Monday, February 27, 2006

Jake's Buy Pile

Randy contends this is a poor week for comics, while I have one of my biggest buy lists of the year because several titles--some monthly, some bimonthly, some not on schedule, some on five week schedules or whatever you call it when 10 issues come out per year--are converging on one Wednesday. On top of that, Randy and I only have two titles in common.

Aquaman - Gonna try it because I enjoyed Busiek's Conan, love Guice's art, and think Aquaman is one of those "high on potential" characters. Peter David's run was the only one I've really liked, but I liked it a lot and hope Busiek might be able to do something similar.

Ex Machina - The last issue had a great set up for the anti-war protests and a good cliffhanger ending.

Fallen Angel - Man, I love this story, but the art really bugs me.

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man - I'll be honest. I read Peter David's first three issues of The Other and the second issue of this title by Reggie Hudlin. I haven't read it since and am hoping it's not so bogged down in set up for Civil War and whatever other crossover bullshit Marvel has planned that David has no story to tell and has to just make due with

Jonah Hex - Ain't nuthin' wrong with that.

Punisher - New story arc. The last twelve issues have been two of Frank Castle's best story arcs ever.

Ultimates - Chris dropped it. I'm sticking around through Millar's run, but don't expect me back next "season."

X-Factor - Why do all Peter David's books come out at once? PAD's original run on X-Factor is one of those perfect combinations of artist and artwork. Now he's taken most of the same characters (damn Quicksilver, Havok, and Polaris for actually playing significant roles in other books!) and while going in a different direction making them as good or better.

Y the Last Man - With the end about a year and a half away, things are really moving. Every issue kicks ass, even the ones where I read previews and say, "What? That issue's gonna suck."

Linkbloggin' Like There's No Tomorrow

...or something.

Neilalien's six-year blogoversary! You can't stop him; you can only hope to contain him. The man's passion for all things Dr. Strange makes my obsession with Iron Man look like a schoolyard crush. Congrats, Neilalien!

Ever wonder what would happen if Silver Age Superman's stupidity-inducing pheromones seeped into the Caped Crusader right before they went to bust a ring of intergalactic gamblers? Me neither, but Jake can tell you what happens anyway.

Speakeasy Comics is dead, which makes me pissed because now I have to wait for the end of Elk's Run.

Surprisingly little new information on anything from DC's panel at the NYCon. Brad Meltzer showed a picture of a bazillion JLAers and then saying that yes, his JLA would have 9 people from that picture. Thanks for the tip, Brad! Let the guessing games begin! Snore.

Oh, but we did get this comment: "Giffen then remarked “How many Hawkmans do you need, anyway?” DiDio then remarked “None now."
Well, screw you too, DC!

Beaucoup Kevin has five thoughts worth reading.

Finally took a look at Ain't It Cool News. Good God, the message boards at this place make Newsarama look like the Algonquin Round Table.

Finally, Don Knotts, Darrin McGavin, and Dennis Weaver all passed away in the space of three days. Knotts' death truly saddened me, since as a kid (and still today thanks to Nick at Nite) I laughed my ass off at the antics of Barney Fife and Mr. Furley. Plus , he was in one of the funniest movies ever made. Rest in Peace, Inspector Winship. I'll always treasure my framed autographed picture of Deputy Fife, complete with the 3x5 photo of Knotts autographing the picture.

Buy Pile: March 1

Wow, not the best week upcoming for books. I wanted to try something new- but there really isn't much there.
Well, I'll just go standard this week, and see what catches my eye at my LCBS and cross my fingers I can find some bonus items.

INFINITE CRISIS #5 (OF 7): Does anyone else think that this thing is just dragging on waaay too long? Its dragging, but at least some of the story is good. But I need this thing to end.

JONAH HEX #5 $2.99: Its just good old fashioned story telling.

JSA #83 $2.50: I'm not sure why I keep picking this up. Must be the decent stories and those hellacious, gorgeous Ross covers just kind of draggged me in.

BOOKS OF DOOM #4 (OF 6) $2.99: It'll pick up some steam here quick: I see the machine and the sorcery coming methinks.

MS MARVEL #1 $2.99: I liked the Giant Size. Looking forward to giving this one a-go. Since she WILL be an Avenger at some point, whether the Not Avengers or that other series that is starting.

ULTIMATES 2 #10 $2.99: I am a sucker. I want to see how this one plays out. #9 was so devastating.

RED SONJA #7 $2.99: More. More. More. Swords, sorcery, metal bikini. Does it get any better?

RED SONJA VS THULSA DOOM #2 (OF 4) $3.50: See above entry. I hope that Thulsa Doom gets a little mean in this ish- #1 he was kind of a snooty wimp.

Bailing out: No more New Excalibur: it just wasn't up to caliber. Bad Randy.

New items to try: Chris is going to pick up the new Aquaman, supposedly, even though he thinks he is the absolute dumbest hero invented. Written by the Busiek, who did the good Conan work. I'll borrow his and give it a read. Who knows?

GRIMM FAIRY TALES #4: I may give this one a go, only if my LCBS has a copy. I think I picked up a Wolf/Red Riding Hood story. It was pretty good, but I'm not sure its the same book.

There is always: LOONEY TUNES #136 $2.25-- at least I know I'll bust out laughing.

Any recommendations for trying out a book this week?

Let me know

Later all

Friday, February 24, 2006

Random Thoughts on Marvel's Announcements at NYC Con

2 Guys Buying Comics presents: thoughts on Marvel's first panel at the NYC Con! Because no one demanded it! All info is taken directly from the coverage over at Newsarama, whom I thank. Also, there are exactly no pictures in this post.

"Moving on to Planet Hulk, Quesada turned the floor to Greg Pak, who explained the thrust 14-part storyline, where the Hulk must decide if he will be a hero or a monster on an alien world."

Hmm. Stan Lee creation, Marvel icon, film sequel probably in the works...yeah, I'm putting 50 bucks down on "hero". And because of my innate boredom with the Hulk, I won't be reading any of it.

(Side note: if anyone has any real compelling runs of Hulk that might actually make me interested in the character, I'm not averse to reading them, particularly if I can get them in the Essentials format. And yes, I know PAD's run was legendary, but quite frankly those were the issues I did read --- albeit not all of them---, and they didn't do much for me then. Have they gotten better with age? I'm asking because I don't know. Moving on.)

"A late addition to the panel, Keith Giffen arrived, allowing Quesada to turn back to Annihilation. Giffen said that at the end of the storyline, the Marvel cosmic arena will never be the same."

I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing. At this point, it seems to be chock full of characters I don't give a damn about. Won't this be like the 375th time they've tried to give Silver Surfer an "edge"?

"Showing preview images of Moon Knight, Quesada reiterated that Charlie Huston and David Finch's version will be “the greatest revisualization of a Marvel character in years."

OK, this I'm onboard with. Plus, Finch's art rocks the house, yo.

"Marvel will shortly launch a Ghost Rider ongoing series, by Daniel Way, Javier Salteres, and Mark Texeira, which will pick up after the Garth Ennis mini-series."

Zzzzzzzzz. Look, I know there's a movie coming out and everything, so this was inevitable. But God help me if I'm going to jump on board with #1. If I hear reports of excellence, I'll give it a shot. Maybe.

The [Last Planet Standing miniseries] will play with the MC2 versions of Marvel's cosmic characters, most importantly Galactus, who takes out a planet, knocks out a galaxy…and then gets vicious from there," Defalco said.

"Joe and I had a discussion, that if Spider-Girl really is coming to an end, we really don't need this Universe anymore."

Is this really a good idea? Why not just keep it around in case someone comes up with a really brilliant idea in a few years (or ten)? I have no particular love for Spider-Girl, but I did read the first digest and thought it was decent comics. But why ace the whole MC2 concept?

Moving on to Ares, Mike Oeming explained how, at its core, it's a father/son story, with a father, who happens to be the God of War, looking for a missing son. "He's supposedly making some appearances in other places…" Oeming added.

"That's what I hear," Quesada added.

"I wonder who would do something with that character," Bendis said.

I suddenly feel really, really sorry for Ares fans. Both of you. (I keed!)

Joking about an upcoming Marvel Superhero Poker Tournament in Dan Slott's The Thing, this was said: "That's great," Quesada added, "We want to get kids hooked on gambling early.

I wonder how much effort it took to restrain himself from finishing the thought, " that when they get disposable income they'll pick up every half-baked crossover tie-in-miniseries-specials on the off chance they'll be relevant."

Asked if Thor was a great hero, or the greatest hero, Brevoort said that the questioner needed to read the upcoming FF Civil War tie in to find out.

Hell yeah, gimme some Thor! Of course, this being Marvel, apparently they find it necessary to kill off two of the Fantastic Four to do it.

[Axel] Alonso said that he has spoken with creator Joe Lansdale – who is contributing to Marvel’s upcoming Western event - about doing Marvel work in the future.

This is unequivocally good news.

Brevoort said that writer Brian K. Vaughan is helming an upcoming new Doctor Strange limited series with art by Marcos Martin, featuring a slightly tweaked version of the costume.

Please god, let it not suck. I once issued a call for a new Doc Strange series that, oddly, was ignored by Marvel. This could be quite excellent. (Wow, that's twice I've subreferenced 2 Guys Buying Comics in three days. I am so full of myself.) And let the costume tweaking include some shoes, for gosh sakes. Enough of the footy pajamas.

When asked, Quesada said that if people want to see less Wolverine, then they should, "Buy Nextwave, and say no to Wolverine. Buy Runaways, and say no to Wolverine."

I haven't read any of season 2 of Runaways, tho I have all of season 1 in digest form, and both my daughter and I loved it. This is Joe Quesada making an intelligent statement. And yes, count me among those who really liked Nextwave.

The Winter Soldier will be back in Captain America by issue #18.

Well, shit. Any bets as to whether the movie script being written currently goes something like, "Cap vs. Red Skull whose henchman is the Winter Soldier"? They're probably spinning it as "something to please longtime Cap fans with enough ties to modern day comics to bring in the new readers!"

"Yes!" was [Tom] Brevoort's answer when asked if Peter Parker has organic webshooters.

Are people still asking this? In seriousness?

I'll have more thoughts here at 2 Guys Buying Comics as news streams forth.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Lotta books this Week

Why hello all. Crappy day here on my front- hope everyone else's was superior to mine. But, nothing like talking about comics to brighten one's day. Well, and a gin and tonic.

So, I got a bundle of books this week. I was surprised I picked up 11 books, plus read 2 of Chris'.

Full reviews? Nope. Well, just the high opinion books. And snippets on the weak books.

Lets look at the snippets first: And plus, Randy doesn't do spoilers. Or at least very minimal:

This will be from worst, to best, by the way:

X-Men #183
Guess What? I'm done with this book. It has been YANKED off the buy pile. Its not so good. It just seems to jump all around, with no real foundation for plotline.
Overall Rating: 0/5

Warlord #1
I was extremely disappointed. The story was good, the art was really not so good. I just can't get used to white only eyes. It looks way too creepy for me. However, it was an origin issue. Still, if you want swords and sorcery, I recommend Conan by Dark Horse and highly recommend Red Sonja by Dynamite. I don't recommend this book.
Overall Rating: 1/5

Wraithborn #5/6
I don't know. I expected more. Necromancer #4 was by far a better read. At least the whiner finally did something in this book. I will finish out the series though. Promises a nice looking showdown for the final ish.
Overall Rating: 2/5

Fantastic Four #535
OK, we are now at the so-so books. It was a good read, but the Thing/Hulk conversations got rather old. The art was not good. Just take a gander at the cover- man, Invis Woman's legs look like she's been on horseback for 48 straight days. However, it is a good read at least. And, that whole Thor Hammer thing is coming soon. EXCELLENT!!!!
Overall Rating: 2/5

Black Widow #6/6
This mini kinda went out with a whimper. It was good, but it was just kind of haphazard. The end just really didnt' do it for me. I needed more. But I do like the Sienkiewicz.
Overall Rating: 3/5

Wonder Woman #226
Not what I expected. I was both extremely disappointed and kind of glad. It was a nice little overview of her relationship with Supes. The end did have a nice moment though. Looking forward to see what happens in IC with Wonder Woman.
Overall Rating: 3/5

Captain America #15
I borrowed Chris' and read this one. I liked it. I am on board for the next story arc. Yes, it wasn't the most pleasant read, kinda vulgar in parts actually, ergo this book is not for kids, as a fair warning. It sets up the next arc very nicely though.
Overall Rating: 3/5

And now, the top 5 of the week:

Supergirl #5

Don't laugh at me too hard. I liked this book because it gave Supergirl a reason to be here. And its kinda eerie why she is here. When that was revealed, and it was on the first few pages, dang, I just kept thinking about that throughout the book.
The art was immaculate. It always has been in this book. Its very sharp and very crisp, even though the girls in the book look like they all suffer from bulimia.
It has the JLA, the real JLA. The "Trinity" really rocks in this book. Wonder Woman does not suffer from Bulimia in this depiction, which is a good thing.
It is also one big fight scene. It goes from fight, to another fight, to another fight. After the beginning which lays down some history.

And Greg Rucka takes over the series at #6. And that is another very good thing.
Oh, the high price tag? They wanted Loeb off so bad it seems that DC gave him extra pages to finish his arc and be gone. Or not. But it sounded better.

Overall Rating: I'm going to give it a 3/5, but only because I don't do decimal points. That is way too much in depth math for me.

Rising Stars: Untouchable #1
The Smallest Things

Chris said I might like this book. OK, I"ll bite. I like JMS, and even though he didn't write the book, its his basis. I am a Babylon 5 freak, I can admit it. Although no, I don't run around dressing like G'Kar wherever I go.
Anyways, I did like the book. It was great.
The writing was good, although there was a lot of it. The beginning had lots of reading. It picked up as the book went on. So did the action. The art seemed old school. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I will be giving the next ish a try, expecting it to be a step up. This was an origin ish, so it was slower, but regardless, was still worth the read.

Overall Rating: 3/5. A high 3. If issue 2 is like this, it goes on the Buy Pile.

Amazing Spider-Man #529
Mr. Parker Goes to Washington

New suit. Eh, its a plot development piece. I bet it doesn't stick around, unless he keeps it when he knows he's going to war.
However, this was also a great book, agreeing with Chris' review.
Tony Stark- ass. And it was cool.
This will not go so well for Peter. Peter doesn't have that same streak that Tony has. There will be issues, and we all know it.
The bird statue was an excellent little sequence.
The words "Even Steve" are very ominous. I don't like them. This is going to be an ugly event.

Overall Rating: 3/5. Conversation between Tony, Peter and MJ were all very well done. Oh, look, it is JMS. Heh.

Astonishing X-Men #13

OK, Whedon gets it. Cassaday gets it. This is an X title that I can go for.
I read three other X books: X-Men, Uncanny X-Men and Excalibur. All dogs. This one, this is no dog.
This is a sharply written, great art and all around great book. You want an X book to have some faith in again, I just found it.
Emma Frost. I have read some of the discussions asking why is she here, how useless she is, etc. Wow, she is one creepy, ominous lady. I LIKE it! She is kinda scary here.
Also, please note, I have never been an X-Maniac. I was the Avenger guy, not the X guy. But this- this is damn good reading.
I'm sold.

Overall Rating: 5/5. This book really hit it for me on all cylinders. And Wolverine with all the students in a fight- that, that was really well done. Now, please note that I gave this a very high rating, however, it is not the book of the week for me. Book of the Week:

Catwoman #52

Backward Masking

From the cover, from the get-go, I knew this was going to be a rough book. I will tell you right now- do not skip to the second to last page of this story. Holy shit! So, the previous books had Zatanna zap Selina, informing her she was not always the hero type she has been for awhile now.

Well, Selina sure shows her true colours in this book. Did I already say Holy Sheeot? You know its bad when she asks questions when she knows there will be no answer. I laughed my ass off at that scene. Poetic. Beautifully done. Done before, but wow, it was impressive, because of the almost innocence that she projects during the one-sided discussion.

This story blows up both arcs that had been brewing. Blows them up in a big ass way. Catwoman's though was the most impressive blow up. I just looked at it again and shuddered.

I may just be hooked now on Pfeiffer's writing. This was a riotous last 5 books and he really made an impression on me. I will say that I think OYL may not be great for this book. It is really picking up some steam as Selina is starting to lose it. I would love to see this continue in continuity just to see the immediate fallout.

Overall Rating: This is a 5/5 for me too. This was obviously the conclusion in this book of 5. It has a conclusion alright. One helluva conclusion.

Chris' Reviews 2/22

Sadly, it was a pretty mediocre week for me. Some good, some bad, but hey; it's comics and it gives me a reason to talk to all of you lovely people reading the blog that put up with my longwindedness and crazily verbose opinions. (Damn, I did it again.) Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


Let's get this out of the way now: I don't, and never have, particularly cared for or about Spider-Man. It's not that I don't like him, or bear him any ill will, it's just that I've never really been interested in him as a character or hero. Consequently, I haven't bought a Spidey comic in years, until now. I'm telling you this so that you'll understand the point of view I'm coming from when reviewing this issue.

Kay? Kay.

In this issue, Peter gets his new duds courtesy of Tony "The Style Of My Facial Hair Depends On The Day Of The Week" Stark. Spidey takes it out for a test spin, foils a kidnapping, and then agrees to be Tony's...something, ally I guess, in the Big Big Secret That Tony Can't Tell Anyone About, a.k.a. the Senate Committee on Metahuman Affairs that he's just been subpoenaed to testify at.

I bought this comic for two reasons: A) It featured Tony Stark in it, and B) it had the Civil War brand at the top, so I thought I'd see how it tied into that.

And you know what? I liked it. I actually liked it quite a bit.

Yes, the new costume looks hideous. It really does. And yes, some of the new abilities it has are ludicrous. But I'm not vested in Spider-Man, so it didn't bother me as much as it will some folks.

What I liked most in this issue is the characterization of Tony Stark, who we see as a secretive, manipulative, ruthless alpha dog trying to get his chess pieces lined up before anyone else. Which to my mind is PRECISELY the way he should be written, as I explained in one of my first posts ever here. (Added bonus: by clicking the link, you'll be magically transported back to the halcyon days of August 2005, when I was still recommending both New Avengers and Ultimates!)

So: decent action scene, advances the plot towards Civil War, and my favorite character in the Marvel U written exactly as how I see him. Yeah, I liked this comic...your mileage may vary.

Best Moment: "Well, yeah, except Logan."

Worst Moment: JMS references (I guess) a continuity bugaboo with a fourth-wall breaking panel---something about MJ's broken arm? I had no idea what the hell they were talking about until I read this on Comics Should Be Good.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Like I said, your mileage may (and probably will) vary. Especially if you're a hardcore Spider-Fan.


A new Tattooed Man shows up in Gotham, which means Batman and Green Lantern get to go all Brave and the Bold on us in a team-up comic. This being DC, though, it also serves to wrap up potentially interesting character dynamics because, you know, One Year Later is almost upon us.

This isn't really about the Tattooed Man, it's about Bruce and Hal clearing the air between them for no other reason than to tie up the plot thread before OYL commences. I went through stages when reading this comic four times:

I read this comic the first time. I really, really liked it. The conversations were packed with amusing moments and banter, nods to the DCU and it was a tidy little action story that wrapped everything up nicely.

I read it a second time. I still liked it, but I began to see how the end was just a little too pat and rushed given everything that's happened between these two; Hal lets Bruce try out the ring in an effort to give Bruce some peace about his parents' murder, Bruce uses the ring, says thanks, and oh, by the way, good to see ya again, Jordan? OK, but it had cool visuals, and it was Hal trying to make nice.

I read it a third time. It became clear that sequence at the end was this comic's entire raison d'etre, and that this comic was one big plot hammer so DC wouldn't get pestered with questions about the Hal/Bruce relationship for the next two years.

I read it a fourth time. I throttled back on the metacriticism and decided that it was a functional team-up comic with some heavy-handed plot hammering, but the art was nice and was done-in-one, so hey; not bad.

(Yes, I read this comic four times. Insert joke here.)

Can someone please tell me why the GL symbol on Hal's chest starts glowing and floating away from him when he's hit, or moves, or gestures, or whatever? I still don't get that.

Best Moment: "Boo."

Worst Moment: Batman punches Hal to get even, right out of the blue. It was a little jarring, but hey: let's face it, Hal probably deserves four or five more when you get right down to it. I believe the line forms right behind Kyle Rayner!

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Solid tale, had to be done eventually, good action and funny moments sprinkled throughout is my final answer, Regis. If you want a deeper interpretation of this comic, go see Kalinara.


Another easy-to-sum-up comic: Ghost thinks he killed Iron Man, Spymaster points out that he didn't, parties are attended, dinners are eaten, and Iron Man sets a trap that the Ghost steps into, setting the stage for a fight next issue.


I wanted to like this issue a lot more than I actually did. Truth be told, it's kind of a non-event, and a lot of the talkity-talk-talk. I am digging Frazer Irving's art more every time I see it, though. Even the strange "low-water-pressure in the shower" haircut he's given Tony.

We've got three issues left, so let's get going, Joe! I'm as big a fan of seeing Stark in his society function/CEO role as the next guy, but I was really hoping to see some iron-powered buttkicking in this issue, and I didn't get it. Darn.

Here's the really strange thing: between this, New Avengers, and Amazing Spider-Man, I've seen more of Tony Stark in the last two weeks than I did in the last six months (which means I'm a lot better off than Thor fans, anyway). That's a good thing, but a little more Iron Man would be nice as well.

Best Moment: "I'm a sucker for that look."---Tony Stark, making his hired metahuman psychologist wear a protective armor-like suit for talking to the Living Laser.

Worst Moment: A really, really strange sequence with Tony and the Spymaster's wife at a party. Was she propositioning him? Drunk? Her parents threw 'key parties'? And the point of all this was...?

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. Still dig the series, and like the society Tony scenes depicted, but lacking in the action. Let's get back to the punchin' and repulsor ray-in'!


In yet another Marvel comic oddly devoid of its title character, I return to Brubaker's Captain America having followed it from afar over the last few months. I finally plunked down coin, since the Winter Soldier (meh) arc was over and this was a new beginning.

The entire issue is Crossbones trying to get Synthia (a.k.a. Daughter of Red Skull) to remember that she's a vicious, evil killing machine subjected to experimentation by dear old Dad, presumably so that they can A) get on with the business of taking out Cap, and b) get on with the business of doing the horizontal bop, if you know what I'm saying.

So, for 22 pages Crossbones beats, tortures, hits, and kicks her in an effort to wipe away the S.H.I.E.L.D. brainwashing that's made her forget who she is.

And I'm a little conflicted about it, quite frankly.

On the one hand, it works, as by the end of the comic she apparently is back to her old self, even hopping in the sack with Crossbones, and is primed to carry on the Red Skull's legacy. I guess.

On the other hand, there's something really disturbing about seeing a young woman get the shit kicked out of her for 22 pages, even if it is a comic book, and even if it is in service to an origin story. I'm also a little bit confused as to why this isn't even remarked upon in other reviews. Has DC lowered the "Violence-Against-Women" bar so low that a simple extended imprisonment/beating story doesn't even rate? Yeesh.

Captain America himself only appears via WWII newsreel footage, and it's all Nazi-killin' footage.
Having dropped New Avengers, I decided to give Cap another spin and see what's going on. I have faith in Brubaker, and I hope to hell this pays off.

Best Moment: OK, even I was surprised that Synthia actually ended up being evil to that extent at the end of this.

Worst Moment: The aforementioned violence. I'm not squeamish, and I usually can put things in context/perspective, but man, did that seem out of line. I suppose at this point I should just be glad that Dr. Light was nowhere in sight.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. I'll be patient and see where this goes for another couple issues or so, mainly on the strength of Brubaker.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Jimmy Olsen: Retard

Go read this right FREAKING now.

Jake was discussing this comic with me over the phone last night, and I laughed my ass off. Seeing his commentary in print just made my co-workers wonder whether I needed some sort of adult undergarment.

Well played, Jake. Well played.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Enough is Enough-- The Not Avengers

Something is killing me here. I can't put my finger on it.
Wait, yes I can. Two things actually:

1. Moon Knight comes out as a regular in April. I love to see the props that the Essential is getting. The suspense for this is slowly killing me- in a good way.

2. One of the best super team books in history, the book formerly known as Earth's Mighties Heroes, now supposedly called the New Avengers, now nicknamed the Not Avengers, is killing me- in a bad way.

Now, there are two or three approaches this can be looked at. I am focusing on just two:
Writing and characters.

I wasn't going to drink tonight. But then I read Chris' review, and I just had this urge to ruin a pretty decent day and shred the Not Avengers. And I decided I needed to drink tonight because of this.

Anyways, I think the biggest beef that I have with the Not Avengers, and that most people have, is the writing.
Mr. Bendis, the man who bored us to tears with the House of M, the man who has written the most acclaimed Daredevil, and the man who just cannot get a grasp on the Not Avengers.

Now, to be fair, the series actually started with a bang. All the characters, lots of action, great dialogue. It did, it really did. I was hyped. I was a tad concerned about the team, but, that is next, so I'm not going there yet.

First, Sauron. Gimp. Took them all down. With a little help, I know that. Sauron took them all down. Gimp. We get more SHIELD stuff.

Then, the Sentry arc hit. Yes, the picture does not start the arc, but it is a good shot of Sentry. Then, boredom set in. And then, worse than that, it took over half the team to deal with said one Wrecker. Over two books. One Wrecker. ONE!

Now, don't get me wrong, he and his crew have gone toe to toe vs. the Avengers, and mano y mano against Thor, but over multiple books? So, my question is, if this team struggled with JUST him, this is the group that is supposed to protect the Earth from invasions, from mass insurgencies of AIM, Hydra, or even the Brotherhood of Evil? Don't even try to give me the crap argument that neither Iron Man nor Captain America were there for the fight. Hell, I remember the day when two Avengers, namely Wasp and Ant Man, took down the Absorbing Man and Titania, on their own, in one whole book.
And now FOUR Avengers can't take down one Wrecker? Uh huh.

After said Sentry Arc, we then come to the Ninja Arc. Ninjas. Avengers. Does anyone else see something silly here? Ninjas. Avengers. I just had to repeat that. And all that this really does is show that SpiderWoman is SHIELD is Hydra is Not Avenger. Oh, and we get to see Ron.....err...Echo. I won that bet Chris- you owe me something. I don't know what yet. Get me a beer or something.
I am having a very hard time resisting the urge to tear into the actual team.
Patience Randy, patience.

And finally, a book with all the Not Avengers on the cover, and none of them in the actual book. Not one. Unless you count the Head of Tony Stark. I don't. And, Alpha Flight got wiped in the blink of one panel. One. And you are telling me that the Not Avengers are going to do any better? Granted, its Alpha Flight, but come on man, they are not that pathetic.

Mr. Bendis, if you want to write a book on SHIELD and conspiracies, why don't you go do that? Quite honestly, that is all I have seen in this series so far. I honestly think that you would write a rather excellent series on that topic. It would give you loads of time to just write your heart out, put lots of dialogue and conversation because that's what SHIELD and Hydra apparently do, and here and there you can get to do a sneaky piece of covert ops stuff. Think of all the plot development that could be done. The long tedious moments, that I am sure you could stretch out for like four issues, of one operative's stakeout of an AIM facility. Or one SHIELD operatives preparation to take a leak.
The government angle has been done throughout the history of the Avengers, thank you Mr. Gyrich. Now, you want covert government stuff, take your SpiderWoman and go have some SHIELD/Hydra fun.

You want a book that depicts what the Avengers have umm...almost always stood for, then give us back a book with a team that can stop world threats, that do have issues amongst themselves that are resolvable, that can take on the bad guys with partial teams, that treat each other with respect, dignity and banded for the right reasons.

Rather than skim thru the 90's Avengers, look back at the 80's and before, when the Avengers really were Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Check the teamwork, check the foes, check the proudness of what it means to actually be an Avenger and to preach it. (Skip the Black Widow, Herc, Sersei, Crystal, Black Knight years. Though rather good, they really were a ragtag bunch.)
So I ask you kindly Mr. Bendis, with regards to your take on the Avengers, give us back what we all want- Avengers. The heroes who can stand up to foes such as Kang, Thanos, Loki, the Brotherhood of Evil and hell, even the Hulk. Not the heroes who struggle with the Wrecker.

Now, if I wanted to be fair, they only formed to track down all the prisoners that escaped from the jailbreak. But honestly, 42 villains? That will not take, rather should not take too long. However, what is one of their first big missions? The upcoming "threat from space" that wiped out Alpha Flight. I'm thinking that is not one of the villains that escaped. Now, the Not Avengers could certainly go reclaim those 42 villians. Dont' get me wrong, they are capable of that. But, Mr. Bendis has them not passing Go, and jumping to an alien threat (or not really alien, who knows) which they should not be able to handle- judging from "blink", oh, Alpha Flight got wiped. Stick to the 42 villians, and you are ok. Any real threat, as already mentioned above, and the Not Avengers, are OUT!

Mr. Bendis, you are an excellent writer. Otherwise, all of us schmo's would be writing books. Please don't get me wrong on that. But, know your strengths and weaknesses. The Not Avengers is not a strength. Avoid the team/group books. Your solo hero stuff has been exceptional.

Alright. Writing topic covered. I am sure I missed some stuff. But I want to hit the team next.

1. Captain America- I am shocked that you even have him in your Not Avengers.
2. Iron Man- I am shocked that you even have him in your Not Avengers.

I have no beef with these two. They should be, and always will be, two of the BEST ever Avengers, regardless of what differences they may have.

3. SpiderMan- You know what, he is not a bad fit here. He can hang with the big boys. He always has. However, doesn't he have like 8 books out there to keep him busy. SpiderMan makes a much better stand in his own books and, regardless of what I have seen Mr. Bendis write, SpiderMan has been VERY successful flying solo. Anyone to disagree?

4. Wolverine- I did not like Wolverine as an Avenger when announced. However, he actually is not all that bad. He too has taken on the big foes, and could be a powerhouse here. BUT, he is way too entrenched in the Xmen books. When the Beast was an Avenger, he was not nearly so entrenched in the mutant books so it was easy for him to be on the team. But Wolverine is I think on two of the Xmen teams, err books, and his own books, which has him crossing the globe. If not for these two factors, I would love to see him stay.

5. SpiderWoman- Also, not a terrible fit as an Avenger. But all this spy stuff, she is here for all the wrong reasons. I would swear this is a duplicate of a past Black Panther arc in the Avengers.
She is just too messed up with the wrong people to be here.

6. Ronin- Do I really need to go here? No purpose served, totally useless character. I would have preferred Murdock in the costume, even though that would have been silly. But at least he is a PROVEN hero. Who the fuck is Echo? None of these heroes know here, that is for damn sure. So why should she be on this team as a complete unknown? Untested?

7. Luke Cage- He's a good guy. He's a Hero for Hire. However, he is just outclassed in the Not Avengers. Within this group. Now, if he were on a typical Avengers team, he could fit very well. I could get used to Cage being on the team, with a far better team, where they currently don't need to rely on him to be "strong guy."

8. Sentry- Sentry has fast become the most useless character in the Marvel Universe. And previously I have given that title to Photon/Capt. Marvel. This rip off of Superman that has psyche issues? He's in all the books, but hasn't done shit except for like ish 2 or 3. Oh wait, I"m sorry, he found "himself" in a cave. Over three books. Mr. Bendis, if you needed a powerhouse, why not look to Ms. Marvel or She-Hulk. They've been there, they know how to do it, and everyone knows how they operate. Sentry, strong guy, could go flippant at any moment. Poll: Anyone want that kind of liability on their team "saving the world?" Fuck no. Can you say poor thinking here? Hell, I would rather see Namor here- at least they know when he is going to lose it. Please note I omitted Thor, since he is currently not in the Marvel U, it is not fair to include him in this discussion.

So, in all actuality, only two of them really have absolutely NO business being there. Ehh...maybe three...I'll throw in SpiderWoman there too.

Am I going to give you my dream team? Nope. I always appreciated the slight rotational basis, as a team book should. Just, this time around, don't include every Tom, Dick and Harry that claims to be a hero be an Avenger. I mean, don't be elitist, but still, have some passion about who has demonstrated the values of what it means to be an Avenger. Heh, that may even cut Wolverine out of the running.
I will say this. Thor is coming back to the Marvel U. You know it, I know it, anyone reading Archie comics knows it. Since his solo book has really been hit or miss, and usually on the miss, you can NEVER go wrong with Mr. Avenger Number 3.

I'm going to go do something else now. I'm tired after all of that.

Have a lovely day all


Chris' Reviews 2/15

Three comics of note this week, and I've got Essential Moon Knight waiting for me in my box this week. Mmmmmmmm, Moon Knight. Randy has most all of the back issues, and he's a MK Superfan, so I'm looking forward to reading this. Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


Superfriends Writ Large continues, as the Legion of Doom ambushes our JLA heroes one by one in attempts to either capture or kill them. Meanwhile, Luthor, Black Manta, and Poison Ivy reveal themselves to the world as saviors of the human race.

Their argument boils down to "We're using our powers to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and help out --- how come you don't see any JLAers doing them same, huh? Who REALLY are the bad guys here?" And then the Legion of Doom invites people to come live in their new cities. Or something.

It's actually a fairly good argument they make. Too bad it runs contradictory to pretty much every single depiction of the Justice League EVER.

Seriously. How many JLA comics had little throwaway panels of a hero helping out a community or something? Usually it was along the lines of, for example, Flash building houses at superspeed, then Batman would come along and say "Hey! We need to take down Darkseid!" and of course, Flash would run off and go help, after which I always assumed that Flash went back to his charity work.

I can't say it undermines the whole premise, but if it turns out that there's a huge groundswell of support from the public buying into this notion, then I'll have to rethink buying this. Thankfully, it's bimonthly and Elseworlds-y, so I don't have to care too much.

The scenes of each Legionnaire (I guess that's what they would be called) taking down a JLAer are appropriately done, for the most part. You get Sinestro trapping Hal in a boom tube, Bizarro, Parasite, and Metallo taking down Superman, Scarecrow doing a creepy number on Ollie and Dinah, Cheetah and Diana in a catfight (HAR!), and a very ooky new Toyman going after the Hawks. It's fan fiction, but it's nicely painted fan fiction.

The only problem I had was with the Atom's takedown scene, which was done by having a sniper shoot him from across the street. Ray Palmer gets shafted again.

(And by the way, who the hell was the lady sniper supposed to be? Is she a supervillain? Did Luthor figure, "Let's see, Superman, Green Lantern, crap, we forgot about the Atom. Somebody call a henchman and just have her shoot him.")

The art is Alex Ross and Doug Braithewaite, which at this point you either like or you don't. I still do.

Oh, and Batman is conspicuously absent in this issue, which to me indicates that he's going to figure out the whole thing next issue. (Although if they truly go the Superfriends route, he'll do it using the Troubalert and the Wonder Twins. I'm not sure how I feel about that last sentence.)

Best Moment: I actually really liked how each hero called for some other hero to help them when they were being attacked --- and how that call was always unanswered. It's little things like that that reinforce the sense of a league, and it's done a lot less than you think in most depictions of this bunch.

Worst Moment: I still have no idea what the hell they did to Barry Allen to keep him from being able to stop running. Plus: a sniper? That's the best the Atom rates?

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Lots of mini-fight scenes competently done, enjoyable art, and a few new depictions of classic foes. Not much not to like here. As opposed to the next comic, which is...


Marvel's premier superteam gets to strut their stuff, as a fierce battle with a cool new opponent takes up most of the issue here---punctuated, of course, with brilliant in-character asides and just the right amount of quieter moments. The Avengers each get to show off what makes them such a valuable part of the new team, and Earth's Mightiest Heroes take center stage in a battle sure to have repercussions across the Marvel U.

I am, of course, kidding.

This is the single worst issue of New Avengers Bendis has crapped out thus far, and I am done with this book. This just sealed the deal for me. Why, you may ask?

- Take a look at the cover. Believe me when I tell you, and I am serious, no one on that cover is actually in this comic book. Yeah.

- Tony Stark's talking head makes a two-page appearance at the beginning of the book getting in a silly pissing match with SHIELD.

- Did I say beginning of the book? I'm sorry, I meant a third of the way through the book, since there's no talking and no characters in the first 8 pages, just single page splashes on every page.

- The rest of the book takes place on the SHIELD helicarrier, as we watch various SHIELD personnel monitor the new energy villain thingy wipe out a SHIELD squad. Yep. It's a whole issue dedicated to monitoring radio transmissions! Woo! Hoo!

- Alpha Flight shows up, which is always a bad sign for any comic. They confront the alien thingy for one panel, and then we turn the page and see Alpha Flight laying bloody on the ground. Nope, we didn't even get a fight scene there! (Although on the plus side, I'm sure John Byrne got so mad at this he developed a rash.)

- Did I mention that there aren't any Avengers (new or old) in this book? Not one?

Do yourself a favor, and go buy Essential Avengers vol. 5, which is my favorite Essential volume bar none at this point, and avoid New Avengers at all costs.

Best Moment: Since so little happens in this comic, it only took about 5 minutes to read.

Worst Moment: Realizing that it'll be at least until fall (after Civil War) before the Avengers stand a remote chance of being good again.

Comic Book Goodness: 0/5. There are some people who claim that this comic is good. Of course, there are also some people who claim that Hitler's brain is still alive inside the Loch Ness Monster, who is living with Elvis in Atlantis. I can only assume that these people drink from the same bottle.


After a slow third issue in which nothing really happened, Brubaker starts to draw back the curtain, and not having been spoilerized by the Internet on this, I was pleasantly surprised. Maybe that makes me a moron, but oh well.

We learn that when Xavier sent the original X-men to battle Krakoa, before he recruited Storm, Colossus, Wolverine et al. to go rescue everybody he first went to Moira McTaggart and recruited her four young students for the mission. Among those students? Kid Vulcan, who just also happens to be the third Summers brother.

So this issue is very, very heavy on exposition, but it's a necessary evil given the story that's being told here, and the dimensions of bastard-osity that it adds to Charles Xavier are, in my book, welcome. It makes him loads more interesting and it's probably worthy of a longer post, but I like the fact that he's got a must-win attitude not so different than Magneto's.

It also neatly serves up a purpose to the mutant backup stories that have been appearing in these issues, which I totally should have guessed about 2 issues ago, but like I said. I'm a moron. Of course, Nightcrawler, Beast, and Wolverine learn all this (except for the part about Vulcan being a Summers-kin) by watching the tape retrieved from the airline wreckage.

Oddly, no one seems to much care that Banshee died two issues ago...which pretty much is right in line with most comic readers. (I keed! I keed! Kind of.)

Anyhoo, I'm not sure how this is going to end, and that's a good thing.

Best Moment: "No, Logan...the question is...what happened to them?"

Worst Moment: I'm still a little fuzzy on what Gabriel's backup story in this ish was trying to tell us, but I think it's going to be fairly important that I decipher it by next issue.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. Pieces of the puzzle get filled in, and we're steaming ahead to the conclusion. I'm in the minority here, but I've gotta say that this is the most interested I've been in the X-Men in years.

Conan #25 - competent set-up for next issue, but slow.

Earth's Mightiest Heroes #1 - to wash the bad taste of New Avengers out of my mouth, I picked up Joe Casey's first ish to give it a whirl. Not bad. I never read it when it was current, but my LCS has all 8 issues so I'll try one a week if it stays good.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Buy Pile For Feb 22

Eek. Short List. You know what that means- I end up buying something new, and hope it doesn't end up crap.

Only six books this week on the definite pile:

Catwoman #52 -- If not this one, the next one goes OYL. And I"m liking the story, the writer, and the art, so I will keep this one going.

Supergirl #5 -- Eek- why is this book $3.99??? If there aren't naked pictures of Bea Arthur, I'm gunna be really damned quirked at that price tag.

Warlord #1 -- I gots to take a crack at it at least. Conan good. Red Sonja good. Crossing fingers Travis M. and company will be a good book.

Wonder Woman #226 -- End of an era. What is that I smell? Ashes to ashes, dust to dust? If she dies, it better be good. Not with a whimper like Alpha Flight in the Not Avengers.

Wraithborn #5 of 6 -- Its ok. So I'll finish it out.

Black Widow 2 #6 of 6 -- Noooo. I don't want this one to end. Bill S. needs to do more books. Here's to hoping he can get some shots at the new Moon Knight.

Books to take a gamble on?:

Astonishing Xmen #13 -- Its Whedon. Can be absurd, but can be a great storyteller too.

Xmen #183 -- I swore to stop buying this. Could this finally be the week?

And on a side note--
Can anyone tell me why Marvel is still publishing the crap called Black Panther? That Hudlin dude single handedly killed Spidey's "The Other" story. They cancelled the Howling Commando's, yet keep this? Marvel, Joe Q, Head, pull out. Smell the clean air.
I'd rather pick up Scooby Doo Surfs Up for seven bucks. Man that Panther is just a bad bad bad book. I sing the praises of the Not Avengers and ASSBAR compared to the heaping pile of doggie doo doo now known as Black Panther.

Hey wait. Single hero. Not suped up powers. Hey, Bendis, take the BP. You can't do any worse.

Thanks all
Have a lovely day.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Reviews for New Buys

Hello all

I went out on a limb, albeit a fairly sturdy one, and tried a couple of books that are not normally in the buy pile. Well, one is a mini, so of course that won't be there. Without further ado, let me introduce:

XMen Apocalypse vs. Dracula
Pt. 1/4

I bought into the hype. It sounded fun. Entertaining.

Boy, was I wrong. This book should be buried in Dracula's dirt and never recovered. And looking back, after I bought it, why oh why did I buy this? Even the title should have forewarned me that this was going to be silly. Maybe I have malaria? Maybe I should go get it if I keep this up. That way I can blame something other than just me.

Anyways, yeah. Bad. Boring. The only part that had any redeeming quality was some of the scenes of cops on streets back in old London. But that part was so short. Was not able to redeem the rest of the book.

It was just kind of silly. Secret societies. No main characters until the last page, last panel. And in the start, it goes over the Vlad history. Its very red. Then there is that all red Nike ad. I got confused because the colors just seemed to fade into one another. Then I saw the Nike logo. Bad ad placement peeps. Was real good if you are an Ad Person though.

I had no interest in this story after about page 10. I have no interest in buying any more in this series. Its just silly.

Overall rating: 1/5. And that's just because some of the London shots with cops were interesting. And there will be no more purchases of this Limited by myself.

Birds of Prey #91

At least this book was far more redeeming than the book above. This had a well used tale of doing right for a bad bad person. As in donating organs to save a criminals life. Do you? Don't you? Birds of Prey get mixed up in this debate, albeit much more physically than a typical debate. And it has Huntress, my fave of all the Birds, as the main protagonist.
I read the book a bit when Simone was first into the series, and it was good. This chapter has guest team on it, no Simone or other regular artists. So, its a one shot story. Excellent.
And it was good. Why? Royal Flush Gang. Well, part of them. Tell me they aren't fun? I'd much much much rather see them pop up randomly in everyones books as opposed to the OMAC's who will be making appearances I am sure for like the next five years when a story runs out of steam. "Hey, I know, why doesn't some toaster make a funny noise, and bang, Doris the Housewife turns into an OMAC and its up to all the Outsiders to bring it down before it tears apart downtown Akron. By then, maybe we can come up with an unoriginal storyline to redo." I remember the Royal Flush gang in like every book DC did (Arion the sorcerer? anyone, anyone? k, just kidding) but they were very memorable in JLI #3, which was Booster Gold intro methinks.
Good story, strong dialogue, manageable art, good characters. Well, Lady Blackhawk may be a bit over the top, but hell, since OYL is next up, its open season.

Overall: 3/5. Good solid book. I enjoyed it.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Firestorm Review

Firestorm #22
Building a Better Firestorm- Book two: Lost and Found

This was a slowdown pace for Firestorm, much like last issue. But that is ok. There is consistently good dialogue between the Stein and Jason, after Stein agrees to be a permanent re-merger to Firestorm. The juvenility of Jason really shows when listening to geeky Stein.

Stein also talks alot about Ronald, the orginal one half of Firestorm. That was key in this issue, as the two actually take pieces of what made up Firestorm, and either take it or leave it out, and take it in as how Stein feels it should be. Much of this is based on whether Ronald liked it or not. I mean, they even discuss the flaming hair as a yeah or nay. Apparently Stein is a a point.

The art in the book was comfortable. It does not dazzle you with pretty heroes or luscious backdrops. It focuses on Jason and the Head of Stein, just two people (currently.) head, one person. Its functional, easy and just right for the book.

I am very high on the Firestorm book. Each book has been a pleasant read and not every page or ish has an "earth shattering moment" like half of the other books do. It really revolves around the central character, and stays pretty true to that. After all, Firestorm is a pretty potent hero, and not at all overused. If anything, I'd say he is much like Captain Marvel and far under-used in the DC universe.

Going forward, it is going to be a fun book. I don't see a lot of changes in store for Firestorm OYL, and I hope that is true. I mean, the one big event thing I could see happening is Jason gets a girlfriend or something. Otherwise, I see Firestorm just plugging along in a pretty good book.

Overall Rating: 4/5. Its slower than I normally like, but it makes sense to be slow for what they are doing, which is "forming" the hero.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Buy Pile: Feb 15

Hello all, how's things?

Its new comic day, so its a good day.

What is on the buy pile today:

Firestorm #22: New direction. Lets see how it goes.

Justice #4: Last ish it started to really pick up for me.

Manhunter #19: This too picked up some steam finally after 4 issues of blah.

Sgt Rock #2: I'll bite again. I"m like that.

Daredevil #82: Brubaker #1, lets see what he does.

Giant Size Ms. Marvel #1: I"m addicted.

New Avengers #16: Here's to hoping they eventually bring back in Avengers, and not the also-rans.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #27: I get me some Thor again. President or not, that's fine.

Red Sonja #6: The finale of this tale. Damn I love this art.

Anyone know what this Alice In Wonderland mini is? Typical tale, or a nice dark take?

Later all


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

$80 Worth of Reviews

I spent $80 on comics on my return from India. Three weeks worth. I read them all in one night. They were mostly good. Some Others were, wow, bad.
But rather than have a full scroll down page on full blown reviews, how about just some quick snippets. And no pictures either.

First, the good stuff.

JSA #82: It was fun. It had Jim Craddock. He is kinda cool. It didn't have much else though. IC xover? Um, ok. Not really. The Gentleman Ghost. Fun to see.

Daredevil #81: An excellent sendoff to Brubaker. What do you bet he gets busted out in the whole Civil War thingie though? I may even pick up the ongoing Spiderwoman series- Bendis is hyping it as a spy thingie type book, and I like those.

New Avengers #15: I liked the whole Ms. Marvel portion. Great writing between her and Cap. I look forward to the day the Avengers actually return though. Fuckin' Sentry.

Black Widow #5/6: I really love the art in this book. Its so chaotic and rugged, but damn it does this book well. Probably the slowest book in the series so far, but the art kept me going.

Red Sonja #5: The full page scenes are simply incredible. The art is fantastic. I am so glad Chris only got me one of these though, and not 4 covers. I only need one cover each release.

Supergirl #4: Laugh at me all you want. I enjoyed this book a lot. It has Luthor in his armor suit, it has multiple JLA'ers (losing), and lots of action. However, the books through issue 4 just seem to wallow around, not sure where it is going. I look forward to Rucka taking over though- he writes really good stuff when not forced to write outside his storyline (see Sacrifice series and IC stuff.) His Gotham City Central and Wonder Woman books were really good tales when he could continue in continuity.

Wonder Woman #225: Very slow book, very little action, but I was impressed with the storytelling. The last scene of her leaving the embassy can lead to no good end methinks. Well, good end, but I see a demise coming soon.

Catwoman #51: Wow. This was great. This ish has some history in it which in the end was pretty powerful. And it had Bruce Wayne. I so want this book to continue.

Jonah Hex #4: Still a good western tale. Chris has an extensive review that I totally agree with. I still love the panelled story art though.

Necromancer #4: I like the story telling. I still wish I could see more of the learning of her craft though, not just snippets.

Books of Doom #3: I think this is my book of the three weeks. This continues to impress. Soon it will lead into Latveria dominion and armor and sorcery full swing. This is a great series that if anyone really liked Doom, try it out. I got the short version of this years ago in a Doom/Strange graphic, and I was fascinated by the sorcery and tech combo. This series will get there shortly, and I am enjoying the background on Doom.

Wildcats Nemesis #6/9: The Sherlock Holmes flashback is a hoot. (The last ish had a western flashback which was also quite fun.) I live the cover too.

Son of M #3/6: I'm not sure what to really think of this series. The way it is going, it could have some game changing things in it. Otherwise, I just like the Inhumans, so I am swayed in the positive direction. I could care less about Pietro anymore though. He is such a great antagonist.

Red Sonja Goes East: I really like the ending to this book. And the super monks. It was fun.

Franklin Richards Son of a Genius #1: I laughed alot. Very Calvin/Hobbes-ish.

Buckaroo Banzai #0 Preview: Story great. Art black and white. That turned me off some. I'll still give it a go.

And now, the not so good stuff.

Red Sonja vs. Thulsa Doom #1: The art was gorgeous. I just don't think they made Thulsa out to be the bad ass he is supposed to be. That was a little disappointing.

Sgt Rock, The Prophecy #1/6: The writing was ok. I liked that it was basic, in a war comic there shouldn't be alot of talking. At least on the battlefield. But the art, oh my, I was expecting a lot more from the art. Granted, once again, a war comic, supposed to be gritty and all that, but still...

X-men #181 & 182: I really need to stop buying these. Though the Apocalypse storyline has potential.

Fallen Angel #2: Would reading the previous short series help in my understanding of this book? I think I am starting to get the gist of it, I'm not sure. Its very pretty though, but I like to know kinda what the setting is.

New Excalibur #4: I only bought this because Former Avenger Lionheart is in it. Wasn't worth it. Unless she gets to be on the team. Though the Warwolves are kinda cool.

Ares #2: Just seemed to kind of wimper along. Maybe next ish?

Teen Titans #32: I was expecting this to be Superboy vs. The Titans. It was. Just the fucking rehash of the IC #4 fight. That really pisses me off. Fuck you DC and your shit advertising.

JLA #125: IT'S OVER!! FINALLY. That just sucked ass. Goodbye. Hell, I would SOOO much rather read the JLI stuff under Giffen/Demattis(?) than this pile of crap.

Bulleteer #3/4: I tried to like this series. I kinda think that this is the most worthless of the Seven, but man, I soo want Shilo Norman to die. I can't stand him. The superhero convention was quite funny to read though.

That's it. Not too bad, no big secrets given out. That my friends, is $80 worth of comics. I probably have only spent $60, but oh well, it could be worse stuff than comics.

This Was Funny

...Paul Jenkins' latest column over at (gasp!) Newsarama was actually quite funny, if a little disturbing in places.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Fly On The Wall, Vol. I: JLA

SETTING: JLA Watchtower, approximately 10 minutes before the attack which starts Infinite Crisis

PLAYERS: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hawkman, Hal Jordan, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Wally West

MM: (raps gavel) Order! Order! Before we discuss this week's business, do we have anything from last week still outstanding?

BATMAN: I don't believe we ever finished that business about the mindwipes.

ALL: (groan)

HAL: Geez, we're sorry, OK? We. Are. Sorry. There. Let it go, Bruce.

BATMAN: Easy for you to say. You didn't lose any memories. That's ten minutes that I'll never get back---

HAWKMAN: (rolls eyes) Oh, please. I'm sure those ten minutes were the most important of your life, right?

BATMAN: That's not the point---

HAL: Why don't you just pretend that you remember what happened? Make it a happy memory, like flowers or meadows---

HAWKMAN: Or maybe you told a fart joke.

ALL: (looks at Hawkman)


BATMAN: I hate all of you.

AQUAMAN: I have some new business to discuss.

MM: The chair recognizes Aquaman.

WALLY: You should, you've known him long enough! Har!

ALL: (looks at Wally)

WALLY: What?

AQUAMAN: Anyway, I've got this sinking feeling---

HAL: (giggles)


HAL: Nothing. (chuckles)

AQUAMAN: No, seriously, what?

HAL: You said "sinking". (snort)

AQUAMAN: (stares at Hal)

HAL: And you live in the water...but you're...sinking...never mind.

AQUAMAN: Anyway, I'm seriously concerned about my future. I hear I'm getting a sword.

MM: And?

AQUAMAN: And, well, I don't think it's going to be me getting the sword. I think I'm getting replaced. I hear they want someone younger and someone who fits in with a whole swords-and-sorcery motif.

MM: And?

SUPERMAN: It's not like you're not coming back, or anything.

AQUAMAN: How do you know?

SUPERMAN: You've got a TV show coming up, right?

AQUAMAN: Well, yes.

SUPERMAN: And you were in Superfriends, right?

AQUAMAN: Yes, but---

SUPERMAN: Trust me, son, you'll be fine.

WW: Easy for you to say. You've got a movie coming out.

SUPERMAN: Oh, like you don't?

WW: Please. We're looking at two years at best before that sucker hits the screen.

WALLY: You think your movie is stuck in development hell?

SUPERMAN: OK, that's enough---

BATMAN: My movie did great.

WW: Asshead.

BATMAN: Murderess.

MM: Enough! (raps gavel)

HAWKMAN: Bitch, bitch, bitch. You know, some of us are lucky just to get a single episode in the final season of JLU, much less a movie.

MM: Carter makes a good point.

HAL: (giggles)

MM: (sighs) What is it now, Hal?

HAL: Sinking. Heh.

WALLY: I've got a really bad feeling about the next couple of months.

BATMAN: You should. I've read your post-Geoff Johns issues already.

SUPERMAN: Oh, snap!

WW: I know how you feel, Wally. I too am getting canceled after the Crisis.

HAWKMAN: You too?

WW: Yup.

SUPERMAN: Wow. Diana, Arthur, Carter --- all cancelled and then relaunched?

MM: I don't even have anything to cancel.

ALL: (silence and staring down at their shoes)

HAL: Well, this is awkward.

MM: Look, let's just go over the assignments today, OK?


MM: Wally, what's on your agenda?

WALLY: Ah, let's see, I'm going to visit my twins that Linda miraculously gave birth to after Uncle Barry reappeared and helped me defeat Zoom. Then I'm going to lose 120 IQ points and fall for Vandal Savage's latest attempt at world domination.

MM: Then you're done, right?

WALLY: Yeah, then...right.

MM: Carter?

HAWKMAN: Kendra and I are going off to space---

ALL: (groan)

HAWKMAN: Hey, I didn't see anybody else volunteering for this! Fricking Adam Strange. Anyway, I guess we're the ones drafted into going out there. Thanks for nothing, guys.

HAL: It gets lonely out there, you know.

HAWKMAN: (looks at Hal)

HAL: I'm just saying that you and Hawkgirl...out there...under stress...

HAWKMAN: (looks at Hal)

HAL: You know...could be the end of the universe...all that...lovers...

HAWKMAN: What are you trying to say, Hal?

HAL: (leering) Oh, come on! I just want to know if you' hittin' the kitten!

WW: Oh, Gods. (looks disgustedly at Hal)

HAL: What? I just wanted to know---

ALL: Shut up, Hal.

MM: Ahem. Aquaman?

AQUAMAN: No idea.

MM: Seriously?

AQUAMAN: Yeah. Seriously. I'm just treading water until----oh, DAMMIT!

ALL: (burst out laughing)

SUPERMAN: OK, THAT was funny!

HAL: Word!

MM: (sighs) Moving on...Diana?

WW: Well, I'm thinking I need a lawyer.

BATMAN: (mock amazement) No!

WW: Shut up. Now.

HAL: Hey if every TV on Earth were broadcasting me committing murder 24 hours a day, I'd need a lawyer, too!

ALL: (stare at Hal)

HAL: What? Something I said?

BATMAN: Parallax much, Jordan?

SUPERMAN: Oh, another snap!

HAL: That's dirty pool.

MM: Dare I ask...Hal? Assignment?

HAL: The usual. Flying, blowing off my family, fighting things, blahbity-blah-blah-blah.

MM: Batman, what will you be up to this week?

BATMAN: None of your goddamned business.

ALL: (uncomfortable silence)

SUPERMAN: Ah, em, J'onn, I'll be saving three orphanages from fires, rescuing a sunken ship from the Marianas Trench, reuniting star-crossed lovers, and stabilizing the economy of Sri Lanka.

MM: Excellent! Finally, a hero worthy of the name Justice League!

SUPERMAN: GOTCHA! Naw, Lois and I are going to the Catskills.

HAWKMAN: For real?

SUPERMAN: Totally.

BATMAN: That'll be nice.

SUPERMAN: Yeah, you know, just get away from it all.

MM: I don't believe this ---

AQUAMAN: Staying at a resort?

SUPERMAN: Yeah, found a place online---

MM: This is ridiculous---

HAL: (leering) Little love nest?

SUPERMAN: I don't wanna say---

WW: Aw, that's sweet for you guys to get some time together---

SUPERMAN: Yeah, it's kind of a birthday-slash-anniversary thing, so----

WALLY: Well, good for you. Have fun!

SUPERMAN: Should be good---

MM: What I wouldn't give for a Crisis right about now...

(fade to black)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Chris' Reviews 2/8

Light week on my wallet, thank of course, I bought yet another black and white reprint volume! Showcase Presents: House of Mystery looks fun, fun, fun. Can't wait to dig into it. On with the reviews, and Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


OK, so I don't normally pick up this comic, but the fact that it was an oversize done-in-one by Eddie Campbell and Bart Sears struck me as being firmly in the "could potentially be a good comic" region. Imagine if Batman stopped by "House", "ER", "Grey's Anatomy", or any other emergency room show and told everyone that the Joker needed to be saved RIGHT DAMN NOW.

That's what this comic is about.

The story is told from the point of view of a new doctor at Gotham General Hospital, and through the course of one night we follow her and her patients as they piece together the events that led to the scene I described above.

Of course, if you guessed "Joker has bombed/poisoned/infected the city town hall/reservoir/stadium and only he knows where the bomb/poison/virus is, so Batman must keep him alive to find out", you'd be correct. I would also surmise that you've read at least one superhero comic in the last 30 years.

There are no real surprises here --- it's a fairly straightforward Batman story that ends predictably despite glimpses of something interesting. It also provides an interesting "How Suited to Life In Gotham Are You?" Test.

Let's say your computer locks up and immediately displays three clocks counting down and three playing cards with the Joker's face on them. You live in Gotham. You're a nurse, so you're not completely stupid. What's the first thing you do?

A) Call 911 and tell them, "The Joker's taken over the hospital computer and shit, that can't be good, and please God please get Batman down here right friggin' now and start evacuating like crazy! HELP!"

B) Calmly and quietly head for the nearest exit, hoping to slip away and that by the time the Very Bad Thing happens you'll be home in your apartment and the Joker will have taken out the annoying guy from anesthesia who keeps stealing lunches.

C) Call the help desk to fix the computer.

I would consider A and B to be rational responses. I won't give away what happens, but let's just say there's a nurse at Gotham General who probably is more of a Metropolis person.

There were interesting ideas dropped here and there, such as, "What happens when Batman's antidote to Smilex gets used on the Joker", but they're never really followed up on. After the Joker wakes up and rampages through the hospital, it's never quite made clear how or when Batman sets up his trap to catch him. There's a little too much reliance on the "I just KNEW my archenemy would do this or that" factor.

As it is, I must say I did enjoy reading a non-Infinite Crisis Batman comic, and since it's LotDK, it meant I didn't have to worry about continuity. Yay! Also, Bart Sears does a terrific job with non-dialogue panels, showing us everyone's gestures and faces that let us know exactly what they're thinking. Come to think of it, Sears does a helluva job the whole book.

Best Moment: "Are you going to slap me?"

Worst Moment: The ending was rushed and messy, using the "Contingency Plan For Everything" Bat-quality as a deus ex machina.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. If you're tired of being swept up in Infinite Crisis and just want a good old Batman story with a dash of television doctor shows, then pick it up. Completely inoffensive and nice to look at to boot.


This is it! The last issue before we jump ahead to OYL and get renamed to Hawkgirl! Alright, how's Carter going out? Lemme see!



...that's it?...

*blink* *blink*

Fuck off, Rann-Thanagar War.

Just like Flash, just like JLA, just like Wonder Woman, this series limps to an end leaving a bad taste in my mouth like I just licked the Devil's armpit.

Anyhoo, the Hawks engage in a little nakey-nakey pillow talk, have breakfast, then go off and fight more alien starships with Adam Strange, then when everyone despairs over the galactic storm that's going to swallow everything anyway, Carter gives a speech and he and Kendra declare their love for each other fly off to...I dunno...fight some more, I guess.

In this stupid war, good comics are the first casualty.

There's a strange bit of characerization on everyone's part in this, from Kendra reverting to a 13-year old to Carter turning all butt-hurt when Adam Strange presumes to give him advice on fighting spaceships. I won't get into how the Omega Men and Prince Gavyn do absolutely nothing here.

Anyhoo, the speech Carter gives at the end is clearly meant to inspire us and feel heroic about our champions, but it comes off as a totally generic misfire, one of those speeches that utterly fails to garner any emotion whatsoever. Throw in a halfhearted Han Solo/Leia rip-off of a farewell and a final page with terribly drawn incarnations of Kendra and Carter through their past lives, and I'm just going to pretend that this series ended 4 issues ago, mmmmmkay? Mmmmmkay.

Best Moment: The panel that shows the Hawks' gear and clothes strewn across the floor also shows a huge mace that cracked the floor, which was slightly amusing.

Worst Moment: Ugh. Too many to pick one. I'll go with Carter telling Adam Strange, "I've fought against spaceships before, Adam. I know what I'm doing." Well, excuse me, Mr. Just-Laid-His-Partner! Geez! Surly much?

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. I can't imagine anyone who likes the Hawks actively liking this comic. In fact, I can't imagine anyone who likes comics actively liking it.


Next verse same as the first! If you've read any of the prior three issues, you'll know exactly what you're getting --- a done-in-one Western with a fairly predictable plot that gets the job done solidly.

In this issue, Hex has captured his bounty and brings him back to the Evil Mayor, where the criminal is charged with raping the mayor's mute daughter. Eventually, Hex discovers that the Evil Mayor was the one who raped his own daughter, and Hex and the daughter and the town punish the Evil Mayor for his crimes.

Think of it as Jonah Hex: Special Victims Unit.

Signs You Are The Villain In A Jonah Hex Comic:

A) You are a mayor/mine owner/sheriff
B) You make an excuse to delay paying Jonah Hex until tomorrow
C) You thank him for a job well done four pages into the comic
D) You are Caucasian and mustachioed with some kind of hat.

Seriously! This isn't that hard to figure out, which is why my enthusiasm has waned a bit. It's starting to feel like the same story over and over, so I'm anxious to see something different or even a 2-part story.

Despite that, it's still consistently entertaining, and fills a need for enjoyable Western comics. The art is still good, the plotting linear, and the justice sharp, so what am I complaining about?

Best Moment: "Somewhere's quiet."

Worst Moment: Really, folks, could we please get a new villain archetype? Maybe lose the hat and mustache? Or make him French-Indian maybe?

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. I hope I haven't damned this with faint praise, since it really is a good comic, it's just getting a tad repetitive. We're dangerously close to having cycled through the four or five standard Western plots, and we just got started!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


News and notes from around the comicsblogoweb:

First off a much-belated thanks to the Redhead Fangirl for chartering the Comic Blog Legion. Soon becoming a one-stop shop for your comic bloggin' needs!

For all you Aquaman-lovin' folks, Laura Gjovaag posts an interview from the Omaha Herald with Paul Norris, the creator of ol' Green Pants himself.

Greg over at Comics Should Be Good (who I'm convinced has the power to siphon thoughts and opinions directly from my synapses --- I agree with him on damn near everything) absolutely nails why the Public Enemies arc from Superman/Batman wasn't good.

Harvey Jerkwater has declared this week Groo Week!

Franny posts an eloquent critique of the Comics-As-Literature school of thought. Great points on collaboration, elitist comics pros, and with lines like: "Collaboration is the bread and butter of the low, mean, my-god-joe-the-teeth, Kryptonite, radioactive platinum, silver Spear of Longinus, Seduction of the Golden Innocent comics that I love", I couldn't help but raise a cheer in agreement! Do yourself a favor and read the comments for it, too, where the discussion continues.

Ragnell explains why G'Nort is the smartest of all Green Lanterns. God help us.

Mike San Giacomo got his hands on the Ultimate Avengers animated movie, and has positive things to say. I'm heartened by the fact that this supposedly diverges from the story told in Ultimates season 1 --- not that season 1 was bad, but I want new stories.

And finally, Devon valiantly tries to muster a defense of Chuck Austen over at Seven Hells! The evidence thus far is sketchy at best. (Although U.S. War Machine was better than people think.)

Monday, February 06, 2006

Chris' Reviews 2/1

Five, count 'em, five comics last week, with decidedly mixed results. Massive Spoilers Ahoy!


Having been pleasantly surprised by the Day of Vengeance Special, I halfheartedly bought this one, despite the chaotic mess that was the Rann-Thanagar War series. Plus, I'd heard that major changes were afoot, and stupid completist that I am, I figure if I'm in for a penny, I'm in for a

Here we see Alex Luthor's golden hands reaching out from the space/time anomaly he created (that giant something in space that everyone's been talking about) and...firing giant lightning bolts at the gathered Rannian, Thanagarian, and other fleets. Yup. Giant lightning bolts. For no discernible purpose.

Anyhoo, the "Donna Troy Combat Whackers" (as I've dubbed her little New Cronus hunting party), L.E.G.I.O.N., the Green Lanterns, Omega Men, Hawks, and Adam Strange are simultaneously trying to stop Alex's Magic Fingers and the R-T War. This sentence describes approximately 3/4 of the comic.

Strange, Tigorr, and the Hawks come across surveillance footage that show Superboy-Prime moving Thanagar into position to start the galactic war, and use said footage to call a temporary truce between the warring parties. Kyle Rayner and Jade attempt to fend off Luthor's Lightning Bolts, and gets absorbed...or something...during the process.


At the end, Kyle becomes Ion, which apparently means that the lower half of his face is now made of the same material as Donna Troy's costume. Whatever. I guess "Starfield Screen-Saver" is the new black.

Personally, I had five big problems with this comic:

1) Too little of the Hawks.

2) Too much of the Rannians.

3) Zero emotional resonance, particularly with Jade's death, but then again this is the same series that killed Hawkwoman without blinking twice.

4) The art, while nice on an individual panel basis, did a poor job of letting me know what planet we were on and who was where. Which for a planet-hopping space opera is a bad thing.

5) Luthor's Golden Fingers? Are you f!#$ing kidding me?

There's five bucks I'll never see again.

Best Moment: The forensic evidence that seals the case against Superboy is...I shit you not...a pair of handprints in a crater on Thanagar. *blink* *blink* I will now light myself on fire.

Worst Moment: The space scenes were cluttered to the point of unrecognizability. Too confusing by half.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. It's one giant plot hammer, folks, so unless you absolutely want to know every detail behind this particular aspect of Infinite Crisis, avoid this. At least the war is finally (hopefully) over.


Siryn and Madrox investigate their client's crime scene, Strong Guy and Rahne bust up a riot in Mutant Town, Rictor nearly gets killed but gets to see Monet dancing naked, and Layla Miller is one coldhearted bitch who knows things.

Wasn't that simple? Easy to follow, every character gets some meaningful screen time, and the overall plot moves forward. It's like the Anti-Rann/Thanagar War!

I loved this issue.

Ryan Sook's art is present (though, sadly, I believe this issue is his last) and used to great effect conveying the noir aspects and contrasting quiet environments with shocking effects.

House of M Plot Device (TM) Layla Miller acquits herself rather nicely here, as she shows an unwelcome intruder how useful "knowing things" in advance can be, then tells him as he's dying how many seconds he has to live, and who won't miss him when he's gone. Oh, and apparently, she's here to keep X-Factor from finding out the truth about the Decimation (i.e., Wanda's Mutant Makeover), but we don't know why. Good stuff!

Bonus points for the entertaining recap text at the beginning: "Mr. Tryp, the head of Singularity Investigations, is plotting in conjunction with an elderly guy who kind of looks like Merlin, but it's not. Trust us."

The bottom line is that this is a comic that strikes a great balance between serious action and comic relief, and it all comes off strikingly in character. Excellent stuff all around here, as PAD seems to be in the groove with this darker seriocomic corner of the Marvel Universe.

Best Moment: The Layla Miller scene at the end is both kickass and creepy, and suddenly I'm interested in her as a character, which is something Bendis couldn't do in 5 issues of House of M.

Worst Moment: I'm all for M dancing naked listening to the iPod, but Right Said Fred? Really? I mean....really?

Comic Book Goodness: 4/5. The X-Factor keeps on a-rollin' as Peter David just knows how these characters work. Buy the first three issues of this series and give it to your friends who keep telling you that every X-book stinks and watch how fast they shut up. (OK, so every X-book stinks but this one, but that's besides the point.)


Alix Harrower goes to a superhero convention, Grant Morrison makes fun of Superhero Conventions, and Alix goes home to find out that the person she's been renting a room to is in fact the person her late husband was trying to have an affair with, e.g. Sonic Sally.


Despite a few good lines, this series actively bores me --- Alix is still a cipher to me, there hasn't been any real superheroey-action, and Morrison is in danger of overstating his point with this series --- WE GET IT ALREADY. COMICS OBJECTIFY WOMEN. You have made this point in a variety of entertaining ways. We all understand this. Now get on with the damn plot!

To be fair, there's a neat sequence in which I, Spyder (yup) tries to assassinate Alix but fails, and the Vigilante from Seven Soldiers #0 appears to deal out some old fashioned western vengeance (we assume). That was neat.

But the main character is still the thinnest of thin when it comes to character and motivation, and it seems to me that Morrison seems to have put the least amount of thought into this series than any of the other 7S series thus far.

And yeah, the convention scenes were a little too in-jokey for me, with a lot of extraneous stuff that I either didn't understand or didn't care about. But that's just me.

I'm on record as still loving the whole 7 Soldiers series overall, and this issue hasn't done anything to change that. I just think that next to Mr. Miracle this is the weakest link thus far.

Best Moment: "Aquaman just walked off with Best Comeback! All he did was shave!"

Worst Moment: There's a conversation scene between Alix and a random hero getting drunk in a hallway that just seems interminable. Actually, most of this comic seemed interminable, since the convention stuff didn't grab me.

Comic Book Goodness: 2/5. Would you like some comics to go along with your metatextual observations on the industry and art form as a whole? Look elsewhere. I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority here, but I just do not like Bulleteer.


Upon further review, this turned out to be a decent little inconsequential story arc after all, and for all my bitching I do about decompression, I should mention that Johns did this in 2 issues, so points for that.

The first third of the issue takes us inside Hal and Ollie's dreamworlds brought on by the Black Mercy plant, and while I couldn't care less about Ollie's perfect life, I found Hal's idea rather touching...and it was creepily weird to see Sinestro and Hal acting as friends and brothers at

The second third deals with Mongul and his sister in an entirely forgettable battle with Hal and Ollie, then each other, which culminates in Mongul punching his sister's head off. Yeah.

The final third is is basically Hal and Ollie talking about what they felt in the Black Mercy-induced dream, then Ollie pointing out that Hal needs to remember that taking your loved ones for granted is wrong, then scenes of both heroes attempting to get back in touch with said loved ones.

Nothing earth-shattering, nothing world-changing, nothing out of the ordinary. Just a nice little non-Infinite Crisis-related two-parter with a little action and a sweet ending, and there certainly isn't anything wrong with that.

Best Moment: Watching Hal and Sinestro fight alongside each other and realizing that Hal wishes things had turned out differently between them. It's an interesting bit of characterization, and hopefully one that sticks.

Worst Moment: Mongul punched his sister's head off...I got nothin'.

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5. It is what it is. There are far worse books on the rack (I'm lookin' at you, Rann-Thanagar Special).

ALSO THIS WEEK: Marvel Team-Up #17 hits the expected pothole, as it's largely filler leading up to the big battle next issue. Points for the recap again though, as each member of the "Legion of Losers" gets their own lineup mugshot...including "Arana's Arm". Heh.

Only three comics coming this week, true believers, so reviews should be a tad more timely!