Before I get into the reviews, let me just mention what is sure to be a fantastic new web comic, Lady Sabre & the Pirates of the Ineffable Aether by Greg Rucka and Rick Burchett. It’s just launched this week and so far I am pretty excited. Rucka is one of my favorite writers (and a totally cool person to boot), Burchett’s art looks lovely, and the site design is awesome. Worth checking out and supporting, so spread the word!
Avengers: Children’s Crusade #6 – Oh. Amazing. Just … completely wonderful. More comics should be this. MORE OF THIS, PLEASE, MARVEL.
Batman, Inc. #7 – I was ready to give up on the Batman, Inc. title after what I thought was a horrible arc in Argentina. Morrison lost me pretty hard with some of his writing techniques and the fact that I basically had no idea what was happening for like three issues. Then all this DC reboot stuff came up, and everyone’s all like “You have to read Batman, Inc. or the Bat books won’t make sense!” I guess I still don’t really understand how ANYTHING’S going to make sense as far as how we can keep the continuity in this title when characters are changing in so many other titles come September, but all right, whatever—I’ll bite. The book is ending soon, anyway—I’ll stay on for the ride and see what happens. So then I picked up this issue and was … absolutely glued to it. Wow. What? Where was THIS stuff hiding? I truly enjoyed this issue on so many levels. The story was meaningful, the artwork by Chris Burnham was a pleasure, the writing was clean and purposeful, and it didn’t teeter off the path or dillydally like it did in previous issues. The story is entirely self-contained in this one issue, and it’s friggin’ fantastic. I finished this and wondered why more Grant Morrison comics couldn’t be written in a similar manner. Morrison takes two characters I have never read or knew of before and creates something that feels so easy and humble. He rarely does that for me—so much of the time when I read his stories, they feel condescending or “holier-than-thou.” This one doesn’t, and it’s perfect. I enjoyed this issue a lot, and thus am now expectant of the remainder of the series to be the same. Read this. I don’t want to summarize the plot—just give it a read.
The Guild: Bladezz One-Shot – So, I’m kind of obsessed with The Guild. If you’re a gamer and have never watched this web show, do yourself a favor and check it out, because it’s awesome and hilarious. Watch it on the website. Watch it on YouTube. Netflix it. Get the DVDs off Amazon. Whatever—just do it. It’s become such a hit, in fact, that Dark Horse has taken to publishing one-shot Guild comics for each member of the Knights of Good. I’d recommend reading the short Guild miniseries that came out last year as well, as it serves as a prequel to the show and gives some more depth to the main character. It’s also super short, inexpensive, and collected in trade for your convenience. Anyway, tangent—Bladezz is the third one-shot to be produced, after Vork and Tinkerballa. It’s on par with its predecessors, if not slightly better. I have an affinity for Bladezz as a character, I think he’s pretty damn hilarious, and I found his one-shot light and funny. The artwork isn’t really my taste, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s bad, and it’s basically in line with the issues before it. So, bottom line—read Guild comics. They’ll give you +5 to Sexterity.
Wolverine/Black Cat: Claws 2 #1 – … Are you serious right now? Are you absolutely serious? Reading this, I could feel a part of my brain crack apart and die. I don’t even want to glorify it with a full review, suffice it to say Palmiotti’s writing is nothing more than fanservice and brings me to a hysterical fit of tears, and Linsner on art is eye-gouging. Don’t go near this thing. Just … don’t. It’s actually worse than the first one. If you can imagine that.
As I slowly work my way back off the cliff I was teetering over during DC’s 52 title reboot announcement (I don’t care what DC’s saying—it’s a reboot), as I read the news and solicitations and interviews, I’m torn between some bleak feelings of negativity/disenchantment/anger, and feelings of minor interest/hope/reconsideration. I ask myself—is this in fact the final straw for me as far as continuing to follow DC books? I look over these 52 new titles and there are so few, if any at all, that I can say 100% interest me or excite me. I troll over the list, and I’m really not excited. The books and characters that make me love DC—Birds of Prey, Stephanie Brown Batgirl, Classic Wonder Woman, Jeff Lemire Superboy—have either been taken away or mangled into something completely unrecognizable to me in the favor of gaining this elusive, ever-sought-after “new reader.” I still feel betrayed and heartbroken.
But then I hear about other people getting excited. I read interviews with guys like Scott Lobdell, who are so genuinely psyched about what they’re doing, and seem to have given it the thought it deserves, that I begin to wonder if maybe I should re-think my stance. Should I, at the very least, give these new books a fighting chance to grasp me? How much time/money/enthusiasm do I want to put into this, given the high potential of being let down? Do I risk that in the hope of coming across something—anything—that I’ll like? Do I need to be less picky in general? Will the only way to enjoy this be to lower my expectations—and is that even fair?
It’s so easy to be negative. It’s easy to make light of everything and turn it into a joke. It’s also easy to maybe take things too personally, although I’m not entirely convinced of that being wrong. If anything, to me, comics should be personal. Like any other work of art, it’s worthless without the effect of the personal.
Writer Jason Aaron (Scalped, Wolverine) has a column he does on Comic Book Resources where he gives advice to aspiring comics writers and people who want to break into the industry. In the latest installment, he asks:
“Have you lost your joy? Please don’t lose your joy. Presumably it was that joy, that love of comics, that got you chasing this dream in the first place. Don’t ever lose that. We need more of that. Don’t let it be eaten up by negativity. What we don’t need is more people standing in front of the new release rack on Wednesdays, complaining about every other new book that’s coming out. We’ve got that job pretty well covered. I used to write film reviews, so I know, it’s always easier to write a review of something you hate than something you like. Don’t fall into that trap. Don’t let your passion […] be defined solely by the negative. At least pretend like you still take some sort of joy from this industry. If you don’t, then ask yourself, ‘Why am I still here?’”
He kind of makes a good point, huh?
On the one hand, I want to stand my comic book moral ground and refuse to support what I think is a disrespectful way to treat a cast of characters and their fanbase; on the other hand, I don’t really know what’s going to happen here, and I’d really like to be able to shrug it off my shoulders, take it slightly less seriously, and just enjoy it.
And so I find myself at an impasse. And so I turn to you, dear readers.
Tell me what to do.
A lot going on lately (I hope everyone in the MA area was safe and sound last night during the crazy storms). I’ve desperately been trying to catch up on a pile of reading, but it’s going slowly, as Captain Couch has been wailing on me pretty hard the last couple of weeks. Our skirmishes have been truly terrible and I have some bruises to show for last night’s fight. My weapon of choice lately has been Chew—I’ve had the first three trades for a while and only recently cracked open the first one, and I LOVE it. Oh man, it’s so good. I’m halfway through volume two right now.
Who’s excited for X-Men: First Class opening this week? I want to be able to check it out some time this weekend; it looks like it has some good stuff going for it. My hopes are high. They’d better be playing it in 2D locally or I’m going to be very depressed.
Speaking of depression … how about that big ol’ DC reboot that’s coming? So much of me wants to avoid acknowledging it because I’ll probably be reduced to a blubbering mess of tears in my cereal as more information comes out this morning, but EVERYONE else is saying something—despite my avoidant tendencies, I guess it can’t be ignored. That’s right, DC is starting all over again (YET again, yet again) and changing a heck of a lot of stuff. How much/what exactly? We’re still learning; so far I hear talk of a new Hawkman book, Aquaman, Captain Atom, and some other stuff that doesn’t interest me. The most depressing info by far is the fact that Gail Simone will no longer be writing Birds of Prey. I can’t even believe that. Ouch, it hurt me just to type. DC, why can’t we leave well enough alone? I guess Gail is teaming up with Ethan van Sciver for a Firestorm book instead (comicjunkie, you lucky bastard). And I don’t even want to know what the fate of Batgirl is going to be.
Also, this news, if true, is pretty stupid. Ugh. I’m currently an awkward amalgam of rage and despair.
And yet—one thing that’s offsetting my misery is The Big Bang Theory. Friends have been hounding me for ages to watch this and I finally subbed to it on Netflix a few weeks ago. I’m currently on season three and loving it. If you’re a comic book fan, you should be watching this show. Thank you, comic shop peeps! You know who you are!
Umm… what else did I want to touch on? Oh—that NBC Wonder Woman show has been canned. I’m not particularly heartbroken. If anyone happens to find a copy of the unaired pilot somewhere, please share—I’d like to see just how much pain I’m being spared.
I’m a day late, and there’s a bunch of fun stuff this week! I’m also a week behind in picking up my sub, so I’ve got DOUBLE COMIC BOOKNESS to catch up on—amazing how easy it is to fall behind. And after I spent all that sick time catching up on books, too. Sigh. A reader’s battle never ends, does it? For those wondering, PAX East was a blast last weekend—I hope some of y’all went. I’m working on a review post, but it’s slow-coming.
Anyway. Here we go!
5 Ronin #3 – Number THREE?! What?!? When did that happen? I apparently missed the first two. What I want to know is whether or not all five of these issues are connected into one over-arching story, or if they’re all standalone. If it’s the latter, I’m probably only buying the Psylocke issue. Maybe Wolverine. We’ll see. Actually, I changed my mind—they all look interesting. Hope the writing lives up to my expectations based on the gorgeous covers.
Avengers Children’s Crusade Young Avengers #1 – I’m officially lost on what’s happening here. Why did they need to come out with another separate mini for the Children’s Crusade storyline? Why couldn’t this all be contained under one heading? It makes no sense. Also, I think they should throw the word “Avengers” in there a couple more times.
Fear Itself Book of the Skull #1 – This isn’t actually on my pull list; I just wanted to comment that it’s the official kickoff of the Fear Itself event, I guess. You all can let me know how that goes.
Uncanny X-Force #5.1 – I’m going to ignore the “Point One” initiative of ridiculousness here and just say that this book is SO GREAT. Cannot wait to get my hands on it.
Uncanny X-Men Annual #3 – Oh God, I’m sooooo behind. You know, I like to spend my time reading good X-books, like X-Men Legacy. I still can’t bring myself to work through Matt Fraction’s wretched issues that are piling up on my desk.
X-Factor #217 – Speaking of good X-books, I’ve read only a handful of issues of X-Factor over the years. I’ve always wanted to get into this title, but the backlog is too much and I have too little time to go backward into 200+ issues of story. I’m making an exception for this issue and the one before it, because … well. Who can guess? If you’ve been paying attention to the posts on here, you should know exactly why I’m interested. :-)
From last week:
Batgirl #19 – OMG I can’t wait, I LOVE THIS BOOK!
Batman, Inc. #3 – Holy lateness, Batman!
Hawkeye: Blind Spot #2 – I read the first issue of this mini, and it was pretty disappointing. I expected more from Jim McCann. Think I’ll be leaving this one on the shelf.
Sigil #1 – Writer? Mike Carey. ‘Nuff said.
Superboy #5 – Superboy and Kid Flash race!
Wonder Woman #608 – I … you know, I almost wasn’t going to include this. And realistically, I shouldn’t have, because it’s not actually on my pull list. But then I saw this solicitation for June where DC says
This is the one you’ve waited for! The year-long “Odyssey” storyline comes to an earth-shattering conclusion! Can Diana defeat the powerful forces that destroyed her entire reality? And even if she wins, she could still lose everything!
and it made me feel dirty and used, and I got a little (more) pissy. It essentially affirms everything I’ve been saying since day one of this hogwash, that it’s not really about reinventing Diana or making her into a better character; it’s about pulling the typical marketing gimmick and making it sound all-important when in fact, all they’ve done is rob us of a year’s worth of good stories. <INITIATE GEEK RAGE SEQUENCE>
X-Men Legacy #246 – Thank God for you, Mike Carey. Thank God for you.
That’s all mine; what’s on YOURS?
After a couple of months of “will they, won’t they,” David E. Kelley’s much shopped-around pitch for a Wonder Woman television series has finally been picked up by NBC. The news comes after last week’s announcement that the project was most likely dead after being turned down by many studios. Kelley, at the time, reasoned that he had not yet given up hope on the project—and behold, another pitch to NBC proved to be the right one. Deadline Hollywood has the whole story.
My own thoughts on the news? As a Wonder Woman fan, I’m a little wary. Well, I was wary to begin with—then I read this: “The project is described as a reinvention of the iconic DC comic in which Wonder Woman—aka Diana Prince—is a vigilante crime fighter in L.A. but also a successful corporate executive and a modern woman trying to balance all of the elements of her extraordinary life.”
I think I really only need one word here:
X-posted @ Nerd Caliber
Only three today; I did very little reading over the holiday break aside from working through some Fables trades, and I’m woefully behind on all the new stuff that’s come out in recent weeks. Bear with me as I try to fill some holes in my collection and get somewhat up-to-date. I hope everyone had a safe, warm, and lovely holiday.
Birds of Prey #7 – Aww, this issue broke my heart a little. This title has been consistently excellent (I usually avoid reviewing it because I would just be going “YAY THIS IS AMAZING I LOVE BIRDS OF PREY HOORAY GAIL SIMONE” every month), and #7 is no kink in the chain. The usual mix of action, humor, drama, and intrigue, this issue finds Bruce Wayne Batman (so funny that we have to distinguish which Batman we’re talking about these days) checking in on Oracle, who proceeds to take him on a tour of her new headquarters. There’s also some fuel to the “DC is killing off Oracle” rumors, but it’s not exactly what you think, and I’m interested to see if it goes where I predicted it would in Barbara simply taking on a different mantle. Best scene in the issue involves the Birds on a night out—any time Zinda’s got a beer in her hands, you can guarantee hilarity. My only peeve with this book right now is the fact that every single issue has to introduce all the characters over and over and over again: “Black Canary. Dinah Lance. Devastating sonic scream. Blah blah blah.” All right, editorial, we get it. Can we leave the new-reader-friendly intros to just the first issue of each new arc and leave them there? Thanks.
Birds of Prey #8 is due out this Wednesday; I’ll be doing my happy dance.
Young Avengers Children’s Crusade #4 (of 9) – I really, really, really want to hate this book. I want to hate it because it’s absurdly late, and I feel neglected as a consumer. I feel like Heinberg and Marvel are going to take their sweet time, regardless of promises. I want to hate them for that, and I want to not buy this book. But … oh, it’s just so good. I just love it. Issue four finds Wiccan up against Doctor Doom; an amnesiac Scarlet Witch without her powers and about to be wed; a ticked-off Wolverine seconds away from killing her once and for all, and the surprise re-emergence of a character I did not see coming at all. This mini is apparently worth the agonizing amount of time it’s taking to publish, because it’s clever and FUN and entertaining and … it’s FUN! It’s a lot of what most comics are missing these days. There’s a real PLOT that is actually FOLLOWED. There’s exposition and dialogue that come together to–*gasp*–give CHARACTER. And have I mentioned that it’s fun? Quite frankly, I need more Young Avengers in my life. This book is awesome. Go buy it right now.
Wonder Woman #whatever because I don’t care about this book to keep track anymore – It’s sad, really. To go from such a high in the preceding review to … this. Sweet Jesus, I don’t know why I’m still reading. WHY am I still reading?! I just can’t stop. Just when I think it couldn’t POSSIBLY get any worse—just when I thought Phil Hester was bound to clean things up, I am proven so utterly, completely, hideously wrong with this issue. What plunging depths of horribleness will we reach, I wonder? Better yet, how is this even happening? In this issue, Wonder Woman:
– Threatens to beat up/gets in a fight with a store clerk
– Steals a significant amount of money
– Listens to heavy metal? (While there’s nothing wrong with this music, it’s just not an image I associate with Wonder Woman.)
– Consistently encourages violence and revenge. Whhaaaa?
Why, I ask, are the words “Wonder Woman” still being displayed across the title page of this book? I understand she’s basically a “different character” with a different back story and continuity here (thanks again, JMS), but … whhaaaa? Why, in her CORE AND ONLY BOOK, are we delving even further and further away from what makes Diana different from other superheroes, as opposed to a carbon copy of every other angsty teenager DC already has in their arsenal? Why are we delving further away from who she is? Couldn’t DC have done an “Ultimate” version of Wonder Woman—call it “All-Star” or whatever other line you want to give it, and leave the Wonder Woman we all know and love alone in her main title for those of us who appreciate her? I might have been able to tolerate this version if I knew she wasn’t the only version currently available to me. I feel like I keep asking the same questions over and over. Why is Diana still the only one of the Big Three who doesn’t have more than one title? Wasn’t this the perfect chance for that? How do DC expect to encourage love for a character by completely changing every aspect of her personality? Have we learned nothing from the disaster that was mod squad Wonder Woman? I’m not even going to touch on my myriad other complaints. My only shred of hope here is the fact that the plot alluded to a very slight possibility of things eventually returning to normal, and I am beside myself with the desire for that to happen. I just don’t think I can hold my breath long enough.
Sigh. I need something cool to wash away the bad taste left in my mouth after that last review. So here’s this:
From Dinosaur Comics, with thanks to my friend Jon for pointing it out.
Marvel just announced its latest event for 2011 to follow the company’s teaser posters it’s been releasing this past week, and it appears the big news is that Marvel’s heroes will be fighting a “God of Fear.”
Here is what absolutely kills me about this if you watch the video conference—Joe Quesada and his cronies claiming that they listened to the fans when we all shouted and begged for them to lay off the stupid events already. The fanboys (and girls) have been fed up with being milked dry over crossover after crossover, event after event, colossal hype and build-up only to be left with our mouths hanging open at how horribly bad they’ve all been. Yes, reader—Marvel says they listened to you. They say they took this year off from doing any events, and now it’s time to get back in the saddle.
At what point did Marvel stop with the crossovers and events and hype? What was Shadowland, exactly? What is Chaos War, for that matter? Didn’t Second Coming just end? How about Dark Reign? Where, precisely, was the break?
Add to this, the ever so well-written press release/solicitation for the event. Fear Itself is going to FOREVER CHANGE THE LANDSCAPE OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE! This is THE DEFINING MINISERIES OF THE YEAR! NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME AGAIN! ZOH MY GOOOODDDDD!!!
Seriously, Marvel? Why even bother anymore? Do you just re-use the same press release over and over? Delete “House of M” and write in “Civil War,” “Secret Invasion,” “Dark Reign,” “Fear Itself,” etc. etc?
Matt Fraction even said, “We are going to be busting the doors down with the biggest story we’ve ever told.” BIGGEST STORY EVER TOLD, guys! Aren’t you all just DYING to run out and buy this now? Marvel has NEVER done ANYTHING like this before!
Oh, and I seemed to have glossed over the fact that Matt Fraction is writing this. The less said about that, the better. Here’s what I “fear”–that Stuart Immonen’s great talent isn’t going to save Fraction’s writing.
So, there you have it. As I sit here and bemoan this most recent of charades, pre-emptively condemning it before it even hits the shelves, I know in the back of my head that I’m still going to wind up reading it. Not so much out of intrigue, but moreso out of an implicit need to know what’s going on, regardless of how little it matters to me in the end. It’s pretty much why I read any of Shadowland. And so I fall once again into the category of hypocritical fangirl who can’t seem to vote with her wallet.
At least I can call it when I see it, eh?
Stay tuned next year when I rant and wail over how horrible a comic this is, how much better it could have been done, and how I’m never reading Marvel again …
… at least until the following Wednesday rolls around.