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Comics

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

I've got a problem in my supply chain, so i'm at least a week behind on reviews (and don't even ask about the last issue of Hulk Smash). But let's see what we've got.

Spider-Men #1 - Well scripted, decently drawn, insanely uneventful for $4. I will say that Marvel has shown surprising restraint to-date on not crossing over with the Ultimate universe. I wonder if this means we've reached end times for that universe. Surely by now its original remit - tell Marvel stories unburdened by continuity - is null and void, especially now that the "problem" of Spider-Man's marriage is "solved" in the original publication line. So i'm actually surprised that the crossover didn't go the other way: bring the Miles Morales character, who's had some good press and has potential, into the real Marvel Universe and fold the other one up.

X-Men Legacy - Wanyas was nice enough to uncancel this for me after reading my Hamletizing over the last issue. And i guess i'll say i'm glad. But if we're going to go into Frenzy's backstory, i expect to see some Apocalypse! I also thought it was funny that Frenzy's guide just happened to know a path to the militia's base that required Frenzy to constantly use her super-strength to smash rocks and trees, and scale sheer cliffs, so that the otherwise entirely talky issue would seem like it had some action. I'm also a little weirded out by the sneak preview of the Avengers vs. X-Men plot. Apparently now that the X-Men have the Phoenix power they're going to dress up like Science Ninja Team Gatchaman and pretend they're the Authority? Not a direction i was expecting.

Avengers Assemble - Seriously? It's really Thanos? Having Bendis write Thanos is like asking Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor (they're sort of a straightforward if superficial rock band, and i enjoy them, but you don't want them doing anything heavy or complicated). I love how we're told that Thanos' name "translates to" Thanos. From what, Thanatos? On the other hand, Bagley can draw Thanos any time he likes. The good news is we now know who's going to be in the Guardians of the Galaxy movie, and min doesn't have to hurry up and read about Charlie-27 and Yondu.

Captain America #13 - Was i supposed to know who Jack Garrett was from last issue? If so, i kinda forgot, and there's absolutely no exposition nor anything in the supposed recap to tell me that he's the SHIELD agent that's been leaking info to Hydra. I had to look that up online. For a little while, i had actually thought they captured D-Man (whose civilian name is clearly Dennis Dunphy, duh). So aside from that, and nothing actually happening in this issue, this was fine.

Avengers #27 - I'd complain that Supremor was kinda dumb to tell Marvel Boy what his plans were for the Phoenix Force that they captured, but the truth is i really don't know anything about this Marvel Boy character. Despite having read the Morrison Marvel Boy series and despite Marvel Boy having been a character in Bendis' Avengers for like 3 years now. Bendis has thrown out everything about the character Morrison created and replaced it with... nothing! He's been a complete cipher. So now when we suddenly have an arc about him, and it's the fairly stock "someone betrays the team only to find out that their reason for doing so wasn't true", i'm just sort of ambivalent. Even though this story is focused on Marvel Boy, i don't think we're learning anything about him. I do like Simonson's art; i just wish there was a plot to go with it.


By fnord12 | June 24, 2012, 10:39 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link



Stan Lee as a Playable Character in The Amazing Spider-Man Game

Cause why not?

Link

Gamers who pre-order the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 version of the game at Amazon will get an exclusive virtual Stan Lee that's completely playable.
...
Lee will have his own special mission across the open world Manhattan that Beenox has recreated from the movie universe. The storyline sends Lee, equipped with Spider-Man's super hero powers, on a race through New York to collect pages of his latest script. Lee also provided his voice for the game's character.

By min | June 22, 2012, 1:31 PM | Comics & Video Games | Comments (0)| Link



Make the "series code" public!

So there's this from Brian Hibbs regarding Dark Avengers:

Marvel kept the NUMBERING of THUNDERBOLTS here, but did a really really weird thing after that -- it had Diamond assign the book a new SERIES code. A series code is an invisible-to-consumers code that allows retailers to sign up customers, well, to a series. Like (say) 123456 is the code for CAPTAIN FANCYPANTS, and it allows the computer to know that CAPTAIN FANCYPANTS #1 and CP #2 are *the same thing*. It also allows me to, say, take the various BPRD series, and assign it to a custom series code (like CUST123), so that every BPRD series gets pulled (even though Dark Horse treats them as *entirely separate* things, go figure) In the past, when Marvel changed, say, INCREDIBLE HULK to INCREDIBLE HERCULES they kept the series code the SAME, which meant that all of the preorders AUTOMATICALLY transferred, here they consciously did NOT do that, in other words: eliminating 98% of the marketing-driven reason to carry over the numbering. What's even weirder, is that it really IS TBOLTS #175, and it's a bit hard to follow if you haven't read those previous issues (well, or the last year or so at least), while at the same time kicking off all of the people who WERE buying it. I don't get it

It's weird that they tried to trick the Hulk audience into collecting Hercules but didn't do the same for the Thunderbolts/Dark Avengers even though they kept the numbering the same and DA is much more in the spirit of the original series than Hulk>Herc, but i'm much more interested to learn that this "series code" exists at all. It would be very helpful to nerds everywhere, who would no longer have to refer to FF vol. 3 which was then renumbered in vol. 4 and then later reverted back to the original numbering, etc., if they could use this code instead. Call the book whatever you want on the cover in order to get sales, but give those of us who obsessively track our collection (whether it's a word doc that we print out when we go to conventions, or, say, a Marvel Timeline Project) a way to maintain consistency.


By fnord12 | June 18, 2012, 3:34 PM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



Is hallucinating why there is eating?

Present your argument in an well-composed expository essay. For extra credit, please also answer "Why is clothing?".


By fnord12 | June 16, 2012, 2:56 PM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



Now Taking a Collection to Buy DC Artists a Book on Human Anatomy

One with lots of pictures. Lots and lots of pictures.

On The Mary Sue today, i saw this picture for September's Catwoman #0 issue:

And i think i must have looked at it for close to a minute before i understood what i was looking at. For the first 45 seconds, i don't even think her boobs registered because my brain knew that there shouldn't be boobs occupying that space on an anatomically correct human body.

I spent most of the 45 seconds trying to figure out where her foot was coming from and why the thumb and first 2 fingers of her left hand were horrifically deformed (esp. when compared to her itty bitty right hand). Then i realized her boot was sticking out of what is supposed to be one of her butt cheeks. An excessively swollen butt cheek, i might add (er...you might want to get a doctor to look at that).

This post generously states that the artist, Guillem March, is not only not a bad artist, but "quite competent" in terms of technique. If that is the case, than the problem is that March's idea of "sexy" is just strange.

Here is a parody drawing by an earlier Catwoman artist.


ETA: When i showed this to two of my female friends, they both had no problem with the drawing. Ofc, they also both seemed to think that her right butt cheek (the one in the back) was closer to the viewer than the left butt cheek, and therefore should appear larger. I told them i didn't think they understood how perspective worked. I also asked one of them to pose this way so we could take a photo of a real human and see where all the body parts would line up. Shockingly, i've yet to hear back on that suggestion. Spoilsports.

By min | June 12, 2012, 2:16 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link



SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

I have to travel this week (also means no updates on the comics timeline site) so i'll get my reviews in early. Because i care.

Winter Soldier #6 - This is the first issue of this series where we are not promised Dr. Doom vs. Super-Apes. So i suppose it would be unfair to criticize it for not delivering Dr. Doom vs. Super-Apes (although an argument could be made...). So now i'm back to where i was with issue #1 before i turned to that final page and saw a gorilla with a machine gun firing at the Latverian embassy: this series is written well enough, but do i really want to read a solo Bucky book?

Avengers vs. X-Men #5 - So i'm pretty sure there are three events in this issue: 1) Hope decides that she doesn't want to be the host for the Phoenix force 2) Iron Man tries to fight the Phoenix force in a rather uninspired looking Mecha but fails 3) Instead of just Hope getting possessed by the Phoenix force, all the X-Men get possessed by the Phoenix force. The rest of the issue, as far as i can tell, is basically ads for the tie-in books or mostly blank pages depicting explosions or whatever. That's just not enough content for a 20 some page comic. This is the most insanely structured crossover event i've ever seen.

X-Men Legacy #267 - Well, clearly Gage agrees with me on how an Iron Man vs. X-Men fight would go down. First Rogue flat-out says that Iron Man could take down the whole team. Then the X-Men barely manage to fight off an empty Iron Man suit. This was a really well-written fight, though. Rogue absorbing She-Hulk's powers and then immediately turning around and punching Frenzy in the nose was hilarious. After last issue's poor set-up, i got cranky and dropped this series again, so i suspect it will drive Wanyas and his shop owner crazy if i change my mind a third time. Eh, i'll just pick it up in the bargain bins ten years from now. Oh, and you know where i'd really like to read a well-written Avengers/X-Men fight? IN THE AVENGERS VS. X-MEN SERIES!!

X-Factor #237 - Yeah, ok.

Journey Into Mystery #639 - I really liked this. It took the New Mutants crossover to get me reading this book, but i'm glad i stuck with it. It's like i've got my own little Fables (or similar) right here in the Marvel Universe. I like Kid Loki.

Hulk #53 - Man, She-Hulk just can't catch a break this week. Plus, four "Hulks" and the only one talking in "Hulk smash!" voice is Sasquatch. But people! This is the Red Hulk teaming up with Machine Man and Alpha Flight to fight the Mayan 2012 prophesy itself! And drawn by Eaglesham. You can't turn that down.

Dark Avengers #175 - I'm on board with this. People drawn in by the nice Deodato cover (is that a tribute to something? It looks familiar) might be a little disappointed by the interior art, but i'm hoping Parker's writing will rope them in. And i'm still hoping Parker will bring back some of the previous Thunderbolts team; it sure looks like he's leaving that door open.

Avengers Academy #31 - Nice twist with Shaw's motivations, and just really great writing overall. You'll notice this has knocked Thunderbolts/Dark Avengers out of my "top most anticipated" spot (i read and review my comics from "least likely to enjoy" to "most likely to enjoy"). So if i like Gage here so much, it makes sense for me to keep getting X-Men Legacy, right? Man, if only it weren't another AvX tie-in (on the other hand, the fact that it's a Frenzy tie-in is actually a plus, as far as i'm concerned). Speaking of AvX tie-ins, though, i gave Avengers Academy #19 the (much coveted) "Best Use of a Fear Itself Tie-in", and i'm gonna go ahead and say the same is true of this arc for Avengers vs. X-Men.


By fnord12 | June 10, 2012, 9:40 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link



Romance Comics

I found these. They're great.

DO NOT eat soup while going through this site.  it can only end with soup coming out of your nose.

"Was it his love she wanted - or just his kisses?" Probably the former, since his kisses appear to be rather inexpert and poorly aimed. Unless he's trying to smell what she had for lunch.

I told fnord12 i might have to start collecting these because they're clearly made of awesome sauce. He said i had 30 boxes of comics to get through first. Hrmph. Tyrant.


By min | June 8, 2012, 2:27 PM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

I only had one regular book come out last week, but i also bought into the hype and got the entire Battle Scars series to date, and the first three issues of Marjorie Liu's Astonishing X-Men. And i finally got all the pieces of Circle of Four. So we'll look at my one regular book and then those runs comprehensively (but still SuperMegaSpeedily).

New Mutants #43 - So i actually would have been ok with this crossover ending last issue with Sigurd being forced to marry the Dsir. I wasn't sure what this issue would entail. And while the twist that Bor's idea of marriage is a bit, uh, antiquated was clever, i still probably could have done without this issue. But it was fine.

Battle Scars - Well, it's better than a trip to Dr. Melinda Brewer. If we ignore the purpose of the series, it's actually a fun romp through the Marvel Universe, although the art could be a little better. Yost writes a good Deadpool. So add to the fact that this was going to happen, one way or another, and i think it worked out about as well as it could have (I'm being a little coy about what this series is about because min hasn't read it yet and has somehow managed to avoid all the chatter, and i don't want to spoil it). In any event, this series has a great soundtrack.

Astonishing X-Men #48-50 - There was a little kerfuffle where Dale Eaglesham, the artist from the Alpha Flight series that min got cancelled, complained that the Northstar wedding was originally scheduled for the Alpha series, with the obvious implication that the attention could have kept the series afloat, but that Marvel wanted the X-Men to get the attention instead. Then he subsequently retracted the statement. Certainly the Alpha Flight series laid the groundwork for this by developing Northstar and Kyle's relationship, and Northstar isn't a traditional X-Man character, but i'm glad to see it picked up in another book rather than just fade into limbo. I feel like Northstar is way too earnest and friendly in these issues, but i guess that's just us getting to see another side of him. I like the way Liu is handling the relationship part of this story, with Kyle's doubts and Northstar over-compensating with the marriage proposal. As for the rest of the plot, i could do without Kyle already getting kidnapped - such a cliche for a civilian love interest - and the repeating dream sequence device was a bit annoying, but i liked the character interactions and the use of the Marauders as dupes. The Beat article that first reported on the Eaglesham stuff also notes that Liu's run seems to be designed as a loose-end tie-up book, but i'm not really sure what the loose end for Karma is, exactly. If she was taking care of "Face", i guess i could see it. Anyway, i think i'll stick around for a while. Art isn't great (The Shiar lady's costume is terrible, having the Black Widow make fun of it doesn't make it ok, and the Black Widow herself looked terrible in that scene).

Circle of Four: Venom #13, 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4, 14 - I knew that i didn't really need this and that if i managed to track them all down it would just be a letdown, but i did it anyway. And it was actually ok. Not great. There's some weird stuff going on in the Marvel Universe nowadays - Flash Thompson has no legs? And he's Venom, but he uses guns? They're really playing up the soldier angle, huh? Originally Flash Thompson was drafted and his soldier identity wasn't really emphasized once he got back from 'Nam, but i guess with the sliding timescale and the Spider-Man reboot that i've been studiously ignoring things have changed. The new Ghost Rider's snarky attitude was a bit annoying, and i really don't like the Aaron-introduced idea that there's really all these various Ghost Riders. You've got Johnny Blaze right there; use him! (And i await the mini-series that reveals that Blaze has a long-lost son that looks like Nicholas Cage). Other than that, i liked Blackheart, i thought X-23 was handled very well, Red Hulk-Venom Rider is about as kewl as you can get, and overall it was an ok fun little demonic romp.


By fnord12 | June 7, 2012, 9:36 PM | Comics | Comments (3)| Link



Marvel Sales

April.


By fnord12 | June 5, 2012, 1:04 PM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



What madness is this?

Ok, i made a little joke in the alt tag of my previous post, but i really did check, and this is something i actually did see:

$3 shipping for an 8x10 piece of paper?  Are they hand delivered by a gold-plated postman?

I'll guess link to the actual posting but i don't know how long these links stay valid. I ran into this once before looking at listings of ROM action figures, and i found this. But i didn't realize it was a *thing*. This guy's store description says:

While we sell all kinds of things, our primary focus over the past few years has been on combing through thousands of publications to find old ads for specialist collectors.

Dude! I have like a million comic books! Can i really cut them up and sell the ad pages in each for $7 a pop?

Alternatively, i'd better hurry up and buy every Marvel comic that i don't own yet before this guy gets to them. I can fund that by selling ads from all my comics. It's a Mobius strip (did they have ads?)!


By fnord12 | June 4, 2012, 6:50 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link



Secret Wars or Maximum Clonage?

I checked.  No one is selling an unopened mint-in-bag package of Dorman's Cheese on ebay.

By fnord12 | June 4, 2012, 6:47 PM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



Why aren't people reading comics?

John Seavy at MightyGodKing asks the question and raises some interesting points, much of which i agree with (but not all).

But i think the mistake people run into here is that it really doesn't have a lot to do with the quality of the story at all. It's the medium, not the message. People go see movies. They watch TV. They don't read comic books. They play video games. They mess around with their smart phones and tablets. Most people probably don't even know that comics are still being published anymore, but even if they found out, they're not going to start subscribing to them. I actually think comics are written and drawn in a way that is more accessible today than ever before. Not necessarily better, but more modern. Less villain high-speak. Less repeated exposition. More realistic dialogue, flashy, eye-catching art that is also "realistic" in a superficial way.

I think most people that came out of the Avengers movie, if handed a trade of just about any recent Marvel story arc, would read it and go, yeah, that was fun. But that's it. They've got jobs and families. They're going to go see a movie every once in a while on the weekend. They're going to relax in front of the tv at night. Their kids are going to play video games. No one's got time or dedicated interest to keep up with the ongoing Marvel Universe.

I think a lot of comic fans fall into a trap here. They don't like the way modern writers are treating longstanding characters. And they see declining sales. And they put two and two together, but the answer here isn't four. Because there's another variable in the equation, which is the fact that comics, as a medium, have become a niche market kept alive by a dwindling population of long time fans, and there's nothing inherent in the stories that will change that.


By fnord12 | June 4, 2012, 4:05 PM | Comics | Comments (5)| Link



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