Thursday, January 14, 2010

Rokk's Comic Book Revolution Archives.

I have always tried to keep The Revolution constantly growing and expanding.  What was first my personal little blog designed for me to blow off steam about comic books slowly expanded into a mult-author review website.  I knew that at some point The Revolution would outgrow the Blogger format and would need to evolve into something bigger and better.  That time is now.

As of now, this blog will now serve as the Archives to the Comic Book Revolution's new website.  I want to thank all the long-time followers of The Revolution for their support.  I really do appreciate it. 

This is a bittersweet moment for me.  I feel like I am leaving the small family home I grew up in and moving into a new and nicer home that I have bought for myself.  Luckily, I will have plenty of roommates as Kevin and Andrenn are both archiving their blogs and joining me at the Comic Book Revolution's new website as full-time contributors. 

I think that everyone will enjoy the Comic Book Revolution's new website.  I have big hopes for The Revolution and will continue to nurture and expand The Revolution in order to make it an even better place for comic book readers to stop by and share their love of this industry.

So, hop on over to for all the new reviews, commentary pieces and interviews.  The best is ahead of us.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Comic Book Review: Red Robin #8

The Revolution has not been a big fan of Red Robin. Chris Yost does not seem to know what he wants this series to be. Though he has done a very good job writing Tim's character in the past two issues the overall plot is not moving the overarching story forward whatsoever, which was Tim's search for Bruce. It is very disappointing because even though Yost writing of Tim's character this title just lacks an identity in what it wants to be. Let's see if Red Robin #8 can turn things around for this title.

Creative Team
Writer: Chris Yost
Artist: Marcus To
Inker: Ray McCarthy
Colorist: Guy Major

Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: Four days ago in The Craddle Red Robin is looking through the League of Assassin's database with The Expediter and White Ghost standing behind him talking about him and how Ra's wants Tim looking through their database.

Back in the present Red Robin and Tam surrounded by the Spider Council members Goliath, Funnel, Wolf, Widower, Tangle, The Wanderer, and Sac. Red Robin analyzes the situation looking at all his opponents while being contacted by Ra's Al Ghul who informs Red Robin that the Ra's that is dead was a body double. Ra's tries to help out Tim but Tim tells him to go to hell.

Red Robin then continues to analyze the situation in his head to see which ones he has to take out immediately. The Wanderer notices that the Ra's she killed is a fake which Red Robin uses to finally launch his attack.

In some unknown location the real Ra's is watching Tim fight the Spider Council with someone we cannot see says that Tim is going to
die fighting seven to one. Ra's disagrees saying that Tim is not Bruce, Dick, or Damian and he believes Tim has already won.

Back in The Cradle Red Robin pushes Tam out of the way of fire and jumps out of the way from Wolf's gun fire and Wolf hits Goliath instead. Red Robin then quickly takes out Funnel and Tangle. Sac tries to take Red Robin's head off but Red Robin dodges and dropkicks Sac in the chin. As Red Robin fights The Wanderer watches him analyzing his fight.

As Red Robin continues to fight off the Spider Council he tells Tam to make a run for the door. As she runs to the door Sac takes a swing at her but Tam trips making Sac miss and hit some electric wires that shock him. Wolf comes in and is about to shoot Tam but Pru saves her by tackling Wolf.

Red Robin fights The Widower and while blocking one of his attacks Tim uses his free hand to hit The Widower with his grapple gun. Tim tells Pru and White Ghost to run. As they do Red Robin starts fighting The Wanderer and plays defense against her quick strikes analyzing all her moves. The Wanderer complements Red Robin asking him why he works for Ra's. Red Robin says he only works for one man and that he is not there right now. He takes a swing at her using his staff but she blocks it. She tries to strike Red Robin but he dodges it at punches her knocking her to the ground and makes a run for it.

Tim is in the Cradle's control room with Tam, Pru, and White Ghost telling White Ghost he is out of time. Prudance leaves on Tim's call. Tim then activates Sub-Routine RD1 that blows up all the League of Assassins base around the world. White Ghost is pissed but Tim leaves The Cradle with Tam before the whole base crumbles. The Spider Council tries to stop him but they are caught in the explosion of The Cradle.

Tim and Tam make it outside safely. While Tim thinks that Tam will need some therapy she kisses Tim. Just as she kisses him Ra's contacts Tim and Tam feels embarrassed.

Ra's complements Tim on what he has done but now Ra's is going to take out Wayne Industries since Tim took out Ra's business. Tim tells Tam they are going back to Gotham.

Eight hours later the Spider Council members come out of all the rubble with the Wanderer saying they have a new prey: Heroes.

The Good: Red Robin #8 was a surprisingly fun action packed read. Chris Yost did a great job writing Tim's character as this is the first full issue where Tim felt like how Tim Drake should be written. Previous issues Yost showed signs of knowing how to write Tim's character but tried too hard to also show the character as being unstable in his pursuit to find Bruce.

Yost did a great job showing us the true Tim Drake as we saw the more detective side of the character who thinks out all of his moves. While Dick has taken after Bruce in terms of being a fighting capabilities Tim is the one that has taken more of the detective side of Bruce. Though Dick has shown he is a great detective himself it has always been establish that Tim is the one with the potential to surpass Bruce in being a detective.

It was cool seeing Tim remember everything he has been taught from the various people he has trained under. And Tim has trained under some of the best fighters and detectives in the DCU with the likes of Bruce, Dick, and Shiva. Those three alone are three of the top fighters in the DCU. We saw flashes of Tim using things of all he has been taught as he fought the Spider Council.

I liked that before the fight even started Tim already figured out how he needed to take out the seven enemies he was facing while protecting Tam. It is a good way to show how Tim thinks is different from Dick as Tim may not be as good a fighter as Bruce or Dick but with preparation he can fight just fight as well as those two. He was a real pro in this fight and showed that he has come out on his own.

I found it interesting how even though Tim was analyzing the situation he was in his fighting style was more acrobatic almost like how Dick fought as Nightwing. It may have just been how the art was done in this issue but I thought it was an interesting combination of how Bruce and Dick usually fight that Tim used before and during the fight.

Yost also did a good job with the hook ending by showing us Ra's has been in Gotham and is now looking to get revenge on Tim for blowing up all of the League of Assassins headquarters. It is a nice lead into Tim's "homecoming" to Gotham and should lead to some interesting things as Yost has been hinting at Wayne Industries playing a bigger role in this title.

Also, it will be interesting to see who the mysterious woman Ra's was talking to in this issue. My money is on Talia but still maybe Yost will throw us a curve ball and it will be someone we do not expect.

Marcus To really stepped up his game in this issue with some very good looking artwork. I like that he kept the background simple and focus more of the detail in the art for the fight between
Tim and the Spider Council members. The art was the real driving force for this issue and made it very enjoyable as there was a great flow to all the art as Tim took out the Spider Council members one at a time. And his colorist Guy Major did a great job in this issue as well as he typically does as he made the images look great.

The Bad: Now while it wasn't that big of deal in this issue like it has been in the previous seven issues I still don't like is the shifting between past and present Yost continues to use. Even though it was only used once at the very beginning of the issue after eight issues of Yost using this it has gotten old and makes him look like a lazy writer trying to fill the page count.

I was also not a big fan of the whole fake out death of a character but then it turning out to be a body double. It was a cheap way to end the last issue and makes the impact of what happened irrelevant especially since we did not know who Ra's body double was or does the reader care.

And though I like the ending of the issue with Ra's being revealed in Gotham it didn't feel as big
as if it was the ending for one of the three big Batbooks (Batman, Batman and Robin, and Streets of Gotham). Sure it was cool but this new storyline will only be a crossover in Red Robin and Batgirl which can be said to be on second tier titles of the Batbooks. It just does not make the story of Ra's attacking Gotham feel like it has big consequences on the city as if it was in a title starring Batman, whether it is Bruce or Dick under the cowl.

Also, while the fight between Tim and the Spider Council was cool it did not help the Council look any stronger and actually made them look weak. These guys have been the other big villain in this title since the start and look to continue to be a supposed threat on this title. But the way they were portrayed in this issue with all of the main members of the Council they were made to look no better than one of villains than an ongoing threat.

Another thing I didn't like and what I really am starting to hate about this title is that Yost continues to have Tim say he knows Bruce is alive but never giving supporting detail to why he thinks that. Sure we know that Bruce is the one that drew the batsymbol on the cave Tim found how does Tim know that? We have never been given a reason for Tim thinking that and Yost continues to tease that Tim just knows.

In this issue Yost showed he has a great handling of Tim's character but when it comes to showing us proof to back-up why Tim thinks Bruce is alive Yost has given us nothing. Right now Tim has no proof to show Dick, Barbara, Stephanie, Damian, and the others that Bruce is alive other than the cave painting that can be said to be drawn by some drunk high school kid for all they know. It is just annoying Yost is avoiding this plot point that was this title was marketed to do but isn't.

Overall: Red Robin #8 was the best issue of this series so far. Though Yost continues to have the same problems previous issues of this series have had. Still if you are a fan of Tim Drake fan you are sure to enjoy this issue and I recommend you pick it up. The next issue will be a prologue issue to the Red Robin/Batgirl crossover so if you are looking to jump onto this title you will have to be picking up Batgirl as well in March. So be aware of that if you plan on picking up the next arc of this title.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Comic Book Review: Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2

I was completely unimpressed with Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #1. It was a fairly average story that moved at a slow pace and offered the reader little more than what we have gotten in the countless other Blackest Night tie-in issues.

 However, I figured that I would go ahead and give this second issue a chance. After all, this is only a three-issue mini-series, so it does not require that much commitment from me. Plus, I absolutely adored Nicola Scott’s artwork. So, I figured if nothing else Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 would be pretty to look at. Let’s go ahead and do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Greg Rucka
Pencils: Nicola Scott
Inks: Jonathan Glapion

Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Mera battling Black Lantern Wonder Woman. During the fight, Wonder Woman’s inner voice pleads for Mera to stop her at any costs. Wonder Woman thinks how this is not her. Meanwhile the black power ring keeps saying “Flesh.”

Black Lantern Wonder Woman engages in tons of trash talking about how Mera is the queen of nothing. That Mera’s kingdom is gone, her husband is dead and her son is dead. Black Lantern Wonder Woman beats the hell out of Mera.

Finally, Black Lantern Wonder Woman’s trash talking fills Mera with rage. Mera then makes a rally and uses water to blast Black Lantern Wonder Woman. Mera then takes her trident and stabs Black Lantern Wonder Woman through her chest.

Black Lantern Wonder Woman pulls out the trident and then grabs Mera by the neck. Black Lantern Wonder Woman is about to snap Mera’s neck. Mera says that Wonder Woman was a friend of hers and then spits in Black Lantern Wonder Woman’s face.

Wonder Woman’s inner voice then gains temporary control over Black Lantern Wonder Woman. Black Lantern Wondy tells Mera to run. Black Lantern Wonder Woman then flies off into the sky.

Black Lantern Wondy then lands and thinks how she would rather die than become this abomination that she is now. Suddenly, Cassie arrives on the scene and tells Black Lantern Wonder Woman that she can fight the influence of the black power ring.

Black Lantern Donna Troy then arrives on the scene. Black Lantern Donna says that she has always hated Cassie. That Cassie doesn’t fit in with them. That Cassie is annoying. Black Lantern Donna says that she has always wanted to hear Cassie scream.

Suddenly, Black Lantern Wonder Woman rips Cassie’s heart of her chest. Black Lantern Donna comments that Diana always ruins her fun. Black Lantern Donna asks who they are gong to kill next.

Wonder Woman’s inner voice is horrified over what she has just done. Black Lantern Wonder Woman then attacks Black Lantern Donna and hacks Black Lantern Donna in half and kills her.

Suddenly, Wonder Woman’s mother, Hippolyta, appears on the scene and attacks Black Lantern Wonder Woman. Hippolyta says that Black Lantern Wonder Woman is not her daughter. Black Lantern Wonder Woman takes down Hippolyta and is just about to cut Hippolyta’s head off when a batarang hits Black Lantern Wonder Woman in the face.

Wondy looks up and we see Batman (Bruce Wayne) on the scene. Bruce tells Wondy to stop. Black Lantern Wonder Woman attacks Batman. Batman grabs Wondy by her throat and tells her that this is not her. Wonder Woman’s inner voice stammers that this cannot be real. That Bruce is dead.

We then see the Star Sapphire power ring flying toward Black Lantern Wonder Woman. We then see Batman and Black Lantern Wonder Woman in full embrace and kissing each other. (Wow! I did not see that coming!) Wonder Woman’s inner voice says “Bruce…”

The Star Sapphire power ring then flies up to Wonder Woman. Aphrodite then also appears on the scene. Aphrodite says that the color for love of all creation is Wonder Woman’s true color. Wonder Woman says that she cannot forgive herself for what she has done.

Aphrodite says that Wonder Woman has done nothing. That Aphrodite made this place and it is a figment. A place where Wonder Woman’s possession could play out without hurting anyone. Aphrodite says that she would not allow Wondy to be destroyed by evil. Aphrodite says that in darkness that love must survive.

The Star Sapphire power ring then slides onto Wondy’s finger. The black power ring then explodes into little pieces as its connection to Wondy is severed. The Star Sapphire ring says, “Welcome to the Star Sapphire Corps.”

Wonder Woman smiles and says, “It [love] must do more…it must triumph.” We see Wonder Woman, in her Star Sapphire outfit, flying off into the air. End of issue.

The Good: Wow, I cannot believe it, but Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 was a good read. I was fully expecting another pedestrian read. However, Rucka delivered a much stronger issue with Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 than he did with the debut issue on this mini-series.

Now, it is incumbent upon me to openly disclose that I have never been a fan of Wonder Woman. I have never read her comic book and I know little about Wonder Woman outside of what I have read of her character in titles like Justice League of America and such.

Having said that, Rucka actually managed to get me to like Wonder Woman’s character in this issue. Rucka constructs some solid dialogue. Rucka obviously feels comfortable writing Wonder Woman’s character and it shows. I liked the trash talking from Black Lantern Wonder Woman during her fight with Mera. That was a nice way to remind the reader of all the losses that Mera has sustained.

Rucka also served up some good character work on Wonder Woman. After all, Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 was simply a character study. The reader already knew the outcome of the fight in this issue that we got over in Blackest Night #6. The only purpose of this issue was to allow Rucka to show the reader the internal struggle in Black Lantern Wonder Woman’s soul and to help explain why the pink power ring chose Wonder Woman.

I have to admit that I was not too keen on Wonder Woman being picked by the Star Sapphire ring in Blackest Night #6. However, I did a little research and came across an article by Marguerite Lamb in which she said that William Moulton Marston struck upon an idea for a new kind of superhero, one who would triumph not with fists or firepower, but with love.

Rucka does an excellent job picking up on that essential theme of Wonder Woman’s character in this issue and, in particular, in the final scene. I enjoyed how Rucka emphasized the fact that Wonder Woman is a noble warrior who fights for the preservation of life. That it is Wonder Woman’s great love for all things living and the Earth itself that is the impetus for her being a hero.

I loved the final scene with Aphrodite approaching Wonder Woman and encouraging her to accept the Star Sapphire power ring and reject the black ring. Rucka takes a cue from Wonder Woman’s pre-Crisis origin when Wonder Woman owed her abilities to the goddess Aphrodite. The use of Aphrodite as Wonder Woman’s guiding force worked seamlessly with the theme of the Star Sapphires and their belief in love allowing them to overcome all evil. The scene with Aphrodite made Wonder Woman being chosen by the pink power ring an obvious and logical choice.

I liked the use of Cassie, Donna and Hippolyta in this issue. Particularly enjoyable was when Black Lantern Donna trash talked Cassie. Cassie has always seemed like the odd man out in the Wonder Woman family to me. Rucka does a good job playing with this dynamic.

Of course, in the end, what made Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 more than an average read for me was the appearance of Batman at the end of this issue. And I mean the real Batman, Bruce Wayne. I loved it. This plot wrinkle totally caught me by surprise. Rucka takes a cue from the DCU Animated stories that played with the idea of a romance between Bruce and Diana. I liked it during the Justice League cartoon and I liked it here in this issue.

I know that Catwoman is a classic pairing with Batman, but I have to admit that I have lost just about any and all interest in Bruce and Selina. We have been down that road too many times. The Zatanna/Bruce pairing that Dini played with over on Detective Comics was certainly interesting. However, it seemed more like Dini just inserting one of his pet characters into the story rather than a logical romance blossoming between the two characters.

However, the Wonder Woman/Batman pairing is the one that intrigues me the most. This relationship is such an interesting study in contrasts. You have the ultimate human in Bruce Wayne who is the very embodiment of the human spirit and potential. On the other hand, you have Wonder Woman who is a creature of myth and magic. It is interesting to see the man of science who has become, quite literally, a god-killer being paired with a woman created by the gods from clay. I would like to see DC play with this relationship a bit more.

Even though this issue was first and foremost a characters study, that does not mean it was a slow read full of nothing but endless amounts of dialogue. Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 provided the reader with tons of bloody action. Rucka kept the action scenes flying at the reader from start to finish. The pacing was nicely done, as this story never drags for a moment. The story has a pleasant flow as each scene unfolds into the next one. Rucka had a clear direction in mind with this issue and the story moved with a purpose.

Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 boasts some fantastic artwork. Nicola Scott’s artwork was just beautiful. If nothing else, I am glad I decided to get the Blackest Night: Wonder Woman mini-series because it introduced me to such a wonderful talent in Nicola Scott. I have never seen Scott’s work before. Scott has never been the artist on any title that I normally read.

Needless to say, I remain blown away by Scott’s attention to detail. Scott certainly produces plenty of dynamic splash shots. However, Scott is just as good at sequential story telling as she is as making dramatic splash pages. Scott was able to inject plenty of emotion into the characters and helped to bring Rucka’s story to life in a proper fashion.

The Bad: While I enjoyed the character work in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2, the fact that the reader already knew the outcome of this fight from over in Blackest Night #6 effectively robbed this issue of much impact or excitement. There was no tension at all in this story. The reader simply flips through the pages in order to get the inevitable conclusion of seeing the Star Sapphire ring destroying the black power ring.

I know this is a minor complaint, but is it possible for editors and writers on these big event tie-in issues to make sure they mesh properly with what happens on Blackest Night itself. In Blackest Night #6 we saw Black Lantern Wonder Woman and Mera engaged in a titanic battle on land in Coast City where the rest of the heroes were brawling with the Black Lanterns when the Star Sapphire ring approached Wonder Woman. Hal and Carol then watched as Black Lantern Wonder Woman tried to fight off the Star Sapphire ring before the pink power ring slid onto Wonder Woman’s finger and destroyed the Black power ring.

However, in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2, Rucka has Black Lantern Wonder Woman telling Mera to run and then Black Lantern Wonder Woman flies away from the fight scene. There, in the other location created by Aphrodite, is where Wonder Woman gets the Star Sapphire ring and the black ring is destroyed. Wonder Woman, in her Star Sapphire outfit, then flies away from that location and back to the battle scene.

It is the editor’s job to make sure writers on tie-in issues are kept in line with what is going on over on the main story. Little details like this is what can give a story a nice professional look. In the matter at hand, the editor fell asleep at the wheel and did not make sure that Rucka’s accounting of this fight meshed properly with Johns’ version of this fight.

The result is that the reader gets the feeling that there is no communication over at DC between the different editors and the different writers. It also gives the story a generally sloppy and chaotic feel to it. I know this is nitpicking, but a company like DC should be held to a higher professional standard than some bush league independent comic book publisher.

This just furthers the impression that I have had about DiDio’s tenure at DC, which has been marred by a lack of communication between editors and other editors as well as a lack of communication between editors and writers. This lack of communication has prevented DC from being able to generate cohesive stories that mesh together in a proper and consistent manner.

Overall: Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 was a solid issue. This issue was certainly better than the debut issue of this mini-series. However, even though I liked this issue, there was really nothing that occurred in this issue that you did not already get over in Blackest Night #6. Therefore, readers who are reading Blackest Night should not feel required at all to pick up Blackest Night: Wonder Woman. I would only recommend picking up Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2 if you are a Wonder Woman fan.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Comic Book Review: Siege #1

The Revolution has low expectations for Siege #1.  I have never been impressed with any team title that Bendis has written.  Nor have I been impressed with Bendis' previous attempts to write a "big" event.  I much prefer Bendis when he is dealing with a solo title like Daredevil or Ultimate Spider-Man which play to Bendis' strengths as a writer.

Having said that, I am keeping expectations low, my mind open and hope that Bendis can surprise me with a strong and exciting debut issue to this big event.  Let’s go ahead and do this review for Siege #1.

Creative Team
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Oliver Coipel
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin

Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 4.5 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with Loki convincing Norman Osborn that the only way he will have full authority from the President to attack Asgard is if they can manufacture a good reason to go to war. Therefore, Loki suggests taking a page from the Civil War playbook and following the example set by the Samford Incident that led to Civil War.

Loki explains how they can take advantage of Volstagg’s simple nature and ignorance of the mortal world and frame him for a tragic event. We cut to Chicago where we see Volstagg wandering the streets. Volstagg uses his sword to chop in half a truck full of bank robbers who were fleeing a couple of cop cars. The result of Volstagg’s action causes much collateral damage.

Loki then narrates how Osborn can use some of the Hood’s super powered thugs to attack Volstagg. We see a couple of the Hood’s super powered thugs (The U-Foes) appear in Chicago and attack Volstagg. Their fight takes them into Soldier Field where the stadium is full because a Bears game is being played at the moment.

The U-Foes then let loose some massive energy blasts on Volstagg which causes Soldier Field to explode into flames. Loki then narrates that Osborn now has his incident which will allow him to invade Asgard.

We cut to Loki and Osborn at Avengers Tower. Loki explains how cameras will catch Volstagg in the middle of the destruction looking dazed and confused. The U-Foes will slink away from the scene unseen by any cameras.

Loki then disappears. Ms. Hand then walks into Norman’s office. Norman instructs Ms. Hand to call the President and tell him that they have the incident at Soldier Field in Chicago under control. Norman tells Ms. Hand to assemble the Avengers and all the members of the Initiative. Norman says that they are invading Asgard.

Ms. Hand exclaims that there is protocol that Norman needs to follow in this situation. Norman blows off Ms. Hand and tells her to do what she is told and all will be revealed to her in time.

We cut to Norman in his Iron Patriot armor assembling the battle plans. Ares is less than pleased with Norman’s plan to attack Asgard. Ares feels that he will never do battle with the Asgardian gods and will stop Norman from doing so.

Norman replies that they have information that Thor is no longer in control of Asgard. That Thor’s brother is in control of Asgard and that Thor’s brother is a madman. Ares reluctantly agrees to help Norman invade Asgard. Ares warns that he will cut Norman’s head off if Norman is lying about all of this.

We cut to Norman addressing the Avengers. Norman informs them that they will be invading Asgard. The Avengers are less than pleased with this idea. They say that they want no part of fighting Norse gods and that they signed up to be heroes not battle gods.

Norman replies that if they help him attack Asgard then once they have defeated Asgard that Norman will grant complete and total freedom to the members of the Avengers. That they will be free of Norman and will be able to either stay on the team as Avengers or leave and live their own lives. Venom, Bullseye, Moonstone and Daken all love that offer and readily agree to help Norman attack Asgard.

We cut to Ares standing in front of the assembled heroes from the Initiative. It is a massive crowd of heroes. Ares gives a standard issue and cheesy “inspirational” pre-battle speech to whip his “troops” into battle frenzy.

We slide over to the White House with the President getting a phone call from Ms. Hand. The President is outraged that Norman did not call him himself and get the President’s approval to invade Asgard. The President starts screaming which prompts Ms. Hand to hang up on him. The President then curses that Norman is out of control.

We hop over to Asgard where Loki appears before Balder and informs Balder than the mortal troops have assembled outside Asgard and are ready to attack them. Balder scoffs at the notion of a mortal military being capable to attack Asgard.

Suddenly, we see Superman Miracle Man the Sentry blasting through the walls of Asgard. We then see the Avengers, the members of the Initiative and HAMMER troops and planes attacking Asgard.
The Asgardians assemble and meet Norman’s forces on the battlefield. And with that we official have ourselves a massive brawl.

We zip over to Tony Stark’s hospital room in Broxton, Oklahoma which is located next to Asgard. Maria Hill and Donald Blake see the news report about the attack on Asgard. Blake tells Maria needs to take Tony and get out of here immediately.

Blake then runs outside of the hospital. Blake hits his walking stick on the ground and transforms into the mighty Thor. Thor then arrives at the battlefield in Asgard. Thor then locks horns with Sentry, Iron Patriot and various energy casting members of the Initiative. The members of the Initiative then blast Thor with all of their energy. We see a small mushroom explosion appear from all the energy blasted at Thor. We see a small camera crew getting footage of the battle.

We see the smoke clear and Thor is groggy, but still standing. Norman, the Sentry and the other Initiative members all gang up and proceed to beat the hell out of Thor. The news crew films the fight.

We cut to the New Avengers hideout and see Steve Rogers standing there watching the footage from the news crew filming Norman and his heroes laying a beating on Thor. Captain America clenches his fist angrily and grinds his teeth angrily. End of issue.

The Good: Man, it is going to be tough to satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity with Siege #1. I have to say that it was nice to see Tony, Steve and Thor all in one issue once again. And to not have them fighting each other.

I am looking forward to having these three men on the same team again and actually being heroes. I may be summarily unimpressed with Siege, but I am going to love the ending with the return of three of the original Avengers. I am excited to see Avengers once again being the Avengers instead a rag tag collection of C-list characters.

The Bad: Siege #1 was just an awful debut issue to this big event. I have tried to think of a more diplomatic way of saying that, but I simply cannot. I kept my expectations extremely low for this title and Bendis still managed to deliver a story that was worse than I was expecting.

Bendis gags up an issue that was poorly constructed and executed. The plotting and pacing on Siege #1 were terrible. The first eight pages of Siege #1 were slow and lacked any energy or impact on the reader. The reader was robbed of any impact that the attack of the U-Foes on the stadium might have had due to Bendis’ decision to tell this scene in a passive manner with Loki narrating as if the scene was a mere storyboard.

The first eight pages meander about with absolutely no sense of urgency at all.  Them, suddenly, Bendis jarringly kicks the story into ultra-compression mode as he has Norman convince Ares to follow him in the attack on Asgard in just one page. Then Norman convinces the Dark Avengers to attack Asgard in just one page. Norman’s army of super heroes is assembled and then rallied by Ares in just one page. Then The President realizes that Norman is uncontrollable in the span of one page.

Hey, I am all for a more compressed style of storytelling in modern comic books, but this was just ridiculous. There is good compressed story telling that effectively tells a story and moves the story along in a logical fashion and is properly plotted. Then there is compressed story telling that is lazy where the writer gives mere lip service to characters’ motivations and rushes the story along just to get the story to a certain point where the writer wants to go.

The remainder of the issue was nothing more than Norman and his army attacking Asgard and Thor arriving on the scene and quickly getting punked out. Siege #1 was such an incredibly hurried issue. It read as if Bendis slapped this issue together in a day or two. At no point did I feel like this issue was the debut issue of an event “seven years in the making.”Instead, it seemed more like Siege was an event slapped together in seven days.

What amazed me was the incredible lack of excitement that Siege #1 brought to the table. This issue was completely lacking in emotion or soul. The story was devoid of any tension or sense of urgency. There was nothing at all that hooked the reader, captivated their attention and sucked them into the story. Bendis gave the reader a very subdued and, quite frankly, dull and dry issue.

This story felt lifeless, as it seemed that Bendis was simply going through the motions in order to rearrange the pieces on the game board. It appears that all Bendis want is to have the big three in Tony, Steve and Thor back together on the same side and team and that Siege is the perfunctory step Bendis has to go through in order to get to that destination. Siege #1 was a case of where the story was not at all about the journey. It was all about the destination at the cost of logic and proper plot progression. That almost always makes for a dull story.

Siege #1 was an extremely thin issue. The story was so shallow and basic. Reading Siege #1 was the literary equivalent of eating a rice cake: bland and unfulfilling. Siege #1 also lacked much creativity. Kicking off this big event with a re-hash of Civil War’s beginning was uninspiring. Even worse is that Bendis managed to fail in even properly mimicking Civil War’s beginning.

The Stamford tragedy over in Civil War was a gripping read that had a massive impact on the reader. Millar managed to smack the reader in the face with a literary 2x4 that immediately pulled the reader into the story. Millar was able to effectively convey the massive scale of the Stamford tragedy as well as the carnage and loss that was sustained on a human level.

Bendis utterly failed to do that with the event at Soldier Field in Siege #1. Soldier Field was blown up in one page and that is all we get. The reader was not even sure if the stadium was full of people due to the vague artwork. The event at Soldier Field had no impact at all on the reader. It happened quickly and Bendis spent no effort at all in trying to convey to the reader any emotion or loss connected with this supposed tragedy.

Instead, the reader simply skipped right past the event at Soldier Field without so much as batting an eyelash. Bendis’ inability to make an impact on the reader robbed Siege #1 of a dramatic start and also failed to engage the reader’s emotions.

The plotting in Siege #1 sorely lacked logic.  The motivations for the various characters were murky. Bendis has Norman being played by Loki way too easily. Norman has been built up to be this ultimate mastermind. The most dangerous and cunning villain on the planet. However, Loki effortlessly leads Norman by his nose. Bendis fails to get the reader to buy into why Norman would be so hot to attack Asgard when it would clearly get him into hot water with his boss, the President.

This was inconsistent with how Norman has been portrayed during Dark Reign. Norman would not engage in a reckless action that clearly would set him up to be stripped of his power by the President. Norman’s sudden desire to risk everything and attack Asgard and the way he carried out his plan seemed too forced to me. It simply lacked logic.  Bendis failed to build a more organic and proper foundation for this main plotline leading up to Siege.

Bendis failed miserably to show the motivation of why Ares and the other Dark Avengers would agree to attack the Norse gods. Bendis’ slipshod one page scene of Norman convincing Ares to attack Asgard just because Thor is no longer their leader and that Thor’s brother is a “madman” simply was not enough to create the proper motivation for Ares to change his position on attacking Asgard. This was lazy writing.

Bendis having Norman offer the Dark Avengers their freedom in return for their services in attacking Asgard was also a cheap way to create motivation for those characters to sign up for this fight. I have a hard time believing that characters like Bullseye, Moonstone and Venom would want any part of battling gods. It would be a suicide run for them. These are criminals, thugs and assassins. They are not god-killers.

Norman’s motivation to attack Asgard at all costs and Ares and the other members of the Dark Avengers’ motivation to attack Asgard seemed forced and artificial. It seemed more of a transparent and convenient excuses for Bendis to achieve what he wants which is the reuniting of Tony, Steve and Thor. Bendis appears to not care for the logic of his story as long as it takes him where he wants to go.

Another defect with Siege #1 was the small scale of the story. Bendis takes this “big” event and does his best to make it small. Bendis approaches Siege #1 in the same manner that a screen play writer would for a television show with a very tiny budget. Each scene centers on only a couple of characters at a time. All of the large action scenes take place either off panel or in just one panel shot.

Instead of showing readers the story, Bendis uses these small scenes full of dialogue to tell the reader the story. Instead of showing the reader the scene at Soldier Field and letting it unfold in real time, like the Stamford tragedy over in Civil War, Bendis uses Loki to tell the reader about what happened at Soldier Field.

The magic of comic books is that there is no budget. A comic book writer is only constrained by his own imagination. A good example of taking advantage of this fact during a big event would be how Grant Morrison handled Final Crisis. There were plenty of defects with that big event, but the scale of the story was not one of them. Morrison took advantage of the comic book medium and delivered a big event that was truly colossal on scale.

Mark Millar managed to make Civil War feel like a big event that impacted every corner of the 616 Universe. Unfortunately, Bendis does not have that blockbuster style grand imagination. The result is that Siege #1 feels like an ordinary New Avengers story rather than a 616 Universe spanning big event.

Siege #1 also lacked action. Each time the reader got the merest whiff of an action scene, Bendis whisked us off to somewhere else. The event at Soldier Field was told in the passive form of Loki narrating it as if it had already been done. Bendis also spent little time on the attack on Soldier Field as this action scene was over almost before it started.

The attack on Asgard lacked much action. The minute Norman’s heroes engaged the Asgardians, Bendis quickly cut away to Tony Stark’s hospital room. The minute Thor arrives at Asgard and engaged Norman’s heroes; Bendis has Thor quickly taken out in just a page and a half. Then we quickly cut away to Captain America. If I am going to be forced to read an uncreative and shallow story then at least give me some adrenaline pumping action and in large amounts.

The “hook” ending to Siege #1 was a joke. It was actually laughable. The splash shot of Steve Rogers with his teeth clenched and his fist shaking (I guess from either anger or early onset of Parkinson’s disease) was just so incredibly goofy.

Seriously? This is the big “hook” ending that Bendis thought would be a really cool way to end the debut issue of his big event? What in the world about this wordless full page splash shot was supposed to get me excited to come back for the next issue?

If Norman and his army can take out the mighty Thor in a page and a half then they will be able to take out Steve Rogers in about a panel or two. This hook ending was incredibly anti-climatic and fell completely flat for me.

The dialogue was average at best. At least we did not get Ares and Thor engaged in a bunch of Bendis speak. So that is something to be grateful for. None of the characters have much of a well-developed voice. Instead, the characters have rather neutral voices. Ares’ speech was particularly cheesy.

Coipel’s art was very hit or miss in this issue. Some of the splash pages looked quite pretty. However, the majority of the panels looked sloppy and rushed. There was practically no detail at all in the backgrounds. Coipel’s art was a large reason why the scene at Soldier Field failed. Coipel drew the scene with such a lack of detail that it looked like the stadium was empty. Also, the panel shots of crowds or large groups of heroes were underwhelming. Coipel would barely give the characters faces or any other details.

Coipel’s artwork helped to compound the problem that Bendis’ story was written on a small scale. Coipel never pulled the reader into the story or helped to give Siege the feeling of a truly huge event.

Overall: Siege #1 was so poor that it made Secret Invasion look pretty good by comparison. At least Secret Invasion #1 started that big event off with a bang, had plenty of wild scenes and ended with a good hook ending. Siege #1 manages to do absolutely none of that. I hope that there is much more to this story than what we got in this issue. However, the fact that Siege is only four issues long means that we probably are not going to get much more of a story than what we got in this issue.

Marvel’s incessant hyping of Siege as an event that is “seven years in the making” only made Siege that much more anti-climactic and unimpressive. There is no way this shallow story took seven years to make.

Unless you are a die-hard Bendis fan or simply have to collect every Marvel big event, I would recommend passing on Siege #1. Due to the lack of substance and content, Siege #1 simply is not worth the $3.99 cover price. Save your hard earned money and spend it on comic books that are worth it.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Comic Book Review: Daytripper #1

Creative Team
Written and Drawn: Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá
Coloring: Dave Stewart
Lettering: Sean Konót

An Introduction
I like to think about story shapes. Alan Moore likes ellipses. Brian K. Vaughan likes concentric circles. I think Moon and Bá are attempting a fractal of some kind. I don't know yet. But the tension has set up shop in my belly and head so I will keep reading.

A fractal is a mathematically constructed geometric shape wherein each composite piece contains a complete copy of the whole. When creating the realistic lumps and bumps of a photo-realistic computer generated image, fractals are a really awesome shorthand way of getting a sterile surface to grow some realistic grit.

But how does this apply to the series in question? Should you care?

Also, is it any good?

Most would say that the appeal of the slife (slice-of-life) story comes from the reader caring for the characters. This is wrong. Slife stories lack the necessary plot to drag the reader from page to page. You care about Batman. You care about Wolverine. The plot takes your caring for the character and rubs it like a washboard. That is why you want to know what happens to them week after week.

When you open the first page on Brás, the subject of Daytripper, you don't care about him. You don't know him. You may end up caring about him. Even desperately so. This is a secondary result of the true appeal of a slife story: that the writer will take some uncomfortably, mewling, eyeless thing within you and drag it around the page. You will care about Brás because you care about yourself. We all have a hunger for reassurances that our mousy insecurities will find some way to survive in the world if exposed. Here the world is fictional, but the exposure is real.

Real things are being done to you. You should care. Care like cancer.

The good writer takes that ugly thing torn from the old, rodent portions of your soul and kills it. Then it sautés its organs in its own blood and feeds it back to you. The really good writer makes it look pretty.

Bá and Moon are beautiful writers. They make you love them for it.

The Plot
The first issue of Daytripper takes you through a very important day in the life of Brás, a young man who works at a newspaper, lives in Brazil, has a dog and a girlfriend and a very important father. Brás knows that this day is important. Indeed, much of Brazil knows that this day is important. But for all of these entities the day is important for a completely different reason.

Returning Momentarily to Fractals
The secret of the end is what will surprise you. Daytripper is a miniseries of ten issues. They all are connected. That's all you need to know. The exquisite suffering you will experience as you gently read yourself raw with all of your little feelings will pay off over the next nine issues.

Without spoiling the first issue, it is my theory that this issue contains a tiny cosmos of lives. By examining life in the day of Brás, Moon and Bá have encapsulated all the other aspects of our journey. My prior experience with these two is that subsequent stories will be other tiny universes superimposed on this one.

An Apology
I have made this sound way more complicated than it actually is. Daytripper is one of the easiest to read comics I have found. It won't break your brain - just your heart. The layouts are clean. The coloring by Stewart is subtly hyper-real and warm. Moon and Bá utilize minimal amount of text per panel concentrating its force. You flow from page to page like a prescient dream.

Any author can tell you something. These authors are good enough to make you forget. They are excellent storytellers.

This a comic to give to your significant other who does not read comics.
This is a comic that will get you laid.

A Disclaimer
I guarantee nothing. But seriously: I would pick it up if you are looking for a good place to expand your taste in comics. Or acquire some.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

New Comic Books For January 6, 2010









Rokk's Picks:

All right, new comics!!  Last week was just so very wrong.  A Wednesday without new comic books simply defies the laws of nature.  Yeah, I know we got Blackest Night #6.  But, that issue had been spoiled all over the internet and did not satisfy my urge for a nice large stack of fresh new comic books.

This is a rather unimpressive selection of titles headed our way from DC.  I am just not that excited to read much of what DC is offering tomorrow.

I have mixed feelings about JSA All Stars #2.  Matt Sturges needs to step up and show me something on this title. Willingham managed to do just enough to keep me from dropping Justice Society of America with the last issue of that title. Sturges must now do the same with JSA All Stars #2.

The debut issue to JSA All Stars was extremely unimpressive. Sturges gave the reader a rather dull issue. The character work and dialogue in JSA All Stars #1 were average at best. The debut issue also lacked any compelling plotlines. Hopefully, Sturges will deliver a greatly improved product with this second issue.

Now, I have to admit that I am intrigued by the co-feature that debuts in JSA All-Stars #2. The creative team for the co-feature consists of Jen Van Meter handling the words and Travis Moore and Dan Green delivering the artwork. I have never read anything by Van Meter so I have no idea if I am going to enjoy her style of writing or not.

However, the co-feature stars Hourman and Liberty Belle.  I love those two characters.  They are probably two of my favorite members of the JSA.  I am glad that this duo are getting some time in the spotlight.  I look forward to seeing what Van Meter has in store for this married couple. 

The only title from DC this week that I am particularly looking forward to reading is Great Ten #3. This issue of Great Ten centers on Thundermind. I have been impressed with Bedard’s handling of the Great Ten. More often than not, the rule dealing with characters created by Grant Morrison is that no other writer knows what to do with them. That has not been the case with Bedard and the Great Ten.

I dig the format that Bedard is employing by having each issue told from the point of view of a different member of the Great Ten. This has allowed Bedard to perform some excellent character work, properly familiarize the reader with each character and still progress the main storyline along in a pleasing fashion.

I am not all that excited to read Siege #1. The preview of this issue was incredibly unimpressive. Recycling a gimmick from a big event that is only four years old is not exactly how I would kick off a new big event. That type of beginning hardly gives Siege a creative or a fresh feel to it.

Also, I have been less than impressed with Bendis’ work on any title that stars more than two main characters. Bendis cannot handle a large roster of characters. Bendis also struggles mightily when plotting and pacing a large event. Secret Invasion was a poorly constructed big event that greatly suffered in terms of shoddy plotting and pacing.

Hopefully, Bendis has learned from his mistakes and delivers a superior product with Siege. However, I am not expecting much with Siege. I think that retaining low expectations from the outset gives me more opportunity to enjoy Siege. With my low expectations, even if Bendis only delivers an average read then I will be pleased.

Ultimate Spider-Man #6 should be another fun read. I have been enjoying the re-launch of this title. Bendis has done a good job quickly moving past Ultimatum and getting Ultimate Spider-Man back up to speed. I am particularly enjoying how much time Bendis has been spending amassing Peter Parker’s supporting cast. The magic of Ultimate Spider-Man has been largely due to the wonderful supporting cast that Bendis has created on this title. I dig the fact that Aunt May’s house is basically becoming the de-facto headquarters for the Ultimate Universe version of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends.

However, the Marvel comic book that I am most looking forward to reading is Marvel Boy: The Uranian #1. This issue is brought to us by Jeff Parker. There are numerous reasons why this is the Marvel comic that I am most looking forward to reading this month.

First, I love Marvel Boy’s character. Marvel Boy is a great Atlas Comics character created by Stan Lee and Russ Heath and first appearing in Marvel Boy #1 in 1950. My usual weakness for Golden Age characters is combined with the fact that I have enjoyed Marvel Boy over in Agents of Atlas. I am excited to see Parker work his magic to flesh out Marvel Boy’s origin within the context of the modern 616 Universe.

I continue to be impressed with Marvel’s concerted effort to pay more attention to their Golden Age and their wonderful Timely and Atlas Comics characters. This move by Marvel to try and re-integrate numerous Timely and Atlas Comics characters into the continuity of the modern 616 Universe is a wise idea that will only serve to make Marvel’s continuity that much more texture.

I am also looking forward to Marvel Boy #1 because of the great creative team Marvel has on this title. Jeff Parker did a wonderful job on Agents of Atlas. I have been more and more impressed with Parker’s work as of late. I expect a well crafted story from Parker.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Legen....wait-for-it.....dary Comic Book Highlights of the Week for 12/30/09

Cover of the Week: Blackest Night #6 (Variant Cover)
This is the 1:100 variant cover for Blackest Night and this cover actually makes Nekron look like he is a threat to bad he only appeared in all of one panel in the issue. And what big bad guy of an event only appears in one panel in the latter issues of the event?

Blackest Night #6 Highlights
Even though the story in Blackest Night is very weak Johns knows how to write most of the characters. And I loved this one between Hal and Sinestro.

This looked very impressive with Flash being able to outrun the Black Lantern rings chasing him and Hal.

Didn't we get this in Green Lantern #49? One thing of note that I did not notice when I read the issue is that this page may have spoiled the story going on in Tomasi's Green Lantern Corps as Kirk from The Weekly Crisis pointed out.

Never thought we see Mera vs. Wonder Woman. Even though we did not see their fight in this issue I expect that this fight will be expanded on in Blackest Night: Wonder Woman #2. Too bad I am not going to pick that issue up.

Welcome to the Green Lantern Corps Ganthet.

Must resist making Power Ranger joke.....Must resist........Must resist........okay I am good but I think this video sums up what happened in the last eleven or so pages of this issue.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Teaser Talk: Spider-Man in 2010

I got home late Wednesday night and I’ve been busy hard at work with unpacking and then celebrating the new year. Yes, happy new year to you all. Though I finally got some time to finish up some posts I need to write up when this little gem of a teaser popped up onto my radar earlier today.

Awww, Marvel, it’s been too long since you did one of these headache inducing teasers. Far too long.

So to help me get back into the groove of things I figure it will be fun to dissect this a little bit.

So lets obviously talk about the most obvious point of the teaser and that’s Spider-Man and MJ jumping towards each other, with MJ in a wedding dress. This could mean a lot of things. This could symbolize the end of One More Day and the couple finally getting back together or it could mean they are finally going to explain what drove them apart.

Deep down for how spiteful and cynical I’ve become over the last 2 years in regards to my childhood hero I can’t deny even the faintest idea of OMD finally ending and our 2 lovers getting back together fills me with joy. Sadly it’s not the blind joy where I automatically have faith this will happen. No I’m almost certain that OMD will never be undone as long as Joe Quesada has a say in how Marvel works.

So as much as I’d love to write to you all about how excited I am over this and how this just makes me jump for joy, I can’t. Really I would love it if this means the end of OMD, I would, I really really want to belive it could but by now I’ve learned not to have faith in Marvel. So I’m going to assume this means something else.

Now I guess it would be nice if Marvel did explain at least why they broke up. Over all the years they had rough patches, Peter and MJ endured so I’m sure all of us fans are dying to see what is the one thing that is strong enough to break them up. They lost everything in the past, their home, family, their own child, and still they persevered. So seeing the one thing that could break them up would be interesting.

Or maybe it’s just Marvel screwing with us and the former wedding won’t come into play at all and they are just bullshitting us like they have before.

Remember that infamous One More Day teaser? Here it is in case you forgot.

Funny how none of those characters really mattered to the story or had any real impact and how most of them didn’t even show up, huh? I can’t help but figure that’s the same thing Marvel is doing with this Spider-man in 2010 teaser.

Still deep down, a small flickering little fire in my otherwise cynical heart can’t help but burn a little brighter at the mere idea of OMD ending. Even if it is a tiny flicker.

But hey, there’s more to this teaser then just the forefront image. We see the Spider-family together. One of them being black suit Spider-man but it doesn’t seem to be Venom. I’m curious about this but not curious enough to talk much about it.

Then there’s the baby in Doc Ock’s arms. Last I checked Octavious wasn’t doing so well and he seemed he wanted to help the world with what little time he had left. So him going and kidnapping a baby doesn’t really seem like something he’d do right now.

Though there are 2 theories so far about the baby. One is that it’s baby May. An all right idea but I’m not seeing it. My theory, the second theory, is that it’s Norman and Lilly’s child. The infant has green eyes which could be a slight hint at it having some Goblin in it’s blood.

Though Quesada recently mentioned that in 2010 there would be something involving MJ and a baby. Maybe baby May had something to do with Peter and MJ breaking up. At this point it’s still very open in the air.

There’s also some teasing for the Gauntlet storyline but I don’t really care much to mention it since I won’t be reading it. That’s all I have to say today kids, check back soon for some comic reviews, solicit commentary, Year’s End and a look at the upcoming stuff for 2010.