Friday, March 30, 2007


This posting is in response to Doug Wolk's excellent essay in his column on this week's issue of 52 (#47).

One aspect of digital comics downloading that Doug neglects to consider is the fact that it may actually lead to the reader grabbing a physical copy of said book, if ever they come across it in the back issue boxes (for a reasonable price). The same can be said for trade paperbacks or hardcover collections of previously published material. For instance, I just recently picked up a copy of DC Comics Presents #85 featuring Superman (duh) and Swamp Thing as written by Alan Moore. It was in a 50 cent box, and slightly cover damaged, but after reading that story in one of the Swamp Thing trades, I sure as hell wasn't going to let it slip through my fingers.

Often, it even goes the other way...since, as Doug mentioned, comics are collectible artifacts, with extremely old issues becoming more and more rare, and thus more and more costly after-market, some people will go to great lengths in order to not further damage the old copies of books that they own.
Recently, I came into posession of a well-preserved copy of Flash vol.1 #151 from March 1965, which features the third DCU appearance of The Shade, as well as a crossover between the Jay Garrick and Barry Allen Flashes. I cherish this book. I always will. But there's no way in hell that I'll ever touch it with my grubby little hands. And that's where digital comics preservation comes in. It enables me to read and enjoy this issue (even the ads!) without damaging the value, collectibility, or durability of the book in my posession. If I ever find a copy in a bargain bin, you can be sure that I'll grab it as a reading copy, but for now, DCP will have to suffice.

As an interesting aside, this issue hasn't yet been collected in DC Archives format. However, it's very difficult to determine exactly which issues have been collected in the DC Archives, as even the solicitations on the DC homepage don't tell you what issues are contained within (with a few exceptions).

If the comics giants are actually concerned as to the proliferation of internet comics sharing (they aren't - at least not to any great extent - as far as I'm aware), getting the Archive editions into print as quickly as possible would be a very good way to combat it. Also, it wouldn't be too hard for them to actually let us know exactly which issues have already been collected.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Funny Things I've Read on Forums Lately

Here's one I read today. John Seavey, in describing Darwyn Cooke's take on the DC pantheon in The Silver Age, said:

“This is Hero A. He is good and I like him.” and “This is Hero B. He is also good and I like him too.” and “This is Green Lantern. He is like Jesus, only better because he has a magic ring.”

Funny stuff.
By the way, I liked Silver Age. But it's true, it didn't have much of a plot.
The full post is available over at Comics Should Be Good.

Last week, I read this one over at the Savage Blog:
In response to Jeff's post which asked pointedly,
"how Captain America can be alive in one Marvel title while dead in another title that comes out the same week."

"Superboy punched Marvel's production manager."

I laughed so hard, I peed a little.

That's all for now.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Wonder Man #4

Wonder Man #4
Fun, as usual, especially for the interacti
ons between Simon, Hank, and Carol.
Am I the only person who's noticed that Beast looks like PAD? Judge for yourself:
Or maybe I'm just waaaay too tired. (Sorry about the formatting...ever since google took over blogger it's made resizing, posting, placing images difficult. Maybe someone has an idea of what I can do? I really miss the old days of being able to actually control exactly what your content's appearance was.)
Oh, yeah. The book? GOOD. Continuing with the Pygmalion theme, Simon lets Ladykiller free of her restraining collar and asks her to be his date to an Avengers ball. However, PAD finally introduces the intrigue, as it turns out that this was the insidious plan all along - to get Ladykiller in a position wherein she'd be able to murder all of the Avengers.

Wonder Woman update

Allan Heinberg posted the following on his myspace blog:
Hey, everybody,
Because of our ongoing scheduling issues, DC Comics has been generous enough to allow Terry Dodson and me to make the conclusion of our "Who Is Wonder Woman?" arc into an extra-sized special issue, complete with a 13-page backup story I've written, drawn by one of my favorite artists. The scheduling shift will allow a newly solicited WONDER WOMAN 5 to ship on schedule, an issue that ties into Jodi Picoult's upcoming run on the book and Will Pfeiffer's AMAZONS ATTACK event.
Thanks for your patience,

Am I the only one who doesn't care in the slightest?

Birds of Prey #104

Birds of Prey #104
I love this book. I love this book! I LOVE THIS BOOK!
Gail Simone bemoans the fact that everyone since Dan Vado has been pissing all over Giffen and DeMatteis' JLI since they left the title, and then, in a move I never would have expected, not in a million years, she brings Tora back!!! It might just be a ruse, as was "Ted Kord"'s return in the pages of Manhunter (ewwwww), but ohmygod! Gail Simone sure knows how to write a fun book. I want her to be the next writer on JLA. What a fun JLA that would be, eh? Hell, get rid of Meltzer right now!

There's so many other things I love about this issue:
Kerimov saying to Creote "I always suspected you were a devourer of women". (In case you don't remember, he's gay.) Curiously though, I seem to remember his lover Savant declaring that he'd never work for Oracle again, following his torture at the hands of the Calculator's minions (BoP #90). I would assume that Creote's working with Babs would put some strain on their relationship. But no matter, it was a great line.
I love Helena's budding interest in Catman. He licks her! And yet, she comes back for more!
Kay and Scandal together at a formal event, making zero attempt to hide their relationship.
Helena, the meatball queen, flinging one at Blake.
Oracle: "Good job attempting to pump Blake, Helena."/Helena:"HEY! I didn't...we didn't even..."/O:"Wait! Bad choice of words." Priceless dialogue that you only get from Gail Simone on any sort of consistent basis. (BTW: Quote of the Week!)
Oracle rewards Hawkgirl with her own sportscar for taking part in the mission.

Have I told anybody lately that I love this book?

[This post has been reprinted over at Sequart.]

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Cable & Deadpool #38

Cable & Deadpool #38
No, I haven't read it...Civil War (or the fact that I wasn't reading any of Civil War) caused me to fall behind. But, God! Look at that cover! If the credits didn't specify otherwise, I'd swear this was done by Bill Sinkiewicz! Wow! Whoever this Skottie Young guy is has quite a future ahead of him. Wow!

X-23: Target X #4

X-23: Target X #4
After last month's cliffhanger that many people didn't believe to be a cliffhanger, the book takes a decidedly unexpected turn, as Laura doesn't end up killing her family, because Megan gets her mother in the shower and washes the trigger scent off of them. Brilliant. I didn't see that coming at all. Yost and Kyle led us to believe that "X" killed her family. Apparently she saved them. Very nicely done, gentlemen.
Also, in this issue, Kimura is "introduced". Actually, she first appeared three months ago, but since Yost and Kyle have written X-23 since the X-23 miniseries in 2005 (and, in fact, Kyle gets creator credit for the character), it's likely that Kimura's role in Laura's upbringing has been planned for quite some time, and therefore her inclusion in this issue doesn't seem like a retcon or anything, but feels quite natural. (In fact, X-23's origin series was well underway by the time that Joe Quesada finally got around to finishing NYX in which she first appeared.)
Has the art changed a bit? I see that the same artists are working on it, but for some reason it seems less polished than before. It still looks great, though.


As some of you may have noticed, the counter on my blog has recently surpassed the 1,000 hits mark. Although, of course, only around one-quarter of the hits that I receive are legitimate, that is to say, from people who value and seek my opinions, 250 is no small number either, especially as I approach my 250th post herein. So I'd like to take this moment to thank you all for visiting and reading, to thank those of you who've added me to your links (let me know, so that I can reciprocate), and to state my intention to be around for quite some time. Good night, all.
- acespot

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Blade #7

Blade #7
I'm still not sure if I like this title. However, that means that I don't hate it. Honestly, I had very low expectations of this series. It seemed to me that it was merely being written in order to capitalize on the Civil War event, yet that issue came and went, and had very little to do with Civil War itself. And when I read the first issue and saw Chaykin's artwork - or what he was passing off as artwork - I must say that I was extremely nonplussed. But giving credit where credit is due, Chaykin's work in this issue is very palatable. It's obviously his work, but it's much, much cleaner than I've seen him draw recently. No Liefeld lines all over the place, no sloppy inking, nothing that would lead someone to comment that he was just "phoning it in". No, this work is actually very solid. And with that in mind, I shall continue reading this series. Not because I'm liking the story or anything, because really, I have formed no emotional connection to it whatsoever, but specifically because Chaykin's work on this issue proves that he is by far the best choice of artist for this book. It's really marvellous. Who would have thought it possible? Not I.
Very OKAY.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Wisdom #3

Wisdom #3
The first ever comic with its own soundtrack! Sure, Nextwave had a theme song, but this book has a soundtrack! So, let's analyze said soundtrack, shall we?

1 - Goldie Lookin' Chain - Guns Don't Kill People, Rappers Do
EXCELLENT choice for this scene. It gives it a Reservior Dogs feel, while at the same time maintaining the humourous aspects of the scene. And listening to Brits rap? Hilarious!

2 - Manic Street Preachers - Life Becoming a Landslide
Well, unless the point is to say that Shang Chi is a bit gay, this song doesn't really work. Perhaps just the heavy parts of it, but any of the vocal parts spoil what I believe was the intention in this song's inclusion. Yeah, for the largest part of it, this song doesn't work. EH. Also, Paul Cornell got the title of the song wrong. It's becoming, not becomes.

3 - Shirley Bassey (and Propellerhead) - History Repeating
I understand why this song was included in the soundtrack, to jive with the history lesson on the Welsh dragon, and also to go along with Maureen's comment in her and Wisdom's hotel room. It works, but just barely. OKAY. Really, the instrumental parts match best with the history lesson, and the vocal parts work best with the hotel room.

4 - Stereophonics - The Bartender and the Thief
This song works well. It's relatively short and gets going right from the start. It provides an excellent accompaniment to a fight scene. Unfortunately, the portion of the fight scene which specifies this particular song only lasts for one page. VERY GOOD. A nice visual synchronicity here is when the bartender fires at Shang Chi and the Master of Kung-Fu pulls a matrix dodge.

5 - Tom Jones - Sex Bomb
If a vocals only version of this song existed, it'd be much more appropriate for this scene. Also, the tempo is much too fast. Imagine Barry White singing this track slowly, and you'll realize what this scene needed. That said, I understand its inclusion. Wisdom goes down on Maureen. It works...barely. OKAY. Again, this scene is only one page long. Start the song at the point where the key transposes - approximately 2:45 - and it works pretty well.

6 - Super Furry Animals - God! Show Me Magic
Another really fast song, that starts right away. Unfortunately, it requires you to read five pages in the space of 1:48. It's an excellent fight scene, but there's too much intercalation with other scenes. Play the song twice and it works much better. And for the scene in Wisdom and Maureen's hotel room, it doesn't work at all. GOOD. And is Shang Chi flying? Graphical cues as to what's happening in that particular panel are missing.

7 - The Velvet Underground - I'll Be Your Mirror
They're joking, right? This song doesn't fit with the tone of this book at all. If somebody had covered it without the soft guitar in the forefront of the track, and replaced it with a heavy bass line, perhaps. But as it is, aside for the suggestion that Shang Chi is supposed to show the dragon who he is - noble - it doesn't work at all. AWFUL. At least it only lasts for one page.

8 - Lost Prophets - Shinobi vs. Dragon Ninja
This could have done very well for the previous page as well. It's an EXCELLENT selection for this scene. It gives you about 2:45 to read four pages - one of which is a full-page splash, so it works very well.

9 - Catatonia - Bulimic Beats
Ugh. The only reason that this song works at all is because of the strong harp line. Not that I can think of any other harp songs off the top of my head, but any would be better than this. It's really the vocals that kill this song. Who ever gave this person a singing job? Even Bjork is better! The instrumental bridge in the middle works well. Get a version of this with no vocals, and you have a great selection. I see a certain synchronicity between the lyrics and the book, but that voice kills any feeling. It's CRAP.

Averaging it all out, we wind up with a rating slightly higher than OKAY. For the soundtrack alone. But given the amazing fact that this book has its own soundtrack, I'm going to have to rate it at EXCELLENT.

[Paul O'Brien pointed out to me that this soundtrack thing has actually been done before - in every issue of Adam Warren's run on Gen-13. I'll take his word for it, but if you've got copies, I'd love to see them. That being the case, this issue's soundtrack gets demoted from EXCELLENT back to merely OKAY. But that's besides the point. The book itself is abso-frickin-lutely incredible. So, EXCELLENT for the book, OKAY for the soundtrack. Does that about cover it?]

I like this book a lot. Each issue is relatively self-contained (which my regular readers know I love), even though they're part of a limited series. I'd like to see Cornell given an ongoing Wisdom title following the successful conclusion of this series, but, unfortunately, unless the numbers really pick up, I really don't think that's going to happen.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Green Lantern Corps #10

Green Lantern Corps #10
Now that we're done with the atrociously AWFUL "Corpse" (Green Lantern Corps #7-#9) storyline, I still can't bring myself to care about this series very much. I don't much care about the characters, nor do I care about what they're doing - for the most part. I will say this, however: I'm extremely intrigued by Sooranik Natu's actions on her homeworld, opening up a free clinic and helping people with the aid of her ring. That's really something. Heck, I'd read an entire issue of that. But perhaps that's just my Biology background showing (by the way, if anyone knows of any Genetics research positions, let me know!). That part was interesting. Ironic, since I had never cared for her to begin with.
I also liked Kilowog getting so angry that he crushed his donut and coffee...mmmmm Donuts, arghhhhh.
Otherwise, EH.

Justice League Unlimited #31

Justice League Unlimited #31
I liked this book, right up until the last page and its preachy ending: "See kids? Don't be like Metamorpho! Always remember to work as a team!" Uh, what? Sure, I get that this book is geared towards kids. Duh. But it's usually much subtler in its messages, though. But not this time! This time the book comes and beats us over the head with its "message". Urgh. I can't give this any lower than EH, because, hey, it's JLU! But without the last page it would have been GOOD. Also, it's late! Seriously, since they have different writers and artists every month, this is one book that should never be late.

New Avengers #28

New Avengers #28
This issue, though, this is some GOOD stuff. Any book that has the Avengers sitting around eating and joking for three pages has gotta be GOOD. I love the characterization of Luke Cage - he's invulnerable - so he's badass. He doesn't care what other people do to him 'cause they can't do anything to him. Still not liking fascist Tony, though. Even though he's only on one page, it really leaves a sour taste in my mouth.
Still, what's great about this issue is the details: Dr. Strange has put an enchantment on his house that leads everyone to believe that it's getting turned into a Starbucks. Leinil Yu's expressions. Spidey's wisecracks. Wolvie's wisecracks. Things like that just make the book. I'm liking it. As long as they make sure that Echo can see their lips when they speak to her, I'll like any issues that are like this. I mean, the dialogue in the last issue was great, but that Echoing inconsistency was just jarring.

New Avengers #27

New Avengers #27
Lots of people liked this issue. I didn't. Thought it was CRAP, and I'll tell you why: no matter how much of a point they make about Echo/Ronin being deaf, she still responds to aural cues. She is able to carry on conversations with people wearing masks, in shadow, or entirely out of sight, or is spoken to by people who know she's deaf, yet still don't face her when speaking. I don't know if that's the artist's fault or the writer's. There's probably a bit of blame to throw at both. So, no. This issue was CRAP. Seriously, if it's so important to you that this character is deaf, and you keep playing it up in exposition, then please portray it accurately. And this isn't even the first time this has happened. The same exact thing happened in the early issues of this title when Ronin's character was introduced. She was able to carry on a conversation with Iron Man. Iron Man. Who doesn't have lips. Yeah, it's sloppy.

Robin #159-#160

Robin #159-#160
In Robin #159, Tim went on a date with his tutor, Zoanne. Batman asked for his help, Tim replied that he didn't really need him, couldn't he go without, and Batman answered in the affirmative. But as Tim and Zoanne continued their date, Batman and the meta he was fighting came crashing into the restaurant they were eating in. So Tim intervened, in his civillian identity, and saved Batman. Pure EXCELLENCE.

Robin #160, though, not so much. Sure it's OKAY, and the art is stunning as always. But there just seems to be something missing here, and I can't quite figure out what it is. It's just a certain je ne sai quas. When a book has it, you just know it. And this issue doesn't. That's alright though, they can't all be the greatest.
But, man, check out that great cover.

Teen Titans #44

Teen Titans #44
What is this New X-Men? Seriously! This is just page after page of Titans being tortured mentally and physically. WTF? AWFUL stuff, just AWFUL. The only thing that saves it from being pure crap is the scene where Joey impales Deathstroke. It's fitting, being that Deathstroke did the same thing to him, when he was evil. If this issue would have just been a big burly brawl, it'd have garnered an okay from me. But I'm not a sadist. This is sadism, pure and simple. Thanks sooo much Mr. Johns. Urgh.

Punisher War Journal #5

Punisher War Journal #5
Wow. Finally a GOOD issue from this title. It's another done-in-one, which y'all should realize by now, I'm a huge fan of, and this one is done right. An Auxilliary police volunteer ends up in a mexican standoff with Bushwacker in the middle of Times Square. And holds his ground. Over what must be hours. When the Punisher shows up in the crowd, this hero takes the momentary distraction and free's Bushwacker's hostage. Bushwacker gets shot by a fed. Frank Castle begins to walk away, and then sees footage of Cap's death on the huge TV screen in Times Square. The End. It's all about the reaction shot at the end. Even subliminally contrasting Cap's death with 9/11 isn't going too far - they both represent the death of ideals. Nicely done.

Superman #660

Superman #660
Now that Busiek's been kicked off of Aquaman, this is his only DC title. But what a ride it is! An EXCELLENT done-in-one featuring, of all people, the Prankster? Wha-huh? Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Prankster! A minor villain with fewer than ten post crisis appearances in DC canon, yet this entire issue is told from his perspective. And he's, in fact, the protagonist! No, don't go running away now, you'll deprive yourself of what may likely be the best book of the week. Busiek uses the Prankster's narrative to deconstruct the classical prank, much as was done in The Prestige for magic. It works perfectly. And even though he's a villain, you do root for the Prankster here, because seriously, it's nice to see villains who aren't all about killing other people. Once upon a time, the Prankster was a knock-off of the Joker for Superman's rogue's gallery, similar to the Trickster for Flash. In this issue, Busiek brings the Prankster into his own - and he does it in only 22 pages. That's art.

Wonder Woman #5

Wonder Woman #5
Although it's nice to get this comic a month from its last issue, I still don't get something: is Heinberg's story (AWFUL, by the way) ever going to finish? Or are we just going to have to say, "eh, forget about it, it wasn't that good anyways", and move on? Because I opened this up thinking that I would finally get a resolution of the storyline begun waaaay back in Wonder Woman #1, and this is something completely different. Sure, I'm a huge fan of Will Pfeifer's - he should get more DCU work - but this? What are we, Jack of Fables here, where we can get away with saying, well, the next part of the story wasn't ready, so we'll skip ahead, and anyways, "they'll fix it in the trade" (brilliant, by the way) ??
I guess so.
Now to actually read the book, so that I can grade it on its own merits.

Okay, aside from the last panel, this book was EXCELLENT. This is everything that the title should have been from the very beginning. Pfeifer is one guy who understands women. Like I said a while back, he should be one of the top candidates for writing Supergirl, if DC really expects girls to read it. Too bad this was only a fill-in issue.
But what in the hell was up with that last panel? Did the perp literally explode? Or is the implication supposed to be that Wonder Woman snuck into the interrogation room and ripped him apart? I'm pretty sure not, but I don't know what to think about that. I'd like to see the script for this issue to perhaps explain things.

[This post has been reprinted over at Sequart.]

Civil War: The Confession

Civil War: The Confession
Why is it that Brian Bendis, from whom all characters speak with the exact same voice, without fail, is the only one to have gotten this Civil War crap right? Okay, maybe not the only one, but close to it. Fine, not really, but I'm allowing the EXCELLENT Mighty Avengers to color my opinion overly. So sue me.
Anyways, the first half of this issue comes off as a public apology to us on Marvel's behalf for the ludicrousness in hackneyed plot hammering and hackery that was Civil War. And it works. But sorry, I can't forgive that easily. By editorial mandate, looking for the next big event, Marvel has corrupted the universe of my youth. When I was a kid, I looved Marvel. I hardly ever read DC, but for the big events. But now? Now, I can barely stomach most of what Marvel puts out, and I looove the DCU. Well, for the most part (see recent reviews of 52).
Why? And how long is this going to last before I can conscionably return in full force?
Taken on its own merits, this issue is GOOD, but in light of Marvel's recent boneheaded moves, it's merely OKAY. Sorry, Marvel, I can't forgive you this easily.

And then they come right back at us with a big "Fuck You" in the second story.
Iron Man: Well... You're a sore loser, Captain America.
Captain America: You bet.

Gee thanks, you assholes. By inclusion of this second piece in the issue, it completely qualifies for a highly justified rating of ASS.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thunderbolts #112

Thunderbolts #112
I have a lot of problems with this series. Primarily, I'm not sure if Warren Ellis is dead serious with his portrayal of these Thunderbolts, or whether he is having a bit of fun at Marvel's expense. It certainly wouldn't be the first time. First, we'll get the boardroom scene at the beginning of this issue where the new Thunderbolts seem to be no different than the New Warriors were when this whole mess started - it being all about the ratings and such. Then Ellis will spoof on "Stan Lee's Who Wants to Be a Superhero?" and I'm back to thinking that he's joking. Then I'll think he's serious as he has a locker room scene with Mac Gargan being introspective. And then Bullseye will be completely psychopathic insane and I think Ellis is kidding again. I really don't know what to make of this series, so I don't feel that I can really give it an honest rating. For now, I'm staying with EH, but if I'm ever able to definitively conclude that Ellis is joking and sticking this whole series in Marvel's face, I'd be able to up that to GOOD. If, on the other hand, he's dead serious, this series is ASS, no two ways about it. So, if you think you know what's going on here, then good for you. Take the rating that suits you best. Otherwise, EH.

52 #45

52 #45
Seriously, DC, you promised us that this would be the best series of the year, and so far you haven't managed to get this book any higher than EH. You promised that this book would have immense ramifications for the rest of the DCU, and so far, there haven't been any. In fact, almost all the plotlines in this series have been entirely self contained. And it's obvious you haven't listened to the fans reaction regarding this series, because if you had, you'd have realized that Ralph Dibny is one of the most popular characters since the introduction of Batman! And then you go offing him for no apparent reason? WTF? Not only that, but killing Vic Sage? You should know by now that he's the reason people even cared about Montoya's storyline anyways. (And what's up with that? Black Adam asks Renee, "where's Vic", but throughout the entire series he's gone by 'Charlie'! And Black Adam can slap Montoya and she just gets up and shrugs it off? Every bone in her face should be broken!) The only thing that's kept me reading this travesty of a series is the momentum, and at this point, you've really begun to lose it - especially sad, considering the fact that this is the point when it should be picking up steam. It almost seems as if you've given up on 52, and are instead focusing all your efforts on Countdown, if the last few weeks' DC Nation page are any indication. Are you trying to drive up the aftermarket value on these pins? I don't get it. And at this point, I don't much care. EH.

Tales From the Bully Pulpit (2004)

Tales From the Bully Pulpit (2004)
Continuing the trend of reading books that are two years old (or older), I've been catching up on Kirkman's massively entertaining Invincible. I appreciate the fact that he's been so magnanimous as to give some struggling artists free space at the end of his books, in this case Benito Cereno. In one of his strips therein, he touted his book "Tales From the Bully Pulpit". Well, I couldn't find it anywhere, surprise, surprise, so I just downloaded it. I'll pick it up if I ever find it while pawing through back issue bins.
Anyways, I've just read it, and it has gone very far towards ridding my palate of the awfulness of last night and the tripe that was True Brit.
This book is actually FUNNY! Teddy Roosevelt steals H.G. Wells' time machine. He uses it to come forward in time, all the way to the year 2000, when he joins forces with the ghost of Thomas Edison. They travel in time to Argentina 2008 where they foil a plot by the descendants of the great fascist dictators of the mid 20th century to take over Mars by subjugating one of the two races that live there. It's ridiculous. It's hilarious! Read it if you can find it. And if you can find it, let me know, will you? VERY GOOD.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Superman: True Brit (2004)

Superman: True Brit (2004)
I just read this. I'd been putting it off for a while. I wish I had put it off for a while longer. This book is almost bad enough to completely turn me off from comics and Monty Python forever. The writers go to great lengths to craft what they feel is a funny story. It isn't really that funny. What it is, however, is the single most depressing thing that I have ever read in any medium. As I read it, I kept thinking to myself, "there's got to be some sort of redemption coming". There wasn't. The story is about the British tabloid press endeavoring to destroy their Superman. And guess what? They succeed!
It's a good thing that I'm not the Superman in this story, because I'd be sorely tempted to go on a murderous rampage. First, I'd put my fist through that smarmy grin on the face of Colin Clark's sleazy editor. Then, I'd pull the Bat-Man's bat out of his midsection and beat him to a bloody pulp with it. Next, I'd murder my own parents - who never cared for me, anyways. I'd follow that up by turning the duplicitous cousin of Lois Lane inside-out. Finally, I'd take my heat vision to all of the reporters in the entire British nation.
This book not only makes me hate reporters, it makes me hate John Cleese, Britain, John Byrne, and the entire comics industry. I am so fucking pissed off right now, I don't know how else to express it other than fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!!!!! Complete CRAP. No, it's worse than CRAP. Heck, it's even sub-ASS. This book should never have been written, let alone published. Why the fuck didn't anybody warn me? Who the fuck thought this was a good idea? Godfuckingdamnit.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fantastic Four: The End #6

Fantastic Four: The End #6
VERY GOOD. It's nice to see this series come together so nicely at the end. Even with the overly silly Deus Ex Machina in the form of Galactus towards the end. Heh. And Valeria shows exactly why this title was named "The End". And gives us a hint of things to come in the parent title. I shouldn't be up this late. I'm too tired to write any more and yet remain coherent.

The All-New Atom #9

The All-New Atom #9
Not much to say here, except that Gail Simone turns out another solidly GOOD, fun issue of this title. Plus, she presents us with her own personal touch on a zombie tale. I haven't seen it from her before, so I'm interested in seeing what she's going to do with it. The dialogue, even the internal monologuing - of which there is copious amounts - is witty and entertaining, and I loooove that giant floating alien head!

Transformers: Movie Prequel #1

Transformers: Movie Prequel #1
This comic sure sucked ASS. Pages and pages of exposition with very little story. And what story there is, is nearly incomprehensible. I hate to knock Chris Ryall, he's one of my favorite people. But what is this CRAP supposed to be? My only conclusion is that he was given very poor material to work with, and that he was doing the best he could with it. Which should give an indication as to how godAWFUL the original material must have been. I'm sure he won't be able to say anything about it until after the movie's release, but jeez. I'm assuming that he got put on this project because he's the head of IDW, and, being a fan of the old '80s cartoons, accepted the contract to produce this piece on faith, and only later realized what tripe it truly was. Thus, he had to grin and bear it and make the best of a bad situation.
This book lowers my expectations for the movie quite a bit. And the art, oh my god, the art. Or should I say, the lack thereof? AWFUL. Truly mind-numbingly AWFUL. These sentient robots are rendered with few, if any, distinguishing characteristics, to the point that I can't tell any of them apart. Is that really what the artist was shooting for?
I'll read the rest of this series - or at least try to - but if this doesn't improve, then you can bet I'm absolutely not going to see the film. And in that case, wouldn't this book entirely defeat its own raison d'etre?
Ryall's gonna be pissed at me, and Chris, I apologize , but I really, really, didn't like this book a bit. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that this story was mostly Simon Furman's work - to the extent that he even snuck his name into the book (SimFur).

Welcome to Tranquility #4

Welcome to Tranquility #4
No complaints here, this little book is EXCELLENT. Gail Simone has given each of these characters their own unique voices, and it's a pleasure to read this book every month. A neat little mystery is being developed here, one for which all the clues will eventually show to have been present at the end, which is always important. As Emo pointed out in issue #2, it's important that the solution to a mystery not be a cheat. It's dishonest to the reader. I'm glad to have seen Gail recognize that fact - especially when so many of her fellow writers often ignore said observation. I'm looking forward to the end of this arc, when it will all, undoubtedly, come together.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

What is/Who are "(The) 52"?

What is/Who are "(The) 52"?
I just figured it out...

The Earth of the mainstream DC reality, and, by extension, all those living on it, is/are "The 52". Take this quote from Father Time in this week's Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters:
"...I know who and what created you, Gonzo. Mathmagicians of the Anti-Life Equation...Chaos Architects, or should I call them Shadow Demons? You're a probe, dispatched to gather data and assess the threat level. Fifty-Two frightens them, doesn't it? Their backs are against the wall...and you're here to tenderize the world before--"
Following this, Father Time is revealed to have been a chronal agent.

What do you people think about this theory?

52 #44

52 #44
What the hell was that? I'm not talking about the comic itself, though there's certainly much to talk about. No. I'm talking about the DC Nation page! WTF??? Oh, Mighty Didio, please bring back letters pages. I'm tired of reading this kind of shit in every single comic, every single week. It never changes, it's always the same. Some editor (not you, of course) thinks they're witty and therefore inserts their narcissism into every single one of this week's comics. If it were only in back of 52, that would be one thing. Heck, that'd be the natural place to find such drivel. But how many people do you think read this page every single time they reach it? Now, Marvel comics...sometimes I open up straight to the letters page to see who's there. Will it be my friend Adrian Watts? Will it be me? Sometimes, I do this even for comics that I don't read!
With DC, I have no such pleasure. Here's an open plea, to you, the Gods Of DC, please restore the letters page!

And now, the issue itself. A huge fight wherein the four horsemen of Apokolips kill Isis. And talk - a LOT. Most of their talk is in reference to who they are and what their purpose is. More narcissism! And then, at the end, Isis's rose dies in Nanda Parbat and Renee leaves for Khandaq. And we don't even see her faceless!

Metatextually, perhaps this is meant to juxtapose the narcissism of the Four Horsemen with the complete lack of ego which is (apparently) required of The Question. Since Grant Morrison is involved here, I'd say that's probably the case. But in truth, it just comes across as annoying.

And Mark Waid doesn't even show up to give us a breather at the end!

JSA Classified #23

JSA Classified #23
This is a vampire story. Maybe I'm showing my ignorance here, but I can't recall vampires ever having been a large part of the mythology of the DCU. Sure, they're everywhere in the Marvel Universe: Blade, Bloodstone, Morbius, Wolverine: Lord of the Vampires, even Dracula. The only
vampires I can recall in the DCU are heroes from alternate dimensions or other planets - not really vampires in the traditional sense. Yet, in this issue, JT Krul - whom I've never heard of - does a vampire story. And he picks Doctor Mid-Nite as the protagonist! I don't know, but that just really doesn't strike me as a good fit. And it's not even a good story! And the art by Sanchez and Purcell is some of the ugliest work I've ever seen. The linework is sloppy, proportions are all off, and faces are really bad. This issue is AWFUL. I think I'll come back to this title in two issues to see what's next. But I'm not expecting much, because the last few issues have likewise been no good.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Batman Confidential #3

Batman Confidential #3
Dare I say it? This book isn't half bad. Diggle pits Bruce Wayne against Lex Luthor, the matchup we've wanted to see played out for a long time. Sure, we've seen corporate manouevering before, namely during No Man's Land, but when did you ever see Batman break into Lexcorp Tower and access its most secret levels and most confidential information? Sure, the first two issues seemed to meander pointlessly, but as they say, third time's the charm. This book is GOOD. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Superman #659

Superman #659

It's not the first time I've said this, but I'm going to say it again: when a book is as late as this one, it's pure hubris to nevertheless bill it as a February issue, letalone to print the DC Nation column from two months ago on the last page. It's long past time that the major comic companies took responsibility for their actions and admitted when they've failed to fulfil their promises. So, for God's sake, banner this issue April or May, and give it the appropriate DCN column, huh Mr. Didio?

Now that I've gotten that off my chest, let's talk about the issue. It's a GOOD one, as one would expect from any book where Kurt Busiek and Fabian Nicieza share writing credits. However, Fabian usually has a very distinctive voice, and I really can't pick it out here. No matter, though.

One thing that ruined the experience of reading this book for me? The Amtrak Pinkston Overpass in Chicago. Amtrak doesn't have any overpasses in Chicago that look like "El" tracks, nor is there a Pinkston street anywhere in Chicago, as far as I'm aware. The train pictured is not an Amtrak train. It's a CTA train. Amtrak trains leave Union Station downtown, and mostly run on the ground, or under it, to points outside Chicago - as far as L.A. This is the kind of detail that authors throw into their work to make it more realistic, but when they don't bother doing their research, it accomplishes the exact opposite effect.

New Releases for 3/7/7

Geez, I can't believe it's been nearly a month since my last post. I guess Adrian Watts was right...but, c'mon, February's such a short month...

Anyways, speaking on tomorrow's releases:

I'm looking forward to Atom #9.

I had been under the impression that the Dark Tower series was comprised of new material, so you can imagine my disappointment when I found out that it's a collation of Roland's backstory pulled from the various books of the series.

Fantastic Four: The End has been entertaining so far, albeit a tad nonsensical. I'm interested in seeing how it wraps up.

Wasn't Helmet of Fate supposed to be coming out weekly? Why the delays?
I've been half surprised and half disappointed with this series. Detective Chimp was EXCELLENT. Ibis was likewise VERY GOOD. But I had such high hopes for Black Alice, and it really wasn't any good. It was actually CRAP. It and Sargon - which sucked ASS - didn't even have anything really to do with furthering the fate story. I'm very disappointed in Simone and Niles.

Incredible Hulk has been a lot of fun lately. And it was nice to see Bruce Banner get some in #103.

Justice League of America continues to meander towards the "end" of an arc...which I really can't see as being any sort of conclusion whatsoever. Even Bendis isn't THIS decompressed.

Of course, Justice League Unlimited!

And Manhunter! My LCBS guy told me this is ending with issue 30. Boo hoo. Blue Beetle just came back, Shaw is on course to be the next Azrael (wonder if he'll want Kate's gauntlets?), and Kate still hasn't gotten together with her cousin Jack Knight. There's so much more that this book could do. I really don't want to see it end. I love this book. It's EXCELLENT.

Marv Wolfman's Nightwing has been extremely disappointing so far. He teased us with the spectre of the Monitors, and then took the book way out into left field. And now he's got this new villainous couple? I couldn't be less interested. Heck, I'm more interested in Outsiders, and that book sucks.

Mighty Avengers will probably be just as bad as most of Civil War. So unless one of you deems it worthwhile, I'm not even going to bother.

Yay! More Planetary Brigade! How lucky are we to get an issue of this AND Hero Squared IN THE SAME month! Now I just have to get my comic shop to carry it.

Superman/Batman - Fuck you, Verheiden, for taking a promising title and turning it to CRAP.

I'm interested in reading the Transformers Prequel merely to get a sense of whether or not the movie will suck.

I'm wondering where Bendis is going to take Ultimate Spider-Man now. But Ultimate Vision is soooo freaking lame. And the concept is just unbearably stupid. Truly AWFUL.

I'll read Uncle Sam because I'm hoping for some Ray Terrill. Who else wants him back in the JLA???

And, of course, Welcome to Tranquility. It's a GOOD fun book to read.