Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Better Know A Hero: Captain America

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 second installment of our weekly feature, Better Know A Hero.

Name: Captain America

Also Known As: Sentinel of Liberty, Star-Spangled Avenger, Shield-Slinger

Origin: Injected with an experimental Super-Soldier serum in WWII, Cap was frozen in a block of ice after falling into the ocean whilst taking out a Nazi missile. That alone would be one of the best origin stories ever, but it gets better --- he's discovered by the Avengers and thawed out 20 40 60 years later, and continues to fight for the ideals and principles of freedom and, um, goodness.

Powers: Incredible strength, stamina, and reflexes, top-notch fighting skills. Immune to poisons, most diseases, and sarcasm. Probably the only guy on Earth who can get away with giving orders to Wolverine and calling him "son". Also has an almost supernatural inspiration over other heroes, many of whom would throw their own mother off a building rather than let down Captain Freakin' America.

How's the Costume?: Iconic and old-school. If you can't get behind a dude in blue chainmail, a big letter "A" on his forehead and wings on the side of his head AND flared red pirate boots, then I'm not sure we can be friends, mmmkay? Plus, he carries a shield that just happens to be the single coolest accessory in comics, period.

Alter Ego: Steve Rogers, which perfectly embodies the "everyman" vibe that Cap has. It's not much of an alter ego anymore, since everyone and their brother knows who Cap is. No, don't think too hard about how that idea fits in with Civil War.

Home Cookin': Remember, this is Marvel, so Cap lives in New York City.

Chillin' At The Crib: Ostensibly he lives in a supersecret warehouse in New York that's made to look like a burnt-out building on the outside by using holographic projectors. He also works out of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier a lot, because let's face it: supersecret warehouses just aren't all that sexy.

Can He Fight?: He's the best, hands down. He may not have frickin' laser beams shooting out of his eyes or webbing pouring out of his wrists, but in hand-to-hand combat he's unequaled. Also has the best combat move of all time, the patented Ricocheting The Shield Off Of Bad Guys Noggins™. That shield? Is. Awesome. Few sound effects can rival "SPANGGG!"

Allies: Most of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Falcon, Nick Fury, Sharon Carter, the government, Thor, Iron Man ... You know what? Let's stop before this gets too depressing.

Enemies: Ex-Nazis with crimson craniums, current Nazis of any color, military-industrial conglomerates whose employees dress like beekeepers, monster-themed terrorist organizations, mental organisms designed only for killing. Also: Iron Man.

Symbol: It's all about the shield, baby.



Family Matters: Eh, not much to speak of. I suppose the closest we got was Bucky Barnes, Cap's WWII boy sidekick who was presumed dead but really resurrected into a Russian cyborg assassin. So, there's that, anyway.

Might Be Cool To: Attend 4th of July celebrations with. Get his autograph. Play frisbee with the shield. Have him record DVD commentary for Saving Private Ryan.

Under No Circumstances: Attempt to convince him that making all superheroes government employees might actually have some benefits for the greater good. Tease him about the head-wings. Ask him about his big-band music collection.

Annual Performance Review: Well, it's been a rough year for Cap, because... well, you know. Now he's in jail awaiting God knows what. Also, while not dealing with the whole Civil War thing, he's coming to terms with the fact that Bucky's back, the Red Skull keeps staying one step ahead of him, and Nick Fury's still missing. We did see a nice team-up with Union Jack and Spitfire, though. Still, all in all, Cap would probably rather forget 2006 ever happened.

What Makes Him So Special, Anyway?: Captain America is the hero's hero, a symbol of everything that makes a hero one of the good guys. This guy is so awesome that every other superpowered freak looks up to him --- and at the core, he's still just a regular joe who happened to get some steroids about 60 years before professional athletes ruined it for everybody. He's also one of most consistently nice heroes ever depicted in comics. If you met him in real life, he'd probably spend 6 hours talking about whatever you wanted to, accommodating requests for autographs, buying you dinner, then apologize for taking up so much of your time.

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Monday, February 26, 2007

New Joe Mondays 2/26

Every Friday, Newsarama slaps on a fresh coat of chapstick, buys a new dress and sidles up to Marvel's E-i-C for a little "Q & A". On Mondays, we here at 2 Guys Buying Comics will translate some of the bullshit pandering hucksterism interview for you good people. Some text has been edited for brevity's sake. You can reference the actual article at Newsarama here.

Newsarama: Joe, big picture-wise, and now since the [Civil War] story is done, you can give a few more details into your explanation.

JQ: I think it’s pretty obvious now that we’re done that what we are left with is a level of uncertainty and uneasiness in the Marvel Universe which is similar in feel to the way it was at the time of the universes inception, and early years that followed....Civil War was a way of getting that uneasiness and edge back without having to reset everything in a Crisis like event.

Translation: 3 issues in I realized that there was no way we could end this in any kind of way that would make sense or satisfy the requirements for being a "well told story", so I'm going to invoke the Days of Early Marvel in a desperate attempt to convince folks that we've taken steps forward instead of wasted everyone's time.

Commentary: OK, am I the only person who doesn't buy the whole "wow, the MU really is a different place now" line? Aside from Cap being in jail (been there before) and Tony being S.H.I.E.L.D. director (until Nick Fury comes back in two months), what precisely has really changed? Based on issue 7, I have no reason to believe that the MU is any more "edgy" than it was before this nonsense.

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NRAMA: ...So much so that expectations [were] that a Marvel villain would eventually be revealed as influencing [heroes and events in Civil War] were present throughout.

JQ: That would have been the obvious thing to do, but I promised fans that there wouldn’t be a villain in the shadows curling his mustache when it was all said and done and there wasn’t. Well, with the exception of the yet to be revealed traitor in Tony Stark’s midst who is a major player yet to be revealed.

Translation: That promise I made about there not being a villain? I kept it! Oh, wait, no I didn't. Never mind. Hee!

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NRAMA: Tony's final speech to Miriam - in your view, sincere/inspirational or menacing?

JQ: Absolutely sincere. You’ll see more of this in Mighty Avengers. The bottom line is that while Tony manipulated certain events to get us to a certain point, at its heart it spoke to the most sincere of goals and will lead to a very interesting Marvel Universe from this point on.

Translation: Did I mention we're launching another Avengers title? Also, if I keep claiming that everything is done in the name of making the Marvel Universe more "interesting", "uneasy", or "edgy", does that get me off the hook for breaking characters and ignoring plot holes the size of Jupiter?

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NRAMA: So, given what Tony said, will there be a strong undercurrent throughout the Marvel Universe in the coming months and years of this "better world" building? If so, what makes them think that this time it will be different than previous attempts?

JQ: There’s a cohesive plan this time. That’s all I can say for now.

Translation: I'm hoping that we can muddle along until World War Hulk without having to follow up too closely on this idea, because everything's going to change again when WWH hits!

Commentary: If there's a more ironic metatextual statement than Joe uttering "There's a cohesive plan this time. That's all I can say for now.", I don't know what it is.

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NRAMA: For you, personally - obviously, this was a bear of a project, and now, it's wrapped. Do you have enough distance from it yet to be able to reflect a little and see how this fits in the continuum of projects you've overseen over your career at Marvel?

JQ: Nope. Our editorial group is already working on future storylines and while Civil War was fun and a lot of work as all these huge projects can be, we’re not dwelling on it nor patting ourselves on the back. Our attitude is quite simply, “Next!”

Translation: Why in God's name would we want to reflect on this? Have you seen the negative response that seems to be everywhere except the Millarworld boards? Damn that Brevoort! We made our cash, now it's on to the next event! Did I mention World War Hulk? This summer!

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Saturday, February 24, 2007

A Thank You to Mr. Didio

Greetings all

As I was perusing the DC Panel info from NYCCon, one HUGE bit of news was glaring right there at me:

Manhunter is going to continue to be published.

This pleases me to no end.

So, I don't know how often you hear this Mr. Didio, but thank you for continuing to publish this great book.

For those of you readers out there, I would encourage you to at least try the book for a couple of issues. The current arc is fantastic, and is to settle the "WonderWoman y Max Lord", with an inclusion of um Ted Kord, mebbe.

Manhunter may not be for everyone, but that's ok. Its just plain fun, one I look forward to each month.

Keep the good news coming DC, keep it comin'!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Fly On The Wall, Vol. 5: Genius At Work

SETTING: Tony Stark's Penthouse

PLAYERS: Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Hank Pym

TIME: 2 days after the Stamford Incident

(Tony and Reed are sitting on the sofa talking)

REED: ...and so that's why Doom wears the mask.

TONY: Wow. Cold sores. Who knew?

REED: Me, that's who!

REED + TONY: (laugh)

TONY: But seriously, Reed, we've got to get to work on this list of ways to better the world now that Stamford's a crater.

REED: Yeah. I suppose---

(doorbell rings)

REED: You expecting anyone?

(Tony opens door. Hank Pym enters carrying a covered tray.)

HANK: Hey, guys! Thanks for inviting me! I cooked up some of Aunt Pym's Spinach Tarts in case we got hungry.

TONY: Awesome! Come on in!

(Hank enters, sets tray down on coffee table)

HANK: Got anything to drink around here?

ALL: (silence)

HANK: What?

TONY: Hank, I'm a recovering alcoholic. As such, I'm appalled that you would sugges----BWAHAHAHA!

REED: You almost made it through without laughing!

TONY: I did, didn't I? Man, so close. Come here, Hank. (Knocks elbow on a bookcase panel to reveal a well-stocked bar)

HANK: But-- you're--

REED: (rolls eyes) Come on, Hank, you're among friends. Just don't tell anyone, OK?

HANK: Well, OK, I--

TONY: (points at Reed and Hank) Whiskey? Vodka? Ah! Highballs all around, I think.

(Tony makes drinks and hands them out. Everyone sits on the sofa.)

HANK: So, about this list. (pulls out a notebook)

REED: Yes, the list.

HANK: I did some brainstorming before I came over, you know, just kind of blue-skying, and came up with--

TONY: You know, I could go for some wings right about now.

REED: Oh, I love wings.

HANK: --some things we could do to solve our whole public opinon fiasco--

TONY: You ever had Mario's on 4th? He makes the garlic sauce and buffalo--

REED: With the peppers! Yes! Those are awesome! Sue and I went there a couple weeks ago.

HANK: Um, guys, I think--

TONY: Right, right, back to business. Sorry. Now, I had an idea. I thought maybe we could call the Watcher and see if he can do some of that whole time-space-altering thingamabob he does sometimes and make it so Stamford never happened.

REED: I thought of that too, but Uatu's one of those "I'll call you, don't call me" kind of cats.

TONY: Right. Good point. How about Doctor Strange?

REED: Still off living in Antarctica, near as I can tell. And not returning our calls, although I think Wong misses us.

TONY: Why do you think that?

REED: Who wouldn't miss us? We're geniuses!

REED + TONY: BWAHAHAH!

(Reed and Tony clink their glasses in a toast)

TONY: Good Lord, man, all I did was bring up an idea about registration! You'd think I peed in his Cheerios or something!

REED: And Wanda's... you know...

ALL: (silence)

TONY: What about Franklin?

REED: He's... um... well, the last time he did it he saved that pocket universe with our doubles, and your evil self, and...

TONY: Let's move on.

REED: Agreed.

HANK: Right then, I thought maybe we could make a big national public apology, and offer to rebuild Stamford or something. Maybe point out that really it was the bad guys' fault this happened, or---

TONY: (finishes drink, gets up to make another) I was thinking maybe we could set up some kind of training deal, you know, tell everyone we're taking the young 'uns under our wing, give assurances...

REED: Oh, come on, Tony!

TONY: No, serious!

REED: Like, who's going to sign up for that?

HANK: Well, as long as we didn't make it too restrictive. And we'd definitely want to keep the government out of---

TONY: Hey, throw me one of them spinach tarts, will you?

REED: Sure. (Throws a spinach tart at Tony, who catches and gobbles it down)

HANK: You like?

TONY: Mmmm. Delish!

HANK: Any way, if we---

REED: You know, Why don't we just take Speedball out of play for a while? It's a great excuse to get Sue to let me build that huge interlocking prison system in the Negative Zone that I've been itching to try out.

HANK: Lock up Speedball? But he--

TONY: You may have something there, Reed. But we don't even know the kid's name! (Cracks open a can of Natural Light, offers it to Hank)

HANK: No, I'm good.

REED: Yeah, you're right.

TONY: I know! (Shotguns Natty Light and pours a vodka) What if we made everyone tell us who they are? Then we could keep a tighter lid on things.

REED: You're talking about registration again, aren't you? Listen, remember when we had that whole Illuminati council? Remem---

HANK: Illuminati?

REED + TONY: (silence)

HANK: What's the Illuminati?

TONY: Um, nothing, Hank. It was a... uh... code name for a... um... me and Reed's weekly pinochle game.

HANK: Oh. Huh.

REED (whispers): Ixnay on the Illuminati-ay!

TONY: Roger that!

HANK: What?

REED: Listen, even if you did manage to get the cockamamie legislation passed---

TONY: If? What do you mean 'if'? Man, I'm Tony Freaking (hic) Stark! I pull so many strings people call me the Harpist!

REED + HANK: (silence)

TONY: Because.. you know.. a harpist pulls strings.. playing the.. never mind. Tart me, stretch!

(Reed throws Tony another spinach tart)

HANK: Get serious, guys. We should---

REED: (finishes drink) I don't know, I suppose---

TONY: (gestures at Reed's empty glass) Topper?

REED: Eh, why not?

TONY: Alright! Now we're cooking! (fills glass for Reed)

REED: Anyway, I suppose we should think about the ramifications of such a law.

TONY: Oh, screw the (hic) rafeme-- rafica-- rammama-- screw the issues! We gotta do something!

HANK: I'm still in favor of a measured, consensus--

TONY: (finishes vodka) Oh, man, I am jonesing for those wings.

REED: (downs his highball) Hank, listen. Me and Tony, we know our way around the whole "science" thing just a tad better than you, OK? We are FUTURISTS, man! Plus, we didn't create Vision, who sucked.

TONY: Prophets!

REED: Saviors!

TONY: Shots all around!

HANK: Guys, I really don't think this is a good idea. I mean, you know Cap's gonna hate it. And Spider-Man? His identity means a lot to him.

TONY: (handing Reed a shot of Jagermeister) Pfft. I've got Pete in my back pocket. Threw him a new suit and a penthouse, and now he loves me like an uncle.

REED: (shoots the Jager) A really freakin' rich badass uncle!

REED + TONY: (laughs)

HANK: GUYS!

ALL: (silence)

HANK: Now, I've got a list of 41 ideas here that could help the situation--

TONY: Hey, who wants to go to Monte Carlo? Right now?

REED: Eh, I've gotta get back. Sue spent all day slapping around Mole Man---

TONY: (giggles)

REED: What?

TONY: Nothing. Just wondering if "slapping around Mole Man" is a eumef--- a muefe-- a yoo-fa-mism --- for... you (hic) know.

TONY + REED: BWAHHAHHAH!

TONY: We could be there, hit the casinos, be back before dawn.

HANK: This is ridiculous! The fate of the universe could be---

REED: Aw, stow it ANT-Man!

TONY + REED: BWAHHAHHAH!

HANK: Forget it. I'm out of here. (gets up to leave)

TONY: Wait wait wait, Hank. Sorry. Really. Howzabout--- and I'm (hic) not making any promises here, but what if I told you that I'd let you build a cyborg?

HANK: What?

TONY: You heard me. A cyborg.

HANK: Tony, I built Ultron, and that didn't turn out so well.

REED: Yeah, but you're gonna love this. This one? (whispers in Hank's ear)

HANK: (eyes widen)

HANK: No WAY.

TONY: Totally.

HANK: Thor? A Thor-borg? Seriously?

REED: It's all yours, buddy.

HANK: (sighs) OK, I'm in. You know I can't resist creating potentially lethal robots.

TONY: Awesome. Knew we could count on you, Henry.

HANK: OK, well, I'll see you guys tomorrow, then?

REED: Sounds good. Oh, do you want your tart tray back?

HANK: Nah, just wash it if you would, and I'll get it some time.

TONY: Cool.

HANK: Later. (leaves)

REED: OK, so we pass the law, I get to build my prison, maybe we hire some extra help to put down the dissidents... that's good for tonight, you think?

TONY: Yeah, yeah, we'll hammer out the details later! Come on, man! We'll take the Quinjet and get some wings to eat on the way to Monte.

REED: You can't tell Sue.

TONY: I won't if you won't!

REED: Alright. I'm in! You know, I was thinking, Tony... maybe we can get Cap to side with us, make us look good for the public.

TONY: Don't worry about Cap. He's one of my best friends, trusts me implicitly, and we go waaaaaaay back. I'm telling you, stretch: nothing could possibly go wrong!

(Tony and Reed exit.)

Fly On The Wall, Vol. 1: JLA
Fly On The Wall, Vol. 2: Marvel Writer's Meeting
Fly On The Wall, Vol. 3: One Week Later
Fly On The Wall, Vol. 4: Avengers vs. Quesada

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

Chris' Reviews 2/21

Howdy all! It's that time again; light week (only 2 comics for me), but one of them was a rollicking good time with old-school superheroics and good in-character dialogue! The other one was Civil War #7. As usual: Massive Spoilers Ahoy!

BRAVE AND THE BOLD #1

I'll say this: if you're going to have a DC team-up comic with a revolving cast of characters, you can do a damn sight worse than Mark Waid and George Perez as the creative team.

A corpse in space leads Green Lantern (the Hal Jordan version) to join forces with Batman; before you know it, they're fighting off aliens in the Batcave and the trail leads them to Las Vegas, where they encounter (among other things) more aliens, Roulette (the villain), and Blackjack (the card game). Oh, and there's some hoo-ha about a Book Of Destiny.

As a fan of old-school team-up books, I really enjoyed this one. First off, Waid hits the right marks with the dialogue and inner monologues (of which, thankfully, there aren't too many), and typically a team-up book lives or dies on the strength of the banter between the heroes. Good stuff. Of particular note was the scene where Bruce and Hal sit down for some blackjack.

(Side Note: My first thought when I saw the dealer hand over stacks of chips marked "5" and "10" was: Way to slum it at the $25 tables, Brucie! You go, Playah! Then I realized that they were probably $5000 and $10000 chips.)

(Additional Side Note: After that, I realized that I would read an entire issue of Bruce Wayne, Gamblin' Man in which a down-and-out Bruce attempts to maintain a playboy image by hitting the keno room, playing the nickel slots, and betting the under in the Knicks-Lakers game. Calling Jeff Parker! Jeff Parker, you're wanted at the Fanboy Request Phone!)

And while the overall plot (chasing the Book Of Ultimate Power Or Somesuch) doesn't really do much for me, the issue moved quickly enough that I enjoyed this part of the ride nonetheless.

I assume Perez did the page layouts, and kudos to him for a bang-up job conveying the action and thought processes that were occurring simultaneously. Really nice work.

Best Moment: "Dick always swore that penny would come in handy someday." Heh.

Worst Moment: It gets a bit confusing near the end (as things typically do when DC's aliens are involved) plot-wise. Also: the aliens come from Planet Ventura where based on the name I assume the waves are high, the days are hot, and the nightlife is hotter!

Comic Book Goodness: 3/5, due in no small part to my natural affinity for team-ups. It's a solid first issue, and I look forward to more from Waid and Perez.

CIVIL WAR #7

(Lets out a deep breath)

(You can do this. Eye of the tiger, Chris. Eye of the tiger.)

Well, it's over, I'll give it that much.

To be honest, I was hoping that this issue would be a massive success, at least a big, loud, explosive conclusion to a long, poorly-told badly-characterized mess that's consumed the Marvel universe.

Unfortunately, we got... well, I'm still not quite sure what we got, but if I had to pick a word for it, it's "underwhelming".

Put it this way: every time Millar goes for a "big moment", it's completely undermined by one of three things:

1) It's completely out of character. Examples include Cap attempting to kill a defeated Tony Stark, Tony egging on cap with the phrase, "Let's hope I don't have to put you through all that pain again, huh?" and Tony backhanding Johnny Storm saying, "You think I'm stupid, son?" We won't even get into the fact that Millar has Hercules stealing dialogue from Lloyd Bentsen.

2) It makes no sense given the context. There's a point where Cap surrenders because they're "not fighting for the people anymore". Excuse me? At what point did ANY of the anti-registration folks ever convince anyone that they were fighting for "the people"? At what point was this NOT a completely self-involved pissing match over a stupid piece of legislation pertaining only to the cape community? What? And the ThorBot reappearing in his own page is supposed to be a "money" shot when we all know it's not really Thor? Please.

3) The words are telling us things that the art is contradicting. For example, at one point Namor shows up with maybe a dozen Atlanteans, at which point She-Hulk declares "they're going to wipe the floor with us now". Huh? And Reed marveling at Spider-Man's fighting ability like a six-year old who just saw their first elephant at the zoo is belied by the fairly pedestrian panel depicting Spidey bopping 3 or 4 guys on the head. Or Cloak apparently having to teleport a hundred heroes, when the splash page shows eight or nine. It's a lot of cognitive dissonance.

That said, there are a few panels where Steve McNiven does a great --- I mean, GREAT --- job depicting the force and impact of action. And the "extra pages" at the end basically establish where we are in the Marvel Universe now, which...

I can't get into that right now, because I need more time to process it. In fact, you know what, screw it. I'm going page-by-page on this tomorrow and you all can decide whether it means anything or not. In the meantime...

Best Moment: "Man, this is the living legend of World War Two? Who was he fighting? Bing Crosby?" --- Bullseye

Worst Moment: Hate to say it, but the whole "Cap surrenders" sequence was notable only for being even more out of tune than normal in what has been a discordant symphony of wrong notes.

Comic Book Goodness: 1/5. Like I said, underwhelming. And not terribly good. Expectations had been lowered, and it didn't even meet those. More tomorrow.

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Reviews On The Way...

...although I'm still trying to figure out if I'm allowed to criticize Civil War or not.

Meantime, I've just been exposed to The Skeletor Show. (Not safe for work, but the first few episodes are well worth buying headphones for.)

UPDATE: CBR's Comics Reel column pointed me to the casting info for the Iron Man movie; specifically they're looking for:

"Gene Kahn: 30s-40s, Central Asian, handsome, impeccably dressed. A renaissance man for the new millennium, he has been educated on three continents, is just as familiar with Machiavelli as Sun Tzu"

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand there's the Mandarin!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Better Know A Hero: Batman

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 first installation of our weekly feature, Better Know A Hero.

Name: Batman

Also Known As: Dark Knight, Caped Crusader,
"World's Greatest Detective", which makes the Sherlock Holmes Fan Club pee-yossed.

Origin: Saw his parents get gunned down in an alley when he was a wee bairn. Traveled the world learning how to fight and inventing gadgets with his zillions of dollars, now wages a not-very-smart-strictly-from-a-numbers-perspective one man war on crime.

Powers: Brilliant powers of detection, hand-to-hand fighting, Bat-themed vehicles and gadgetry, paranoia so extreme he makes Josef Stalin look like Santa Claus.

How's The Costume?: It's the single coolest flying-mammal-themed costume ever.

Alter Ego: Bruce "Sugar Daddy" Wayne, billionaire playboy with a penchant for supermodels, heiresses, other billionaires, and adopting teenage boys.

Home Cookin': Lives in Gotham, which has an abundance of Gothic art deco architecture, no middle class to speak of, and exports reservoir-poisoning psychopaths the way Idaho exports potatoes.

Chillin' at the Crib: Resides in Stately Wayne Manor™, which is usually depicted as a mansion roughly the size of Sweden. Works out of a high-tech cave that contains, among other things, a supercomputer, a dinosaur, a giant penny, what one assumes is an astounding amount of bat guano, and that's just the foyer.

Can He Fight?: Are you kidding me? Is one hella good martial artist. Like, "routinely takes down twelve guys armed with pipes and revolvers with a few roundhouse kicks and a stare" good. And that's before we get to him flinging batarangs, smoke bombs, paper clips, monkey teeth, explosive croissants, parakeets, and God knows what else he keeps in the utility belt.

Allies: Sidekick Robin, who historically has been a progression of the aforementioned teenage boys. Geriatric Police Commissioner Gordon, evergreen butler/tailor/mechanic/cook/utility infielder Alfred Pennyworth. "Friend with benefits" Catwoman.

Enemies: Clowns, penguins, frozen guys, scarecrows, disfigured ex-District Attorneys, sunshine, rainbows, lollipops.

Symbol: Only the single best logo ever, which DC refuses to put back on his chest because they hate me.

Family Matters: Adopted circus acrobat Dick Grayson as a boy who became Nightwing, took in juvenile delinquent Jason Todd who he got killed, and adopting Tim Drake. Also "slipped one past the goalie" in a dalliance with Talia Al'Ghul, daughter of criminal mastermind and a right nasty bitch in her own right. Their son Damien recently showed up and raised a ruckus, but he's gone now for the time being, along with the heavy-handed symbolic name.

Might Be Cool To: Have him drop in on your boss at home and scare him into giving you a raise. Take the Batmobile through Taco Bell drive-in. Get a research grant from. Slap.

Under No Cirmustances: Tell him a secret, because Batman is exactly the kind of person who, upon finding out that you sleep with "Tuffy" the stuffed bear every night, devise an emergency plan to animate "Tuffy" while you're asleep and have him steal all your pants. In case, you know, you turn evil. Imply that "sliding down the Batpole" is code for anything.

Annual Performance Review: Well, he did build a satellite to spy on everyone on earth that ended up creating killer cyborgs. Before Infinite Crisis he was a paranoid douchelord, but then he took a totally platonic and not-suspicious-in-any-way yearlong cruise with Tim and Dick and so now he's just a garden variety badass type-A personality again, with a focus on detectin'.

What Makes Him So Special, Anyway?: Putting aside the fact that he's been around for 60-odd years and is a legend among legends, he is the Goddamned Batman. If you met him in real life you'd probably soil yourself and immediately confess to the Lindbergh Baby Kidnapping.

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Monday, February 19, 2007

New Joe Mondays 2/19

Every Friday, Newsarama slaps on a fresh coat of chapstick, buys a new dress and sidles up to Marvel's E-i-C for a little "Q & A". On Mondays, we here at 2 Guys Buying Comics will translate some of the bullshit pandering hucksterism interview for you good people. Some text has been edited for brevity's sake. You can reference the actual article at Newsarama here.

NRAMA: Speaking of JMS and one of this other now former titles, Joe, we thought it was going to be a mystery until the release of the issue, but your solicits for the last couple of months (particularly for May) make it abundantly clear the new line-up for the Fantastic Four is Ben, Johnny, Black Panther, and Storm...

JQ: This has been in the works since the very first meeting about Civil War. It was the very same one that had Joss Whedon show up on his white horse and helped us hone our ending.

Translation: Black Panther needed a push, so we shoehorned him and Ororo into FF. Did I use "hone" correctly in that sentence?

Commentary: @#$! Whedon and the "white horse" he rode in on. The Fantastic Four ain't the same without Reed and Sue, and I've got the She-Hulk/Ghost Rider/Spidey FF issues to prove it. This will end by the time the movie is released, with a superduper "reconciliation" issue that month. I will bet anyone a thousand dollars this will happen.

------------------------------------------------------------

NRAMA: Any clues as to where we'll see Reed and/or Sue next?

JQ: The simple answers are as follows - Sue and Reed don't have to be on the team in order to be in the book

Translation: We're hedging our bets.

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NRAMA: Since you brough it up, as Tom Brevoort mentioned last week, Civil War #7 is away at the printers.

JQ: Tom Brevoort was literally skipping from office to office with printed copies of issue #7, he placed one on everyone’s desk as proof positive that the book was done which is a good thing because up until that point none of us believed him.

Translation: Tom "Meat Shield" Brevoort will take every single bullet shot my way because I am the Goddamn Quesada. Man! Can you believe what a bunch of late, irresponsible sonsabitches we have around here at Marvel? They're so wacky! And at fault!

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NRAMA: Oh yeah, sorry. With both World War Hulk and the X-event, (does it have a name?) are…the "reigns" tighter, that is, that chances of Civil War-size delays are being minimized? If so, how

JQ: We certainly think so and we believe it will all go off without a hitch, but you can never foresee if the train is going to fall of the tracks this far into the game.

Translation: I have no idea. I just work here, ya know!

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NRAMA: Speaking of which then, thoughts about a “war” event from DC after and before your “war” events?

JQ: Are you referring to DC’s announcing their “World War” thing after Civil War’s success and a several months after our announcing our next big storyline, World War Hulk?... That said, I guess no one can ever complain or throw accusations about our Identity Disc mini series from several years back anymore.

Translation: Suck it, DC! And Identity Disc was awful, but I'm self-deprecating, so it's OK!

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Q: shane_man - I'm really glad Marvel & DB Pro have started publishing XIII trade paperbacks in English, I bought the first one and am looking forward to Volume 2. However I've noticed that the translation in quite a few places is off, leading to some sentences just not making sense. Will the editing (or whatever led to these errors) be better for future volumes?

JQ: Translations are always tricky, shane_man, and can pose a variety of challenges, especially for a small publisher. However, the Dabel Bros are taking extra steps to make sure the translation quality of future volumes improve.

Translation: Also, it's entirely Tom Brevoort's fault.

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Q: “seanmac81” - Hey Joe. There's a really long thread on this somewhere in Newsarama's Marvel message boards but I thought I'd see if I could get your opinion. Where do you think Wolverine ranks in the Marvel Universe in terms of fighting ability? At times he is portrayed as an incredibly skilled martial artist but at other times he is little more than a brute who ends up getting beaten to a pulp. Does it depend on who's writing him?

JQ: I’m usually terrible with questions like this, seanmac81, because it’s always so subjective. In my mind, Wolverine is an incredibly skilled warrior, but he also has this berserker thing that comes up from time to time that makes him undisciplined and perhaps, out of control. And yes, I can’t deny that in the hands of different writers over the years that there may not be some differences subtle and otherwise.

Translation: You can't possibly expect me to take a public position on such an important issue. Plus, I haven't seen Loeb's issues yet, so I'm not sure what he's like this month.

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Friday, February 16, 2007

Manhunter, Now and Then


So, today I want to talk about Manhunter #28, and Manhunter as a whole series.

First of all, this is one of like 3 books I gleefully look forward to every month. Unfortunately, that is going to be short lived. As with issue #30, this series is to be cancelled. Sigh. Deep sigh.

I will not go into great detail on the background of the book. Comic readers will have awareness into this already.

I enjoy the cast of characters. Cameron Chase, Dylan, the DEO, Mark Shaw, et al.
I enjoy the human “aspect” of Manhunter, Kate Spencer. When not Manhunter and in the courtroom, the story still has great pacing. None of the guest appearances, from JLA in issues 6-8, or some Golden Age DC heroes, have been forced and flow very well into the storyline. The writer/editor (whomever) has not force-fed us some appearance of Batman for $$$$.

Which now brings me to the current arc of Manhunter, guest-starring Wonder Woman, and friends. This book may be ending, but let me tell you, it sure as hell is not going out with a whimper, but leaving a mark in DC with an important storyline.

Skipping the backdrop of 26 & 27, the none other than Blue Beetle, THE Ted Kord, shows up suddenly at the courthouse, causing a ruckus of questions and comments from the mass of media that is present for the Wonder Woman case. Blue Beetle, Wonder Woman and Kate Spencer all bail out of there to the “Bug” and are promptly attacked by the MadMen. K. We still have only Kate. Wonder Woman has to save her out of a falling “Bug” after Blue Beetle bails out first, leaving Kate.
Enter, friend of Wonder Woman, the one and only Batman. Why? Because Wonder Woman wants to know who Ted Kord really is, and Mr. Bat Detective is the best way to find out for sure, as, well, he doesn’t trust the magic of the lasso, which would also of course work.
So, enter Batman. Spooking Kate from the shadows when he appears. So we get fun Batman? He makes mention of how Kate’s “reputation preceeds her”, as an off the cuff mark in his knowing she is Manhunter.
We get lots of blah blah blah from Ted, WW and the Bat, and lots of amazement and some awe from Kate of the company she is currently keeping. It is interesting blah blah blah, but I don’t want to spoil it.
Exit Batman, saying it will take time for the bloodwork, and his remarks as he left to Kate were something along the lines of “I’m not finished with you yet” (I do not have the exact messaging in front of me while writing this) as a sign of times to come. Way back in issue two, I think, she had a dream sequence of Batman scolding her for the whole “you don’t have the right to take a life” routine when she off’ed Copperhead in ish 1. So, Kate already has a chip on her shoulder about that, and now, in the flesh, ol’ Bats throws her for a loop with that last comment.
AND then, for the grand finale on this ish, Enter a shadowed figure, offering to give the REAL tape of Max’s killing to Kate, not the muted one that was made public. Who was this tape from? Lets just say there is a big ol’ forefront, I believe, chess piece of a King or a Bishop. Can you say, Sasha? Checkmate? I can, and I will!

Oh, and we get some more monkish/Tibetan Mark Shaw stuff, and some Cameron Chase action, with a Dylan coming out of witness protection to try and protect his gal! That was cool!

This book was fun, added more mystery, and sure as hell does not seem like its ending, not with the continuity/history being considered, nor the persons in the book.

This my friends is a great book, and a great series. I am very sad to see it go. I hope that one day it rises from the ashes and Marc Andreyko gets to write this character, with cast, again as it is a star book.

To those who said write letters to DC for extending the book again, great!
To those who said thank DC for the additional 5 issues when it was to be cancelled at 25, the hell with that. Screw you DC! This book jumped 10 spots to be the 95th most purchased/ordered book. Still low, but you know what, in all the responses I read from people trying this book for the first time, never, ever did I see a negative or neutral response. Not one!
And a GREAT BIG SHOUT out to Gail Simone, for taking Manhunter to the Birds of Prey, one of the other three books I look forward to every month. You Rule!!!

Fine! Cancel it! Just means I get to give you less $$$ during the year in response to your cancellation of one of my favorite series for other books. SO THERE!

Anyways, my jaded take on Manhunter #28, rating is 5/5!

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Nextwave, R.I.P.

So, Nextwave: Agents of Hate is over.

And I am a sad, sad man.

Regardless of whether it was your cup of tea or not, Nextwave is notable to me for 3 reasons:

1) It was a comic that my non-comics reading friends looked forward to reading. Actual quote: "I had no idea comics could be funny." (And yes, that says more about him than it does the comic, but still... you get the point.)

2) Warren Ellis combined with the sweet, sweet Stuart Immonen art, turned his famous dislike for superheroes into, ironically, an almost perfect 12-issue catalogue of exactly why we love superhero comics.

(Seriously. I may never get over that 6-page fight sequence in issue #11. Just awesome.)

3) Marvel still knows how to make fun of itself. Or at least, it knows when to get the hell out of the way and let someone else make fun of them. Especially if the dude making fun of you wrote Transmetropolitan.

Anyway. Issue 12 wrapped things up in grand fashion, and I must say that I've thoroughly enjoyed the entire ride.

Thanks, Warren. Thanks, Stuart. Thanks, Marvel.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Marvel May Solicit Revue

It's that time again! 10 things that caught my eye in Marvel's May solicits. Astonishingly, Marvel doesn't seem to hate me in May.

(But don't think that gets you off the hook for October thru April, Quesada.)

Also, is it me or were Marvel's solicits even more verbose than usual this month?


MARVEL ILLUSTRATED: LAST OF THE MOHICANS #1 (of 6)
Based on the Novel by JAMES FENIMORE COOPER
Adapted by ROY THOMAS
Pencils by STEVEN KURTH & DENIS MEDRI
Cover by JO CHEN
Don’t miss the debut of MARVEL ILLUSTRATED, The House of Ideas’ new foray into classic literature, featuring an adaptation of James Fennimore Cooper’s renowned novel! Adapted by writer Roy Thomas, who’s a Marvel classic himself (AVENGERS, X-MEN, CONAN) with stunning art by Marvel newcomer Steve Kurth. Last of the Mohicans tells the seminal story of a race on the brink of disappearance due to the inexorable push of civilization into the wilderness of the New World. It’s a tale that will touch readers of every age with both its timeless realization of an important historical period—and with its powerful action and adventure! This isn’t your father’s classic comics! Plus—delve into the history of the man known as Hawkeye in a special bonus story!

Yeah, I think this probably needs to be supported, so I'll try it out. Plus: what's the over under on how many people order this thinking that they'll get a Clint Barton origin story in the back?

CIVIL WAR: FALLEN SON – IRON MAN
Written by JEPH LOEB
Pencils and Cover by JOHN CASSADAY
Alternate Cover by MICHAEL TURNER
Can the Marvel Universe accept the death of a true hero? In the wake of a tragedy, we’ve visited the top heroes of the Marvel Universe, and now it all comes down this. The rockstar team of Jeph Loeb and John Cassaday (ASTONISHING X-MEN) bring it all home in the story that will have True Believers debating – and maybe even shedding a tear.

Excuse me for a moment while I freak the hell out.

*JOHN CASSADAY DRAWS IRON MAN****JOHN CASSADAY DRAWS IRON MAN****JOHN CASSADAY DRAWS IRON MAN*

Ahem. Sorry about that.

I don't care that Loeb's writing it.

(Well, I care, but not enough to keep me from plunking down 3 bucks for SWEET SWEET CASSADAY IRON MAN ACTION.)

BLACK PANTHER #28
Written by REGINALD HUDLIN
Penciled by FRANCIS PORTELA
Cover by ARTHUR SUYDAM
"Part 1 of 4"
It’s slobberin’ time! The New Fantastic Four just made a wrong turn on the inter-dimensional super highway -- and they’ve landed in the middle of Zombie-verse! That’s right, True Believer, if the Black Panther, Storm, the Human Torch and the Thing can’t come up with the perfect escape plan, they’re going to be the next hors d'ouvres for Zombie Galacti intent on eating the entire universe! Spinning from the pages of the mega-hit MARVEL ZOMBIES!

So the new FF is Johnny, Ben, T'Challa and Ororo? Eh. Seems a tad underpowered to me, but I'm not crying too hard, since I wasn't reading FF or BP anyway. Also, I'm betting this lasts till... oh, when does the new movie come out? OK. Put me down for July.

WORLD WAR HULK PROLOGUE: WORLD BREAKER
Written by PETER DAVID
Penciled by VARIOUS
Cover by JOHN ROMITA JR
Hulk is coming and no power on Earth can stop him from getting revenge on the Illuminati! What events have led up to the super-human battle-to-end-all-battles? As Hulk’s great stone ship approaches the planet, he prepares for the war on the horizon by reliving past conflicts with Iron Man, The Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange and the Inhumans. This is the perfect jumping-on point for this summer’s super hero-smashing, city-leveling, bone-crushing, Marvel history-making event!

I can't remember being this giddy over what's essentially a reprint comic! Three things in its favor:

A) Peter David.
B) Civil War has filled me with such loathing for most of the Marvel heroes that I cannot wait to see the Hulk punch them all in the neck.
C) If you're going to do a Hulk reprint comic, you damn well better make sure that it's a bunch of fight scenes.

Well done, Marvel.

IRON MAN #18
Written by DANIEL KNAUF AND CHARLES KNAUF
Penciled by ROBERTO DE LA TORRE
Cover by GERALD PAREL
Tony Stark and Maya Hansen are friends and colleagues. But tensions develop – professional and otherwise – when their views on Maya’s research begin to clash. While Maya weighs a tempting offer from a suspicious source, Tony must wrestle with his conscience as a global threat develops. Here's a hint: Ten Rings of Power

I must say, that Tony wrestling with his conscience now rather than, say, before all this Civil War hoo-ha seems like a case of missed opportunity. Bonus points for bringing back the Mandarin (who's supposed to be dead), or his son (who I think we left at the bottom of the ocean last time he appeared). You don't think there's a movie coming out, do you?


NEW AVENGERS #30

Written by BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS
Pencils and Cover by LEINIL YU
The New Avengers versus the Hand!! AND the New Avengers versus the Mighty Avengers!! AND the identity of the new Ronin revealed!! Who is the new mystery player in the New Avengers? Find out here!! Guest-starring the Mighty Avengers and... wait for it... BROTHER VOODOO!!

Wow!! More Avengers v. Ninja action!! Who would have guessed!! And more Ronin teasing!! It's like nothing's changed in 20 issues!! Why can't I stop using exclamation points!!

(Sometimes you have to sacrifice good punctuation to make a point.)

OMEGA FLIGHT #2 (of 5)
Written by MICHAEL OEMING
Pencils and Cover by SCOTT KOLINS
As super-villains flood the Canadian border, Omega Flight begins to cement its team of heroes. A new character is added to the ranks as U.S. Agent saves Toronto from the powerful and beautiful (well, powerful anyway…) Daisy!

The phrase "U.S. Agent saves Toronto from Daisy" is precisely why anyone looking forward to this series won't admit it in public.

Alpha Flight fans, I am so, so sorry that your team got whacked off-screen in a crappy New Avengers comic last year. Really. Even y'all deserve better.

MARVEL ADVENTURES IRON MAN #1
Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Penciled by JAMES CORDEIRO
Cover by MICHAEL GOLDEN
The Armored Avenger blasts into the newest title in the critically-acclaimed, best-selling Marvel Adventures line! Who is IRON MAN, the world-renowned symbol of mega-conglomerate Stark International? And what terrible secret from his past forces billionaire inventor TONY STARK to become the Golden Guardian? Find out here!

Fred "Action Philosophers" Van Lente + Iron Man + All Ages Comic = You're Goddamn Right I'm Pre-Ordering This.

And so should you.

SPIDER-MAN FAIRY TALES #1
Written by C.B. Cebulski & David Sexton
Art and cover by Ricardo Tercio
In the tradition of X-Men Fairy Tales, Marvel makes its move on melding more modern myths, starting with Spider-Man! Our friendly neighborhood becomes a quaint village and Mary Jane fills the shoes of another famous red-head in this premiere issue as the tale of Little Red Riding Hood is retold with superhero sensibilities! Will Spider-Man be able to save her on her way to Aunt May's house? And just who is our Big Bad Wolf? Find out just how fun fairy tales can be... Marvel style!

OK... I just don't get the whole "Fairy Tales meet Marvel" conceit. I mean, is it just another series of "What-If"s? I mean, and I'm actually asking this without snark, are these any good? Entertaining? Add new perspective? For the kids? I'm baffled.


ANNIHILATION SAGA

Written by MICHAEL HOSKIN
Cover by ANDREA DI VITO
Journey in the wake of the Annihilation Wave as the history of the entire Annihilation event is recounted! From the arrival of Annihilus' forces, to the fall of Galactus, to the war's fallout, see how the story unfolded and where the universe rests by the finish! Featuring an all-new cover by Andrea DiVito!

Don't buy this. Go buy Annihilation instead. Really. I promise, even if you don't love it, you'll like it. But you'll probably love it. I bet.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

DC May Solicit Revue

It's that time again! 10 things from DC's May solicits that caught my eye. Read on, true believers!

DETECTIVE COMICS #832
Written by Royal McGraw
Art by Andy Clarke
Cover by Simone Bianchi
Terror comes in threes! The nefarious Terrible Trio returns, only instead of being the hunters, they’re the prey! And the only one who can save them from certain death is their deadly aversary — Batman!

That's the most un-Bianchi-like Bianchi cover I've ever seen. Are we sure they're not pulling our leg here? Also: I enjoy the word "Royal" when used as a first name. Well done, Mr. and Mrs. McGraw. That's awesome work.






BATMAN: TURNING POINTS TP
Written by Greg Rucka, Chuck Dixon and Ed Brubaker
Art by Steve Lieber, Dick Giordano, Paul Pope and others
Cover by Tim Sale
Collecting the miniseries BATMAN TURNING POINTS #1-5! This story explores the relationship between Batman and Commisioner Gordon, and how it has developed through the years, from Batman’s early days through sidekicks and even a broken back.

This took me completely by surprise, as I can't recall ever hearing of it when it originally came out in the monthlies. Was this story any good? Having Rucka, Dixon, and Brubaker onboard certainly leads me to believe so. This is a potential purchase for me, pending readers commenting otherwise, so help a brother out, will ya?

OUTSIDERS #47
Written by Judd Winick & Greg Rucka
Art & cover by Matthew Clark & Art Thibert
Part 2 of “Checkout,” the crossover with CHECKMATE! The prison hasn’t been built that can hold the Outsiders for long — and that includes Checkmate’s Alpine HQ, as Nightwing leads an attempt to break free from house arrest!

OK, DC. I give up. Part 2 of a 2 part Checkmate crossover is pretty much the only thing that could have gotten me to buy an issue of Outsiders, because you know:

A) the end of Checkmate arcs are best part because we get to see the political fallout, and

B) Rucka helped write this issue, which means that there's bound to be at least 50% less suck.

But I'm not happy about adding the phrase "purchased a copy of Outsiders" to my curriculum vitae.



ALL STAR BATMAN AND ROBIN, THE BOY WONDER #5
Written by Frank Miller
Art and cover by Jim Lee and Scott Williams
Variant cover by Miller
The pulse-pounding adventure continues with the All Star creative team of Frank Miller, Jim Lee and Scott Williams! The Batman puts Dick Grayson to the ultimate test, and the orphaned aerialist must make a difficult choice before becoming Robin, the Boy Wonder!

I will not make ASBAR lateness jokes. I will not make ASBAR lateness jokes. I will not makes ASBAR lateness jokes. I will not ma--- oh hell, just one.

If this is "pulse pounding adventure", then I'm afraid someone at DC has flatlined. Either that or their heart beats at the rate of 5 issues every two years.

Bonus "ASBAR Sucks" Observation: What is Wonder Woman's hiney (in a piece of art that must have taken Miller all of 30 or 40 seconds) doing on the cover? You know what, on second thought, I'd probably rather not know. Let's move on.


GREEN ARROW #74
Written by Judd Winick
Art and cover by Scott McDaniel & Andy Owens
All of Green Arrow’s secrets have been revealed to the citizens of Star City…threatening his tenure as mayor!

Wait a second... you reveal ALL of Ollie's secrets and the thing we're worried about is whether or not he gets to keep his job as a city bureaucrat? Not family, or friends, or... huh. Well, OK, I guess. I suppose he'll have to go back to being just a lowly boring old everyday superhero.



THE ALL-NEW ATOM #11
Written by Gail Simone
Art by Eddy Barrows & Trevor Scott
Cover by Ladrönn
The 3-part “Jia” concludes! The Atom comes to grips with the mystery involving his high school sweetheart and the horrific life she’s had to live since he left her in Hong Kong.

I love this comic. And so should you. And that is one damn fine creepy cover.









HAWKGIRL #64
Written by Walter Simonson
Art by Renato Arlem
Cover by Howard Chaykin
Hawkgirl flies to Metropolis where both Superman and Oracle help bring her closer to the ultimate confrontation with Hath-Set, the man who has cursed Hawkman and herself.

I could have sworn I read somewhere that this got cancelled. Has this gotten any better? At all? And why does it seem like I keep asking that every two months?



SHOWCASE PRESENTS: THE ATOM VOL. 1 TP
Written by Gardner Fox
Art by Gil Kane, Murphy Anderson and Sid Greene
Cover by Kane & Anderson
From the Silver Age of Comics comes this collection of science-fiction tales starring Ray Palmer, The Atom! Included here are some of the Atom’s greatest adventures, from SHOWCASE #34-36 and THE ATOM #1-17!

Given what happened in Identity Crisis, the cover to this is either A) in really poor taste, or B) gut-bustingly funny enough to warrant a Random Panels-like meme for a caption. I'm going with B) and trying not to think about going to hell. Take it away, Brandon!





SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #30
Written by Mark Waid
Art by Barry Kitson & Mick Gray
Cover by Kitson
It’s a turning-point issue for the Legionnaires as a longtime member makes a startling decision that will affect the entire team!

Where have I seen that text before? Oh yeah, in about every single team book solicit ever made. Gotcha.

TALES OF THE UNEXPECTED #8
Written by David Lapham and Brian Azzarello
Art by Eric Battle, Cliff Chiang and Prentis Rollins
Cover by BattleTwists
Shocks abound as the secret behind two tales is finally revealed! Witness the true and terrible nature of crime, punishment, and…The Spectre! Plus: Dr. 13’s wild adventure ends with a big bang in the hidden nexus of the DCU!

Also have heard very good things about this; can you confirm or deny? Dig the creative team very much, and want more reader opinions!

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Monday, February 12, 2007

A Quandary Of Sorts

Conversation Between 2 Guys Buying Comics:

RANDY: You know, your man Hawkman's back.

ME: That's so awesome! Finally! Now we can get back to some good old face-kicking, skull-bashing, forbidden-love-unrequiting, somewhat-disturbing-wing-harness-wearing action!

RANDY: He's in Justice Society of America.

ME: Oh. Huh. Well, shoot. Never mind, then.

You see, dear friends, I loves the Hawkpeople to no end, and the characters of Carter "THWACK!" Hall and Kendra "KRAKK!" Saunders in particular. So what's the problem?

The problem is that I don't want to read Justice Society of America.

Keep in mind I have read exactly six issues of Geoff Johns' JSA in my entire life. So, with a relaunch, and coming in with a blank slate and little to no prior knowledge of the series, you might think that there's no reason for me to not give it a shot, right?

Wrong. And my reasons are listed below. But I'm asking for you, comicsblogoweb, to help me out here.

1) Geoff Johns. He's writing it. I just cancelled Green Lantern (more about that later this week), and at this point I think I need a little less Geoff Johns writing in my life. As I've said before, it's not that I think he's a bad writer, it's just... well, it's that he doesn't bring anything to the table for me personally as a draw to picking up a new series.

It's kind of the opposite of the way Kurt Busiek's name was enough to tip me over the edge into buying Aquaman, and the way Walt Simonson kept me buying Hawkgirl for three Godforsaken issues, and the way Gail Simone could solicit a 12-issue series called "Iron Man Sucks Hippo Ass", and I'd pay for the whole series up front.

At this point, if I see Johns' name on the front, I think "Probably won't be terrible," and "Probably won't be terrible" is not exactly a ringing endorsement for me.

2) The cast. Take the cover to #1, for example. Aside from Hawkman, Mr. Terrific (who's really impressed me in Checkmate), and the occasional Alan Scott (who's also been really cool in Checkmate), I just don't have any interest in any of the characters.




Jay Garrick just reminds me of how DC ruined the Flash with Infinite Crisis; the very mention of Power Girl makes me instinctively turn away because of DC's insistence on stuffing her down our throats for the last year and a half; and Dr. Mid-Nite is little more than an amusing middle finger in the face of conventional spelling and punctuation rules as far as I'm concerned.

(I know, I know. The comicsblogoweb seem to think Wildcat is all that and a sack of sunshine, but... eh.)

So in a team book this loaded with characters (the majority of which I don't know or don't particuarly like), the chances of it being Hawkman-centric aren't big enough to spend my 3 bucks on. And I've been burned by New Avengers in the same manner re: Iron Man.

(Damn you, Bendis. Damn your cold, black heart.)

3) My brain is getting full. Everywhere I look, I see the same thing written about JSA -- it's a book about legacies and connecting the Golden Age with the present, and the myriad of plots and continuity nods and whatnot. And that's great, there should be books like that.

Maybe it's because I'm lazy, or maybe it's because it seems like for some reason this "relaunch" was targeted at people who were already reading JSA, but I'm just not sure I want to delve into a dense pocket of DC continuity; and the promotional copy and everything else I read gives me the impression that I'm going to have to sit down and read through the DC Encyclopedia seven times before I understand what's going on.

(Side Note: This is where Geoff Johns writing the book starts to seem like a deterrent to me, as Johns is all about the continuity porn, and I'm afraid that's all I'm going to get here.)

(Additional Side Note: I realize full well the irony of this, as Hawkman is pretty much the poster boy for the phrase "dense pocket of DC continuity". )

(Son of Additional Side Note: Lest you think I'm anti-DC continuity, this is also the reason I ignored Marvel's Thunderbolts and the thirty-seven X-Men series they've produced in the last 15 years.)

4) In my warped and twisted world, every copy of Justice Society of America I don't buy means I bought an imaginary copy of Hawkman's own non-existent solo book. I have no explanation for this other than the massive cranial injury I sustained when attempting to read Civil War #6.

(I know, everyone wants their favorite characters to have a solo book. I realize full well that I am symptomatic of a lowest common denominator.)

(And if you think I made that last reason up just to get a cheap shot in at Civil War... then you know me too well.)

Look, I understand the insanity of intentionally ignoring what is by all accounts a well-written, engaging team book. But I've become guarded and a bit more discriminatory with the pull list, and I just don't have it in me to add a book that I just can't get excited about, even if one of my favoritest characters is in it regularly.

That said, if DC announced tomorrow that Hawkman was relaunching with a new #1 written by Mark Millar with pencils by Rob Liefeld, I would still pick up the first three issues, no questions asked. I am such a comic fan hypocrite.

(Of course, it would take ten months for those three issues to actually hit the stands, so maybe that's a bad example.)

How about it? Am I insane, lazy, or some Ellis-ian combination of the two? What comics do you feel the same way about?

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

New Reviews Up

Greetings to all of the 2GBC audience. I know, I know, I'm just the review guy, Chris is the expose, random mad thinking guy, but nonetheless, its very nice to be back. I missed putting out reviews, and after the hiatus, I have more energy to now post some of these
consistently, and yes, still all jaded and one-sided! Just because I can!!


So, without further ado, I bring you, this weeks reviews:


New Avengers #27
Revolution Part I

First of all, please NOTE: I called this New Avengers. It had a group fight, albeit with ninjas. But, at least, as only Spidey could put it- at least it wasn't against other heroes or House of M or crap like that! Real Bad Guys!!

Was it good? It wasn't bad. Avengers fight- yep, fight as a group.
Focus on Ronin/Echo- eh, who cares. Its not a title I'm going to buy consistently. It had Elektra, so of course I'm going to buy it. Heck, I might even buy a Cable/Deadpool book if it has Elektra in it. I mean, I bought a Black Panther book just because of the Inhumans!

But, the white eyes. I did not like the white eyes of everyone not in a mask. They just looked...dead. And Elektra? She looked dead in like, every shot of her. Elektra was not drawn well. It was nice to FINALLY see her somewhere, but come on, I don't think ol' Matt was going to wish "THE SHOT" on her. From my recollection, she did help him in a time of need, near the end of Bendis' arc on DD. (I may be wrong though.) Doctor Strange? Holy, who the hell was
that guy. He looked AWFUL!! Totally AWFUL!! Can you make him look any more dead or decrepit or malaise or whatever you want to call it?

So overall, story: better than what I have seen in previous NA books. Still though, ninjas? Maybe I"ll try Mighty...Art: way to hit and miss for me. The eyes really turned me off.
Elektra/Doc Strange not good.

Overall Rating: 3/5. Reasonable story, average art. It had Elektra!



Jonah Hex #16
The Ballad of Tallulah Black Pt. 1

I like the start of this arc. Nice, short abridged of how Tallulah
gets to this point. Not a lot of Jonah yet. That's ok, please note
the title of this book. What I do not want to see though with Jonah is:

Insert Character A here.
Character A has bad childhood, or drastic other happening in
life and wants revenge.
Jonah Hex takes under wing, trains and Character A gets even.
Next to Character B.
Sure, sometimes this may be ok. But remember, its all about Jonah,
and Jonah in the Old West, not in 2055 or whatever! Would hate to see this type of story become routine.

I like the art in this: just seems to do a great job of harkening back to a time of history. I would like to see a mix of one-shot tales amongst arcs. This book does great one-shots.

Overall: 4/5. Looking forward to Tallulah busting some ass.


Warbird #12
Something Dark is Coming

This was one of the better Warbird tales to come along in a long while. Civil War has killed this book & Warbird. She needs to find a new direction. I was fine with the first few issues when she was looking for direction. The Brood was a great story. Now, ugh. Although, the Anya-under-her-wing piece is actually kinda a positive note. Not that Warbird is a great role model, but I think she can train pretty well.

Zombies, the choice bad guy of the past year for Marvel, make a return here. I like Anya's line: "I think I broke 'em."

I think the publicist piece has worn out its welcome. It was funny, now its just buggy.

The A.I.M. take is a part I like. Maybe a little "under-powered" for Warbird, but she is looking to "make her mark." At least it wasn't Stilt Man.


The Greg Horn covers are pretty, but not awe-inspiring. I do like the art in the book though, lots of different looking actions.

Overall Rating:3/5. Finally a decent story. That alone gave it a higher rating.




Fantastic Four: The End
5 of 6

I picked it up on a whim way back when. And stuck with it. Its been a fun entertaining little tale.

What's good: I get Thor. I get Inhumans, Kree and Shi'ar. I get to see a highly entertaining Ben and Johnny Storm, each doing their own thing. This ish had some good Ben and J Storm interaction- nice to see for once. I like what they did with Dr. Strange. And there is a big arse fight a-brewing.

What's not so good: Reed whining, Sue with short hair, silly Iron Man thing.

Will it all come to a good ending- of course, its the Fantastic Four. When haven't they had a good ending? (Well, the summation of how they fractured, ok, that wasn't a good ending. **FF:End #1
Overall Rating: 3/5. Story that is readable, enjoyable and a nice little touch of the cosmic.


Welcome To Tranquility #3
A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody

This has also been a great book. I give props to Gail Simone, one of the best writers out there. She has once again hit me with the book of the week.
This has been a fabulous story, its a soap opera built from one incident that continues to just add twist, add plot point, add twist, add plot point...but all of the twist and adds are great fun and makes you want to read them. Now, there are a slew of characters, they can be hard to remember, due to sheer numbers. I mean, we are being introduced to a town of cast members. Still, I think the main players have been rolled out well, and we continue to learn new things about them each ish (shush!!! I know there have only been 3).

Go Mayor! Go Mayor!

Alas, this ish has a not-so-happy ending. I was a little bummed by that. However, Gail is not one to feel the need to give us a status quo- she has no qualms about shaking the tree and giving us a few li'l surprises along the way.
I encourage you to give this book a shot if you haven't. I would recommend issue 1 though. This is not a jumping on point, and I don't see one of those in the foreseeable future.

Overall Rating:4/5. This is one book that I truly look forward to each month now.





Thursday, February 08, 2007

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand We're Back!

Hey howdy all! Good --- no, GREAT --- to be back. Darn that comicsblogoweb: you just can't count on anyone to stay dead anymore, can you?

Anyway, expect the usual nonsense around here: reviews and commentary, merciless dissection of the steaming piles that issue forth from the Mouths O' Quesada N' DiDio, and other random bits of ephemera. We also have a couple three new recurring features that I lifted wholeheartedly and unashamedly from some other non-comics related blogs.

(Yes, I just used the word 'ephemera'. 2 Guys Buying Comics got a Word-Of-The-Day calendar, and dammit, we're going to get our money's worth out of that mother.)

Big thanks to those who posted about our return as well, and those who wished us well in the comments below; your support, shameless plugging, and small-bill donations are what keeps us going (sniff).

And so, while I digest all the comics I bought today --- roughly about a month's worth, and it clocked in at damn near a hundred bucks --- I thought we'd kick things off in a typically 2GBCian way, with some random thoughts. Mainly because I don't want to have to sort out what came out yesterday and what didn't for review purposes. That's Randy's gig this week.

(Yes, I also just used the word '2GBCian'. 2 Guys Buying Comics also got a Make Your Own Word Of The Day Kit. We are also going to get our money's worth out of that mother. 2GBC is all about the efficient consumerism, yo.)

Let's begin!

1) Of course, I bought the first two issues of the Iron Man: Hypervelocity miniseries, silly! While on the surface it seems to be yet another "Stark loses control of sentient-y armor" tale, it's notable for two reasons. A) It's an Extremis-less, non-Civil-War Iron Man story, and B) the art is really quite good. Brian Denham's work in this reminds me of a poor man's Brian Hitch. No, really. Plus, I lurve the armor design (more rounded surfaces).

2) It's been said before, many times and many ways, but I'll echo it here: Annihilation was (to paraphrase) 10 kinds of awesome in a 6 issue sack. Thanks to Keith Giffen for that fleeting return to 80's cosmic Marvelocity. Plus: SpaceKnights! (No ROM, but we did see Starshine.)

3) Detective Comics continues to be exactly what I want in a Batman comic, with nice art by Don Kramer to boot. And killer covers by Simone Bianchi.

4) That Dr. Strange miniseries is waiting for me, but I've decided to digest them all at once when it's finished. In a related note, not even throwing Dr. Strange in the Newer Avengers will get me to buy that comic. I hear they're fighting (yawn) ninjas again.

5) On the flip side, God help me I might actually buy the first issue of Mighty Avengers. Don't look at me like that! Stop it. The lineup's good (except of course, for that damn Sentry lunk), and it'll be interesting to see if Bendis really can pull off what he describes as an "all-action"comic. No, I'm not holding my breath either.

6) And here I thought that after being gone for two months I would come back and Civil War and Ultimates 2 would be all wrapped up. The lesson, as usual: I am such a moron.

7) Finally dropped Green Lantern (more about that next week), mainly because I'm having such a better time with Green Lantern Corps. Start buying it people, if only because GLC has "cancellation" written all over it, and the buying habits of the comics world should obey my every whim.

8) What the hell's going on with Wonder Woman? Way to blow momentum, DC.

9) I don't believe that in the past year I've read any comic from Boom! Studios that wasn't at the very least average. Most of them are good. A couple were great. But not a single one I'd call bad. That's a pretty nice track record, I think.

10) Hawkman's back!.....in the JSA. More about this on Monday, and why it makes me sad.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Return

Coming in 3 days. 2 Guys Buying Comics is resurrected. We're bigger, stronger, faster, and more determined than ever to piss off at least one major comics company safe in the anonymous blanket of the Internet.

Hell to the yeah.

Come back Friday.