Or – “These Happy Days Are Yours And Mine…” These days, Marvel’s output is a real crapshoot. Sometimes, I read their solicitations with a kind of mind-numbing shock, stunned to the core at the things they think will make good stories. Other times, I feel there’s still a deep affection for comics, comic history, and the untapped potential of characters previously written off as third stringers. It’s an old cliche, but even the X-Men got cancelled due to low sales before somebody came up with a hook that worked. Occasionally, Marvel puts out a comic that makes me think I’m
Or – “How To Ignore Fourteen Characters To Revive One.” I wish you all a “Happy American Day Of Eating Till Ya Nearly Burst…” I had far too much pie and far too little sleep, but I’m here and ready to rock. Since it’s Thanksgiving, I thought I might go over an interesting question: What are you thankful for when it comes to comics? I’m thankful for Garth Ennis, for “Agents of Atlas,” for the return of Shang Chi and Mon-El and Nova. Hell, there are a lot of things right about today’s comics industry. Fascinating characters, excellent writers, plotlines
Or – “The Following Previews Have Been Rated D, for “Drain Your Wallet.” Of all the things that I whine about regarding Civil War, the one aspect that doesn’t bug me is the insistence that it affects every single facet of life in the Marvel Universe. I’ve always thought that if you’re going to do a huge mega-crossover, you may want to have it affect somebody. I remember the days of the Infinity Gauntlet-War-Crusade-Jamboree, and how I kept seeing my guy Nova on the cover of the books, and hearing rumors that he died or something, but seeing little to
Or – “Day 2: Still Tired From The Move…” Last issue got me thinking, in a good way, about what I like about Dick Grayson, about Nightwing, and about the “dark vigilante” motif. I enjoyed what last issue set up, and I’m intrigued enough to come back again. That’s what the movie business calls “good buzz,” or “word of mouth” or something. (I think my superhero name will be Cliche Man…) In any case, Marv Wolfman’s to writing Nightwing is in full swing, and in part two, the game’s afoot. Can Marv, Dan and Norm keep up the interest of
Or – “You Don’t Need Captain America, Thor, and Iron Man In Every Issue.” The Avengers are one of those teams that has had so many different incarnations that there’s no real “iconic” interpretation of the team. People talk about the Big Three, but the original lineup didn’t actually contain all of them. More importantly, the concept of what an Avenger IS has changed many times. The point of the original “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” mini was to reimagine the original five members of the team. The new series takes the same tack with a more difficult crew, the team of
Or – “Everything That You Once Knew Was Wrong Is Wronger Still…” If you’ve been reading, (and I thank you if ya have), you may have noticed that I have an affinity for team books. In most cases, the bigger the cast, the happier I am. This is a common malady among comic fans my age, and most of us blame it on The Legion. I was introduced to the 30th century through the digest-sized reprints that DC put out in the early 80’s, reprinting the seminal run from Adventure Comics lo those million years ago. At the time, the
Or – “You Are Somewhat Distracted By The Second-Person Narrative…” As a sometimes-retailer, Marvel’s giant “Civil War” crossover is puzzling to me. Virtually all the issues of all the comics Marvel has printed in recent months have been affected, many of them forced to ship late for fear of tipping crucial plot points, and the entire continuity of the Marvel Universe has been tangled up together like the Giant Spaghetti Monster in the sky. As a reader, it’s maddening, as things happen that don’t get explained until weeks later (i.e. the revelation of the spoilery death in “Cable & Deadpool”
Or “A Mystery Within An Enigma Wrapped In Bacon and Deep-Fried In Batter.” Recently, I mentioned on the forums how DC’s Shadowpact comic was adhering to the fanboy rule of thumb regarding the Star Trek movie franchise: the odd-numbered issues leave me cold, whereas the even-numbered ones give me hope to come back for the next time ’round. With this issue, Outsiders officially joins the Roddenberry Rondelay, with an issue that adds yet another layer of questions, a terribly unfortunate tonsorial decision and some serious bad behavior.
Or – “Why Isn’t It Called Sophomores?” My manager at the comic store has made much of the recent “revelation” that today’s comic buyers consist mostly of men in their thirties with excess disposable income. Tom points out that anyone who’s ever BEEN in a comic book store should recognize that comics are geared for, marketed to, and frankly, really only affordable by this target group. So, it should be no surprise that one of Top Cow’s recent hits hearkens us back to the glory days, the time when we believed we were cool, despite all the evidence to the
Or “Warren Ellis Is Either A Genius or Bug*#&@ Crazy. Possibly Both.” It is with an uncharacteristic sense of foreboding (for both me and for NextWave) that I start reviewing this book. Reports out of Marvel indicate that issue 12 will be the last regular issue of NextWave, but that it may continue as a series of miniseries in the future. That’s too bad, because this book is the most all-out fun I’ve had with a Marvel title since they cancelled the first volume of New Warriors, waaay back in the late 90’s. (And we’ve all seen how well THAT
Or “Will You, Won’t You, Will You, Won’t You, Won’t You Join The Dance?” The “Countdown to Infinite Crisis” tie-in miniseries were a mixed bag. “Rann-Thanagar War” was interesting, but in trying to show us the sheer scope of a war, it ended up feeling like a series of unrelated vignettes. “Day of Vengeance” was excellent, “OMAC Project” good but strange, but in my mind, the real gem of the line was “Villains United.” Not only did it establish the Society (And who’d have thought that a concept like the Secret Society of Super-Villains would be a hot commodity in
Or “Oooh! Scary stuff kids! Blah! Blah!” Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Though most years I don’t ever follow through with the cool costumes that I conceive during the year (this year’s favorite was pro wrestler “Earthquake,” to honor the late John Tenta, who recently passed away), I always like to do SOMETHING in honor of All Hallow’s. Now that I’ve reproduced, I have a built-in excuse (“Oh, this is for Molly!”), but the whole point is for grown-ups to act like kids. Y’know, dress ridiculously, eat tons of junk-food, try to annoy and scare your fellow man.
Or “If They’re The Suicide Squad, How Come There’s So Many Of ‘Em Left?” There’s been a lot of talk lately about “realism” in superhero comics. Books like Ultimate Spider-Man have been able to look at characters and events in a more adult fashion, while maintaining the best of what Stan & Steve established for the character. Some books have been wildly successful with a more realistic bent (Astro City, for one), while others have actually created MORE ridiculous premises by taking “realism” to it’s extreme (Mark Millar’s brilliant “Wanted,” for example, does grim and gritty so well that it
Or – “It’s Hard To Make Snide Remarks When You’re Pretending Not To Cry.” Birds of Prey has always been an interesting case study. The original mini-series seemed to spawn out of the “Bad Girl” craze of the 90’s, but it’s never been a T&A book. It’s been a book with two (sometimes three) female main characters, but it’s never really been a “chick book.” Heck, DC insisted forever on listing it among the Batman titles, though it’s never realy been that much of a bat-book. It’s kind of a strange animal, a four-color Pushmepullyu that isn’t easy to categorize,