Monthly archives: May, 2007

You forgot one

In his latest DC Nation column, Big Jefe Dan Didio writes the following:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketWell, as you saw in the thrilling conclusion of 52, the Multiverse is back. Or should I say, a new Multiverse is here. A huge defining moment in the DC Universe, so big, in fact, it has divided the DC Nation into three distinct camps: one group cheering its return, a second lamenting its return, and a third wondering what the hell everyone else is talking about.

While I’m sure people exist who fit into those three categories, the chairman of the beard forgot one sizable group (at least if you consider we Doomers a worthy sample size). The mysterious fourth group is those who think it’s pretty cool that the Multiverse is back but struggle to care very much since the announcement was spoiled months ago.

It’s simply unfathomable to me that Didio has the balls to write this latest DC Nation entry trumpeting the big announcement of the Multiverse when he used the exact same space to take all the thunder out of that event for no good reason, other than to show how in charge he is. You know, maybe there should be another subset, a group that’s so damned annoyed with Didio that they’re ready to give up on the Multiverse and most every DC book altogether. I wonder if that group’s taking on new members.

Rocketo: Journey to the Hidden Sea (Vol. 2)

As I mentioned before, a great recent week was highlighted by the release of the second collected volume of Frank Espinosa’s Rocketo, the future-set adventures of famed mapper Rocketo Garrison. If you read the interview I did with Frank when volume one released, you know that the second volume was set to be published in vertical form, instead of the horizontal setup of volume one. This was apparently because Image said it couldn’t do a horizontal printing. Not sure what happened between then and now (I’m going to ask as soon as I get a chance to chat with Frank again), but the second volume is indeed horizontal.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI’m very curious about this because all promo images for the second volume were vertical (see the Amazon link below), so I had to snag this screen image from Espinosa’s site. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic that the book is horizontal, because Espinosa’s wild, sprawling art needs a cinematic outlet. And, man, does he deliver in this second half of the Hidden Sea storyline.

By Frank Espinosa and Marie Taylor (W) and Espinosa (A)
Published by Image, 2007, $19.99

The Plot: Picking up right where volume one left off, Rocketo and his co-adventurers have hit the fan while exploring the mysterious lands around the Hidden Sea. Just as all seems lost, they’re rescued by a lost civilization that resides deep in the land and know its secrets. Beyond that, Rocketo learns the true history of how the world fell to pieces, and what the path is to restoration. At the same time, he’s trying to recover his mapping ability, which was stripped from him years ago as the Lucerne government used him to conquer much of the world. The evil Scarletto, an agent of Lucerne who’s also penetrated this land, slowly amasses a force to try and topple the secreted kingdom and use its power to further spread Lucerne’s grasp. It leads up to an epic battle between the two sides, with only Rocketo to save the day.

The Positives: The first thing anyone will notice when looking at Rocketo is the art. It is unavoidably different than most comic book art, with little flicks of solid black line accumulating into swooping forms, all tied together with broad swatches of colors. When you first look at a page of Espinosa’s work, often a second will pass before the abstract splashes coalesce into the full image. But that’s not a drawback, as each page is so delicately crafted that it’s no problem staring at them for a half minute or more. I was reading this book on a recent flight and nudged my half-asleep wife to show off a particularly exciting page. Though she’s no comics fan, her eyes widened and she said, “Wow.” There is unceasing movement in Espinosa’s art, and it works especially well because he has such a mastery of his characters that with only the smallest details its easy to follow who is who.

The writing is nearly as remarkable and unique. Espinosa’s twists on the conventions of sci fi and fantasy and so many other genres spin out into something very new. And the broad cast further gives the story a deeply original feel (Spiro, as usual, is lots of fun as he paces and spouts about “grand swag”). This is one of the most imaginative concepts in comics, top to bottom, and it just shouldn’t be missed.

The Negatives: There are two very minor things I didn’t like about this book. First, there’s a love story that’s a bit rushed. But it’s hard to imagine what to cut out to fill that out more. Also, romance in adventure stories usually isn’t given a ton of room. The other thing is that the limited use of colors (while great most everywhere) is a bit drab in the first chapter, when there’s little color except yellow and slate.

The Grade: A Did it seem like I was really searching for something to criticize? Well, you called that one. This is probably the most fun comic book out there, and the art is heads and tails beyond anything else you’ll see. I’ve run out of superlatives. Just go read this and come up with some of your own.

Man, I feel like an idiot…

Planetary 26Whenever Warren Ellis does something like newuniversal or the Ultimate Galactus trilogy, I’m left wondering why he’s regarded as a good writer. Then I remember he wrote Planetary. And then I remember that he still hasn’t finished Planetary.

I’ve been waiting for the final issue of Planetary for what seems like forever. I didn’t get into the series until it was around issue #23 or so after picking up the first trade during my “experimental” phase. Well I loved the first trade, grabbed up the second right away, and by sheer coincidence the third volume was released only a few weeks later. Then I had the unenviable task of hunting down issues #19 and up.

Those were not easy to come by, and by the time I was actually got them all, the series was up to #25. At that point, I figured I’d just wait until #27 came out, which had been announced quite a bit earlier as the final issue of the series. Besides, it had been such a long time since I had read the trades I’d probably need to read though the whole series again to get the full affect. So if I’d wait just a few more months, I’d be able to sit down and read all 27 issues.

I was looking through the DC solicits for August earlier today, hoping for an confirmation of the final issue’s release. Nothing. Frustrated, I tried googling the series to see if anything had been announced, even unofficially. I didn’t find any news about #27, but I didn’t find something rather interesting about #26:

“Issue #26 is the end of Planetary. There’s one more issue left but Ellis says that it will be more of an epilogue than anything else.”

Well crap in a hat. Here I’ve been waiting forever for the story to end, and it turns out it ended in October. Looks like I’ve got some reading material for this weekend.

Book of Doom: Silver Surfer Requiem #1

We’re steady at work here, doing our damnedest to replace the saying “another day, another dollar” with the much more flavorful “another week, another Book of Doom.” C’mon, popular vernacular, you know you want to spice things up! In that vein, this week we Doomers are going to be tackling Silver Surfer: Requiem, the new series about ol’ shinypants.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketAs always, come back on Saturday to see what we think about this issue. And, as part of our rotating team of guest bloggers, Googum from Random Happenstance will be joining in the fun. If you haven’t checked out his blog, do so post haste. You’ll find some great insight into comics new and old, as well as an impressive collection of toys in various poses. Good stuff all around.

Will this be the Summer of the Silver Surfer, or another Summer of the Shark? Your early answer lies right here, right… uh… Saturday. Now, here’s what Marvel says (quite cryptically):


The latest offering from the Marvel Knights line. Guest-starring the Fantastic Four!
For untold years Norrin Radd has surfed the galaxy, exploring the darkness between stars, witnessing the rise and fall of vast civilizations. Now his ride is about to come to an end. It starts with a small spot — a blemish that will spread until he is no more. Until then, the Silver Surfer would undertake his final voyage — to the one destination that has always eluded him. His journey starts where it began.
32 PGS./CARDSTOCK COVER/Rated T+ …$3.99

In the absence of the Doomino Effect… BLACK WEDNESDAY

Last week was kind of slow for me, and I think I only bought one book that wasn’t Countdown or the Book of Doom, so being unable to write a segue, I thought instead I would just bemoan the coming of Black Wednesday.

Wednesdays are typically my favorite day of the week. At least they have been for the past several months. I go to the comic book store, watch the American Idol results and then watch a new episode of Lost.

Well now, not only did Jordin Sparks win last week, thus ending the season of Amerian Idol – not only did a whole bunch of awesome stuff happen on and off the island, thus ending the season of Lost – but to add insult to injury, there are no new comics on Wednesday this week!

Every year I forget this and go to the comic book store on the Wednesday after Memorial Day anyway, finding myself surprised that I’m the only customer in the store, and then suddenly realizing my error as I make eye contact with the clerks who are all looking at me with a mix of pity and amusement. I think maybe continuing that annual screw-up tradition would be the only way to make Black Wednesday worse.

Meaningless Awards of the Week- 5/23/07

Hell Yeah! of the Week- She-Hulk explains to Tony Stark why he’s an asshole, She-Hulk #18

She-Hulk 18 detail

FF 546 panelIron Man is the biggest dick in the Marvel Universe. But for some reason, Marvel editorial still treats him as if he’s a hero. Finally someone has taken the time to rip Tony Stark a new one in a Marvel comic, by a character that was an ally of his during Civil War. She-Hulk wirter Dan Slott was able to put in words exactly why Iron man deserved all those “Villain of the Year” awards he took home in 2006. Strangely, “you sound like Dr. Doom” seems to be a pretty popular insult this week.

Cliffhanger of the Week- Captain America #26

Cap 26 Cliffhanger


Afro Samurai (DVD)

I was trying to think of a good joke to explain why I’m writing about a samurai on Memorial Day, but nothing came to mind. Maybe that’s because I’m pretty well drained after a 9+ hour drive to Nebraska for the first ever face-to-face meeting amongst we Doomers (word is, there’s a photo floating around somewhere of the doom that ensued). So, yeah. Samurai.

While there is no Afro Samurai comic book (at least that I’ve seen), the Spike TV series has enough in common with comics (namely, violence) that I figure it won’t hurt to post a review here (thanks to the studio for a review copy). The show is about a black samurai with a huge afro who kills a TON of people. OK, there’s a bit more intricacy: Afro’s dad was the best warrior in the world but was killed. Now Afro seeks revenge. And the warriors of the world are ranked by headband. Did I mention that copious amounts of people die?

The DVD set (which comes in a great package that uses a hidden magnet to stay shut) contains two discs, one with five episodes and another with bonus features. Yes, that is a bit light on content, as the episodes are a half hour or thereabouts. The bonus material is typical making-of stuff, which is made infinitely cooler by the interview with RZA in which the main man explains his concept behind the music (It’s such a typically genius idea. You’ve gotta love RZA).

After watching everything, I’m a bit mixed still on the show. Samuel L. Jackson’s voice acting is pretty good (he balances the over-the-top routine on one character with a very understated approach to another) and Ron Perlman is excellent as the villain (who seems straight out of Stephen King’s Gunslinger world). As said before, there is a ton of fighting, and some of it is very creative and tense, but that’s lost to geysers of blood that overwhelm everything (and draw an obvious comparison to Kill Bill). Afro’s backstory is actually well crafted and revealed in layers through each of the episodes, making the simple vengeance tale more complex as it motors along. But all the episodes have far too repetitive of a structure (Afro is nearly beaten, he recuperates, he wins) and the final battle doesn’t top some of the scenes from earlier on.

The animation (it’s done by cells, not on computer, which is kind of cool) takes a ton of cues from the anime style. I dug some sequences, but then there’s a lot of the sort of jerky motions that make it seem like the animators left out a couple cells. I know this is the style they intended, but it’s a little too close to watching a strobe light for me. You can see what you think by checking out the trailer below:

Ted Kord isn’t dead, he’s stamping out smoking

Maybe you’ve seen this before. If so, good for you, just don’t rub it in our faces, you jerk! What was I saying? Oh, yeah, Ted Kord has been AWOL from comics ever since his brains met the tile floor in Dracula’s castle, unless you count that fake Ted Kord that showed up in Manhunter to boost sales enough to keep the title afloat until the next threat of cancellation and gimmick save. But is Ted really dead?

Well, yeah, stupid, he got shot in the head. But some fellow Blue Beetle lover with a penchant for video decided to honor Ted’s legacy by making some YouTube flicks. Here’s my favorite, in which Blue Beetle and fellow also-ran Booster Gold lecture a couple of kids.

Book of Doom: Wonder Woman #9

Welcome to this week’s edition of our weekly roundtable discussion of the newest issue of Wonder Woman, a tie-in to the current big event Amazons Attack! This week, the Legion is joined by special guest reviewer The Fortress Keeper from The Fortress of Fortitude. Overall, the issue seems to have caught all of us off guard, since it was fairly confusing and, for the most part, not a lot of us read Wonder Woman or keep up to date on her current status.

For a quick background, the general idea is that Wonder Woman was falsely imprisoned by an impostor posing as her friend, Sarge Steel. She was interrogated primarily about her knowledge of the Amazonian weapon The Purple Death Ray. Kinda lame? Check. Kinda boring? Check. Somebody gonna overreact to this? Check-a-rooni. The Amazons launch a full-fledged assault on the nation’s capital, starting in issue one of Amazons Attack. In case you missed that issue, not a whole lot happened. The Amazon army amassed itself in DC, and Wonder Woman’s mom (?) chopped the head off the Lincoln Memorial statue. That brings about a really good question, actually. Why Lincoln? His most notable legacy is that he fought hard to free the slaves. He was a thoughtful, honest president who worked hard in the name of civil liberties. Shouldn’t the Amazons applaud a figure such as that? I mean, why not go after the Jefferson Monument? He cheated on his wife. Oh, wait, because nobody cares about the Jefferson Monument. My point is, the Amazons aren’t exactly rational characters. The problem is that they’re not written as intentionally irrational. They just are. Kinda like my girlfriend! Oh, snap!

Anyway, in this issue, we get a bit more of the attacking, plus the brief appearances of a few other superheroes, and a whole lot of non-explaining explanation. Oh, and a bad joke regarding blowing up a penis-looking monument. Lame.

Part of me thinks that I should be offended by how they characterize women in this issue, or, more to the point, how men treat the women in this issue, and the other part of me thinks that I should simply ignore all of that and be more offended by the fact that this issue is simply bad. This whole “event” is. It’s convoluted nonsense, and it’s neither compelling nor entertaining. It’s insulting.

I’m done with it, as far as I’m concerned.

But, before I go thinking that I have the last word, let’s see what everybody else has to say: (more…)

I swear this isn’t just to get more “When Fangirls Attack” hits

Most of this is somewhat old news in the rapid world of the internet, but there’s so many different versions of this same issue popping up in the past few weeks, I think it’s worth collecting just to see how publishers are repeating themselves.

I normally skip everything I ever see regarding statues of comic characters. I cannot imagine a scenario in which I would spend money on one of those things. However, a recent statue of Mary Jane bending over and doing laundry has gotten a lot of attention, even in the New York Post, to the point where it was virtually impossible to not read something having to do with at least this statue. And again, while I care not-at-all about these things, this particular one has brought up some intelligent discussion about the role of sexuality in the marketing of comics (see I Think, Therefore I Man: Pretending to be Offended at I Against Comics has a lengthy, but worth-reading reaction to Adam Hughes’ response to the controversy. Gotta love when the predator acts like the victim.

Designated Sidekick has a breakdown of the sexism in the recently released Heroes for Hire #13 cover, while Lea Hernandez addresses the tentacle rape and pearl necklace in her Open Letter to Joe Quesada. Roar of Comics addresses it all in Why the Cover for Heroes for Hire #13 is Wrong.

And this is definitely the oldest of the batch, but Paper Ghost is worth a few more reads regarding the mess with Michael Turner’s ridiculous depiction of Power Girl. First we have DCs Diversity and Equality Vs Tits McGee, and in I Invade Brad Meltzer’s Blog and Everybody Dies, the ghost takes us to Brad Meltzer’s myspace blog where he posts

What’s the point of making claims for sophistication, intelligence and all the other stuff that gets wheeled out for something like Identity Crisis, only to let your cover artist come up with something so amazingly insulting that it almost defies description?

On the one hand, you have people writing DC Nation columns wondering where all the women readers are.

On the other, you have garbage like this sitting on the cover of your all-grown-up-now comic. I’d love to know how many women working at DC have rolled their eyes at this one.

and the Meltzer / Turner groupies try their best not to get tangled up in their own ridiculous “logic.”

Obviously reasonable people can disagree with some aspects of these issues, but one cannot escape the irony in comics publishers bemoaning the tiny number of female readers while continuing to produce material that is clearly targeting self-pleasuring males through the ridiculous objectification of women.

Related link: Manstream Comics Awards