Secret Invasion #1 is slated to come out this week on April 2. So I figured now would be a fine time to slap a poll up on The Revolution. I’m curious to find out about the expectations that the followers of The Revolution have for Secret Invasion. Personally, I think this event is a train wreck waiting to happen. The entire basis for Secret Invasion of who is a Skrull isn’t an actual story or plot. It is simply a plot device.
And while I adored Bendis’ work on Daredevil and have loved his impressive run on Ultimate Spider-Man, the fact is that I have found his work on team titles and big events to be incredibly unimpressive. New Avengers has been a dreadful read and House of M was such a disappointment. Despite Bendis being a talented writer, I simply don’t think that his talents work with team titles and big events.
Having said all that, I am still going to remain optimistic and hope for the best. I would be thrilled if we got treated to a quality read with Secret Invasion.
Monday, March 31, 2008
Secret Invasion #1 is slated to come out this week on April 2. So I figured now would be a fine time to slap a poll up on The Revolution. I’m curious to find out about the expectations that the followers of The Revolution have for Secret Invasion. Personally, I think this event is a train wreck waiting to happen. The entire basis for Secret Invasion of who is a Skrull isn’t an actual story or plot. It is simply a plot device.
It is no secret that The Revolution has been highly unimpressed with the feeble effort that Bendis has put forth on New Avengers. Each issue seems to get duller and more pointless than the last one. New Avengers #39 is a spotlight issue on Echo. Oh, lucky me. We get a spotlight issue on quite possibly the most uninteresting and boring character in the 616 universe. Outside of Bendis and Mack, I do not know of anyone who finds her character fascinating. I’ve certainly never thought Echo’s character was worthy of a roster spot on the Avengers. Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to hold my nose and dive into this review for New Avengers #39.
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Artist: David Mack
Inks: Jeff Huet
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 3 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Echo telling Wolverine that she doesn’t believe in this whole Skrull conspiracy theory. Echo thinks that the Secret Avengers may just be making up this entire Skrull conspiracy just to make themselves feel better so they won’t think about what disasters their lives have become. Wolverine disagrees and says that something big is about to happen.
Wolverine then confesses that the main reason that he hooked up with the Secret Avengers was because he wasn’t going to let them leave Echo in Japan. Echo tells Wolverine to not hit on her again. Wolverine says that he isn’t hitting on her. That she will hit on him.
We cut to Echo out jumping from rooftop to rooftop and meeting up with Daredevil. Echo tells Daredevil that she just wanted to see him and wanted to know why he sent Captain America for her. Daredevil acts confused as to what Echo is talking about. Echo then asks Daredevil who he is really.
Suddenly, Daredevil turns into Echo and then attacks Echo. The Skrull-Echo displays all the powers of the X-Men. The Skrull tells Echo to surrender so that it can take her place on the Secret Avengers. Suddenly, Wolverine appears on the scene and attacks the Skrull.
Wolverine and Echo have a pretty nasty brawl with the Skrull and finally are able to hurt it bad enough where it decides to retreat and live to fight another day. After the Skrull runs away, Echo tells Wolverine that she know believes him that there is a Skrull conspiracy. Wolverine says “I told you so.” Echo asks Wolverine why he followed her. Wolverine responds that he figured she was the most likely person that the Skrulls would try to replace in order to infiltrate the Secret Avengers because Echo has the least amount of ties and the least history.
We zip forward to the Secret Avengers apartment. Hawkeye and Echo are hanging out drinking coffee. Hawkeye tells Echo that she knows how she feels. That when he first joined the Avengers that he didn’t know if he belonged. He felt useless next to members like Thor. But, one day, you get your shot and you are the right person at the right time and all of a sudden you are an Avenger.
Echo interrupts saying that they need to be honest. That this is not the Avengers. (Well, I’d certainly agree with that statement.) Hawkeye counters that that is exactly what everyone said when he joined the Avengers. The press bashed them. And then one day those days became the glory days. That it never feels like it at the time, but at some point today becomes yesterday and yesterday becomes the glory days. Hawkeye says that he will certainly look back on this conversation fondly.
Hawkeye then apologizes for the other day. Echo says if Hawkeye means when she walked in on him in the shower. Hawkeye says no, he meant after the fight with the Hood when he patched Echo’s arm. Hawkeye said that he wanted to kiss her. Echo says that she knows. Hawkeye asks if she would have minded. Echo says “No.”
Hawkeye then asks why Echo didn’t kiss him. Echo replies that she wasn’t going to if Hawkeye was going to chicken out. Hawkeye then leans in and plants a big wet juicy kiss on Echo probably with some tongue flickering as well.
We cut to Echo waking up in bed. Hawkeye is asleep next to her because my boy is tired from giving her good long loving all night long. Echo covers her eyes and everything goes to black. End of issue.
The Good: New Avengers #39 was a boring read. However, if you love Echo then you will certainly enjoy this issue. I can easily satisfy The Revolution’s Rule of Positivity because David Mack and Jeff Huet crank out some excellent artwork. New Avengers #39 was a nice looking issue which is a rarity on this title. It was nice to see the characters not looking like they just emerged from the Creepshow.
The Bad: I honestly have very little to say about New Avengers #39 since it lacked any substance and was basically just pure filler. This issue consists of Echo not believing the Skrull conspiracy, then being attacked by a Skrull and subsequently believing in the Skrull conspiracy and then screwing Hawkeye. Snore. That’s it. New Avengers treated us to a rather boring story and was pretty much a waste of an issue. Bendis uses this issue to stall for time before Secret Invasion kicks off this week.
The pacing on New Avengers continues to be slow. The story simply meanders about each and every issue. Hopefully, with Secret Invasion starting this week, this will help Bendis focus himself on this title over the course of Secret Invasion. It will be nice to pick up an issue of New Avengers that actually has a point a purpose.
The dialogue was decidedly average. Bendis still can’t write Wolverine at all. And all of the other characters pretty much all talk like Peter Parker from Ultimate Spider-Man. Character work has been a real deficiency on New Avengers and this issue does nothing to reverse that trend.
Overall: New Avengers #39 was just a time waster until Secret Invasion #1 comes out. There is no reason that you need to waste your money on this issue. I would only recommend New Avengers #39 to hardcore Avengers fans and any big Echo fans that may be out there.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
The comic book industry was rocked by a historic ruling on March 26, 2008 from the Federal District Court in the Central District of California. The judge ruled that the Siegel heirs have copyright interests in the content of Action Comics #1. The award was only limited to Action Comics #1 because that was all the work that Shuster and Siegel performed for DC before signing the contract that assigned all their rights to Superman over to DC.
This is a huge decision, but the battle is far from over. I am sure that Time Warner is going to appeal this decision. So it will be some time before we get a final ruling on this matter. This ruling involves some highly complex Copyright laws. And I’m not going to try and explain them in great detail. My area of law that I practice is workers’ rights, civil rights and discrimination, not copyright and trademark law. But, I will give you a quick summation of what might interest the typical comic book reader.
Before I begin, if you want to read a wonderfully written FAQ by Jeff Trexler at uncivilsociety.org then check it out right here. This excellent FAQ hits all the highlights of the ruling and answers the typical questions your average comic reader will have. And it is all written in layman terms. And if you are really feeling plucky then uncivilsociety.org has been so kind to put the judge’s ruling in a .pdf that you can check out right here if you feel like reading the 72 page decision. You can also check out Newsarama’s take on the outcome of this ruling right here.
As a practical matter, though, the Judge did rule that the Siegel heirs are not entitled to a share of the foreign profits from Superman. Foreign profits would be outside the scope of the Federal Copyright Act. The Judge also declined to award the Siegel heirs profits gained from the use of Superman trademarks that are purely attributable to those trademark rights.
Also, important in this ruling is that each holder of a copyright interest must account to any others for any profits gained from exploiting the copyright, and no partial copyright holder can transfer exclusive rights without consent of the others holding a copyright interest. The Judge was clearly concerned that the close relationships between DC and its corporate relatives like Time Warner that may have produced sweetheart deals far below market value for the use of Superman for other products outside of the realm of comic books.
Now, there is still the issue of figuring out how much of the revenue that the Siegel heirs would be entitled to from modern use of the Superman copyright. Since the Siegel heirs’ copyright claims only extend to the material in Action Comics #1 that leaves out tons of classic Superman character like Lex Luthor and other parts of Superman’s mythos developed after this one issue. This also excludes many of Superman’s other powers that he gained after Action Comics #1.
What is the immediate and practical effect of this ruling is probably what the majority of comic book readers are wondering. The answer is little to none. Under this award, the Siegel heirs would have no creative control over Superman. Even if this ruling is upheld, then between now and 2013, I would expect things will stay the same.
Time Warner has no choice but to fight this to the bitter end. Time Warner needs to work hard on the appeal and try to get this decision overturned. And the reason that Time Warner has to win this on appeal is because if the ruling survives a Time Warner legal challenge, it may also open the door to a similar reversion of rights to the estates of Shuster and Siegel in 2013. That would give heirs of the two creators control over use of Superman until at least 2033, and possibly longer if Congress once again extends copyright terms.
Of course, Time Warner could always try and negotiate a settlement. Obviously, there is going to have to be some sort of compromise. If the Siegel heirs win the copyright to Superman, but DC retains the trademark to Superman then the two sides will have to work together or else neither party will be able to publish a Superman comic book. I don’t think that comic book readers have to worry about this ruling impacting if there is a Superman comic book on the market or not. Obviously, if Time Warner loses the appeal then the profitability of Superman’s character takes a real hit. But, I would imagine that since international profits are unaffected by this ruling that Superman will continue to be the centerpiece of the DCU.
Personally, I’m glad that the Siegel’s won this ruling. Obviously, I’m biased since I practice law that favors the rights of the individual over the rights of corporations and the government. This certainly should continue to be an intriguing story to watch unfold over the next couple of years. And to think that we still have the separate Superboy lawsuit to monitor as well.
Friday, March 28, 2008
The Revolution enjoyed the last issue of Teen Titans. I found the new Clock King and the Terror Titans to be pretty interesting antagonists for this story arc. I’m looking forward to learning more about these villainous teens. Let’s go ahead and do this review for Teen Titans #57.
Writers: Sean McKeever
Pencils: Eddy Barrows
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti & Julio Ferreira
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Wendy and Marvin complaining about having to clean out a sandwich that was hidden in the main computer at the Titans Tower during the party that Kid Devil threw last issue. Suddenly, Wendy spies a nice looking pocket watch.
We cut to Ravager meditating. Ravager loses her patience and comments that meditation is a load of crap. Copperhead attacks Ravager from behind and gets a swift kick to the head by our one-eyed silver haired chica.
We shift to Robin visiting Wonder Girl at her Georgetown house. (Wow. That is a seriously fancy address.) Tim mentions that Kid Devil has gone missing and that Ravager is worried. Cassie laughs saying that Rose doesn’t care about anyone. That is Rose is a psychopath.
We hop back to Titans Tower where we see Persuader having tied up Wendy and Marvin. The pocket watch begins to spin. Persuader comments that Clock King’s scrambler has killed security in the Tower and that they have the only clear signal in or out. Persuader contacts Copperhead to see if he has finished with Ravager yet.
We slide over to Ravager still beating the hell out of Copperhead. Suddenly, everything goes black and white and Ravager totally dodges Persuaders surprise attack. Ravager squares off against the two villains and spits that she feels bad for the villains that they are outnumbered and outgunned. Ravager proceeds to kick ass on both Copperhead and Persuader. Persuader snarls that Ravager should have seen the horrible things that they did to Kid Devil.
We cut to Clock King watching the fight over at the Titans Tower. Clock King tells Disruptor to get over to the Titans Tower and help Persuader and Copperhead take down Ravager. Clock King tells Disrupter not to kill Ravager. Evidently, Clock King saw something on the screen and he has to be sure about it.
Clock King then goes and visits Kid Devil who is shackled to a wall and is broken and bleeding from all the horrible torturing. Clock King says that Ravager didn’t react at all when she was told that the Terror Titans had tortured Kid Devil. Clock King proclaims that Ravager could care less about Kid Devil. Clock King urges Kid Devil to join the Terror Titans. That with them the can finally be free and us his special attributes for which they were intended. That Eddie can finally be what he was always meant to become: a monster.
We cut back to Ravager suiting up into her costume. Evidently, she had Persuader have agreed to have a duel. Persuader’s atomic axe that can cut through anything versus Ravager’s laser swords. The two start brawling and Ravager quickly gets the upper hand and slices Persuader with her energy swords. Ravager is stunned to find out that the blades don’t slice open Persuader. They just knock her out.
We hop back to Cassie and Tim talking about Ravager. Tim mentions that he purposely let Rose find his energy swords because they have organic tissue sensors that render the blades nonlethal. That maybe it will help tone down Ravager’s lethal instincts. Cassie dismisses Tim saying that Ravager will never change. That Ravager is only happy when she is manipulating saps like the Teen Titans. Tim says that maybe Cassie is right, but that they shouldn’t give up on Rose. Cassie counters that Rose is already too far gone.
We slide back to a rage fueled Ravager brutally pounding Copperhead into a bloody mess. Ravager snarls that she just wants Copperhead to hurt. Disrupter appears on the scene and tells Ravager to back off or else Wendy and Marvin will die. Ravager spits that she can’t stand the condescending Ivy League twins. Ravager tells Disrupter to do whatever he feels he has to with the twins and then after he is done, Ravager is going to beat Disrupter within an inch of his life with one hand behind her back. (Damn! And I believe her.)
Once again, everything goes black and white as Ravager is seeing every move before Disrupter makes them. This lets Ravager perfectly avoid his attacks and then Ravager launches successful counter attacks. We see the Clock King watching the fight from his base. The Clock King is stunned and mutters “It’s true. My God, it’s true.”
We cut back to Ravager having finished beating the hell out of Disrupter. Ravager quickly unties Wendy and Marvin. Ravager tells the twins to take the submersible and get out of here. Wendy tells Ravager to come with them. Wendy says that Ravager is being stupid by staying. Ravager spits that the Terror Titans have got Eddie and besides “this is my damn home.”
We see Wendy and Marvin hopping into the submersible. The three Terror Titans regain consciousness and begin brawling with Ravager. Ravager then slashes the main power lines in the Tower.
We cut to Cassie and Tim. Tim’s cell phone rings. Tim looks at it and exclaims that he just got a picture from Wendy. That the Titans Tower has been blown up. End of issue.
The Good: Teen Titans #57 was an entertaining read. And this issue was all about one thing: Ravager kicking ass. God, I love Ravager. No, seriously, I absolutely adore her character. What is interesting is that I was never even remotely interested in Ravager before Johns brought her into the Titans. And when she first joined, I was initially not a fan of her addition to the Titans’ roster.
However, I kept and open mind and gave Johns a chance to get me hooked on Rose. And man, have I ever gotten hooked on her character. Ravager is hands down my favorite female character in the DCU. You can have your ditzy mega powered bimbo in Supergirl. You can have your bondage mask wearing Batgirl. Stargirl, Cyclone, Spoiler, Wonder Girl all do nothing for me. Ravager is the most bad-assed female hero in the DCU.
I loved seeing Ravager just kick so much ass. She laid some serious beatings on Copperhead, Persuader and Disrupter. I’m talking bloody, nasty and brutal violence. Ravager certainly has a mean streak in her and likes to see her opponents bleed. It was cool getting to see Ravager grab the spotlight and showcase her abilities in this issue.
I dig how McKeever handles Ravager’s personality. Ravager is tough as nails and has a no bullshit attitude. I also like her extreme confidence in her own fighting prowess that makes her one cocky fighter who isn’t afraid to take on multiple opponents at the same time. And there is no doubt that Ravager knows how to trash talk.
McKeever does a good job getting the reader to question if Ravager actually cares about the other Titans or if she is truly as bad as Cassie claims. On the one hand, we see Rose refusing to abandon Titans Tower because it is her house and she is determined to protect it with her life. Rose also mentions that the villains have Eddie so they can’t just run away. Yet, on the other hand, we see that Rose certainly had zero reaction when told that Kid Devil had been tortured. And the reader is also left wondering if Ravager would have let Disrupter kill the twins.
Cassie and Tim’s conversation also gets the reader to question is Ravager is a loose cannon who is still at her core a hero and a loyal Titan or if Cassie is correct that Ravager is just a manipulative psycho. McKeever does a fine job keeping the reader unsure of just how to view Rose. And this move by McKeever of keeping the reader guessing about Rose’s true intentions makes her character even more intriguing. At this point, Ravager is completely unpredictable.
Now, since I am not all that up on Rose’s character prior to her joining the Titans, I was stunned to learn that she has the precognitive ability to see into the future. Clock King was certainly surprised about her ability. And this leads me to wonder why Clock King is so obsessed by Ravager’s precognitive power. I’m curious to see where McKeever goes with this plotline.
I feel terrible for poor Eddie. He is really getting dumped on as of late. Now he is captured, tortured and has Clock King messing with his mind and trying to get Eddie to become a total monster. Hopefully, McKeever will allow Kid Devil his moment in the sun to show his worth to the Titans at some point in this story arc.
Teen Titans #57 is a well paced issue that is a fast read due to the furious action scenes. The plotting is solid as McKeever methodically moves this story arc along in a positive direction. McKeever dishes out plenty of solid dialogue. This issue doesn’t offer much in the way of deep and interesting dialogue or quality character work. But, it isn’t supposed to since this issue is all about adrenaline pumping action.
The art in Teen Titans #57 is fantastic. Barrows does a wonderful job getting me to buy into the power and fighting prowess of Ravager. Part of why I have a hard time buying into some of the other “bad-assed” female characters is that they just aren’t physically imposing. Well, Barrows definitely made sure that Ravager was plenty physically imposing.
Barrows delivers a Ravager that looks buff and intimidating. Barrows got me to readily believe that Ravager possessed the muscle and attitude to literally tear your head off. Barrows does a great job conveying the power, intensity and nastiness in Ravager’s character. Barrows’ artwork really helped to breathe life into McKeever’s story and really deliver some wonderfully dynamic action scenes. .
The Bad: The Terror Titans as a group are a bit unimpressive. McKeever doesn’t really do anything with these villains to make me interested in them. Plus, the Terror Titans have a repetitious feel. First we dealt with the Titans East. Then we got the evil Titans of Tomorrow. And now we get the Terror Titans. Enough already. I would like to see the next villains who appear in this title to not have “Titans” in their team name and to be something different than just an evil version of the Teen Titans.
Overall: Teen Titans #57 was an absolute blast to read. Readers who that enjoy furious action will definitely get a kick out of this issue. Teen Titans has been a bit of an average read for several issues and this was exactly the jolt that the title needed to crank up the intensity. McKeever has certainly grabbed my undivided attention with a fantastic hook ending and I am anxiously awaiting the next issue.
Geoff Johns is using Green Lantern #29 as an opportunity to deliver a “Secret Origin” story. I’m curious to read Johns decides to do much tweaking here and there with Hal’s origin in order to match it up more with what Johns has been doing with the Green Lantern mythos. So, while I normally don’t love re-telling of origins, I think that Green Lantern #29 should be a quality read.
Writer: Geoff Johns
Pencils: Ivan Reis
Inks: Oclair Albert
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a Hal Jordan as a young boy holding his father’s flight jacket and watching his dad test a plane for Ferris. Young Hal tells a young Carol that his father is piloting the plane. Snotty young Carol comments that her daddy owns the plane that Hal’s dad is flying. Hal tells Carol that one day he is going to be a pilot like his dad. Bratty Carol responds that she is also going to be a pilot as well as own planes like her dad.
Suddenly, there is a technical glitch with the plane that Hal’s dad is flying. Hal’s dad takes the plane out away from the crowd and crashes the plane where there is no one around who can get hurt. Little Hal is horrified seeing his father die.
Hal thinks how after he saw his father die that there was nothing left to be afraid of. However, Hal’s mother went in the opposite direction and became afraid of everything that might harm her sons, especially flying. Hal’s mother forbids Hal from going to any air fields and hanging out watching planes.
We see Hal sneaking into an air field. He gets caught by the owner who then calls Hal’s mom. Hal’s mom angrily arrives at the air field and bitches out Hal for disobeying her orders. Hal gets loaded into the station wagon. Hal’s older brother, Jack, is pissed with Hal and tells Hal to stop making their mother upset. Jack then punches Hal. Hal’s little brother, Jim, is ultra cautious having been totally indoctrinated by their mother about safety first. Jim reminds Hal to buckle his seat belt.
We zip forward to Hal’s eighteenth birthday. We see Jim looking at the clock and waiting for it to strike midnight. Once it does Jim races into Hal’s room with a birthday present. Hal’s room is empty.
We cut to Hal sleeping outside of the Air Force recruitment center. The sun rises and the recruiting officer arrives to open the center for the day. Hal introduces himself and announces that he turns 18 today and wants to enlist.
We see Hal testing a new fighter plane. Hal is supposed to only take it up to Mach 1. Instead, Hal takes it up over Mach 3. The jet fighter then breaks up and crashes. Hal walks away from the crash and tells Major Stone that the fighter jet is good up to Mach 3.2 and is battle ready. Major Stone is pissed at how reckless Hal is with testing planes.
We cut to that night at a local bar full of Air Force guys and Marines. We see Hal with the Air Force guys and we see John Stewart with the Marines. One of the Marines acts like a Neanderthal and threatens to beat his girlfriend. Hal responds by punching the guy in the face. This causes a big brawl between the Air Force guys and the Marines.
The fight is broken up by the police. Jim then arrives on the scene and tells Hal that their mother has cancer and is in the hospital on her death bed. Jim says that Hal cannot come visit her since his joining the Air Force crushed her and practically made her sick. That Hal’s appearance will just upset his mother and make her worse.
Hal is distraught. Hal then thinks how he has made a mess of everything. That he has been a terrible brother and a terrible son. The next morning Hal takes a plane for an unauthorized joy ride. When he lands, Major Stone gets in Hal’s face. Hal then punches Stone. Hal succeeds in getting himself dishonorably discharged from the Air Force.
We see Hal arriving at the hospital. He tells his brothers, Jack and Jim, that he got discharged from the Air Force so he wants to see his mother. Jack yells at Hal that their mother just died. Jack is pissed at Hal. Jack growls that he had to leave college early, come home and get a job and take care of their mother and Jim. That Hal ran away and only looked out for himself. Jack screams that Hal killed their mother. Jack storms off asking when has Hal ever given their family anything.
Hal thinks about how he was always their father’s son and that Jim was their mother’s son. But, that Jack was always on his own path and that Hal took him off it. We cut to later that night with Hal at his apartment. Jim knocks on the door and hands Hal the birthday present that Jim wanted to give him when Hal turned 18. Jim leaves and Hal opens the present. Inside is a picture of Hal with his father and a note from Jim saying “To my brother HAL.”
Hal thinks how he has been dishonorably discharged and that he tore his family apart. Hal stared at the picture and wondered where the hell he goes from here. We then cut to Abin Sur questioning Qull and Atrocitus about the prophecy “The Darkest Night.” Abin Sur says that he wants to know everything about the prophecy. End of issue.
The Good: Green Lantern #29 was a solid read. Look, this was an origin issue, and origin issues by their very nature tend to be a bit boring for long time readers and enjoyable and helpful to new readers. That is just the nature of the beast. I won’t hammer this issue because I had to sit through the re-telling of Hal Jordan’s origin with practically no new changes or twists. That is simply what you get with origin issues.
Even though Green Lantern #29 wasn’t all that exciting of a read for me, I still found this to be a technically well written issue. Johns cranks out plenty of fine dialogue. All of the characters are nicely developed and the reader gets a wonderful sense for the tension and schism that ruptured Hal’s family. All of the scenes between the Jordan brothers were well done. Johns juxtaposes the anger and resentment that Jack harbors for Hal with the undying love and hero worshiping that Jim has for Hal.
Green Lantern #29 is a nice paced issue. The story doesn’t drag as Johns manages to give us a good mix of action and drama. Johns has a fine sense of direction and keeps this issue on track.
I enjoyed how Johns explained why Hal is a man without fear. Hal’s explanation that after he saw his father died what else was there left for Hal to be afraid of. I know this isn’t a new concept to Hal’s origin. I just think it is the perfect explanation of why Hal displays no fear.
The only part of Green Lantern #29 where Johns actually softly massaged Hal’s origin in order to dovetail it to the current Green Lantern mythos would be the final page with Abin Sur questioning Qull and Atrocitus about The Darkest Night prophecy. Personally, I liked that Johns is engraining the prophecy into Hal’s origin in order to properly integrate John’s tweaking of the Green Lantern mythos.
As always Ivan Reis supplies plenty of fine artwork. It is nice to have Reis back on the title.
The Bad: I didn’t find Green Lantern #29 to be all that exciting of a read. But, I’m a longtime reader so an origin issue is naturally going to be a bit boring for me. We don’t really learn anything new as Johns avoids doing much tweaking to Hal’s origin. The only real new information is the final page of this issue. And even that isn’t all that new since Johns has already hinted to this scene in prior issues during the Sinestro War.
Overall: Green Lantern #29 was a necessary evil. Johns needed to give an origin issue to all the readers who hopped aboard this title during the Sinestro War. That way, the newer readers are properly prepared to enjoy the stories leading up to the Darkest Night event for next year.
Green Lantern #29 is probably going to be a boring read for most longtime readers. If you have been following Green Lantern for a while then you don’t need to waste your time reading this issue. However, Green Lantern #29 is a wonderful jumping on point for new readers. Also, this issue will be enjoyed by readers who hopped aboard Green Lantern during the Sinestro War story arc. Green Lantern #29 will allow those readers who just hoped aboard a better sense for Hal’s origin and the back-story to the Blackest Night prophecy.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The last issue of Countdown to Final Crisis was mind bogglingly bad. Just about everything about it was truly horrid. Honestly, I don’t see how Countdown to Final Crisis can get any worse than it currently is. There is no way that Dini and Giffen can deliver pathetically lame reads with the final five issues of this title, right? We shall see. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for Countdown to Final Crisis #5.
Writers: Paul Dini, Adam Beechen & Keith Giffen
Pencils: Jim Starlin
Inks: Rodney Ramos
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Lucky us, this issue is also narrated in the form of journal entries by the Cadmus lab tech from last issue. We learn that the lab tech from last issue is actually Buddy Blank. I totally missed that fact from the last issue. They didn’t tell us that in the last issue did they?
We see Buddy and Una making their way through the ruins of the city. The world is in chaos. We learn that other metahumans have succumbed to the Morticcocus virus and have started attacking other metahumans. The world is overrun with humans who have turned into bizarre half human half animal creatures due to the effects of the Morticcocus virus. We also see animals with human features. Una kicks butt on all the creatures.
Una and Buddy make their way to Buddy’s daughter’s apartment building. It is full of dead bodies. The door to his daughter’s apartment is broken down and the apartment is a mess. Buddy finds his grandson hiding in a kitchen cabinet. Suddenly, the family dog, now possessing human hands enters the room wielding a kitchen knife. (I swear to God that I am not making this up. This dog slices and dices! He can cut through a can and still slice a tomato with ease!) The blade wielding puppy attacks Buddy. Una quickly lays a beating on the Ginsu loving puppy.
Suddenly, a bunch of sentient rats standing on their hind legs come running into the room and begin chomping on Una. Una runs to the roof of the apartment building. Buddy and his grandson follow. On the roof, we see Buddy’s daughter who is now part rat and part woman. She sends more rats to continue eating Una. Una sacrifices herself and kills Buddy’s daughter. Una throws her Legion flight ring to Buddy. Una is then killed by the swarm of rats. Buddy then uses the flight ring to fly off with his grandson.
Buddy takes his grandson to the old Command D base where he used to work on Brother Eye before the JLA had the program pulled. The Command D base is fortified and safe from the chaos going around in the world. From Command D, Buddy is able to use Brother Eye, which is still in orbit around Earth, to watch the Earth die.
Nuclear war breaks out between all the various countries as they each blame their long time enemies for the chaos and destruction caused by the Morticcocus virus. All life on Earth is destroyed. The Atom, Donna Troy, Kyle, Red Robin, Jimmy Olsen, Harley, Holly, Mary Marvel, Forager, Firestorm and the Hairies all use Jimmy’s boom tube technology to teleport away from this Earth.
We end with Buddy checking the armory at Command D and vowing to protect his grandson. The only people left on Earth are Buddy and his grandson, the last boy on Earth. End of story.
We then get a two page back-up story about the origin of Mr. Freeze. End of issue.
The Good: You know, I was all ready to just rip into this issue. But, the fact is that Countdown to Final Crisis #5 wasn’t that bad of a read. Did this issue have its fair share of warts? Absolutely. However, I have to give Dini credit for doing a nice job of bringing Jack Kirby’s Kamandi back into the DCU.
Obviously, if you are a fan of Kamandi: The Last Boy on Earth then you will certainly get a blast out of this issue. For those unfamiliar with Kamandi, he was the creation of Jack Kirby. And it appears that DC is all about updating and refreshing just about everything that Jack Kirby did for DC including OMAC, Kamandi and the New Gods.
The original Kamandi referenced “The Great Disaster” but never went into any details about it. So, Dini and company used this opportunity in Countdown to Final Crisis #5 to fill in the blanks from Jack Kirby’s story and fully describe what The Great Disaster” is. In this new version of Kamandi, “The Great Disaster” is the Morticcocus virus.
And, just like in the original Kamandi that had a bunch of bizarre hybrid human/animal creatures ruling the Earth, we get the same treatment with all the human/animal hybrids running around in this issue. Command D the base that Buddy and his grandson take refuge in is a nod to the base in the original Kamandi series also named Command D that gave Kamandi his name in Kamandi #1.
I have to say that this was a pleasant re-introduction of Kamandi into the modern DCU. This new take on Kamandi is surprisingly respectful to the source material. That is a real rarity for DC when it comes to retcons and new versions of older characters. Dini honestly took exactly what Jack Kirby gave us with the original Kamandi and simply filled in the blanks while adding some soft subtle additions of the modern DCU like Brother Eye.
The reader also comes to realize that the Atom and the Challengers obviously got teleported to a parallel Earth instead of their home, Earth-1. This explains why none of the heroes on this Earth remembered the Atom or any of the other Challengers. Also, the fact that Brother Eye is still orbiting this Earth is further proof that this is a parallel Earth since we all know that Earth-1’s Brother Eye left Earth and then got blown up after assimilating Apokolips.
So, the reader got to witness the birth of Kamandi’s Earth in the Multiverse. I adore the Multiverse and this issue is a good example of why. We now have the great Jack Kirby’s Kamandi back in existence on another Earth which can now serve as a nice literary tool for future stories.
Starlin and Ramos combine to crank out some better than average artwork. This issue isn’t anything incredible looking, but it certainly gets the job done.
The Bad: I hate the passive journal entry style of framing this issue. It robs the story of any and all energy and action that it might otherwise possess. This format of telling the story places it in the past tense and removes the reader from experiencing the story as if it is happening in real time. The lack of dialogue makes the issue a bit of a dull read.
Now, while I can appreciate the way that Dini brings Kamandi back into the DCU, I cannot believe that this is supposed to be the big payoff to this title. There is no way I have been slogging through all of Countdown just to see the return of Kamandi. Are you kidding me? We go through all this drama just for the return of Kamandi to the DCU?
That is simply not a satisfying or dramatic enough story to qualify as a big payoff near the end of this title. We have only four more issues left, so I’m not too sure how Dini is going to be able to deliver much of an exciting ending that will act as a quality payoff for having suffered through 52 weeks of Countdown.
I also have a problem with the pacing of Countdown to Final Crisis #5. This issue was horribly rushed. Dini and company cram the destruction of the Earth in just one issue. That is way to rushed. The combination of the passive manner in which the story is told and the fact that we absolutely blitz through the destruction of the Earth and light speed really robs this issue of much of its power and impact.
The reader gets absolutely no sense of the magnitude of what just happened. There is practically no impact on the reader at all once we arrive at the end and all of humankind has been wiped out of existence. Instead, the reader views the ending of the Earth as just a blur that is viewed in a very cursory and detached manner with little emotional investment in the occurrence or the people involved.
I completely hated the use of Una’s character during Countdown. Her death was not only painfully predictable it was also lame. Una’s character served absolutely no purpose at all on Countdown. This was a total waste of her character. Seriously, all Una did during Countdown was worry over Karate Kid and then get eaten by rats. Great. What a wonderful use of her character.
Dini and Giffen really screwed the pooch with the use of the two Legionnaires in Countdown. There was really no point in having them in this title. I would have much rather that Dini and Giffen just leave the Legionnaires out of this crappy story all together.
Oh yeah, once again, I feel compelled to as just what was that mission that Brainiac 5 had Una and Karate Kid stay behind for after the completion of the Lighting Saga story arc?
DC keeps kicking the Atom in the nuts as Ray is forced to watch yet another world die because of his inability to stop the Morticcocus virus. Yay.
Overall: Countdown to Final Crisis #5 will certainly appeal to Jack Kirby fans who always liked Kamandi. Outside of that, I’m not too sure how many modern day fans will really care at all about the re-introduction of Kamandi to the DCU. All in all, Countdown just continues to fall short of delivering truly satisfying issues.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
The Revolution has enjoyed the Immortal Iron Fist. This has been a fairly consistent title that usually offers up a solid read. I’ve actually been surprised at how good this title has been. Immortal Iron Fist has certainly exceeded my initial expectations for this title. I’m sure that Immortal Iron Fist #13 will be another quality issue. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Writers: Ed Brubaker & Matt Fraction
Artists: David Aja, Tonic Zonjic, Kano
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with a flashback scene to Wendell Rand deciding to leave K’un-Lun. The Thunderer stops Wendell and asks him why he is leaving K’un-Lun. Wendell says he doesn’t know why. Wendell is lying since it is obvious how Orson Randall has haunted Wendell. The Thunderer then bids Wendell farewell.
We cut back to present day. We see Luke, Colleen and Misty bound and standing next to Jeryn. Xao then walks up with Jeryn’s mother. Xao tells Jeryn that if he doesn’t get the train working by midnight then Xao will kill Jeryn’s mother and then kill Jeryn. Luke tells Jeryn to relax because Danny has a plan.
We shift to the Heart of Heaven where Iron Fist approaches Yu-Ti. Iron Fist reveals that he knows about the Randall Gate and that Yu-Ti has been visiting the world of men and that he has paid handsomely for the privilege. Iron Fist says that Yu-Ti is a tyrant, a liar and a brat. That Yu-Ti is nothing like his father who ruled before him.
Iron Fist tells Yu-Ti to step down and confess his sings or Iron Fist will tell the people about Yu-Ti’s crimes against them. Yu-Ti answers that he will take his chances with the court of public opinion. Iron Fist then walks out of the room. Yu-Ti then summons his terror priests and tells them that they must go forth and destroy the Randall Gate.
We cut to Iron Fist and the Thunderer watching the terror priests leave to go destroy the Randall Gate. Iron Fist says that Xao has the gate guarded from the outside. That Iron Fist and the Thunderer need to go guard the Randall Gate from the inside.
We hop over to the immortal weapons all dining together and swapping stories of their battles. The Prince of Orphans appears and sits down at their table. He then tells them that a madman on Earth is conspiring to destroy K’un-Lun and that if K’un-Lun is destroyed while part of the Heart of Heaven then all of their cities will go with it.
Davos screams that this is nothing but lies and stomps off. We zip to Davos confronting his father, the Thunderer. The two begin sparring. Davos says that he does not believe this ridiculous conspiracy that Xao wishes to destroy K’un-Lun that the entire Heart of Heaven is at risk. Davos states that the Crane Mother only mentioned wanting to destroy Iron Fist and not all of K’un-Lun.
The Thunderer answers that Crane Mother and Xao are maniacs intent on destroying all of them. The Thunderer says that Crane Mother and Xao have betrayed Davos. The Thunderer says that for once Davos needs to ask himself how many more people he can blame. He has blamed everyone around him for everything that has gone on in his life. The Thunderer tells Davos that he knows where to find him if he decides to finally help them save K’un-Lun.
We then flashback to Wendell Rand busting into a tavern and demanding to know where Orson Randall is hiding. Wendell beats the hell out of everyone until he finally gets a location for Orson. Wendell then arrives at a small cabin in the mountains and busts down the door. Wendell is consumed by anger. That Wendell was prepared for any thousand possibilities beyond the front door except for the site of an all-too-human sickness.
We see Orson having smoked plenty of opium and is so high that he is practically catatonic. Wendell thinks how he was ready to face whatever he found inside this room except one thing: his compassion. Wendell finds the warmth in his heart that still beats for the man that raised him.
We cut back to Jeryn telling Xao that his train is ready. Jeryn fires up the machine and a portal between Earth and K’un-Lun opens up. Xao yells that K’un-Lun is all his. We then see Iron Fist flanked by all of the Immortal Weapons standing at the just inside the portal. End of issue.
The Good: Iron Fist #13 was another solid read. We get treated to another well paced issue that has a good mix of action and drama. Iron Fist #13 is a nicely plotted issue as Brubaker continues to methodically move this story toward the conclusion of this story arc. All the different plotlines are sliding into place in a pleasant fashion.
Fraction serves up some solid dialogue. It isn’t anything spectacular, but it has a nice natural flow to it. Fraction has a good grip on Danny Rand’s character. Fraction has managed to breathe a fresh personality into a character that has always come across as a bit vanilla and generic.
I loved the flashback scene with Wendell and Orson. I have enjoyed getting more insight into Danny’s father, Wendell. And the climactic showdown between Wendell and Orson involved a totally unexpected twist. I didn’t see this coming at all and it was so much more powerful and intriguing than a standard and predictable violent confrontation.
I continue to enjoy Orson’s character. Orson is such a fascinating character. I dig that his amazing physical powers and fighting ability are juxtaposed with such a glaring mental weakness in his addiction to drugs. I’m interested to see if Wendell and Orson are able to fix their damaged relationship. The fact is that they are pretty much all that each other has at this point in their lives.
I liked the confrontation between Iron Fist and Yu-Ti. It was nice to see Danny asserting himself. Fraction and Brubaker have done a nice job giving Danny a much tougher side to his character. This was a pretty ballsy move by Danny to call out the ruler of K’un-Lun in such fashion.
We get a great hook ending with Iron Fist and the other immortal weapons waiting for Xao on the other side of the portal. That was an awesome ending and certainly a great bad-assed moment for Danny. I cannot wait for the next issue. I want to see Xao get the beating that he so richly deserves.
Aja serves up plenty of nice artwork. Unfortunately, Aha didn’t get to do much of the artwork for this issue.
The Bad: I was summarily unimpressed with the artwork by the other artists on this issue.
Overall: Iron Fist #13 was another solid issue. Brubaker and Fraction have done a good job setting the table for what should be an action packed issue with Iron Fist #14. I think that Iron Fist has enough quality character work and dialogue to appeal to fans that don’t normally enjoy action themed comic books. Iron Fist is certainly a quality product that is worth checking out.
All Star Superman #10
Countdown to Final Crisis #5
Green Lantern #29
Legion of Super Heroes #40
Teen Titans #57
Marvel Adventures Iron Man #11
Mighty Avengers #11
New Avengers #39
Ultimate Human #3
Ultimate Iron Man II #4
Ultimate Spider-Man #120
Ultimate X-Men #92
X-Men Legacy #209
Last week we covered the Top 15 most dangerous states released by CQ Press. This week we will run through the Top 15 safest states also put together by CQ Press. Again, CW Press’ rankings take into consideration more than 500 crime-related categories including categories like arrests, corrections, offenses, courts, juvenile justice, drug and alcohol treatment, crime clearances, law enforcement expenditures, etc. The Top 15 safest states are as follows:
14. West Virginia
12. Rhode Island
5. South Dakota
3. North Dakota
1. New Hampshire
Wow. The New England area just crushed this list. The New England area placed 3 states in the Top 5 and a total of 5 states in the Top 15. The Northwest turned in a strong showing with 2 states in the Top 5 and a total of 6 states in the Top 15. Wisconsin, Utah, West Virginia round out the rest of the Top 15. Virginia is the odd man out in this Top 15 since it is the only Southern (Is Virginia still considered Southern? As Washington, DC expands further into Virginia on its way to Richmond, this state is more mid-Atlantic than Southern.) state that cracked into the Top 15.
I cannot say that I was surprised at all about this list. Well, I was surprised that Virginia made it into the top 15. But, other than that, none of the other states were surprises. You knew that the New England area was going to dominate this list. And you knew that the Northwestern states would also turn in a strong showing.
I have never had the fortune to go out to any of the states in the Northwest. But, I definitely want to make my way out to the Dakotas, Wyoming and Montana at some point. They seem like they have incredible natural beauty. I have been able to visit every state up in the New England area. Now, I have never been up there in the winter and that is no coincidence. However, I have to say that the New England area is the most beautiful and by far the nicest part of America that I have ever visited.
And the people in the New England area are so polite! Wow. Growing up in Miami, I got used to going to the grocery store where little old ladies would smash your grocery cart out of their way and they give you the middle finger. I remember walking around downtown Montpellier, Vermont, one morning and all the shopkeepers were opening up for the day. Each and every person I met that morning smiled and wished me a “good morning.” I know that may sound weird that this experience impressed me, but that kind of thing just doesn’t happen in Miami. You are more likely to get shot in Miami than have someone wish you a “good morning.”
Now, here is my only problem with this Top 15 list. When I’m an old man, I’d love to retire to a state that is on the Top 15 safest states list. But, c’mon! Can’t a single state that has warm weather crack this list? All the states on this list get some serious cold weather. There is no way my Miami born and bred brown ass would be able to survive in the weather of any of the states on this list.
All right, let’s check out the comic books for this week. We have another large week with 14 titles headed to the Bunker this week. This week’s shipment of comic books is a heavier with Marvel titles than DC titles.
Which DC comic book am I most looking forward to reading? I always look forward to the latest issue of Green Lantern. And even though Green Lantern #29 is dedicated to re-telling Hal Jordan’s origin, I’m still looking forward to this issue. I have a feeling that Johns is going to take this opportunity to slightly tweak Hal’s origin to better fit Johns’ vision of the Green Lantern mythos.
Teen Titans #57 should be another good read. McKeever is doing a nice job on this title and I am interested in learning more about the new Clock King and his Terror Titans. This title always delivers some entertaining drama between the various Titans as well as plenty of good action.
However, the DC comic book that I am most looking forward to reading is the Legion of Super Heroes #40. I have not been shy about my praise for what Shooter has done with this title. Shooter has managed to revive a completely moribund title. There is no doubt in my mind that Shooter is going to deliver another strong read. This is the fourth issue of Shooter’s run and I think this is the point where Shooter is done with transitioning from Waid’s Legion to his own version of the Legion. I look for the pacing and plotlines to pick up a bit with this issue.
Which DC comic book am I least looking forward to reading? There can be only one: Countdown to Final Crisis #5. I honestly thought that there was no way this title could get worse until I read the last issue of Countdown. It was truly horrendous. And it is stunning that the creative team would be gagging up such terrible reads this close to the end of the title.
Which Marvel comic book am I most looking forward to reading? I’m actually excited about reading Mighty Avengers #11. This is because Bendis has managed to deliver back-to-back good reads on this title. I have been impressed that Bendis has been able to actually move a story along at a good pace, actually deliver some nice action scenes and not talk the reader to death with nonsensical dialogue. Mighty Avengers has really become quite a fun read.
I’m also looking forward to Ultimate Spider-Man #120. I have enjoyed the Ultimate universe version of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends. Bendis always turns in a fun read on this title. Ultimate Spider-Man is where Bendis’ talents really shine.
However, the Marvel comic book that I am most looking forward to reading is Daredevil #106. Brubaker put Matt through absolute hell with the past story arc. I am curious to see how Matt will adjust to the loss of his wife as well as his general outlook on life.
Which Marvel comic book am I least looking forward to reading? Again, there can be only one: New Avengers #39. This title is consistently one of the most putrid reads on the market. There is no point or purpose to this title. Bendis manages to attain the perfect state of stasis as he somehow manages to continually go month to month without ever achieving anything or progressing a single plotline. Not to mention that the pacing to this title is mind numbingly slow.
The good thing about New Avengers #39 is that I get to enjoy David Mack’s wonderful art instead of Leinel Yu’s horror show inspired scratches. The downside is that New Avengers #39 centers on one of the lamest characters ever: Echo.
As always, I’ll try my best to start posting reviews as soon as possible. I hope everyone enjoys their new comic books for this week.
Posted by Rokk Krinn at 7:52 AM
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I was browsing through Comic Book Resources and found the Lying in the Gutters column for Monday, March 24, 2008 to be rather interesting. The column touched on Marvel B0y and his controversial blog that caused a big storm over at Marvel’s office. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to read the blog before it was self-deleted. Fortunately, Lying in the Gutters posted the highlights from the blog. You can check out the Lying in the Gutters Monday, March 24, 2008 article right here. Be warned that there are some spoilers, however I don’t know how reliable they are. Here is what Lying in the Gutters highlighted from marvel b0y’s blog.
1) SECRET INVASION - Bendis is finally going to get reunited with his man-crush. Looks like a bunch of the 70’s heroes were replaced by Skrulls which means gold-shirt, tiara-wearing Cage is back. Not-so-Sweet Christmas. 2 weeks until Brevoort’s praising this on his blog.
2) One word: MODOG (aka Fraction’s brilliant new idea for an Iron Man villain)
3) Spider-Man - Brevoort and Slott got into a huge argument today on the phone over who exactly is coming back in Slott’s Brand New Day arc in June. Those last pages are being drawn and Marvel’s been saying a “red-head” is coming back, but now Slott wants a certain “blonde” to return. No idea how it ended or what was decided, Brevoort went into a conference room after and came out red-faced from either fighting until he won or pissed that he lost. Or there were red-hot candies in there and he stress-ate them. Personally, I think MJ should be back but if anyone can make Gwen’s return work, it’s Slott
4) They had one of their “creative” meetings in the big conference room today so a big group of us went in and sat down. Then five minutes into the meeting, Bogart looks over at us and 'politely' asks most of us to leave. All they were doing was talking about what characters each office is using. What the hell could it hurt to let us listen in and hear what we had to say? What I might actually upset someone if I pointed out that WE ALREADY HAVE AN IRON MAN BOOK AND CALLING THIS ONE INVINCIBLE IRON MAN ISN’T AN HOMAGE IT’S LAZY AND UNORIGINAL!!!!
This place is so frustrating. People need to get their heads out of their asses and realize a good idea is a good idea regardless of who came up with it. There are so many great characters here that I could make into kick ass stories but they’re all afraid that if someone else comes up with an idea, then they’ll look bad. Get over yourself! You EDIT comic books, you don’t even write them. You take what someone else writes and tell them to change a phrase so you feel like you created something. You DIDN’T. Congratulations you’re a glorified spell check. And God forbid if someone who is creative comes up with an idea. That might actually make you feel as small and worthless as you really are. That or making six photocopies of the latest joke you just approved for printing.
Whatever, F it, I’m getting another green beer and then I’m going to read the new issue of Lone Wolf and Cub. Oh, my bad, I mean Cable.”
Now, the first thing I wondered was if this was a viral marketing campaign by Marvel or if this was actually legit. The latest version of Marvel Boy was created by Grant Morrison. And Morrison just happens to be the guy who is writing Final Crisis which is Secret Invasion’s rival big event for this year. I found it interesting that this mysterious blogger would choose marvel b0y for his tag name. However, due to some of the extremely negative comments I am leaning to marvel b0y’s blog being real and not a work.
Now, was this decision to post all of this information professional? No. Would I advocate someone doing something like this? No. But, was it entertaining? Yup. I particularly the shot at the editorial staff being glorified spell checkers. I can see where the editorial staff could be a huge pain in the ass.
I also liked the comment about the new Invincible Iron Man comic book. That was absolutely hilarious and I completely agree. I’m probably one of the biggest Iron Man fans you will meet. But, I still think that a second Iron Man title is a dumb idea. Marvel should just let the Knaufs work their magic and leave Iron Man alone. And as much as I love Iron Man, the fact is that he is not a character that has ever posted strong sales numbers. I simply can’t see how Iron Man can support two titles.
And to make things worse it is going to be hard to reconcile the drastically different takes on the same character that we are going to get between the Knaufs and Fraction. I’ve read plenty by Fraction and I’ve read plenty by the Knaufs and if I have to pick one over the other then I’m taking the Knaufs every single time.
I’ll be interested to see if some of the spoilers are true like Luke Cage and a bunch of other 1970’s heroes being revealed to be a Skrull. That certainly makes sense given that Electra has been revealed to be a Skrull and Mar-vell also appears to be a Skrull. It certainly appears that Secret Invasion will allow Marvel to go nuts with the retconning of numerous characters.
I have a feeling that we are going to see a 1970’s revival over at Marvel. You have already seen several 1970’s titles revived like Iron Fist, Heroes for Hire, Captain Marvel and the Defenders. Add to that the fact that Amazing Spider-Man has been retconned back to a version that is very reminiscent of the 1970’s Spider-Man.
Bendis is 40 and grew up with the 1970’s Marvel universe when he was a kid. I always have viewed the ages 6-18 as the formative years for comic book readers as far as what they consider to be the definitive versions of various comic book characters. That puts Bendis’ formative years between 1972-1984. So, it wouldn’t surprise me if Bendis uses Secret Invasion to re-make the current 616 universe into something similar to what he enjoyed during his formative years.
The Revolution always looks forward to the newest issue of X-Factor with baited breath. Peter David was simply born to write this title. David consistently delivers such an incredibly well executed issue each and every month. I fully expect X-Factor #29 to be another fantastic read. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Peter David
Pencils: Valentine De Landro
Inks: Andrew Hennessey
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We begin with Rictor burning the letter that Rahne left him to explain why she left X-Factor. Rictor thinks that he doesn’t give a damn why Rahne left and he no longer gives a damn about her.
We cut to Jamie and Guido stunned that their favorite bar in mutant town is closed. We some more “Gameday Improvement” signs near the closed bar. Jamie talks about that maybe they should give up. That mutant town no longer has many mutants left in it. That it is now called the Middle East Side.
Guido says that X-Factor is needed. Jamie says that there isn’t even an X-Factor anymore. That Rahne is gone. That Layla is missing in the future. And that Guido is leaving to become the government’s sheriff of mutant town. Guido then states that he told Val Cooper that she could take the job offer and shove it. That he would never leave X-Factor no matter the money. Jamie responds that Val rescinded the offer because there is no longer any mutant town left. Guido stands there slackjawed that Jamie guessed the truth.
We see Jamie entering the brownstone. He thinks how he is barely holding X-Factor together. That even though the thought of quitting sickens him, maybe it is time for him to realize that it is a losing fight trying to keep X-Factor together. Still, Jamie can’t shake that feeling that they have unfinished business.
We see Siryn and Monet sitting on a couch. Siryn tells Monet that she is going to tell Jamie that she is pregnant with his baby. Siryn calls out for Jamie, but he is lost in his thoughts and walks past her. Monet then screams “Idiot” at Jamie and gets his attention. Siryn then tells Jamie that she has something to tell him. Jamie cuts Siryn short and says that he knows what it is. Jamie says that Siryn could not have picked a worse time. That he really expected more from her.
Siryn snaps that she expected more from Jamie. That Jamie should be supportive considering he had a little something to do with it. Jamie yells for Siryn to go ahead and blame everything on him. That everything in the world is his fault.
Rictor then enters the room and tells Jamie that he is quitting X-Factor and then walks out of the room. Jamie then chases after Rictor. Siryn is seething at Jamie. Monet comments that this is all vaguely familiar. Suddenly, Monet says “Got it. ‘Three’s Company.’” That Siryn and Jamie’s conversation was like an episode of “Three’s Company” where two people have a massive misunderstand that could have been easily avoided.
Monet says that it is obvious that Jamie didn’t know what Siryn was going to talk about. that he thought Siryn was going to leave the team. That Siryn would have realized that Jamie is wrong a lot of the time if she weren’t blinded by being in love with him. Siryn protests that she is not in love with Jamie. Siryn then stops and thinks for a minute and realizes that she is in love with Jamie.
We cut to Jamie stopping Rictor before he gets out of the front door. Jamie tells Rictor to stay. Rictor says that there is no need for him to be on the team. That he isn’t even a mutant anymore. That he is just some type of weird mutant wannabe. Rictor says that he is sick of mutant stuff. That he is now a normal guy and should just live a normal life.
Jamie then tells Rictor to leave if he wants to. Jamie angrily says “Vaya con dios.” Rictor replies “Don’t speak Spanish. You sound like an idiot.” (LOL!!! I know that exact feeling! I have friends that I say the same thing to.) Jamie thinks how he always hears that humans are social animals. That maybe humans are loners by nature and are social merely out of necessity for survival and that sometimes being alone becomes more important than anything even survival.
Rictor steps out of the front door and is shocked that the X-Factor brownstone has been ripped from Earth and is floating in space. Rictor hops back into the brownstone and slams the door shut. Rictor stammers to Guido that they are in space. Guido opens the door and everything is perfectly normal. Guido asks Rictor if he is okay. Rictor runs back outside and swears that just a second ago the building was in space.
Guido thinks Rictor is just playing a joke on him and walks back into the building. Suddenly, a portal opens up beneath Rictor and he falls into it. Guido turns back around and is stunned that Rictor has disappeared.
We slide over to Jamie in the kitchen talking to Siryn. Siryn tries once again to tell Jamie that she is pregnant. Before she can say anything Jamie starts rambling on about how if they don’t all stick together that they are going to get slaughtered. That there are still all kinds of threats to mutants out there. Plus, they still have to get Layla back somehow. Guido then yells for Jamie to come outside.
We cut to outside the brownstone where Guido tells Monet, Siryn and Jamie that Rictor was standing on the sidewalk one second and disappeared the next. Jamie tells Guido to start pounding a hole in the concrete so then can see if it leads them to Rictor. Guido pounds a huge hole into the ground and the group hops into the sewers below.
Jamie thinks that this is exactly why X-Factor can’t quit. Because “they” will never quit. That there will always me more of “them” who will try to destroy and kill mutants for no other reason than that mutants exist. Kind of like why George Mallory wanted to climbed Mount Everett. Because it was there. The team walks through the tunnel under the sidewalk and then end up coming back out of the ground outside of the brownstone again.
We cut to Rictor waking up and being tied upside down on a cross with a giant swinging axe slowly lowering down between his legs. A voice from off panel says that he came up with the idea for this device while reading Edgar Allen Poe (David must be referring to The Pit and the Pendulum. Great story.) and watching the movie "Goldfinger." Rictor screams out for Monet.
We hop back to X-Factor outside of the brownstone. Monet hears Rictor and flies off in his direction. Jamie makes a dupe who grabs a hold of Siryn as they fly off and follow Monet. Jamie and Guido then suddenly realize that everything around them has turned into a jungle. Guido comments that it must be a hologram. Suddenly, a large boulder rolls toward them and pins Guido to the ground.
Jamie thinks to himself that this is how they do it. Divide and conquer. That unlike heroes, villains don’t know the meaning of the word “quit.” The same villains just keep coming back again and again hoping to wear the heroes down. And that the villains just love to let you know it was them. Jamie then spies another “Gameday” sign that has a picture of Arcade on it. End of issue.
The Good: X-Factor #29 was yet another incredible read. David crafts a well paced issue as he employs a steady and measured pace that builds tension within the reader. This issue is also strongly plotted as David does a nice job seamlessly kicking off the new story arc with a clear direction and purpose in mind.
David composes more of his usual wonderful dialogue. This is largely what makes X-Factor such a delight to read. David gives each character strongly developed external voices. David continues to honor his commitment to phenomenal character work. There simply are not many titles that will deliver the same quality of characterization that X-Factor does. The members of X-Factor are some of the most fully developed and three dimensional characters that you will find on any comic book on the market.
I love Jamie’s running monologue in this issue. The running monologue that David serves up in each issue is one of the greatest strengths of X-Factor and certainly part of what makes X-Factor so special and unique. Jamie’s running monologue is practically poetry with the way it flows and the imagery and power in which it impacts on the reader.
David manages to create such thought provoking internal debates about the human condition in these running monologues. In X-Factor #29 the debate centers on the social aspect of human beings. The seemingly instinctual need to band together. And how this instinct to live in groups can conflict with the equally powerful urge to isolate oneself in times of crisis or trauma.
David’s running monologues actually get the reader intrigued and make us examine the topic at hand. David is wise and talented enough to show the reader the question at hand and to not simply lecture the reader. David merely floats the question out there and lets both sides of the debate make their case and then lets the story itself attempt to answer the question. This all enables the reader to critically challenge their own belief and then arrive at their own conclusion. David achieves what other writers attempt to do and fail. Many other writers when trying to do the same thing simply come across as lecturing, preachy and pontificating.
I loved how David handled Rahne’s decision to leave the team. David is clearly poking fun at the arbitrary editorial decision to strip Rahne from the team and place her on X-Force. David speaks through Rictor when he states that it doesn’t matter why Rahne left the team. And David is correct. There is no need to come up with some lame excuse for her leaving X-Factor. It is a shame that Rahne is gone since I’m sure whatever the editorial staff has in place for Rahne over on X-Force will not be able to match what David could have done with her character on X-Factor.
I totally dig David’s handling of Rictor’s character. Rictor is finally beginning to emerge from his denial about being an ex-mutant. For the first time, Rictor seems to be accepting that he is just a regular human and that by being a member of X-Factor that he is just acting like a weird mutant wannabee. Rictor makes a valid point. However, as we see in the end of this issue, the enemies of mutantkind are not going to be willing to let Rictor walk away just because he is now an ex-mutant.
And I was proud of mi hermano, Rictor, as he stood tough and resolute in the face of death. Rictor isn’t about to punk out and start crying and begging for mercy. Rictor shows his grit and determination as well as some very smart thinking as he yells out for Monet figuring that her super hearing will pick up his cries for help.
And speaking of Monet, let me just say once again how much I completely adore her character. She is simply awesome. For my money, Monet is the best female super hero in the 616 universe. I just dig her attitude and general outlook on life. And Monet serves the role of the gadfly very well.
Of course, despite the fact that X-Factor is a dark and moody title, David makes sure that he mixes in just enough humor. David’s humor is well placed and timed to keep this title from getting too dark and somber. And the humor isn’t in your face “Bwa-ha-ha” styled humor. And I certainly appreciate that.
The scene between Guido and Jamie is a nice example of the casual and nature style of humor that David brings to X-Factor. Of course, the best scene in this issue is the one where Monet uses a “Three’s Company” to explain Jamie’s reaction to Siryn when she tried to tell him that she is pregnant. That was awesome. It is always pure genius when a writer can work in “Three’s Company” into the story.
David ends X-Factor #29 with a great hook ending with the appearance of Arcade. I dig that David bringing back a fun old school X-Men villain in Arcade. Plus, I have always liked Arcade’s over the top and campy death traps. I also like that David had been teasing this appearance over the past couple of issues with all the “Gameday” signs that have been popping up around Mutant Town.
Valentine De Landro does a solid job acting as the fill-in artist for this issue. De Landro’s style is a nice fit for the style and mood on X-Factor.
The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.
Overall: X-Factor #29 was a wonderful read. However, I readily understand that X-Factor is not for everyone. This title is not going to give the reader non-stop action. There aren’t going to be several double page splash shots and raucous brawls. X-Factor is more the thinking man’s comic book and draws its strength and charm from well crafted dialogue and character work. X-Factor is an incredibly well crafted title that should appeal to most comic book fans outside of action junkies.
Let’s go ahead and dish out The Revolution’s weekly awards.
The nominees for the Che for the best read of the week:
Captain America #36
Iron Man #27
Tangent: Superman’s Reign #1
The Winner: Captain America #36
I enjoyed Thor #7 as well as Tangent: Superman’s Reign #1. However, this award came down to a very close race between Iron Man #27 and Captain America #36. This was such a tough decision and Captain America #36 just narrowly edged out Iron Man #27. Both titles together with X-Factor are the three strongest reads that Marvel publishes. It is a shame that Captain America and Iron Man came out in the same week because they are both worthy of the Che award.
And now the nominees for the Sequential Methadone Award for the worst read of the week:
Captain Marvel #4
Countdown to Final Crisis #6
Wolverine Origins #23
The Winner: Countdown to Final Crisis #6
Captain Marvel #4 continued the downward trend on this mini-series. At first, I was all excited about this mini-series. Since I’m a die-hard Mar-vell fan, I have been waiting for this day. Marvel has brought back just about every other character from the dead except for the real Captain Marvel. And I was overjoyed that Marvel finally brought Mar-vell back.
And then, as Marvel often does, they screw everything up by revealing that Mar-vell is just a Skrull. You have got to be fucking kidding me. I won’t hammer Marvel just yet. I will reserve my wraith until the end of this mini-series and I know for sure if Mar-vell is a Skrull and see what Marvel has in store for his character.
Wolverine Origins #23 was yet another unimpressive read. This title is a habitual poor performer and can only improve once Way leaves this title.
However, the fact is that there was only one issue that truly deserved to win the Sequential Methadone Award for this week. And that would be Countdown to Final Crisis #6. This might have been the absolute worst read that we have gotten on this title. And that is really saying something considering some of the total stinkers that we have gotten on Countdown.
My review for Countdown to Final Crisis #6 pretty much said it all. This was a dull, slow and pointless read that pretty much is a perfect microcosm for what we have gotten during the entire run on this title.
So congrats to Captain America #36 for winning the Che for the week and congrats to Countdown to Final Crisis #6 for winning the Sequential Methadone Award for the week.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Batman and the Outsiders managed to deliver a rather average read with the last issue. I’m not too sure if this title has what it takes to earn a position on The Revolution’s permanent pull list. Hopefully, Dixon can get me energized about this title with Batman and the Outsiders #5. Let’s hit this review.
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Pencils: Julian Lopez
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the male and female metahumans that Jardine hired for protection about to shoot Batman. Suddenly, they two villains are possessed by the spirits of Ralph and Sue Dibny. Ralph and Sue then take advantage of this opportunity and begin kissing each other. (Sweet! Ralph has it pretty good right now. Yeah, the down side is that he is dead, but the up side is that he has a wife that can possess the body of any woman on the planet. That is kinky. I like it.)
We cut to Green Arrow, Metamorpho, Katana and Batgirl busting into the facility. Batman is already inside the facility and is downloading all the information from the facility’s computer system and then sends it to Francine for her to review.
We shift back to the Outsiders brawling with a massively powered metahuman villain. The villain kicks butt on the Outsiders. The radio Batman and tell him that they are getting beat up. Batman then radios Geo-Force and tells him to go help the Outsiders deal with the metahuman villain. Geo-Force busts into the fight and quickly puts down the metahuman thug. Batman then orders Metamorpho to head to the launch pad in order to stop the rocket from taking off.
Francine then contacts Batman and tells him that she has sifted through the information that he sent her and that the rocket about to take off has a manned shuttle on it. The other payloads are some kind of biological material. We see Thunder and Grace both wondering why they were not included on this mission.
We cut back to the control tower where the techs inform Jardine that someone is on the launch pad (Metamorpho) and that they have to cancel the launch. Jardine orders them to keep the launch going. Jardine’s OMAC comes to his side to threaten the techs into not stopping the launch. Suddenly, Geo-Force busts into the room and quickly destroys the OMAC with ease. The rest of the Outsiders enter the room but are too late to stop the launch.
We see the rocket blast off for space. Ollie freaks that Metamorpho is dead due to the rocket blast. A male and female tech suddenly are possessed by Ralph and Sue Dibny. They grab Jardine so he can’t escape. They then tell Ollie to calm down. Ollie is stunned and says that he thought Ralph and Sue were dead. Ralph and Sue both answer that they are now spirits.
The Outsiders take Jardine and place them on their ship. On the flight back home, Batman tells Green Arrow that he needs him on the team. Batman asks if Ollie will commit to the Outsiders. Ollie responds that they will take it one mission at a time.
We shift to the shuttle in space. The astronauts in the cockpit realize that they have lost all radio control with the command station. Suddenly, the cockpit doors open and Metamorpho enters. End of issue.
The Good: Batman and the Outsiders #5 was another average read. Dixon certainly does deliver a quick paced issue. This has been a swift moving story arc yet at no point has it felt rushed. This issue was also well constructed and nicely plotted. Dixon has moved this story in a methodical fashion and with a clear purpose.
Now, I certainly have my issues with Ralph and Sue Dibny now being the “ghost detectives.” However, I will say that it was great to see them again. I certainly have missed Ralph and I always liked the old fashioned relationship that he and Sue had together. The addition of the Dibnys has been a real stunner and I hope that Dixon keeps them around for a while. Their unique skills certainly work well with a black ops team like the Outsiders.
Dixon dishes out plenty of action in this issue. If you are a fan of action themed titles then you will probably enjoy Batman and the Outsiders. This title isn’t brainy nor does it ever challenge the reader’s mind. However, if all you want is a fast read with quality action then Batman and the Outsiders satisfies that urge.
I was thrilled to see Dixon mixing Geo-Force into the Outsider’s roster. I have always liked Geo-Force’s character, but I just didn’t buy him as a member of the Justice League of America. He simply is not a character that satisfies my criteria of who can be a Leaguer. However, Geo-Force works wonderfully on the Outsiders and this is his proper home. Also, since Martian Manhunter left the team, the Outsiders needed another heavy hitter to take his place. As we saw how easily Geo-Force dispatched the OMAC, he more than fills the requirement of a heavy hitter.
Dixon ends Batman and the Outsiders #5 with a solid hook ending as we see Metamorpho aboard Jardine’s space shuttle. I’m curious to learn exactly what Jardine is up to with this space mission.
Lopez and Bit combine to deliver some pleasant artwork. I dig Lopez’s smooth style and find that he brings a rather enjoyable look to the title.
The Bad: Batman and the Outsiders #5 has its fair share of warts. Dixons dialogue continues to be largely unimpressive. The dialogue is stiff and a bit generic. Dixon’s character work also leaves much to be desired. Outside of the Batman, Dixon simply doesn’t demonstrate a particularly good feel for the personalities of the various Outsiders.
Batman and the Outsiders lacks substance as Dixon gives us a story that is a rather thin read. Batman and the Outsiders continues to lack numerous quality plotlines. At this point, all we really have is the plotline involving Jardine. In order to be successful, a team title must always continually juggle several interesting plotlines at one time and make sure that all the members of the team are being utilized.
There is a serious lack of chemistry between members on this roster. I know that this is a young title, but these characters work awkwardly together. Dixon also needs to finally address exactly who is on this team and who is not. IN just the first five issues, characters have randomly entered and then exited this team. And since Green Arrow is slated to star over in the new Justice League title, it appears that even more turnover is ahead for this team.
Of course, the two characters that Dixon have failed utilize the most has to be Grace and Thunder. Dixon seriously needs to find a proper role for these characters on this team. At this point, it appears that Dixon has simply shuffled them off into the background. With what we have gotten (or not gotten) over the first five issues, I don’t even see the point of Dixon having them on the team. It is too bad since both characters have plenty of potential.
Overall: Batman and the Outsiders #5 is nothing more than your typical standard issue comic book. I wouldn’t recommend this title to anyone other than hardcore Batman fans and die-hard Outsiders fans. The story is too generic and nothing of real interest is happening on this title that would warrant readers to spend their hard earned money on this title.