Or – “Aren’t EVERYONE’S Siblings Out Of Their Minds?” The second issue of Justice Society of America featured the Heywood family reunion, a function that has been attended by two generations of superheroes (with a third on the way). From a comic book standpoint, the Commanders Steel have it easy. Can you imagine a Mar-Vell family reunion? Or a Stark family reunion? (Seems like every four or five years, somebody comes out of the woodwork to steal Tony’s company out from under him, so you know there’s more of ’em out there…) Now, imagine Christmas dinner at the Ranzz household,
Or – “What The Heck Do I Call A Dead Character NOW?” There’s an inherent pitfall to the way I do my reviews. My rules are simple: I pick some titles to go over, stick ’em in a pile by my comfy chair, and review them, in roughly chronological order. Scan the good bits, babble incoherently, then enjoy a Milk-Bone in a commie-free world. But when a book comes out that has spoilery material, it quickly becomes a topic of discussion, and makes me feel like I’m behind the curve when I get ’round to it. Case in point? Civil
Or – “Time Is An Illusion. Lunchtime, Doubly So.” In my other job, I have been fielding a lot of questions about why the series was solicited as 6 issues, but the story hasn’t ended here. Indeed, until this issue, each month’s Eternals bore the legend “(issue #) of 6.” Simple answer: Neil Gaiman asked for more pages to finish out his story, and, with millions upon millions of Sandman trades in circulation, you don’t say no to Neil Gaiman. He’s the nicest 500 pound gorilla in comics. When I covered issue four of this series, sometime back in the
Or – “The Chimp’s Got It Figured Out…” It’s actually quite heartening to see Checkmate hitting double-digits. It’s not precisely the kind of book you normally get from DC, an attempt at a hard-hitting spy-style drama, with the added difficulty of being set within the confines of a world where every thirteenth person gets phenomenal cosmic power with the purchase of a Big Gulp at 7-11. This issue actually takes that proverbial bull by the horns, trying to streamline the Shadowpact (a team consisting of a talking chimpanzee, a interdimensional teleporter, a cloth Golem, an azure demon, a sorceress of
Or – “The Thin Line Between High Concept and Dumb Idea.” Yesterday was the first Saturday of the month, what we at Gatekeeper Hobbies (Gage & Huntoon, Topeka, KS, tell ’em Matthew sent ya!) call “Buying Day.” Padding out the bottom of a box of comics we MEANT to buy was a very dog-eared copy of Master Of Kung Fu, circa 1980, that was bound for one of two places: The Quarter Bin, or my collection. Since the two are generally synonymous (and since I remember this book from my youth), I thought we might all enjoy it together, and
Or – “Why No Character Is Unsalvageable…” For a long time, the conventional wisdom at DC seemed to state that there were two brands of characters: the funny and the dramatic. During the bleak time that was comics in the 1990’s, it became necessary to traumatize the funny ones so they, too, could be dark and gritty. Thus did we see Booster Gold lose an arm, Blue Beetle have a series of heart attacks, and Guy Gardner become an mighty morphin’ gun-totin’ alien. With 2003’s Green Lantern: Rebirth miniseries, we’ve finally seen both characterizations amalgated into one: the salacious, rude,
Or – “Hotwings, Hot Women, Anna Punch Inna Face! When Dan Slott relaunched She-Hulk a couple of years ago, I didn’t expect to buy it. It was on my list of “I’ll pick it up off the stands” titles, the ones I used to get when I had a couple of extra bucks. Now, even though “extra bucks” are a thing of the past, I’ve moved She-Hulk to my must-buy list. Why? Because it’s brilliant, crafting an unexpected and interesting story out of a former second-tier girl knockoff and diverse elements of Marvel’s huge continuity tapestry. Where do leftover androids,
Or – “Goodbye, Yellow Claw Road…” Wow, that’s a really terrible play on words, even for me. Sorry ’bout that. In the previous five issues of Agents of Atlas, we’ve seen everything but the kitchen sink: erstwhile gods, apes with guns, resurrections, insurrections, lost princesses of undersea kingdoms, evil corporate entities, even automotons with death rays, and each issue has been consistently excellent. Mostly shunning the industry-wide shift towards decompression, Agents of Atlas has been a high-speed tilt-a-whirl ride which takes all the old pulp and movie serial elements and put them together in a whole new matrix of awesome.
Or – “The Exiles Lives Will Never Be The Same. Again.” I’ve decided I want to work for Marvel. In the past few years, the powers-that-be at the House of Ideas have proven that they’ll publish virtually anything. Remember when someone decided that Thunderbolts would be best served by a complete change of cast, setting, scene, premise, art and story, and then seemed surprised that they barely got 6 months out of the resulting mishmash? Or recall how Grant Morrison was given free reign to initiate actual CHANGE in the X-titles, only to have it all retconned within moments of
Or – “Turns Out He IS Who We Thought He Was!” It’s a fact of life (especially in comics) that every experience is new for someone. No matter how many times *I* may have seen a particular plot twist, there’s always somebody who’ll find it to be the most daring and amazing story of all time. Which is why the big reveal in the latest JSA, though no surprise, really worked for me. This newest JSA incarnation debuted with a big splash, a dash of Alex Ross, and some promising new creations… Can they keep up the quality?
Or – “Psychotic Break, Anyone?” There’s a lot of potential a character with real human failings. When Stan and Jack created Spider-Man four decades ago, they set the standard: A hero with flaws, foibles, one who even caught colds on occasion. In the case of Yellowjacket, however, Roy Thomas remembered the feet of clay, but the kiln wasn’t working, cause he’s acts about half-baked. The last time we saw Hank Pym and his team of Avengers, they had beaten back the menace of a legion of Super-Adaptoids, but the stress caused Hank to have… Well, let’s just call it a
Or – “This Is The Greatest And Best Retcon In The World… Tribute.” I’ll admit it: I’ve been extremely hesitant to review this issue, simply because I don’t want to have it come across as bashing Bendis, Marvel, or the Civil War in general. I’ve been skeptical (heck, some might even say negative) in my reactions to CW as a whole, and this book contains many of the same characters, by one of the key writers of CW, detailing the retconned backstory that sorta-kinda led to the events in question. To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Professor
Or – “Oh, THAT Cancellation Notice!” Well, heck, that didn’t last very long. The little book that could has apparently been cancelled again. Initially canned with #25, Manhunter was given a repreive after a tideswell of fan response, and granted another 5 issues. The word out of DC is that this arc is the end for Kate Spencer’s solo book (though she did join the Birds of Prey in issue #100) and I only hope that we’ll get some closure for Mark Shaw, for Cameron Chase, even for Kate’s long-suffering tech wizard Dylan. This issue progresses storylines, has several surprises,
Or – “Crisis On Earth-Whichever-One-Is-Left-Now!” As a fan of old-school superheroics, it’s always interesting to me which characters get chosen for revamps and which do not. The return of the Freedom Fighters in 1973 probably didn’t make a lot of sense to the readers of the time, as their original incarnations from Quality Comics hadn’t been seen in 25 years. When their own series tanked, they were pretty much used only as background characters, until the newest incarnation of the team was brutally killed in Infinite Crisis. I chalked up their appearance there as doing two things: killing off a