Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Good Night, Now!

This explains why I'm not posting today. Till tomorrow, then.


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Catching Up: DC Edition

Alright kids, let's figure out what the hell's been going on over in the DC books I buy, shall we? Massive Spoilers Ahoy!

DETECTIVE COMICS #832/833 --- Well, I didn't think much of the Royal McGraw Terrible Trio story, but it stuck to the basics (detecting, done-in-one, decent art) and it's biggest crime is that it's just kind of boring.

Especially when you compare it to Paul Dini's #833, the first of a two-parter with Batman and Zatanna and a genuinely shocking, lovely end-issue reveal of a certain homicidal clown (who Dini seems to understand better than anyone else has in the last five years). As long as Dini's on board, Detective remains squarely at the top of my DC reading list every month. CBG: 3/5.

(Side Note: I'm pretty certain at this point that I would pay a lot of money for a monthly Batman/Zatanna series written by Dini. They could call it Magic Knights or somesuch. This needs to happen.)

JONAH HEX #19-20 --- Kind of a dry spell here, as these two issues are some of the least memorable of the series; again there's nothing actively offensive, it's just kind of bland, and the art is in one of those fallow periods as well.

I do award bonus points for a completely ludicrous yet satisying sequence where Hex bites the head off a buzzard to use the beak to cut through ropes. You just don't get that sort of thing in, say, Green Lantern. (Though we really probably should, and Geoff Johns is probably working on it as we speak.) I also enjoyed the line "I've already got a headache, I don't need another one in Mexican." CBG: 2/5.

BIRDS OF PREY #105/106/107 --- Secret Six + Birds of Prey + Gail Simone = Comics I Need More Of. At this point, it's everything you would expect; lots of action, chock full of one-liners that are in character (which is an underrated talent these days --- anybody can throw out a cool line, but to have it jibe with the character requires, you know, skill), and a very nice present at the end in the form of a certain Norse princess with an affinity for low temperatures.

The main plot is a throwaway, but that's OK since this is really an excuse for Simone to get a bunch of characters she loves together for a good old-fashioned throwdown, and there certainly isn't anything wrong with that. CBG: 4/5.

CHECKMATE #13/14/15 --- OK, I'm kind of behind the curve here, because this is the Outsiders crossover, and I just couldn't bring myself to buy two issues of Outsiders, because if ever there was a cast I didn't give a damn about, it's the Outsiders. Regardless, not having read 52 I was a bit confused about the objective --- but that didn't matter once I got to Egg Fu, who is one grotesque sumbitch. Enjoyable, frequently shocking, and I think this remains a consistently underrated title. CBG: 3/5.

ALL-NEW ATOM ##11/12 --- The whole zombie ghost plotline wraps up, and the fact that I was glad that it wrapped up isn't a good thing. It's not that it was bad per se, but it just got a bit too confusing and ultimately depressing. That's OK --- I don't mind stories with a downbeat ending, but it'll be good to see Ryan Choi back in a more superheroic mode.

Speaking of which, there's a fanTAStic conceit in #12 where the Ivy Town newspaper is reprinted every few pages or so, and it's delightfully self-aware (you'll see what I mean). Plus, we get the Search for Ray Palmer, and the identity of the anagram-loving cabbie that's popped up so frequently revealed on the last page (and it's delicious). Good stuff, ready for the next arc. CBG: 2/5.

BONUS UNRELATED MARVEL NOTE: In yesterday's World War Hulk review, I mentioned that I thought the art was "just OK". Randy reminded me that I positively gushed about JRJR's depiction of She-Hulk, which was in fact all kinds of awesome. Noted.

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Monday, June 25, 2007

Catching Up: Marvel Edition

Well, I cleared the backlog of comics waiting for me at the LCS, and boy howdy: the comics, she do take a bite! Over a hundred bucks worth of stuff (I told you it had been awhile), and surprisingly, most of it was not awful.

Instead of reviewing individual issues, I'll give you capsule run-downs on what I read, because otherwise we'll be here forever, and as The Purple One once preached, "that's a mighty long time". Marvel today, DC tomorrow, odds and ends Wednesday, kay? Kay. Massive Spoilers Ahoy!

(Man, it feels good to say that again. Even though the spoilers in question might be a month old.)

CAPTAIN AMERICA #26/27 --- Well, I must say that the whole "Bucky wants to kill Tony Stark" plot is something I'm down with, mainly for cathartic reasons, and I didn't even mind the whole Black Widow/Bucky bow-chicka-bow-bow retcon. Some odd moments, though, like the New Avengers "wake" and the Falcon's conversation with Sharon Carter that just felt... off, somehow, like they needed more space to breathe or something. And we got the obligatory "Sharon Thinks About Cashing It In" scene, so at least that's out of the way.

(Side Note: Speaking of breathing, Sharon Carter's shoulders have plenty of breathing space thanks to her Casual Spywear she just happened to have lying around. Is she designing her own line? Casual Spywear by Carter --- For The Former S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Who Doesn't Want Covered Shoulders! Coming soon to a Wal-Mart near you!)

But hey, we get Arnim Zola, the Red Skull, and Faustus together with DoomTechâ„¢ in an alliance that has "short-term" written all over it, and there's very little wrong with that. CBG: 3/5.

X-FACTOR #18/19 --- OK, the X-Cell "storyline" continues --- sorta --- here, but really it's all setup for the Messiah Complex event, and you know what? Peter David has me considering buying an X-Event. Mainly because:

A) it's nice to see a Marvel writer who actually, you know, went back and read about what happened to Quicksilver after House of M and bothered to use it instead of ignore it, and

B) I have a strange feeling that Messiah Complex is where we'll find out the real reason behind Jamie's Haywire Duplicates.

A lovely clockwork setpiece from Layla Miller (who we find out gets rattled when flies show up in the ointment), the Blob shows up and is appropriately disgusting, and the pieces are being moved into place. The only thing I didn't like is the art from Khoi Phan; this is a book built on dialogue, and you need someone who can nail facial expressions for that --- Phan isn't doing that for me. Pablo Raimondi to the White Courtesy Phone please! CBG: 4/5.

IRON MAN: HYPERVELOCITY #5-6 --- Did the Sopranos-style ending ruin the rest of the series? Hell, no. This was one for the technogeeks, and if even half of the ideas in here find their way into the Marvel Universe, it'll be a better place. Failed personality uploads gone rogue and banding together in robot suits? Fantastic. The U.S.S. Samuel Sawyer? Terrific. Tonyghost's personality chess match between him and Absynthe? Delightfully tense.

None of it makes any sense if you slow down to stop and think about it, but I'm not sure "slowing down" is on the agenda for a series called "Hypervelocity". Things get confusing from a panel-and-art perspective in the last issue, but after all's said and done this was a nice slice of non-continuity Iron Man with some neat ideas. CBG: 4/5, but I tend to skew high on these sorts of things these days.

MOON KNIGHT #9/10/11 --- Well, this has gone right off the rails, hasn't it? Decent idea behind the villain (though it only really matters if you've read the old Moon Knight series), but terrible execution. Issue #11 in particular was entirely incomprehensible from an art/narration perspective, and quite frankly even I'm getting a little tired of the whole swearing/graphic violence thing --- mainly because the plot isn't going anywhere.

Between the odd censoring ("shit" is "####" but they print "prick"?) and the fact that no one can agree on what Marc Spector's face is supposed to look like from panel to panel, I may be done with this, and frankly I'm a little embarrassed that I hung on this long. And why isn't this a MAX title, again? CBG: 1/5.

IRON MAN #17/18/19 --- I'm of two minds here, because between #17 and #18 I enjoy the way that they're bringing back the Ten Rings Back Piercings Of The Mandarin and Mandy himself, even if I think that the new(ish) supporting characters may be ruined just when they were starting to get interesting, and nobody seems to care that Happy Hogan's dead.

#19, though, was a complete waste, as it's essentially a reprint of the latter half of World War Hulk #1, complete with the same dialogue and everything, and that's just wrong. Nice to see the Hulkbuster armor, but I don't like the fact that the Mandarin story gets put on hold for WWH. CBG: 3/5 for the first two issues, 1/5 for the last.

WORLD WAR HULK #1 --- Regardless, I enjoyed this despite the fact that most of it was spoiled because I read Iron Man #19 first. Not much to say about it --- Hulk kicks the crap out of Black Bolt and comes to New York demanding the members of the Illuminati Hulk Rocketry Society show their faces before he levels the planet. Nothing overly offensive, and I thought the art was just OK, and it certainly accomplishes the first-ish mish, which of course is to set up the series. CBG: 3/5.

MARVEL COMICS I FORGOT TO PICK UP: Avengers Classic, Marvel Adventures Iron Man, Marvel Adventures Avengers, and I'll be getting those this week.

Till tomorrow!

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Friday, June 22, 2007

No-Post Friday!

Three quick items before I leave on an early weekend getaway:

1) So far, A Bad Move has done exactly what I hoped it would do, and thanks for the great response so far. Not many blogs would survive a first week filled with pirates, Michael Caine, Weird Al Yankovic, and Dire Straits. I'm sorta proud that I did.

2) Samuel L. Jackson (the "L" is for "loud") will be playing Nick Fury in the Iron Man movie. Haven't had time to sort out my feelings about that yet.

3) The new season of Who Wants To Be A Superhero? starts July 26th. They'll be hard pressed to find someone as goofily charming as Major Victory, but I'll be tuning in nonetheless.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

I Have No Explanation For This

I will be the first one to admit I absolutely do not understand the "lolcat" phenomenon. If marginally cute pictures of kittens overlaid with badly spelled Internet shorthand is the future of "hipness", then schedule me for hip replacement surgery.

(Ye Gods, that joke was bad. Apologies.)

That said, I cannot explain what compelled me to make the image below, using a handily pirated picture and MS-Paint. More apologies if this has been done before.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

2GBC: All Frank Miller, All The Time!

I am, of course, kidding, but I saw this from the kids over at Blog@Newsarama today and had to say something.

Frank Miller to Direct Raymond Chandler's Trouble Is My Business

A few facts:

1) OK, this may or may not come as a surprise to any of you, but Raymond Chandler happens to be my favorite author of all time.

2) Trouble Is My Business is a longish short story featuring detective Philip Marlowe, and would actually make a pretty decent movie I think.

3) I've been waiting for a good new Marlowe adaption for a long friggin' time now. The last quality one was Powers Boothe in the HBO series a long time ago.

4) Clive Owen has been signed to play Philip Marlowe, something I've been hoping for ever since I saw him in Privateer 2: The Darkening. I'm not even kidding about that.

(Side Note: Is there a website that captures actors' shitty performances from full-motion video games from back in the 90s? If not, there oughta be. I've got some games that, let's just say, Christopher Walken and Paul Giamatti would probably rather I didn't keep.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is:


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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Off-Topic: Opening Day


OK, my new blog is up. It's just as badly titled as All-Flash #1, but at least it doesn't have crappy cover art.

It's my non-comics thoughts, reviews, etc. Expect lots of pop culture, medium amounts of real life, a little bit of everything else, and gigantic assloads of snark.

You're welcome, and I'm sorry.

(Yes, it's called A Bad Move. No, I didn't lose a bet or anything. I told you it was badly titled.)

Better Know A Hero: Black Widow

2 Guys Buying Comics has been apprised of the fact that a good portion of our visitors are just getting back into comics. We now present the sixth installation of our "weekly" feature, Better Know A Hero.

Name: Black Widow

Also Known As: Tasha, Widow, Red

Alter Ego: Natasha Romanova, though this is another character where it's not so much a secret identity as a name. Also, she's surprisingly forthright about being, you know, a spy. Especially since Marvel can't really play up the whole Cold War thing anymore.

Origin: Well, it's pretty simple compared to most other heroes. She's basically an orphan (which comes as a surprise to no one) whose parents were killed in a fire when she was young. From there, a dude named Ivan Petrovich raised her, and she found her way into the Soviet spy program where she was trained to be, er, a spy.

(Side Note: Yes, I'm aware that they retconned her origin a while back to make her basically a Russian female version of Wolverine, complete with implanted memories and all that. For obvious reasons, we're ignoring that and sticking with the garden-variety "hot Russian superspy" story, because really --- if it ain't broke, don't fix it.)

(Additional Side Note: I'm also aware that Marvel tried to sorta reboot the Widow role with the blonde Yelena Belova. Seeing as how the New Avengers melted her face off early on and she became a Super-Adaptoid, but then HYDRA blew her up, we're ignoring her too. It's for the best.)

(Son of Side Note: If you're keeping count at home, Black Widow is roughly the 43,557th superhero character whose origin includes the loss of parents at an early age.)

Powers: None per se, thought she's wicked good at acrobatics, combat, marksmanship, and has those delicious little "Widow's Bite" bracelets she wears that can really ruin your day by blasting 30,000 volts worth of energy holes in your face.

How's The Costume?: I must say, if you're going to be a hot Russian superspy (Hi, Googlers!) called the Black Widow, a black leather catsuit is probably exactly the right costume for me you. It should be pointed out, though, that in her initial appearances she didn't really have a costume, it was more of a "Rich Civilian Evening Wear" get-up. Because she was, um, a spy, and trying to hook up with Tony Stark.

Home Cookin': One of the Marvel characters who has a really good reason to not be stuck in New York, she's now typically depicted in... New York. Stupid Marvel.

Chillin' At The Crib: Early on, she actually lived in San Francisco with Petrovich, where she had a lovely house with a garden and everything. During a lot of the 80s you could find her at a variety of safehouses around the world, or in Avengers Mansion, or in L.A. when she was gettin' her Champions on.

Can She Fight?: Yeah, but be careful. She's not all about the direct confrontation, Black Widow typically relies more on sneak attacks, sniper rifles, and the occasional martial arts throwdown rather than throwing skyscrapers at Galactus. She works best as a complementary team member, not your first draft pick if, say, Dormammu shows up in a bad mood.

Allies: Most of the Marvel Universe seems to agree that it's better to have her on your side than against you. She's been an Avenger, a West Coast Avenger, and is now a Mighty Avenger, though I have a feeling she'll probably leave the "Mighty" part off her resume when all is said and done. Also back in the day had a relationship with Hawkeye which was highly entertaining.

(Side Note: which is, of course, why in the Ultimate Universe Marvel thought it would be a good idea for Ultimate Hawkeye to shoot a crippled, traitorous, nasty Ultimate Black Widow through her Ultimate Neck with an Ultimate Arrow. Good times!)

She moved to L.A. and was a member of the Champions as well, and was romantically involved with Hercules, about which the less said the better.

Also shared a relationship (and more -- bow-chicka-bow-bow!) with Daredevil for a long time, and still carries a quasi-torch for DD if recent Daredevil comics are to be believed. In fact, in Essential Avengers Vol. 5, there's a DD/Widow reprint that shows Hawkeye and Daredevil dropping in on Tasha at the same time -- wacky Three's Company-like hijinks ensue!

Enemies: Before she turned the corner for good, she was dedicated to undermining the corrupt capitalist pig-dogs of the U.S. like Tony Stark. Nowadays she fights whoever she's given orders to by, um, Tony Stark. Huh.

Symbol: The obvious choice in this case, the trademark red hourglass is also the right choice. Extra props for (usually) having the symbol elegantly understated on the belt buckle rather than splashed gaudily across the uniform, although in many depictions the symbol doesn't appear anywhere at all. (Ignore my crappy photoshoppery here.)

Family Matters: None to speak of in the origin that matters, although I seem to recall that she may have a child flitting about somewhere.

Might Be Cool To: Go clubbin' with. Infiltrate enemy organizations. Introduce her to the girl that broke your heart in high school with the phrase, "Yeah, I traded up."

Under No Circumstances: Suggest having Daredevil, Hercules, and Hawkeye over for an evening of drinks and Monopoly. Or Jenga.

Annual Performance Review: Well, she was pro-registration, though we never once even saw a glimpse of what might be her motivation for joining Iron Man's side --- in fact, you could make the case that having defected from the rigid, tightly controlled oppressive Soviet Union she'd be dedicated to preventing such a thing from happening here, and it might have even made a compelling story to see her wrestle with that idea versus her patriotism towards her adopted country and friends, but that's why I'm not writing Marvel comics, I guess. Anyway, she's a Mighty Avenger now.
What Makes Her So Special, Anyway?: While early on Tasha would swoon over any dude in a costume, in the 80s she developed a take-no-prisoners, tough-as-nails personality which I quite liked. Her loyalties have been divided in the past, and there are hints that at any moment something from her past could come back to bite her.

She's also a perfect Avenger --- not overpowered, just a person with some special skills that works well as a team member.

Plus, let's face it: hot redheaded leather-clad Russian superspies are undeniably cool, and comics need at least one of them in every universe.

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Monday, June 18, 2007

Frank Miller to Martha Washington: Drop Dead!

Why, yes, against my better judgment, I will be buying this.

In other "news" from the dual cons held over the weekend:

1) Apparently enough people are reading Ghost Rider that there was a dedicated Ghost Rider panel at Heroes Con. This amazes me on several levels. Can't wait for the Machine Man panel at San Diego!

2) Dwayne McDuffie's gonna be taking over for Meltzer on JLA; no problems there, but more awesome was DC editor Mike Carlin's remark in re: the perennially late All-Star line:

"During the Q&A that followed, one fan asked if the "All-Star Batgirl" series by series by Geoff Johns would ever come out. "Why should 'All-Star Batgirl' come out?" Carlin joked. "None of the rest of them do."

3) In the Who-Asked-For-This? Dept., Bendis is writing a miniseries called Ultimate Origin that... sigh... explains the origin of the Ultimate Universe. Memo to Marvel: I was just fine with "it's an alternate universe".

4) I Call Bullshit:

Q: "Was Captain America's death decided as Civil War was conceived?"
Quesada: "That was well in the works from the very beginning at Civil War."

Nope, not buying it. Unless by "well in the works" you mean "we made Brubaker accelerate his planned story arcs to tie in with a stupid Millar miniseries".

5) Mark Waid's coming back to the Flash, in the spectacularly horridly-titled All-Flash #1, after which the Flash series reverts back to prior numbering, putting it pretty much at the top of the Failed Relaunches Post-Superboy Punch list for DC.

(Yes, even ahead of Wonder Woman; the problem wasn't that it was terrible --- though it wasn't good --- it was that it was so late. Flash: The Fastest Man Alive was, in fact, terrible --- at least for the first three issues, after which I stopped buying it.)

6) Check for a special announcement later today.

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Friday, June 15, 2007

Marvel To Frank Miller: Drop Dead!

Oh, hell no.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Changes, They Are A-Comin'

In what has rapidly deteriorated into a weekly blog, I'm now posting five items today:

1) I'm, like, a month behind on my comics. That gets remedied tomorrow. It better have been worth the wait, though I suspect it hasn't.

2) Andy Schmidt is leaving Marvel, which kind of sucks, because A) thinking about the books I read that were edited by him, I can't recall having any continuity gripes about, and B) dammit, the comics world needs more people named "Andy". (And while we're at it, less people named "Joe Quesada".)

3) I've taken the opinions to heart, and am launching my other non-comics blog next week, which I will of course pimp right here. I'm spending the weekend writing a good chunk of posts for both in an effort to alleviate the large spaces of time between posts on either.

4) Mr. Wizard died, which really, truly, sucks. I watched his Nickelodeon show religiously when I was a kid, and distinctly remember the episode where he taught a kid how to use one of them new-fangled "word processors". The most amazing part was when he intentionally misspelled something, and didn't have to retype it all --- he just moved the cursor back to the error and typed over it!

Don Herbert, ye shall be missed. Especially because my 3 favorite Dons --- Knotts, Ho, and Herbert --- are all now dead. (Am I the only one that keeps lists like that? Probably.)

5) Next week: the awesomest Dr. Strange issue ever, found in Essential Dr. Strange vol. 2, illustrated (natch) by Gene "The Dean" Colan. It'll be awesome, especially if I can get the damn scanner to work.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Interwebs Are Kewl

Our four regular readers have noticed that there's been yet again another unannounced lack of updates, for which I am sorry. I can only offer up in my defense that:

A) Real-life demands more attention than Comicsblogoweb-life sometimes, and

B) For the past month or so comics? Have been the opposite of compelling. I mean, they're not horrible, but there's nothing especially good or bad, either, and that doesn't exactly fire up the ol' creative juices.

Other than that, some random items:

1) The Pop-Culture-Palooza went considerably less well than expected. After carrying the day with categories such as "Rap Music" and "Adam West's Batman", our team took some hits with "Mel Brooks Movies" and "Fighting Video Games". On the plus side, I got to meet Greg Burgas from Comics Should Be Good and Delenda Est Carthago, and I'm delighted to report that he's every bit as personable and loudly dressed as you'd expect from his writing.

2) Fun Site I'm A Latecomer To: X-Entertainment, which is a trove of pop culture-itis with a decidedly 80's geek tilt.

3) Assuming that you're interested, two other hugely popular quality non-comics blogs that I can recommend: Deadspin for the sports enthusiast and Wonkette for the politico in all of us.

4) Along those lines, I've been seriously thinking about starting a non-comics side blog to allow me to write about, er, non-comics stuff.

On the one hand, it may come as no surprise to y'all that I do in fact have a bunch of opinions about other things that would seem out of place here; on the other hand, I can barely keep the pumps running around here lately.

Any thoughts as to what I should do? The benefits of keeping said off-topic thoughts here, of course, is that I have a built-in audience of our four regular readers. What say you, comicsblogoweb?

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Friday, June 01, 2007


Maybe old news, and it's videos of more Iron Man movie stuff (hey, it's my blog and I have a fixation. Get over it), but worth watching for:

A) Robert Downey Jr.'s awkward interview with possibly the worst celebrity interviewer gainfully employed by a network I've ever seen

B) Favreau saving the day with the Iron Man helmet and wit

C) Action shots of Stark and Rhodey in a firefight that takes place (I'm guessing) at the beginning of the movie, leading into the origin story. (second video down).

What a way to end the week.