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Strippers and Robots

Pre-teen girls react to DC's reboot. Good stuff.

Obviously i don't have any direct skin in the DC reboot game, but on the other hand i want it to succeed for the sake of the industry. I misinterpreted the intent when it was first announced, thinking the whole point was to bring in younger readers, but it's actually apparently about attracting teenage boys who fell through a time warp from 1993. Coincidentally, i pointed to the Teen Titans cartoon as a better way to go, at least for the clean accessible look, and the first girl in the article above is also looking at her favorite character Starfire, who she knows from the cartoon, and wondering why she's now running around in a tiny bikini.

The Beat says "it is not practical for DC to have rebooted its entire line in a form that 7-year-olds could read". I'm surprised by that comment. I think for most of super-hero comics' history they were written in a way that 7-year-olds could read them, even if they were also written in a way that older readers could enjoy (at least starting in the 1960s). I'm not necessarily saying it has to be that way. I've enjoyed the fact that comics have gotten more mature in recent decades (and i'm not talking about characters running around in tiny bikinis), and if kids aren't going to read comics anyway, you could argue, why not? But to say it's not practical is kind of odd. It's a question of who DC wants to target. They could have tried to expand back to the young kid market. Instead (snark aside), they seem to be targeting the slightly older teenage boy market. And wherever they tried to expand, it would still be a balancing act between attracting new readers and keeping the existing fanbase. I suspect the fanbase would be more tolerant of an approach that was similar to the Marvel Adventures line than the Image Returns! style that DC chose (and i'm calling it that based on what i've seen online; i've read only two of the reboot books, and one was Omac). But whatever.

Anyway, read the article for some cute observations.

By fnord12 | September 28, 2011, 11:11 AM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Hulk #41 - Not a lot to say about this, but i enjoyed it. Omegex rules, it all being part of a little scheme by the Watcher was a nice twist, and i guess i've finally been won over regarding Zero/One.

Captain America Corps #4 - Who doesn't enjoy reading Roger Stern write half the Marvel Universe? I know this book is selling in the single digits, but maybe after this mini they'll move Stern up to a regular title. Preferably with a better artist. I don't know if he'd consider it regressing, but i'd love to see him on an Avengers title. There's plenty to go around.

Avengers: The Children's Crusade #7 - I guess i'm only now realizing why this book doesn't have "Young Avengers" in the title. They're basically spectators in this series. Still, it's well written (except maybe Cyclops is coming off a bit too angry and unreasonable). I'm wondering what the twist will be; i'm half wondering if this really is the Scarlet Witch or just a Doombot.

Avengers #17 - Well first of all, if you're going to have a cover with Spider-Woman and Hawkeye making lovey-dovey, maybe that should, in some way, depict something going on inside the book. The whole Hawkeye/Spider-Woman/Mockingbird thing needs a lot more 'splainin', so don't go reminding me about it unless you're going to address it. As for what actually is depicted in this book, all i'll say is "dear god, why won't Fear Itself ever end?".

Captain America #3 - You'd never think a giant Captain America robot controlled by a Nazi mad scientist would be such a fun concept... ok, now that i just typed it, i realize how ridiculous that statement is. Like the Hulk, i'm enjoying this but don't have a lot to say about it. So i'll just gripe about Cap's armor again. Because seeing the scalemail-that-should-be-chainmail on Ameridroid as well as Cap just reminded me how annoying it is.

Thunderbolts #163.1 - I didn't realize this was a .1 issue until Songbird started hallucinating and suddenly we were seeing the entire history of the Thunderbolts, and i was like, "What is this, a .1 issue?" Der. It was good, but definitely treading water and not moving the main plot forward much. I can't really think of any story... movie, book, etc., where the characters are searching for clues about something and they go to the completely wrong place and find absolutely nothing, not even a hint, about what they're looking for. But the Valkyrie showing up at the end was a nice touch, the scene with Spidey was great, and in general it was a well written book. I know that the art isn't being well received, but i'm able to look past that. I really think this is my favorite book currently.

Bonus non-Marvel review:

We recently picked up Umbrella Academy #1-6 for a friend and i figured, why not read it? Well, after the first issue i was like, "Man, this is great!". An interesting set-up, a great group of little kids with cool powers, Zombie-Robot Gustave Eiffel, a dude with a gorilla body, and a talking chimp! Then starting with issue #2, it just gets really... blah. I thought the series would be flashing back and forth between when they were kids and when they were all grown up, but it's grown-ups the whole way through. And everything's just really obvious... the girl that is set up to turn on the group does, in fact, turn on the group, the ending is really anticlimactic, constant and obvious bickering between the members, and it just all feels really by the numbers once the set up is done. Phew! For a minute there i was thinking i might have to branch out and start reading more non-Marvel comics on a regular basis. I don't have time for that!

By fnord12 | September 27, 2011, 9:48 PM | Comics | Link

Why Can't They Build a Super Ginormous Comic Book Museum Someplace More Convenient to Me?

From io9.com

Danish design firm MVRDV recently won a competition to build the China Comic and Animation Museum in the city of Hangzhou. The firm shaped this trippy building like a collection of intermingling speech bubbles. The designers estimate that this project will cost €92 million (approximately $125.6 million), begin construction in 2012, and will attract visitors with its "gigantic 3D zoetrope."

I didn't understand what they meant by "intermingling speech bubbles" until i watched the video. It looks pretty kewl as a concept. Not sure how i feel about such an unstructured design, though. I always have a hard time when i'm in museums deciding what is the best way to go about seeing everything. I think i need things to be designed to move me in one direction instead of me having to decide on which section to see next. That was one of the best things about the Guggenheim. You just kept going up.

With the open path designs in this museum, i'd always feel like i might miss something important. And with comics, i'd want to see them in some sort of chronological order, which you can't obviously guarantee if you can go in just about any direction.

Still, it's a ginormous comic book museum!

By min | September 25, 2011, 12:59 AM | Comics | Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

New Avengers #16 - First of all, will Fear Itself ever end? I understand that books are going to have to tie-in, but it feels like with these Avengers titles it's been tying in forever. And i don't understand why. I'm more tolerant of the talking heads scenes than, apparently, anyone else in the world, but even i see that it's clearly water-treading and not adding anything to the story. And the sales charts show that the tie-ins do absolutely nothing for the Avengers books; presumably anyone who is reading Fear Itself is already reading the Avengers. So why not just do an issue or two of tie-ins and then back to telling actual stories? Second, i don't think there's any way to read this book other than "Bendis responds to complains on the internet". Except it's complaints that came out like 5 years ago, when the New Avengers lineup was first announced. And it's a bit of straw man argument by necessity - in the Marvel Universe people wouldn't complain that Spider-Man doesn't belong on the Avengers because he works best as an outsider/loner character, or that Spider-Man or Wolverine are already appearing in enough books already, so the complaint is turned into the clunky "Who is worthy to be an Avenger?". Regardless, i'm sympathetic to Bendis/Marvel here. After Hawkeye, Tigra, Black Widow, etc., i have no problem with Spider-Man or Wolverine being on the team. I do think that the Avengers should be the "Mightiest" heroes, but as long as you've got Thor or Iron Man (or heck, Dr. Strange) to call on, you're good. And with this approach, the Avengers books went from being way overshadowed by the X-Men to being Marvel's top seller, so i think it was a good move, and crossover issues aside, i think the stories that have been told have been good ones... Anyway, i didn't mean to turn this review into a defense of Bendis' entire run. As for what little plot there was in this issue... very sappy/sentimental. Oh and Daredevil has no business being in the Avengers.

Alpha Flight #4 - I was going to say that Alpha Flight could probably use some new villains, but i guess there's two people in that final scene with the Master that i don't know - the liquid metal guy and Georgia O'Keeffe Head. And the truth is i'm pretty ignorant of a lot of the more recent Alpha Flight stuff. Anyway, i have no problem with the Master being the main villain here. This was a "move the plot along" issue, and i enjoyed it.

Herc #7 - I think this is the only Spider-Island related story that i'll be getting because the premise just seemed really silly to me. But i've been looking forward to this issue thanks to the cover. And the inside doesn't disappoint. Hercules senses... tingling! Angst... fading... I'll also note that Pak & Van Lente write the X-Men pretty well, so maybe we could get them to take over one of the books when Herc is cancelled.

By fnord12 | September 18, 2011, 9:54 PM | Comics | Link

Continuity Coordination ROI

Paul O'Brien reviews the current Wolverine comics and makes the point that while some rather significant events seem to have occurred in one of his books (apparently Wolverine had a bunch of offspring he didn't know about, and was tricked into murdering them - but let's leave aside the fact that this idea sounds incredibly stupid and damaging to the character), they aren't referenced in the other Wolverine books or in any other (of the 80 or so) books that Wolverine appears in.

It may just be a case of it having just happened so we'll see the references in a few months. But regardless, Paul O'Brien thinks he might notice a larger trend:

That said, there's certainly a degree of parallel universe syndrome here, since the events in this storyline aren't even being referenced by Aaron himself in Schism, and I do think Marvel underestimate the value of at least acknowledging events in other titles. Rationally or not, it does contribute to the sense of a coherent world, which is pretty valuable when you're writing fantasy. (I rather suspect Marvel's attitude is that this sort of thing requires a degree of co-ordination that just isn't worth the effort, and in terms of the quality of individual stories they're probably right - particularly as these references just become quaint topical references when the stories are read in later years - but there are intangible benefits to doing it if your business is still based heavily around the first-run monthly serial.)

Obviously I have a lot of interest in the shared universe concept, so if what Paul O'Brien is observing is true, i would be sad. But i can't say i've really noticed that. It's probably because on a superficial level, there's plenty of interactivity. Marvel has brought back the mega-crossover events in a big way, so all characters are dealing with the same situations and it's therefore very interconnected from a larger perspective, even if it's actually not happening in a smaller sense. Even beyond that, Spider-Man's wearing his Fantastic Force Future Foundation outfit in Avengers, and stuff like that.

In the old days, you'd definitely have Spider-Man thinking about Aunt May's current health problems in his Avengers appearances, or whatever. I recognize that it becomes difficult to coordinate, and us nerds will scream when it results in a continuity error, which is why Marvel is now inclined to avoid it. I agree with Paul O'Brien that there's a lot of value to that type of thing, but i think that Marvel has actually found a decent middle ground. Until Event Fatigue sets in, anyway.

By fnord12 | September 15, 2011, 4:20 PM | Comics | Link

Time to cut back on the clutter?

ICv2 via The Beat:

The most disappointing aspect of this summer's comic "events" was the performance of these "tie-in" series, and when retailers talk about "event fatigue" in the comic market, it's these ancillary books that they are talking about. The action in these "side series" mirrors what is happening in the primary event book, but it usually doesn't matter much in the outcome, and fans are increasingly resistant to these miniseries that try to ride the coattails of the main event book.

Of course, a good creative team can make one of these "side series" better than the main event.

By fnord12 | September 15, 2011, 1:24 PM | Comics | Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Hulk #40 - Listen, i know i said last time that i was easing up on my Zero/One (and especially Black Fog) hate, but that didn't mean we had to stick them in the middle of my long awaited Omegex battle. Same with General Fortean. But as long as i can continually open up my Hulk comic book and see a picture of the Red Hulk punching the Watcher in the face on the recap page, i guess i'm happy. As for Omegex itself? It lived up to my expectations, which were, of course, unrealistically high. I think i have an answer about my continuity confusion though. I thought that the Planet Red Hulk story was some sort of flashback; i don't remember now how i got that impression and finding the relevant issue is currently a challenge. But in this issue, a newscast says "It's confirmed that this is the creature that interrupted global communications back in June". So i guess he showed up and then went away again, which is different than what i thought.

Man, i can't even follow a simple comic book story. What's wrong with me?

New Avengers annual #1 - So i guess Wonder Man is nuts now, too? Seems like Bendis likes to make people go nuts. And then blame the Avengers for it! In Wondy's previous appearance, i thought he had a good reason for telling the Avengers to disband. Access to secret information or at least a decent argument. But blaming the Avengers for Ultron is crazy. Henry Pym created Ultron in his capacity as a scientist, which he would have done Avengers or no Avengers. The Avenger at least have stopped Ultron a number of times. Blaming them for the Hulk? Norman Osborn? Ridiculous. Etc., etc.. So knowing he's ridiculous, why are these other guys following him? It's a motley bunch and i can't speak for all of them (Ethan Edwards is apparently another Superman pastiche). But I don't know why the new Goliath, who we last saw being relatively friendly to the heroes in the Damage Control mini, or Atlas, who, last I saw of him was a reasonable guy, would follow a clearly rage-addled Wonder Man.

All of that said, I enjoyed the big fight. I know min and Wanyas will disagree but i actually liked the art. I really liked Alias grabbing Goliath by the nose! I liked the "these guys are heroes but they're fighting us" angle. I enjoyed Victoria Hand looking everyone up on her iPad or whatever and shouting out who they were; i needed some exposition for some of these characters and that was a fine way to work it in. So yeah, i thought this was good. Looking forward to the conclusion.

Thunderbolts #163 - When Wanyas gave me my comics this week, he showed me this cover and asked "What do you think happens this issue?'. When i failed to guess "The evil Thunderbolts go back in time and fight Nazis alongside the Invaders", he put it back in the pile without comment. Frankly, "The evil Thunderbolts go back in time and fight Nazis alongside the Invaders" is all i need to say about this issue, but i'll just point out two really good character scenes as well: Luke Cage being receptive to honest feedback about his actions that led to the evil Thunderbolts escaping, and Satana being giddy about the Man-Thing's developments.

Special bonus "fnord12 reviews a DC comic" section

Omac #1 - I have to say, honestly... not Kirby enough. It's an expectations/hype problem, clearly. But every panel with a bunch of office workers standing around talking was a panel where a big blue mohawk guy wasn't fighting "Gobblers", or a Build-A-Friend wasn't pulling a laser cannon out of her mouth. I enjoyed the Brother Eye/Omac interactions but the rest of the dialogue felt really mundane and a better scripter would probably help this book a lot. I still thought it was cool and next issue promises "Things get really weird" so we should be good to go. How much more awesome would it be if this were a Marvel book, though?

By fnord12 | September 14, 2011, 4:24 PM | Comics | Comments (5)| Link

Free Market Research

Non-comic readers react to DC's new line. Interesting.

By fnord12 | September 13, 2011, 3:40 PM | Comics | Link

They Shouldn't Have Ganged Up On Him

The work squinkies got into a bit of a ruckus after i went home. Hulk just wanted to be left alone.

Squinkies Hulk smash

By min | September 9, 2011, 6:39 PM | Comics & Cute Things | Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Herc #6.1 - A great introductory/jumping-on issue, just in time for cancellation. Oh well. At least we got a great scene of Hercules attacking some Olympian Titans with an anti-tank rocket launcher.

I still think that Marvel should put Pak & Van Lente on a rotation of mini-series. Four issues of Hercules. Four issues of Werewolf By Night. Four issues of Doc Samson playing psychiatrist to the stars. Four issues of Squirrel Girl defeating cosmic level bad guys. Four issues of Spider-Woman escaping from ropes. Etc., etc. They're excellent writers with a good grasp on Marvel's history and a great sense of characterization and it would be putting them to good use without having to constantly fight the specter of cancellation. Plus Marvel would get a built in set of #1s while maintaining the copyright requirements on lesser used characters, and you never know what may become a surprise hit.

By fnord12 | September 3, 2011, 9:04 PM | Comics | Link

RU Doombot or Not: Squirrel Girl

The second in our series...

Doombot RU Bot or Not?

Squirrel Girl's recent good showing in New Avengers #15 sent me to the back issues bins for her first appearance, and since it's going to be a while before i get to 1991 in my timeline project, i took an early peek.

Art and story (but not script) is by Steve Ditko, pretty late in his career. Nonetheless, this is some crazy stuff.

First, let's make sure we understand the full extent of Squirrel Girl's powers. She's a mutant...

...with a number of unique abilities, including squirrel-like agility, claws, and the best chewing power this side of Matter Eating Lad.

But her first appearance really plays up her ability to talk to squirrels.

And for her debut, she doesn't take it easy in the villain department either. Nope, she goes right for Dr. Doom. And she trounces him!

She sends him fleeing for his life into a river.

Extra weirdly, Doom escapes by "burrowing into the mud like a clam" into the riverbed.

As Iron Man notes, it was Doom's most inglorius defeat.

So, Doombot or not? Clearly not! An awesome hero like Squirrel Girl deserves a true villain, and there's no way that Dr. Doom would cheapen that by sending a mere Doombot after her.

By fnord12 | September 3, 2011, 7:21 PM | Comics | Link

We're not that kind of blog, Booger.

Looking at my search logs, someone seems to be a little too interested in Spider-Woman.

The truth is that Spider-Woman just isn't that type of girl. In fact, you can see here exactly what turns her on.

Marvel Fun and Games

I know that some of Spider-Woman's covers may have given the wrong impression. But let's keep it civil.

By fnord12 | September 3, 2011, 7:03 PM | Comics | Link

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