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CSBG Archive

Comic Book Cheers and Jeers for 1/9

Here are a bunch of cheers and jeers from me, mostly having to do with last week’s comic releases, although there are some mixed in that are older than that, and there’s one about today’s new release – The Hulk #1!!!

There will most likely be some spoilers…otherwise, enjoy!

CHEERS to Jeph Loeb, for writing one of the strongest issues he’s written in awhile for Hulk #1. CHEERS, too, to Ed McGuinness for a strong first issue, art-wise. The best part of the first issue was definitely McGuinness’ art. It is fun to watch him draw Doc Samson, Iron Man, She-Hulk and some Soviet heroes.

JEERS to the killing of Abomination in the first issue. Is that, like, now a THING for Loeb? The first issue, you kill off a major character? What is the point, exactly, in killing off the Abomination? He obviously is not going to stay dead, so what is the point? I don’t even mind the idea of having the Hulk kill an established character. I understand why that might be useful for this story – to show that this Hulk is a lot different than past Hulks. But come on, just have it be some negligible character, not one people are actually going to want to USE in the future!

CHEERS, though, to the last page. McGuinnes utterly NAILED the last page.

JEERS to Countdown: Arena. I was hoping there would be some surprises – there were none.

CHEERS, though, to Keith Champagne for his Atom fill-in, with nifty Jerry Ordway art. I will not blame Champagne for Arena, because it was just an awful project to begin with, and as the latest issue of Atom shows, Champagne CAN write well.

JEERS to the whole destruction of basically ANOTHER of the 52 worlds in the latest Countdown, including the classy “having Jean Loring burned to a crisp in front of the Atom” bit.

CHEERS to the entire creative team of Jonah Hex #27 – that was a great issue, introducing Star Man – a man who hunts down, kills, and collects the badges of dirty cops.

JEERS to the dearth of content in Giant-Size Avengers Special #1. At least the reprints were pretty good.

CHEERS again to the idea of Supergirl having her memories of Krypton. It is a really nice twist for the character, to give her something that makes her a lot different from Superman.

JEERS to Ghost Rider being an angel. What the heck?

CHEERS to Paul Dini for writing a very neat little issue of Detective Comics, which also features the new art team of Nguyen and Fridolfs, and they look GREAT.

JEERS to the return of Ra’s Al Ghul finish up as a storyline, and then, right away, for Ra’s to be locked away in Arkham! It seemed like a bit of a false start, no?

CHEERS to Christos Gage for doing such a marvelous job approximating the “voices” of the various titles he did an “Armageddon” one-shot for (where different cast members from Wildstorm comics are shown a glimpse of an apocalyptic future), especially the Welcome to Tranquility one-shot. Gail Simone has a very unique voice on that comic, so Gage’s ability to approximate it was quite impressive.

JEERS to how weirdly whiny Gage makes a lot of the Stormwatch characters seem in the current Authority/Stormwatch crossover mini-series. It read sorta meta, as we all know Warren Ellis did not exactly give the Stormwatch crew a nice send-off when he grew disinterested in them and interested in doing Authority, but to see the characters whine about how The Authority treated them – it was pretty strange, especially the crazy position that even though the Authority was responsible for SAVING ALL OF THEIR LIVES, that doesn’t count, because it was specifically one member of Authority who did that. Two different characters give almost the same argument, word for word. Authority member says, “Why are you so pissed at us? We saved your lives!” Stormwatch member says, “That wasn’t you, that was The Doctor (who is a member of…The Authority)!”

It’s like someone bitching at Superman because when the Justice League showed up to save the day, it was Green Lantern who specifically saved the person.

Just an odd deal all around.

CHEERS to Joss Whedon for coming up with some pretty amusing sexual fantasies for Buffy and Willow in the latest issue of Buffy. I especially liked the two different versions of Christian Bale showing up.

JEERS to Loki being a woman. Change for the sake of change?

CHEERS to the new Batman villain – The Globe. A big round guy who steals ancient maps, etc.

JEERS to the latest issue of GI Joe charging $5.50, and for what? For a bunch of extra PROFILE pages in the back! That’s right, an extra two bucks so you can read the backgrounds of a bunch of new Cobra characters. LAME!

CHEERS to a strong first issue of Teen Titans Year One, especially the fanTAStic Karl Kerschl artwork.

JEERS to the whole “Batman is acting out of character!” argument. When a dude is clearly being mind-controlled, I really don’t think there’s much of an argument for any of their actions being “out of character,” even if they do something as unsettling as having Batman smack Robin. If it is clear that something is wrong with Batman (and it is), then I think such a scene is acceptable, even if it possibly gets CLOSE to the “in bad taste” line.

CHEERS to Repo, which was another excellent series by Rick Spears.

JEERS to the idea of the Avengers West Coast voting Machine Man as a reserve member. Did they ever explain where that vote came from, and what the logic was?

CHEERS to J. Torres’ 50th issue celebration in Teen Titans Go, which sets up (in a cute way) the concept of Teen Titans Unlimited.

JEERS to some confusion in the latest JLA Classified as to when the comic was meant to be set. Was it BEFORE Lois knew who Superman was? It seems that way, but Linda Park is dating Wally in the comic, so that confused me.

CHEERS to Doll Man, in Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, having a good explanation for seeming to be a bad guy.

JEERS to the idea of reprinting the wedding of Peter and Mary Jane in the issue that the wedding is erased from history.

CHEERS to Vinyl Underground, for a strong conclusion of the first story arc.

JEERS to anniversary issues that involve heroes getting armor (Catwoman #50, Batman #500 and Web of Spider-Man #100 all come to mind).

CHEERS to Jack of Fables for using Hawkeye as a reluctant bad guy.

JEERS to the fact that Neron and Felix Faust are both back in the game so soon after Ralph Dibney gave up his life in 52 to trap them both “for good.”

CHEERS to the idea of doing a Spanish edition of a comic book (Marvel’s FF: Isla De La Muerte). What a great idea!

JEERS to this upcoming “Blue Beetle is back!” storyline in Booster Gold. It is bad enough that they killed the guy off, but to then be all, “He HAS to die, or else it will ruin history!” is annoying.

That’s it for this installment!

30 Comments

Wait, Loki’s a chick now? The Marvel Loki?

“Soviet” heroes? So, is “Hulk” set sometime between 1917 and 1991?

tom fitzpatrick

January 9, 2008 at 6:22 am

The Marvel Loki change might have been more interesting if s/he was a hermaphrodite. or just a cross-dressing transgendered god/dess.

I’m all in favor of more transgendered characters in comics, but what bugs me is that, of all the potential choices, why do this with the one Asgardian who can and does change form (and, from time to time, gender) as a matter of course? Maybe more often in mythology than in Marvel Comics, but still, it’s kind of a waste….

About Machine Man getting a vote by a still unnamed West Coast Avenger when the then active members were voting their roster, you have to consider that Machine Man was a guest star in the book a couple of issues ago, that nobody wanted to keep USAgent as an Avenger, that Quicksilver has said he did not want to stay on the team and that Iron Man pretended not to be Tony Stark (even though some members saw through the masquerade).

I missed the whole “Batman out of character” argument, but I’m sure it’s because he’s a Skrull.

… what?

Jeers to a story that hasn’t even happened yet? That seems a little ridiculous. Booster Gold has been one of the most pleasantly surprising series of the past year, so I’m looking forward to the upcoming Blue Beetle storyline.

Dan (other Dan)

January 9, 2008 at 11:19 am

Any cheers or jeers regarding the recent Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom comic? I didn’t pick it up because I was already buying enough, and I had the reprint it featured. Peter David wrote it, however, so I’m tempted to go back.

“JEERS to the killing of Abomination in the first issue.”

Are we even supposed to be able to pretend to believe this is permanent when we know he’s the villain in the movie coming out in six months?

The Norse Loki could take female form. He did so once to become a giantess and refuse to mourn Balder’s death. Another time he changed into a female horse so he could “distract” a giant’s horse. A short time later s/he gave birth to an eight-legged colt.

Still the Marvel Loki has always been male and this is a strange change.

Well it was a different Doctor who saved Stormwatch, and given how crapily they were killed off, I’m glad for the bitterness. Cheers to Stormwatch not having to job to the Authority in it.

There’s at least one instance of Marvel Loki taking female form before, from the ridiculously comprehensive source for this sort of thing:

http://www.tgfa.org/comics/other/other9.htm

The ongoing destruction of Earth-51 in Countdown is really disappointing. I can’t see anyone really missing the very dull Earth-15, but Earth-51′s “happy ending” nature really had a lot of potential and it’s a pity to see it get blown up just for a fight between a bunch of characters nobody cares about and one hopelessly ruined superhero.

As for the JLA Classified thing, you don’t read that book looking for good continuity. You’re lucky if you get a JLA line-up that actually existed at any point in the book’s history, much less minor details like Lois and Linda knowing their future husbands’ secret identities.

JEERS to the whole “Batman is acting out of character!” argument. When a dude is clearly being mind-controlled, I really don’t think there’s much of an argument for any of their actions being “out of character,” even if they do something as unsettling as having Batman smack Robin.

Wow, you are not going to let this go, are you? And worst of all, we get a “JEER” for having a difference of opinion!?!?!?

That hurts!

That really, really hurts!!!

Anyways, is not that Batman was acting out of character; the argument was/is that the scene was in poor taste for what I feel is a kids book. And make no mistake about it, dedicating 2 to 3 pages to Beast Boy playing Little Nemo and making bad puns qualifies the book in my mind “as kid friendly”.

As for Batman, the argument can be made the Batcave scene, and the delivery boy scene, and Jewel Thief beat down drove the point that he was acting out of character. Beating the tears out of Robin was just overkill. But you know, I guess it’s a matter of opinion. I for one, like my comics with more subtlety and less rape.

Oopps, I meant child abuse. I must’ve had an Identity Crisis flashback.

My bad!

Jeers to saying Gail Simone has a very unique voice, you can’t quantify unique.

Other than that, love the coloumn, keep up the good work.

Jeers to jeering Lady Loki. She’s hot.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

January 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm

JEERS to the fact that Neron and Felix Faust are both back in the game so soon after Ralph Dibney gave up his life in 52 to trap them both “for good.”

Odd thing to do after a very successful series that was meant to be very important for their universe.
Why not just create a new character?
If you need them to be as powerful, and want to explain why they’d never been heard of before, you just write a line about how there was a power vacuum or some such.

But why are so many villains and characters being recycled by the ‘big’ two?
Is it editorial just wanting to reuse characters so hopefully they can be licensed or some such, or are creators just over creating new heroes/villains if they don’t own them?

I will not blame Champagne for Arena, because it was just an awful project to begin with,

Nah, he shouldn’t get a free pass even if it was an uphill battle from the get go.
He took the project, he took the money, and his name’s on the book – it’s not like it was all changed behind his back, so I don’t see why he should get a pass.

Well, Funky, I think it’s on Champagne in the sense that he wrote a crappy comic. That’s gonna be on his list of comics written – “Champagne wrote the bad WWIII and the bad Arena.”

But I just don’t think that’s a sign of how good of a writer he is.

When he started at Marvel, Brian K. Vaughan had a similar record of writing bad assignments that came out bad. And now he’s awesome!

I’m sorry, red-Rickey. It was not my intent to offend. I guess I did not see it as poor form, as I thought that knocking an opinion was basically the same as knocking a comic book.

Just what is Loeb’s deal? Cheap thrills by offing a major character in every one of his books? Give it a rest, man.

Nah, he shouldn’t get a free pass even if it was an uphill battle from the get go.
He took the project, he took the money, and his name’s on the book – it’s not like it was all changed behind his back, so I don’t see why he should get a pass.

Free pass in what sense, though? Does that even mean anything? How is anyone lobbying for this undefined “free pass”? Sure, you can’t say “this comic is fine because it’s not the writer’s fault”, but on the other hand, saying “I’m never giving anything he writes another chance because he was involved in this sh***y thing once” is clearly not, well, non-dickish, shall we say.

“Free pass” in the sense that he’s somehow not responsible for the book he wrote. I agree with Funky that he should take whatever licks the book merits, since he’s taking the benefits.

Is it really so terrible to say that Keith Champagne is writing a bad comic book?

FunkyGreenJerusalem

January 9, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Dan got it, Jack.

If Champagne takes the money for Arena and WWIII, then his name will be associated with the books in the minds of people who brought and didn’t like them, and rightly so – he did write it.
I feel sorry for him as, to my knowledge, he is a new writer trying to get in, and DC has a lot of editorially driven stories going on, and so it gets him paying work and an ‘in’ at the office, which I would believe he hopes will lead to a better gig – but if his name gets associated with putting out dreck in the meantime, well that’s just how it goes, because he did.
I mean if a writer had an editorially driven story and they made it work (52 perhaps could work as an example), do we give them a pass and say ‘yeah you wrote it, but it was editorially driven so they get all the cred’.

I should point out that I haven’t read Arena, WWIII or 52 – you couldn’t pay me to go near the first two and only a vague interest in the latter (basically because everyone’s like ‘they pulled it off’ or ‘it’s better than you expected’. I was expecting a fan-wank train wreck, so being better than that isn’t saying much.)

When he started at Marvel, Brian K. Vaughan had a similar record of writing bad assignments that came out bad. And now he’s awesome!

What were they?
I always had my eye on him as I was a big fan of his Swamp Thing run (I still talk to the other three occasionally).
Actually, I think I may prefer it to some of his later stuff – Y: The Last Man started slowing right down early on, but by the time they’d gotten to Australia it was at a standstill and the plots were getting too outrageous, and nothing actually seems to happen in Ex Machina – it’s just a collection of political musings and factoids not taken to any form of conclusion, just talked about for five issues to get to a good last line (including the one where the way his powers worked were changed for it).

So this seems like as good a place as any to mention this, but did anyone see this weeks’ Comic Shop News? There’s a talk with Dan Didio that’s basically a 2007 recap, and to his credit he admits DC made some mistakes, and even says that if people think they’re too focused on death lately then they (DC) hasn’t been doing their job properly.

But what I found really funny is that in talking about Final Crisis, he says it won’t be a “mega-event” with a bunch of spinoffs and crossovers and plots spreading throughout the DCU, and then mentions that in the middle of the 7 issue series there will be a one month break with a series of related specials, and there will be two supporting mini-series. One at 5 issues and one at 6. So the 7 issue mini-series with no spinoffs will entail a minimum of 20 issues total. I love that in the warped world of comics today, somehow that is considered self-contained.

What were they?
I always had my eye on him as I was a big fan of his Swamp Thing run (I still talk to the other three occasionally).

Personally I’d stick his Swamp Thing run at the top of that list – but obviously you wouldn’t.

Red Hulk irks me more than Lady Loki, but maybe I’m a racist.

I never said we shouldn’t say he wrote a bad comic, I was more just asking how long it should be held against him. All this “free pass” business seemed to imply that he was denying *all* responsibility, rather than just spreading it around to all involved.
I once considered Tom deFalco the worst writer I had ever encountered in comics, and if you told me that I would ever come across something of his that I considered anything other than four-color buttwipe, I would have called you a dirty liar. Now, he’s no Moore or Morrison (or even an Englehart or Gerber), but Spider-Girl’s a charming enough little book, and I’ve found myself reading it pretty regularly, somewhat to my surprise.
Now, Arena’s bad, yes, but not nearly as abysmal as deFalco’s earliest Marvel work, and I’d be willing to give the guy another chance, rather than calling for his head for his part in what is, after all, just another bad comic book.
Also, Arena would have worked better, or at least its flaws would have been less evident, with an artist able to draw the different universe’s characters in more distinctive ways, preferably different styles entirely, which brings us back to decisions taken at the editorial level.

I never said we shouldn’t say he wrote a bad comic

I know. I didn’t think we were having an argument. You asked, I answered.

Dan (other Dan) said …

“Any cheers or jeers regarding the recent Hulk vs. Fin Fang Foom comic? I didn’t pick it up because I was already buying enough, and I had the reprint it featured. Peter David wrote it, however, so I’m tempted to go back. ”

I thought it was funny as all heck.

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