Monthly archives: October, 2007

Review: DC’s Infinite Halloween Special

DOOM NOTE: By the time this week’s Doomino Effect rolls around, Halloween will be long gone. There’s enough to talk about with this book – and still a few hours left in the day – so here’s what will likely be a one-time only single issue review.

I’m a big fan of short stories – two of my most often-read books are my collections of Edgar Allan Poe and O Henry stories – and so I tend to enjoy it when comics creators take on the genre. And it’s probably the oral tradition of ghost stories, but there’s something about Halloween that makes it especially suited for brief tales.

I was originally planning on skipping the Infinite Halloween Special for several reasons: 1. It’s $5.99. 2. It’s continued exploitation of terminology such as “Crisis” and “Infinite.” 3. I think it was Dan DiDio’s idea. And 4. I’ve been getting pretty burned out on comics lately, largely due to what I perceive as slipping quality.

But upon seeing that it was 13 stories, I decided to flip open the cover to the table of contents and see what caught my eye. Creators like Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, Paul Dini, Kelley Jones, Tony Bedard, Jon Bogdanove, Steve Seagle and Mark Waid were enough for me to give this a chance.

And while it wasn’t a complete home-run, overall, I’m really glad I bought it and I think it’s worth the surprisingly high price tag.

There are some duds and groaners. In spite of the disappointment that is Countdown, I still hoped Paul Dini’s story would be great. It’s not. I’m not sure why they let David Arquette write a story; maybe that justified drawing his “Scream” character? Dan DiDio’s story was really lame; capping off a “scary” story with a flop of a punch line is pretty much a 100% guaranteed way to craft a bomb.

But what was good was really good. Abnett and Lanning’s bookends that set the stage were beautifully rendered by Trevor Hairsine and Kevin Conrad. I’m not familiar with those guys by name, but those pages looked fantastic. Kelley Jones’ art made the return to the “Red Rain” universe probably more exciting and dramatic than it might have been in less capable and imaginative hands. Mark Waid’s Flash story wasn’t particularly scary, but it was handled delicately enough to be a nice touching tale.

One of my favorite chapters was “World’s Shoddiest: The Light Kday Returns!” by Jon Bogdanove – an ironic Halloween favorite considering it made me repeatedly laugh out loud. My personal winner, though, was Tony Bedard’s Aquaman story. There’s something about coastal New England that’s already eerie to me – old lighthouses, rocky cliffs, sea legends, junk like that. Bedard tapped into that just enough to give his story some extra creepiness so that for me, it was the most satisfying Halloween story.

Like I said before, overall, it’s a definite thumbs-up. Even the ill-conceived zombie story was saved by some beautifully painted artwork. Some of the stories struggled, but the overarching concept was solid and fun, and it’s nice to see some purposeful attempts at keeping comics short stories alive.

And in more Halloween news, has been updated…

The Doomino Effect for the week of October 24, 2007

I have to confess, I haven’t done the Doomino Effect in a while.

Actually, I probably don’t even need to confess. The fact that there weren’t any Doomino Effects on this site the past few weeks pretty much points a finger at me.

I’m not a big fan of “Sorry I haven’t posted more!” posts, unless they actually come with more content, which is what this is. But to be very honest, I’ve been losing a lot of enthusiasm for comics in general. There’s a lot about the industry that reminds me of when I lost interest the first time around. There are special variant covers that exist for no reason (i.e. the “zombie” variant); there are series and miniseries devoted to the most tangential characters that really no one asked for (i.e. “Metamorpho: Year One”); along those lines, publishers seem to be cranking out series after series with some kind of frantic anxiety, as if there’s some set date in the future after which no more comics may be sold (i.e. “Countdown,” “Countdown to Adventure,” “Countdown to Something Else,” “Countdown to Mystery,” etc.).

However, this past week wasn’t so bad. I’ve trimmed back my selections in the past few months, and this week, I lucked out with a pretty pleasing crop of books.

I’ll start out with Green Arrow: Year One #6. I couldn’t segue into this as the first book, because it was actually not pleasing. This series quickly unraveled when it became entirely dependent upon ridiculously convenient coincidences. It started out reasonably strong, but it just really petered out. And this is a shining example of one of the things I was mentioning before.

This series didn’t need to happen. There was no greater context with some kind of hood of ambiguity concealing the details, and here comes GAYO to shed some light. It was just a series thrown out there to cash in on Green Arrow.

Something like this needs to be really good. It must be a story that needs to be told, because otherwise you’re left with what we now have: a character as important to the DC Universe as Green Arrow with a really lame origin. Sure, it’s largely based on previous versions of his origin, but the details – you know, those little things that make a character who he really is – reek of amateurishness.

If the secret to all the Crisis events is that every character has a new origin which needs to be retold in a new miniseries, I have a feeling that’ll backfire eventually. It actually made me stop liking one of my favorite characters.

So one of my favorite characters now has a really lame origin. And not coincidentally, I haven’t been picking up the new Green Arrow & Black Canary series, even though just a few short months ago, I was really bummed that Green Arrow was being canceled. Great work there, DC.

Book of Doom: Justice Society of America #10

Last I knew, Earth-2 Superman was dead – a victim of Infinite Crisis, and more specifically, Superboy-Prime’s fists.

But if the past year or so of DC Comics has taught us anything, it’s that what was old is new again, and what happened as a result of Infinite Crisis apparently doesn’t really matter because writers can just change it if they want to (see Doom DeLuise’s Countdown recaps for plenty of evidence).

But one of the few places where I’m seeing this obsession with the past done well is in the hands of Geoff Johns over in the Sinestro Corps War, and so I think I speak for the Legion when I say that I hope Johns handles this like his respectful, if not recycled, work on Green Lantern, as opposed to Dwayne McDuffie’s “Super Friends” obsession over on Justice League of America or Paul Dini’s aforementioned weekly turd, Countdown.

As always, join us again on Saturday, as the shrinking Legion takes on Justice Society of America #10!

Written by Geoff Johns and Alex Ross; Art by Dale Eaglesham and Ruy Jose; Cover by Alex Ross; Variant cover by Eaglesham and Jose

Alex Ross joins Geoff Johns as co-writer for Part 1 of “Thy Kingdom Come,” the epic story years in the making, springing from KINGDOM COME! Not a hoax! Not a dream! Not an imaginary story! Welcome the newest member to the Justice Society of America: the Kingdom Come Superman!

Coming from an Earth plagued by heroes-gone-extreme, how will this Superman react to an incarnation of the Justice Society he never knew? This Superman’s world needed better heroes. So does ours.

Book of Doom: Foolkiller #1

For this week’s Book of Doom, I chose the first issue of the new Foolkiller mini-series. Overall, I liked it a great deal. I have two complaints, though, and they are significant. Let’s get those out of the way first. Number one, I don’t particularly care for “edgy” comic books. The only difference between this issue and any regular comic book of the same nature is that this one has gratuitous swearing and gore. The gore is really quite repulsive, actually, and quite unnecessary. I don’t normally get grossed out, but the shit’s just sick in some spots. My other main complaint is the price-tag. I’m sick and tired of comics costing $3.99 for no good reason.

Still, though, I’ve been a big fan of the Foolkiller for awhile now. He’s goofy and campy and fun, in a depraved sort of way. Hopefully we’ll see more of that in the next few issues. More fun, less gore. I’m really holding out any judgment on the series until we hear the Foolkiller talk a little bit. If the writer is able to create the same sort of insanely fun character as from the early ’90s “Foolkiller,” I’ll be more than happy to stick around, even if the price tag is a bit much.

What’s everybody else have to say? Let’s let Fin Fang Doom weigh in first: (more…)

Return of “Why So Serious?”

Months ago, when the first teaser image of the Joker from the new “Dark Knight” movie hit the internet, it hit on the website The site then basically shut down for several months, until just recently, when the static black background was replaced with an image of a freshly carved jack-o-lantern. The eyes look like Batman’s eyes, and the mouth is, obviously, shaped like the Bat signal. Over the past couple of weeks, the candle has started to burn lower and lower, and, just today, the pumpkin has started to show serious (ha!) signs of decay. Who knows what it will look like in six days, when All Hallow’s Eve hits? Keep yourself up-to-date at the above link.

Until then, here’s the shape it’s currently in:

Book of Doom: Foolkiller #1

foolkillerI know that a lot of you are thinking the same thing: Foolkiller? Seriously? Yes, seriously.

Foolkiller had a prior mini-series that ran in the early 1990’s, and I recently became a big fan after picking up all eight issues for a buck or so on Free Comic Book Day last year. The gist is that the Foolkiller is a down-on-his-luck guy who can’t stand the idea of foolish behavior around him, whether that be in the form of violent behavior, foolish celebrities, or simple old hypocrisy. He works at a fast-food joint called “Burger Clown,” works out in garbage (one exercise is punching himself in the face repeatedly to understand how it feels), and has a diary that serves as narrator throughout. Its tone is eerily similar to that of Rorschach’s diary in “Watchmen.”

Flash forward some twenty-five years later, and somebody saw the need for wheeling this old campy piece of trash back into an all-new mini-series. Perhaps we’ll get an all-new protagonist. Last we saw of the old Foolkiller (who wasn’t even the original), he had moved overseas and scarred his face with acid to avoid being found.

I’m hoping it’ll be fun. Join us back here in a couple days and we’ll discuss it.

Here’s what Marvel has to say about it:

Los Angeles Times best-selling author Gregg Hurwitz (The Crime Writer) and Lan Medina (Punisher) bring you a gritty, no-holds barred crime thriller! Move over Frank Castle, there’s a new vigilante in town. When the Foolkiller strikes, the
punishment fits the crime. It’s a grand display for all to see, the truth in all its brutal glory, our hidden secrets gutted and turned inside out for the front pages. A vigilante artist, a madman performer, the Foolkiller has been brutally introduced to the human joke, and he wants to make sure fools everywhere take note. What he reveals may not be what you want to see. Or what you want to admit. But he makes one thing certain: If you’re a fool, you cannot hide.

Countdown: Twenty-Seven

countdown 27Holy heel-turn, Batman! I mean, Great Caesar’s Ghost, are you telling me something interesting and unexpected actually happened within the pages of Countdown? Are you telling me that a character did something really cool and totally…oh, wait, no, they spoiled it on the front cover, and the entire incident was out of character and completely lame. My bad!

We’ll get to that, though. Let’s go through this issue blow-by-blow and see what was good and what was the same. Wait, was there really something good this issue? You’ll have to read on to see for yourself. Spoiler alert: Probably not. This series has been bad since the first issue, and, if nothing else, I admire its consistency. It has not gotten even a little bit better, yet, oddly, it hasn’t really gotten much worse. It’s been steadily slightly less-than mediocre. Oh well. We’ll talk more after the nitty-gritty. (more…)

Many, Many More Days

Many More DaysWhile browsing today, I came upon an interesting bit of news: One More Day has been pushed back yet again. About a year ago, when the final arc of J. Michael Starcynski’s run on Amazing Spider-Man was announced, it was supposed to come out weekly in August. When it finally came time to solicit the issues, only half of the story was going to make it out in August (and it’s turns out only the first part shipped that month). Now, the fourth and final issue of the arc isn’t going to ship until the last week of December.

There’s only one reason this story is shipping late, and that reason is Joe Quesada. What can I say about Joe Quesada that I haven’t already said before? The only job he’s ever been good at is the conductor of the Marvel Hype Machine. He can’t draw worth a damn, and he can’t get books out on time, be they his or someone else’s. Now because of Joe Quesada, Marvel’s shipping at least a dozen fewer Spider-Man titles in 2007 than they would have otherwise. Bravo! Give that man a promotion! As long as it makes him stop doing what he is right now.

Book of Doom: Death of the New Gods #1

Death of the New Gods 1Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s Saturday already. What’s that you say? It’s Tuesday? I’m three days late posting this week’s (or last week’s, rather) Book of Doom? Nonsense. And besides, at least I’m not weeks behind like Doom DeLuise was with his Countdown reviews.

My self-imposed, Harry Potter-inspired exile from comics continues this week, aside from the weekly Book of Doom of course. And boy, Death of the New Gods #1 did not make me regret that decision one tiny bit.

As one might have guessed from the title, this issue featured the deaths of several New Gods. Like that one guy. And that other guy. And that guy who I think was a robot so I’m not sure it really counts. And sadly, Big Barda.

Of course, I’m really only saddened by the death of Barda because she had recently joined the Birds of
Prey, of which she can obviously no longer be a part. If it wasn’t for that small matter, I wouldn’t care at all that Barda had died.. In fact, I don’t think there’s a single New God that I would be terribly disappointed to see dead. Darkseid would come back, Mr. Miracle hasn’t been relevant in ages, and Orion’s a dick. No big loss in any case, if you ask me.

Come to think of it, I’m not sure why I ever thought I’d be interested in a book called Death of the New Gods. I don’t really care about the New Gods, so why would I care about them dying? Man, this was a bad choice for the Book of Doom. Maybe Jim Doom or Doom DeLuise enjoyed it (more…)

Countdown: Thirty through Twenty-Eight

countdown 30-28
To the untrained eye, it would seem as if I haven’t been keeping up with Countdown lately, either through lack of interest or laziness. But, to the eye that has brains, it would be obvious that Doom DeLuise always has a plan and never loses sight of the bigger picture. Since Countdown has been so dreadful since it started, with so little happening each issue, I decided to try a great experiment, whereby I’d wait several weeks before writing a recap, by which point there would perhaps be enough that had transpired for me to put together a full-length blog. I’m not sure if we’re quite there yet, but I decided that I should probably throw one together at this point, before I forget everything and/or lose the issues and/or sell this shit to some other sucker. So, without further adieu, let’s jump on into it. Warning: This series is terrible. (more…)