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SuperMegaSpeed Reviews (Vacation Mode)

Keeping this as brief as possible since i'm not really here.

Journey Into Mystery #647 - Drop. Awful.

Cable and X-Force #2 - Drop. Nothing's happening.

Captain Marvel #8 - Drop. Better than the previous arc but i don't have hope for it once Monica Rambeau is gone.

Avengers Arena #2 - Keeping due to the "event" factor. Decent job with the new mostly disposable characters too. Odd that i like this more than Cable but maybe because Hopeless was forced to establish the premise in the first issue.

FF #2 - Keeping for now. Enjoying the quirk but still not sure about it.

Avengers #2 - Keeping for now. Some interesting ideas in here but really a boring read.

All New X-Men #4 - Keeping for now. Can't imagine wanting to keep reading after the first "arc", though.

Avenging Spider-Man #15.1 - Keep. I like Yost; will enjoy Doc Ock Spidey team-up.

X-Factor #249 - Contractually obligated to keep. It's fine, though.

Daredevil #21 - This is good.

Indestructible Hulk #2 - Also good (if you accept the "Banner and Stark (and Richards) are insanely super-genius intellects but never make the world any better" concept, but that's not Mark Waid's fault).

Thunderbolts #2 - This is good.

While i'm in a semi-purging mode, let's also drop Dark Avengers before i get too caught up in a 6 issue alternate universe story.

By fnord12 | December 29, 2012, 1:58 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

Holiday Shutdown

Doombot or Not?  Clearly not!

For the next two weeks, min and i are on our annual staycation/hibernation/g'waydontbotherusation. Barring pictures of things that min has baked, expect no updates here and sporadic progress on the Timeline site.

Happy holidays!

By fnord12 | December 21, 2012, 3:11 PM | Comics & My stupid life | Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Winter Soldier #13 - I've been griping about Guice, but i thought that was a well executed fight sequence at the beginning of this issue. Not necessarily that all of the art's storyelling problems were solved. But the fight actually made sense, there was some tactics involved, and was more than just "two guys pose, one guy falls down". But then, ummm, they bring Bucky in and "hours later" he's walking free after nine hundred issues of him being a brainwashed killer? After the same thing happened to Black Widow and then she turned out to still be brainwashed? Ah well, with only one issue left and no sign of anything reaching conclusion, i guess they have to speed things along.

Iron Man #4 - Ok, we're now at the point where Gillen is definitely making fun of Land, and that's hilarious, but i don't know if i can handle instant self-satirization. And let's face it, Gillen may be making fun of Land in the script, but he's just enabling him in the plot. Two issues ago Iron Man got to fight a group of people in identical iron suits, ideal for cutting and pasting. And now Iron Man's fighting a group of identical zombie-girls, ideal for tracing from porno stills and cutting and pasting. The scene after Iron Man shot off their heads was so bad. Eraser tool! I also hope that the ending where Stark realizes that he's not been thinking about things clearly is a turning point. Between developing a surly AI and not realizing (?) that the final zombie-girl is pregnant with a demon baby, he's clearly not making good choices in this series so far.

Avengers Assemble #10 - I wanted to like this series, but DeConnick had Tony Stark incorrectly use the phrase "begs the question" so i couldn't. And that was before they thought giving Bruce Banner infected crackers after the infected water he drink gave him a tummy ache was a good idea. Who does this? Who shows up in an outpost full of dead people and starts eating stuff they find laying around? And when did Thor turn into a surly jerk throwing out "your momma" insults? And also an idiot? When someone in pain says "Hell-- Hell--", he assumes they are saying "Hela"? Not "help"? But of course, it was actually "helicarrier" because this comic obviously takes place in the Movie universe where the SHIELD helicarrier has a cage for the Hulk.

Dark Avengers #184 - From one alternate dimension to another. This one's a bit silly with Strangetown and Yancyland and whatever. It's well written and at least it features some real Marvel U characters but i really hope this series didn't survive just to become Exiles.

By fnord12 | December 20, 2012, 11:08 AM | Comics | Link

What Would the Phoenix Five Do?

What does it say about me that i'm reading an article about using technology to manipulate the environment in an attempt to slow climate change, and i compare it to what happened when Cyclops and Co. got the Phoenix Force and started remaking the world?

Carlson says geo-engineering comes with obvious international legal implications because no one country can implement its own geo-engineering plan without causing weather or climate changes in other countries. There's also the law of unintended consequences, because while many geo-engineering concepts have proved hopeful in the lab, nobody knows what will happen when actually put into practice.

Oh, pshaw. Was the Sub-Mariner worried about consequences when he buried Wakanda in a tidal wave?

So, here's my problem with Professor Carlson's idea:

As a model for his oversight body, Carlson suggests the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Like the IMF, his proposed organization would give all countries a place during discussions, but decisions would be made by a relatively small group of directors, each of which has a weighted vote that's based on their country's greenhouse gas production. That is, countries that produce more greenhouse gases will spend more money to combat global climate change, and so will have more votes.

Do you see the conflict of interest here? The countries producing the most greenhouse gases get the most votes and are expected to pay more. But it's more than likely that they would vote against any climate change controlling measures because they wouldn't want to have to foot the bill.

The climate talks in Doha failed and the Kyoto protocol failed because big nations didn't want to put restrictions on their ability to pollute freely. I think those countries who are the most vulnerable to climate change should get the most votes. So, everyone on an island, the Inuits, Greenland, and pretty much all of Africa get to decide what is done since they're the ones who get screwed first when shit starts melting and rain stops falling.

By min | December 20, 2012, 10:58 AM | Comics & Science | Link

Reversing Marvel's Sliding Timescale

Judging from my RSS feed, most blogs are in end of the year shutdown mode, and i'm about to join them. But i've got something i've been hanging on to, and now's a good time.

This was a post i submitted to Nathan Adler's How Would You Fix...? site around the same time he published my fix for Mr. Fantastic's intelligence. This one didn't really fit the theme of the site (or maybe Nathan just thought it sucked) so it didn't get posted, but hey, i get to decide what gets posted here, so here it is.

(By the way, this idea of mine doesn't affect my Marvel Timeline project in any way. I don't operate under the theory that this fix is in affect, and generally speaking i don't really let real world events affect my placement in any way. It's more about relative ordering of events over there and i don't worry about the sliding timescale.)

So here we go:

Let's start with a review of the problem. Peter Parker was in high school in Amazing Fantasy #15, which came out in 1962. That would make him around 65 years old today, if he aged in real time. And unlike, say, Charlie Brown, Marvel characters do participate in a universe that isn't stuck in time. Characters do grow, evolve, and age (sometimes!).

But while Marvel characters may age, they're not aging at the same rate as their readers are. The typical comic doesn't depict a long period of time. Sometimes a comic takes place over a span of hours. Sometimes a few days. On rare occasions longer. Hell, a year's worth of Bendis comics might take place over a period of 15 minutes. But we could very conservatively estimate that the average comic depicts a week of activity. So with 12 issues a year, for the past 60 years, you're looking at about 720 weeks, or ~14 years of activity. If Peter was 15 in 1962, he's 29 now. And you can play with those numbers a bit if you think that's too old.

So that by itself isn't a problem. Marvel addresses it by using what they call a sliding timescale. Fantastic Four #1 always takes place a set number of years ago. The number has changed a few times. I think they were using 6 years back in the year 2000. I think now it's 13 years. The exact number doesn't matter. I'll assume going forward that Marvel is saying that the year 2000 is when the FF went up in their rocket (2013-13 = 2000). So everything from FF #1 to today takes place in the period from 2000 - 2013. That's a lot of stuff, but as I note above, it's not quite as bad as it seems. A year's worth of comics depicts 12 weeks worth of activity, leaving plenty of time for rest and their civilian life and stopping mundane crimes and charity events and whatever else they do that isn't worth seeing in the comics.

So, that basically works, unless you actually go back and read the old comics. Then you discover what we chronologists (that's a fancy word for "comic book nerds") call "temporal references". The Thing and the Human Torch met the Beatles in Strange Tales #130. Henry Kissinger signed a non-aggression pact with Dr. Doom in Super-Villain Team-Up #6. Obviously, if the Fantastic Four didn't launch their rocket until 2000, those events couldn't have happened. So we're supposed to gloss over things like that or replace them with more modern references. It was really the Strokes, not the Beatles. Condoleezza Rice, not Kissinger. Obviously those scenes lose a lot of their impact - the Beatles were HUGE in 1965; there is no band in 2000 that can match the wow factor of the Beatles appearing in a comic. But it's... feasible, I guess.

Much more difficult is when a "temporal" event is integral to a character's development or origin. What's so special about the Fantastic Four launching a rocket into space in 2000? In the early 60s, the United States was locked into a space race with the Soviet Union, so it made sense (sort of) for Reed Richards to rush a group of non-scientists into an experimental rocket. In order to make the launch in 2000 seem important, the origin story has been revised and revised to the point where I'm not even sure of the wheres and whys of it any more.

Similarly, many characters' origins are tied to real world events. The Black Widow was a Soviet spy. Magneto is a Holocaust survivor, an integral part of his (revised) characterization. The Punisher was psychologically scarred in Vietnam. Solutions have been offered for these problems (Black Widow? Biologically enhanced. Magneto? De-aged by a hyper-evolved mutant and the re-aged to his prime by a space alien. Punisher? It wasn't Vietnam, just an unnamed military action in Southeast Asia. Professor X? Cloned body. Nick Fury? Infinity Formula. Sharon Carter? Oh, she's Peggy Carter's niece, not her sister. Etc, etc.), but keeping track of why each of these characters is as young as they are strains credulity. We don't want to use up all of our suspension of disbelief on stuff like this; we've got radioactive spiders and gamma-irradiated monsters to believe in.

I'm not ready to get to my solution yet, though. First I want to talk about a different problem.

The Marvel Universe has always been successful for being a "world outside your window". Even with all the crazy people flying around with super-powers, New York City is still New York City and regular people act like regular people. Which is very cool. But after reading comics for a while, you start asking, "How come Reed Richards doesn't release some of this incredible technology he's created to the public?" "In a world where Tony Stark can create solar powered battle armor, why do regular people still have to worry about oil prices?" Marvel, understandably, doesn't want to go there because pretty soon they're going to be putting out straight-up science fiction and the "world outside your window" is gone for good. But maintaining the status quo just makes all of Marvel's super-scientists look like jerks.

So what's the solution? Put it together with the other problem and you find an answer.

It is now 1975 in the Marvel Universe.

That's right; we're sticking with the idea that it's only been 13 years since Fantastic Four #1 in the comics. But instead of having a sliding timescale starting from today and going backwards, we'll start at the beginning (1962, or actually late 1961) and go forward. It's only been 13 years. But the proliferation of super-science technology makes their world in 1975 as advanced as ours is in 2013. The internet! Super-computer cell phones! Hybrid cars! Satellite-controlled drone planes. All available decades earlier thanks to the efforts of Marvel's super-scientists.

Not only that, but advances in technology and communication have accelerated real world events, too. It was possible to put out the first Star Wars movie decades earlier. That caused the cultural shift in blockbuster movie making that much earlier. Advances in communication accelerate trends. Protestors organizing on the internet and/or the availability of advanced weaponry ended the Vietnam War sooner, accelerated the start and end of the first Gulf War, etc., etc. Maybe presidential term limits were decreased thanks to the democratization of the internet and other reforms. Everything that happened in real life still happened, but it happened sooner.

(The only thing I can't solve is the fact that the denizens of the Marvel Universe seem to celebrate Christmas every 12 weeks.)

Crazy? Ridiculous? Of course. But it's crazy in a way that preserves the origins and early stories of all the Marvel characters. And it has absolutely zero impact on the casual reader, who can still pick up any book and enjoy the "world outside your window", not realizing they're looking into the past. And when they finally start asking how come Dum Dum Dugan is still around, we don't have to go reaching for the Infinity Formula again.

By fnord12 | December 19, 2012, 11:16 AM | Comics | Comments (3)| Link

Bryan Hitch interview

Some snark to be read between the lines.

Stylistically, if we're comparing Mark [Millar]'s writing on "Ultimates" with [Bendis]'s on "Ultron," both have very different leanings on the two very different projects. Mark likes, where possible, to show rather than tell whereas on "Ultron," Bendy was choosing a more dialogue-structured narrative, at least on the issues I drew. That can be a little trickier for an artist. If you have twelve speaking characters in the same location for 30 or 40 pages, then obviously no writer is going to consider the physical location of each one in how he or she writes the dialogue.


I know min isn't a bit Hitch fan, but i've always felt it was a waste to have him toiling away in the Ultimate universe all this time.

By fnord12 | December 17, 2012, 3:37 PM | Comics | Link

Marvel Pirate says ____?

So these AR thingies. I haven't tried them yet. From what i've read about them so far, i think they are mainly like videos of assistant editors ad libbing or something. But i'm noticing them showing up in places where in the old days one might expect to see footnotes. So i'm wondering if i'm missing out. I of course am a big advocate of footnotes, and this is also kind of a lame ass version of what i had suggested in my brilliant paradigm shift post. So i probably ought to be supporting it.

But even after the effort involved in finding the right app and downloading it, i'm not sure how i feel about sitting there and waiting for my sometimes-3G phone to choke out a video while i'm in the middle of a comic. I guess i'm supposed to go back and go through the book a second time after i've read it. I don't have time for that!

But one day, i'd like to imagine that i will go through all these books again. Whether as part of my timeline project or just because i want to re-read something. And we all know about linkrot. I don't think anyone expects that these AR thingies will be active a year or so from now. So i'd rather just have the footnote, thanks.

By fnord12 | December 13, 2012, 10:49 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews - surprise extension

We got a special delivery today and were told we'd better read these and form an opinion right quick, because some of them are coming out again next week. So here goes. For once, i'm actually topical!

FF #1 - I've always been on the fence about Allred but either he's gotten better or i've learned what to expect or both, but i really enjoyed his crazy style here. Also, i've always liked the Future Foundation concept; i mean, it's got Gee Power, Artie, Leech, a Kid Wizard, Moleoids, and an intelligent Dragon Man! Why wouldn't i like it? Because Hickman. I haven't really liked Fraction either, but "concept + Allred" seems to be a winning formula so far. I have to say, though: i've been wondering for months (feels like years) about that lady in the Thing exo-skeleton on the cover, and this issue did not deliver on that at all.

Avengers Arena #1 - This book is cheap on many levels. The death of a character that we only have an investment in thanks to a different writer on a different title. The plot stolen outright from Battle Royale (Arcade's acknowledgement of same doesn't make it ok). The fact that half of these characters are new legacy characters that just scream canon fodder. But i thought it was done well enough so far. Min thinks it's all a virtual reality thing and everyone wakes up at the end having learned that they can't trust each other. That would be fine. It'll also be ok if the characters are really dead. What will annoy me is if they really are dead and Marvel resurrects them a year from now in another book by another writer. It's another case of "breaking the toys responsibly". But i think i'll probably stick with this. I mean, it's basically Secret Wars ("Slay your enemies..."), right?

Uncanny Cable and his Mighty X-Force NOW! #1 - One thing Hopeless did in both this and Arena was start off the book with a scene in the future and then jump back some period of time, but never make it all the way back to where we started. That's pure "writing for the trade" mentality and it's pretty annoying when reading single issues. I want to like this book. So far it's a "gathering of the team" plot but we don't know what for, and we didn't even complete the gathering before we got interrupted by Cable's vision coming true. But from the little i have to go on, i guess i'll stick with this for at least one more issue. But if the pacing stays at this level it'll probably get dropped soon enough.

I did read a Legion of Monsters trade by Hopeless not long ago and i thought it was pretty bad, but i really think a lot of that was due to the art (by Juan Doe). The writing in these books was ok. Arena at least fully set up the premise (granted, via some serious Arcade monologuing).

So i guess we'll stick with all three books...

Oh, one thing that kept tricking me. I guess i'm kinda dumb. But every new scene in FF had a little 4 symbol at the top of the page. It's not in the style of the Fantastic Four logo, in my defense. And so the first time i saw it, i flipped back to see if i missed #1-3. Der. And then in Cable, there was a narration title after the flash-forward scene. It had an X symbol and then said "Days Earlier". And i'm like, "X Days Earlier?!? What am i, supposed to guess?"

By fnord12 | December 13, 2012, 10:23 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Avengers #1 - This was sort of a middling affair. Not bad. I thought the intro was a bit pretentious. The dialogue bland. But otherwise, fine and we'll see where it goes. I don't know how the idea of recruiting other Avengers to help out when the Movie Avengers are in trouble is some great innovation, but that's the post-movie world we live in.

Journey Into Mystery #646 - There's some sort of a recurring problem that I see where a writer begins on a series and immediately dives into, like, breaking the character down into some state of disrepair, i guess with the intention of showing us how they work under distressing situations and then building them back up. But it doesn't work. Look, we probably have about six issues worth of Sif stories coming to us before this book is cancelled. And we've really only seen Sif as a background character in Thor. So how about just six issues of Sif kicking ass and us getting to know her. Doctor Octopus finds a Norn Stone so it's Sif vs. the Sinister Six, or something. Then if that sells maybe we can do a character arc where she gets depressed and decides she needs to become a bloodthirsty monster and then realizes that's not going to work out for her. I'll also say that this story didn't seem structured very well. We had a nice rescue scene in the beginning and then she goes to visit Volstagg's family and the next thing we know she's all miserable and doing these desperation things. And dialogue that has a string of rune symbols interspersed with "blah blah"? What's going on here? If Sif's not into this, why is she doing it? I almost feel like i could ask the same about Immonen.

Thunderbolts #1 - Is that really Mercy? I thought this was pretty good, but it's Dillon art coupled with a "building of the team" plot so i guess i shouldn't be too surprised that i liked it. Seems like this will be fun, although i'm a bit surprised about General Ross lack of concern about killing civilians (even mob goons have rights, that's why Punisher is a quasi-bad guy that the Avengers are currently hunting down in another book).

Iron Man #3 - I was so sure that the lady with tendrils coming out of her head on the cover was Bad Guy Lady again, but i was happy to be wrong. Other than the cut & paste heads for Pepper and Tony, and the fact that Firebrand was just literally a naked lady that Land left for the colorist to sort out, the art seemed... not as bad? I am assuming that my knowledge of Vibro is out of date and he's supposed to look like a normal guy nowadays. The story was fine, too, but we all know it's a waste of Gillen.

Punisher War Zone #2 - This was ok, but you'd almost think that the Avengers would be ok with driving the Punisher out of the US. They've got enough going on, they made an effort to catch this guy, and he fled the country. Mark that down as a temporary win. I've seen super-heroes let more legitimate villains flee the scene. But again, this was fine.

The Awesome Machine Man and maybe sometimes a little about Red She-Hulk #60 - Now that they've updated the title to reflect reality, i have to admit i'm enjoying the book a little more. But it really does look like i'm going to have to get the rest of Hickman's SHIELD run; it's clearly not going away as much as (from the first trade i read) i'd like it to. The ending of this issue is an interesting development; for those who don't know, the (valid) complaint is that when a boy-person becomes a Hulk he becomes a big muscular monster, but when a girl-person becomes a Hulk she becomes super-sexy. And i know Parker is aware of that. So now that Parker has turned Betty into a true Hulk, what are his plans? Explain an in-story reason for her eventual reversal (the real reason being that Marvel thinks their audience is entirely composed of boy-persons who don't know how to find actual porn)? Keep her that way? Doesn't seem like that would be allowed.

Avenging Spider-Man #15 - This was fun. But were they telling me that Devil Dinosaur is girl? Or was Demon Dinosaur his girlfriend? And will there really be baby DDs now?

X-Factor #247-248 - "Multiple Man fights the ghost of General Lee in Las Vegas" tells me that Peter David wants to write a Deadpool comic, and i'd be more than ok with that. #248 was good, and seems like it's building towards something. Everyone will note that this book is floating towards the bottom of my read pile (ordered from lowest to highest anticipation, so that i end on a positive note), although i think the focus on Pip has something to do with that.

All New X-Men #3 And here we are at the very bottom of the pile but i'm questioning that placement. I don't know why we're adding something about Cyclops & Magneto's powers going haywire. It seems like a distraction and Bendis can't handle distractions. Keep him focused, editors! We wanted this series to be about the 1960s X-Men reacting to the state of mutant affairs in modern times. At the very least we'd like them to actually appear in the book. But we'll see where all that goes. That's not the real problem with this issue. The problem is a standard Bendis problem, but it's really exaggerated here: That was the White Queen? HAHAHAHAHA! "I appreciate the bust-out, fellas... but I'll see you in another life." Man, the Phoenix Force really affected her, huh? I kind of picture Bendis playing with a bunch of action figures but not even changing his voice when he makes the different figures talk. Well, i liked the first two issues so hopefully this was just a blip.

By fnord12 | December 13, 2012, 5:41 PM | Comics | Comments (4)| Link

Hulk's Butt Hurts

In Hulk #426, the madder Hulk gets, the weaker Hulk gets.

Art by Liam Sharp and Robin Riggs.

We've all been there.

By fnord12 | December 12, 2012, 7:18 AM | Comics | Link

Rodney Needs Love gets his own book

Drawn by Mike Ploog.

Click for Goliath size slightly larger size

I don't know why they call him Goliath. He's clearly Rodney.

By fnord12 | December 8, 2012, 1:01 PM | Boooooks & Comics | Comments (1)| Link

With great power comes great slack

Since the Mephistoboot, i've been getting my Spider-Man fix from the newspaper strip* (where the reboot was only a Dallas-style dream) via the Comics Curmudgeon.

It takes a little adjusting, though, because the Spidey of the Newspaperverse mainly sits around shouting crankily at the television.

It's pretty awesome, really.

*And Avengers, and New Avengers, and Avenging Spider-Man

By fnord12 | December 6, 2012, 11:42 AM | Comics | Link

I am Iron Land!

Tony Stark, aren't you supposed to be getting back your Extremis?

Of course! Goodbye!


Pepper, did you dye your hair?

I'm not Pepper, you fool! I'm Bad Guy Lady! Don't you see the weird tendrils coming out of my hair? It means i'm a different person!

Um, ok, i guess. So who do i have to fight?


Take that!

Take what?

I just punched you.

How is anyone supposed to know that?

I just said so in the dialogue. Next?


Oh brother.

By fnord12 | December 5, 2012, 3:35 PM | Comics | Comments (1)| Link

SuperMegaSpeed Reviews

Astonishing X-Men #56 - One of the more annoying things about decompressed storylines is that you often wind up with an entire issue like this devoted to people standing around after all the action is over, just talking about what already happened. It's not a fun standalone read. We started reading this series to see how Northstar's wedding and relationship was being handled, and it's been fine for that (although Kyle's a little bland) but the plot has been really weak and i'm happy to have reached a jumping off point. All this nonsense about Karma's family was just not interesting.

Astonishing X-Men annual #1 - Poor Gage gets stuck writing another downtime talky one shot. I also feel like this is ground that was covered for Kyle already; if we keep dwelling on whether or not he, as a non-powered civilian, should have married Northstar, he's going to start looking really indecisive, almost unstable. As for the reprint of Northstar's "coming out" issue, all i have to say is that anyone who hates modern comics needs to look at that to realize how much things have improved. Comics from the 80s were awesome! But comics from the 90s sucked! And comics in 2000+ have been... better.

Captain Marvel #7 - Yeah, Monica Rambeau! The real Captain Marvel! Nice guest star for this series' second arc, and i thought it was written well. The art's a murky mess but i guess that works for mostly underwater scenes. So far i liked this a lot better than the first arc so maybe i'll stick around a little longer. And what's with the re-emergence of Frank Gianelli? Just a way to prove that we did our homework?

Uncanny Avengers #2 - You can't complain too much about a comic that features Honest John, the Living Propaganda. When i read Remender's Uncanny X-Force in trade form, i found myself saying "I like this, but i wouldn't have liked it in single issue format", because it was too drawn out and uneventful, but still had a lot of cool ideas and fun fights. Same here, basically, except i am getting the single issues. So i'm tryyyyyyyying to be patient.

All-New X-Men<#2 - I was definitely suffering Bendis-fatigue on the Avengers books (more on that soon) and wary of the potential for continuity errors with this series, but so far i'm enjoying this. Sure, it's slow and talky, but that doesn't make it bad. The Bendis dialogue tics are noticeable but, i'd argue, mostly under control. And the premise of seeing the young X-Men react to the good and bad of modern days is fun and working well. Paul O'Brien has noted some continuity problems already, and suggests that maybe the team really just comes from an alternate reality timeline, which i am very open to for a variety of reasons. But, can anyone tell me who the lady on the far right is on the cover?

Iron Man #2 - Ugh. Look, Gillen is doing the best he can here, but words on their own can only do so much. This is supposed to be a comic book.

Avengers #34 & New Avengers #34 - So goodbye to Bendis. I stand by my past statements that his run, flawed though it has been, is one of the best runs of Avengers. A lot of the problems people have with this run are really more about the state of the whole industry at this point: the decompression, the lack of emphasis on actual super-fights, the snark, the event-heavy focus, the disregard for continuity. And i am completely sympathetic to that, as seen in my other reviews. But at the same time, i think Bendis, while firmly in (or perhaps, spearheading) the modern style, did it well and gave us a lot of interesting ideas and concepts and plots. Sometimes not executed well. Good ideas, fun dialogue, decent adventures. Of all of Marvel's "top" writers (Aaron, Fraction, Hickman), he's the only one i can really read, and unlike, say, Millar, his characters do actually have some depth. I know this isn't working very well as a defense of Bendis! But compare to past Avengers runs: Bob Harras, Geoff Johns, Chuck Austen! Busiek's run was decent but also flawed and a little too "safe", and you have similarly flawed runs by Byrne and Simonson before getting back to the really truly good Roger Stern run. My feeling is the series has really been a mess since Stern left and Bendis is the guy that really turned it around. And i like that he gave a lot of prominence to characters like Luke Cage and Spider-Woman, and he made the inclusion of characters like Spider-Man and Wolverine believable. I always looked forward to his books. If the characters were sitting around eating and joking with each other for half the issue, i still enjoyed it; sometimes moreseo than the adventure parts. Anyway, these final arcs were clearly in "unbreaking the toys" mode; bringing back Janet and restoring Dr. Strange... i was half expecting Jack of Hearts to pop back up. The Jam pages didn't work very well in either book and even the fact that they thought it was a good idea exemplifies the problem with illustrating super-fights nowadays, but i understand the impulse. Can't wait to hear the x-fans start screaming now.

Indestructible Hulk #1 - Nice premise, nicely written. Whatever magic Waid was using on Daredevil he's bringing it here too. I like that even using the Mad Thinker as something of a throwaway villain, Waid still made him a viable threat. As for Yu's art... i don't know if it's the different colorist or just Yu evolving or what, but holy crap, i didn't hate it! No one looked like a damn zombie. Looking forward to more of this.

Daredevil #20 - And here's Waid again doing fun stuff. I guess it's kind of insensitive to call it fun when we're talking about sex-slavery and similar things but at the same time it's a storyline involving the Spot so what do you want from me? It's a good book.

Dark Avengers #183 - Well, like Astonishing X-Men this is basically a wrap-up issue but unlike that book i enjoyed it. I'm glad Parker gets to keep going but i'll miss a lot of these characters, especially Ghost and this incarnation of Mr. Hyde. Of course, it's Parker that made me like them so i'm sure the book will continue to be good. Where did we end up with the Juggernaut, though? Last issue i was happy to see him get his powers back, and then this issue they said he lost them again and then at the end he says he still has them but doesn't know for how long.

By fnord12 | December 5, 2012, 2:03 PM | Comics | Link

Marvel Sales


A couple random observations:

1) I'm amazed that retailers ordered some 70,000 copies of Marvel's promo book Marvel Now: Point One. I wonder how that translated into reader sales. I can't imagine many readers deliberately paying for a book full of ads.

2) I noticed that Ultimate Spider-Man had a Point One issue. I bring this up because the whole, er, point of the Ultimate line was to provide accessible stories unburdened by continuity. I know that they lost sight of that remit almost immediately, but you'd think deciding to put out a Point One issue might have brought it home for them. Time to cancel that line, people. Feel free to send Miles Morales over to the real universe first.

By fnord12 | December 4, 2012, 12:27 PM | Comics | Link

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