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« Comics: August 2012 | Main | Comics: October 2012 »

Comics

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Avengers vs. X-Men #11 - I just want this to end, ok? I'm done fighting it. See Paul O'Brian's review for a more detailed review and well-deserved take-down. I say we just move on.

New Avengers #30 - Luke Cage married and with a baby is another toy that Marvel strategically broke, and the logical conclusion is exactly what we're seeing here. Which, again, i'm totally fine with. I just don't want Mephisto showing up if a Heroes For Hire movie is ever announced. There's nothing tremendously wrong with this issue except for the tenuous connection to AvX.

Uncanny X-Men #18 - People (Wanyas, P O'B) are describing this as a good version of AvX #11 and it's true that it has actual character development and is generally better written. But i still find the nature of this type of tie-in especially annoying. This stuff should just be in the main series. Now i've got a semi-repeat that is just different enough to make everything feel disjointed. It's a very strange way to deliver a story, where you go read a scene all the way through and then you stop, and go back and go over it again with more detail. I guess it kind of works as like a post-modern, Joseph Heller type of thing but i don't think that's what Marvel is intentionally going for. I do like the Colossus/Magik reveal.

Avengers Assemble #7 - So i guess Thanos just killed three Elders of the Univese, plus the In-Betweener and the Stranger (or are they also considered Elders now; i wasn't sure)? And said that he's been involved in struggles and conflicts with them "over the millennium"? A quick double-check of Thanos Quest tells me that's wrong, at least about In-Betweener and Champion, anyway, but i'm being cautious because like Tom Brevoort says, most complaints about continuity are from people who haven't read every comic. And yet, it seems wrong, and there's no footnote. I didn't even realize Thanos (and therefore, presumably, Starfox?) is supposed to be that old. Anyway, i don't have a lot of faith in Bendis in this context and i don't think much of this plotline so far, but Bagley's art is nice.

X-Factor #243 - Polaris has been, ah, mishandled over the years, so coming up with an in-story explanation for it isn't a bad thing. But i was really hoping the "Polaris really is Magneto's daughter" thing would just go away (i posted that Twisted Toyfare excerpt below for a reason!), and this issue instead seems to be solidifying it. But i guess now that we're in memory implant territory we can go on for years with reversals. Then there's the question of Magneto & Mastermind hanging together so early, but i guess we'll just wave our sliding timescale wand at that if nothing else works. Besides that, PAD writes snappy dialogue and this is at least readable.

Avenging Spider-Man #12 - Not sure what i think of this. I mean, sure, i'll stick around for the Hypno-Hustler. And i really liked the cover (here's the original). But even accepting the Inception theme, it read more like a Joe Kelly Deadpool issue than, say, a good Deadpool issue. You know what i am saying? Probably depends on what you thought of Joe Kelly's Deadpool.

X-Men Legacy #273 - Speaking of awesome covers, here we have Rogue riding a giant saber-toothed lion (another homage, this time to Frank Frazetta). And that's really all i need to say about this issue. But since i've referenced his reviews twice already, i'll just note that Paul O'Brien thought this arc needed to be longer, and i disagree. I'm glad it didn't turn out to be a six part story. I would have trimmed it a bit and ended it after two; we didn't really need the extended post-battle wrap-up. I think we got the point. That said, three issues isn't a bad compromise and i enjoyed this.

Captain America #17 - This has been good. I like the continued Madbomb usage. Even an Ice Pirates reference this issue. So maybe this Bunn guy isn't so bad after all. I'm sure min will have an opinion with the Diamondback romance scene but at least that seems to be wrapping up (although it therefore seems a bit pointless). And i enjoyed Zemo's murderous showing in the satellite.

Avengers Academy #36 - Really loving this. It's a shame Marvel's just going to throw these characters away for some cheap deaths. Must... not... react... to... promo... materials. I really liked White Tiger's interaction with her totem spirit; that was a really cool scene. The Mettle/Hazmat pathos is well handled, Julie's fighting spirit ("And now... I have a dagger.") was awesome, and it's just a well-written, nicely drawn book. Also, i'll just say that the scarring that Jeremy "Briggs" gave to Striker sure reinforces my pet "son of the Molecule Man" theory.

Dark Avengers #180 - Luke Cage may be quitting the Avengers, but it looks like he and his offspring aren't getting out of the super-biz so easily. This does raise the question of when the various books are taking place; i guess it makes sense that this is all pre-AvX. Anyway, we'll figure that out later. I am amazed (and a little annoyed) at the degree to which we're doing a Judge Dredd homage? parody? here, but i am enjoying this book. I will concede, however, that while *i* like this story, it is very densely plotted, with a large cast of characters, references back to previous arcs and even other books (Red Hulk) written by Parker. So i guess i should just shut up regarding my frequent complaints (which weren't relevant this time anyway) about PAD's X-Factor. But it's only here that you can get Troll hacking off a bird-mutant's wing and Man-Thing saying, "You not touch Thunderbolts, Zah Zah.", plus Ghost and Hyde and just a really great cast. Regarding the art, it's not really my preferred style; just a tiny a bit more on the sketchy side than i would like. But there's a tradeoff for that. Lots of panels, lots of details (i know, sketchy but detailed; my vocabulary for describing art needs to improve), good action-flow, and i loved that panel with Moonstone doing the little ix-nay gesture when Satana accidentally referenced Cage in front of the mutants. This is a good book! And so it's being replaced with two separate Thunderbolts/Dark Avengers books, neither of which are by Parker! Dammit, i did it again!


By fnord12 | September 18, 2012, 10:31 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link



One continuity re-write i *can* get behind

Twisted Toyfare #91 - Chuck Austen objection sustained

Mephisto's appearance in that last panel - coincidence?  I don't think so! Someone's marriage got et.

By fnord12 | September 18, 2012, 10:26 PM | Comics | Comments (4)| Link



I uninstalled Adobe Reader...

...and installed Foxit instead. So much faster! And i got tired of having this argument.


By fnord12 | September 18, 2012, 4:48 PM | Comics & My stupid life | Comments (1)| Link



Hagar Chronology Project

I love this idea from the Comics Curmudgeon:

We often see the same situations over and over again in Hagar the Horrible, and as I've said before, I've come to believe that this is because events in the strip are playing out in a nonlinear narrative. Thus, every castle raid shown is really just a different moment in a single castle raid, every strip that features Hagar and Eddie in the dungeon is a different moment in the same stretch of imprisonment, etc. "Hagar and Eddie on a desert island" is another repeating trope, but I don't believe I've ever seen the rest of the crew of Hagar's ship similarly marooned with them. Still, I'm going to assume that this is again the same shipwreck, and what we're seeing here is the early days of their time as castaways, before the turn to cannibalism.


Will someone start putting the strips in chronological order, please?


By fnord12 | September 18, 2012, 11:59 AM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



Marvel NOW, now.

For some reason, The Beat has started reporting on Marvel press releases a lot more. I don't know if they've been sucked in by the Marvel NOW! promotions or they just realize it's getting them more traffic, but it's a bit of a double-edged sword for me. I don't really care about a lot of what the Beat writes about but i keep them on my feed so that i know when Paul O'Brien's monthly sales analysis comes out. Now that they're focusing on Marvel they're obviously hitting my topic of interest but at the same time i'm getting annoyed by all the promo stuff. Normally Wanyas filters all that down for me!

Anyway, the Marvel NOW announcements started off relatively clean, but now we're getting things like "Cable and X-Force" plus a separate Uncanny X-Force title that stars Storm, Spiral, and Puck?

I swear, if you're going to pick random words and characters out of a fishbowl, at least make sure there aren't any repeats. Or you really will wind up with a comic called "Force Force" (Credit to a random but very funny commenter that i can't find anymore).

I know i should shut up and wait and see and all that. I promised not to be negative. But i'm being bombarded with these press releases and i can't help but react to them.


By fnord12 | September 17, 2012, 3:57 PM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



I know this is petty...

...but this is the second time i've run across this quote and it bothered me so i might as well get it out of my system:

"We like to break the toys in a way that is responsible and makes sense" [Tom Brevoort] explained, concerning big changes in character lines.

I know he was speaking off the cuff, but when one of the top editors at Marvel mixes metaphors so freely like that, it doesn't give you confidence in their quality control.

This also somewhat dovetails with another random thought of mine. A while back we got a free Marvel calendar, and this month's picture is the promo for Jason Aaron's Wolverine and the X-Men series (here). I haven't read that series. It looks really annoying, just from the few promo images i've seen, including that one. But i was thinking how the "Wolverine as school teacher" idea is a weird evolution for the character. I know he's had Kitty Pryde and Jubilee as sidekicks on and off. But actually teaching a class full of rowdy kids; it's such a departure from the angry wildcard loner that used to be Wolverine's defining characteristic. I'm fine with character growth and evolution and this is one that makes sense. I'm just thinking how difficult it was for Marvel to put the "Spider-Man grew up and got married" genie back in the bottle and wondering if they'll ever run into a similar problem with all their other characters. General Ross is now a Hulk. Flash Thompson is Venom. Professor X is dead. All it will take is one Hulk/Spider-Man/X-Men movie for Marvel to realize they have to undo those things. Does Marvel really think that hard about breaking their toys?

To be clear, i don't want to see Marvel to start putting out Ever-Same stories like Archie or Disney that never evolve. I'm fine with Xavier dying for the, what, third time? As far as i'm concerned he's off preparing for another Z'Nox invasion. And i'd rather Marvel take the risk and evolve the characters even if it turns out to be in a way that's stupid and requires backtracking. I just hope they plan in advance how to fix their toys so we don't have Mephisto showing up to eat any more marriages.


By fnord12 | September 17, 2012, 3:12 PM | Comics | Comments (2)| Link



Avengers Arena

Considering we weren't allowed to watch Hunger Games because it was too much like Battle Royale, i'm assuming we're not allowed to read this.

All i know about Dennis Hopeless is that i didn't like his Legion of Monsters, so i'm not too concerned, although he may have gotten better and/or paired off with a better art team.


By fnord12 | September 17, 2012, 2:03 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link



Brian Hibbs vs. Variant Covers

He's blaming everybody. As much as i agree with him, i think we have to acknowledge at this point that the publishers going back to the same 100,000 readers for more and more money is the way it's got to work at this point. We're a niche market. I don't buy variant covers (or rather, i'll take a single issue with whatever cover is available; preferably one that has something to do with the story in the book), but i guess we have to thank the people that do since they're what's keeping the books (semi-)profitable.


By fnord12 | September 17, 2012, 12:42 PM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

I know i say this almost every time, but i have literally* hundreds of comics to review here, so i'm going to be quick and sloppy. And even with all this we're still going to be two weeks behind.

Captain Marvel #1-3 - I was reflexively against the name change: we've had some at least four other Captain Marvels at Marvel alone, Ms. Marvel herself has already been through three name changes, and i don't think there's anything wrong with "Ms."; it's no different than Mr. Fantastic. But on the other hand i liked the new costume (pants!) and was glad to see a female writer taking on the character. The editor notes at the end of issue #1 helped persuade me that this could be a good move. That's the politics of it. For the story itself, i enjoyed the Absorbing Man fight. I think Marvel has been a bit too "meta" regarding Ms. Marvel's status for a while now; in Bendis' Avengers, Reed's Ms. Marvel series, and now here, there's this contemplating about why Carol isn't a "bigger" super-hero than she and others think she ought to be. That seems to be more about contemplation about why the character doesn't sell better; it's weird to see it happening in-story. There's no reason that Marvel couldn't make Carol the most effective and popular super-hero in the MU if that's what they wanted her status to be. This constant belly-gazing seems like it would have opposite the intended effect; if you want her to be the Superman of the Marvel Universe, just depict her that way. Instead we're constantly hearing about what a loser she is. Hopefully that's just the launching point for this series and we won't keep revisiting it. The rest of the issues, about the alternative universe World War II ("Now with Kree!") struck me as worth a single issue but not the extended arc we seem to be getting. I'd actually not emphasize Carol's Kree nature so much, just like you wouldn't constantly do Superman stories about Krypton. But the writing is engaging and i'm happy enough with the book. Unfortunately, i really don't like the highly stylized, weird art. Especially with the iconic McGuinness covers, it's a real disappointment to open up the book and see that murk. If this series fails, that's going to be a key reason why.

Astonishing X-Men #53 - OK. At the very least it's an X-Title i can read without getting involved in the crossover stuff.

X-Men Legacy #271-727 - Sometimes a comic is just going to feature a super-hero on an alien planet encountering strange things, and that's fine. I just wish it wasn't going to take six issues or whatever to finish this. This could have been a one and done.

Daredevil annual #1 & Wolverine annual #1 - i found the FF part of this story a bit confusing, but the DD issue was a pure action issue so i thought it was fun. With Wolverine i felt like i was missing something because there seemed to be a lot of revelations going on about characters i don't remember anything about. But these were pretty cool. Fun stories, nice art. Probably better in context.

Daredevil #17 - Allred was remarkably restrained, in my opinion. This was a nice issue where i didn't mind the sentimental aspects, and it seems to be signalling that we're not really going "dark" as we feared.

Winter Soldier #9 - Decent spy adventure stuff.

X-Factor #242 - If the point of this "Breaking Points" event is to trim down the damn cast of the series, i'm all for it. We were halfway through the book before the antagonist was even named, even though the narration implied we were supposed to know him (nothing on the recap page; i did try), and then he's named Armando, which wasn't helpful. Finally, practically after it's all over, he's identified as Darwin, who i know from the First Class movie. Tom Brevoort's lecture that i linked to yesterday claimed that while they were trying to avoid the full Claremont, they were at least supposed to try to identify the characters appearing in each issue. That didn't quite happen here. Beyond that, alternate universe werewolves or whatever. I know PAD can be good - his character interactions and pacing are all great here - but i feel like he's just sort of been abandoned and no one, including his editor, is really trying to make sure he's writing an accessible story.

Avengers vs. X-Men #10 - How many issues is this thing, and was the whole plot based on the writers sitting around at a Chinese restaurant and someone noted that "Dragon & Phoenix" was on the menu?

Avengers #29 - I seem to remember half these characters being in prison, but whatever. I'm back to not liking Simonson's art nowadays.

Avenging Spider-Man #11 - This series is supposed to be about Spider-Man teaming up with his fellow Avengers, but this issue featured Aunt May, so... i guess the Avengers lineup post Marvel NOW! is going to be really weird. I'm turning into a real sap, though, because this issue really worked for me, emotionally.

Uncanny X-Men #17 - I enjoyed this quite a bit. The Avengers would probably be interested to know that the Phoenix Force is an entity that can be bargained with, though.

New Mutants #47-48 - I think this book is cancelled, so we're going out with an alternate universe story that was resolved to my satisfaction in issue #46. This is fine but i really wish they had stuck to the "tying up loose ends" remit.

Journey Into Mystery #642 - So this is going to be interesting. It seems i'm going to like the Gillen issues and dislike the Fraction issues, making it a really schizophrenic crossover. I really like Thor's treatment/protection of Kid Loki, and the politics and multiple factions involved in this plot are fun, too.

Hulk #56-57 - I really thought this would end with Rick Jones, at least, losing his gamma powers. But i guess they're sticking with it for now. This was a decent end to the series. And it was nice seeing Eaglesham drawing Alpha Flight again. Looking forward to Parker's Red She-Hulk (awkward name); hope he keeps Machine Man around.

Avengers Academy #35 - At the risk of punishing the titles i like the best by saying the least about them, i'll stick to "this was great" for time efficiency reasons. I think it's too late to keep this book running in its present form anyway.

Thunderbolts #179 - Ditto.











*Not literally.


By fnord12 | September 11, 2012, 12:33 PM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



Another reason to fear clowns

You shouldn't need me to link to it; you should just go there twice a week.


By fnord12 | September 11, 2012, 10:11 AM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



Catwoman updated

Better...?


By fnord12 | September 11, 2012, 9:39 AM | Comics | Comments (2)| Link



Tom Brevoort Lecture

On the Marvel editing style. I'm resisting the urge to dissect it because i know i'll wind up going negative, but it's worth a read.


By fnord12 | September 10, 2012, 2:29 PM | Comics | Comments (0)| Link



Well, i'm glad someone liked X-Club

Min and i really wanted to like a super-science story, but it just wasn't working for us and we dropped it halfway through. But Caleb at Every Day is Like Wednesday seems to have a better opinion, and i wish i had stuck around long enough for the squid head.

I am finding that a "wait for the trade" mentality may actually be the way to go. Individual comics today are so content free that one tends to get annoyed reading them on an issue by issue basis. I recently read a few things after the fact (Pak's Hulks, Rick Remender's Franken-Castle and Uncanny X-Force) that i enjoyed but i know very well that i wouldn't have liked them as much in real time.

I have a unique problem with trades thanks to my chronology project but i wonder how much of a factor it will really be for modern stories since 6 issues generally equals 1 complete story anyway.


By fnord12 | September 10, 2012, 11:49 AM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link



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