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CSBG Archive

What I bought – 21 November 2012

Ah! but it was something to have at least a choice of nightmares. (Joseph Conrad, from Heart of Darkness)

Man So many layers in this cover! Is he playing Ultimate Frisbee? Ka-Blooey! It's an ELEPHANT HOLDING A GUN!!!! Where's ... my ... hand lotion?!?!? It's all yin and yang and shit! Analog!!! Were there supposed to be fairies in this issue? So many veins! She might be cold enough to wear a fur-lined cloak, but she also has to show some leg! That's a strange pose I gotta get me some jodhpurs, man! So many phallic symbols! It was fun, Parker! That's an interesting take on the Civil War Fact: Tim Truman is good! I'm giving it the old college try! The Huffington Post likes it! It has aliens! I want so much to like this!

All-New X-Men #1 by Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Stuart Immonen (penciler), Wade von Grawbadger (inker), Marte Garcia (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel NOW!

I went into All-New X-Men with low expectations, and except for the artwork, this comic doesn’t even rise to meet those. If you didn’t get it last week, when it came out, here’s the gist: Cyclops, Emma, and Magneto are going around recruiting mutants for a revolutionary army, and the people at the Jean Grey School aren’t happy about this. Meanwhile, Hank McCoy can tell that he’s going through yet another mutation and he might not survive it, and he decides to go back in time and bring the original five X-Men into their future, his present, to convince present-day Cyclops that he needs to stop what he’s doing. The original X-Men only show up at the very end, so we’re not sure how it’s going to work yet – it’s Bendis, so Sol Invictus forbid that he, you know, gets to the fucking point.

There are many, many problems with this comic, beginning with the concept. Like a lot of comics, this sounds like something that came out of a group hanging out at a bar at 1 a.m. after they have done too many shots of Jägermeister – Bendis looked at Editor Nick Lowe and said, “You know what would be kewl? If the original X-Men existed in the present and had to deal with all the shit that has happened to the X-Men!” And Lowe, instead of smacking him on the head (it wouldn’t hurt, due to the aforementioned Jägermeister in Bendis’ system), said “Sheeeeeeeeeeeeittttttttt, BMB! You’ve done it again! Get me Alonso on the phone!” And Axel Alonso, addled from being woken up at 1 a.m., doesn’t think to yell at Lowe and instead mumbles, “Sure, whatever,” before rolling back over and trying to finish his dream about Barbara Palvin feeding him grapes. So Lowe tells Bendis, “It’s on!” I imagine quite a lot of comics get green-lit that way.

Anyway, the book begins with a minor annoyance. The last time I saw Cyclops, which was about a month ago, he was incarcerated in Uncanny Avengers. I assume that at some point, he escaped, but you wouldn’t know where from this comic. Why does Marvel like footnotes for some comics but not others? It seems like the comics that use footnotes in the Marvel U. are those that are slightly less “serious,” but that’s just silly. This is a superhero comic in which a character goes back in time to convince another character’s younger self to come to his future to debate the older version of himself. I think “serious” has left the platform a long time ago. So why can’t I know when Cyclops escaped his prison? Especially if Marvel is trying to do a soft reboot, so new readers might only be picking up the #1 issues and might have missed whatever “Consequences” issue that showed Cyclops getting away. But whatever – Cyclops is on the loose!

After a couple of silly pages about Hank possibly dying (yeah, okay), Bendis takes the action to Gold Coast, Australia. Why Bendis chose to put the action in Gold Coast is beyond me, because exactly zero of the characters sound even remotely Australian. Look, I’m glad (and I’m sure Aussie readers are glad) that Bendis doesn’t have everyone calling everyone else a “sheila” and saying “strewth,” but would it have killed Bendis to ask an Australian for some actual slang? Aussies do call each other “mate” occasionally, after all. These Aussies sound like American teenagers. Bendis, for all the acclaim heaped on him about his dialogue, doesn’t write different characters very well. Everyone pretty much sounds alike. Later, in Ann Arbor, we get another scene phoned in by BMB – a police officer actually tells someone that “bad guys” run from the police, even though I imagine a lot of people would run if people started chasing them. The cop even tells the guy in custody – who’s a mutant – that there are laws against being a mutant in this country, which is strange. With all the ridiculous shit that’s been going on in the Marvel U. over the past decade, are there still laws against mutants and/or superpowers? That would be interesting, but it’s just a random comment by the cop and, of course, never gets brought up again.

So Cyclops’ group also includes Magik, and Cyclops gives a tough-guy speech about standing up to the humans, and Hank, Ororo, Kitty, and Bobby all get grumpy. Kitty whines that Scott’s actions are going to get the school shut down, and Hank decides to go back in time, where young Hank recognizes him pretty quickly. Then he gives them his pitch – come into their future to talk Scott down. TO BE CONTINUED!!!!!

Okay, I know that most superhero comics are light as gossamer, and you shouldn’t poke at them too much or they’ll fall apart, but this one really strains credulity. I assume this book relies on our vast knowledge of the Marvel U., because of those “laws” the cop talks about, but there are several ways for the X-Men to handle this. One of them could go on television, condemn the actions of the mutant terrorists, and explain that just like you can’t condemn all Christians when one of them kills a homosexual, maybe you shouldn’t condemn all mutants when one of them goes around the bend. Sure, it might not work, but if these people are committed to mainstreaming, maybe they should give it a try. However, if they really want to go hardcore, they could mention to their headmaster – you know, the one who runs a black ops team tasked with killing threats that get out of hand – for help, and he could gather his black ops team tasked with killing threats that get out of hand to hunt down Mr. Summers, which would add a nice level of irony to everything, seeing as how Cyclops put the team together in the first place. Or they could just fucking ignore Scott. If the “federal government” comes to the school, as Kitty says they will, they could point out that none of them have anything to do with Cyclops and that they condemn his actions. But that wouldn’t be any fun, would it? So Hank thinks the absolute best thing to do is go back in time and drag five teenagers into this world to convince Scott to knock it off. How is this a good idea? Let’s say Young Scott gets to sit down with Present Scott. Here’s the conversation:

Young Scott: Dude, you have to stop this. Mutants and humans should live together in harmony, man.
Present Scott: Yeah, you know your hot little sex-kitten girlfriend, Jean? She’s dead because humans hate mutants. Yeah, you know your wonderful mentor who believes we can get along? He’s dead because humans hate mutants. You know [insert the innumerable mutants killed because humans hate mutants]? He/She is dead because humans hate mutants.
Young Scott: Dude, what took you so long to start doing what you’re doing? Sign me the fuck up!

Bendis probably won’t remember this, but the original X-Men are teenagers, and wouldn’t it be nice if they acted like teenagers? I was saying last week that the only way this would be interesting is if Bendis pretended the original X-Men were arriving in our time from 1997 or so, which would make this a weird culture clash. I mean, who doesn’t want to see Young Bobby ask about Smash Mouth or, I don’t know, 311? That won’t happen, because the Marvel U. now exists in some strange, timeless bubble (much like the DCnU), but it would be neat. Even if Bendis doesn’t do anything with the pop culture, just from the few pages of them, they don’t sound much like teenagers, either.

Hank, meanwhile, is probably insane. Much like Fantastic Four, this comic makes sense only if you have never read a comic starring these characters before. Hank knows what happens when you go messing with the space-time continuum, yet he does it casually, without any regard for the consequences. The original X-Men in the present is a stupid idea for a series, but it might have worked if they were somehow thrown into this time period and had to deal with what they saw instead of Hank going back and getting them. His idea is mind-bogglingly stupid in the first place, but when you consider what kind of fucked-up world he could create, it’s even worse. Man, Hank. Really?

I guess Bendis and/or Lowe and/or Alonso wanted to do this partially to bring Jean Grey back without resurrecting her, because the fans love Jean Grey (I read that in an interview somewhere, but I have no idea where). Listen, Marvel: Fans like adult Jean Grey/Phoenix. Teenaged Jean Grey is as dull as dishwater. So if you’re not going to nut up and resurrect the adult Jean Grey (which, given how far Scott has gone by now, would probably be more interesting than the teenaged version), don’t pull this half-assed shit. It’s weak. WEAK!

The only reason this book isn’t worse is because Stuart Immonen is freakin’ fantastic. You already knew that, though, so I’ll just point out that I found it interesting that he and colorist Garcia dress Eva like Phoenix. What’s up with that?

Anyway, this book is a dumb idea that doesn’t overcome it in the execution. Too bad!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Don't worry, Eva - it's just a bad comic book!

Batwoman #14 (“World’s Finest Part Three: Heart of Stone”) by W. Haden Blackman (writer), J. H. Williams III (writer/artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Todd Klein (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC.

Okay, yes, it’s a stunningly beautiful comic. I mean, Williams is really pulling out all the stops on this, as he even gives us almost four pages of Batwoman “reading” Pegasus’ wounds to determine how he was injured, which should be really boring but isn’t, thanks to the inventive way Williams draws it. And when Medusa’s forces attack the city, it’s wonderfully drawn and viscerally powerful. That doesn’t excuse the dumb plot point in this story – all of the evil things Medusa has been gathering for her assault are in Gotham, and Kate doesn’t think that maybe Medusa is there too? I mean, she even comments about how stupid she’s been. I don’t mind hanging a lampshade now and then, but usually it’s done most effectively in comedies (as in this week’s Happy Endings, where Alex mentioned how strange it was that they all met on MTV’s The Real World but they never talk about it), because when it’s done in more serious stuff, it comes off as if the writer even knows how dumb it is, and that’s what happens here. I guess we get to see some really cool Williams art, but is that enough?

Anyway, this is still worth a look for the art, and while I didn’t love this issue, the entire epic is still pretty neat. So there’s that.

(Oh, and Happy Endings is awesome. You should really be watching it. Eliza Coupe as Gwen Stefani was brilliant.)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Oh, Croc - that looks painful

Captain America #1 (“Castaway in Dimension Z Chapter One”) by Rick Remender (writer), John Romita Jr. (penciler), Klaus Janson (inker), Dean White (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Marvel NOW!

Captain America gets a relaunch, courtesy of Rick Remender, who announces up front that this is comic is going to have a real cheesy 1950s (or is that 1970s?) sci-fi aesthetic. So we get a “Bond beginning” – the action-packed before-the-credits vignette that establishes what a bad-ass Cap is – in which he fights the Green Skull, a maniac environmentalist, and the fact that the entire battle is absolutely ridiculous doesn’t even matter. Then, before he can have any kind of meaningful discussion about marrying Sharon Carter (all superheroes are just arrested adolescents, so actually talking about doing grown-up stuff almost makes them shout “cooties!”), Cap is kidnapped by a ghost train. Sort of. It turns out that Arnim Zola, who of course would fit right into a 1950s science fiction movie that Joel or Mike and the bots would mock, lured Cap to “Dimension Z” so he could use Cap’s super soldier serum to fix his kids (why? DON’T QUESTION, NERDS!!!!). Cap escapes, of course, and manages to kidnap the boy kid (who’s only a baby; his sister is a bit older) and presumably they will both have to make their way through a post-apocalyptic landscape. You know, like you do. If you think this sounds like Damnation Alley crossed with the Mad Max movies crossed with Escape from New York crossed with The Warriors crossed with any other kind of cult classic you can think of from the 1970s/1980s … well, I imagine Remender is about my age or a bit younger, so like every other goddamned comic book writer for the Big Two these days, he mines his childhood for ideas and comes up with … a post-apocalyptic wasteland that borrows liberally from the movies he watched as a kid. I’m sorry, but it vexes me. I mean, it’s certainly not a bad idea at all to get Cap out of his comfort zone and throw him into a WORLD GONE MAD!!!!!, but when the WORLD GONE MAD!!!!! looks like every other one, it lessens the impact a bit. But that’s okay. After Brubaker’s long run with the character that attempted to reconcile a dude wearing an American flag with the dark world of espionage, it’s nice to see Remender go in the complete opposite direction and chuck Cap into a world where Arnim Zola looks normal. The biggest problem with this is that he begins the book with a three-page flashback to Steve’s childhood, where his abusive father is beating up his mother but then, after she faces him down, he leaves. Then Mama America tells Steve that he should always stand up to bullies, no matter what. It’s heavy-handed and facile and vaguely insulting, which means it’s a fairly typical mainstream superhero comic, but more than that, it’s unnecessary. Obviously, Remender is going to draw parallels to Steve’s father and Steve now that Steve has to care for a child, and this will also tie into Sharon asking Steve to marry her and Steve not knowing if he’s ready for it, but we don’t need it spoonfed to us. Well, considering some of the crap that passes for entertainment these days, maybe we do need it spoonfed to us. But Remender doesn’t have to give it to us!!!! Overall, however, this is a pretty decent first issue as long as you’re willing to embrace the goofiness.

However, Romita’s art knocks it down a bit. I’ve always been a fan of Romita, but he does have his moments of crappiness, and this art is atrocious. It starts on the first page, where Joseph, Steve’s father, is so ridiculously disproportionate that he looks like a cartoon character – yes, it’s a comic book, but he’s not supposed to look so cartoonish, I would imagine. The book doesn’t get any better – this is amazingly sloppy art, with comically goofy figure work, from Romita’s giant heads (which seems to have gotten worse over the years) to the simplistic facial expressions, and terrible special effects. Janson is usually a heavier inker, so I’m not sure why he’s not able to add any heft whatsoever to Romita’s lines. White, as usual, softens everything, and it just makes the looseness of Romita’s pencils even looser, and that’s not what he needs. Romita is not an artist who can use very lines to suggest a lot of meaning – he needs to be as concrete as possible, and I would have thought Janson could have helped with that. White, however, goes against Romita’s strengths, and the result is a really ugly muddle. A couple of panels look horribly amateurish, and that’s really too bad. I know Romita is better than this, and it bums me out that this is so awful.

With a better art job, Captain America #1 is a solid if ridiculous superhero comic. The artwork drags it way down, though, and that’s a shame. Much like some of the other Marvel NOW! comics, this will probably sell based on the character and the names working on it. That doesn’t make it good, though!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Man, Sharon, he's like 90 years old. Ewwww.

Dark Horse Presents #18. “Captain Midnight in Midnight at 10,000 Feet Part One” by Joshua Williamson (writer), Victor Ibañez (artist), Ego (colorist), and Nate Piekos (letterer); “Finder: Third World Chapter 16″ by Carla Speed McNeil (writer/artist/letterer), Jenn Manley Lee (colorist), and Bill Mudron (colorist); “Gamma Chapter 1″ by Ulises Farinas (writer/artist/letterer) and Erick Freitas (writer); “Edgar Allan Poe’s Shadow” by Richard Corben (adapter/artist) and Nate Piekos (letterer); “Memories of the Caspian” by Dara Naraghi (writer) and Victor Santos (artist/letterer); “Crime Does Not Pay Presents City of Roses Chapter 3″ by Phil Stanford (writer), Patric Reynolds (artist), Bill Farmer (colorist), and Nate Piekos (letterer); “Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde Chapter 1″ by Peter Hogan (writer) and Steve Parkhouse (artist); “Alabaster: Boxcar Tales Chapter 1″ by Caitlín R. Kiernan (writer), Steve Lieber (artist/letterer), and Rachelle Rosenberg (colorist); “UXB Chapter 3″ by Colin Lorimer (writer/artist); “The Secret Order of the Teddy Bears Chapter 1″ by Mike Richardson (writer), Ron Chan (artist), and Nate Piekos (letterer). $7.99, 80 pgs, FC, Dark Horse.

I don’t know what to say about DHP. I mean, Dark Horse gets superb creators, turns them loose, puts together 80-page books every month, and charges 8 bucks for them. They’ve been doing this for a year and a half, and if you’re not on board yet, I don’t know what to do with you! I guess the big news in this issue is that Williamson and Ibañez are doing a new Captain Midnight story, but I don’t care too much about Captain Midnight, so that’s not going to move my dial (which sounds dirtier than it really is, doesn’t it?). The actual story is intriguing – Midnight has been stuck inside the Bermuda Triangle since World War II, and now he’s out. If only there was another World War II icon with “Captain” in his name who spent years from World War II until recently outside of time somehow. I can’t think of anyone like that!

“Gamma” is an odd story about a dude who hires himself out to get beat up, but when he’s challenged by another dude, we get … monsters? They’re cool monsters (see below), but I’m not sure what the deal is yet. Dara Naraghi, who wrote a story about growing up in Iran back in issue #4, returns with a poignant story about his beach house on the Caspian Sea. Hogan and Parkhouse begin another “Resident Alien” serial, which is fine with me, because it’s an interesting story … but I don’t like how they’re doing this, with some of it showing up in DHP and then the two of them doing a mini-series before returning to DHP. I wouldn’t mind buying the trade paperbacks, but I don’t think the trade of the first story is out and here they are moving on. (I checked briefly and didn’t see the trade; maybe I’m wrong, though.) The same thing applies to Kiernan and Lieber’s story, which is interesting and beautifully drawn, but again – I didn’t get the first trade, and I’m not sure if it’s out yet. (If it is, obviously this doesn’t apply.) But generally, this is just another solid issue of anthologized comic book stories. That’s all I have to say!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panels:

I honestly have no idea what's going on in this panel

Deadpool #2 (“We Fought a Zoo”) by Brian Posehn (writer), Gerry Duggan (writer), Tony Moore (artist), Val Staples (colorist), and Joe Sabino (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

You’ll notice that this is issue #2 of Deadpool, meaning I’ve bought two consecutive issues of Deadpool, something I thought I would never do. Well, technically, I didn’t buy issue #1, but it’s still significant that I liked it enough to actually purchase issue #2 – Marvel NOW! is working for one new title, I guess! I just can’t not love a comic in which a psychopathic superhero kills undead presidents. I CAN’T NOT LOVE IT!!!!

I mean, there’s more than one funny thing on pretty much every page of this comic (well, except for the big splash page, but that’s because it’s only one image). At the end of last issue, Deadpool got shot in the head, so the first two pages are him daydreaming while several Marvel women compete for his affection. Then he meets the ghost of Ben Franklin, who wants to help him stop all the undead presidents. Then the S.H.I.E.L.D. necromancer pulls his giant magic book … from underneath his kilt. Where was it hiding? No man can say!!!! (This gag is a bit reminiscent of an old one in Hitman, but I’ll allow it.) And John F. Kennedy and George Washington menace old people! And Teddy Roosevelt goes hunting at the Los Angeles Zoo! And … oh, the elephant. Oh dear. And it’s Skeevy Doctor Strange! Everyone loves Skeevy Doctor Strange! (Well, maybe PTOR doesn’t, but I sure do!)

I certainly don’t want to give any of the humor away, because humor needs to be experienced, but I will say that Duggan and Posehn actually have Wade say “Hey! I was about to show her my disco balls!” and nobody stopped them. Well done, Marvel censors! (That’s not the only sex pun in this week’s Marvel haul, as I’ll point out below. What are they putting in the water at 135 West 50th Street, anyway?) And Tony Moore is kicking ass, as he usually does. As I mentioned last time, I don’t know how long the writers can pull this off and I don’t know how long Moore can last, but this is a wildly fun comic. It’s almost worth it for Skeevy Doctor Strange!!!!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Roosevelt punching a bear. YES.

Frankenstein Alive, Alive! #2 by Steve Niles (writer), Bernie Wrightson (artist), Robbie Robbins (letterer). $3.99, 16 pgs (+7 pgs of Shelley’s Frankenstein), BW, IDW.

I’m not entirely sure how many issues this series is supposed to be, but it’s going to take a looooooooong time to come out, I imagine. I don’t really care, because while Niles has barely begun the story – the monster has awoken, a kindly scientist has educated him, the monster realizes that people will always consider him a monster – Wrightson’s artwork is staggering. His brush strokes make the book look old, which is good considering this takes place in the 19th century, and his astonishing attention to detail gives us a wonderful sense of Dr. Ingles’ home, which is full of animal specimens and Egyptian art and Greek busts and beakers full of bubbling liquids. The book unfolds, so far, at a somewhat languid pace, which is somewhat frustrating given the length of each issue but which I don’t mind too much because each page is so gorgeous. Wrightson takes his time because he needs to, but also because he wants to make sure that this world is completely convincing, and he succeeds admirably. There’s not much to say about this comic – it’s Niles doing horror, which he’s good at, and it’s Wrightson doing simply amazing artwork. If you like a slow burn just to get a chance to see Wrightson’s art, then you might want to check it out!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

That's a fine question, Doc

Glory #30 (“Bloodshadow Part Two: Relentless”) by Joe Keatinge (writer), Ross Campbell (artist), Roman Muradov (artist), Owen Gieni (colorist), Charis Solis (colorist), and Douglas E. Sherwood (letterer). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, Image.

There’s an odd little comic at the beginning of this comic book, illustrated by Muradov, in which Glory hangs out in 1920s Paris and fights Fantômas with the help of Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, and Pablo Picasso. Sure, it’s very League of Extraordinary Gentlemen-esque (well, except the characters aren’t fictional), but I would read the shit out of a comic with those artists as a kind of “Justice League of the Lost Generation.” Plus, Muradov is a good artist, so there’s that.

Then we get to the main event, in which Glory tracks down Nanaja and, well, brutality ensues. I used a different panel than I wanted to, because the one I wanted to show gives away the end of the fight, which is frickin’ awesome (you know which panel I mean!). Campbell is really excellent at drawing these totally brutal fights, and Keatinge continues to expand the story well, giving us another plot twist at the end of the issue. He has a good handle on the characters, too, as none of them get too much screen time because of the large cast but Keatinge does well with the time they do get. This continues to be a phenomenal comic, and I can’t wait to see where the heck it’s going.

Although, I have to say: Poor Pierre. Just standing there, hanging out, and that happens? Man, sucks to be him.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Things are getting nasty!

Hawkeye #4 (“The Tape 1 of 2″) by Matt Fraction (writer), Javier Pulido (artist), Matt Hollingsworth (colorist), and Chris Eliopoulos (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

This is the first issue of Hawkeye that I haven’t really liked (even though I haven’t loved the others, they’ve been pretty good), for a number of reasons. It’s not a terrible issue, but when Aja isn’t dazzling us with the art, the silliness of Fraction’s plots really come more into focus. Pulido is certainly not a bad artist by any means, but he has his limitations, and cape comics seem to be part of that. His quirky style of cartooning doesn’t really mesh with the slightly scruffy, “spy-in-a-superhero-comic-by-way-of-Rockford Files” vibe that Fraction is going for in this series, and this comic just feels off. Not everyone can do superheroes, even a subdued superhero book like this, and Pulido isn’t the best choice.

But the fact that Pulido doesn’t try interesting stuff with page layouts and such is what really dooms the comic, because it makes us focus more on Fraction’s plot, which just isn’t very good. Okay, so SPOILERS ahoy, I guess. You ready?

I just wanted to make sure you were ready for the SPOILERS!!!!

Okay, so the “tape,” which is an old videotape not for the reason that Captain America gives (which isn’t a bad reason, actually) but because Fraction is writing this as a 1970s/1980s detective show, and videotapes were the shit in 1983, man!, is of an old Avengers mission where Clint kills “the world’s most wanted criminal terrorist” (that’s how he’s described in the text itself, and it’s important). So Maria Hill sends Clint to Madripoor (I love Madripoor) so he can buy it back, as the person who has it is auctioning it off. It’s all very simple and believable, right? Except for one thing:

Nobody would give a shit.

Honestly, can you think of a dumber reason to freak out if you’re Maria Hill? The entire Marvel Universe knows that their heroes have been tarnished over the past decade, and I very much doubt if Hawkeye killing a dude will cause any kind of a stir. Does anyone even know how the Avengers are viewed in the Marvel Universe these days? The Marvel Universe these days seems strangely bereft of “normal” folk, but they’ve seen a lot of shit in the past few years, and Clint killing someone wouldn’t cause much of a ripple, would it? I mean, we already know that Clint has no compunction about slaughtering his enemies (as we’ve seen in this series, he likes shooting arrows into bad guys’ eyes, which according to the text doesn’t kill them but which according to anyone with a brain would pretty much do the trick), and I just don’t buy that the normal Marvel Universe denizen doesn’t think, “Hey, they’re doing some avenging – I bet every once in a while they kill people, and that’s cool.” Plus, it’s clearly stated that the person Clint killed is “the world’s most wanted criminal terrorist.” Can you imagine if the United States government wanted to cover up the fact that Osama bin Laden was killed by Seal Team Six? Why isn’t Maria Hill pinning a medal on Clint, for crying out loud? If word gets out that Clint accidentally killed a nun, sure, I can see it being a public relations disaster. But if word gets out that Clint killed Osama bin Laden, the people in the Marvel U. might say, “Yeah, well, good for him!” Now, unless what’s on the tape isn’t really what’s on the tape and Fraction is fucking with us, I don’t see what the big deal is. I really don’t.

So, yeah. Disappointing. Maybe it gets better in Part 2? That would be nice. Kate is still awesome, though.

(Oh, and maybe this is possible, but where Clint hides the credit card? Really? How exactly would that work?)

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Oh, those crafty ninja!

Hellblazer #297 (“The Curse of the Constantines Part Five: The Two Deaths of Eva Brady”) by Peter Milligan (writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (layouter), Stefano Landini (finisher), Brian Buccellato (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

As Hellblazer careens toward its conclusion, it’s time for me to start worrying about Epiphany again. I’m almost sure that Milligan won’t kill her off and either kill John or let the two of them ride off into the sunset, there to shag like bunnies, but there’s a part of me that worries. Nothing I can do about it, though!

Issues like this are why Milligan’s run on Hellblazer is so good. John is a good talker, so he pretty much talks his way out of a huge jam, and this is a bit nicer than issues of Hellblazer that we’ve gotten in the past, so some nice people actually survive! I certainly don’t want to say too much about it, but it’s a fairly typical issue of Milligan’s run – well written, nicely drawn, and it feels like John is moving forward in his life. I haven’t been a devoted reader of Hellblazer for its entire run, but I’m still going to miss it. Oh well.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

All hail Epiphany!

Indestructible Hulk #1 (“Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) by Mark Waid (writer), Leinil Francis Yu (artist), Sunny Gho (colorist), and Chris Eliopoulos (letterer). $3.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel NOW!

What is that thing on the cover, floating next to the Hulk? I really don’t know.

Anyway, Waid knowingly or unknowingly picks up a plot thread that Peter David introduced 15 years ago, right before the end of his run on Incredible Hulk, as Bruce Banner/Hulk becomes an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s a pretty good hook, as Bruce points out to Maria Hill that being the Hulk is like having a disease, and he just needs to manage it better. So he offers his services to S.H.I.E.L.D. because he’s darned smart, and she can use the Hulk to smash shit when she needs him. As an example, he smashes the Thinker and some of his robots. It’s a clever idea, and Waid does a nice job with it. The first part of the issue does a good job establishing tension, as Bruce and Maria talk inside a diner and everyone – Bruce and the readers – knows something is going on. Then Waid gives the Hulk stuff to smash. So that’s good.

Yu is typically good, although he’s not the greatest storyteller in the world – some of his layouts are too cramped, and the big fight between the Hulk and the Thinker is beautifully drawn but still has some of the layout problems. When the Thinker is bragging about dealing with the “fractions,” Yu puts Maria on the page, and she’s completely outside the panel and doesn’t seem to have any relation to the actual panel. She’s not even looking at the Thinker as she’s shooting at him, which is weird. Yu is a good artist who occasionally goes a bit nuts with his lines, and I wish he would ease back a bit. It would make his art better. Finally, Sunny Gho gives the Hulk brown hair. I don’t know why this freaks me out.

This is a solid first issue, although for four bucks, I won’t be continuing with it until a trade comes out and I can think about it. If you’re willing to spend four dollars on a Marvel comic, this is a pretty good one. Even if I have no idea what the thing on the cover is.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Maria Hill takes charge!

Journey into Mystery #646 (“Stronger than Monsters, Part 1 of 5″) by Kathryn Immonen (writer), Valerio Schiti (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), and Clayton Cowles (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel NOW!

I’ve been reading Kieron Gillen’s Journey into Mystery in trade, but this is a whole new creative team and a whole new central character, and even though it’s not a new #1 (which makes no sense), it’s still part of Marvel NOW!, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. I might have anyway – I like Kathryn Immonen, and although I’ve never heard of Schiti, this is a beautiful comic.

As it turns out, this is not only a beautiful comic, it’s pretty damned keen, too. Schiti has a slightly cartoonish style that makes the domestic scenes early in the book more homey than they might be otherwise and belies the ferocity of the corpse-eating dragon, which looks somewhat silly even though it’s surrounded by bones, so we know it’s pretty scary. But Schiti is also able to give us a tremendous confrontation between Sif and that chick (see below), which is neat. Bellaire, continuing her ascent in the coloring world, does a superb job with this – Sif’s brilliant red outfit is stunning, and it offsets the blue of the “teacher,” which makes their confrontation even more visceral. It’s a wonderful-looking comic.

Immonen’s story is a bit all over the map, but when it’s the first chapter of five, I imagine she’s setting up quite a bit, and what she does set up is interesting, so I’m willing to forgive it. Early on there’s a burning library, there’s poor advice to kids, and there’s Asgardian kids talking about Marvel comics, which is pretty fun. Then Sif, for some reason (it’s kind of vague), decides that she wants to be a better warrior by learning the “berserker incantation.” She visits the corpse-eating dragon to find out where the teacher of said incantation can be found, and then she confronts the teacher. Immonen does a lot with Sif in this single issue – what kind of person is she, really? We see a lot of different facets of her personality, and at the end, we’re not even sure if Sif is a “good” guy or not – she does some pretty nasty things in this comic. Whatever’s going on with her, Immonen manages to make her compelling in 20 pages, so I’m in … for the first arc, at least. We’ll see where we go from there (or if the book will even survive).

So, yeah. I’m not completely surprised that I like this book, but I was a bit surprised by how much I liked it. It might get lost in the wave of new number #1s, but it shouldn’t. Give it a look!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Shit just got real, Sif

Mind the Gap #6 (“Wish You Were Here Part 1: Sleep Furiously”) by Jim McCann (writer), Rodin Esquejo (artist), Arif Prianto (colorist), Beny Maulana (colorist), and Dave Lanphear (letterer). $2.99, 23 pgs, FC, Image.

After last issue’s revelation about a certain character, McCann reveals a bit more about Elle’s predicament and what’s going on, even though it’s not much. It’s early on in the revelation stage, but I’m not sure how I feel about it. The little information we get about the plot seems pretty standard science fiction stuff, and that’s too bad. Obviously, McCann has been making this book a bit strange, as Elle is able to possess bodies and such, but the implications about the larger plot doesn’t fill me with confidence. I don’t want to get into it too much, because I don’t want to give it away, but as vague as McCann is in this particular issue, it still doesn’t seem like this is going in a good direction. But we’ll see, won’t we? The rest of the issue is intriguing, as Elle goes into the body of a ten-year-old girl who’s brain dead and strange things start happening. The fact that Elle believes she can only name 15 American states and maybe one or two capitals depresses the living shit out of me. Is McCann saying she’s that stupid, or is this a comment on Americans’ knowledge about their own country in general? Man, that’s sad.

Anyway, while I don’t love the hints about the book’s overall plot, I’m certainly willing to stick with it for a while, because the mystery is still pretty intriguing. And the hints are just that, so perhaps McCann will go in a completely different direction than the way I’m thinking! That would be nice!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Tough-chick doctors RULE, man!

Rocketeer: Cargo of Doom #4 (of 4) by Mark Waid (writer), Chris Samnee (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), and Shawn Lee (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, IDW.

Waid and Samnee’s Rocketeer story ends pretty much the way we expect it to, with Cliff saving the day and reconciling with Betty, but it’s the one thing Waid does that isn’t expected that’s unusual – he ends it with a SHOCKING! revelation, and considering that the next Rocketeer mini-series will be by a different creative team, I wonder what’s going on. Is Waid planning another Rocketeer story, but it won’t be done for a while? Is IDW telling Roger Langridge that if he wants to pick up that particular plot thread, he’s welcome to? I don’t know, but it’s strange. I don’t mind it, but it’s strange.

The book is a solid adventure comic, though – Waid knows what he’s doing with that, and Samnee and Bellaire continue to do a stellar job on the art. Samnee’s pencil work is wonderfully expressive, and Bellaire’s rich tones are the right amount of nostalgic. Waid answers any questions I had about Sally’s age, so I guess it’s just that Samnee draws her looking young, but that’s okay. Overall, this is a good, fun, purty comic book. What more do you want?

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Well, that will mess up anyone's evening

Steed and Mrs. Peel #3 by Mark Waid (story), Caleb Monroe (scripter), Will Sliney (artist), Ron Riley (colorist), and Ed Dukeshire (letterer). $3.99, 22 pgs, FC, Boom! Studios.

The first story of the series comes to an end, and while it’s not a surprise that the post-apocalyptic wasteland we saw in the first two issues isn’t real, Waid and Monroe come up with a decent explanation for it and how Steed and Emma figure it out. But they do, and the good guys win. Yay!

Sliney is the artist on Marvel’s Fearless Defenders, which was just announced, and that’s a bit surprising. Sliney isn’t a bad artist, but you know how some artists don’t seem “ready for prime time” just yet? Sliney strikes me as one of those artists. He could certainly become one, but his figure work is pretty stiff, and in the action-filled world of superhero comics, that’s a huge detriment. It’s also entirely possible that no one has asked him to draw backgrounds, but he doesn’t, really, and that seems like a skill to have. Now, I will say that he’s put up a couple of images from Fearless Defenders on his blog, and Misty Knight looks pretty cool, but I’m still surprised that Marvel hired him. Good for him, I say, but if you had asked me the next artist to make the leap from independent comics to the Big Two, he wouldn’t have even entered my mind. Maybe in a few years, I would have thought more highly of him, but not right now. I certainly don’t wish anyone ill, and I hope his work on the new book is fantastic. We’ll see, won’t we? It’s part of Marvel NOW!, so I’ll be picking up issue #1!

As for this book … this first arc didn’t really do anything for me. It just wasn’t that interesting, and nothing about it made me want to pick up the next issue. The plot was a bit dull, and the banter between the two leads didn’t work terribly well. Oh well – I can’t like them all!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Oh, that darned brain-washing!

Will I Ever Call This Comic “Dark Avengers”? #183 (“The End Is the Beginning”) by Jeff Parker (writer), Neil Edwards (penciler), Terry Pallot (inker), Sotocolor (colorist), and Joe Caramagna (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

Speaking of books I’m dropping, we come to the final issue of Thunderbolts as we know it, before the actual Dark Avengers take over next issue and some other Thunderbolts get their own book. I won’t be buying either one of them (I suppose I’ll get the first issue of Thunderbolts, but probably not Dark Avengers), but that’s okay – to every season and all that. This issue simply wraps up some loose ends and introduces a plot point for the new book, and Parker sends off the main characters nicely. I’m not sure where they’re going to end up – they’re not starring in either new book – but I’m sure they’ll be around at some point. Parker’s final story wasn’t as good as the rest of his run (which was often awesome), but it’s a nice wrap-up. I still don’t like Edwards’ art on this comic – I think Edwards is getting worse as his career moves along, which is kind of upsetting – but that’s the way it is.

You could do a lot worse than read Parker’s run on Thunderbolts. It’s a blast of pure comics goodness, and I’m glad I started reading it. I really don’t like the Faux Avengers, though, so unless I hear really good things about it, I’ll be staying away from it. Sorry, Parker!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

Man-Thing, however, remains awesome

X-Factor #247 (“Rising Again”) by Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Ed Tadeo (inker), Matt Milla (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $2.99, 20 pgs, FC, Marvel.

As usual, Peter David drops a bit of a bombshell on us in one issue, then completely ignores said bombshell in the next issue, although I’m sure he’ll get back around to it soon enough. There’s a major storyline in the offing for 2013 on this comic, after all, so I’m sure last issue’s events have something to do with that. In the meantime, we head to Las Vegas to check in on the newlyweds!

Yes, Jamie and Layla got married. And then the cops show up and tell them that the man who officiated has been killed. He was dressed like Abraham Lincoln (because it’s Vegas), and it turns out that three Lincolns have been murdered in the past two weeks. It turns out that undead Robert E. Lee is killing them for mocking the Civil War. Yes, he really is. And then he picks on mutants for always coming back from the dead. Madrox points out the irony, but there’s just no arguing with Undead Robert E. Lee! David refuses to explain how Undead Robert E. Lee showed up, but the arc is “to be continued,” so I guess we’ll find out soon enough, won’t we? As usual, David does a nice job setting things up. He’s good at that.

Now, you’ll notice the title of the story. Yes, it’s another sex pun in a Marvel comic. The phrase refers to the South, of course, which will “rise again,” but given that Jamie and Layla are on their honeymoon, it has a second meaning, too. I know people grind their teeth when they think of David’s puns, but as I’ve often said, his commitment to them is admirable, even if they make you grind your teeth. He just doesn’t give a shit what you think, man!

So, it’s a good start to the next story. X-Factor just keeps doing its thing. How surprising!

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

One totally Airwolf panel:

It's funny because Jamie is stoopid!

A Man Named Hawken by Benjamin Truman (writer) and Timothy Truman (artist). $19.99, 157 pgs, BW, IDW.

Very nice black and white artwork full of people doing horrible things to each in the Old West. Can you resist?!?!?!?

Nexus Omnibus volume 1 by Mike Baron (writer), The Dude (artist), and several other folk. $24.99, 418 pgs, FC/BW, Dark Horse.

I’ve never been able to really get into Nexus, but I’d certainly like to. Dark Horse is releasing these nice Omnibus editions, which are a bit smaller than the original comics but are still a good value. So I can finally read Nexus the way God intended, from the beginning!

Saucer Country volume 1: Run by Paul Cornell (writer), Ryan Kelly (artist), Jimmy Broxton (artist), Goran Sudžuka (artist), Giulia Brusco (colorist), Lee Loughridge (colorist), Cris Peter (colorist), and Sal Cipriano (letterer). $14.99, 143 pgs, FC, DC/Vertigo.

I read the first issue of this and thought it was okay, so I figured I’d check out the trade. I’ve heard it gets better, which is always nice. We’ll see!

Tune book 1: Vanishing Point by Derek Kirk Kim (writer/artist). $16.99, 155 pgs, BW, First Second Books.

Kim has done two volumes of this on-line, but he’s not sure if it’s going to continue. First Second needs to see how much this book sells before committing to more volumes, so it’s on hold for a bit. I like Kim’s work, even though I haven’t read this yet, so I encourage you to check this out somehow to see if you like Kim’s work too. It won’t kill you!

Uncanny X-Force volume 5: Otherworld by Rick Remender (writer), Greg Tocchini (artist/colorist), Phil Noto (artist), Billy Tan (artist), Dean White (colorist), José Villarrubia (colorist), and Cory Petit (letterer). $19.99, 121 pgs, FC, Marvel.

According to everyone, this arc features really terrible art. It’s too bad, because Tocchini is pretty good, but for some reason, his art on this arc looks pretty lousy. I’ll see if Remender’s story can overcome it!

**********

There’s not much I have to say about the news of the world this week. I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. I know I did – we live 2000 miles away from any family, so our holidays are always quiet, which is fine with me. I ate way too much, but that’s not really news. My parents were hanging out with my sister, her kids, my mom’s cousin and his extended family, so they had dinner with 16 people. I doubt if we could fit 16 people in our house, much less our dining room. No thank you. A big family dinner would be fine if we weren’t hosting it. Then, I have no problem with it. But organizing the whole thing and cleaning up afterward? No thanks.

The big news this week is the violence in Gaza, which has gotten everyone in an uproar. They’re in truce-mode right now, but who knows how long that will last. For years, the default opinion has been that conservatives like Israel while liberals like Palestinians, although that’s certainly in flux when it comes to Jewish liberals. I think they’re all a bunch of maniacs, fighting over a blasted wasteland that can barely support plant life, much less human life, but then I’m an atheist and don’t really care about the “holiness” of the land in any way. I will say that I’d be a lot more supportive of the Palestinians but for two reasons: in 1947/48, the United Nations had a nice two-state plan in place, and while the Jews were ready to accept it, the Palestinians told the UN to go pound sand. Then they lost the war and they’ve been whining about it ever since. Since then, the entire point of the Palestinian leadership has not been to make life better for their own people, but to eliminate Israel. If you don’t admit that your enemy even has a right to exist, you’re not going to get much sympathy from me. It’s terrible that Palestinian children are being killed (what about Israeli children?) and that Gaza is the most blasted of the wasteland in the entire blasted wasteland, but when your entire raison d’etre is to kill all the Jews in Israel, I can’t feel too badly for you. Yes, the entire situation sucks and innocent people on both sides are getting killed. But let’s not place all the blame on Israel, shall we? There’s enough blame to go around! One fun thing to come out of the conflict is that Anderson Cooper has been taking time out to bash morons on Twitter who are trying to pick on him. Go, Anderson Cooper!

I did discover one interesting piece of trivia recently. We own a DVD of various Christmas classics, and my older daughter LOVES the two Frosty the Snowman television specials. In the second one, from 1992, we have Jonathan Winters as the narrator (hey, Jonathan Winters is still alive – good for him!), John Goodman as Frosty, Brian Doyle-Murray as the evil dude, and in the role of the little girl … Elisabeth Moss, or Peggy Olson on Mad Men. Moss was ten at the time, and it’s not like she was a stranger to acting – she started on Picket Fences that same year – but I just thought that was odd. I happened to be looking at the credits and thought, “Is that Peggy?” And lo, ’twas indeed. Mainly, I just mentioned that so I can link to this, which means I can write “Dollar, dollar bill, y’all” before Travis can!

Okay, let’s move on to The Ten Most Recent Songs on My iPod (Which Is Always on Shuffle):

1. “Demagogue”Urban Dance Squad (1994) “Attract a million ears, make ‘em all insane”1
2. “The Last Day of Our Acquaintance”Sinéad O’Connor (1990) “Two years ago the seed was planted and since then you have taken me for granted”2
3. “Spoonman”Soundgarden (1994) “All my friends are skeletons”3
4. “W.H.Y.B.” – Liquid Jesus (1991) “And still I wonder just what I’ve done; I’ll see you tomorrow after how many setting suns”
5. “Under Cover of Darkness”Living Colour (1990) “I want to make you hot, touch that spot and send you on a trip”4
6. “Three Boats Down from the Candy”Marillion (1982) “Don’t think crying wolf will give you the answer”
7. “Bitchin’ Camaro”Dead Milkmen (1985) “I ran over some old lady one night at the county fair; and I didn’t get arrested, because my dad’s the mayor.”
8. “Lil’ Devil”The Cult (1987) “Trying to get to heaven ‘fore the sun goes down”
9. “Parachutes”Pearl Jam (2006) “You’re always wishing and never here at home”5
10. “Don’t Pay the Ferryman”Chris de Burgh (1982) “In the rolling mist, then he gets on board, now there’ll be no turning back”6

1 UDS was a cool band. You know it’s true!

2 One sappy thing my wife and I always do is hold hands when the plane we’re on takes off. It’s directly linked to this song. Yes, I’m sappy. So sue me. I’ve been happily married for 18 years, so we’re doing something right.

3 Hey, Soundgarden has a new album out! Some of my friends are hella excited about this. Anyone heard it yet?

4 Whenever I hear this song, I automatically think of this song. Dang, Latifah is awesome.

5 I really ought to get me that Eddie Vedder ukulele album. That has to be excellent, right?

6 I dare you to not sing along to this song. “You must pay me now (DON’T DO IT!)” SING, DAMN YOU!!!!

Last week’s Totally Random Lyrics were from Pink Floyd’s “San Tropez,” which is a really good song that doesn’t really sound like later Floyd at all. Commenter ksebek knew the song, but only mentioned the album on which it appears, so I figured I’d clear it up. Let’s check out more Totally Random Lyrics, ‘k?

“It’s late in the day and I ain’t been on the court yet
Hustle to the mall to get me a short set
Yeah I got on sneaks but I need a new pair
Cause basketball courts in the summer got girls there
The temperature’s about 88
Hop in the water plug just for old times sake
Break to ya crib change your clothes once more
Cause you’re invited to a barbeque that’s starting at four”

That’s probably too easy, but you never know! Once again, I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving (if you celebrate Thanksgiving – all of you non-Yankees had to go to work like suckers!), and I hope everyone has a nice weekend. Tomorrow is Small Business Saturday, so if you’re disgusted by Black Friday (as I have since I was old enough to know what it is), check out some local stuff tomorrow!

60 Comments

To be honest, I really, really, could use a girlfriend like Epiphany.

Or at least the babe in bikini floating in the water. (who is she?)

All right, son!! Wrightson goodness! Got to love this one, eh?

Has Peter David ever been given the reins to a major crossover?

Tom: That would be Jessica Alba in that treasure hunting movie with Paul Walker. Deep Blue Sea, maybe? I’m too lazy to look it up.

Kabe: Not that I’m aware of. That would be interesting, to say the least.

I just assumed that the teenagers in Uncanny were Americans visiting the Gold Coast?

They had to be right?

Hawkeye used to run with the Thunderbolts, for god’s sakes. If the MU public doesn’t think he’s shady by now, they haven’t been paying attention.

Ha, Summertime.

I like Deadpool, but man, some of the jokes are so groan-worthy. I suppose they could be meant to be though. I’m on board as long as Moore is.

Peter David got “Sins of Youth” at DC Comics in 1999. I don’t know if that qualifies as a “major crossover”–it really was two issues of Young Justice, seven or eight spinoff books, and an issue of Superboy. Then again, this was back when DC was pumping out a major event once a quarter. It didn’t go to the line-wide extent of, say, DC One Million or something, but it ate up the calendar that month and I read every chapter.

He also got “Heroes Reborn: The Return” at Marvel in ’98. Again, not really a crossover, so much as an endcap to “Heroes Reborn” and a lead-in to the “Heroes Return” titles. David’s Hulk series sort of fed into it as well.

Kabe: Not sure it counts, but wasn’t he behind Sins of Youth for DC back when he was on Young Justice? I guess the definition of “major” crossover could be argued there.

Dang, ninja’d. I’ll add that I totally agree with Adam – I read every part of that story and loved it. There were even some great meta jokes with a character complaining that something like this happens every five weeks – a poke at DC doing a big event every time there were five Wednesdays in a month. Good stuff, and David in rare form.

Happy day after Thanksgiving, Greg! What *is* Black Friday, anyway? I’ve seen it mentioned on Ken Levine (very good) weblog as well but apart from reminding me of Bob Clark’s Black Christmas and Thomas Harris’s Black Sunday I’ve no idea what it is. Something to do with over-charging?! Solve the mystrry my American compadre!
Your comments on All New X-Men align with mine, fine art, *stupid*, *stupid*, illogical story,.and it’s not the *good* stupid either. BEEENNNDDDIIISSS! Quite how is Scott supposed to be responsible for “mutant genocide”? So silly. Surely we are not supposed to agree with Hank (and the writers/editors?) that Scott is such a menace? Baldercrap. I thoroughly agree with what your Canadian chum Chad Nevett writes about this on his weblog,, it’s well worth reading. Also, I recommend that you and all right-thinking (;-)) people check out the David Brothers piece he linked to in Random Thoughts (I think it was in that column at least), both David and Chad do an eloquent job of skewering the lazy thinking behind assuming that “negative” (ie critical) reviews or thinking is *bad* while “positive” criticism (ie “tjat was *AWESOME”) is ipso facto “good. I understand Chad’s frustrations better now (tho’ I still don’t comprehend why he doesn’t like comments ;-)).
Happy Endings? Ugh, Burgas, I hate those assholes! But I *love* Community. In related news Eliza Coupe is OK but *Alison Brie* is sooo radiant, funny, and saucy! Yeah, Happy Endings can suck it, still it remains to be seen whether post-Harmon Community will retain any of its wit, strangeness, and warmth, so there’s *that*. Challenge not my sicom taste or I must *desyroy you*!
Yes, I couldn’t pick up Captain America (Series 41l #1 because Romita fils art *hurt my eyes*. Dreadful. I quite liked Rom’s (not *that* Rom!) work on Amazing and Uncanny in the ’80s but his later work, particularly in the digital era distresses me and my poor optic nerves.. I’m in a quandary over Indestructible Hulk, I quite like the concept but Yu’s art is eeurgh not to my taste, SO MUCH SCRATCHINESS and so many lines! What to do! Thor is the best of the Marvel NOW PIIIGGGSSS IINN SSPAAAACCCEEE! titles so far, you can’t go wrong with Ribic and Gorr the God Butcher (or is that the *Good* Butcher, maybe he should meet The Good Wife?!) can you?!
The whole situation in Israel and Palestine is terrible, why do we *do/ these things, isn’t the world a hard enough place? Horrifying. Um, well, have a good weekend Greg and everyone!

Pretty sure that’s Summertime by DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince.

I got a few NOW! issues at 40 percent off, mostly because for blank covers I can get sketched. ANXM has an interesting hook, and I’ve never gotten any version of Warren, Hank or Bobby sketched. And I’d like to see the kids’ reactions (taken from my comment on ComicsAlliance after AVX #12 came out):

Scott Summers: “You mean to tell me that I kill the Professor, get Guantamo’d, and become some sort of a revolutionary hero, basically filling Magneto’s place?!?”

Jean Grey: “You mean to tell me that I die? Twice?!?”

Henry McCoy: “You mean to tell me that I’ll drink a serum, grow blue fur, eventually become some weird mutant cat-critter, and I spout stuff that makes sure people KNOW I’m smarter than them?!?”

Warren Worrington III: “You mean to tell me that I’ll get revamped by an all-powerful villain, and basically switch back and forth between personas, as if a series of all-knowing gods aren’t sure what to do with me?!?”

Bobby Drake: “You mean to tell me that I’ll remain the same and still be awesome?!?”
Iceman: “That’s right, big guy. [raising hand up] Up top!”

Didn’t get the new Hulk book, though I’m kinda thrilled Waid opened it in Manchester, AL, the one-time home of Impulse. Y’know . . . there doesn’t seem to be any Hulk movies on the horizon, unlike the Avengers’ Big Three. I think “Incredible Hulk: Agent of SHIELD” could work.

Thunderbolts & Dark Avengers have one of the very few bright spots in a very screwed up Marvel U. Awesome stories that got me to care about b-list characters. Alot like Secret Six from DC.

Jax: I don’t know – if the girls are visiting, why would the brother be there? If the dudes are visiting, why would the girls speak exactly the same as they do? It’s a mystery!!!!

jjc and C.W.: It is indeed Summertime!

Hal: Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, when stores lower their prices ridiculously and consumers are supposed to camp out to get the best deals. Many stores open at 3, 4, or 5 a.m., and people actually camp out. This year, several stores opened on Thanksgiving night, ruining the holiday even further. It’s pretty disgusting, and every year you hear a story or two about someone who got trampled to death in the rush to get a shitty product for a low, low price. Blech.

I like Community a lot, too, but I also like Happy Endings. There’s room for both! I’m curious to see the post-Harmon version, too. And today I found out that Chevy Chase quit, even though they’ve filmed most of the season, so he won’t be in one or two episodes. Oh well.

I did see that piece that Brothers wrote. I agree with it pretty much 100%.

Yeah, Thor is pretty good. I think Deadpool is more fun, but Thor is pretty good.

Jason: I like your reactions of the original X-Men. Bendis won’t make them as much fun, though. And I didn’t know that Manchester was where Impulse used to live. That is pretty awesome of Waid.

Chazz: I agree. It’s too bad I don’t think that will be continuing!

Another column that shows that we just don’t think alike.

I thought Hawkeye was amazing and I had lots of fun with Cap – the ridiculousness and goofiness was what sold me; it felt Captain America by way of Edgar Rice Burroughs. I had fun with it.

Meanwhile, Journey into Mystery and Deadpool were thoroughly ho-hum. Well, aside from the art. Art-wise, they were great, but the writing did not much of anything for me and I won’t be coming back for more.

Understand though that I’m not saying you’re wrong – I generally see where you’re coming from in your column even if I disagree more often than not. Your column has just always shown me how subjective comics really are.

Glad to hear you liked Thor though. At least we agreee on that.

As far as All New X-Men goes, I just don’t think I’ve gotten enough to feel comfortable coming to any firm judgment of the series. I mean, young X-Men basically only just show up at the end of the issue. I’ll need a couple more issues to get a firmer handle on the series……..but I’ll tell you something, All New X-Men #1 was still MILES better than this week’s Avengers #34. MILES I tells ya! I realize I have no one to blame but myself, but after paying $4.99 and reading that, I feel like Marvel just straight up robbed me.

also, I laugh at your saying that Sliney isn’t “ready for prime-time” quite yet in getting a job at Marvel because his figure-work is stiff.

Greg Land’s been working there for years! That guy’s work is stiffer than *insert inappropriate joke here*

“Don’t Pay the Ferryman” ….really Greg? I can’t condone stuff like that, not even as a guilty pleasure.

Well, I liked Captain America #1 just fine, but since it’s a riff on ’70s Kirby (and ’70s Kirby is the best Kirby), I was bound to dig it. And it’s also drawn by Romita Jr– the blockier his art gets, the better. The series looks to be going into an American Barbarian direction, so hopefully it becomes even more ridiculous.

Parker on Thunderbolts/Dark Avengers has been an amazing read. But I agree that this new artist, Edwards, is not my cup of tea at all. And what makes it worse is 2 greats artists just left – and this is the replacement??? Not good. So I hope we get someone else on soon. I’d hate to have to stop reading. But I will give the new direction an issue or two.

“The Last Day of Our Acquaintance” – Sinéad O’Connor. Love this song.

Alex: Heck, that’s cool. I’m just one dude, offering his opinion! I do think that Cap has some potential, but I really had a hard time with the art.

As for Sliney, I thought about bringing up Greg Land, actually. 1990s Land, however, is better than Sliney is right now, and Land didn’t change his approach until he became a big star, which is annoying. He already has his fans, and I don’t think his style will ever change. I think Sliney has potential, but I’m surprised because he doesn’t seem as polished as your usual superhero artist. Even Land back when he actually drew stuff was more polished than Sliney is right now. But I’m certainly rooting for him!

SurfiNerd: Sorry! :) I embrace multitudes, and I love the cheesy sincerity of that song. Don’t even fix a price, man!

Bill: I don’t mind Romita’s blockiness, as some of his best work is in that style, but I do not like the weakness of the lines. Even something like Man Without Fear, which was pretty blocky, didn’t feature characters as poorly-drawn as Mean Old Mr. Rogers. And I just can’t deal with the big heads. BIG HEADS!!!!!

I agree with you about the Kirby riff, and that’s fine, but I wish the art would improve.

James: I know Edwards is the beginning artist on the new Dark Avengers arc, but I don’t know who’s following him up. It is too bad.

azjohnson5: That’s a good album, and this is the best song on it!

Captain America was barely readable, like everything Remender has ever written!

Just wondering why you dont read any Valiant books? Im buying all their titles but I think you would dig Archer & Armstrong. Clayton Henry and Pere Perez have done the art for the first 4 issues but issue #5 has Lupacchino!

Many thoughts, many thoughts…

I have to say, I’m really pleased you’re reviewing all of the Marvel Now first issues. When the whole thing started, There were 8 books I knew I wanted to try (Thor, Hulk, FF, FF, Uncanny Avengers, Cap, Avengers, New Avengers), and the rest I just figured I’d make that call when they came out whether I felt like giving them a whirl or not. It’s nice to have your reviews to help guide my hand here. I picked up Deadpool on the strength of your review and I truly enjoyed it. I even got the second issue and added it to my LCS subscriptions. It’s thoroughly enjoyable. And your review of All New X-Men has helped make up my mind to definitely not try it, as it sounds terrible. A few other books I’m slightly interested in but don’t know whether I’ll pick them up are Morbius, Uncanny X-Force, Secret Avengers, Thunderbolts, Wolverine, Fearless Defenders and Young Avengers, so I look forward to your reviews of those too.

And the thing that bothers me the most about All New X-Men is that Beast is the one who goes back to get the kids, because it just feels so shockingly out of character for him. Bendis can have his two x-books and do whatever he wants with them, I don’t particularly care. But Wolverine & The X-Men is my favorite book on the stands, and if Bendis’ plots spill out of his books and fuck with W&TXM, I’ll be pissed. Let Aaron do his thing. He rocks.

Captain America was pretty ho-hum for me, but I’ll give it a few issues to see what Remender is really trying to do. I agree that the art felt off, but for me the coloring was the main offender. And strangely, I had decided I didn’t like the coloring before I even realized it was Dean White, who did the coloring job I hated on Thor last week. I’ve been reading some Punisher Max hardcovers I got on ebay recently, and see White also colored those, which he’s perfect for. I don’t think he’s a bad colorist, but I think his style doesn’t have much range, and he should stay the hell away from super-hero books. He’d be perfect for Hellblazer or Prophet. Captain America, not so much.

And the interesting thing about Captain America (to me), is the decision to ape Kirby in story style. I mean, we comic fans have seen a veritable shitload of Kirby aping over the years, but it’s always art aping. Have we ever seen a writer ape Kirby without his artistic collaborator following suit? As I’m pretty sure Kirby never wrote a comic that he didn’t draw, we probably don’t even know what a Kirby story with non-Kirby art even looks/feels like.

Deadpool is really good, Glory is really good, and holy shit those Bernie Wrightson splash pages are fucking gorgeous.

I didn’t dislike this issue of Hawkeye, though I agree it suffers from Aja’s absence. And I like Pulido better than you do it seems, but it still felt too noticeably different. Though the Madripoor setting helped make up for it. I haven’t seen a comic take place there in quite a long time.

It does seem we disagree a bit on Hulk. I thought it was a literally perfect first issue. Now that isn’t to say it’s the best first issue I’ve ever read (it’s probably not top 10), but I do think it perfectly fulfilled the parameters of what a first issue should do, and it did so in a wonderfully entertaining way. It told a complete story (something first issues almost NEVER do), it set up a new status quo that exists logically and involved NO retcons (think about how seldom that happens), it created an avenue for many new story ideas and directions, it was funny, it featured both intelligent character moments and great action, and it didn’t insult the reader with stupid plot holes or wildly out-of-character actions. Now, some may say that all of this is true simply because contemporary Big Two relaunches have lowered the bar so much (possible), but I think this would have felt like a great first issue in any era. Mark Waid is a bit like Gene Hackman; not the greatest ever, but every time he’s on screen, you remember that the dude can act. Without fail, Waid gives you what you pay for. And I also thought that the two page splash when we first see the Hulk was one of the best uses of a splash page I’ve seen in a while. They were the only pages of the comic without at least three panels on them, and it felt like a completely necessitated use of a two page splash. It added to the story, as opposed to contributing to the lack of story (something I feel about virtually every DC splash page these days–it’s like they’re there for the express purpose of fitting LESS into 20 pages).

And regarding Eddie Vedder’s ukelele album, it’s shockingly not very good. I love Pearl Jam (I thought Backspacer was the best album of ’09), and I really enjoyed Vedder’s Into the Wild soundtrack, so I had high hopes for Ukelele Songs. But really, it’s just dull and forgettable. The songs are honestly too subtle. They don’t have catchy melodies, don’t really ever crescendo (and all Vedder fans know that he’s at his best when crescendoing), and there’s virtually no variation between the songs. The whole album is an unmemorable blur, and you just end up tuning it out until the disc changes and you immediately think “Oh, that was the album? Wait, I don’t remember what a single song sounded like.” You’re better off spending that money on a Pearl Jam 20 dvd, which is a fucking fantastic documentary if you haven’t seen it, and it perfectly captures why the band mattered, how great they were (are?), how meaningful they were to an entire generation, and how it really is possible to never sacrifice your integrity. Highly recommended.

And I’m also atheist, but don’t have any kids yet. So I’m curious, in what way are you raising your daughter’s with or without religion? Is your younger one too young for it to be an issue yet? Are you frank with her about religion? Is she curious about her friends that inevitable spend their Sunday mornings in church?

I saw a great bumper sticker the other day: “I’m atheist. This doesn’t men I have no reason to live. It means I have no reason to die.”

Oh, and to follow up our discussion from last week…

I saw Lincoln. It’s very, very good, but it’s not as good as many reviews are letting on. It’s not a classic. It’s not a movie we’ll be talking about for years. I don’t expect it to transcend eras and generations the way the great films often do.

My biggest complaint is honestly that it would have been better as an HBO miniseries. While film is my favorite art form (by far), I don’t think film was the best avenue to tell this story. While as recently as five years ago this wouldn’t have even been a debate, the landscape has now changed. Shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Homeland are continuing to prove that serialized stories with high budget film production values and Oscar-worthy story telling can consistently find audiences on the small screen, and now there’s no turning back. Even though the entirety of the film takes place over just a few months (the movie is NOT a biopic, as some are no doubt expecting), it still covers too much ground. The Wire can juggle 50 major characters over its 60 episode run. Lincoln cannot juggle that many characters in 150 minutes. They all feel short-changed. The climactic scene features a dozen characters that I’m not sure had even been on screen before.

From a writing standpoint, each scene is expertly written, and the dialogue is often the strongest point of the film. But from a structure standpoint, and from a “what scenes to show and what scenes to leave out” standpoint, I thought the screenplay was a bit lacking. While the struggles of the 13th amendment are explained quite well, the struggles of the voters deciding whether or not to support it are barely touched on, and that ends up being the crux of the movie… we see how everyone votes, but it’s not really clear why they vote the way they do.

Even still, there’s a lot to like here. The acting is, of course, top notch. While Daniel Day Lewis is getting most of the attention, I thought Tommy Lee Jones also gave one of the best performances of his career. But for me, probably the best aspect of the movie was the rhetoric. As I said, even though I had some problems with the structure, the in-scene writing is astoundingly good. Many of Lincoln’s talks to his cabinet and explications of his reasoning and thinking are quite memorable and really touching. It’s no surprise that one of the best playwrights of his generation (Tony Kushner) wrote the screenplay.

But seeing the film confirmed for me that I don’t think it can win Best Picture. To overcome both voter fatigue and the presence of another equally good/equally deserving candidate, Lincoln had to be a true classic. And I don’t think it is.

If I may, I’d like to yet again stick in a plugola for the kickstarter for Alexis Fajardo’s Kid Beowulf. It’s a fun story, cool art, and he went to the same high school I did! It’s got less than a week left. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1337126939/kid-beowulf-and-the-rise-of-el-cid-complete-the-tr

Ok, end plugola.

Starting from the top with what I got that you got:

All New X-Men 1 — I sure hope that’s how some of these books get green lit. I didn’t dislike this as much as you did, but it certainly wasn’t very good. And with Cyclops not being in the prison after just being in the prison in Uncanny Avengers, it didn’t make any fucking sense there. Oy.

Captain America 1 — Yeah, start your book out with Daddy America punching the shit out of Momma America. And make her heroic because she takes the beating. I guess.

JRJR is quite bad here. I usually like his newer stuff, but this was definitely bad.

Hell, the Green Skull was the best part of the issue, just because he was so over the top EEEEVIL(ish).

Deadpool 2 — I liked the first issue, but I LOVED the second issue. Ben Franklin and Teddy just really kicked the whole “undead presidents” thing up a notch. The jokes were fast and furious, and it was a great time. I’m loving this.

Hawkeye 4 — Jesus Christ, I fucking HATED this issue. It made me ANGRY. If it’s so damn important that no one sees this videotape…

…DESTROY THE FUCKING VIDEOTAPE, IDIOTS!!!!!!!

Then fuckin’ Clint gets mugged and beaten, and not just “I’m letting this happen to make everyone let their guard down”. No, he’s actually THAT FUCKING STUPID.

I’ll get 5 just to see if it was all some sort of swerve, but jesus, after that, if it’s still horrible I’m done. That solicit you featured in the last Previews was so fucking annoying too.

And the letters page. Who writes in to congratulate the team on multiple printings of the early issues? Y’know, the same multiple printings that are advertised elsewhere in the issue. Convenient.

Indestructible Hulk 1 — I didn’t notice that floating robot thing anywhere either, but the text at the back said something about it, so I looked. I sorta saw it in the issue somewhere. Didn’t even notice it on the cover, though. D’oh!

Yeah, Yu’s art is neat, but the action sequences were just confusing. You’d think he’d be good at action stuff.

Mind the Gap 6 — yeah, it’s decent each issue, and I like it, but I’m not salivating waiting for the next issue. Then I read the new one, and it’s like, yeah, I can’t drop getting this yet. It’s intriguing where the plot might be going, but I hope everything doesn’t drag out too long. I see you chose the Oback cover too.

Rocketeer Cargo of Doom 4 — I liked the opening bit in the movie theater, that was good. That last page reveal was a bit disappointing to me, as it’s an all too often used element (see Think Tank 4). I’m not sure how the questions of Sally’s age got answered, though.

Steed and Mrs Peel 3 — Yeah, that was an abrupt ending. It could have used another issue to let the story breath, or pare it down some and have resolved it in 2 issues. But, y’know, Emma in black leather, so sweet! Sliney doesn’t seem quite ready yet, but considering that Marvel will try to put out 25 issues of every comic in a year, they’ve got to hire everyone and burn them all out. Ha!

I’ll be interested to hear what you think of Saucer Country. But why do you list Goran Sudzuka as one of the artists? Kelly did the first…5, I think, Broxton did the one off in 6, and David Lapham, according to that issue’s credits, did 7. Did DC fuck up their credits listings again?

Damn, I didn’t know that about Elisabeth Moss. She’s actually got the same birthdate as I do, but is 3 or 4 years younger (I know, I’m so old!). I kinda like that second Frosty one, because Mark (Devo) Mothersbaugh does the music.

Dolla Dolla bill, y’all!

Urban Dance Squad? “A deeper shade of soul”? Yeah-ah-ah-ah!

Yeah, Hellblazer is constantly good but I’m not sure if I can agree with Camuncoli’s art. I love it and he’s my favorite Hellblazer artist to date but I think it’s sloppier than his past work on title. Probably because he’s giving more attention to Amazing Spider-Man.

You probably won’t care about UXF: Otherworld especially when you thought the issues before it didn’t have much to “chew” on, just like me :P

That arc of Uncanny XForce is terrible. Writing unexpectedly drops off and the art is godawful. Seriously, some pages look half finished. That arc made me drop UXF entirely.

How did All New XMen get approved? First off, how did that title name get approved? All New? Jesus God. Second, did the people who liked this book just accept that this is where the story is going? I mean, like this is what’s next for the characters so I guess I need to go along with it. I have talked to others about this and they say “well, it’s happening so I guess I’ll just go along with it.” Just because things happen to the characters doesn’t mean that they are good enough to try. And with all this time travel stuff, why don’t they just go back and fix the problems before they start? Marvel just doesn’t want my money at all.

The .gif was from Into the Blue.

Book of the week was definately Journey into Mystery, I was worried with Gillen and co leaving but this issue really delivered.
Yeah, Pulido was a damn weird choice to follow Aja. Michael Lark would have been a far more sensible choice for this book. I loved Pulido’s work on Robin: Year One from a few years back but these days he comes across as a poor mans Darwyn cooke. I just hope Aja can put together a decent run on this book, before it goes the way of Iron Fist before it.

Not buying The Grand Duke, Burgas?
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=14333

That’s a shame!

Fat Flash: I’m getting the Valiant books in trade. They’ve started being solicited, so I’ll be getting them soon enough. I just figured they’d be better to read that way!

Third Man: That’s an interesting point about the Kirby riffing.

I do agree about the splash page in Hulk. It was quite cool. And I do think Waid’s writing is good on the book, but some of the confusing aspects of Yu’s work hurt it a bit. It’s still four bucks, though, and I just don’t want to spend four dollars for a regular 20-page comic from Marvel or DC. But it’s something I’ll probably get in trade.

Thanks for the mini-review of Vedder’s ukulele album. That’s too bad. I like Pearl Jam a lot, but I tend not to watch music documentaries too much. I might have to consider getting that Pearl Jam one, though, because that sounds pretty neat.

My younger daughter is just starting to be aware of religion and such. I don’t know if church comes up too much at her school, so I don’t know if it’s an issue yet. One of her friends is Mormon, and her parents are obviously pretty active because she talks about it a lot, but Norah hasn’t started asking too many questions. We’ve told her that if she wants to go to church, we’ll be happy to take her, but she did go with my mom once and didn’t think it was too interesting. I don’t know what we’ll tell her in a year or two when she really starts asking questions. I’ll figure it out. Right now, it’s not too much of an issue.

Interesting thoughts about Lincoln. Every review I’ve read says Tommy Lee Jones is superb, so I guess it’s true! Your point about the scope of the movie is interesting, because one reason I’ve lost a lot of interest in movies is because I’ve gotten so fascinated with good character development and plots that are able to resolve over a longer period of time, and the fact that good television series can do these things as well as movies make me more interested in those. Very often, when I see movies these days, I think that there’s a lot missing and they could have easily been good television series. Can you imagine a 6-12 episode version of Watchmen on HBO? I know that was bandied about when the movie was being made, and I thought it was an excellent idea. That’s how I feel about a lot of movies these days.

Travis: Tell us how you really feel about Hawkeye!!!! Obviously, I didn’t hate it as much as you did, but it left a lot to be desired. And I love clicking on the tweet button of our posts, and for that Previews one, Steve Wacker and the dude who actually wrote the Hawkeye solicit were enjoying the fact that I hated it. I’m glad they were entertained!

Saucer Country collects issues #1-6 AND the story in Strange Adventures, which was drawn by Sudzuka. DC, at least, didn’t screw these credits up!

Minuteman: I don’t recall if I’ve been mentioning Camuncoli’s art on Hellblazer recently, but you’re right that it has been sloppier than it was at the beginning of the run. One of my daily posts coming up actually has older Camuncoli Hellblazer art, and I mention that. I thought it was better on this issue, and whatever “sloppiness” in the art was there deliberately, because of the tone of the book. But you’re right – it was better 2-3 years ago.

Adam: Into the Blue. Thanks. Deep Blue Sea was that insane shark movie, wasn’t it?

I hate to say it, but I think a lot of books keep going simply because the characters that people like are in them. I know people at my comic book store who buy anything X-related (or Batman-related, or Iron Man-related …). That’s fine if they enjoy them, but if the books suck, why would you spend money on them?

Anonymous: Pulido has done good work before and he is a good artist, but I just don’t think he works on this book. Michael Lark would have worked better.

Pedro: Dang, I didn’t realize it was out. When you told me about it a few months ago, I didn’t find it in Previews. But now I’ll go order it on-line somewhere. Thanks for the heads-up!

Get this one since you are at that:
http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=14332

I haven’t got it, but Vehlmann is a great writer!

I think DC CHALLENGE was greenlit exactly as you speculate above about the X-men thing, but it sounds like DC CHALLENGE was a much better book than what you describe the X-thing as.

Greg: Well, you did say it was nicely drawn… :p

His art has been looking off at times, just look at page 15 of the latest issue: http://bit.ly/TcjKef, there’s just something about those pencils or is it just Landini’s inking?

And nah, it was as good as it was in the beginning a year ago or so, to me at least.

Hopefully he brought he’s A-Game in the last arc :D

I wasn’t expecting much from JR Jr’s art once I knew Klaus Janson was inking it. Janson takes the worst aspects of JR Jr’s art and magnifies them to intolerable levels. JR Jr works best when he is with someone who softens his style, like Mark Farmer or Scott Hanna.

I do think it’s rushed, and it’s probably that Landini has been picking up the slack more, but in this issue, the old woman should have looked like she did, and I don’t mind the scruffiness of John. Where I think it’s been a bit sloppier is with Epiphany, who looks a bit more haggard these days. Perhaps it’s deliberate because she’s been hanging out with John so much?

T.: I’m pretty sure you know I disagree with that, but that’s fine. What surprised me about this art is that Janson’s inks DID soften it a bit, but not in a good way at all. It’s strange – maybe that’s just not Janson’s thing, and Marvel should have called Hanna or Farmer to ink this!

Schiti? His name is Schiti? School must have been hell.

All Old X-men was terrible. So many plot holes like, how actually Beast managed to go back in time? And why to this exact moment? And no, I don’t wanna buy #2 to find out. I feel already ashamed for buying #1. Buying = supporting. Supporting terrible comic books = more terrible comic books. Think about it.

Re: Pearl Jam 20 – If you didn’t know, the documentary is by Cameron Crowe (Almost Famous), so it really doesn’t feel like much of an info dump, but more like a celebration of the band from a fan. Albeit a very smart, filmmaker fan.

Re: Lincoln – While I agree that many things might make better television mini-series than films, I think that complaint is only valid if there’s a proven business model. Otherwise it’s too unfair to talk about what should have been when there’s no reason to believe it could have been. Because TV of that sort if still in its infancy, most things haven’t been tried yet, and with Watchmen, for example, there’s really no precedent. (Though the reason I hated the Watchmen film wasn’t the length; it’s that I think Zach Snyder is one of the 2-3 worst directors in Hollywood.) But with Lincoln, there really is a precedent. John Adams was a huge success as an HBO mini-series jus a year or two ago. That business model exists, and proved itself to work. So with Lincoln, I think “Why didn’t you do this as an HBO mini-series?” is a perfectly valid question/complaint, while with most other films it isn’t.

And I do still think film is the right medium for most great stories. Argo, for example, is the perfect two hour narrative. It didn’t need to be longer or explore anything more thoroughly. Same with Silver Linings Playbook, Looper, The Sessions, or The Master, which are probably my five favorite films of the year (thus far).

But it’s interesting to see the establishing of new precedents with prestige television. Game of Thrones for example, is probably one of the first book series to be adapted into a high-budget television series (as opposed to a movie series), and it’s a fantastic show. It will be interesting to see whether its success starts a trend, or whether people try to copy it in the wrong ways (The people love swords and sorcery! Let’s give them more!). What people love about the show isn’t the dragons or the undead ice people, it’s the depth of character, and the smart writing. But it’s guaranteed to get misinterpreted.

But there are definitely some comic book series that I think would work fantastically as series on HBO/Showtime/AMC, not just in terms of quality, but as successful business models that would appeal to large audiences and could be done relatively inexpensively. Scalped, Y The Last Man, 100 Bullets, Powers, and Sleeper all come to mind.

And if SHIELD is a runaway hit, I think Gotham Central is a virtually guaranteed television show within 3 years.

Ah, it’s good to be back. So where are we? Oh that’s right, we’re full swing into Marvel Now! (exclamation mark not added for emphasis). Fair warning folks, this may get a little controversial, so controversial in fact that I’m going to coin a new word to describe how controversial. Contraversaryishy. Yeah that’ll do. http://www.theaureview.com/sites/default/files/600x388x110830,P20xzibit.jpg.pagespeed.ic.XvoFuISa10.jpg

First off, I found Thor to be thoroughly enjoyable, so all you fanboys out there can breath your collective sighs of relief (although, as a soliloquy, I have always been fond of the character so perhaps there may have been some confirmation bias on my part).

Secondly, I didn’t find Deadpool #1 funny (please don’t hit me). And here I was thinking that when Marvel decided to hire a comedian to write their “funny” character, it was such a novel idea. Oh well (but if you excuse this additional soliloquy, which is a word I’m using completely out of its proper context at any rate, I have generally enjoyed reading this character in the past, so this does this validate the value of Thor: God of Thunder? I can only wonder).

Captain America….I didn’t pick up, I’m sorry my American friends, I just can’t bring myself to read, touch or even look at any comic that has “Captain America” in the title (please don’t hit me). Now I don’t need anybody to explain how the character isn’t some jingoistic, patriotic uber-douche (as a non-comic reading friend of mine so elegantly explained to me his immediate impression of the character), but it’s just a matter of national pride. If I can’t read a Captain Australia comic (who incidentally is a Real Life Super Hero http://www.captainaustralia.net/ ), then I’m not going to be reading anyone’s national hero anytime soon (Captain Britain included).

And now, All-New X-Men (sigh). Yes it was really annoying to read those Gold Coast based characters, and yes, they do read as American. I mean come on Bendis, you were here not that long ago for that convention in Melbourne. How do I know? I was there Bendis. Yes that’s right, I could see the sheen of your glistening bald head under the bright lights from above. Or was I just blinded by the radiance of the Golden Pegasus that you evidently never felt the need to dismount. You and your mighty winged steed just wafted above the convention floor like a cartoon fart cloud, and not once did you, the Holy Prophet of Decompressed Soap Operatic Superhero Comics ever hear the voices of the filthy, contemptible progeny of convicts crying out to you “G’day.”

On another note, was I the only one not bothered by Beast breaking the laws of causality in the way he did. See my thought process was; that it’s established that Beast is now mutating again he that he may not survive, and so in an effort to kill (or rather save) a few birds with one stone, he will bring the young X-Men forward in time to not only have Scott avoid the path he would eventually take, but also inform his younger self of the actions that he takes that cause him his further mutations. The end result of which is Beast deliberately alters the past to change the present/future. Or is that just me?

Okay, enough of this. Lets all unwind with some sexy ass ladies (please don’t hit me) and some music that vaguely sounds like the X-Men opening theme song. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiaOFOMPOBc

On the return of Jean Grey, how many people not in the direct employ of Marvel actually want her to return at all?

Marvel has been teasing or playing off of the idea of Jean Grey’s return since the moment Morrison finished his X-Men run. It seems there are more fans against it, and fewer fans for it, every time Marvel hints at the idea.

Mutt: Well, Schiti is Italian, so I assume it wasn’t quite as easy to pick on him in school as it would have been in an English-speaking country. Who knows?

ultron: Well, I didn’t buy it, so I hope that mitigates it a bit!

Third Man: Yeah, I think movies can still do a good job with some things. Of those films you listed, I’ve only seen Looper, and it worked perfectly as a two-hour narrative. It seems like those movies you mentioned only have two or three main characters (The Master has two, I know, and I guess his wife? and The Sessions has the dude, Helen Hunt, and the priest, right?), so maybe it’s a question of bigger scale things. I don’t know. I remember when we saw The Hunger Games (which my wife and a friend really wanted to see), and without having read the books, I noticed some plot holes that were explained in the book but not the movie. The movie could have been a bit longer, but perhaps it would have worked better as a TV series? I don’t know, but it’s an interesting discussion. I would love to see a good Gotham Central television show. That would be awesome.

Hank Henry: Hey, no problem if you don’t like Deadpool. Humor is one of the most subjective things in entertainment, I’ve always thought, and I’m actually surprised that I like it so much, because if you had described it to me, I would have thought it might be good for a laugh or two, but not so many. But that’s the way it is!

I’m glad actual Australians thought the dialogue in All-New X-Men was painful. I certainly don’t think he needed to go overboard with the slang, but as you pointed out, Bendis has been to Melbourne, even if it was probably long after this issue was written, so presumably he has some contacts Down Under. Give them a call, man!

Billy: Sure, I can’t imagine too many people want Jean back. But whenever I see someone on-line talking about it, they never want “original” Jean, they want “Phoenix” Jean. I do think the interest is waning, though.

Ah, that damn Strange Adventures story. I guess I’ll have to find that issue, because I’m not buying the Saucer Country trade, and I think there were a couple other cool things in there.

@Hatcher — Oh, I love DC Challenge. It’s so damn goofy, but it STILL makes more sense than current big 2 stuff.

@Hank Henry — Deadpool got funnier with issue 2, but it is quite a bit of American based humor (not humour), so that might be part of the problem for you. That’s cool, though.

And if I may do another cheap plugola — I’d actually planned on linking to this a while ago, but now he’s having a special for Small Business Saturday.

My pal Mark Scudder does amazing music, and does all the recording and production himself. And it’s awesome. It’s been called by some as “Meatloafian”, other stuff has a Devin Townsend influence, at his live gigs he covers Live. It’s good stuff but obviously hard for me to describe. I’ve known him for — dang, 15 years now, and I’m proud to call someone so talented a friend.

Anyway, clumsy sales pitch aside, today (so about 3-4 more hours), if you buy his stuff digitally and enter the code smallbiz at the checkout, you can get 20% off. He’s got an album called The Solution is the Problem, and while I haven’t gotten it myself yet, the demos I’ve heard are amazing stuff, and I have no doubt that the album is well worth your time and money.

http://markscudder.bandcamp.com/ is the main page for his stuff.

Forgive my indulgence in the plugola, but Mark’s a good friend and an amazing musician.

I’ll babble more about comics later.

I wonder if DC Challenge could even be reprinted today, seeing as how Peter Cannon, Thunderbolt plays a prominent role it it.

@Travis Pelkie – I was very careful to avoid using the word “humour” (or “humor” if you so please) when describing Deadpool, I just did not want to open that can of words.

I don’t know if it was the jokes were too “American” for my taste, I laugh at plenty of American produced comedies and comedians. And I do have a working knowledge of a fair few US presidents (at least all of the major ones ie. Lincoln, Washington, both Roosevelts, Nixon, Kennedy, Reagan and so on) so unless Posehn and Duggan were to throw John Tyler or Martin Van Buren at me, well then I would be completely lost.

To be fair to Bendis, though, you need look no farther than Boomerang in Thunderbolts/Dark Avengers for another example of an Australian in the Marvel U that speaks just like an American (in fact it’s a running gag that what he hears when Man Thing speaks is pretty much stereotypical American “street” slang) and no one complains about that.

@Hank Henry: Tyler? Van Buren? Who are you talking about?

HAHA, see what I did there, I made a joke at my own stupid American-ness expense in suggesting that as an American I am less familiar with US presidents than people from other countries are. HAHA*cough cough wheeze HACK*

But seriously, Deadpool 2 was funnier than 1, so you might want to give it a spin. If you want. Up to you.

Actually, I expect Tyler to show up in Deadpool, because of one facet of him that Deadpool writers wouldn’t be able to ignore…

Tyler was referred to as “His Accidency”, because of the unexpected death of Harrison that put him in office. It was not an accident that made the news recently when his last surviving GRANDCHILD died. Not only was he long-lived; he maintained a, shall we say, vigorous life, both traits he passed onto his sons.

Wade wouldn’t be able to resist…

@Greg

I think that’s definitely a good point about the amount of characters. I think a movie can successfully juggle a lot of characters, but it has to do so in specific ways. Argo, for example, has a dozen or more important characters, but it works because each character is only there to perform a plot derived function. We don’t need to know anything about who these people are internally. With Lincoln, I think the problem I had was that there are dozens and dozens of characters, and the movie is ostensibly about the way they vote. But to really understand the way someone votes, I think you have to understand the person, to a degree. In Lincoln, we see the outcome of how they each vote without understanding how they got there.

For some reason I never had any idea Boomerang was Australian–although I guess that makes sense, because god forbid they could create a boomerang-themed villain and have him not be Australian. According to Wikipedia he was raised in the US, though. That makes sense, because one of the few things I remember about him from the comics I read as a kid was that he started as a baseball player.

ZZZ: Yeah, I didn’t know he was Australian, either. I knew the DC one was, but not the Marvel one. As buttler points out, it makes sense (Yanks wouldn’t use boomerangs, they’d use real-man weapons!), but I didn’t know it specifically.

I remember in days long past when I used to get excited about JRjr being on a title. I just cannot look at what he does now. And that pose on the front cover, what the hell is happening there?

*sigh*

Secondly, I read All New X-Men. I wish I hadn’t. I wish I just read this review and left it there. I wish that I didn’t think “I’ve got to see how bad it is”. I’m just glad I didn’t pay for it. Thanks comic book store that I treated like a library.

Speaking of Boomerang. I this I’m gonna miss him most. He would of been a good fit to go along with Moonstone. They had good chemistry. And he was a laugh. :-)

My mini-reviews…

All-New X-Men was not as bad as you say it is (that is still nto a ringing endorsement).

Captain America was worse than you say it was (which was not all that good).

I loved your review of All-New X-men. I can’t see myself picking anything up by Bendis, which is weird as he had two titles on my top ten comic series. Secret Invasion somehow killed my interest in following him. Ah well, maybe one day he will do something that really excites me.

I think you are being a little harsh on Elle’s knowledge of the states in Mind The Gap Greg. She has got Amnesia, which I’m sure affects that somewhat. Maybe as I’m enjoying the title a little more than you I’m more forgiving of such things though.

It feels like you review X-Factor every week!

@ Jason – great reactions for the X-men.

All the comments have me very intrigued by Lincoln. It is notout in the UK until January, but I wll definitely watch it. I do tend to prefer TV than movies though

HA!

Hey,, I don’t hate “skeevy” Dr. Strange.
I only dislike it when it it is out of character.

Despite what you may believe, I actually thought the last page reveal in DEADPOOL # 2 was awesome!

I’m a BIG FAN of shagadellic Dr. Strange!
(Although, truthfully, the beatnik/hippie hangout vibe is better when it’s CLEA he’s getting down with, but the free love going on in the Sanctum these days is the new “NOW” for Doc.)

PTOR

PTOR: I was just funnin’ with you! I just knew a Doctor Strange appearance would get you interested, so I figured I’d call you out!

That’s some pretty hard news re Derek Kirk Kim and Tune. I love his work but want him to finish something. He had me totally interested in something a while back (Healing Hands) but then scrapped it. And I’ve read both volumes of Tune and really would like to know what will happen next. I want the end of the story dammit. I want to see him persevere and finish something. It’s already too much of a shame that he only drew the first volume of Tune before handing art over to Les McClaine for the second volume.

I love Kim but I think the last time he satisfied me was in Same Difference, around the turn of the century.

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