Thursday, September 29, 2005

Who Is Ronin? Part Uno

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we have all been suffering through the latest New Avengers drivelling diatribe known as the Sentry Arc. Its over. We may now all rejoice. (Insert Great Rejoicing here.) Now, after like issue 3, we have all been wondering, "who is this Ronin person?" We keep being teased. Well, all of us have been teased long enough. Enter: Ronin. I can't wait to see who the hell it is. Just like I can't wait to see what spoils in my fridge overnight. Please note- there will be a spoiler or two here.

New Avengers #11
Ronin Pt. 1

Please note the manly physique of our featured character to the left. Is Ronin a hero? Is Ronin an unknown that BMB wants to start fresh? Or, is no one being duped and this is Daredevil. I tell you now, Ronin is not Matt Murdock. The one panel shows Cap'n America talking to the "recruit" that Murdock recommended. Note the long, long dark hair. Note the words that come from Cap, "...your connections to Wilson Fisk..." and ...if at all possible.. no killing.

Now, if I had to just base it off the hair, this is Elektra. No doubt. But then you look at the Conan-esque look of Ronin, and go "NO WAY" is that Elektra. I could only dream though.

So, who is Ronin. I tell you now. Ronin is-----------

Howard Stern.

Yes. The one, the only Howard Stern. This landmark and American cultural icon is the perfect fit for the character of Ronin. Think of his slick moves and slinky posterior from his "cushy cushy" night job hosting naked models on his radio/television show? The guy has the moves to fight ninja. Have you seen him handle a mic? Also remember, he is a hero in his own image: may I present to you:


The guy is a natural hero. See how he flies through the air to save people? Tell me Bendis would not use this guy? I'm telling you, its the hair. The hair gave it all away. Now, now, I know some of you will just say its a wig, but come on, why bother? A wig is just not needed with this guy's credentials. Tell me this guy couldn't take on ninjas? If you were a ninja, would you want to touch that ass? Hell no. The Hand. U Can't Touch This!

Also, look at the muscles on that man. Now, compare them with Ronin. Come on, even Batman has muscles potruding thru his flimsy outfit, and looks like Mr. Atlas five years ago. They would have to sculpt that Ronin outfit to fit onto this man's body. Howard Stern has the BOD!!!

We all know this guy would kill without hesitation. He could kill simply with his dreaded gaze alone. That's why the need for full blown head gear. He hangs out in Hells Kitchen, so Murdock would know him. Hell, he's probably defended him multiple times over by now.

And lastly, what else is he doing nowadays? Nothing. His shows have been pulled off the air. He has no movies to make? All he is currently doing is hosting dwarf tossing contests on Long Island.

Need I say more? Ronin=Howard Stern.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Chris' Reviews 9/21, Pt. 2

Hola, amigos y amigas! A lot of bang for the buck here in Part Two of my reviews, as I didn't purchase a lot of Marvel and Others, but what I did get I liked. Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


Praise be! It's the end of the Sentry arc, and it doesn't suck! (As much as I thought it would, anyway). So, we learn that Bob Reynolds, the Sentry, had been feeding "Paul Jenkins" his identity in order to keep his psyche alive, which accounts for the comic book stuff. Emma Frost and Bob "fix things psychically" (there's no more accurate way to describe what happened --- trust me) so that no one except her, Bob, and Reed Richards remembers what went down over the last 3 issues, and that's just fine by me. I'd kill to forget about the last 3 issues. (Har!)

In the end, the Sentry (kind of) joins the New Avengers, since Stark and Co. promise to watch over him in case he gets the crazies again. And Tony flat-out lies to the rest of the Marvel U and keeps that whole Savage Land/SHIELD slave-trading incident under wraps.

There's no way in Hell I should have liked this issue, but I did. First off, the fact that we're done with this arc is reason enough to celebrate. Second, the motivations for recruiting Sentry into the Avengers rang (I can't believe I'm saying this) authentic in a way that Bendis hasn't been in this book yet.

Stark's no dummy --- having had firsthand experience with powerful beings who lose their marbles (I'm lookin' at you, Wanda), he figures that the world's a little better off if someone keeps an eye on ol' Bob for the time being. His monologue to the Sentry comes off as parental, with a sense perhaps that this is a way to atone for the Avengers' failing of Wanda. It's very, very, Avengers-ish, and if you don't know what that means, then you haven't read enough old-school Avengers. Nice work, Bendis. I'll give you that.

Depressingly, next issue promises the beginning of the Daredevi----erm, Ronin story arc. Which goddamn well better not be another drawn out 3 issue arc featuring everyone except the Avengers. I give that about a 30% chance of happening. Darn.

Art is still good, by the way, and I really hope there's consequences to Tony not letting the rest of the non-Avengers Marvel U in on the SHIELD faction they discovered back when this book was interesting. It's either a nice setup to a Sleeper-type story, or it's Bendis' way of keeping an interesting story in his back pocket to pull out when sales drop after his next character study disguised as a superhero comic. Sigh.

Best Moment: Tony's monologue. Say what you will, I enjoyed it and it was probably the most in-character moment we've had by anyone in the last 3 or 4 issues.

Worst Moment: Turning Emma Frost into Captain Exposition to wrap the whole thing up. Good Lord, that took too many pages. And I still think Mastermind's accomplice was Baron Zemo.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Maybe I'm giving too much credence to just being the end of the whole Sentry nonsense, but I didn't mind this book at all, and there were some really nice moments.

  • ULTIMATES 2 #8

    So, Cap and Wasp have a lovers' tiff, since he confronts her with having an affair with her husband, or something. He resolves this tiff by leaping off the roof and going to visit Bucky. Meanwhile, Nick Fury and co. review the cameras from Hawkeye's Family Massacre and see that Captain America is apparently the one who led the raid and pull the trigger (or so we're led to believe---we never see the footage ourselves). A SHIELD team is sent to arrest Cap, which they do. And there's some hoo-ha regarding Tony and Natasha's impending wedding, which is useless and ill-advised.

    I have been reading glowing reviews for this comic all over the internet, and I still can't understand it. I mean, it's good, I guess. But it's not great.

    I mean, OK, the idea that Cap would kill Clint and his family? Please. If there's anyone out there who thinks that this ISN'T either Ultimate Loki or (as theorized by another reviewer I shan't name) Ultimate Red Skull, raise your hand. Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Thought not.

    So, given that, this issue was ultimately (har!) filler. Sure, there's melodrama with Cap and Wasp, and Fury's reaction to discovering that Cap was the traitor was gold. And the Cap/Bucky scenes were touching enough. But the end is a drawn-out fight scene that made me yawn, and after all this buildup the consequences are more interesting than what actually (apparently) happened. So, like I said, good. But not great.

    And no, they didn't find Hawkeye's body, so you can be damn sure that he's not dead; he's probably either being held captive by said bad guy, or his death was faked to make people think he's dead. You know I'm right.

    Best Moment: Cap and Bucky share a hug that's actually touching, and not in that creepy kind of All-Star Batman and Robin (no, I will never get tired of berating that comic) kind of way. Am I just being too sentimental this week, or what?

    Worst Moment: Remind me again why Millar is having Tony and Natasha get married? Because every time they switch back to that plot devic----erm, subplot, the story grinds to a halt.

    Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. I give kudos to it for making me want to read the next issue, and the art is (as always) absolutely terrific. Now that this ish is out of the way, tho....big finish time, guys! BIG FINISH!

    You know what? I just had an epiphany. I'm not going to review the other book I got this week, because I'm not sure what I think yet. I'll just include it with this week's reviews instead. In lieu of that review, some bullet points:

  • KelvinGreen is spot on (as usual) in a comment from my earlier posting about the Green Lantern Corps and 2000ad being made for each other. Dammit, that's brilliant! And it fulfills my need for a grand space adventure comic! I might disagree with you about Gibbons, though. Rann-Thanagar War is corporately-foisted drivel, to be sure, but Gibbons has to take some responsibility for it. Dicey. But I'm perfectly willing to give him a chance on GLC:Recharge.
  • Thanks to all who continue to comment on and just spend a few minutes here at 2 Guys Buying Comics. It's pretty cool, this whole blogging thing.
  • Despite what I wrote in my reviews from last month, I didn't get Captain America this week. It's House of M crossover garbage, so I saw no need. I'll still pick up the next issue that continues Brubaker's story, tho.
  • Ultimate Fantastic Four was pretty good this week. Not going to read it regularly yet, but I'll keep an eye on it.
  • Am I the only one who doesn't give a rat's ass about the Inhumans?
  • I've gotten a couple of emails saying I'm too spoiler-y. My take on it is that unless I give you spoilers you're not going to know whether you want to start reading the comic. Otherwise, the reviews are just slightly slanted hype, and you have no way of judging whether or not the story and characterizations and art are something you'd be interested in.

That's all for now: ooh, lots of comics coming this week. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 23, 2005

Chris' Reviews 9/21, Pt. 1

Kisses and hugs all around; you'll be delighted to know that this week was MUCH better than last week, mainly for two reasons:

1) I read a lot of good comics this week.
2) Not a single one of them was All-Star Batman and Robin.

In other words, this week was incredibly Airwolf.

I read so many comics this week, Part One of my reviews will cover the DC comics, and Part Two will be Marvel and Others. And those are just as good, if not better, than these here DC comics (so screw you, anonymous emailer who keeps accusing me of being a DC homer).

As always, Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


The final issue of this mini wraps up nicely, as Batman and Harvey Dent have their final confrontation, save the city (kind of), and we learn something about why Harvey is so screwed in the head. (You'd think that taking an acid bomb to half your face would be enough. You'd be wrong, my friends.)

In re: the aforementioned confrontation, it's not exactly tense (because we know the guy with the cape is going to win), but it moves through the city and it's action-y enough to satisfy. Along the way, Harvey shoots a motorist in the skull, throws a background bystander off a construction site (which doesn't sound like much, but he was, like, 4 floors up), and takes a hostage, with whom he taunts Batman, then shoots the hostage right through the head. Doh!

In other words, Two-Face kills people, and not in the grand "I'm killing people via an insanely complicated plot involving city utility companies and corrupt bureaucrats" Batman tradition (although that was the overarching plot). It's weirdly nice to get a sense of these cartoony psychos being dangerous on an immediate and personal level. Anyway.

We also learn that Two-Face's evil half is Harvey's sublimation of his brother Murray, whom he killed as a kid by locking him in a room on fire.
Whoa! So, Two-Face was a murdering bastard even as a kid! Quite frankly, I like it, and it makes the Harvey Dent transition from good guy to bad guy a tad more believable for me. But this isn't in continuity, so oh well.

Two more things about this comic: first, Two-Face's plan actually kind of worked. Jim Gordon mentions 800 or so people killed or injured, so again we see that things aren't all nicey-nicey here. Second, the one beef I had was that at the end, Gordon walks in and mentions that he just got Harvey's family records, and sees that his dad abused him, his mother died, and his house burned down with his brother in it. I'm thinking that this is a black mark against Gotham City's Human Resources Department, since this is prime "Um, don't call us, we'll call you" material when Harvey applied for the DA position.

Best Moment: Bruce taking off the mask and inviting Alfred for a walk in the park at the end. Yeah, it's cliched and corny, but it was a sunny-ish ending to a very dark series.

Worst Moment: Harvey's fall off the construction site. The guy fell like at least 4 floors, and he's OK. This is especially amazing, since he just finished shooting himself in the head. Now that I think about it, this series would have made a great Two-Face: The End kinda thing.

Comic Book Airwolf: 4/5. I honestly don't understand why nobody liked this series, as I thought it was a classic Batman adventure with great art, a dash of grittiness, and great character moments.


Grant Morrison's overlooked maxiseries starts another chapter with Shilo Norman, a.k.a. Mister Miracle, dealing with the pressures of being a world-renowned escape artist.

Shilo is getting tired of the life, and looking for something different. He performs a stunt, then visits his shrink looking for...what, exactly? An escape from the life he's made for himself, I guess, and despite the tone of this sentence I wrote, it's fairly compelling. As he relates his experiences (which includes meeting Metron inside a black hole and encounters with Granny Goodness), you get a feeling for Shilo and it instantly makes him more compelling than Scott Free. It's true. Deal with it, purists!

Wow. Bang-up start to this mini. When you begin with Mr. Miracle escaping from a black hole and it goes up from there, you know you're in for something good. Granny Goodness and her dames are reimagined as a madame and some hookers here, and the ending sets up a cool fight with the Derby of Death and Mr. Miracle.

This is probably the most traditionally superheroey of the Seven Soldiers minis so far, and it's...good. Character you care about and get to know? Check. Action? Check. Interesting setup for big fight? Check. I'm a fan of the whole Seven Soldiers enterprise in general, and while not every issue has been gold, on balance each series has been worth reading, and with uniformly great art. I see nothing here in Mr. Miracle that would lead me to believe otherwise.

Best Moment: The meeting with Metron, where Shilo has visions of Darkseid, et al. I've never been a fan of the New Gods stuff, but this was creepy and ominous and made me interested.

Worst Moment: I'm nitpicking here, but the panel where Shilo's psychiatrist bites down on something (his pipe? a cherry chocolate bar? a battery?) and his mouth bleeds stood out like a sore thumb. And because it's Morrison, I just know this is going to have some sort of significance down the line and it pisses me off wondering what it is.

Comic Book Airwolf: 3/5. Read the above for an explanation. The only reason it doesn't get 4 Airwolfs is because the whole New Gods tie-in makes me skittish because I find the Darkseid/Apokolips stuff boring and trite. Count me in for next ish, tho.Too bad Pascual Ferry isn't drawing this in the rest of the issues.


Wowzers! (Yes, I just went Inspector Gadget on the program.) Disclosure: I am an admitted GL Corps fangeek, as I've always loved the concept of the space police/superhero combo. As a kid, I thrilled to the possibilities of the GL Corps adventures, since it allowed for so possibilities.

Here, the Guardians are sending out rings to reform the corps, looking for beings that are worthy and enlisting them whether they like it or not.

And I must say, this ish gets me pumped for the rest of the series. Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner are recalled to Oa, only to find that they're there to train the new cadre of Lanterns. Kilowog is there as well, and apparently he's going to be the drill sergeant for these rookies, which is just right. Things I liked about this issue that I have to put in bullet point format lest this become the worlds' first 6,000-word single issue comics review:

  • The idea that Lanterns aren't universally loved. The planet Korugar, for instance, sees the lantern symbol as a swastika, which is totally understandable since, you know, they inflicted Sinestro on the universe.
  • The strengthening of the paramilitary concept of the GL. This is what I love about the Corps: they're an organized force with rules and discipline, which speaks to my inner fascist. (Kidding! Ha! Ha!)
  • Characterization. Guy Gardner is still the cocky asshole he always was, and it'll be interesting to see him given responsibility over "cadets". Kyle makes a great case for leaving the JLA, which is better than what I expected (namely, no explanation at all).
  • The sense of something larger. The Guardians, perhaps having read Previews this month, know that the universe is changing, which is why they're reforming the Corps. They're even assigning two GLs to each sector now.
  • Batman gets a humorous line, which I'm sure DC will immediately edit out in the trade since he's supposed to be an asshole.
  • The personal focus on the new Lanterns, showing that not all of them necessarily are willing participants, not all of them are good beings, and that they have motivations of their own.

The ONLY thing that worries me is that this is written here on out by Dave Gibbons, who has fucked up Rann-Thanagar War beyond all belief. Dear God, don't let this geek-worthy, Lantern-lovin' setup for fanboys go to waste. Stay the course, Dave. Stay the course.

Best Moment: "Tell Guy he needs to shave."

Worst Moment: I literally can't think of one. Therefore, GL Corps: Recharge #1 gets my first ever...

Comic Book Airwolfs: 5/5. Pure gold for GL fanboys like me. This pushes all the right buttons, makes sense in the grand scheme of things, and promises a lot of cool, interesting characters combined with the innate action, mystery, and adventure that defines what Green Lantern is supposed to be about. Excelsior, bitches!


You all know by now how much that I've liked this book. Here, it comes to a...weird...conclusion as the Spectre fights the wizard Shazam (and wins), the Shadowpact finishes off Eclipso, and the laws of magic are broken, making it chaotic and potentially available to anyone now, not that it wasn't before.

Things I liked include the Shadowpact's method of beating Eclipso (sending her into orbit around the sun, bad thing for those who get powers from darkness), the hint that this will become a team book (which I will totally buy, no matter what Randy says), and Enchantress' reminder to the group about Ragman's penchant for kissing at precisely the wrong times.

Things I had an issue with include the gruesome death/decapitation scenes at the end when magic explodes over Gotham City (totally didn't jibe with the vibe of the comic so far), Billy Batson falling to his death (although we know Captain Marvel ain't gonna be dead), and do I explain this?

My problem with the Spectre has always been that he's supposed to be God's right hand man, and that in a universe that has multiple gods, beings of pure energy, superpowered mortals, immortals, and whatnot, that's apparently supposed to matter. Well, against that backdrop it's kind of hard to accept that the Judeo-Christian God means more than, say, the Anti-Monitor, and that inherently makes the Spectre little more than an asshole with ill-defined but omnipotent powers.

My answer? Keep the Spectre as the Spirit of Vengeance, but make Vengeance itself a universal, primal force to be reckoned with --- you know, kind of a moral equivalent to the scientific principle of "every action has an equal and opposite reaction" (which would allow writers to show him being a great guy to balance out evil acts, too), and have the Spectre (who is soon to have Blue Beetle as its human host or I'll eat my pants, which is twice I'll eat my pants for those of you who remember my "Wally West will die during Infinite Crisis" prediction, which means I should be buying stock in Levi's Jeans before October) be the avatar of the Vengeance Force. I've said too much, much too incoherently.

Best Moment: The Phantom Stranger reappearing at the end, because the Phantom Stranger is inherently cool, and those of you who think otherwise are wrong.

Worst Moment: I didn't need to see a 13 year old girl decapitated by a Magical Debris Pebble at the end. Jarring and unnecessary.

Comic Book Airwolf: 3/5. I recommend the series as a whole, but this one lacked the humor prevalent in the prior issues. Still, a cool fight that bodes ill for magic in the DC Universe to come, and I really would read a Shadowpact team book...because I need me some Detective Chimp! (Shut up, Randy.)

I Bought a Title That Glows In The Dark

Lo and behold, I found more books, more current books, to give some input to the masses out there. And, one really does glow in the dark. I'll save that review for last.
Movie of choice for this series of reviews: the classic, and no sequel could compare: Iron Eagle. Its totally Airwolf.
As always, I will keep these as spoiler free as I see fit. If you want spoilers, geesh, see Chris' reviews. He likes to give away the farm. Some more Big Al for ya Chris?

Ultimate Fantastic Four #23
Crossover Part 3/3

So, I had ten books to go thru this week. And you know how we all put our comics in a certain order that we want to read? OK, so sometimes I just cover my eyes and pick them at random, but I had to stop that after...well, I won't go into that right now. Anyways, I put this book just before the Avengers and Ultimates, which are two of my favorite books. I should have put this, accompanied by the UFF Annual, on the bottom of the read pile. This book is probably my favorite book out there right now. I loved it. I still do. I mean, after a couple more reads.
Zombies- always a good thing. (Chris agrees, because they are not suddenly going from 17th century deep sea living to movie producer type thingy. Sea of Red, you suck ass.) And I understand there will be a series out next summer on Zombie Heroes From the Fifth Dimension. I'll check it. But that's my title dammit. They can't use it unless...well, they want to.
So anyways, we get Reed in the 5th Dimension, the zombie FF in the Ultimate world, and things need to be righted. Well, I'll just say they get righted. And oh my, do we finally get some FF action. And, I'm gunna tell ya now, Thing Vs. Hulk. 'Nuff said. All works out in the end, we get a little suspense, non-action-wise, at the end, and we all get to look forward to Tomb of Namor, which sounds quite interesting as we get another character introduced into the Ultimate Universe. We all know that Namor is not dead. Its kind of like we all know no one can stay dead in the Mavel universe.
And, this art and this story are really really good. I don't think anyone out there will say that Millar can't write a book and Land can't draw it. These two are impressive.
I have only one negative thing to say, and its not really all that negative. Reed is a pussy.
I like how Sue basically takes over the show in this book.

Overall: I am giving this a 5/5. I will be requesting my LCBS add this to my buy list. Its fun, it has action, it has bantering and it has well, zombies to boot.

Pause: I wish I had Jason Gedrick's 80's hair- its so Airwolf.

Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1

Need I continue my diatribe into UFF? I read this after the regular UFF, and it was JUST as good. We get introduced to the Ultimate Inhumans. The Inhumans were an interesting bunch, and never really overused way back when, and I think that is why I like to read about them. I really like the Avengers when Crystal was an active member, roughly the late 300's. They remind me of the New Gods in DC. Never overused, but when they show up its usually a good story.
Need I comment on the art and story? Sure, why not. Its really good.
The introduction of the Inhuman city and background is fascinating and a great read. It may bore some people, but if you have any interest in the Inhumans origin/background, then I think you will enjoy this book also. And the young bravado of the UFF shows itself in this book. Its near the end, and its fun. Its just as Airwolf as the regular series.

Overall: Once again, 5/5. You may have to start skipping my numbers on UFF. I can't say enough good things about this book under Millar and Land. I could try, but then I would be writing novels like Chris, and I don't want to do that to you.

JSA Classified #3
Power Trip Part 3/4

So, as Chris has informed me, Psycho Pirate is a big deal. And after reading this issue, there has got to be some kind of tie-in to the upcoming Crisis series. But I don't know what. I'll let everyone else speculate on that. We get PowerGirl in all her goodness- Powergirls rate high numbers in this ish. And we get Huntress. I like Huntress. But why in the HELL is she in this book? She has no place here. There are a hundred other heroes PowerGirl could go "buddy up with". And quite honestly, I'd rather have Huntress show off her stuff than PowerGirl. I think its the crossbow. We get some fighting action of Huntress and PowerGirl- and NO, I'm sorry, its not in a vat of jell-oh. Its all about the Powergirls.

Now, I am interested in seeing what is going on with her "origin." I was turned off originally by issue 2, it was bad in my book. But after some further explanations, it wasn't all that bad. But, this is still not a strong book. Its fairly weak. I actually kind of hope that it is not a must read for Crisis. I'm hoping that Pyscho Pirate has nothing to do with that and is only dealing with the Crisis of years ago, and may explain why PowerGirl and SuperGirl cant' be in the same room together, let alone why they too can't jell-oh wrestle together. I must stop, I digress.

Overall: 2/5. I don't know where its going. I like Huntress, but not in this book with PowerGirl. I am trying to overcome the cartoony art in this ish, even though it works well. Something just tells me its not working and get over it and stop buying this book. Well, I will when PowerGirl is done here.

Wraithborn #1/6
In the Beginning Chapter 1

I do not have the cover to the left. My cover GLOWS IN THE DARK!!! I know, who cares? I've had a gin and tonic or two, and well, I just wanted to point out that it glows in the dark.
The story- its so-so. Its been tried and done in many books. Take-good-looking-young-girl-give-her-revealing-clothing-and-kicks-ass. It reminded me alot of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. As in, there can be only one. Stop, stop the Highlander crap. After the first, the rest were dogs and you know it, so stop fooling yourself. But in this 'origin' issue, it was a good story to follow. It starts out violent. And I must say the quote of "I have no mercy for the foolish" sets a great tone for this book that we will see later on in the series. The action that follows that line really sets the pace.
The art however, is another piece that cannot be overlooked. The art is incredible. I love how dark the art was and how well it accompanied the story. It was a perfect fit. And very well done.

Overall: 3/5. I would recommend if you like the genre I mentioned above with all the hyphens. I'm too lazy to even copy and paste it in here. I will give it one more issue and hope it doesn't get spoiled. Or go all Witchblade on me. I really wanted to give this a 4/5. But Chris says I do that way to often and need to be less generous. But hey, I just want everyone to buy comics and read 'em and enjoy 'em.

I have no more reviews for you today. But I do have a very special edition for you all upcoming this weekend.

It may even break this blog in half.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Few Words About The Avengers

Opinion piece time. First off, welcome back to Randy. Great reviews, and opinions to boot. Good stuff. Now then.

A few words about the Avengers.

Here's the thing: I got into the Avengers when I was a kid, around 1985 when I was 10 years old. Primarily due to Iron Man and Captain America, I thought, "Hey! Here's a couple of my favorite heroes, with a smattering of idosyncratic B-list supporting characters to boot! What's not to like?"

(No, I didn't know what the word 'idiosyncratic' meant when I was 10. You get the picture, tho.)

On a monthly basis, not only did I get Iron Man and Cap, but I got Thor, the Vision, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Wasp, Giant Man, Wonder Man, Captain Marvel, et al. It was fantastic. The idea of the B-Listers always trying to prove their worth to the A-Listers was an interesting dynamic, and to this 10 year old kid, it generated a feeling of "I could be an Avenger, if only Cap would give me a chance!"

Now, I know, hindsight is 20/20 and all, but...damn. The New Avengers just don't have that same feel. I know that because I'm older now that I can more easily see the corporate money machines driving the comics, but dammit, the Avengers were always a superteam that always had just the slightest feeling that...I dunno...they didn't all like each other, but when the time came, they would ASSEMBLE!

Now? Now, it's Brian Michael Bendis' personal playground, using all the heroes (I guess) that he felt never got a fair shake when he was a kid. How else to explain Luke Freaking Cage as an Avenger?

The Avengers were always Marvel's answer to overwhelming cosmic, magical, or Earth-shattering threats. It was grand superhero action on a wide canvas, with enough team shake-ups every six months to make you actually wonder if one of the team members was going to quit or die. Hell, even the West Coast Avengers had the same feel, and if you disagree, then you don't have the issue where Moon Knight burned his membership card, my friend. (Randy does.) (Freakin' Tigra. Bitch.)

Earth's Mightiest Heroes were just that --- the most powerful (geekly speaking) heroes Marvel had to offer. And now it's an ATM for Marvel, of which I am a confessed contributor due to my loyalty to the Avengers name. And that's precisely what Marvel's counting on.

Here's the litmus test: can you picture the New Avengers taking on the likes of the Kree-Skrull War? Hell no. Spider-Man, Luke Cage, Wolverine, and Spider-Woman would be jelly smeared over the toast of whatever battleship the first Skrull that attacked them came from. The Wrecker? THE WRECKER? We've spent two issues on the Avengers taking down the Wrecker? What's next, a 6-issue arc showing the Avengers finding a way to deal with the Vulture? Please.

And don't get me started on the Sentry, who is at best a gimmick and at worst...well, at worst, he's a Superman analogue that BMB will no doubt attempt to infuse with a backstory worthy of generating sympathy. And fail, because quite frankly the Sentry is a needless, boring pile of shit.

(Note: this is not a sniper shot at BMB. I genuinely like his work on Powers, Fortune and Glory, Daredevil, and Goldfish. He's just out of control as far as the Avengers are concerned, starting with the pile of feces that was Avengers Disassembled.)

And while I have no problems with the idea of a Marvel street-level team, DON'T CALL THEM THE AVENGERS. It's not the same. It's just not.

So, here's the point:

Marvel, Joe Quesada, whoever: make the Avengers grand again. Make them a team worth reading about. Make them Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and make them the superteam to which all Marvel U heroes aspire, just like they were back in the (my?) old days. Make them the ultimate event issue every freaking month, an issue which any Marvel reader will have interest in.

I'm not saying you have to work in Thor or any of the other Avengers you've cast aside because House of M dictated it (kidding! Sort of.). Feel free to introduce new heroes, old heroes, repurpose obscure heroes. (In case you're wondering, I think the new Scorpion, for example, would make a fine Avenger.) Just stay true to the purpose from whence the Avengers were created. I quote:

"And there came a day unlike any other, when Earth's mightiest heroes were united against a common threat! On that day THE AVENGERS were born - to fight foes that no single hero could withstand."

Please, Marvel.

Bring back the Avengers. Bring back Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Fine New Comic Day

Ten Books. All new books even. This was a good week. I want all my weeks like this. Well, comic-wise that is. Briefly, I liked all the books. I was mildly surprised. Reviews forthcoming, with hopefully no spoilers.

Day of Vengeance #6 of 6
Chapter Six: The Death of Magic

I read this, and didn't know what to think at first. Big events? Yep. Handled right? After thinking about it some, yes. Not sure how a couple of specifics are going to work out, but hopefully all will be revealed? Do we get the big showdown between Spectre and Shazam (not Marvel, but the Wizard himself?) Yes we do, and I liked it. The ShadowPact took more of a back seat in this one, and then the sparks really flew. I will tell you one thing: the Death of Magic is not what you were expecting. I didn't know what to think, but I like what they did with it. It was a nice twist, and should carry through into many stories, and they should be pretty good. Does it play into Crisis? I don't think it should. I think this should stay separate- that is how good I think that this storyline could play out.
Characters: Nightshade and Black Alice strut themselves quite well. I would like to see more of Nightshade. I am pleased by the fact that I won't have to see Detective Chimp anymore. We will see Eclipso again. No "trident-thru-the-stomach" this time around.

Overall: 4/5. I really hope they carry this through other titles. And it would not have to be one series. This could go through random books for a couple of years. Very nice setup.

Supergirl #2
Power Chapter Two: Teen Titans

I get to see the dumbass, cocky Superboy get hit. Need I say more? I bought Issue 1, and the story arc kinda peaked my interest. Issue 2 has continued that trend. Now its just something I want to see through and how it turns out. Don't ya sometimes just hate that? I have never read the Teen Titans. However, they were well played out here. They were well drawn. As a matter of fact, the book was well drawn. And we get to see some of them smacked down too. I like how Supergirl keeps drawing from here "Lessons 101" from Paradise Island. Her narration is far more entertaining the Superman's in his books. This keeps it entertaining. This book does not make me want to start reading the Teen Titans either, and I am just fine with that.
It comes with two covers. I was happy buying one. The one shown to the left (or above I guess) works just for me. If I want a posing Supergirl, I can always buy the poster.

Overall: 3/5. The book/story is still developing, but it is going in the right direction. Don't let the "3" rating keep ya away. Give it a try.

Manhunter # 14
Manhunted Part 4: The Devil Inside

This book has lost some of its edge. Now granted, I have missed a few issues, the trial issues from like 8-11 or something like that, so I may just be a little lost because of this. It seemed very refreshing when it first started. She is not a hero by "teaching" or creed or whatever drives/motivates them. She just wants to get rid of bad guys, one way or another. She seems to be coming more into mainstream though, and its taking away the books edge. I do like Dylan, I think he seems to have adapted very well as the "volunteered sidekick" and doesn't pull any punches himself. She knows the suit is her whole shtick, and she plays that up alot. And she always needs that cigarette. Nice touch.

It was edgy when she played more of the vigilante and hid it from everyone. It was in opposition to her daily routine as a D.A. And she is an everyday person you might meet on the street, with no training in martial arts, or high powered brain functions. She puts on a suit, takes her power stick, and goes out and about.

The OMAC tie in was too feeble to even bother. This should be a stand-alone book and outside of OMAC. But I guess EVERY book will need an OMAC tie in. Even though it won't need it. Heck, they'll probably find a way to have an OMAC in the upcoming Jonah Hex.

Overall: 3/5. I want to give this book hope still. Maybe if I catch up on the back story, it will flow better.

I have more to review, opionize, whatever we want to call it. I'll send some more out tomorrow. I'm tired now.

Enjoy all


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hump Day Buy List

Hump Day means one thing, and one thing only. New comic day. What other use is there for a Wednesday? Ok, ok, its that much closer to NFL weekend, but other than that it serves no purpose. I think its kind of a filler day. And here is what I'm looking forward to purchasing tomorrow:

Day of Vengeance- #6 of 6. I want to see how this turns out, even though I see Spectre all over the place one this one finishes.

JSA Classified #3- I might as well see how this plays out, even though issue 2 sucked.

Manhunter #14- This isn't a bad series. Little more human hero. I mean, its not Greatest American Hero, but what the heck, its still a decent little book.

Seven Soldiers Mister Miracle #1- its not Scott Free, so its gunna have to really knock my socks off. Its ok- they'll be dirty by then.

Supergirl #2- The first one wasn't too shabby. And I hope the BoyToy gets his ass handed to him by GirlToy.

New Avengers #10(?)- I have always liked the Avengers. And I can't WAIT for the this damn Sentry story arc to finish. Move on please.

Ultimate FF #22(?)- I took a chance on this book, once again because I was getting so few books one week. It has stayed on the buy list. I like it. And I never really cared for the FF.

Ultimate FF Annual #1- I think I'm addicted.

Wraithborn #1- I'm not sure if I will pick this up or not. I'll see if I'm feeling whimsical or in a hurry to get home and pore over new books. And yes, picking up one book would hinder my poring time.
Shut up Chris, I can use the phrase "poring-time".
Reviews on these later folks. Have a good one. Randy

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Chris' Reviews 9/13

Hey howdy, true believers! Been a long while since the reviews, but a lot of personal crap has gotten in the way of my little hobby. Psssh.

What a CRAPTACULAR week! And I didn't even buy any Marvel! (Hee! I kid because I love.) I'm serious, the crap-osity would overwhelm even the most high-flush capacity of toilets. It's like the comics were all written by Crappy Crapperson, and pencilled and inked by Crapson McCrappinghole. It was that bad. There was one semi-saving grace, but we'll save that for the end, because 2 Guys Buying Comics is allegedly all about the optimism.


Mother of God, what has this become? In this issue, Hawkman, Blackfire, and Hawkwoman try to break the Thangarian emperor (the good one, not the evil one) out of jail, while Adam Strange, Captain Comet, and Hawkgirl wait patiently for them to do so. In addition, for the zillionth time, Sardath, Alanna, and the kid flee to YET ANOTHER "Last Bastion of Safety Containing Zeta Beam Technology" (this makes like the 5th one in a row).

Oh, and Hawkwoman dies.


Now, I'm no purist, but Shayera's been around more than 50 years, and she sure as hell deserved better than a one and a half page sequence where she gets killed by Blackfire. Come on, people! This happens about halfway through the comic, which means we get to see Hawkman carrying around her corpse for the entire last half. Which would be sad and affecting if the comic weren't too busy saying "Yes, yes, she's dead---but what about the Rannians?"

Screw you, Rannians. You have done nothing but flee this entire comic. That's not a war, that's an ass-kicking.

And like none of the parties involved (much less us readers) saw Blackfire's treachery coming for the last three issues? Come on, HawkPeople! She's listed as a villain in the DC Encyclopedia, for crying out loud!

And apparently Green Lanterns are too busy terraforming Thanagar back into something resembling habitable to help in all this. Whatever. At least we're coming to the end of this debacle.

Best Moment: Realizing that if I can take one more issue of this, then it's over.

Worst Moment: Shayera Thal's cheap death. Fuck you, DC. Note: that won't be the last time I use that sentence in these reviews. Nice way to send off one of your more recognizable JLU characters, DC. (I know, I know, JLU's Shayera is Hawkgirl. You know what I'm saying.)

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5, again, strictly on art. I want this to be over so bad it hurts.


In this issue, "Asshole Batman At His Apex" kidnaps Robin and tries to scare, insult, and beat a 12-year old boy while placing innocent lives in danger, making no sense whatsoever, and needing a shave. And we get to see a shirtless Alfred carrying a nearly topless Vicki Vale in the rain.

Fuck you, DC. (Toldja.)

In the course of a single issue, we get the following:

  • Batman kidnaps 12-year old boy whose parents have just been murdered.
  • Batman punches 12-year old boy for being scared (yup).
  • Batman taunts, insults, makes fun of, and tries to scare 12-year old boy.
  • Batman kills or at least seriously injures about 100 cops
  • Batman generally acts like a madman, and not in the good way.
Seriously. Batman's got a creepy pedophile vibe going on in this comic, and it makes me feel skeevy just reading it. Add in the child abuse, kidnapping, negligent homicide, and other stupid stuff, and...and...fuck you, DC.

Frank Miller, stop it. Just stop it. I loved Sin City. I dug Martha Washington. Year One? Masterpiece. But you are absolutely trashing an iconic hero just because you can, and it's not fun, it's not "out there", it's not a "reimagining of a classic hero" or whatever other lame excuse you and DC can come up with for this shit. It's mean-spirited, it's nonsense, and it's insulting. Wanna write a Batman story out of continuity? Fine. But don't turn Batman into a reject from the show Oz, and don't make a hero a child abuser. Sugarcoat it however you want to, that's what it is. Stop it.

The Batmobile turns into the Batplane, the entire comic takes place in the cockpit of said vehicle with out-of-character narration and expressions, and shirtless Alfred can go away now, thanks, as can Vicki Vale. So can this whole friggin' comic. I'm done.

Best Moment: The admittedly cool splash page where the Batmobile sprouts wings. Which makes up for about .0000005 % of the rest of this shit.

Worst Moment: Batman hitting the child he's just kidnapped. Words cannot describe how inappropriate that is for a comic whose nominal purpose is to tell continuity-free stories to get the "kids back into comics".

Comic Book Goodness: 0/5. My first ever 0/5, but Goddamn, if anything deserved it, it's this pile of trash. I shan't be getting another issue. Fuck you, DC.


Charley Parker and Hawkgirl go and confront Satanna, the alleged mastermind behind most of this "Hush"-like enemy arc that was responsible for the death of Hawkman. Meanwhile, some shadowy figure using the Cloak of Cagliostro is going around to those enemies responsible for said death and exacting terrible, tailored revenge on each one. Finally, after getting knocked on his ass for trying to plant one on Kendra, C.P. reveals himself to be pretty much just a kook with an ego, who's a heel with technology and and, let's face it, a villain. Lucky for him Carter Hall reappears on the final page to do battle!

Mixed feelings about this one. The revenge scenes (yes, it's Carter doing the revenge thing, and doing it well) are really effective, in that each character gets treated to their own Twilight Zone-ish brand of Hell, which is cool and really brings out the ruthless side of Carter. And seeing Hawkgirl knock Parker down after he tries to kiss her is priceless.

On the other hand, the Hawkgirl/Satanna fight scenes resemble two oddly contortioned praying mantises (mantii?) doing the limbo in zero-G, so it was hard to tell what was going on (or why). Also, since we all pretty much knew that Parker was going to turn out to be shady eventually, the ending isn't much of a surprise, and his motivations aren't entirely clear, unless it's as simple as "I wanna be Hawkman, dammit!" (Though I did like him mocking sidekick origins in general.) And I wanna know how the hell Carter Hall isn't dead, after we saw him get dismembered three issues ago. Depressingly, of course, it will turn out that Nth metal's regenerative properties were stronger than we knew! Sigh.

Best Moment: The scene where Hummingbird is consigned to a lonely, dark, isolated cage forevermore is really effective and chilling. You go, Carter!

Worst Moment: Charley trying to kiss Kendra, just because she's MINE, DAMN YOU! You hear me? Mine! All Mine! Erm....time to take my pills.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. I suppose a few people will rate this as one of the better books this week, but there was too much foregone conclusion spoiling the whole thing for me. Next issue should be better, as we're just about due for yet another "Hawkman kicks ass for 22 pages" installment.

JLA #118

Despero and Marty Manhunter take their battle to Earth, where, I shit you not, Aquaman steps in and joins the fight in a pretty damn cool manner. Like, almost (but not quite) to the point where I'd want to actively read about Aquaman again. Anyhoo, while this is going on, the JLA takes a vote on whether or not to mindwipe the SSoSV again, which is rendered moot since Zatanna walks out on them. After a while, we learn that Despero has taken control telepathically of MM and Aquaman, and on the last page turns Batman into one of his telepathically-evil minions.

I can't say this was a bad issue, though my brain tells me it was filler. It was nice to see Aquaman finally get some page time in this JLA series, and for awhile you think, "Hey! Aquaman's a pretty decent action superhero!"

Then we learn he gets mind-controlled by Despero (who --- let's face it --- is really just an evil Martian Manhunter with a third eye), and my estimation loses a bit, simply because Despero is a lame villain. Not your fault, tho, Arthur.

I could have done without the Zatanna/Wonder Woman/Supergirl self-reflection on Themyscira, as it was pointless navel-gazing and moping about the world in general. As regards the "voting" sequence, it was kinda stupid. OK, it was really stupid, since if I'm Superman, I'm saying "Yes, yes, we're a League and all, but I'm FREAKING SUPERMAN, and both me and the Batguy say we're not doing it because it's wrong. Anyone opposed who wants to get heat visioned and OMAC'ed up real good? I didn't think so. Motion denied, punks." Or something like that. I should totally write JLA just so I can use that Supes line.

Best Moment: "I have my Rook, I have my King, and now I Knight."

Worst Moment: Wondering why in the Hell Despero did all this in the first place. I hope that's adequately explained in the final ish, but I know it won't be. And the voting was lame. And the Themyscira scenes were drivel.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. Mainly for the cool Aquaman stuff and the positioning of the League vs. League fight coming up next issue.

Ye Gods, kids, let's hope for better luck this week! And yes, I lied about there being a saving grace. Apologies.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Work Can So Get In the Way

Sigh. Workshop all week at work. Over 12 hours a day. That really drives me to want to do nothing but sleep. So, I"ll put up some reviews today, just because I finally have some time to breathe.

And I must not neglect to mention that I am watching Hooper while writing these up.

Action Comics #831
Black & Blue

I like Black Adam. I don't know why. I just find him fascinating. Wish that they would stop wavering him back and forth between good guy/bad guy though. But, I guess if they did that DC would have Marvel's Dr. Doom, so oh well. Waver him. Just keep him away from the JSA.
Anywho, is this issue a Villians United tie-in? Who cares. There is no tie-in. Supe's makes mention of a group gathering. That's it. Otherwise, we get to see some battling of the big guys. I did like the comment that "He hits harder than Marvel." Unfortunately, it was someone else pulling Adam's strings, otherwise there may not have been a fight at all.
Oh, maybe the tie-in was the completely and utterly useless race between Bizarro and Zoom. Wow, did that part of the book just suck. I don't read Villians United. I don't care about the race. That could have been a simple sidebar mentioned in the limited. Filler material.
Now that I think about it, this whole book seemed to be filler material. At least the showdown between Adam and Superman was fun to see.
Overall: 2/5. And did I mention I like Black Adam?

Firestorm #17
An Unrighteous World

I like Black Adam. Hahaha. I went into my spiel above, I'm not doing it again. At least here he is brief in appearance. Why Firestorm? I enjoyed Firestorm a few years ago (ok, so it was many years ago.) And someone, who will go nameless, for all of a two second read, Chris, mentioned that it wasn't getting raped by readers, so I thought I would give this a try. And it wasn't too bad. One thing I will say is that the art was very...concise I guess is the best word. Very sharp lines. Was a pleasure to actually enjoy just about all of the frames.
This is probably truly a tie-in to Villians United, but since I don't read that limited, I can only assume. Don't believe the covers when they say Tie-In (see the Action review above to learn more.) This one stands alone pretty well even without reading the limited. The bad guys kidnap him, want him to power some stuff, he breaks out, fight ensues...yada yada yada. We meet some weird character. I don't know what part she plays, but I would rather have seen someone else here. Having the new Scorpion pop up in the current Hulk series is a great use of a "new" character, but this gal was just too odd even for my tastes.
The Villians: Queen Bee- not impressed at all. Waste of space. Royal Flush Gang- hell, they are always at least entertaining. Parasite- was ok. Black Adam- heh.
The interlude kind of confused me. Some reference to Thanagar warriors, out in space I'm guessing, followed by a surge of power to Firestorm. That gets a WTF?
Overall: 3/5. Clean art. Good story too.

Pause: I just found out that Doctor Detroit has finally been released on DVD. I'm excited.

Let's continue the DC travels. Apparently of the books I received this week, only one was Marvel. So that will be last.

JLA #118
Crisis of Conscience Part 4

This was a great book, until the end. I have to tell you that Aquaman popping up was quite the shock. That is not the Aquaman that I recognize from the past few years. Perhaps there has been a change over there. I'll live without checking. Aquaman is drawn quite well here. And on a side note, I am not the biggest fan of Aquaman. A guy that talks to fish doesn't do much for me. Moving on, Johns moved this story along pretty well. Pretty decent Despero fight. I was pleased to see the trio of lasses on Themyscira. Because I am a fan of Wonder Woman. She is drawn pretty well too. Sure sure, we have the tea party amongst the members about brainwashing. Whatever. I'd like some Earl Grey please, splash of milk.

It ends in the Batcave, Batman and Catwoman style. I like how Catwoman keeps making appearances in JLA. Not that she'll be a member, but the guest appearances and how she makes use of them are fun.

Then the end of the book. Wow. Its bad. League vs. League? This didn't leave me wanting more, but we all know I'll buy the next book anyways.

Overall: 3/5, would have been higher but the end just sucked ass.

Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder #2
Episode 2

This book sucks. Batman as a neophyte? Frank, go back to Daredevil. Jim, go find a new project. Both of you should just stop this travesty. Even Burt & Loni knew when to call it quits. I would rather read Moon Knight, Fist of Khonsu than this heap of crap, and that was a real bad, short-lived series. Is Richie Rich still out there for reading? The art is very good. I will give it that. But this is the absolute worst story. I'm not even comparing it to the "classic" setup. This is just Bruce Wayne, pedophile extraordinaire. This book is coming off the buy list. I have a shredder at my feet. I'm thinking about it.

Overall: 0/5. Don't buy this book. Save your time. Pick up Looney Tunes. You'll get a far far better read.

Wildcats: Nemesis #1
The Art of Living Dangerously

I know very little of the the Wildcats background. I picked this up on a whim. Probably because I felt bad about putting less than $20 on a credit card. I"ll give it a couple more issues because this one wasn't all that bad. Lots of great action. Great drawn action too. The end went into a little history on this whole scenario, and that was actually a nice tie up. I really liked it at the end rather than at the beginning. "Can't believe I'm breaking up a three-way cat fight" inspired me to try another book. What a great line.
I got guns, I got swords, and I have some good old fashioned violence. Hoping the next one continues this same trend.

Overall: 3/5. Looking forward to see how issue 2 goes.

X-men #175
Wild Kingdom 1

I do so like it when old members come back to play, and don't play too nice. This is something I don't even recall seeing in the Avengers. With X-men, Storm returns and really doesn't want to play co-leader with Emma. Wolverine still kinda does his own thing. It all makes for some great bantering. Please, please please end this whole way dragged out Gambit-Rogue thing. The last three issues were a nice twist due to the whole Mystique, but this thing has gone on longer than the Ross-Rachel Friends affair. Hell, end Gambit. He sucks anyways. He's a weaker Beast with dumbass playing cards. Storm is too strong of a character to play nice with this bunch. Its' a decent story, I"m interested in seeing where they take it. Black Panther. Eh, nothing too special. I was never a big fan of his. I would like to see some of this team revamped, but I'm not going into that cuz its always lame to lay out who you want as a group in a supposedly short review.

Overall: 3/5. Good character conversations. Decent storyline. It kept my interest.

That is all I have for this week. Two quick tidbits from last week purchases:

Ghost Rider- Wow! I really liked the setup and can't wait for the next ish. 5/5

Superman/Shazam- What a dog. I was really looking forward to this, but I don't care for how Middleton draws. That really is not my style. I prefer the sharper lines rather than pretty roundedness. Just reminds me of the 80's pastels. 2/5

Have a lovely day all. Talk to ya hopefully sooner than later.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Bullet Points

Traveling again today, which means I get to spend the day in airports and don't get the new comics till Friday at best. Some notes:

1) Go read Scipio's treatise on why he shouldn't write Aquaman (Absorbascon link in the sidebar), and revel in the passion.

2) I'm sticking to my theory that Villains United is merely a grand setup to introduce the Cheshire Cat as a new supervillain a year from now.

3) If for some reason you haven't yet, check out Boob War over at Dave's Long Box (link in the sidebar).

4) The worst thing isn't House of M; it's the "cleanup" stories that will undoubtedly permeate every Marvel comic for two months afterward when most of us will want to go back to reading stories we enjoy instead.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Chris' Reviews 9/7, Pt. 2

OK, that was quick (company cocktail receptions, while dull, at least provide a chance to leave early). As promised, more reviews, and Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


So, our newly-awakened heroes take a ride on a magic carpet (e.g. the SHIELD helicarrier) and discuss what's happened, what they have to do, what their hopes and dreams are...zzzzz...whoa! I'm up! Sorry about that! Um, and then they attack the House of M at a swank party and look for Professor X, whom they don't find immediately.


This ENTIRE issue was filler, pure and simple. Sure, there's a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth over what's happened while they're on the helicarrier, but it's either pointless or coming from the wrong characters. Examples include:
  • Luke Cage calling Jessica Jones only to hear an answering machine message that implies she's hooked up with another man. And then Cage says, "I don't know why I just did that." Luke, speaking for those of us reading this comic: we agree.
  • Spider-Man moping over whether or not MJ would be more successful without him, as she is in this altered reality. Then he mopes off somewhere. Mopey Parker. What happened to the pissed-off vengeful Spider-Man that I praised to the heavens last issue?
  • Jessica Drew (see a pattern here, New Avengers readers?) positing that maybe this is how things are meant to be. WTF?!? Because, you know, the next logical step in evolution is having a mutant witch bend reality because she went insane. Whatever.

In the midst of all this, there are actually two interesting bits. First, Cyclops tells everyone to basically go balls-out in the coming battle, forget heroics, and get the job done, which to me translates as "kill those mofos if you have to". Which is cool, and I would expect that from Cyclops. Two, Kitty Pryde brings up what I suspect is the point of the series, which is that when everything goes back to normal it might make things worse. Which, of course, it will.

Added to this are scenes of HOM-reality royalty (Queen Ororo, King Namor, T'Challa, Vic Von Doom) being introduced at Maggie's swank party. And no, those scenes don't serve any purpose either.

Finally, there's a cool splash page of most of the heroes (inexplicably sans Iron Man---more about that later) going in for the attack, Rogue literally taking the gloves off to beat up Namor, etc.

Two notes about the art: as I mentioned in the review for last ish, I'm getting tired of Coipel's art and I still have no explanation for this, as I can't find a lot of fault with it except that it seems generic. Also, D'Armata's covers for the whole series have just been bad. This is the flagship summer event featuring the whole Marvel Universe! Let's put some definition and hard lines and colors in there, buddy! Pastels and furrowed brows on mush faces do not a spectacle cover make!

Best Moment: Meh. I guess the splash page. Maybe? Ah, who knows.

Worst Moment: Just getting to the big brawl and then not showing it. Dammit, if issue 7 isn't one big grand superhero/villain bash-fest, I'm gonna be seriously pissed at myself for buying into this whole House of M craptacle.

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. Pure filler and talky-talky, Bendisized even more than usual; this issue coasts on the inertia of the series as a whole, which, let me tell you, if there were more than two issues remaining, I would be dropping like a hot rock. As it is, I'm too close to the finish line to not see how it ends.


Jake threatens to quit, but the Guardian's owner (a.k.a. Baby Brain) tells him a story of the kid superteam (Newsboy Army) that encountered the Sheeda the last time they were here, and the dire consequences at stake. It's a big flashback/setup issue, folks, and damn if it doesn't work against all odds.

Morrison here weaves a chilling tale of innocence lost, in regards to the Newsboy Army; how these optimistic, naive adventuring kids were full of hope and fun, and how the Sheeda corrupted them and people they knew, and it really is creepy and...I said chilling earlier, right? OK, chilling. You really get a feel for these kids, and their fate is tragic.

While Jake may not be the most compelling character in comics, towards the end he truly becomes heroic, knowing the Sheeda invasion is imminent and resolving to do the right thing because it's the right thing, which we don't see a lot of in DC these days (I'm lookin' at you, JLA).

As a whole, Guardian has been the most mainstream-y of the Seven Soldiers miniseries, and that's OK. In the end, we're left rooting for the Guardian and the Newsboy Army to take Sheeda names and kick Sheeda ass, and although it's a setup for Seven Soldiers #1 (in April!), the overall quality of the series has been good enough to where I don't feel ripped off. I guess it did what it was meant to do, which is make me interested enough in the character to follow him in a regular series.

Also, Cameron Stewart's art (which I normally don't like and have decried in the past) really works well in this issue in particular for some reason. There are one or two gruesome panels that are definitely not meant for kids, unless they're budding optometrists with a fascination for vivisection. And the cover is a creative play on the fact that the Guardian nominally works for a newspaper. Nice work all around.

Best Moment: The really (I'll say it again) chilling page where we find out that post-Sheeda-i-zation, the Newsboy Army kids are either killed or become mass murderers, child molesters, alcoholics, or schizophrenic homeless people.

Worst Moment: It's still kind of weird to think that the Sheeda evil comes in the form of fairies riding mosquitoes, and I think less of myself for buying into it.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Solid ending to a solid series, but not a must-read either way. I thought overall it was fundamental, interesting superheroics with each issue, and a decent setup to the saga's end.


So, here we are. When we last left this series, Tony Stark and Johnny Storm(!) were in big Robotech suits, and had just learned that Hank Pym had set a bunch of virus bombs all over Chicago designed to kill mutants. Stark and Storm (now there's a concept for a team-up mini in the regular Marvel U that I'd be interested in) find the bombs, disable them, then Tony's dad Howard comes in and explains that the whole thing was set up to dimple monkey twice the pudding octopi for tango man.

What's that? That last sentence didn't make sense? Well, tough cookies, because neither did anything in this comic that happened after Howie showed up.

See, he wanted Tony to save the day so he could be a hero to sapien and mutant, I guess, and continue his work...doing what? I have no idea. I've read it three times and still can't decipher what Howard's motivations were other than hating mutants, and he's still a bastard to his son. Oh, and Magneto himself shows up here, melts Howie into lasagna, then faces down Tony. In a downright Hal Jordan-esque moment, Tony decides to destroy the last bomb rather than use it to kill Magneto.

In what universe is Tony Stark a big weenie instead of Iron Man? Answer: the House of M universe, apparently. The whole Tony/Howie scenes are meant to resonate with father/son themes, but other than "Howard Stark continually demeaned and insulted Tony until their last face-off", nothing comes across here. And there is absolutely no mention of Iron Man's actions in relation to the main House of M storyline, which, if I'm the good guys, I make damn sure that the guy who invented 99% of the badass weapon tech in the world knows from shit about what's going on and is on my side...but apparently Wolvie, Spider-Man and the X-Men can do without him. Whatever.

Oh, and there's a 4-page preview of Nick Fury's Howling Commandos at the end of this issue, which makes me want to read that series when it comes out.

It's over, and not a moment too soon. This has been bad from issue #1, and I hate the fact that I'm such an Iron Man homer that I bought this. Stupid House of M.

UPDATE: In yet another instance of how this comic hates me, all attempts at downloading the cover image for this post have been fruitless, due to technical problems. Stupid Iron Man: House of M.

Best Moment: The Vision Sentinels were actually a cool idea.

Worst Moment: I'm all for miniseries that don't require you to read the spin-off minis associated with it, but shouldn't the spin-off minis mention the MAIN STORYLINE somehow? If the rest of the Marvel U doesn't care about you, why should we?

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. Fuck off, House of M Weenie Stark. I am so glad you're over with I might treat myself to the Armor Wars TPB even though I own the monthlies.


Richard Fell is a homicide detective reassigned to Snowtown, a crap city that no one cares about, that oozes sinister from every street corner, and solves a murder that happens right there in his new apartment building. Along the way, we meet a couple of Snowtown's (likely to be regular) characters, and in a very real sense, meet the city itself.


This is a 16-page comic, but it reads like a 40-pager because Ellis and Ben Templesmith keep the focus so tight. The main character (Fell) doesn't have so many of the standard Ellis-isms we've come to expect; yeah, he's a loner, but he's not antisocial, is kinda optimistic, and genuinely wants to help. It's a nice change.

Other nice changes include:

  • A focused (there's that word again) story that's done-in-one and still satisfying
  • A couple of side characters that are genuinely interesting, like Mayko
  • Cool outside-the-story art panels, such as the shot of the city with hand-written Post-It notes indicating locations we've seen
  • A setup that could provide for a ton of different stories
  • The comic costs all of two bucks.
  • There's not supernatural shit going on here---it's just a murder of the people, by the people, and for the people. And this particular murder is based on a true story!

Ben Templesmith (another artist I could take or leave) does a great job here; the images are murky, but defined enough to where we can tell what's going on, and there's a whole mood to the city of Snowtown that infects its people, its architecture, and the whole story. Great job!

I had no idea what this whole enterprise was all about in the larger sense until Ellis' letter to the reader at the end of the issue. I'm freakin' delighted to see that each issue is designed to be a story in and of itself, featuring Fell, Snowtown, et al.; it's looking like it's going to be the comic equivalent of Law and Order, only with interesting characters and great visuals and cheap. I'm totally on board. Plus, as Ellis himself points out, 16 pages to work with means he doesn't have time to fuck around with drawing things out, so we can avoid the decompression pitfalls. Bravo, Ellis. Bravo.

(And no Jack Cross in sight! Yay! I'm sorry, that book was shit.)

Best Moment: The crappy ringtone that nobody uses. (Trust me, it works.)

Worst Moment: Fell comes off a little too Sherlock Holmes-y, with his instant evaluations of strangers, but hey; he's a detective, after all.

Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. Did I mention that this was two bucks? This is value, people, and it's a damn good detective story to boot. Buy this comic.

Chris' Reviews 9/7, Pt. 1

Hey howdy all, we've got a lot to cover, so let's get to it, shall we? Hmm? Regular readers know the drill --- Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


I would say at this point that Kirkman's been roughly 75% on this series so far --- most of time, I find myself laughing at the humor and the dialogue, because it's real humor that comes from characters reacting to situations, not "Let's try and make Wonder Man funny by having him tell a potty joke". (Although that particular scenario has possibilities, too, I'll admit.)

There were a few warning signs that this issue was going to be in the bad 25% of the series. To wit:
  • There are no superheroes on the cover. For a superhero team-up comic, this is bad.
  • Titannus, the villain and least compelling character in the series so far, is on the cover.
  • My LCS guy told me, "No one's bothered to buy this Titannus issue. It's an origin story."
  • The cover image of Titannus screaming lacks the fun, humor, and oddity of the prior covers.

The lesson, as always....I'm gullible.

Tho I can't fault it for being exactly what it advertised itself as --- a Titannus origin story---it's a bad issue. The central joke here is that Titannus is telling the assembled heroes a tale of woe and despair, while the pictures accompanying the flashback tell us what's really going on---namely, that Titannus is a Super-Duper Skrull who's a murdering, conquering bastard. Which is funny the first two or three times, but when that whole drawn-out gimmick takes up 80% of the issue, it's a waste. Finally, at the end, we get a couple good lines and the heroes decide to kick his ass. Which is also funny-ish, I guess. Bottom line here is that this is probably the worst issue of the series to date, but hey--1 really bad issue out of 12 ain't hay, brutha.

Best Moment: Nova (!) asking, "Can we be the Champions? That's a better gig than the New Warriors."

Worst Moment: Pick any one of the "Hey! Look! Titannus is saying one thing, but as the art shows, he's clearly a liar---AGAIN! Har!" pages.

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. Boring and could have been done in 2 pages instead of 22.


With this issue, the Six completes its transformation into the Suicide Squad, as it completes one mission, defies Mockingbird in an attempt to find out his/her identity, and then makes a deal for one last suicide run at the Society in a bid for freedom.

Ho-hum, just another great issue with action, characterization, nice art, and compelling plot. Really, that's all there is to it. What more could you ask for? Plus, in a shocking development, the scene depicted on the cover actually happens in the comic! I love it when that happens.

The funny thing about this series is that I know all the "heroes" are really bastards, but even when I find out they've done something despicable I'm still taken aback. Deadshot killed Catman's lions? Get out! Cheshire betrays the team to Luthor's Society? Never saw that coming from a mercenary assassin supervillain! And apparently Cheshire is carrying Catman's kid, which means a year from now we can look forward to The Cheshire Cat, DC's newest supervillain! Scipio, run with it! (Seriously. I will light myself on fire if that doesn't happen. It's too good not to do.)

Luthor's Society, by the way, seems to be cracking, as Vandal Savage among others spurns them. And oh, Pariah shows up, which given what happened the last time he showed up, cannot be good. I really hope we're not headed for another time stream aneurysm, but we all know damn well that we are. Sigh. And I still think Mockingbird is the Joker.

Best Moment: "You're the bright fellow that named a quartet the Fearsome Five, then."

Worst Moment: In a classic case of "too much information", Ragdoll lets us know he had his Johnson surgically removed. Thanks, Ragdoll. Also, ew.

Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. Outstanding again, total Suicide Squad vibe, and great character moments all around. I cannot praise this comic enough.


So, I'd been hearing for years about how this story was one of the best Batman tales, how could I call myself a fan if I hadn't read it, Jeph Loeb at the top of his game, yadda yadda.

So, having a day in airports ahead of me, I bought it so I could see what all the fuss was about.

My friends, I'm here to tell you that The Long Halloween is overrated. I know, many cry Heresy at this, but it's true. And here's why.

I dig the notion of a Batman story about him taking down gangsters. It seems natural, and provides a noir element that I tend to love. And I likes me some origin stories, and looked forward to filling in Harvey Dent's backstory (and Two-Face has always been pretty much a gangster, so the supervillain fit seemed like a good one). Couple those elements with a serial killer with a pattern -- also a favorite trope of mine -- and you're speaking directly to Chris the Batfan. So, what happened?

What happened is that Batman's Rogues Gallery got way too much friggin' screen time, that's what happened. Can someone please tell me what purpose the Riddler, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, the Joker, the Scarecrow, and the Mad Hatter serve here? 'Cause from where I'm sitting, not a single one of them served the story; rather, it was just to say, "Remember, this is a Batman comic! You know this because we've just had the Riddler almost get shot instead of one of the actually interesting characters!"

Had the focus remained on the Falcone/Maroni families (coupled with the Holiday killer), it would have been a much tighter, much more tragic and compelling read. We're meant to keep guessing whether or not Holiday is a regular person or a superfreak villain, but it doesn't work when you've got a new superfreak villain popping up in every issue (and Catwoman making things immediately less interesting every time she shows up). They're distracting and unnecessary.

On the plus side, I really enjoyed the look at Harvey and Gilda's marriage, their interaction with the Gordons, and the almost Usual Suspects-ish sequence where Batman is trying to identify Holiday. In fact, there's a decent amount of detecting done here, which was good. And Tim Sale---man, he was ON. Perfectly suited the tone of story, and interesting compositions throughout, although I wondered at points why Batman never shaves.

But the ending was confusing (now, Alberto Falcone killed some folks, AND Harvey killed some AND Gilda killed some? I guess? Maybe?) , and this whole operation smells of missed opportunity. We could have had the Batman equivalent of the Maltese Falcon, or The Usual Suspects. Instead, we ended up with the Batman equivalent of Cannonball Run.

Best Moment: Having picked Alberto as Holiday from issue one, I was legitimately surprised when he was seemingly killed a third of the way through.

Worst Moment: Of all the cameos, the Scarecrow/Mad Hatter team-up was the one that stuck out like a sore thumb. That was the point when I wondered if Jamie Farr or Dean Martin were going to show up next.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Points for the incredible artwork and noir story, but it loses focus and gets too wrapped up in being a Batman story instead of a crime comic, which is what this should have been (and it could've been a great one, too).

Work calls, so I'll be back later with Part 2, including House of M, Iron Man:House of M, Seven Soldiers: Guardian, and Fell (you didn't really think I'd let a week go by without an Ellis comic, didja?).

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Bullet Points

  • I'm traveling today, so the 9/6 Reviews will go up sometime Sunday.
  • Preacher by Garth Ennis is really good (Volume 1, at least).
  • Essential Iron Man, vol. 2 is light-years better than vol. 1 (I call this the Gene Colan Effect)
  • I finally got Batman: The Long Halloween to read on the plane to see what all the hoo-ha was about. We shall see.
  • I am jacked for Joe Casey's Iron Man miniseries.

My reviews this weekend! Randy's whenever! Woo!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

If Chris Made Comics: Sci-Fi/Adventure Edition

Faithful readers, welcome to part one of a semi-regular feature called "If Chris Made Comics". This is entirely my own rambling about comics that I want to read but that I don't think are out there. This is, if you will, me sitting on Santa's lap and telling St. Nick exactly what I want in a certain genre or title. And if that doesn't interest you, then come back when I've got more reviews instead. Kay? Kay.

Think of this as me assembling my dream comics using certain qualities that I know I want in them.

I was looking over my comics pile the other day, and I realized that something was missing. I loves me some superheroes --you all should know that by now-- but I also like to read the occasional mystery, horror, spy, fantasy or just plain weird comic as well. And one of my favorite genres --- comic or otherwise--- is science fiction. And therein lies the problem.

I want a melding, if you will, I want, dear friends (insert Kirby-esque font here) The Ultimate Science Fiction Adventure Comic, forthwith to be known as TUSFAC. (2 Guys Buying Comics also loves us some acronyms.)

See, I have certain expectations from TUSFAC. There should, of course, be two main components: science fiction, and adventure. Let's look at what I want in detail.


First off, it needs to have wicked as-yet-uninvented technology. Because cool-ass gizmos are a hallmark of good sci-fi, and bollocks to anyone who thinks otherwise. I want my gizmos, dammit, and they need to do cool things like disintegrate, teleport, and transmutate, and if it does all three, then hell, so much the better.

Second: it needs to be set in the future. I know, I know, not all good SF needs to be in the future, you can have modern or past settings, alternate histories, et bloody cetera, but this is my comic, and I want the future. I don't want steampunk (a perfectly respectable genre, but not my idea of SF), I don't want "the future" to be 3 friggin' days from now, I want 28th century kind of stuff. You know, not too far ahead to be completely unrecognizable, but far enough where you don't feel the need to explain everything that's happened between now and then, like the seventeen billion guvments and revolutions on Colony XIII or whatever.

Third, I need me some spaceships. Because another hallmark of good sci-fi is badass space battles, with lasers, photon torpedoes, whatever made-up name you want to call the bright shiny objects that make massive starships go boom. I want complex screen readouts detailing the nitrogen particles' effect on the alpha quadrant, and shit like that. I want a bridge. I want little fighters zipping around like mosquitoes with ADD (not Alan David Doane; I wouldn't wish that on mosquitoes, and he'd just tell them to go buy Black and White Navel Gazing FlipBook, Vol. 3 anyway).

That covers the Science Fiction aspect of TUSFAC. I'm a cheap date.


First, I need a Band of Heroes. The BOH can be anywhere in size from 2 to 7. I don't care if there's one major character and 6 minor, 3 major 3 minor, whatever. But I need to have a group of people going on these adventures together. It provides a cast we can get to know, and I want each member to have distinct qualities that they can use to get out of the undoubtedly precarious situations they'll be involved in.

I DO NOT want them to have superpowers. TUSFAC is not a superhero comic, so I want them to be regular people with gizmos and personalities and physical and mental qualities that happen to go on adventures. I repeat: NO CAPES.

Second: they need to actually adventure. I want episodic issues, where they encounter God knows what on Page One every time. I want this to be galaxy-spanning, far-reaching, planet-hopping, death-defying fun. And yes, fun is a vital component. I want a sense of wonder, a sense of "Oh my God, I cannot BELIEVE this shit is happening to me!" I want quests, I want exploration, I want perilous situations of the BOH's own making. I want, in short, adventure.

So, combine those qualities of Science Fiction and Adventure that I listed above, and you start to approximate TUSFAC.

I've bounced this idea off several of my personalities, and they keep suggesting titles on the market that I might like, such as:

  • Ultimate Fantastic Four, Legion of Superheroes, Rann-Thanagar War, Adam Strange-- Sorry, they violate the capes rule above (Adam Strange less so, know. If it were a monthly, as soon as sales dipped, there'd be a cameo by the JLA). And besides, reading Rann/Thanagar is like trying to find your way around a 30-story hospital.
  • Serenity, Star Wars: Republic, Star Wars: Empire---Yeah, that's fine and all, but I've seen the show and the movies, and I don't want a preexisting pile of continuity to worry about. Although, I must confess, the Firefly vibe comes pretty damn close to what I'm looking for.

So, dear readers, help me out: is there something out there that fits the bill? I should also add that I want it in color (because, Sin City notwithstanding, color is better 99% of the time in comics), I want a monthly (not a mini), and I want something I don't have to buy over Ebay---I should be able to order it from my LCS.

To sum it up, The Ultimate Science Fiction Adventure Comic should be:

Star Trek + Battlestar Galactica + Firefly + Buck Rogers + Flash Gordon + Fantastic Four + Indiana Jones

(In fact, just starting with Buck Rogers or Flash Gordon would probably be the logical way to approach this. Thanks to Jake's comments on my Conan #19 review below for the inspiration here.)

I know, it's a tall, mythical order. But it presses my geek buttons, and if I made comics, that's what I'd do.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I borrowed some of Chris's books, here's my take

No pretty pictures. Nothing real fancy. Just my take on the books that Chris was kind enough to let me read. And I am not going to say thank you, because man were they just plain bad.

1. Sea of Red
I completely agree with Chris. The first issue was at least a reasonable idea, although I am a wee bit worn out on vampires everywhere. Although anyone toss me a bone on that King Arthur vs. Vampire/Dracula title? Then issue two turned up. And then Sea of Red made me want to vomit red. Ridiculous is being kind. Horrid? I did not bother with Book 3. And no one will convince me otherwise. I can honestly say that I am dumber for having read book 2. I don't have enough brain cells to read past book 2.

2. Smoke
I wasn't as excited to read it as Chris was. I just didn't care what happened to any of the characters. I couldn't connect with any of them. I really thought they should all perish in whatever conspiracy they wanted to cook up.

3. Jack Cross
Not my style of art. Not a great tale. I think SHIELD/Black Widow material holds far more intrigue than this book ever will. I think some of the Wakanda/Avengers stuff held more intrigue than I can ever see this book holding. And those were pretty basic.

4. Iron Ghost
Well written. Decent art. Once again though, the story is just not catching me. Once again, its probably because I really can't care about any of the characters. Maniacal guy killing nazis, and sympathizers. Um, oh boy? Still, at least it was an entertaining read, and by far the best of what Chris loaned me.

5. Conan
I need to see more. I thought the Red Sonja was better, and NO, not because she wears far less and is hotter. I thought RS was drawn better. But, I will check out the next arc as Chris gets them. The story was entertaining to read, and Conan does fit well as a thief, but I think I have to much King Conan in my memory when he was also an ass-kicker. Of course, I have not read any of the new Conan and he may do that too, so I will check on it.