web stats

CSBG Archive

Comic Book Cheers and Jeers for 12/15

Damn, that was quite a long time between installments of this bit! The last one I did was in January! ANYhow, here are some cheers and jeers, mostly for comics that came out last week.

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

Two books I already complimented, but just for completion’s sake…

CHEERS to Final Crisis #5 for being a fun action-packed comic with a ton of awesome little moments, as well as strong developments towards the “Fifth World” and CHEERS to Phonogram: Singles Club #1 for being a delightful read, including a great amount of value for the buck, with a strong lead story (that is fresh to new readers) and two nice back-ups, including a brilliant short story about the plight of women in emo music.

CHEERS to Reactron being “The man with the Gold Kryptonite heart.” Very clever.

JEERS to this whole “Joker killing people while in police custody” routine in Batman Confidential. I think I’d be happier with it if the deaths were actually clever, but come on, talking a lady into killing herself (off panel, of course) in a minute or so? That’s not cool. And getting a lawyer to slip on a banana peel in such a way that she falls and cracks her head, killing her? The Joker’s not Bruce Banner, calculating the odds in his Hulk fights – he’s just some crazy maniac!

JEERS to the idea of Bruce Banner calculating the odds in his fights as the Hulk so as to not kill anyone.

CHEERS to Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes #2. This quick mini-series was an intriguing look at the villains of Warren Ellis’ run, particularly this issue, which is set in an alternate universe where things went differently at the beginning of the X-Men’s encounter with the other-dimensional mutants in recent issues of Astonishing X-Men. By showing the readers what would have happened if things had not gone exactly how they did, Ellis allows us deep insight into the motivations and machinations of the villains. It is a very clever way for Ellis to deliver a whole pile of info to the readers. Also, great artwork by Kaare Andrews on the second story!

JEERS, though, to the not very good artwork of Clayton Crain on the first story.

JEERS to Ed Benes’ artwork in the introduction of the Milestone heroes. Especially his take on Iota and Donner (“Can’t…draw….women…who do not…look like…swimsuit models”).

CHEERS to the Milestone heroes returning period, and having Dwayne McDuffie being the one handling it – very cool.

JEERS, though, to the idea of the Milestone heroes just “always being in the DC Universe – just no one talks about them.” What is the point of having a multiverse if you do not use the perfect opportunity for it like here – the Milestone heroes belong in their own universe. It is fine if they cross over, Earth 1/Earth 2 style – totally cool, but the idea that Dakota is part of the DC Universe? That really doesn’t work.

Even MORE JEERS for the issue, for the return of the “Doctor Light is a bitch!” characterization. I get the idea of bringing back earlier characterizations if the earlier characterization was, like, important or integral to the character, but Dr. Light was shown as a bitch for about, what, three issues? Three issues almost TWENTY-FIVE YEARS ago! But somehow, all her character development since then is to be thrown out the window to make her main characteristic being that she is a bitch? Lame!

The final JEER for the issue – the wholly inappropriate sex dream Hawkgirl had with Hawkman. Don’t get me wrong, I think the scene could be done well if it was not handled by Ed Benes, but, well, when you’re writing a book where Ed Benes is the artist – don’t work in sex scenes! They are not going to be handled well – they’re going to look cheap and jarring.

CHEERS to the first issue of Garth Ennis’ Punisher mini-series for being an amusing sequel to Ennis’ “Welcome Back Frank” story.

JEERS, though, that Marvel chose to return to “Welcome Back, Frank” and not the much superior Punisher MAX series. If you’re gonna get Ennis to come back to do a mini-series featuring the Punisher, I’d much rather it be with the Punisher MAX style than the Marvel Knights one.

CHEERS to artwork by Guillem March in the first part of Denny O’Neil’s Batman story in Detective Comics. Strong work by an artist that I am unfamiliar with.

JEERS to the artistic inconsistencies in Final Crisis #5. I get that they’re rushed, but there were a lot of silly little mistakes in the book that I’d really prefer to see fixed.

CHEERS to Marco Rudy, who filled in at the last moment in Final Crisis #5. If Pacheco was rushed enough that he was making little mistakes all over the place, can you imagine how rushed RUDY must have been? I wouldn’t be surprised if it was “get these done over the weekend please,” and yet Rudy produced some extremely strong pages, including the scene of Darkseid’s ascension.

CHEERS to Terry Moore’s artwork and character development in his new series, Echo. Both are top rate. I am also pleased that he seems to have a much firmer grasp at the direction of this series as opposed to Stranger in Paradise (then again, that’s kind of hard not to do, right? As SiP was about as direction-less as comics get – until the end, of course, when Moore came up with his ending, and the last 25 or so issues were quite tightly written).

JEERS to the notion that comics are still dealing with the effects of the Black Panther’s mis-use of the Ebony Blade. As I’ve said in the past, I subscribe to Michael Bolton’s position in matters like these…

CHEERS to the fun (if a bit “by the book”) storyline in Superman/Batman, where Superman and Batman switch powers. Great artwork by Rags Morales.

JEERS to Namor’s characterization (visual and otherwise) for most of Secret Invasion: Dark Reign (although he ended up fairly well).

CHEERS, though, to the general concept behind Dark Reign. It’s basically like when Lex Luthor became President of the United States, except it appears to be actually coordinated with the rest of the Marvel Universe, so it will have ramifications – Luthor as President really didn’t have much in the way of ramifications.

In fact, let’s just give out JEERS to the wasting of the idea that Luthor was President.

A double JEER for his choice of Pete Ross as his running mate (“Remember that guy who was appointed as Senator as part of a government conspiracy and resigned after he almost assassinated a U.S. General? We want THAT guy as our veep!”)

MAJOR CHEERS to Skottie Young’s artwork on the Marvel adaptation of the Wizard of Oz, but CHEERS to Eric Shanower, as well, for a strong story.

JEERS that Terry Moore’s delightful run on Mary Jane was just a mini-series.

CHEERS to Judd Winick’s clever “the fight is going on inside Dick’s mind” plot in Titans.

JEERS, though, to the idea Winick introduced in the same issue (in an otherwise clever plot point where the Titans have certain “security questions” that no one else knows to test their identities in case of impostors infiltrating the group) that Wally kissed another woman while with Linda.

CHEERS to the “1.076 seconds” plot device Andrew Kreisberg used to introduce his run on Green Arrow/Black Canary. Very clever, and certainly did make him stand out.

JEERS, of a sort, to the unclear ending (so they just left him in the alley? the guy, what, burst through the man’s window? huh?) as well as the unclear explanation for how Dinah got into her predicament.

CHEERS that the lady in Nightwing is alive. It’s quite hokey, but hey, I’m happy!

Okay, that’s it for this go around, folks! I may have a new one next – I may not. We shall see what we shall see!

50 Comments

Yay! The return of my favorite feature on this site! Don’t wait almost a year between installments next time!

You probably should have jeered the $3.99 cover price of Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes, however…

“CHEERS to the fun (if a bit “by the book”) storyline in Superman/Batman, where Superman and Batman switch powers. Great artwork by Rags Morales.”

CHEERS to the fact that all the Batman-with-Superpowers scenes in that seem to have been at least partially inspired by Knight Time, the great Superman-dresses-up-as-Batman episode from Superman:TAS.

JEERS to the fact that, in order to make that properly a note-for-note translation, they apparently rolled Bane back to his mid-90s characterisation, drugs and all.

(Assuming that actually WAS Bane, since he bled green. Maybe he’s a Skrull?)

I’d prefer Pete Ross to Cheney.

“In fact, let’s just give out JEERS to the wasting of the idea that Luthor was President.”

About the only really great use of Luthor as President was in that JLA / JSA prestige format story – but aside from that, it really did seem like nothing more than a plot device to build up Our Worlds at War.

I think the timing was just really, REALLY bad to have him in there, given what was happening in the real world.

Honestly, they can do whatever they want with Bane so long as he continues to wear a suit. Bane + luchador mask + suit = comedy every single time.

Marco Rudy did a great job stepping up, as well. He basically got handed the highest-profile oh-shit assignment in comics right now and didn’t screw it up on short notice alongside two all-time greats with what was probably the most abstract part (Rubik’s cube!) of a very complicated script. That dude is going. places.

CHEERS, though, to the general concept behind Dark Reign. It’s basically like when Lex Luthor became President of the United States, except it appears to be actually coordinated with the rest of the Marvel Universe, so it will have ramifications – Luthor as President really didn’t have much in the way of ramifications.

In fact, let’s just give out JEERS to the wasting of the idea that Luthor was President.

Luthor as President was a stupid idea. It’s not that the potential was wasted, it’s that the onl;y thing it had potential to be was stupid. The only recent idea of such scale that was nearly as dumb was that period where DC claimed Batman was considered an urban legend, even though he had a car being driven on the streets and the police flashed a Bat-signal in the sky.

For the general public in the DC Universe to elect Luthor president was ridiculous. For the general public in the Marvel Unverse to regard serial-killing supervillain Norman Osborn a hero is also dumb.

In recent press it was stated that the new Punisher War Zone series was in fact written a few years ago and was waiting to be drawn. I think the reason Marvel didn’t complete it originally was that it would’ve stepped on the toes of Ennis’ Punisher Max run which was in full flow at the time. If it was the only remaining Ennis Punisher work Marvel had left you can’t really blame them for wanting to put it out.

I did not know that, Glen!

In that case, yeah, it’s totally reasonable!

Thanks for the info!

Marco Rudy did a great job stepping up, as well. He basically got handed the highest-profile oh-shit assignment in comics right now and didn’t screw it up on short notice alongside two all-time greats with what was probably the most abstract part (Rubik’s cube!) of a very complicated script. That dude is going. places.

Totally agreed, David, even if he was not helped out by the glaring error made during his section of the book (the misplaced word balloon).

JEERS, though, to the idea of the Milestone heroes just “always being in the DC Universe – just no one talks about them.” What is the point of having a multiverse if you do not use the perfect opportunity for it like here – the Milestone heroes belong in their own universe. It is fine if they cross over, Earth 1/Earth 2 style – totally cool, but the idea that Dakota is part of the DC Universe? That really doesn’t work.

Also, my hope was that if Milestone was ona separate Earth Didio would ignore them some and they would fly under his radar. Now that they are firmly entrenched in the DCU, I’m sure many of their family members will begin being raped and killed to ensure they have enough “motivation.”

It’s interesting to see opinion fairly split on “Green Arrow/Black Canary” #15. I thought it was the weakest issue of GA since… well, before Dixon took over, three series ago. I think it comes down to whether people thought the “1.076 seconds” device was intriguing enough to carry the story. I liked the device, but the story had just nothing at all to it and the dialogue was atrocious.

Note, Shaun, that I did not say that the issue was good. ;)

Just that the plot device was good.

I remember Ennis mentioning that War Zone was going to be an Marvel Knights miniseries with John Romita Jr. during the promotional campaign for The Long Cold Dark, but I guess that between his World War Hulk, Kick-Ass, and his other higher profile assignments, Romita didn’t end up with time to do the series.

Not that I’m complaining, as it seems more fitting for Dillon to wrap up the story he helped to start, but still, JRJr working with Ennis on the Punisher could have been magic.

Can we have Jeers for how terrible that Denny O’Neil issue was? Jeers for Two-Face’s revival of Victorian English? “To say that I am outraged would eggregiously understate the reality. If the unmarred side lands face up, the buffoon will live.” I guess the acid sent his brain back a century or two. Millicent Mayne too “I ran heedlessly, not knowing where to go.” Ugh ugh ugh, so bad and the plot and character development isn’t any better.

What is Micheal Bolton’s take on the Ebony Blade? Oh, and I would have phrased that as a CHEER not a JEER, since Cornell is dealing with it and will probably fix it soon.

I like this column but two things pop out (and I don’t THINK I am a normally negative person, but…)

The new Green Arrow & Black Canary was jsut awful. The old creative team wasn’t great, but it was a heck of a lot better than THAT.

Final Crisis doesn’t make any sense!

I know there are people who really like it… and I am TRYING to do so… but to me it just reads as a jumbled mess.

Final Crisis doesn’t make any sense!

Maybe we could help you out – what are you having problems with following?

My problem with Infinite Crisis is that I can generally follow it, but it just feels like I’m reading a book were every fourth page has been omitted and at least one speech bubble per page has been removed.

I mean Final Crisis

but it just feels like I’m reading a book were every fourth page has been omitted and at least one speech bubble per page has been removed.

Oulipian comics… now that’s a fantastic idea.

It seems there is an interesting debate brewing as to which of Ennis’ Punisher runs is superior (Knights or MAX). I seem to recall enjoying the over-the-top absurd Knights issues to the MAX stories, but it has been a while since I read either. Sounds like a good excuse to plunk down the cash for the Ennis Punisher Omnibus and dive in….

“The Joker’s… he’s just some crazy maniac!”

Ha.

Just what he wants you to think.

” Maybe we could help you out – what are you having problems with following?”

I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t ever follow that up with any questions. They rarely take you up on that offer.

I still think President Luthor could have been a decent idea if handled by someone who showed even the slightest knowledge of how the United States government works, what Washington political culture is like, high school-level Civics, having maybe read the Washington Post A Section once or twice… ANYTHING like that! Someone like, say, Greg Rucka (who knows stuff about the real world and does his research) might have done something interesting with the concept.

My personal take would have been an ironic one: that for once, Lex Luthor did *not* have any secret ulterior motive. Being the head of a (comic book style, anyway) Evil Corporation gives him *more* power than being President would – or at least more circumscribed power. Knowing this, the irony would be that Luthor actually makes a *good* President.

I love the Banner probability thing. It’s such a fun, goofy comic idea.

JEERS, though, to the idea Winick introduced in the same issue…that Wally kissed another woman while with Linda.

But Wally did kiss another woman while he was with Linda, during one of the early Waid/Wieringo books. It was Magenta, aka Frankie Kane – and that was just to startle her into not destroying a baseball field (if I recall correctly – and that’s a stretch, considering this is like a 15-year-old comic I’m pulling off the top of my head).

That is what Winick referenced, right? I haven’t read the thing.

“I can generally follow it, but it just feels like I’m reading a book were every fourth page has been omitted and at least one speech bubble per page has been removed.”

That’s what I felt earlier, but for the most part the “missing” gaps are filled in with plot points from earlier in the series.

As for the relative scarcity of dialogue balloons… how is that a bad thing? Better it be underdialogied than overdone.

Luthor-as-Prez could have been a good idea, but now no one in the DCU is allowed to say “Wow, what a mistake it was to elect him Presdient of the United States.”

And I like to think that Milestone was in a different world, per the Worlds Collide crossover, until a certain off-panel Superboy punch merged it in. Captain Marvel and the Question welcomed Dakota to the DCU with a fruit basket.

I’m sorry, but no way no how could Prez Luthor have been a good idea, no matter who handled it. Because it represents a supreme failure on the behalf of Superman and the whole Justice League. Bad enough they are consistently shown to be impotent by their inability to even get a simple arrest of the guy, especially Superman who’s all-powerful AND supposed to be an investigative reporter. But now in addition he’s so impotent that in addition to being unable to get Luthor arrested, Luthor’s life actually IMPROVES and he rises to the rank of President? There’s no good way to spin that without Superman looking like an utter wuss. Not to mention all the questionable public occurrences with Luthor in the past, like when he confessed to his crimes in the past.

I mean, I don’t mind occasional setbacks and adversity in trying to bust a criminal. DD had that dynamic with the Kingpin for a while and it worked. But at least DD doesn’t have powers to the level Superman does, is not openly celebrated and supported by the US government and law enforcement, doesn’t have the general goodwill of the people, and is not trained as an investigative reporter and is not a member of a team of gods. Basically, DD has a better excuse for taking so long to bust Kingpin, plus DD never let Kingpin grow his power exponentially either.

I love Ennis’s fun Punisher (what a weird concept, but it works) but I agree that his MAX series is the more accomplished work. Still, it’s nice to get a dose of the fun Punisher from time to time.

I’m afraid I have to agree with Sgt. Pepper’s comment.

We had 5 years of deathly depressingly serious adult Punisher MAX and two mini-series from that era.

Maybe Ennis needed to get that out of his system and do some fun sick-humour like the Punisher War Zone.

If it’s the last punisher story from Ennis and Dillon, then best to go out with style!

It’s not like the Ennis mini series was a choice between MK or MAX style. If he felt like writing another MAX story he would have kept writing rather than leave the title.

However, jeers to the fact Marvel is releasing a hardcover omnibus of the Marvel Knights run, though it’s not going to be complete thanks to this newest mini series.

JEERS to this whole “Joker killing people while in police custody” routine in Batman Confidential. I think I’d be happier with it if the deaths were actually clever, but come on, talking a lady into killing herself (off panel, of course) in a minute or so? That’s not cool. And getting a lawyer to slip on a banana peel in such a way that she falls and cracks her head, killing her? The Joker’s not Bruce Banner, calculating the odds in his Hulk fights – he’s just some crazy maniac!

Thank you Brian!! This book (Bats Confidential) really, really disappoints me. I thought, after a couple of dreadful arcs, things FINALLY picked up with the Wrath arc. Then the Batgirl/Catwoman arc was a wonderful ride. Now? Back to the sh*t…

The odds of Joker getting the woman to slip on the banana peel (why wasn’t he body-searched?) and hit her head just right, and flicking that peanut just right to get to ricochet off the wall and land in the judge’s drink? Ridiculous, even for the funny books.

Worst of all, however, was a couple of issues back when Joker was in the paddy wagon. How the hell did he get out from behind the caged window and inside the cab of the wagon with the cage STILL IN PLACE? The rest of the scene played out just as ridiculously, with Joker somehow managing to free himself from his cuffs, kill the driver, and take control of the wagon all without crashing it. Crappy, sloppy writing, and equally crappy, sloppy artwork. I wish BC could maintain a consistently good tone… Something more like the early days of Legends of the Dark Knight.

Stupid me for thinking this Joker story would be any good.

JEERS to Namor’s characterization (visual and otherwise) for most of Secret Invasion: Dark Reign (although he ended up fairly well).

Again, thank you Brian! That had to be the ugliest artwork I’ve ever seen in a comic. Namor looked like some kind of terminally ill soccer hooligan, not the king of Atlantis. What the hell was Maleev thinking? Is his work always this bad?

Oh, and he apparently swiped his cruddy Namor from Robert Deniro. Check this out:

http://cableandtweed.blogspot.com/2008/12/secret-invasion-dark-swipe.html

I thought the whole issue looked like sh*t… I wouldn’t have recognized either Namor or Norman Osborne without the dialogue. Emma looked like a teenager. If Maleev’s doing any other work on Dark Reign I’m not buying it.

Most of those ideas sound pretty stupid.

JEERS, of a sort, to the unclear ending (so they just left him in the alley? the guy, what, burst through the man’s window? huh?) as well as the unclear explanation for how Dinah got into her predicament.

I’m with you on the “Huh?” about just leaving the guy in the alley, but (Spoiler) the point of the shot of the interior was that Dinah’s canary cry blasted a hole through the wall and shattered the ear drums of the guy living there. As he was clearly a musician (cellist), it relates back to the persistent notion in the story of how much things can change in 1.076 second. Obviously GA and BC had no idea about the collateral damage, but I’m sure there will be plenty of fallout resulting from it. Lawsuit? New sound/music-based super-villain?

“JEERS to the notion that comics are still dealing with the effects of the Black Panther’s mis-use of the Ebony Blade. As I’ve said in the past, I subscribe to Michael Bolton’s position in matters like these…”

Not quite following the Bolton refrence, but everything Cornell has done with CB&MI13 has been gold. Could Cornell have gotten away with just ignoring Hudlin’s handling of the Black Knight and the Ebony Blade? Sure. But I think if he feels it’s important enough to handle then we’ll get good story out of it. And I say CHEERS to someone who wants to handle continuity and acknowleding those that came before him, even if some of it is less then good, something a lot of writers no longer do as much.

Cornell’s Captain Britain has been good, because he tells good stories.

If he wants to work in some continuity into his good stories, fine, but they’re mutually exclusive (working in continuity and writing good stories).

And without outright telling what the joke is, note that I’m referring to the fictional character Michael Bolton. ;)

Ah, I get it now. “Why should I change? He’s the one that sucks.”

But I disagree. While they are seperate, having one doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting the other, but I think the use of good continuity can help make a title seem richer. It can also bog down a story too, but so far Cornell has proven himself to able to avoid those pitfalls. If you can handle the story and the continuity and make it all flow naturally and seem awesome then I say go for it. It isn’t necessary, but I applaud the man for going the extra mile.

Omar Karindu, back from an Internet Thogal ritual

December 16, 2008 at 5:21 pm

Eh. It’s a bit hard to play the “no continuity needed” card for a series that got its big launch as part of a companywide crossover complete with overdetailed visual in-joke villains in the Amalga-Skrulls. I’d say at that point you’ve established a willingness to consider all the details, even the dumb ones.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

December 16, 2008 at 7:07 pm

I’m sorry, but no way no how could Prez Luthor have been a good idea, no matter who handled it. Because it represents a supreme failure on the behalf of Superman and the whole Justice League. Bad

Actually it’s a great idea – Superman has to choose between staying true to his belief in people and democracy, knowing they’ve elected the wrong man into the position – and to people it will just look like Superman is upset because they didn ‘t vote for the guy they wanted.
Luthor is a genius, and was a hero before Superman arrived, and has gotten his way out of every criminal act – if the charges haven’t stuck, it looks like ‘the man’ is out for Luthor.
I think you’re feeling the need to bring in unnecessary continuity to get in the way of what could have been a great story. – the writers and/or editors just weren’t up to the task… and as you criticize everything they do with Superman, would you be happy with any story they told?
Any super villain still active in any way shape or form represents a mass failing on behalf of every superhero everywhere – we just accept it because it gives us a good stories.

T., what you cite as why President Luthor was a bad idea is a summary of the point of the post-Crisis version of the character. He exists to be that pain in the ass problem that the heroes can’t deal with because he covers his tracks so well that they can’t prove his involvement in anything, so taking him down would mean violating their principles.
And Brian, what makes you think that working in continuity means that stories can’t be good? Especially when you say in the same sentence that he can work continuity into the stories. IMHO, stories that fix dumb things (such as BP having the Ebony Blade) are often good stories. And it’s been a while since I’ve seen Office Space, so what did he have to say that relates in some way to this issue?

“You probably should have jeered the $3.99 cover price of Astonishing X-Men: Ghost Boxes, however…”

Amen. Paul O’Brien makes a good point that the stories would have worked better had they been back-up stories in the main Astonishing book. Instead, it comes off as a bad case of price gouging.

“Even MORE JEERS for the issue, for the return of the “Doctor Light is a bitch!” characterization.”

Always thought she had a ton of potential. She’s not quite my Monica Rambeu of the DCU, but I’d love to see a talented writer do good work using her character.

FunkyGreenJerusalem

December 17, 2008 at 5:10 pm

Especially when you say in the same sentence that he can work continuity into the stories. IMHO, stories that fix dumb things (such as BP having the Ebony Blade) are often good stories.

Are they good stories on their own, or good because they are fixing up some ‘mistake’ from the past?

“The fight is in Dick’s mind” theme isn’t that original.
The Teen Titans cartoon had “Robin vs. Slade” all in his mind.

Are they good stories on their own, or good because they are fixing up some ‘mistake’ from the past?

People are taking exception to Brian’s use of the term mutually exclusive. His sentence says that there can be good stories or there can be stories that work in continuity, but there can never be a good story that works in continuity. Now, the first part of his post clearly shows that he doesn’t mean that, but it is what he typed.

Yeah, it was a misuse of the term “mutually.”

I don’t see why a story being “good” because it fixes some bit of continuity is less “good” than being “good” for other reasons. Assuming it fixes said continuity in a clever way.

But we might not have actually been discussing that.

God Emperor Joker

December 31, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Of course that’s what I want you to think…..you don’t really think you understand ME, do you??

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives