Monthly archives: November, 2006

Week Thirty

Welcome to this week’s recap of the current issue of “52.” I’m your party host for the evening. This week marks the thirtieth issue that’s shipped on time in a row of the fifty-two we’re eventually going to see. Just think about that. We’ve only got twenty-two issues left to go, and this whole thing will be over. And we’ll all sit around and laugh about how we thought this would be an impossible feat. Hopefully.
week 30

This week, we open with a short rundown of why the Batman needed a vacation (he lost it during the Crisis), with Robin narrating. From there, we meet up with Robin and Nightwing, who are halfway across the world, following the footsteps of their mentor’s journey all those years ago when he first donned the mantle of the bat. Interesting that they’re alone, since Bruce’s comfort in doing this journey, according to the last couple pages of IC #7 is that he’d have some company. Anyway, they find out about Intergang’s plot to take Gotham, and Nightwing decides to head home, while Tim decides to find Bruce. He eventually does, after Bruce has gone through a fight with some freaky guys with eyeballs on their fingers, who, apparently, freed the darkness and paranoia and evil inside him, thus destroying the Batman.

Back in Gotham, Renee Montoya is playing nurse for the Question. It’s a bunch of filler, but, at the end of it, she takes up his meditating practice, which elicits a sly smirk from him. I betcha he’s faking. Nah, the whole point is that she’s seemingly going to be the new Question.

At the end of the issue, Nightwing returns to Gotham to aid the Batwoman in a fight with a bunch of Intergang beasts. They make short work of them and decide to divide and sweep the city until they find Manheim.

Spoiler alert! Batman’s not gone! He’ll be back!

Overall, I liked this issue, if for no other reason than the fact that we ran into some familiar faces and got some new plot development. Hopefully, Nightwing becomes a mainstay in the Intergang/Gotham storyline, because I have a mad-on for Nightwing.

I’m late for dinner, though, so I’ll leave it at that. It was decent. Art was kinda weird, in style, but oh well. Can’t complain over here.

See ya in seven.

Another Brick in the (Punched Out) Wall?

In “Batman” #644, the conclusion to the “War Crimes” story-arc reveals that Doctor Leslie Thompkins could’ve saved the life of Spoiler, who died during the much lambasted mini-series “Wargames.” Instead, Dr. Thompkins let Spoiler die on the slab, hoping that her death would make Batman give up his war on crime, finally seeing that the human loss is too great on both sides. What’d Batman think of that? Take a look left! I mean below! That’s a big image!a

After telling her off, Bruce tells her that she’s no longer welcome in the United States, and if he ever hears about her practicing medicine again, he’ll put an end to it. The scene is very emotional, expertly written and drawn by some guys who’s names don’t matter to me. It got me excited, at least. The idea, obviously, was to make Batman lose another person, in addition to Spoiler, only it had to be a person without a mask. There aren’t very many of those left in his life, leaving the responsibility up to Alfred and Jim Gordon. I was always hoping that Leslie would return with MIA fanboy-hated Azrael, for a double redemption storyline, but alas.

With this week’s release of “Batman” #659, Doctor Leslie Thompkins is back in Gotham City, running her clinic with no mention of what happened inbetween. I got angry, naturally. So, after throwing my desk chair through the nearest window, I took a few deep breaths and tried to figure out what happened.

Then, the obvious answer dropped down to me as heavily as that chair dropped down to careless passersby on the streets below. It’s the whole convoluted catch-all of Superboy-Prime punching on the walls of reality. Make sense? Well, it didn’t make much sense back when it was first explained, but I was willing to accept it, since it brought about some ancient and heavy continuity corrections. But, Leslie Thompkins? That just happened fifteen issues ago!

I’m sure I’m the only person on the entire Internets that thinks this way, so I’ll stop now, but, seriously, it was a risky move, making her a killer by proxy, and I’m disappointed they reneged so quickly.

Heroes breaks the Internet in half?

A quick scan of blog-dom shows that either I’m the only one still watching NBC’s Heroes, or nobody else caught what I thought was a classic comic book reference.

In Monday’s (11/27) episode, Nikki’s father returned to visit her, Micah and D.L. This happened six months before the regular events of the series (it was a flashback show). To make up for being a worthless prick, Nikki’s dad brought a laptop for Micah and promptly sent the boy off, saying, “Go break the Internet in half.”

I nearly coughed up a lung from laughing at what I saw as a pretty direct reference to the much maligned Brian Bendis line.

A great nerdy tip of the cap or random occurrence? With any luck, CBR will answer this question in their regular Q & A with the writers next week.

Book of Doom: Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #14

Friendly 14The last couple of times we tried to jump into the middle of a series for our Book of Doom, it didn’t turn out so well. But this week’s issue is not only the debut of a new story arc, but the debut of a new regular artist, so it’s almost like starting over with #1, except there’s a 4 at the end of it. Peter David does a fun Spider-Man at a time when no one else is doing a fun Spider-Man. Come back on Saturday to see if “fun” works for the other members of the Legion, and give us your own thoughts on the issue, won’t you?

Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #14
By Peter David and Scott Eaton
It’s the return of Peter Parker’s old flame, Deb Whitman! Unfortunately for Peter, she’s written a tell-all memoir about her relationship with him, entitled “How Spider-Man Ruined My Life.” Ouch! As if that weren’t bad enough, the Vulture has been set loose from prison to scavenge for Spider-Man, but who’s behind his release and what nefarious scheme do they have up their sleeve?
32 PGS./Rated A …$2.99

Meaningless Awards of the Week- 11/22/06

Amazing 536Least Subtle Metaphor of the Week- the cover to Amazing Spider-Man #536

Ooh, it’s like he’s being pulled in a bunch of different directions at once. Like emotionally, he’s torn between which way to go, but this cover is showing it as though he’s literally being pulled in opposite directions. I totally get that.

Best Line of the Week- The Governor, from The Walking Dead #32 by Robert Kirkman

Michonne is one enormous bad-ass. She survived on her own for months with nothing but a cool sword before she happened upon the prison that Rick & Co. set up camp in. When the Governor cut off Rick’s hand, Michonne responded by ripping the Governor’s ear off with her teeth while her hands were tied behind her back. After spending days tied up in a garage being beaten and raped by the Governor, she’s offered a respite if she plays along with a staged fight. Instead, she decapitates a dozen zombies and her non-zombie opponent before being taken down by the Governor’s men, which of course only resulted in more beating and raping. So when Rick & Co. break out of the city they’re being held captive in, you just know Michonne’s not leaving without saying goodbye to the Governor. After Michonne breaks into his apartment, the Governor says what everyone reading the book is thinking: “Well…this should be interesting.” The best part? The next issue ships Wednesday.

Book That Seemed Like It Should Have Been A Lot Better Than It Actually Was of the Week- Action Comics #845

Geoff Johns is a great comic writer. Richard Donner has a great love for the characters and is known for telling two of the best Superman stories of all time. Adam Kubert’s last name is Kubert. So why isn’t Action Comics very good? Maybe it’s because the Kuberts are really overrated. Maybe it’s because Superman vs. anti-Superman has been done so many times (including this very issue) that introducing Zod as the villain is pretty boring. Maybe it’s because introducing yet another survivor of Krypton into the DC Universe takes away from what makes Superman special. Maybe it’s because “Super-boy” reminds me of the dumbest aspect of this summer’s disappointing Superman movie. Maybe it’s because I never really liked Richard Donner’s Superman movies. Or maybe it’s because “Up, Up and Away,” Kurt Busiek’s Action Comics 3-parter, and the Busiek/Carlos Pacheco Superman are all much, much better than the Johns/Donner/Kubert Action Comics has been.


Book of Doom: Astro City: The Dark Age Book 2 #1

I just woke up earlier this afternoon, surrounded by empty bottles of beer, ashtrays full of cigarettes, and an assortment of strangers passed out in various places around my apartment. Seems I’ve been on a bender, of sorts, for the better part of the past week. I guess that’s what quitting your job does to a guy. After I pieced together the various happenings of the past week and a half over breakfast (two shots of whiskey and a Denver Omelette), I rememered that I was supposed to post a review of the Book of Doom last Saturday. Unfortunately, I had been completely hammered and forgot all about it. Luckily, I am able to bring it to you now.astrocity

We reviewed “Astro City: The Dark Age Book 2 #1,” and, apparently, we all liked it. I don’t remember much of it, obviously, but, from what I do remember, I thought it was fairly decent. Kurt Busiek, the writer, is very competent, and I thoroughly enjoyed his work on “Up, Up, and Away,” the Superman One Year Later story arc. I thought the interplay between the two brothers in this book was rather solid, and I’m interested in what will happen next. My only problem is that, up to this point, I’ve never heard of “Astro City” before in my life. That’s an over exaggeration. I’ve never read any of it. So, frankly, I’ve no idea what’s going on. I guess I shouldn’t come down hard either way because of this fact. Let’s hear from my friends, who apparently know what’s up.

First, Jean-Claude Van Doome has this to say: (more…)

Chris Gumprich and Dennis Culver of “Undercard”

Some weeks back, I posted this review of Undercard, a new self-published book written by Chris Gumprich and illustrated by Dennis Culver. Gumprich, who can be added to the list of creators who’ve encountered our site via Google, and Culver were nice enough to answer a few questions on the making of their book, which takes a completely unexplored path into the heart of boxing, a genre that’s been done, done and done.

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingJCVD: So far, what has been the most rewarding part of having this book
published? And how long/difficult was the process of seeing it published?

CHRIS: It’s always nice to see a vision become a reality, but this is really just a waypoint on the journey. Getting the first issue completed and out there is a nice feeling, but there’s a lot of work still to be done — we have to get the book into people’s hands. I guess what I’m trying to say is that there hasn’t been any time to reflect on what we’ve accomplished.

JCVD: How did you two come to know each other and work together?

CHRIS: Dennis denies this, but we met in 2004 at APE in San Francisco. Shortly after that we worked together on a graphic novel pitch that went nowhere. We enjoyed working together, and he was the first guy that came to mind when I scripted UNDERCARD. We subsequently put together a mini-comic called ROUND FOUR, which was relatively successful (both artistically and commercially) and served as a nice lead-in to UNDERCARD.

DENNIS: Yeah i just thought Chris emailed me out of the blue and liking his writing, I decided to give collaboration a shot. I think our work together keeps getting stronger. (more…)

Thank you, Adam Brody

Really? This is what I choose to be thankful for on Thanksgiving? Well, yes (though my wife, my family, my dog and a million other things come before Mr. Brody on the list).

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIn case you missed it, the first issue of Red Menace came out yesterday. It’s written by Brody (along with Paul DiMeo and Danny Bilson) and, as the WildStorm site says: “Los Angeles, 1953: Home to bent cops, smooth criminals, and curvaceous starlets; where the glamour and wealth of Hollywood and Beverly Hills collide with the crime and grit of Chinatown. Amidst this startling contrast, American ideals are under siege by Joseph McCarthy and the H.U.A.C. trials, rooting out communist threats where ever they may lie — even in the ranks of the super heroic! Can there be any doubt about the loyalties of L.A.’s greatest and most patriotic hero, the Eagle? America is about to find out the hard way!”

Was the book so great that I can’t help but heap thanks upon its (third of a) writer? Nope. It’s a decent read, if a bit retread. But it has fun with the genre and is worth a look (as are all WildStorm books, if only for the dose of pretension served up in Jim Lee’s column).

I say thanks to Adam Brody because he first helped push comics fully into the hands of cool kids, and also because he’s following through on his interest and taking time away from a budding movie career to help write what will assuredly be a forgotten series within a decade. (more…)

Week Twenty-Nine

Hey, everybody, it’s my birthday! What better way to celebrate than finishing up my review of “52” in a timely manner and then getting completely slammified at the bars? I can’t think of a thing! So, that said, what happened this week, and, more importantly, how was it? Glad you asked.52 week 29

This issue focuses primarily on two of the main stories. For starters, we meet with the last remaining members of the Justice Society–Flash, Green Lantern, and Wildcat. They’re questioning their relevance while Infinity Incorporated is passing by in the street (out the window). Then, Luthor’s superteam debuts its newest member–Jade, Alan Scott’s deceased daughter’s namesake. Obsidian, the original Jade’s brother and reformed badguy, shows up in protest. He makes a stink, tells off the Infinity Inc, etc. Then, one of the new kids on the block, Nuklon, takes it personal (and makes it personal) by calling Alan “grandpa” and insulting the JSA, saying the new world doesn’t need old antiques watching over it with kids like them around. We meet back up with Jay and Ted later, after Alan’s long gone, and Jay says he thinks there’s still a place in the world for the JSA.

Meanwhile, on Oolong Island, the new girl scientist seduces Will Magnus while the rest of the mad scientists eat turkey (it’s Thanksgiving tomorrow!). When Egg Fu…er, Chung Zhu, shows up, he wants to know why Will hasn’t been producing much lately. The girl rats him out and makes mention of how Will’s on medications that keep his creativity in check, in a way. Whoops. So much for being sane, Will.

The last couple pages show John Henry Irons peeling steel off his skin. He turns to that girl scientist he works with and says how, not only can Luthor shut down the powers after awhile, but, there’s also an expiration date.

Awesome. So, how was it? The art’s great; the writing’s great; the interplay between the characters is great. We stick with each story long enough for stuff to actually, y’know, happen, and, well, it’s just an entertaining read all around. ‘Course, that could be just the fact that I didn’t buy any other comics today, so I naturally liked this one a lot, but, who knows? I just quit my job, so I won’t find out for another few weeks, I guess.

Next week, it looks like we’re going to drop in on Batman, Robin, and Nightwing. Should be fun!

See ya in seven.

Previews for 11/22 – Boom Studios

The good folks at Boom Studios were nice enough to send along an advance copy of Talent #4. While I don’t have interior art to offer, I can say this book seems to finally be coming through on its great potential, though I’m not sure how much of a future the title has. Confused? I’ll explain.

Talent follows a man who is on board a plane that crashes – blown up by an assassin/terrorist. This one man survives, imbued with the spirits of the hundreds of other people on board. Their deaths were unnecessary, and the protagonist works to return a balance to the world by cleaning up the victims’ unfinished business. To aid him, he can take on the abilities (talents) of those victims, but only until their business is concluded/avenged/etc.

This issue sees the survivor fighting directly with the evil group who blew up the plane and apparently are trying to cast the world into darkness. He takes on the talent of a hired killer who died on the plane, lending the book a nice bit of excitement.

My concern is that the gimmick, while clever, limits the life-span of the book. There are only so many victims, and only so many can be super-killers. For that matter, only so many can be world class actors, etc. And when their talents fade, so do those of the protagonist. I’m a bit afraid we’ll soon see signs of the creative team reaching for unrealistic talents, or breaking their self-imposed rules.

For now, the book is good, probably the best out there by Boom.