Friday, March 30, 2007

This Week In Comics: Mar. 28, 2007

Action Comics #847
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artist: Renato Guedes

I'm always wary of fill-in issues. They're never really necessary, they don't contribute to the story being put on hold, and they often suck (I'm talkin' Hoover quality). This issue, thankfully, didn't fit the mold. While it's completely unnecessary, McDuffie still makes the story enjoyable. With Supes trapped in the Phantom Zone and General Zod tearing Metropolis a new poopshoot, Ma and Pa Kent fear it's the end of the world, and contrary to popular belief, they won't be fine.

I really liked this story because it did something we don't get to see that often: see the pain that Superman sometime has to go through to save the day. And surrounding this is a nice tale about a man and his son. I've always thought this aspect is important. Sure, Superman is practically a god, but he still has time to remember that he has a family to care for. As for the art, DC sure knocked one out of the park with Guedes. He does a great job showing the humanity in Superman, and shows just how fantastic his life can be at the same time. So while this doesn't but a dent in the big picture, it's worth the read.

Batman #664
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Andy Kubert

After last issue's novella, it's great to see Morrison return to the standard comic format. Comics are a visual medium, after all.

Grant Morrison has the knack for taking a seemingly uninteresting story and making something out of it. Yea, it's a standard "punch this pimp, save that whore" formula, but it works. While I guess I was expecting more from this issue, I can't really complain about it.

As for the end, there's obviously a bigger story tying the events of Morrison's first arc to this one (hell, Batman even says so). So far we've seen one cop dress as Batman and shoot the Joker, and in this issue we supposedly have another cop wearing the uniform, except this guy screams Bane. Put this together with the mystery of the black case book, and we have ourselves something quite interesting. Too bad we'll have to wait until next issue to see what happens.

Fantastic Four #544
Writer: Dwayne McDuffie
Artist: Paul Pelletier

I really, really liked this book. Thank God McDuffie decided to give us a reasonable explanation as to why Black Panther and Storm decided to join the Fantastic Four. And there's plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor and winking at the audience, so that's pretty good. The pace of this book is also excellent. Rather than having to wait several issues to get the story going, we move from the Baxter Building to the Blue Area of the Moon to... someplace in space. Do I know where they are? No, but let me tell you one thing, it sure ain't pretty. Couple this with witty dialogue and excellent artwork, and you have my issue of the week. Can't wait for next month, cuz it looks like this is going to be one sweet ride.

Wolverine #52
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Simone Bianchi

I still haven't figured out if Wolverine is telling this story after the fact, or if he usually keeps a running narration going when he's trying to kill someone. In either case, the dude thinks way too much.

So we're three issues in and finally, we're at a point where something's about to be revealed. It's just too damn bad that we have to wait another issue to find out what. While I'm still intrigued by the story (this is mainly due to myself liking Wolverine so much), the pacing is horrible. We still don't know anything more about Wolverine and Sabertooth other than what we knew at the beginning of the arc. The inclusion of Storm and Black Panther does add to the story, but it feels more like Loeb was just tossing in the flavors of the month, cause I'm more than certain that the big revelation about the title character could have been revealed without their presence. So now we wait some more. Hopefully, something actually happens next issue so I don't feel like I'm reading Wolverine Origins (now that is one book that sucks nard).

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What If Hawkgirl Was A Transformer

I didn't read this issue. Hell, I don't even know what issue this is. But it has got to be the coolest thing I've seen this week.

Autobots, transform and roll out!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Seduction Of The Innocent

Or hot chicks in black leather? You decide.

Ever since this picture was released in DC's June Solicitations, the internet has been ravished by annoying fanboys speaking their mind about the above cover for Countdown #47, DC's new weekly series starting where 52 left off.

Essentially there are a lot of people that seem upset at what DC is doing to the "beloved" Mary Marvel. Just look at her, isn't she cute?

Personally, I don't have a problem with any changes DC is willing to make. First of all, I don't think I've ever read a comic with Mary Marvel in it, and if it wasn't for the lightning bolt across her chest, I wouldn't even know who she was. Second, isn't it about time this "classic" character undergoes some type of change to make her a more interesting character? I say if bondage gear and electro-stimulation to the boobies are what it takes, then make mine DC.

Anyway, if the fans are worried that this sluttified Mary Marvel could be a bad influence on young girls, just look at the cover for the upcoming Justice League of America #10

and the cover for Superman/Batman #13, which was released a while back.

Thanks to Michael Turner, I think we have two slightly bigger problems than girls in black leather, 'cause I'm fairly certain real women don't look like that.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

This Week In Comics: Mar. 21, 2007

Amazing Spider-Man #539
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Ron Garney

Spider-Man's back in his black costume, and it's about damn time. With all the crap that's happened to Spider-Man lately (Gwen Stacy's goblin babies, Aunt May's other near-death, the Other, HoM, Civil War, and Aunt May being shot), it's not much of a surprise that he's finally snapped. It's great to see Spider-Man finally lash out at the world. There's only so much one man can take. Coming into this issue, I was worried about was the reason behind Spidey donning the black costume, but JMS makes it believable. He's back in black, he means business, and frankly, I feel sorry for all those that have made Spider-Man suffer. I really wasn't impressed with Ron Garney's artwork in his previous issues, but something finally clicked here. It's fast-paced, kinetic, and shows that Spidey means business. I've enjoyed JMS' work in the past, but this is gearing up to be his best work yet, and it should serve as a fitting end to an already great run.

Detective Comics #830
Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Andy Clarke

It's funny, but I actually think that not expecting much out of this book let me enjoy it more. Sure, it's not an original story and like I said about the last issue, we know how it was going to end, but that didn't stop Moore from turning this predictable tale into something that was ultimately enjoyable. There were also plenty of little moments that stood out, like Wayne faking an explosion to get away and change into Batman, the shot of Wayne Tower diagramming the locations of Batman, Vox, and Robin, and the similarities between Vox and Batman's mission. There's not really much to say about Clarke's artwork. It was good but not remarkable. Overall, this fill-in story turned out to be better than expected, but I can't wait for Paul Dini's return next month.

Justice Society of America #4
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Dale Eaglesham

I understand that the Justice Society works because of it's importance as a family over it's importance as a super-hero team, and as a result I feel like the ending of this overall great arc fell a little flat. Sure, we were treated to page after page of pure ass-kickery, but Johns seems to have neglected that the Society is interesting because they are a family. Yeah, there were scenes of acceptance and togetherness amongst the chaos, but they didn't really seem to take precedence. I mean, if I want to see heavies beat the crap out of obligatory super-villains, I'll pick up an issue of Justice League. I don't want it to seem like I didn't enjoy this book, because I really did, but it just seems like Johns could have found to end to arc with a bigger focus on the family aspects we've come to enjoy.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Cap's Dead, So What Now?

By this point, you'd either have to be dead or living under a rock, in a cave, on the moon to not know that Captain America was recently killed. While the true ramifications have yet to be felt within the Marvel Universe, it's hard for some comic book fans to be swayed by this event, because frankly, we know how badly these types of events have been handled in the past. Just look at the death of Superman or the many resurrections of Jean Grey if you need an example.

It's too early to tell how Marvel will be dealing with the death of it's beloved character, but times seem to have changed since the 90s (the dark ages of comics) and real story-telling is actually important again. Therein lies the brilliance behind Cap's death, which served as a real treat to any reader who had been with the book since issue one. With the return and reinvigoration of certain characters like the Red Skull and Bucky, Brubaker was setting the story up for something big, although the reader's had little guess as to what it would be. And by the end of Civil War, there seemed to be little Marvel could do with Cap other than kill him, and that's exactly what they did.

Going back to Bucky, also known as the Winter Soldier, Brubaker has spent the last two and a half years turning him into a character people actually want to read about (too bad DC couldn't do the same with Jason Todd). With the knowledge that Brubaker has been laying the foundation for Cap's death since he began his run, Bucky would seem like the perfect choice to become the new Sentinel of Liberty. But I'm not sure I'd like to see this happen.

Let's be realistic here, this is Bucky we're talking about. This is a character that was officially dead since the mid-sixties. I would like to think that the higher-ups at Marvel have something bigger in store for him than simply becoming the next Captain America. Also, I think it would be a waste of great storytelling opportunities, as it would be interesting to further explore Bucky living in a world he doesn't understand, similar to what was done with Cap in Marvel's Ultimate line.

But Bucky apparently isn't the only option. As seen in pictures released by Marvel, it seems that the Punisher is also in the running.

While Punisher doesn't seem like the obvious choice, considering his objection with not killing super-villains clashes with the ideals of Captain America, War Journal writer Matt Fraction has made is clear in his series that Punisher has a great deal of respect for Cap. And as we all know, respect can go a long way. It may be difficult to see Frank as the new Captain America, but it isn't really difficult to see why he would do it. Sure, I think his costume design is ridiculous, but it would definitely make for an interesting story arc (although it doesn't seem like it as long-lasting appeal).

So Marvel essentially has two options: they somehow resurrect Steve Rogers (the original Captain America) in a way that won't cheapen his death (not bloody likely), or they take a more "DC" approach and have someone else pick up the mantle. Let's hope for the latter.

Do a Barrel Roll

Words simply escape me.

(And yes, you have to click on the image)

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

This Week In Comics: Mar. 14, 2007

Civil War: The Confession
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Alex Maleev

Moving. Breathtaking. Thought-provoking. The words I can use to describe this story are endless. We get more insight into Tony's reasons for entering this conflict. Bendis lets the reader know that Stark understands that he will be seen as a villain, that if there was some way to prevent the war, he would have tried. But we see that he still believes he was right, that what he did was for the right reasons. It's a shame that this kind of emotion, that the feelings expressed by Iron Man and, to a lesser extent, Captain America were not portrayed during Civil War proper. Maleev's artwork reinforces the emotion in this book, with his artwork perfectly capturing the proper facial expressions, adding the the emotional impact Bendis' script. This could quite possibly be the best issue to be released all year.

Mighty Avengers #1
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Frank Cho

This is actually a hold-over from last week, but it doesn't matter, read this book if you can.

For a number 1, we get the proper mix of action and suspense, along with the obvious introduction to all the team players. What was even more unexpected, although appreciated, was the return of thought balloons. Rather than have the characters narrate everything they are thinking, Bendis uses the thought balloons to reinforce the characters personalities, to show how their mind works as opposed to tellings how it works. Speakig of thought processes, since this was the first Avengers team to ever be picked, it was nice to see the reasoning that went into each choice, although I'm still not sure what role Wonder Man will be playing. Schmoozy power? Not exactly clear on that one, but the other overall choices seem to work. Frank Cho handles the art beautifully, which is great because I wasn't sure what to expect considering his claim to fame is boobies, not battles.

The ending, while a little odd, definitely gives reason to come back for more. So, you know, see you next month.

New Avengers #28
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Leinil Yu

With yet another one of his books on the chopping block this week, Bendis is 3 for 3. This is a good complement to Mighty Avengers because it shows that Bendis has the ability to write two team books that are extremely different from one another. Where Mighty Avengers is a government sanctioned team, the New Avengers are in a much grittier environment. They're not living in Stark Tower anymore, and it shows. It's interesting to see that it's going to be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for these characters to lead a normal life. You know it's bad when you can't go out and buy milk without having a cop shoot you. Yu's artwork still looks great, but due to it being high energy in nature, it looks a little odd when the Avengers are just standing around, and since this is a Bendis book, you know they'll be standing around a lot. Enjoyable, but distracting none-the-less. This is a good overall read.

Punisher War Journal #5
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Ariel Olivetti

This book is interesting. It's interesting because for the past two issues, Punisher's barely been present, yet the stories are still captivating. From the beat cop who takes "serve and protect" to an all new level to the "scumliness" of G.W. Bridge to the awesomely retarded Bushwhacker, Fraction is creating a world that shows why we need more of the Punisher. Olivetti's art is great even if it's slightly unbelievable (just look at Punisher's arms: they're frickin' huge!). Story-wise, the end ties this book into recent events in the Marvel universe, so it's just a matter of time before we see whether rumors about Capunisher are true. I think it would be cool, at leat for a story arc or two.

This book isn't necessary, but it's damn-well written. I think I'm in love.

Thunderbolts #112
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Mike Deodato, Jr.

I'm still enjoying this series, but it's starting to feel like more of the same. It's hard to care for these characters when you know, and they know, that they are absolutely despicable and don't seem to care. I understand that Ellis is trying to show that anything can be seen positively with enough media spin, but I'm finding it hard to believe that society would be this eager to accept this group of murderers as a new premier group of "superheroes." I do like the conflict between Moonstone (the team leader) and Songbird, and Osborn's "obsession" with Spider-Man, and further insight into Gargan's relationship with the symbiote, but when some of the most interesting aspects only appear "on-screen" for a page or two, we have a problem. I'm intrigued, but it may not be enough to keep me interested past the first arc.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

As Long As There Are People Like This Out There...

Captain America can never really die.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Go Ninja Go Ninja Go!

With the new TMNT movie coming out in a couple weeks, I thought this blast from the past would be fitting. Vanilla Ice is so cool it hurts.

And You Think Your School Dances Suck...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

This Week In Comics: Mar. 7, 2007

Bullet Points #5
Writer: J. Michael Straczynski
Artist: Tommy Lee Edwards

I don't know what to say about the end of this mini-series. At some points it seems as if it's nothing more that a glorified What If...?, and at others it seems like it's own beast capable of standing on it's own four legs. Thanks to scribe J. Michael Straczynski, this tale never really feels hackneyed or played-out, but the possibilities for this story seemed endless, and JMS merely took a detour through the road less traveled.

While there were quite a few "shocking" twist as a result of the one bullet that killed Dr. Erskine (the man who invented the super-soldier serum), by this point, the only ones that matter are Reed Richards being the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Peter Parker turning into the Hulk. As you can probably tell by the cover, big bad Galactus comes a callin', and of course, everyone's scared shitless. Here's were I begin to disagree with JMS' storyline. If you're trying to craft a tale with the premise that one bullet can change the world, let Galactus win (read: earth buys the farm). Instead, we get the standard "all of earth's heroes and villains team-up to take that big, purple headdress as a trophy, turns out they're still powerless to stop him, and random hero saves to day. Sure, it's a cop out, but like I said, it's still not a bad read.

Captain America #25
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting

I could sit here and write about all the media attention this story is getting. I could sit here and write about this issue going for over $30 on eBay. I could even sit here and write about the fact that people are freaking out over nothing, because we all know Captain America will be back sometime in the next two years, if not sooner. But I'd rather not. Instead, I've decided to write about how well-written and well-orchestrated this issue is.

Nipping on the heels of Civil War, Captain America's death couldn't have come at a better time. Quite frankly, there seemed to be very little that Brubaker could do in it's wake. Sure, he could have busted Cap out of prison, but that would have torn down all that was built-up during Civil War. Or he could have done another "hero in prison" story, but I don't think that would have worked out so well in the Negative Zone. Instead, we get a fitting end to the legacy that is Captain America.

In an exceptionally well written story, we get to see the importance of Captain America from the two most important people in his life, both past and present. Rather than seeming forced, their emotions come of as genuine. Given that this is a death issue, we also get the right amounts of action and intrigue, and we're treated to one hell of a twist at the end. This is a real treat for anyone that's been reading the series since the first issue, because Brubaker has been laying the seed for this event since day one, and it couldn't have been pulled off in a more dignified fashion. This book is well worth the money, but only time will tell if it's well worth the media attention.

Detective Comics #829
Writer: Stuart Moore
Artist: Andy Clarke

There are not many things more annoying than opening up a new issue of Detective Comics and seeing that it wasn't written by Paul Dini. No offense to Stuart Moore, but well... he's not Paul Dini.

There's nothing inherently wrong with this issue, in fact I actually enjoyed some of the dialogue between Bruce and Tim. The problem is that there isn't anything fresh brought to the table. We're given yet another story where Bruce is unable to change into Batman because he's surrounded by civilians while the faceless bad guy rampages on. It's just played out. We know exactly how this story will end. Bruce changes in to Batman, beats the ever-loving crap out of Vox (said faceless villain), and Robin doesn't die (I'm not going to spoil it for you, but that crap on the cover isn't what you want it to be). Regardless, check back next month if you want to see if my predictions come true!

Fantastic Four #543
Writers: Dwayne McDuffie, Stan "The Man" Lee, Paul Pope
Artists: Mike McKone, Nick Dragotta, Paul Pope

It's normal for a reader to get nervous when a new writer takes over an already well-written series. But in the past two issues, Dwayne McDuffie has managed to thrive under the weight of JMS' recent run.

This issue succeeds in serving as an epilogue to Civil War and as the 45th anniversary for Marvel's First Family. McDuffie answers the lingering questions left over the war and sets up where we're going for the next few issues. Sure it may seem a little corny to have Namor and Doctor Doom commenting on relevance of the Fantastic Four, it works given the nature of the story. And while Marvel's been force-feeding us news that Black Panther and Storm would be filling in for Reed and Sue, the big "reveal" doesn't feel forced. Cheesy yes, but not forced. Given the state of the Richards' marriage and great writing by McDuffie, it actually feels like this fictional couple could use a little alone time.

Throw in some great artwork by Mike McKone, two great backup stories by Stan Lee and Paul Pope, and a little "foot meet face" thanks to Torch and Spidey, and you have four dollars well spent.

Justice League of America #6
Writer: Brad Meltzer
Artist: Ed Benes

There are a lot of things going on in this issue. Red Tornado proved that he's still the man, Solomon Grundy proved that he's still a dick, and Vixen finally proved that she's more than just eye-candy (but lets face it, that's what she excels at).

This is an enjoyable issue, but Brad Meltzer upped the confusion by having way too many things going on at the same time. I will admit thought, it is pretty cool to see the League operating as a well-oiled machine, but as with almost any team book, it's hard to give each player equal time in the spotlight. While I care a lot more about Red Tornado now than at the beginning of this arc, I still care a lot more about Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and hell, even Red Arrow. Speaking of Red Tornado, I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels that he's back to square one. Sure he was baptized by fire, but dies it really matter if he's back to being a robot?

Oh well, it was a good issue, and next month we'll see the new "Hall of Justice," so that's a plus.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Daffy Made Hitler Cry

I found this video on Youtube a few days ago. Apparently, this Looney Tunes "classic" is banned in the United States, but I really don't know why. Granted, it was made in 1943 as a propaganda piece, but last time I checked Nazis are still considered evil. I mean, it's not saying that all Germans are evil, it's just saying that Nazis, who happened to be German, were* evil. Regardless, I loved it, and for whatever reason, I remember this from some point in my life.

So, for your viewing pleasure, here's Daffy - The Commando.

*The use of italics means I enjoy typing things in italics, nothing more.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Chuck Norris Is The Ultimate Badass

This pretty much speaks for itself.

You know, I heard Chuck Norris sleeps with a night light, not because he's afraid of the dark, but because the dark is afraid of Chuck Norris.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

This Week In Comics: Feb. 28, 2007

Action Comics #846
Writers: Geoff Johns & Richard Donner
Artist: Adam Kubert

Forget kneeling before Zod. After reading this issue, I was literally shaking in my booties.

The book starts out with Zod, Ursa, Non in the Fortress of Solitude. And from these first few pages, we learn why Zod and company hate Jor-El, thus leading to their hatred of Superman. What's great about this portrayal is that it isn't a rehash of the character(s) from the Superman movies. Zod is no longer a military madman who wanted to rule Krypton. He wanted to save his planet, and because of Jor-El's actions (or inactions) he was unable to do so, and the rest is history. Ursa also seems to have a more active role, and if you read Action Comics Annual #10, you know that Non is much more than the monosyllabic brute he once was.

Another great thing about this issue is the lack of down time. Less than two full pages after we leave Zod at the Fortress, the action begins, making up for the fact that this is the third issue in an arc that started in October. The three antagonists are as powerful as Superman and they aren't afraid to show it. With the rest of the Phantom Zone villains making an appearance (props to Jax-Ur, I actually remember him from the animated series), we know Superman's boned, cause the shit has already hit the fan. Ending with a chilling final page, it's a damn shame that we won't see the next issue in this arc until sometime in June (hopefully).

Civil War: Frontline #11
Writer: Paul Jenkins
Artist: Ramon Bachs

I enjoyed this issue, but is it a case of too little too late?

Throughout Civil War, there were two ways you could look at the event: as a resident of the Marvel Universe, or as a fan. As a resident of the MU, I understand the need for the superhuman registration act. From this standpoint, the SHRA is a no-brainer. And this point was brought across quite poignantly in this issue through Sally Floyd, much to Captain America's dismay, but it needed to be said. Now as a fan, I rallied behind Cap and his troops. I wanted him to win, because let's face, Iron Man was portrayed as a villain, whether it was intentional or unintentional. Jenkins finally addresses this issue, and frankly, if this was said during the event itself, Stark would be seen in a totally different light.

If you had been following this series, you were probably annoyed with certain aspects of the last couple issues. For months we were teased with a "big revelation" that would change the way we saw Stark. And for the most part, Jenkins did deliver. While the actions portrayed in Civil war were pretty black and white, what we learn here can only be expressed as shades of gray. While some may view Stark's actions as careless, I see it as a testament to the faith he had in himself and his colleagues, and that he was willing to do whatever it took to do what he believed in. When all is said and done, it looks like Iron Man and Captain America really aren't that different.

Iron Man #15
Writers: Daniel & Charles Knauf
Artist: Roberto de la Torre

I had second thoughts about buying this issue. But after reading it, I'm sure glad I did.

"It started with the suggestion box outside the cafeteria..."

Suggestions boxes, gourmet chefs, casual Fridays, and on-board daycare. It takes a special kind of man to do this of the most badass organizations in the Marvel Universe, and that man is Tony Stark. After reading that Stark had become the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the pages of Civil War (lets face it, it really wasn't that much of a surprise), I was uncertain about the direction his book would be taking, especially after reading the lackluster tie-ins. Thankfully, the Knauf brothers didn't shy away from Stark's duties, and gave us a story full of promise. We're given a great issue that shows the kind of potential that a post-Civil War MU has in store for us. I'm also glad that, contrary to what we got out of Mark Millar, Maria Hill hasn't (yet) been reduced to Stark's lap dog. While she's obviously at odds with Stark, it's nice to see that she isn't being completely humiliated.

Justice #10
Writers: Jim Krueger & Alex Ross
Artist: Alex Ross

I don't really have that much to say about this comic. Basically, I bought it because it's pretty.

The story is serviceable, but it just doesn't have the impact as previous issues in this series. While I really don't have any problems with this book, because Alex Ross is infatuated with the Silver-Age versions of these characters, it's almost hard to care. Note I said almost. I still care. As for the art, Alex Ross does an awesome job as always, but it felt a little jumbled this issue.

Wolverine #51
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Simone Bianchi

Good God Damn Wolverine has some huge claws. It seriously doesn't even make sense. Do you see the cover? It's like he has katanas shooting out of his forearms!

But seriously, this issue is more of the same. Bianchi's artwork is great as usual, but Loeb's voiceover work is just a tad bit much. Someone has seriously got to but a moratorium on Wolverine internally contemplating about either how badass he is or how troubled he is. In either case, we've heard it before.

There's nothing necessarily bad with this issue, but I think that for an arc focusing on two of the most viscous men in the MU, there should be more blood and guts (and spit and ass too!). The explosions are pretty though, and that's always cool. That aside, we essentially move nowhere fast. We still don't know anything about the Lupines (and neither does Wolverine), Sabertooth and Logan still haven't killed each other, and according to the last page, we have a Harry Potter situation of our hands. Overall, this is a fun but pointless read.