Monthly archives: January, 2006

Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Ongoing Series

Ultimates 2. It may not come out every week. But when it does, it’s heads and tails above everything else. -Jean-Claude Van Doom

WalkingDeadThe Walking Dead. The simple sequence of a zombie falling over because his entrails got caught on another zombie means I don’t have to explain any further why this is the best series going right now, but if need further convincing, stark, black and white art and great writing help, too. -Colonel Doom

The Walking Dead. Robert Kirkman is one of the greatest comic writers today. In fact, I’d put Kirkman’s Invincible as a close second for the best ongoing series of the year. But anything involving zombies is always better than something of the same caliber without zombies, right? Charlie Adlard’s art has been consistently great, even if it’s a little late sometimes. Tony Moore’s covers are good enough to frame (actually, I did). The entire team tells a great story every month (well, almost every month) which may or may not involve an actual zombie, and that’s one of the keys to the series. Who would have thought that a zombie book where the zombies aren’t even an issue could be so exciting? -Fin Fang Doom



Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Artists

MaleevCharlie Adlard. This one took me a while to come up with, as there are loads of great artists out there. And since none of the guys I could think of did anything specific to put them over the top (like, say, draw 12 issues in the year), I decided to go with the one that draws my favorite title, The Walking Dead. It’s not just the writing that makes that title so great. -Fin Fang Doom

Alex Maleev Maleev’s scratchy pencils, heavy shadows and attention to detail fall somewhere between realism and film noir. It just looks damned cool. -Colonel Doom

I don’t have a favorite, but Alex Maleev, Eric Powell, Bryan Hitch and Leinil Yu always impress me. -Jim Doom

Bryan Hitch. “Ultimates 2″ has, consistently, the best art out there. When it’s a little late, that time is put to use. -Jean-Claude Van Doom



Weird Science

A big part of writing science fiction is having a good grasp on science.
Maybe, when writing “Son of M” #2, David Hine knew something I don’t.
And maybe the moon works differently in the Marvel Universe.
But as Quicksilver and Videmus stand in The Blue City on the moon, looking Earthward, can someone explain to me what Videmus meant when he said “The Earth is rising” ?
Yeah I’m being a smartypants, but stuff like that just jerks me right out of the story.



Legion of Doom’s Best of 2005- Writers

infinitecrisis_1Geoff Johns. He writes about 800 books and they don’t seem to suffer anywhere. And he’s been able to pull a story from pieces of continuity that manages to naturally tie the DC universe together (Infinite Crisis) rather than awkwardly force something onto it (House of M, Secret Wars). -Jim Doom

Robert Kirkman. He earned breakout success with his “Walking Dead,” “Battle Pope” and “Invincible” series for Image. That helped earn him the chance to make “Marvel Zombies” and to take over “Ultimate X-Men.” -Jean-Claude Van Doom

Geoff Johns. He not only got a lifelong Marvel Zombie to start reading DC Comics, but made it my favorite publisher. I’ve yet to read a comic he wrote that I didn’t love: Countdown, JSA, JSA Classified, JLA, Teen Titans, Green Lantern, Green Lantern: Rebirth, Green Lantern Corps: Recharge, and of course, Infinite Crisis. -Fin Fang Doom

Geoff Johns. His run on JLA, JSA, the new Green Lantern series, Infinite Crisis and roughly one thousand other books make him the DC counterpart of Bendis, only most of it doesn’t suck. -Colonel Doom



I’m Hexed.

I hate to admit it, but a few months back I skipped over the first issue of the new Jonah Hex. Sure, as a good ol’ country boy, I grew up watching John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and others kicking ass and taking names in westerns.

I’ll still watch one now and again (my dad and I agree, 1953’s “Shane” with Alan Ladd is the cream of the crop), but I’m not quite the cowboy enthusiast I once was, Brokeback Mountain not withstanding (that’s a joke, I swear).

I also never had much exposure to Jonah Hex. I’ve seen a few books over the years, but was never too Image hosted by Photobucket.comimpressed. It seemed like a superhero book trapped in the old west, and I mean that in the worst way possible.

On a whim, I grabbed issue two. With that and now issue three under my belt, I can proudly say I’m back in the saddle. The funny thing is, the complaint I hear most about the new Jonah Hex is precisely what I enjoy so much about it.

Critics and fans have complained about the cutting out of Hex’s “mystical powers” that he wielded back in the day. Now, he’s just a cowboy with a gun.

Yeah, he’s a cowboy with a gun. But he’s also got that hard edge that only comes with the toughest hombres, a sense of fairness that keeps him respectable, the scarred up face that somehow makes him cooler and an itchy trigger finger. I credit writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti for instilling the spirit of the best westerns (not the motels). Luke Ross also contributes with art that evokes a very realistic Southwest.

It’s not a superhero in the old west. It’s just a cowboy book, but a damn fine one.



The “A” stands for Abysmal

What the hell happened to JLA? “Crisis of Conscience” was great. It mattered. Stuff happened. It made me look forward the next issue. And now “World Without a Justice Lague” has me dreading the next issue.

WWAJLI can’t seem to pin down what it is that makes me hate the book so much now. Is the the bad writing? The sub-par art? The characters involved? I think my biggest complaint may be the fact that every issue seems unrelated except for the villain of the story. It goes from Martian Manhunter’s funeral to the formation of an ad-hoc League that disbands before the end of the issue to a Black Canary/Green Arrow team-up to a Green Arrow/Batman throwdown, with no real transitions or explanations for what’s happening. Only the Key, some mystic woman I’ve never heard of before and her dead husband seem to continue from one issue to the next. Oh, and Mr. Harras needs to look up the word “envy” in a dictionary. That was either rage or pride; definitely not envy.

Is Geoff Johns really that good? Was his presence on the book the only element that made it worth reading for five straight issues? Or is there some grand conspiracy to make every book Johns leaves turn to crap in the blink of an eye so he looks even better by comparison? If you read JSA, you might be wondering the same thing.



An issue every month? That’s madness!

Exiles 75Tomorrow marks the release of Exiles #75, an important issue for Marvel Comics. No it’s not because it’s an anniversary issue, and it’s not because it sees the return of the 2099 universe. It’s because Marvel’s only been publishing Exiles for 4 1/2 years.

Yes, in a short 54 months, Exiles has managed to crank out 75 issues. That’s about 17 issues a year. And you know what? They’ve been a damn good 75 issues. Not Ultimates good, not Astonishing X-Men good, but better than most of the other stuff on the racks each week. And when you get it twice or even three times as often as one of those blockbuster series, it makes it that much better.

Between December 2004 and November 2005, Marvel released 19 issues of Exiles. Each issue sold an average of 33-34K copies, a pretty respectable number in it’s own right, which routinely landed the series in the top 50. Over the course of those twelve months, the series sold 683,468 issues, and average of 56,956 issues a month. That’s a number nearly high enough to land a title in the top 25 in November. It’s also more copies than Marvel heavyweights like the Fantastic Four, Incredible Hulk, Punisher and Daredevil sell, when those books struggle to keep a monthly schedule. And it does all this without a high profile creative team and with a higher cover price than titles like Uncanny X-Men and the Ultimate Spider-Man.

I’d just like to give the creative teams of Exiles past and present the credit they deserve. They’re a shining example from whom most of today’s creative teams could learn a thing or two. Write a great story, give it great art, and make it come out on time. Is that really so hard?

Did you think I made those statistics up? Nope, I got them right here: http://www.comicon.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=36;t=004600



Ultimately unimportant?

One thing sorely lacking from Marvel’s Ultimate line is the sense of a inclusive universe. Sure, Kitty Pryde is Spider-Man’s new girlfriend, and the Ultimates guest-starred in the last arc of Ultimate X-Men. But outside of those minor instances, every title seems to exist in it’s own vacuum. Shouldn’t the Ultimates be showing up just about any time a super-villain attacks on American soil, even if it’s one of Spider-Man’s enemies? Shouldn’t the Fantastic Four get a little help from Spider-Man every now and again? Hell, shouldn’t somebody acknowledge that the Fantastic Four even exist?

Ultimate GalactusMarvel’s only tried a few times to crossover the titles. Ultimate Six was a Spider-Man mini-series disquised as a Spider-Man/Ultimates event. Ultimate War was an X-Men mini-series disguised as an X-Men/Ultimates event. Both fell sort of flat. The Ultimate X4 2-parter going on right now is anything but epic. And don’t get me started on the horrid Wolverine/Spider-Man arc in Ultimate X-Men.

The Ultimate Galactus trilogy seems to be Marvel’s big attempt at a Secret Wars-type mega-crossover for the Ultimate universe. But why should I think the Ultimate Galactus trilogy will be any different than the previous crossovers? The first two minis were hurt by massive delays. Half of the Ultimate Vision prequels were published in a title I don’t read. And it appears as though the story takes place before Ultimates 2, so you know nothing too terrible is going to happen.

Let’s face it, the Ultimate Universe has become a bit stagnant lately. The line has long since surpassed it’s freshness date. It needs a good solid kick in the pants to be exciting again. And no, Bryan Singer isn’t going to do it.