Friday, February 26, 2010

Siege Tie-ins for 2-24

My back is apparently conspiring against me, which means I'll have to do these reviews before I try home chriopractcy. Lets get to these.
Thunderbolts 141, New Avengers 62
Dark Wolverine 83, Avengers: The Initiative 33

New Avengers

I'm dealing with the worst of the bunch, first. IF this issue happened before Siege 1 I would not be so angry about it. As I said before, one of the little tricks Bendis likes to use is to use flashbacks for tie-in books to the larger story, pulling curtains aside to fill in small details for the audience. The problem with this is that it does nothing to reveal more about a character. This is the story to how Steve Rogers got the team together between Siege 1 and 2. Did we really need a 2 issue story on how Steve Rogers gets the team together? Couldnt I just assume the Avengers, you know, assemble?

Dark Wolverine

And continuing our trend of pointless tie-ins...

I kid, slightly. This story doesn't really impact the events of Siege, and the hopes that Daken stabbing Osborn through the chest at the end of DW 82 were real events were quickly dashed, as I expected. However, we get a little shout-out to the Thor: Disassembled series and Daken gets a nice bit of characterization, again, in this book that he never recieves in Dark Avengers.

Avengers: The Initiative
Gage does a superb job juggling the massive cast of this book, going between stories about Taskmater, Diamondback and Constrictor, Penance, and the New Warriors vs. The Hood. Theres nothing too amazing to crow about outside of good characterization of all the parties involved. Taskmaster quickly realizes he's in waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay
over his head and gives a nice quip about the special kind of crazy needed to lay Siege to Norse Asgard. Plus, this issue, not a flashback or a fever dream. Its a nice bit of fleshing out contemporary events to the Siege and adding more story to Bendis' 4 issue mini event.
Alright, this one was the best. I've been digging Thunderbolts for almost a year now. The whoel group is fractured. Half of the group has to survive the bouts of violence out of the other half and the boss acts as if they're throw aways. This is Dark X-Men but in monthly format :D
You know whats alo good about this book? Its not a tie in that fleshes out the events already going on, its not a fever dream, its not a flashback, its an actual story that has some potential to impact on the greater narrative, if you believe the Thunderbolts will actually steal the spear of Odin and get it into Osborn's hands around Siege 4, and is completely new to the story as its being told. Holy Christ! This is a real tie-in! Jeff Parker's sense of irony is in top form, too, within the opening pages, as the remainder of the T-bolts gather to listen to Osborn praise their work/brief them on their current mission. Plus, this book features the miracles and fun of Pym-Science as the Mighty Avengers enter the fray in the end.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Blackest Night Books for 2-24

Its been a while since I did one of these. Let sstart with Blackest Night from this week.

Blackest Night: JSA 3

Black Lantern Green Arrow

Blackest Night 7

These 3 books exist independently of each other, and outside of the Blackest Night 7 you dont need the other two, which has been the nature of tie-ins for events, now. One which I continue to rail against, alone.

Blackest Night JSA 3 was about the most sane of the books in the series, but I chalk that up to my lack of knowledge of the JSA and the sheer amount of heroes in it. Holy Christ I didn't know what I was getting into. It was a fine wrap up to the series, too, though I wish Alan Scott, the GREEN LANTERN, played a bigger role in it than he did.

Black Lantern Green Arrow contains too many adjectives in its title and our villain, BLGA, is offed in what appears to be the second best option out dispensing with Black lanterns outside of having light...freezing them. OK. I know its bad to nit pick comic science, but if freezing them can work why the hell do none of the Black Lanterns in space freeze solid, too? Isn't space kinda, you know, cold? It must be they have to freeze in ice and thus a lack of water molecules in space prevents them from freezing in the cold depths of the abyss. BTW, freezing is the preferred option of escaping Black lantens in Blackest Night: Batman (freeze yourself) and Blackest Night Flash (freeze them)

Now, for the main event, Blackest Night 7. The rounds on this one tend to be people are disappointed. The white lanterns make their grand entrance and people mostly talk about not being able to beat the bad guy, yet. I will say this, though. Most people express dissapointment in the lack of characterizaton of the deputy lanterns made at the end of Blackest night 6, a valid criticism if all you are buying is the Blackest Night Books. However, you got that charcaterization in the tie-ins throught he months of January and February. So, i give DC editorial the the nod to making some of the tie-ins matter. Mera and Wonder Woman got to shine, slightly, in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman. Atom got a chance to matter in Atom and Hawkman. Blackest Night: Flash delt with Ble Lantern Flash, and Scarecrow got to shine in this book and in Green Lantern 50. This left Lex Luthor to be handled, slightly, in this book, and I dont find a problem with the characterization of Luthor in this. I thought one of the deals with the orane ring is that it is dangerous and can consume its user. I hated the characterization of the orange light just because it set up as a completely irredeemable light and unable to be a motivating factor for good.


I totally called Sinestro being the white lantern :P

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Episode 7

New episode at

New format unveiled. We couldn't get the show at an hour,s till, but at least we're having a LOT more fun with it now that we got rid of the "Total 10" news updates.

Give a listen, let us know what you think of the show. We need all the feedback we can get to make it the best we can make it.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Dark Avengers 14

I'm not breaking ground here when I mention there is a lot of talking going on in this book.
Okay, it's not bad. I did not feel, at all, bored reading this thing. Bendis takes the comic medium to enhance dialog. That has been his schtick for a long time and he excels at it.
As a siege tie in, this book acts as part of a prelude, hinting at how Secret Invasion tie-ins were written by Bendis. Instead of stalling the current story of Siege we get a story of the lead up into the Siege. However, given what happens in this book, this makes it not a Siege tie-in, at all. I honestly find this frustrating. When i pick up a book that ties in to an event, I want that book to actually tie in to it. The book mentions the siege once regarding Norman's future plan for starting a war against Asgard but nothing beyond that. Theres a subtle hint at the Siege at the end of the book, but its just like any other subtle cliffhanger in a comic.
What I'm working towards is a lot of the drama and pay-off for a big reveal gets lessened as its released in a flashback while something that features the immediate consequences of the action can be observed elsewhere. Obviously the Sentry calmly listens to Osborn, or else we'd be having comics where New York is trashed to oblivion right now. Of course the Sentry listens to Osborn, or else how would the Sentry have joined the team in the attack on Asgard? The sentry turning down a darker path isnt shocking given we knew he's gone down the path of the Void in Siege 2. The tension of the Sentry's impending assault and destruction of New York, the thin possability that the Dark Avengers team might have to contend with the Sentry as an enemy instead of ally, for this issue, and the Sentry's loss of humanity are all mitigated and their effects lessened because we already know what the immediate results are.

Now, for my crudest reactions to the story. Victoria Hand is one seriously aggressive lesbian. And, what do you know, the Sentry is once again defeated through the power of conversation. James Lipton could qualify as this man's arch-nemesis.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man 621

We begin this week's looks at where I left off last weeks. Dan Slott ties most of the loose ends of the Mysterio arc together with this one shot. Spoltighting Mr. Negative, this story features more of a way for Spidey to castrate one of his baddies than one coming out of the woodwork with new, better powers.
This is probably the Slott book I have liked the least given what I've read by him, but that still makes him better than Jeph Loeb or Bendis, IMHO, in terms of enjoyment of the book.
Also, in the story, I just found out MJ knows Spidey's secret ID. Great job OMD/BND! You can tell I haven't been reading spider-man much. in fact I jumped on board with the Deadpool issue, 611.
Not my favorite book of the week, but, then again, my favorite kinda tops the charts in terms of precious insanity in words on the page.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Strange 4

I really want this series to be the start of something similar to what DNA are doing with Marvel's cosmic series of books. It better be, too, given the relatively unhappy ending of this book.
Okay, supernatural stuff tends to have a tinge of the unfulfilled, unhappy, etc. Almost all books out there signal that magic isn't somehing to be toyed with. Using it will result in consequences that will ruin your life. "Constantine" does a better job of hitting that note than anything. Mark Waid did not need to go to that well for the end of this series.
I've heard someone mention, I believe it was Chris Sims, or maybe someone on War Rocket Ajax one day, that Strange is a hard character to write and that no one seems to have done him right since Stan Lee. Parodies exist and flourish, such as Dr. Orpheus from Venture Brothers, but treating the character seriously and making him fun seems to be a monumental task.

What we have here is a man that has this amazing power, and amazing responsability towards the power, he is the master of its use and knowledge of it. It seems to be there is little to nothing that can flummox him. Strange almost sounds as if he's Bruce Wayne with Spider-Man's problems. The key negative to Dr. Strange is that people keep returning to the idea that magic has severe consequences for its use, and, thus, should be used sparingly. Peter Parker knows there are consequences for being Spider-Man, but he doesn't stop being Spider-Man BECAUSE the world will be worse off if he doesn't use them. Dr. Strange, instead, uses his powers in as limited a fashion as possible because it has such dire consequences for its use. People's lives become worse when he uses his powers. When the character can't have fun with his super powers, why should the people have fun reading about this tedious drama?

Marvel is going to release another series featuring Strange soon, co-starring Spider-Man, which I hope is a bit more fun. On the whole, Strange 1-4 wasnt a bad series, its that the theme is a bit too worn out for the good Doctor. Emma Rios' art is fantastic, though I cautiously critique Strange's floppy hair look. Waid's stories in parts 1 and 2 were fantastic, with part 3 going great as a lead in to this issue. This issue would have been wonderous if not for the downer of an ending. Now, Waid does hold out hope. Strange leaves the book stating, not in this many words, that using Magic doesnt have to be bad and that he should stop being such a pansy with its use. That's great. But did a tragedy, in the context of the greater narrative of the series, have to happen for that thought to occur?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man 620

There's not a lot that I need to have happen to enjoy a Spider-Man comic. There has to be some point where being Spider-Man causes some drama to arise in peter Parker's life. Spider-Man should have to use his brains in order to outwit his bad guys rather than lean on his powers. In this book Dan Slott does a good job of nailign the first point, and providing enough fun for me to gloss over the second one.
One of the best things about how being Spider-man causes grief in Peter's life is that Peter doesnt whine. We see how being Spider-man has caused his friendship with Carlie to crumble in this book and Slott doesn't spend time dwelling on the aftermath.
Now why doesn't Slott dwell anymore on this? Becuase Slott doesn't brake for emo crap. Slott doesn't brake for red lights, too. For about 5 months Dan Slott has been the most enjoyable writer in comics, to me. I look forward to any book of his because they are packed with energy and action. Plot does not suffer since he seamlessly weaves it into the action going on in the page, and he doesn't need to have characters recite a novel like Claremont does in a fight scene to do it.
Now, to make Spidey use his head, what better choice than to drag Mysterio out of the casket. When your schtick is to cause head games, Spider-man should have to use his noodle to see through the tricks. Instead, the truly memorable parts of the illusions Mysterio creates are used for humor. Which, in this case, amps up the fun value of the book.
The art is fantastic, too. Martin and Pulido have created a style that makes me think I'm reading a Spidey book from the early 70s.

Really, the only story of "The Gauntlet" I haven't enjoyed was the Electro story, but still, for about 2 solid months I've been enticed into reading Spider-Man when I wasn't before by the promise of classic villains and top-nothc writing by the ever expanding Spidey creative team, which numbers probably as more as the number of Duggars. While Mysterio didnt get the power boost treatment that all the other Guantlet villains got, that doesn't mean this story is the slouch of the bunch. If not for Dark X-Men #4, this book would have been my pick of the week.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Episode 6

Brian Clevinger joins us tonight via unlock time capsule from the distant future of 8:00 EST. Which will be broadcasted at 1:00 EST, at whcih point, that time capsule will be from the past and this cant be any worse than the convoluted past/present/future of Heroes.

Dark X-Men #4
No news today, except the news that Dark X-Men is pure fun. It is not surprising since this is the same creative team that gave us Captain Britain and MI-13. It may be because I can identify with the characters of this book, on some level. The gist of the series is "let's do a wacky adventure with the remainder of Norman Osborn's Dark X-Men team from the Utopia crossover." The team is completely dysfunctional. With no true purpose or direction, they need to justify their existence before their boss, who seems like he'd rather give up on them. Whose soul-crushing job does this NOT sound like?
The fun is in the dialogue, because if you can't write dysfunction between 4 socio/psychopaths, what kind of writer are you? Mystique's straight person routine is the perfect figure to bounce Dark Beast's amoral regard for life, Mimic's channeling of Shinji from Evangelion, and Omega's meth addict tendencies off of. Plus, you can't go wrong with the line "What, his strategy against us is slight frustration?"
The big knock on the series is that we know Osborn is going to be fine in the end. We know who will ultimately be in charge of Osborn's body, even after being possessed by the psychic spirit of a dimension hopping test tube baby from the genes of Scott Summers and Jean Grey from an alternate world. What's great, though, is that this may be the in continuity tale of how Osborn starts to fully revert back into being the Green Goblin.

Was the book light on action? Yes. But with great/entertaining conversation, a lack of action is excuseable. Dark X-Men is probably one of the best comics I'm buying now on the stands every month and I am sad to see it go away with issue 5.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Come and knock on my door...

So many days between the posts, let us start with this bit of news.

Now, I remembe rsome time ago mentioning todays youth and how their use of social networking has the potential to go very awry. I'm not immune to this. I friend just about anyone that asks for being my friend on facebook. I also wouldn't give my home address knowing there are about 16 people I have friended that I have no idea who they are.

I never did participae in the teen party scene. Is it that easy to lose track of who is supposed to be in the party? They routinely go over 10 people? If I had know the relatively ease of crashing a party, I'd have surely attended more of them, but that would necessittate that I would even know of any parties, which I did not.

Problems arise for a group of monkeys, when they invite just one guy into their home.
I like Daniel Way's work on Deadpool. I get that this book is a tie in to a future release of Deadpool. This is not the Daniel Way I love. Now, I am one of the few heathens that doon't like monkeys in my comics. Here we have an elite hitman that is actually a monkey, and the tale of how he got that way. Its not funny.
As wacky a premise as a hitman monkey is, this is played way too seriously for everyone involved in the story. Sometimes it has comedic effect. When our hitman human is revived by the group of wild monkeys, he takes to staying in a hot spring with his clothes on. Then proceeds to do karate in the snow in his wet clothes! This isnt played for yucks, though. It's just Clint Eastwood seriousness played by the hitman human and his monkey companions.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The 3 humors

Episode 5 of the show comes out tonight, with Ben Levin and Matt Burnett from "For Tax Reasons" on to talk about their animated works.

Meanhile, Joel Hodgson gave an interview about his current cross country extravaganza, Cinematic Titanic, as well as shed lights on why he stepped away from MST3K

Deadpool Team-Up 896
Deadpool Team-Up works so much better when deadpool wanders his way into another character's life. The hook for the series has to be how other Marvel U charcaters interact with a character whose whole existence is based upon causing chaos and breaking the 4th wall. Deadpool should be Deus ex Pinto and should not be driving the stories. He has 2 other titles to be the lead in. In this book, he should take the backseat to his guest stars.
This book does it right. The story is Rocket Raccon clones are being used by a demon truck driver to steal space parts being hauled by U.S.Ace and Deadpool for the demon truck driver's no questions asked trucking company. What was cute about the whole set up is that Stuart moore takes about a page to explain U.S.Ace and his backstory and one to include Deadpool in the shenanigans.
The ridiculousness of the story is where the humor comes from. It has a small amount of fun banter in it, but primarily Deadpool trying to utilize Trucker Speech, with obvious results of mocking the jargon. The big negative is that U.S.Ace is too much the straight man to Deadpool. Ace doesnt acknowledge how ludicrous his own continuity is, and instead comes off more like Dante from Clerks being asked to watch over a retarded child. Perhaps what this book needs is someone to play off Deadpool's humor, not be overwhelmed by it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Government and media

Not content to interrupt my television watching, Obama wants to sully my internet experience too.

Joking aside, I commend the President on reaching out to a medium that seems populated by apathetic or non-voting age people. I commend the outreach as a way to enhance the political experience for such people and I can say that the cynic in me is not going off on the potential of using planted videos to answer questions. Obviously, screening will be used to prevent any questions that someone could characterize as "Idiotic" being brought before the president (birther related questions spring to mind).

Siege 2
Bendis improves in issue 2, and directs Coipel through a fabulous fight scene between Ares and Sentry.
With 4 issues to tel this story over Bendis' usual 6, I can safely state that we ar egetting a wide screen comic in short form, and that means the paes are PACKED with art by Coipel. Panel count per page is high.
Its nice to see Bob the Sentry finally show himself to be somewhat menacing. But, really, it is kind of too late. I'm going to start worrying, now, though whether this book is meant to be a Sentry book.
And finally, I have to ask a fictional character: Really Norman? Wolverine against Thor. You didn't see the winner of that one?

I like Bill.

Volstagg seems a bit too childish for my liking in this book. I know he's naive about the world, but at times he comes off as if he's mentally retarded and I'm sure thats not what the writers are aiming for.

OK, Volstagg is kind of weird. We know. But hes written better and mor elikeable when he's clueless to girth and how it enhances his fighting prowess. He drinks a lot because hes big. And will not turn down a challenge to do so. He eats a lot because hes big. Not just because he worked up an appetite. Hes hardy because he's big, not just an asgardian. A lot of his appeal comes form the fact he is unconcerned about his girth and more than willing to highlight the percieved advantages of his voluminous size.

Here's he's just plain clueless, and its not really entertaining, just sad. Ben and Bill come off more like they'r ein charge of a man-child and speak as if they pity him more than anything else. Volstagg doesnt need pity. Volstagg needs to hunt.

The other part of the story, featuring the Fox News analog of Todd Keller is slowly building. I hope it doesnt build to a perceivable shifting of opinion in Keller over his stance for Osborn. But I rail against that only becaus eof its predictability. I personally want Keller to remain unrepentently loyal to osborn and then have Ben Urich punch him in the face as Asgard comes falling to the ground around them. ACTION News!