Sunday, November 6, 2011

Week of November 2

A quick mention of everything I read this week.

Hulk #44 – Patrick Zircher is a very good artist, but is getting too cute with his layouts. Otherwise this is a decent story.

Batwing #3 – More fighting then you can shake a stick out and some decent art, but where the hell is the plot?

Moon Knight #7 – Why do I keep getting this, more crappy Bendis dialogue, but the story is intriguing enough and even Maleev cranking out a book on schedule is moody enough to make the art work.

Fear Itself The Fearless #2 – Entertaining and not taxing with solid art.

Sweet Tooth #27 – Damn if Lemire doesn’t know how to tell a good story and Matt Kindt on art for this flashback sequence is working very well. Plus we are learning just exactly what the heck is going on with these animal kids.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rating What I Read Last Week

Aquaman #2 C+ - Slow building, great art.
Blackhawks #2 - C+ - Good story, mediocre art

Firestorm #2 - Cancel - Too much going on and pedestrian art

Flash #2 - C+ - Building, good art and okay story, growing on me.

Green Lantern The New Guardians #2 - C+ - Good story, weak art.

I, Vampire #2 - A - Great story, great art, wonderful moody feel to this book.

Justice League Dark #2 - B - Building nicely and excellent art.

Savage Hawkman #2 - Cancel - Story is trying to do too much and the art is too muddy

Scalped - B - Great Series

Incredible Hulk #1 - C - All set up.

Spaceman #1 - B - Cool premise and looks like it should be a good story. Love Risso's art.

Ulimates #3 - B+ - Hickman is starting to get the feel of doing big ideas and moving the plot at the same time, with some great art.

Red Wing #4 (of 4) - D - Too convoluted to actually understand reading chapters months apart. May read well as a trade.

Captain America and Bucky - B+ - A great character study and wonderful art.

Guarding the Globe #6 (of 6)  - C - Killed by delays

Walking Dead - B - Nothing happened, it was very good.

Secret Avengers - B+ - Aja's art rules and Warren Ellis does great one and done stories.

Daredevil #5 - C+ - I feel like Waid is preaching too much and sometimes trying to explain stuff that only makes comic book sense and trying to explain it makes it worse.

Superman #2 - B+ - Great art and a surprisingly compelling character piece, especially the Lois/Clark relationship.

Wolverine and the X-Men #1 - B - I wanted to hate it, but it was goofy fun and the characters even know Wolverine running a school is insane.

Voodoo #2 - C+ - Not sure this premise last long term.

Teen Titans #2 - B - Norm Rapmund really adds to Booth's art and the story is a good premise.

Mighty Thor - D - Cancel - I was reading Thor and the book decided to create a new Thor, I'm tired of this trick Marvel, seen it with Hulk to Hercules, Daredevil to Black Panther, Captain American to Cap and Bucky and need to judge each series on its own merit.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Things That Are Bugging Me In Comics

I do not have the time to do this justice, but I also want to this blog to have some new content more then once in a blue moon.

So a very short post, with no graphics, my current big gripes.

The armor and overly complex costumes. My chief example the new Deathstroke. His armor is so complex it has to slow down the artist and it is nothing but glitz and serves no purpose. Hell let's not even talk about the sword which is six feet tall. If you think artists can't hit deadlines make all the costumes so complex it takes them twice as long to draw the darn things.

Young children in comics. Okay I accept Damian as Robin, but grade school Spider-Man in the Ultimate Universe and the grade school Hellfire Club in X-Men, really is Children of the Corn your inspiration for evil bad guys. Can't wait for the evil babies attack on the Avengers.

Super powered Hawkeye? I had no clue the Ultimate Hawkeye has actual powers. Hell takes away the idea that Marvel has at least one regular person with no extras that can make the grade.

Daredevil delivering suits all over town so he looks good when he gets to where he is going. This is one of those cute things where a writer decides to try and explain stuff in a comic book story. Somethings are just that it is a comic book. Look no one knows Clark and Superman are the same guy, just accept the comic book logic and move on, explaining it becomes more ridiculous.

Hope to get more post out here on a semi-regular basis.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wolverine #16 – A Quick Execution

How the f**k does the baddest ass hero in comics, get one of the toughest, hard as nails, raw emotional writers in comics and turn in such a weak and lame ass issue of Wolverine. This comic was possibly the worse Wolverine stories I have ever read and I had to check it twice to make sure Jason Aaron was really the writer. Add in Goran Sudzuka turning in Sal Buscema style art with coloring from the seventies and this book was a mess from the $4 price point to the bitter end of the story.

The story was about Wolverine who has gone all feral and is running around with wolves. He went all self pitying and depressed because the Red Hand set him up to kill his own kids that he never knew existed. Evil hunters find the wolves and capture a few and shoot Logan in the head thinking they killed him. Logan gets mad, saves his wolf brothers and the children these guys had captured to be fodder for their games of wolf fights and wolf fights with kids. If only they had also been Nazis and smokers they could have been the most evil people of all time. After saving the kids everybody in the all the groups he belongs to came out to the wilderness lead by his girl friend to tell him they love and want him to come home. Interspaced are head shots of all of Logan’s friends saying what they think of him. Everyone hugs and Wolverine gets excited and pops his claws killing his girl friend. Okay the last line I made up but it would have at least given the book some edge. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Near Death #1 – A Review

Near Death #1
Writer  Jay Faerber
Art Simone Gugliemini
Color Ron Riley
Publisher Image Comics
Price Point $2.99

An assassin dies for a minute. During his “death” he visits purgatory and discovers that the afterlife does exist and in order to avoid the pangs of hell he needs to try and balance the scales. He starts his balancing act by saving the girl he was trying to kill by killing the man that was hired to finish the job he failed at. An unfortunate twist is the guy he thought he killed to save the girl is still alive and at this point in a coma or something. The employer of our “hero” wants the name of the person who screwed up this assignment. 

It all sounds a little contrived and it read a little contrived. In fact I didn’t like the ending because our central character Markham is supposed to be one of the best at his job in killing people and this last assignment that almost killed him was an aberration, so the fact that he screwed up twice in one issue felt a little too coincidental. The fact that his employer may find him out is something that could have been built over the course of the series. The flip side is with this type of book you may only get one chance to hook a reader in and this choice was one the writer made to keep readers coming back for issue #2.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Batman #1 – A Quick Rant

Scott Snyder (writer), Greg Capullo (pencils), Jonathan Glapion (ink) and FCO Plascencia (colors) produced a beautiful book and a great story. They are resetting the Batman Universe and this book is already being universally praised. I’m not here to review it, I here to talk about a panel that stopped me in my tracks, the picture of Batman and the boys. Here it is:

My problem with the picture is it is changing Batman way too much. Green Lantern hardly changed a lick and the rest all needed to be overhauled, but Batman was great. I know they (DC Editorial) hated how old Batman appeared, but now he looks like if he is 30 it is probably too old. Dick Grayson looks like a 15 year old – really – he replaced Batman, how did this skinny punk replace Batman at all. Tim Drake is maybe a ninth grader and Damian is still in elementary school.

I know they wanted a younger Batman, but this takes it too far. It takes it way too far for Dick Grayson. It gets even more confusing when I opened up Nightwing as in that book Dick appears to be a grown up.
Do not, I repeat do not get this wrong, this is a Grade A, terrific story and a great opening in what should be a terrific series and this is DC’s best book of the New 52 so far, but let Dick be a man. Hell let him be as tall as Bruce, just not as wide. Also let Bruce have a little age on him, he doesn’t have to be 50, but he can be 35 or even 40. Steve Dillon when he started PunisherMax was drawing Frank way too young, maybe Greg will get it better down the road, unless this is a DC edict, but then why is Dick an adult in Nightwing?

Why do comics suck? Because DC wants us to believe in a cohesive universe, but can’t even be consistent within the same family of books. I’ll chalk it up to growing pains, but it really bugged me.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Severed #2 – A Review

Severed #2
Writer Scott Snyder & Scott Tuft
Art Attila Futaki
Publisher Image Comics
Price $2.99
This series has an unease and creepiness to it that is hard to generate in a comic. I often think that horror plays better in a written book as the horror is on a more personal level. What we can generate in our imagination often is the scarcest stuff out there. I also think a moving picture can generate suspense and therefore static pictures lose some of the visceral feeling that a horror story should generate, Severed overcomes those limitations and manages to tell a great story and yet put a chill in your heart. 

The story is set in 1916 and is the story of a young boy in search of his father. This issue specifically records the struggles of Jack in recovering his possessions from an older hobo on a train and his bonding with his friend Sam. As Sam and he reach the city and await the show where Jack hopes to met his father we find out Sam is actually Samantha. She disguises herself as a boy to keep from being picked on even more as Jack and Sam are both only around 12 years old. Jack fails to actually met his Dad and is given a lead on where he maybe, Sam concocts a plan for Jack to play the fiddle to earn them traveling money. At the same time the killer is on the loose and the grim remains of another child have been found. The killer called the Salesman, as that is the guise he uses, is a cannibal and we get to see the results of his appetites. Although Jack and the killer’s path have not crossed we know the inevitable is coming.

Friday, September 9, 2011

13 Number Ones Week One – Ranking The New DCU

My week in review on the Comics And website will go into other details but my initial impression of the new DCU is that the whole thing is a very, very strange experience. As a long term DCU fan nothing could have gotten me ready for the total and confused morass that the new DCU has become. These thirteen first issues show a picture of the DCU being totally changed. Some of the changes are good and some may not be, but I have no sense of the DCU as a cohesive whole at this point. Right now of the thirteen the way I rank them is as follows:

1)      Animal Man. I know DC is cutting back on Vertigo and that Animal Man was one of the early DCU books that got pushed into the Vertigo side, but this book read like a Vertigo series. The art had an indie feel to it and the “rot” of the flesh world was more of a horror element.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Importance Of Dying

You wanna know why comic books suck?
Because no one ever stays dead.

How is a story supposed to be entertaining when there is no risk involved. It's like watching a tightrope walker with a safety net five feet below them. It's like watching sharks in an aquarium. It's like drinking a can of Tab. Who gives a shit who the X-Men are fighting if there isn't even a chance that Wolverine isn't going to die.

Yeah yeah, I know- Comics are a business and you can't kill of the flagship characters. That's big movie bucks. So don't kill Superman or Batman or Wolverine or Spider Man. You can make other stories with new people. Invest some time (a year or three) in character development and a story. Make the public fall in love with the character and the story he is in. Then kill them. And then don't resurrect them with magic or other dimensions or spells or voodoo bullshit. Make them stay dead, make their deaths mean something to a story.

Why do you think The Wire and The Soprano's are the two greatest shows in television history? Because you never knew who was going to die next. That's what keeps tension going, what makes a story pop, but I don't read comics often, and no one should listen to me, but I will warn you in advance, don't come complaining to me in 10 years after Daredevil returns from hell to fight zombie Bullseye for the 50 billionth time, because I already told you why comic books suck.

Monday, September 5, 2011

So I Told My Wife She’s Been Retro-Conned

It is sad but true. My wife did not take it very well, but I told her I still loved her and she would be a supporting character in my life and maybe a love interest at times, but she will stay in the mix. I told her it wasn’t a divorce; it was just that all of the marketing data was pointing to the fact that my life would be more interesting if the romantic interest angle was in my story line. I mean with her knowing all my secrets it is not as interesting as me trying to hide my double identity from a new girl. How much fun is it to have to make lame ass excuses to get out of a date, hide my costume from her or hurriedly leave some event? Heck I told her not to worry as with a retro-con we will never have been married so she won’t miss what she never had.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Justice League #1 – A Review

The bold, the brash, the exciting, the new formula Coke is here and ready to take the world by storm. What, it is the new DCU, errr okay. Take two.

The new DCU starts here and it started five years ago, where the heck was I?  Justice League starts five years ago and is about Green Lantern and Batman meeting for the first time. They meet, they exchange quips, they fly over Victor Stone’s high school on the way to Metropolis to investigate if the problem they are dealing with involves Superman and they meet Superman. That is about it for $4 and 24 pages of story and art.

Let’s start with the good part, Jim Lee’s artwork. Jim’s work can be super busy, but it is dynamic story telling at its best and for slam bang super hero action, Jim is hard to beat. Of course Scott Williams is always Lee’s main inker and does a dynamite job of making Jim’s pencils look their absolute best. No major DC super hero book would be complete without Alex Sinclair coloring the book. Alex is hands down the best color artist for this type of work. Alex’s work always enhances the work and is a master with any type of panel. This book has tons of special coloring effects too make the contrast between GL and Batman work. If you just flip through the pages and look at the pictures the words are almost superfluous. Finally as much as I not sure about what they are doing with Superman, the last panel of Superman standing there in his new costume looks pretty damn cool.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flashpoint #5 – The Con Job Revealed

Hope to make this blog a more regular posting experience, but as I said before life happens.

The hype, the excitement, the concerns over DC’s new universe have all been leading up to this week and the book to end the old DCU Flashpoint #5 comes out and it was all a terrible joke. The Emperor is walking the streets naked, but the crowd wants to love the new clothes (old fable reference). 

The grand reveal is DC threw this idea together to re-launch their whole universe very, very fast. Flashpoint was used to as a mechanism to make the changes, but the changes have no rhyme or reason and this series was never intended to be what DC turned it into. 

In a few years someone will talk about how Didio wanted make this drastic change to the DCU and came up with DC retroactive and the ancillary Flashpoint books to give the creative crews a three month break to pull together the entire re-launch. I was hoping there was more planning behind it, but Flashpoint was obviously written as a series about Barry and why you can’t try and change time. DC decided to use two pages in this book as some bullsh*t gimmick to reset the DCU into whatever they want it to be. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Just a short note to say that I have lots to say, but right now I'm in the midst of moving and have limited access to a computer. Plus this is not meant to be a daily blog. We may post three times a day or never.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Passion of Wally West

Wally West is my favorite superhero in the DCU. Jack Knight (Starman) is a very close second, but Wally existed before Jack and he existed long after Starman was over. In the last couple of years the powers-that-be at DC developed a everything-Silver-Age-is-best sentimentality that found, among other things, Barry Allen returning after being dead a very long time. Now DC has made steps to temper older characters with newer ones, especially in the new relaunch, but Wally West is still nowhere to be found.

There are many reasons (albeit bad ones) that DC might have decided to go backwards with The Flash. It could have been that having Wally married with super-powered kids became an obstacle for the writers on the book. Perhaps DC is looking to have an easier accessible Flash in the comics for a proposed film version of the character. Or maybe the problem is certain creators decided they liked the version they grew up with and brought back their favorite once they achieved a position of power in the company.

The New 52 Makes Me Blue

DC comics suck. I read Detective Comics, Batgirl and Red Robin this week. Detective was just amazing and possibly the best Batman story told in the last 20 plus years. Batgirl and Red Robin were well done comics and enjoyable stories about characters that I have come to love and enjoy.

The Batman franchise was given a huge push forward by Grant Morrison. Outside of the JSA it was the only comic in the DCU that was going forwarding and building on a great history instead of doing soft re-sets, hard resets, or just plain wipe the earth clean type of stuff. 

I know DC had problems and their mid-list books were horrendous, but the new DCU is too much of throwing out the baby with the bath water. I’m prejudging all this stuff, but reading these endings made me said for what could have been. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Frank Castle is a Bad Mutha – A Review of Punisher Max #16

Punisher Max #16 marks the final chapter of “Frank”, the story arc title. We get to see how Frank escapes from prison and what happen the day that Frank’s family got killed in the park. It all wraps up with the parallel of Frank escaping the prison of his normal family life as well as escaping from the prison he has been locked up in.

What has been so damn compelling about this arc is the portrayal of Frank Castle. I have felt many things about the Punisher over the years and felt that Garth Ennis has done a definitive run on the character and he did. Writer Jason Aaron is hitting some different notes and this book is standing up to Ennis' run. It is rare to have back to back definitive runs on a character, but that is what’s happening.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Innovation Must Be A Dirty Word

Why is it that innovation seems to be making a book yet another number one issue?
Marvel’s Big Guns promotion was yet another #1 issue of Moon Knight, Daredevil and The Punisher. Moon Knight’s first appearance was in 1975 – 36 years ago. Punisher is from 1974, so he is only one year older then Moon Knight at 37. Daredevil is from 1964 making him the old man of the group at 47 years old. After hundreds and thousands of stories about these characters Marvel pulled out all the stops and decided to re-launch each one of these heroes - AGAIN. Now from a pure professional story telling bit each book managed to find a new twist and take on the character or at least do a twist that is so old most people have forgotten about it. Moon Knight is so crazy he now talks to Spider-Man, Wolverine and Captain America. He even pretends to be them. That’s really crazy. Daredevil is actually going around happy and there is sunlight in his book, which has not been seen since before Frank Miller did Daredevil. The Punisher is the mysterious guy in the background taking out the bad guys. His obsessive mission is not the focus of the story. All three books are well done and if you like Bendis, all three books are enjoyable, but where is the real innovation. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Batman Retro Active – 1980’s

So I decided I needed another outlet for my thoughts on comics and thought a totally negative connotation would be fun.

The “new” 1980’s story was done by Mike Barr and Jerry Bingham and all in all it was well done. Aping the style of that era makes me wonder if Barr could write for comics today as the style of writing today is dramatically different. Heck in reading the 1970’s Batman it was almost unreadable. Done in that style but made me wonder why I read comics at all during that era. It is not a coincidence that I stopped reading comics as I was turning 15 / 16 and at the same time we were in the 1970s. 

Comic books have been growing up over the years I have been reading them, which is since the early sixties. DC stayed in the mode of writing for 8-12 year olds and the growth spurts that it took for their comics to become more sophisticated were pretty painful. The 70’s were some lowlights, at the same time some of the best things were starting to happen. One step forward and two steps back.