Monthly archives: September, 2007

Book of Doom: Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents Parallax

parallaxThe Sinestro Corps War had a ton of momentum heading out of the over-sized one-shot that started the whole thing. It had the return of Superboy-Prime and the Anti-Monitor, the attack on Oa and the possession of Kyle Rayner by Parallax. Since then it’s kind of gone downhill. For a few months now the crossover has just been the Green Lantern Corps vs. the Sinestro Corp, with the big guns sitting on the sidelines, and Kyle Rayner isn’t even Parallax in half the books he shows up in anymore. It’s hard to see this story as a bid deal if it can be ignored in the build-up to the next “big deal.”

Tales of the Sinestro Corps: Parallax didn’t really do anything to help that. At the beginning of the issue, Kyle’s trapped in his own brain while Parallax has control of his body, and at the end of the story, the status quo is exactly the same. Except now we know Kyle’s not too fond of having his body possessed and is attempting to fight against Parallax’s influence. Which is exactly what anyone who’s not a complete idiot would have assumed was going on.

Maybe I would have liked this issue a little more if I was a bigger fan of Kyle Rayner. But I bought this issue hoping for a story about Parallax, not the Whiniest Green Lantern Who Ever Lived. But the Kyle-era of Green Lantern came before I started reading DC comics, and now there’s three other GLS from Sector 2814 I’d prefer to read about any day of the week.

Now let’s seem what other members of the Legion had to say about the issue: (more…)

Worst to First: 9/19/07

There are times when I just really wonder why I still buy single issues. Take this week. Five books. $18. Enjoyment? Not so much. I guess you have to have a dud every now and then.

So, who’s excited for some reviews? No one? Back of the class? Guess not.

Worst: Madman #4

Sheesh. I can’t believe I just typed that.

When I went into the shop this week I saw that Madman Gargantua had finally come out, and I thought about how great it would be to buy that sucker and enjoy me some Frank Einstein zaniness. Then I remembered a new issue came out. Sadly, the trend of this series not being very good just continues.

The chief problem here is not so much that the book takes place in Madman’s head, but that it really takes place in Allred’s head. It’s like a theoretical comic book, with no attachment or relevance to reality. It reminds me of that movie Waking Life, with pretty animation and deep discussions but no story. Quick lesson: stories make comics good.

Turn for the worse: The Programme #3

If it wasn’t bad enough that this Cold War-resumed noir thriller storyline decided to just spin its tires for an issue, couple that with a rare off performance from artist C.P. Smith and you’ve just got a shoulder-shrugger of an issue.

On the plus side, the cliffhanger of an ending has a ton of promise. Here’s hoping…

Yawn: Iron Fist #7

This issue came out a while back, but I’d missed it so I decided to pick it up. I thought it was strange, though, that I couldn’t remember missing an issue. That’s because this is a standalone, and a completely irrelevant one at that.

The much ballyhooed lady pirate story (yeah, I did some of the ballyhooing) is played less fun that it could’ve been (aside from a couple awkward humor insertions) and is just generally innocuous if mildly interesting. I wish I had my $3 back.

Big and mean: World War Hulk #4

For having only five issues, this event seems to be dragging on forever, even though I skipped the past two issues.

The fighting continues to be the draw here, with the great Doc Strange tilt and the gladiatorial fight at the end. JRJR continues to do a very good job with this book, which isn’t surprising, since it plays to his strengths.

The downside? Every scene not mentioned above (more…)

Doom and Doomer: Superman Doomsday

DOOM DELUISE: You didn’t think we could pass up doing a “Doom and Doomer” on a movie with Doom in the title, did you? Jim and I even sat through 75 minutes of this so we could bring you Doomkopf’s “Doomsday” Doom and Doomer.

Ok, to start off with, let me ask you, what were you expecting from this movie going into it?

JIM DOOM: I was expecting the Superman equivalent of “Mask of the Phantasm.”

DD: So you had the bar fairly high up. Did it live up to your expectations? What are your overall impressions of “Superman/Doomsday,” having just finished it no more than ten minutes ago?

JD: The bar was fairly high up, and the only way in which it came close to expectations was in the visuals.

I thought the movie itself sucked, and I think its major problem was in not knowing who its audience was. It seemed like it was trying to be all “adult” with the cussing and the very graphic violence, but the drama and emotions were roughly at the level of Alvin and the Chipmunks.

DD: I’m confused. I was quite moved when Alvin made the owner guy angry. Almost to tears, actually.

JD: This movie also almost moved me to tears. And Superman, much like Simon, wears an S on his chest.

However, this movie lacked an Alvin, a Theodore, and a Dave.

And a good plot.

DD: Y’see, my thoughts going into this movie were that the scope of it was simply too big. From what I knew, which wasn’t much, I thought they were going to try to take on the entire Death of Superman, Funeral for a Friend, and Rise of the Supermen story-arc, which, thankfully, they kind of streamlined.

The only problem in the streamlining is that they ignored any sorts of plot development and characterization and dramatic dialogue in favor of having nearly 65 minutes of fighting and five minutes of Lex Luthor plotting, with about another five left over for Lois to feel bad and Jimmy to sell out.

JD: I did think they did a decent job in figuring out ways to eliminate those parts of the comic book story that would’ve just required tons of explanation. The streamlining – at least on paper – seemed to at least be moving in the right direction.

DD: Exactly.

JD: But yeah, it was just tons of fighting and I got really, really tired of it.

And it was just one of those movies that you couldn’t think too hard about, otherwise it would all come crashing down. And whenever you have a story that fragile, you just can’t get emotionally invested in it.

Batman Mask of the Phantasm showed that you can make a cartoon that’s also a really good movie. Superman Doomsday seemed to kind of fall back on the idea “Oh, we’re a cartoon, so we can take all these shortcuts…”

“But we’ll say damn, hell and ass and have people’s necks get snapped and get shot in the face so that we seem all mature.”

DD: Yeah, when Lex shot that girl in the face, it got me to thinking, which, like you said, is something you really can’t do with this movie. What did he do after killing his assistant? Hire another assistant to clean up the body and then kill them, only to hire another to clean up that body?

Time For Another Go?

New Avengers 35I don’t like Brian Michael Bendis.

That’s the conclusion I’ve come to after reading my fair share of Bendis comics. There’s only one thing he’s done that I outright hated (Avengers: Disassembled), but there’s only one thing he’s done that I really enjoyed (The Pulse). Everything else of his that I’ve read falls somewhere between dislike and indifference. So I’ve just stopped buying anything with “Bendis” on the cover.

Problem is, I really like the Avengers. The Avengers was one of my favorite comics for about a decade, but once Bendis took over I hit the trail. I haven’t bought a single issue of New Avengers or Mighty Avengers (although I did read a couple of Jim Doom’s Civil War issues) since they started, but now I’m being tempted to pick up an issue.

Mark Bagley, one of my all-time favorite artists, will soon be taking over the art duties on Mighty Avengers. Leinel Yu’s on New Avengers now and I really enjoy his art, even if I do complain about it from time to time here on Both titles seem to be leading into next summer’s big mega-crossover, Super Secret Skrull Invasion, which I’ll almost certainly end up buying despite it being written by Bendis. And I’ve been hearing very good things about New Avengers lately.

But I’m wondering, is there really any point? (more…)

Book of Doom: Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents Parallax

The initial solicitations for this book were secretive, showing a white space where we now know Kyle Rayner flies at our faces.

DC would obviously not want to ruin a suspenseful reveal, you know, like maybe having Kyle Rayner show up in Countdown, apparently having gotten better.

But regardless, it’s our Book of Doom, and here’s the completely vague preview copy, courtesy of DC:

Written by Ron Marz; Art by Adriana Melo and Marlo Alquiza; Cover by Mike McKone and Andy Lanning

Get ready for a new series of specials focusing on members of the Sinestro Corps and tying into the “Sinestro Corps War” crossover!

DC Universe | 32pg. | Color | $2.99 US

Look at that – it’s a special first issue of a miniseries and they’re only charging $2.99. LOSERS.

It’s our first Book of Doom in four weeks that didn’t cost $3.99, so pocket that extra buck and join us back here on Saturday for our roundtable review.

That’s how you start a team

The first collection of the new Justice Society of America came out this week, and a review copy sent over from DC gave me the push I’ve been needing to finally check out this book.

To be honest, it’s really the push I needed to check out the team. For whatever reason, I’ve just never had any interest in the JSA. I carry very little affection or nostalgia for old comics, mostly because I wasn’t alive when they came out and most of those books are just terrible. This is all to say that I carried a lot of baggage into this reading.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketI’ll spare you the suspense: I liked this book. A lot, actually. It did just about everything right as far as the introductory issue, and things kept pumping along from there. That’s a pretty strong contrast to that other J-A book DC publishes. A while back, I gave a probably overly forgiving review to JLA: The Tornado’s Path, which served as the jump start to that book. Comparing that now with the JSA offers a great example for how to write comics, and how to become the bane of fanboys.

Move fast

We’ve heard all the jokes already about Brad Meltzer spending 28 (or so) issues of the big three sitting around, sorting through possible JLA members. In the first issue of JSA, Geoff Johns has his team completely set and joined together, and he also carries on a whole sub plot that turns a complete arc, from hero seeking revenge to hero’s death. Whizz-bang is what that is.

Introduce the cast

It’s sort of a cheap and easy ploy, but it was nice that JSA started with quick bios of the characters, making it easy to leave exposition out of the story and still keep newbies like myself up to speed. Somehow, even working with a much more familiar cast, Meltzer managed to throw in so many vague references that even seasoned DCers were left scratching their… uh… whatever DC readers scratch. (more…)

Countdown: Thirty-Two

countdown 32Countdown sucks, right? Ok, that’s out of the way. There’s a moment in this issue that really annoyed the hell out of me, so I’d like to take a minute to talk about it before we actually get into the down-and-dirty of what “happens” through the rest of this little rag. Here’s what it is: At Black Canary’s bachelorette party, which takes place at a male strip club, Supergirl and Wonder Girl (not Liberty Belle, as the cover would suggest) are given the task of making sure that everybody has a full glass of booze. Wonder Girl decides this means that they’re allowed to drink, as well, even though they’re under age, and attempts to pour a couple extra drinks. Wonder Woman steps in and says, “Oh, no. Bad enough we’ve exposed you to this sexist objectification, but neither of you is old enough to drink!”

This coming from the woman depicted on the cover of this issue as having jugs bigger than her head (that’s each jug, mind you). We all know that women are shown as sexual objects pretty much nonstop in comic books these days, but there’s always been that hope, in the back of my mind, that women were only so heavily objectified by mistake. After all, men are shown as big muscle-bound meatheads, so maybe having women shown as giant breasted pieces of ass was just some sort of default mentality that the workers in comic books cling to. That hope is no longer possible. It’s been destroyed with one simple line. The first time that I’ve ever seen a man sexually objectified in a comic book, and one of the characters points it out with disdain. Blind are the eyes turned as Zatanna more or less flops her breasts out of her top, revealing that she’s not even wearing a bra. Nobody seems to notice or care on the very next page, when Supergirl is pouring a drink out onto the floor, that it appears as though Supergirl’s not even wearing a skirt at all, and that her tits hang down freely nearly the equivalent of what would be about five inches. Every single woman in this issue, from Barbara Gordon to Lois Lane to Eclipso to Mary Marvel, Lady Blackhawk, Serling Roquette (head of genetics for Project Cadmus), to the ever-present-on-this-list Power Girl is reduced to nothing more than a piece of sexual objectification, and the only time anybody says a goddamn thing is when some dude jumps up on stage. Were the writers going for irony? Is this some kind of joke? I really don’t give a shit about sexual objectification, but I draw a line at double standards. This series has passively sucked now for nearly twenty issues, but this is the first time that I’ve ever seen it actively pissing me the hell off.

I digress.

Let’s talk about everything else that happened. Mary Marvel was offered tutilage from some creepy little bastard last week, and this week, she closes the glass lid over the big red button and says, “NO DEAL!” She smacks the guy up a bit, hears that voice that’s been stalking her and meets up with the owner of that voice at the issue’s end. For those of you who are just joining the party or who couldn’t remember the mystery woman’s name, it’s revealed to be Eclipso. Hurray.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Olsen meets with some people in Project Cadmus.

Most of the story takes place at the bachelorette party that I was just talking about, though. Piper and Trickster evade the big mummy, who enters the strip club and gets attacked by all the sluts in attendance, including Big Barda, who they’re trying to keep shrouded in mystery for some reason by not showing her face.

The Challengers from Beyond (or whatever they’re called), however, are still in pursuit of Ray Palmer, traveling through the Multiverse. They skip through Superman Red Son’s Earth and then pop in to Earth-3, where the good guys are bad. Man, this shit’s just so exciting, they should be given their own series.

That’s all for this week. What, were you expecting more? This series is terrible, man.

10 things you might not know about the Death of Superman

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Last night, I sat down to watch the new Superman/Doomsday animated movie (thanks, Warner Bro’s, for the review copy) and was actually even more sucked in by the bonus documentary about the death of Supes in the funny books. I doubt that anything said by Mike Carlin, Jerry Ordway and the like was especially revelatory, but there were a few things that I’d never heard before. Here are the 10 most pertinent:

Dan Jurgens has perfectly parted hair

Both in the archive footage and now, Jurgens just has this impeccable part to his hair. I wonder if he spends hours on it every morning or if it’s so well trained he just wakes up and it pops into place.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIt was all Teri Hatcher’s fault

Well, her and Dean Cain. Apparently the Superman comic editorial folks had completely planned out a year’s worth of stories leading up to the Clark and Lois wedding. Except Lois and Clark was on TV at the time and they were planning a wedding. In a move of corporate brilliance, the comic book folks were told they couldn’t have a wedding until the TV one had happened. Back to the drawing board…

“Let’s just kill ’em”

There was a running gag in Superman editorial that whenever they were hard up for ideas, they just said, “Let’s just kill ’em.” Since they were really desperate, they decided to go for it.

Doomsday was originally called “Bone Face McGrew”

Not really. Just making sure you’re paying attention. (more…)

The Doomino Effect for the week of September 12, 2007

I sit here on the couch as my wife watches “Bring it On…Yet Again,” so what better time to get out this week’s comics and line them up, doomino style.

Speaking of bringing it on yet again, we’ll start off with Justice League of America Wedding Special #1, in which the villains of the DC universe have united to take out the good guys…yet again. Sort of like they did in Villains United, Infinite Crisis and Justice. You’d think the good people at DC would wait more than a year from the end of one of those stories before recycling it. Oh wait, maybe the creation of New Earth wiped those stories from existence, so all the villains don’t know that they just did this.

And maybe New Earth is to blame for the sudden shift in Lex Luthor’s personality. I mean, one of the intriguing things about Luthor is that he was able to always convince himself that he was saving humanity – working for the greater good. He’s never been so shallow and one-dimensional as to just be “We is bad guys, we be bad, take over world, blah blah blah.”

And what is with New Earth being the stomping ground for some of the stupidest ideas from Saturday morning cartoons? First they stick the Hall of Justice in Washington DC straight out of the Super Friends, and now the bad guys seriously have a Hall of Doom IN A SWAMP? I mean come on! I understand that everyone is nostalgic for stuff they liked in their childhood, but why do the readers have to suffer through it? I thought the stupid Darth Vader helmet in the swamp was stupid when I was a kid, when I wasn’t paying $3.99 a week.

But hey, I can be expected to pay $3.99 since this was a SUPER SPECIAL WEDDING ISSUE instead of just being JLA #13 like it should have been.

On a Tangent

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketIt’s been 10 years since DC launched the alterna-verse Tangent Comics, and using the same logic that brought the execrable Onslaught Reborn, that means it’s time for a good dusting off, right?

And that’s how I came to read Tangent Comics: Vol. 1, which came out recently, collecting the first issues of The Atom, The Flash, Green Lantern, Metal Men and Sea Devils. I had missed these issues the first time around, during my late-1990s sabbatical from comics, so it was a good chance to catch up.

Here’s the grist: Dan Jurgens wanted to imitate Julius Schwartz and reimagine DC’s premier heroes in a totally different way, retaining only their names. The Atom became a guy with amazing atomic powers (like Firestorm, but less stupid-looking and annoying), The Flash became a sassy young woman with light powers, Green Lantern became a sassy young woman with supernatural powers, The Joker became a sassy young woman with unknown powers. Huh, see a pattern?

I figured I wouldn’t much care for the issues, and some of them were pretty awful. Jurgens’ attempt to write young woman dialogue seemed to be based entirely on Clueless and the like. It’s painful, and drags down an otherwise fun story that seems like a precursor of Dan Slott’s run on She-Hulk.

Everything else is entertaining if fairly predictable. These comics do have a very nice quality, however, in that they’re very age-appropriate for younger readers, something you can’t say about many books out there. And younger readers probably won’t be so concerned about script quality and clarity as a grizzled old bum like myself.

The real draw here, though, is the same thing that makes old crap like Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus worth a read. With DC’s recent devotion to the company’s past, we’re seeing this historic flotsam and jetsom become crucial to ongoing continuity. Look no further than the return of Granny Goodness, for Pete’s sake.

It was only after I read this book that I realized the Tangent U showed up in Infinite Crisis (and apparently also in the is-anybody-reading-this Ion). I still wonder why the heck the editorial staff went that route, but at least I’m no longer confused. I guess.

The Tangent heroes are also rumored to take a part in Final Crisis, which should coincide with the release of the second Tangent collection in early spring.

The last thing I should mention is how surprised I was to read Sea Devils, which has the adventure group as literal fish people, the result of an atomic explosion over the Gulf of Mexico. All the sea-bottom characters are dead ringers for the cast of Aquaman post-Infinite Crisis. I started to wonder if maybe the new Aquaman was actually taking place in the Tangent Universe, or maybe had been transported from there. Of course, both those series were written by Kurt Busiek, so maybe he just wanted to bring back some old ideas from a failed enterprise…