix was a force for good. The X-Men, including Scott and Logan, fought with a hosted Phoenix for years when it was wielded by Jean and Rachel. It didn't destroy the Earth then, why would it now with Hope? Scott personally watched Jean use its power successfully to save him, his teammates and even the universe. M'krann Crystal, for example? The writers are writing like Jean died because of the Phoenix, but she was actually killed by Xorn/Magneto.

  • July 25, 2012, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Phoenix 5

    by Homer Sexual

    OMG is that ever stupid. For example, I love Avengers Academy and in the latest issue, Phoenix Emma Frost inexplicable takes the time to destroy one obsolete sentinel. Her fashion sense is now wretched and her "Phoenix" power is extremely weak, she's barely any stronger than when she's just normal Emma. Obviously the "power corrupts" is going to be the ultimate result here... yawn... Perhaps Wanda will make the ultimate sacrifice to eliminate the Phoenix. Then shes gone, its gone, everything reverts to the 2011 status quo. Lame, though.

  • July 25, 2012, 2:23 p.m. CST

    Batwoman and New 52

    by Homer Sexual

    So I read Batwoman 11 and at the end it says "Batwoman can be seen next in World's Finest" but nothing I've read indicates that Batwoman has been cancelled. Well, the upcoming trade only goes through issue 11, but all the cancellation lists do not include Batwoman. At one point I was reading 13 New 52. Currently Im reading 7 of those still but also picking up 3 of the second gen, so still at 10. Not so bad.

  • July 25, 2012, 2:25 p.m. CST

    BATMAN INC EMBARGOED - SUCK MY BALLS

    by optimous_douche

    Went to the store at lunch, no BATMAN INC 2 for joo...DC has embargoed all sales of BATMAN INC 2 because of the shootings this weekend. My retailer let me flip through though - and I saw BATCOW. DON'T KEEP ME FROM BATCOW DC HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATEHATE HATE

  • July 25, 2012, 2:25 p.m. CST

    No

    by Joenathan

    As I recall, the Phoenix was about to destroy everything and Jean sacrificed herself. As for Rachel, I'm a bit more murky on, but what it comes down to is that they couldn't control it because of it's destructive tendancies. Which is all it's been known for across the galaxy. The Phoenix always blows up other planets and only through Jean's sacrifice did they avoid it last time. But all that aside, what GOOD thing has it done before now. Yes, JEan was "good" when she was hosting (although it wasn't her, really, right? weird...), but she eventually lost it and went Dark Phoenix, right? So, before this... when was the Phoenix good? When did it start off good and, most importantly, when did it FINISH good. Because eveything I've ever read ends in fire and explosions... at least for everyone EXCEPT the Phoenix entity, that is...

  • July 25, 2012, 2:36 p.m. CST

    Yes

    by HalJordanSuperstar

    Joe, you're murky on everything. The last time Jean wielded the Phoenix she didn't sacrifice herself. Xorn killed her. You're thinking of the hostless Phoenix in Jean's form after Emma/Mastermind manipulated its mind. As I said, Scott's position makes perfect sense to anyone who's read an X-Men comic featuring Phoenix outside of UXM 134-137. Unfortunately, like you, the Marvel architects have not.

  • July 25, 2012, 2:43 p.m. CST

    Sum it up then

    by Joenathan

    Because if you want to split hairs about which Jean when and ignore the Phoenix's intent and history throughout the galaxy and in it's original story, fine, but how about you explain to all of us why it is that Scott believes this. If it makes perfect sense, sum it up.

  • July 25, 2012, 3:37 p.m. CST

    optimus, re: comedian

    by foree forehead

    did they bill the boxer in the match as Muhammad Ali? it was, of course, Cassius Clay who beat Sonny Liston in 1964. it was Ali who beat him in the rematch. hope that detail wasn't overlooked by the creative team ; )

  • July 25, 2012, 4:30 p.m. CST

    AvX is the best thing to ever happen to comics.

    by Metroid_Fetish

    All of the punching without any of the stupid plot or fifty years of characterization to get in the way. Way better than Sandman, way better than Preacher, and definitely better than that 80s turd the Watchmen. These people are geniuses and know what they're doing. Hopefully our loser president finally recognizes true heroism and gives these comic book saviors/writers a national holiday. It can replace Christmas, because honestly, Jesus has done less for the world than they have.

  • July 25, 2012, 4:44 p.m. CST

    Boxer Sonny

    by aetc

    LISTON!!! jesus christ!

  • Doesn't reading Zenescope books also require you to register in neighborhoods and steer clear of schoolyards? Honest, i've little-to-no beef with the portrayal, publication, etc.... just the readership that won't come clean about rubbing one out to nursery rhymes.

  • July 25, 2012, 4:59 p.m. CST

    I masturbate to Grimm.

    by Metroid_Fetish

    That shit is fucking hot. I mean, look at this and tell me you wouldn't jerk off to it. http://i.imgur.com/Kz150.jpg

  • July 25, 2012, 5:01 p.m. CST

    I masturbate to Grimm.

    by Metroid_Fetish

    That shit is fucking hot. I mean, look at this and tell me you wouldn't jerk off to it. http://i.imgur.com/Kz150.jpg

  • July 25, 2012, 5:02 p.m. CST

    I masturbate to Grimm.

    by Metroid_Fetish

    That shit is fucking hot. I mean, look at this and tell me you wouldn't jerk off to it. http://i.imgur.com/Kz150.jpg

  • July 25, 2012, 5:05 p.m. CST

    Three times daily, like my posts.

    by Metroid_Fetish

    This site is run by a bunch kidnapped slaves, right? Would explain the uptime. (They're lazy)

  • July 25, 2012, 5:12 p.m. CST

    HA!

    by aetc

    good one(s)! ahhh that other Grimm.....

  • July 25, 2012, 6:57 p.m. CST

    RED WING made me hate Hickman

    by Autodidact

    Dumbest fucking comic of that month for sure.

  • July 25, 2012, 7:20 p.m. CST

    Wow

    by optimous_douche

  • July 25, 2012, 8:41 p.m. CST

    So, no Batman? I bet the upcoming Joker story gets postponed.

    by bat725

  • July 25, 2012, 10:40 p.m. CST

    I seriously didn't like the Comedian's watch

    by MainMan2001

  • July 26, 2012, 1:05 a.m. CST

    SAGA is so damn good.

    by Jaka

    Just, insanely good. I immediately want there to be another issue when I get to the end. I'm sure it's going to make for great trade paperback reading once it starts getting collected (which I very much look forward to). <p> Unfortunately it's just DAMN HARD to explain what the hell it's about or why you should be reading it without giving away major plot points. Hell, at this point I'm not even sure what it IS about as everything and everyone is still pretty much a mystery. About the only thing we know for sure is that the newborn baby is actually telling us the story from some point in her future life. <p> But damn, it's just so damn good.

  • July 26, 2012, 2:32 a.m. CST

    optimous_douche And DOOM Must Save The Batcow!

    by V. von Doom

    A Bat-embargo, really? This is really interesting news. Is there something going on in that issue of BATMAN INC that would cause "normal" media outlets to go ga-ga? (As if the first issue wouldn't -- cow slaughter, killer Bat-ninjas, forced cannibalism, assassination of teenagers ...) DOOM will probably not experience any meaningful delay; it takes so long for comics to ship to Latveria in the first place. Free the Batcow from its enforced imprisonment! Occupy DC!

  • July 26, 2012, 4:05 a.m. CST

    Hate to be THIS guy

    by Bass Ackwards

    But I hopped in hoping to get a review of the Before Watchmen, that was a synopsis, closest it came to a review was saying the reviewer didn't have a problem with the historical accuracy of it.

  • July 26, 2012, 6:58 a.m. CST

    Superhero comics are shit, nowadays

    by PTSDPete

    Pining for the early 2000's where stuff is subversive and fresh, and even Alan Moore was okay writing beside them.

  • Comic Book Films nowadays : Well, shit.

  • July 26, 2012, 7:01 a.m. CST

    Nolan fucked up the legacy of The Ultimates

    by PTSDPete

    Yes, he was making Bat-films, but was he even aware of it ?

  • July 26, 2012, 8:04 a.m. CST

    Superhero comics did peak in the early 2000s, I agree

    by Autodidact

    In fact I'd say comics as a whole peaked about ten years ago... I got back into them in 2000 after a few years not buying much, and for a couple years with AUTHORITY and ULTIMATES and stuff like Mike Allred's X-FORCE, it felt like there was always something fresh. But those three examples are also the problem, as they are all a different type of deconstruction. Once you deconstruct something completely enough, it's hard to take the fully incorporated product as the greater sum of its parts.

  • July 26, 2012, 8:41 a.m. CST

    How To Write An @$$hole Review by Dr. Buzz Fucking Maverik DDS

    by Buzz Maverik

    1) Acid 2)Fifth of tequila 3)Case of Dos Equis 4) You don't have tell much about the plot or background of the book because your readers can read the comic for themselves and know as much about comics as you do anyway. 5)Give the reader a sense of what the book makes you think or feel without saying how it makes you think or feel. Your reader might not have a short attention span (see all the inexplicable love for comics in the first decade of the 21st Century) but thank God you do! 6)Throw in something sure to piss at least one person off so they'll take it seriously and you can rip 'em a new one in the talkbacks.

  • ahem.

  • July 26, 2012, 11:26 a.m. CST

    Well

    by Joenathan

    This Talkback took a weird twist toward the end...

  • July 26, 2012, 11:43 a.m. CST

    But I agree about the early 2000's

    by Homer Sexual

    I think the early 2000's were indeed the high water mark for super hero comics. Super Hero movies, as well. Honestly, I think Avengers Disassembled had a lot to do with ending the true "Golden Age" of comics. It was a depressing, deconstructed story that has become the template for most comics, especially Marvel, ever since. And of course, I don't like it. Bendis shouldve stayed on the fringes. Never been a fan of his uber-mainstream stuff.

  • July 26, 2012, 2:06 p.m. CST

    The Dark Knight is the best batman comic book.

    by Metroid_Fetish

    Batman, Batman and Robin, and Batman Inc are shit.

  • July 26, 2012, 2:22 p.m. CST

    Trolly

    by Joenathan

    I'd say. Very Trolly

  • July 26, 2012, 8:07 p.m. CST

    I read Batman Inc

    by optimous_douche

    I Just couldn't take it home. I'm more pissed about what an empty PR exercise the hold back on sale is. It's really really stupid.

  • July 27, 2012, 9:07 p.m. CST

    Ok, as everyone know......

    by HiWayRobry

    And by everyone I mean one or two people who read these talkbacks and recognize my name, I am a trade waiter. But Marvel hasn't put out any TPB's lately that aren't reprints. WTH? Where's all the Fear Itself TPB's? I did read Mystery Men which was pretty cool, but I want my mainstream Marvel. So, in the meantime, I've been buying all the New 52 DC trades that have been coming out. Here's what I think: Animal Man - Pretty cool Catwoman - Really good Red Lanterns - Not bad Green Arrow - Sucks Justice League International - Sucks Mister Terrific - Not so terrific Stormwatch - Sucks So, there you have it. Please continue to enjoy your day.