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SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Avengers #19 - Wait... the Vision's been up and around for a while now, in the pages of Young Avengers. I mean, for years. Is this a different Vision? They'd better destroy the Vision at the end of Children's Crusade or something. Other than that, a fun recruiting issue. Hopefully next issue we'll start seeing some forward progress, but this was good.

Avengers Academy #22 - This, on the other hand, was great. Nice characterization all around. Cyclops sure is playing up the melodrama these days, huh? No, i won't let my kids play baseball with your kids. Because of genocide, that's why!

Avengers solo #2 - I think maybe i'd better just drop this now. I'm already tired of trying to figure out Chance vs. Trace. I guess maybe now that one of them is a girl, it'll be easier. But it's really not turning out to be a good story. Not thinking much of the Academy back-up, either.

Captain America #4 - Brubaker sure writes a nice story. And Steve McNiven's art is nice, too. I liked the Falcon's "I took one out quietly -- but two more popped up to take his place" line about Hydra. And i'm enjoying the weird Jimmy Jupiter plot.

Captain America & Bucky #624 - So at least i know that this series takes place in the present with Bucky telling these stories to his sister. That said, this issue read like a Winter Soldier Saga issue that they could have given out for free. I'm not sure if we got any new information out of it, and it was barely a story. Don't know what's coming next issue but with a creative team switch it sounds like a jumping off point for me.

Thunderbolts #165 - This was great.

New Mutants #34 - It's time for the Hypno-Hustler to stop hogging the stage and let the next generation of musical super-villains take over. I guess since they're modeled after Korn or Slipknot, Diskhord is only a decade or so behind the times. I was kind of hoping for a little more of an actual plot this issue after all the Fear Itself stuff and then last issue's downtime, but this was fine.

Annihilators: Earthfall #3 - Even though this was a lot of standing around talking, i thought it was better than the previous two issues. If only the art wasn't terrible. And i'm not discussing the back-up; i don't know how you put out a Rocket Raccoon/Groot story and make everyone hate it.

Alpha Flight #6 - Hey, this is a good series! They should turn it into an ongoing! You think the Wolverine appearance was added when they still had hope for sales to pick-up? Not that i imagine Wolverine really does much for sales anymore, and it's somewhat natural for him to appear in this book, even though there's plenty going on without him at this point. It really is a good series, and they really should turn it into an ongoing, by the way.

Fantastic Four #600 - Oh boy. Well, i really wanted to like Hickman's FF, but i couldn't get into it and i dropped it a while ago. I was intrigued with the switch to Fantastic Force Future Foundation, but i held out. Then i saw the ads for issue #600. Nice super-sized jumping on point, right? They're advertising the book so they know that new readers will be checking it out, so it's a good opportunity for me to give the series another shot, and maybe go back and pick up what i skipped. So i went into this with high hopes. But this was impenetrable. I at least had read some of the previous FF issues and i had a vague idea who Black Bolt's stupid brides were and a few other things like that. I have real pity for any truly new readers. No exposition, not even a recap page, and the story flopped around like a dying fish out of water. There's absolutely no structure to it! It starts off with the Avengers and the FF facing off against a Kree space threat (i guess i'll give them a pass over the fact that Ronan's got Kree Sentries hovering over the Earth this same month over in Annihilators, but really? Can't we coordinate just a little bit?). Then it jumps into a tedious Human Torch flashback (and i do mean tedious) and then the weird Franklin Richards thing (and i see Hickman is still writing Franklin as some kind of autistic kid, whereas Valeria is still a super-genius). No resolution to anything. Just bouncing around like we ripped out the middle pages of three separate comics and stapled them together. Even if this wasn't going to be a complete story in itself (and with 100 pages, why not?), you'd think it would have at least reached a conclusion. And to top it off, they're now splitting this into two separate books? I really wanted to like this. Every review i read of this series is just glowing. I just don't get it.

By fnord12 | November 30, 2011, 11:31 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

I Am Doom! Really!

Marvel Squinkies - It's ALWAYS a Doombot

By min | November 18, 2011, 11:41 AM | Comics & Cute Things | Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Avenging Spider-Man #1 - Everybody loves a Team-Up book when it's done well, and this was at times laugh-out-loud funny ("Someone yell for some Kool-aid?") and fun throughout. It turns out i don't have a lot of books with Joe Madureira art (looks like mainly Deadpool: The Circle Chase), but i quite enjoyed it here. My only minor complains is that JJ was a little too calm and quippy in the face of crazy moleoid danger. I know he's been through a lot and he's an ornery guy, but it still felt out of character for him to be making jokes, and any Marvel "civilian" should still be pretty terrified when kidnapped by degenerate morlocks.

New Avengers #18 - I want to hate this because it's so totally a rehash of a plot that we just freaking read. I mean i just don't get it. What happened to that Ultron plot from the .1 issue? Even Ultron would be a character we've seen in Bendis' Avengers already, but we've had like 10 years of Norman Osborn. Enough already. That said, i thought this was a well written book. All the villain organization heads talking about how on paper they should be ruling the world by now but they keep failing is great, and does a lot to revitalize these organizations like AIM that have been around so long that they look like losers just because good guys always have to win. So i liked that. I thought Viper and the AIM leader were both well written with their anti-government, anti-corporate agendas (although... do they know Osborn used to run OsCorp?). And i always enjoy recruitment issues. Regarding the characters recruited, after seeing Barney Barton (Holy crap, they brought back Barney Barton? Who died in Avengers #64 in 1969? Are these people nuts?) i thought maybe all these new Dark Avengers were obscure older characters which was going to send me down another back-issue death-spiral, but it turns out the other ones i didn't know were from the recent Osborn series. So, a bullet dodged there! For now...

Resurrection Man #1-3 - Aha, Abnett & Lanning! I caught you. So this is why your quality has been declining on the Marvel books - you've been cheating on me! I've been told i'm not allowed to comment on the cheesecake art because it's "supposed to be that way" but when min caught me reading one of these issues she wanted to know why i was looking at porn. Cheesecake aside, i didn't love the art. As for the story, it's ok. It might have been better to have a more straightforward plot instead of starting right away with this meta-level demon and angel stuff. And maybe some bad guys that didn't already know Resurrection Man's powers; these didn't really feel like introductory issues to me (when he came back with stone skin powers, i actually briefly thought it was the old man busting onto the scene in his super-villain guise; a combination of bad storytelling in the art, a lack of familiarity with Resurrection Man's powers, and my poor reading comprehension). Kinda felt like i was thrown into the middle of an ongoing series. Which i can roll with, and if anything, too much exposition was provided. I dunno. I certainly wouldn't get this on my own, but if Wanyas keeps getting it i'll keep reading it.

By fnord12 | November 18, 2011, 7:37 AM | Comics | Comments (3)| Link

Occupy Wall Street gets ugly

If only we understood their demands. They keep shouting 'Die Spider-Man die! I want to eat your brain!' but what does it mean?

By fnord12 | November 16, 2011, 10:17 PM | Comics | Link

Pretty sure i'm going to turn this into a T-shirt

'Hulk, would you please stand still!'

Because it is awesome kryptonastic.

By fnord12 | November 16, 2011, 6:22 PM | Comics | Link

I killed Superman

Their downfall was advertising Kryptonite Rocks in a Marvel comic book.

Kryptonastic is my new favorite word.

Some bad people might say that spending $3.50 in 1980s dollars on rocks is dumb (We know who they are: Your parents.)

They didn't make me sign an affidavit or anything. Suuure i'm a friend of Superman.

By fnord12 | November 16, 2011, 6:16 PM | Comics | Link

Wolverine's the Best at What He Does

And what he does is show up every damn place. He's a sucker for the limelight.

Even the Marvel Squinkies know when there's too much Wolverine

Click image to embiggen

h/t to mikkim for arranging the Squinkies for me to find when i got in this morning

By min | November 16, 2011, 12:14 PM | Comics & Cute Things | Link

I know why

Paul O'Brien, in the Sales review from the previous post:

The first draft of this column noted that ALPHA FLIGHT had been upgraded to an ongoing series, so that Marvel were evidently happy with these numbers.

But according to the January solicitations, Marvel have changed their minds, and the book is ending with issue #8 after all. Since nothing particularly dramatic has happened to the sales since issue #2, it seems a reasonable inference that this is an outright U-turn and not simply a change of circumstances. A lesser company might find this sort of thing embarrassing.

Paul O'Brien doesn't know about "min's curse". She told us not to get too attached.

By fnord12 | November 10, 2011, 10:54 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

Marvel Sales


It's the DC 52 launch month, so Marvel's behind in units for once, and tied in dollars.

Also, none of the "point one" issues sold as well as the regular series, which means they all failed to bring in any new readers if that was, er, the point, and Marvel would have been better off just publishing another issue of the regular series. Shame. But i would spin this to further my pro-continuity agenda. These things were advertised as a clean jumping on point, but obviously retailers didn't think that any of their customers would be interested in reading a book if only they weren't so intimidated by ongoing storylines. If anything, some customers stayed away from these on the grounds that they wouldn't really "matter" from a continuity perspective. Therefore: more continuity!

I know that reasoning is flawed on multiple levels, but that's what i'm going with.

It's better than arguing that we need more variant covers, which is where the sales bumps really come from.

By fnord12 | November 10, 2011, 10:35 PM | Comics | Link

Marvel Timeline Project announcements

Mentioned this on the Marvel Comics Chronology homepage, but just in case anyone is lurking here...

I've made some progress on my back issue backlog, but i'm going to be traveling this week. Min will keep the main blog entertaining, but there won't be any new chronocomic entries until next Sunday at the earliest.

Also, i may have bought a few more back issues beyond what's already listed on that backlog page, and getting through them will delay me getting to 1985.

By fnord12 | November 7, 2011, 9:06 AM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Villains For Hire #.1 - I like Abnett & Lanning's space stuff and New Mutants, but something about their Heroes For Hire series wasn't working for me. But when i heard it was becoming Villains For Hire, clearly i was going to try it again. In fact, the assumption was that i was going to like it so much that i was going to have to scramble to get all the HFH issues that i skipped. But so far, i think we'll just be going forward, and tentatively at that. I'm not so intrigued by Purple Man as the evil counterpart to Misty (i would have preferred Sidewinder, actually), and i still see a lot of the things i didn't like about the series: Misty is still behind a desk, and Paladin is still... in the series. But we'll see where it goes. On paper, i should love this book. It's Marvel Team-Up x 10 with a good creative team. Some geeky comments: 1) Don't try to sell me on the idea of a more powerful Stilt-Man because s/he has "serious tech upgrades". The original was given an adamantium suit and rocket launchers at one point. It didn't help. 2) When your power is teleporting and you're facing a guy wearing body armor and holding a gun, i recommend teleporting, not lunging at him unarmed like a doofus.

Avengers Academy #21 - When i expressed hesitation about all the new students showing up, i didn't realize that one of them was Lightspeed from Power Pack (i thought she was Ultra Girl). Now that i know the truth, i'm 100% on board. Plus this issue continues to focus on the core team and does a great job with characterization. A little disappointed that we're going to be dealing with the students' future-selves again, but i have have faith.

Hulk #44 - Yeah, i don't know what happened before, but i'm really enjoying this book again. The Hulk/Machine Man interactions were great, and i'm enjoying the plot. I was kind of expecting a big-headed Rigellian as the last page reveal, so Sultan Magus was a little bit of a let down, but that's ok.

New Mutants #33 - I guess the cover is deliberately invoking the Brett Blevins period, but it's a little weird and i'm glad the interior art doesn't look like that. Inside, i appreciate that i'm getting the bullet points on Schism (or i guess Regenesis) without having to wade in to any of that stuff. This book is leaps beyond XXX For Hire (and Earthfall) in terms of characterization and basic writing and i don't know why that is, but at least this book is good. Looking forward to the team continuing their "X-Men's Loose Ends" remit next issue. But what happened in this panel?

'I need a face.'

Penciler thought thought the inker would fill in Dani's face and the computer screens. Inker thought the colorist would do it. Editor asleep at the wheel.

Fear Itself #7.1 - I told you people if i didn't read it, it didn't actually happen. And therefore Bucky never died. This was good, and i'll enjoy a Winter Soldier series (is this in addition to the upcoming Winter Soldier stories in Captain America & Bucky, or was that whole series just a stalling ruse?).

Omac #3 - Psi-Fi Man who is also giant brain-stem man. Ambient Tech. Midget in a Max Rebo keyboard ring. Omac.

He's almost a Lobot/Max Rebo hybrid.

By fnord12 | November 7, 2011, 8:16 AM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

This is not a rerun

They still coudn't think of anything funnier for Iron Man to say, though.

A month after the Pizzazz ad i posted previously was published, it ran again, with some alterations to the dialogue. It's no longer a "kids' mag" and Spidey no longer references the first issue, but most interestingly, Daredevil's dialogue has been changed. I wonder if they realized their mistake or it wasn't a mistake but someone was offended by the joke.

By fnord12 | November 6, 2011, 12:38 PM | Comics | Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Avenger Academy #20 - I cringed when i saw the Fear Itself banner. How can this still be going on? But it's really an aftermath issue, and quite good. Interesting character developments for Veil, although you know it's a dumb move because she hasn't made a good choice yet in this series. The Molecule Man's son is not going to be a good influence on her. I'm not 100% sold on the new status quo; what i liked about this book over Avengers: The Initiative was its focus on a smaller cast, which gave more room for character development. But on the other hand i liked how that book pretty much let Gage write any minor Marvel character he wanted and it was usually good, so we'll see how it goes.

New Mutants #32 - Ugh, Fear Itself never dies. Listen, this book had some good scenes for Dani and her relationship with Hela (and the crow-eating scene was great), but this really isn't a great setting for the rest of the New Mutants, which means they get to stand around the whole time commenting on how useless they are until Hela turns them into a bunch of Asgardian warriors. Oh, and i'm sure learning about X-Man's back story is enough to defeat anyone.

Annihilation: Earthfall #2 - OK, so i was wrong about the Magus not being in this, and Abnett & Lanning give it a really cool twist that kinda saved this issue. Because the majority of was a big 1970s style Misunderstanding Fight, except in the 70s it would be like 3 pages and this was the entire issue (of a four issue mini!)(even after the real bad guys show up!). And really, all Quasar had to do was fly down and say, "Cap, trust me! We're the good guys here and we could use your help!". In addition to Quasar you've got Beta Ray Bill, who the Avengers know as a good guy, and Gladiator, who Wolverine should trust at this point (he even says so in this issue). So i was pretty disappointed by that, especially since i can't say the fight had any really cool scenes (except, maybe, Wolverine stabbing right through Gladiator's shoulder, but i have mixed feelings about that). The fight not being interesting is probably a problem with the artwork. Which, i'm sorry, is atrocious. Everyone is hideous and distorted, and the story telling is weak. I can't tell from panel to panel what's going on in that fight. Seriously, what's happening here? (Sorry for the quick scan).

'Ughn! Beta Ray? Did you forget that comic books are supposed to be a sequential art?'

And we have to do something about the dialogue, as well. No way Beta Ray Bill uses phrasing like, "That not letting them kill anyone thing?". And Ronan should speak in stilted high-villain talk, etc. Instead everyone sounds the same. I do like Ikon, and Spidey was funny ("Is she your space girlfriend?").

Look, i criticize because i love. (And because all nerds ever do is gripe, i know). Presumably, bringing this book to Earth was about making it possible to have the Avengers guest-star in order to bring in more readers to a series that's been getting critical acclaim but not a lot of readers. I support that! But this issue is not putting your best foot forward in that regard. But as i said, the ending was bizarro enough that i'm looking forward to next issue.

I guess i'll comment on the Rocket/Groot/Mojo story too - there's no way i was going to like this, but am i wrong in thinking that this is just about as generic a Mojo story as you can get? Two issues in, and we're at the point where the characters are realizing that they're trapped in one of his TV shows and starting to fight their way out. I think the semi-recent X-Babies series, of all things, gave that basic plot a better twist (at least we can be relatively sure that no Star characters will show up here). The good news is that Rocket and Groot are such enjoyable characters that they have their moments despite the plot.

Avengers Solo #1 - Not the biggest Hawkeye fan, but i'm buying this on the strength of Jen Van Meter. And the writing was good - the mystery Hawkeye is investigating seems complex and unusual enough, and i liked the dialogue. And, of course, i liked seeing Millie the Model and Paste Pot Pete. But i have to say, if you're going to use dark colors for atmosphere, it might make sense to not have two guys in generic armored suits in the same scene.

As for the Avengers Academy back-up, if the goal is to promote their great ongoing series, why put it in a Hawkeye book, which i don't think will be selling much better than Academy, and why not use the book's actual, great, creative team? And if it's not to promote their book... why have a back-up feature about characters who have their own series? The story was fine, but it wasn't anything special, so i just don't get it.

Captain America & Bucky #623 - Wow, really? The Holocaust? I mean, it's always there in the background of any WWII era retcon book (sure maybe Cap by himself couldn't have stopped it, but add in the Sub-Mariner, two Human Torches, and the rest of the Invaders and you have to wonder). You could always say that the heroes just didn't know about it. Until now (as far as i know, this is the first time we've seen evidence that the Golden Age heroes knew about it, but i wouldn't be surprised if someone could point something else out. even so, there's no reason to keep bringing it up.). And then, after showing it, there's just some quick hand-waving and then they basically say one thing led to another and we just never got around to going back and stopping one of the greatest evils ever perpetuated. Oh well! Some Winter Soldier stories next issue! On a much more geeky note (and thanks, Brubaker and Andreyko for making me mix my little continuity concerns with the goddamn Holocaust), i'm getting a little annoyed by the narration device in this series. It's been several issues of narration boxes with Bucky talking to someone about his past. It's the chattiest i've ever seen him (and i've seen him written by Roy Thomas!). What is he, on a psychiatrist's couch, just rambling through old memories? When do we find out who he's talking to? Yes, i'm asking because i'll eventually have to add these books to my timeline project, but it's also just dragging on as a storytelling device.

So basically, i'm cranky this week!

By fnord12 | November 4, 2011, 9:02 AM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

Stan "The Rugged Mountain-Man" Lee

3. I've never read an issue of Pizzazz, but i bet it wasn't very good.

1. Every time i see this ad, i think, "That's not Stan Lee!".
2. I can't believe they were doing Blind Daredevil jokes back in 1978. I guess Twisted Toyfare Theater isn't all that original.

By fnord12 | November 2, 2011, 10:23 PM | Comics | Link

RU Doombot or Not?

Part III in a series. Part I. Part II.

Doombot RU Bot or Not?

It's robots all the way down with this one.

MODOK dares Dr. Doom to build a robot version of Bucky.

Most of these screenshots are from Captain America #130-132 by Lee/Colan/Ayers

Dr. Doom talks to himself because his every utterance is recorded for posterity.  Jim Shooter said so.

He then uses his mental powers to convince Baron Strucker to look for a Bucky lookalike, in order to use him to lure Captain America into a trap.

Anything to avoid looking at that giant floating head peering in my window.

Strucker scours the gyms of San Fransisco and eventually finds the Buckybot that MODOK planted.

You have to be a little suspicious of Strucker hanging around in San Fransisco gyms looking for boys.

Strucker, by the way, is walking around with a bag on his head, calling himself the Hood.

I'm sorry, sir.  I'm having trouble understanding you.  Is... is there a bag over your head, by chance?

And while we do get to see him without the hood...

He's also a believer in comfortable turtleneck sweaters, even during a fight.

...it will turn out, years later, that he's actually a robot himself, built by the Machinesmith.

These two panels are from Cap #247 by Stern/Byrne/Rubinstein

So, let's pause and reflect on what we've got so far. MODOK goads Dr. Doom to create a Buckybot, and then mentally manipulates a Baron von Struckerbot into finding it and using it against Cap. MODOK is awesome!

In the end, Dr. Doom built the robot so good that it overrides its own programming because it can't bring itself to kill Cap.

Surprising that there's no sound effect in that final panel.  I think i would add a 'ZOT!!'

So.. Doombot or not? I vote Bot. Awesome as MODOK is, i don't see Dr. Doom succumbing to peer pressure like that. Besides, everyone else is a damn robot in this story, so why not Doom?

By fnord12 | November 2, 2011, 4:05 PM | Comics | Comments (4)| Link

Japan's Making Their Own Super-Villains

Gaining super powers through science accidents and exposure to radioactivity is a time honored tradition in the comic universe.

Japan has been known to use it to make giant, rampaging monsters (that's right. that's a godzilla wiki). Done with the animal testing, it's now time for them to try it out on humans.

Yasuhiro Sonoda, an MP in the governing Democratic party of Japan (DPJ), was visibly nervous as his lips met a glass of water collected from inside two reactor buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The 44-year-old had been cajoled into making the gesture by journalists who repeatedly asked him to substantiate government claims that decontamination efforts at the plant were progressing.

I mean, sure, he could turn out to be a superhero instead but my money's on villain. If he becomes hideous, he'll blame the journalist for coming up with the idea and then the government for not protecting him against these types of journalists. If he isn't hideous, but just powerful, he's totally going to feel that now he has these fantastic powers, he's going to be opposite of that weenie he used to be, the weenie who got bullied into drinking radioactive water. Clearly.

By min | November 1, 2011, 11:22 AM | Comics & Godzilla & Science | Link

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