Monthly archives: February, 2008

Countdown to Final Crisis: Twelve

countdown 12Hi, everybody! Wow, time flies when nothing’s happening, eh? It seems like only yesterday when comics fans across the country were starting to realize that Countdown was absolutely worthless, and, now, here we are. This series sure has come a long way.

It’s been a long and winding road, with plenty of crossovers to this big super event. Crossovers like “Death of the New Gods,” which has been pretty bad; or “Salvation Run,” which has been stupid and annoying; or “Countdown Presents: Search for Ray Palmer,” which was completely pointless; or “Countdown Presents: Lord Havok and the Extremists,” which has been so stupid looking that I haven’t even picked up a single copy; or “Countdown to Mystery,” “Countdown to Adventure,” and “Countdown Arena,” which have all competed for most pointlessly God-awful mini-series of the past decade. So much has happened over the past nine months!

Psyche! Nothing’s happened. At all. (more…)

Words of wisdom from Mark Millar

Say what you will about Mark Millar, but a whole lot of people (including virtually all comics readers) would benefit by following his advice in the recent Marvel “Look Who’s Talking” Q&A column.

[The original 102-issue Stan Lee and Jack Kirby run on Fantastic Four] has influenced us enormously in the sense that we’re never referring to them even once. Why? Because the lesson we’ve hopefully learned from the Lee and Kirby run is to do comics our own way.

The Doomino Effect for the week of Jan 30, 2008

Doom doom doom, doomy doom doom doom. Doom doom!

First up is Action Comics #861, chapter four of Superman’s field trip to the 31st century with the Legion of Super-Heroes. We find out right away that Brainiac was role-playing as a human-hater because it was all part of his plan to save Earth. Unnnnnnnfortunately, the Coluans figured that out a little too soon!

Not only do we see some tension within the Justice League, as Deformed Roy gets shot down by Spider-Girl, hinting at a time when not everything was xenophobically perfect, but interpersonally it might’ve been better. We see how the attempts at revising history are working on Earth and how they’re viewed beyond.

And speaking of revising history, we also are treated to the revelation that this iteration of the LoSH is the same one that appeared in The Lightning Saga. With so many versions of the Legion and its affiliates appearing in the DCU these days, it’s nice to know that at least two of them line up. So one is led to believe that The Lightning Saga was part one of this bigger story, this is part two, and there’s something bigger coming up.

Geoff Johns is noticeably absent from Countdown and Final Crisis, so I wonder if whatever this “something bigger” is will have large-scale ramifications in Infinite Crisis fashion or more like The Sinestro Corps War. And man, Gary Frank draws really ugly kids.

Speaking of characters crossing over with implications for big crossovers, that leads me to Daredevil #104. The guy behind the counter at the comic book store read my mind and spoke my language when he said “Brubaker’s first arc was amazing, probably even a step up from where Bendis left, but it really kind of tapered off after that.”

He said that to let me know that he thought this issue of Daredevil restored his faith. It is subject to the previous transition due to The Hood’s appearance. He popped in a few issues ago, but he plays slightly more than a cameo role here, taking the upper hand against Mr. Fear, who has the upper hand on Daredevil. That’s like double upper hands against Double-D, and when Matt Murdock’s life is crazy and out of control, that’s usually when this book is most fun.

Not to mention that, in spite of how little I know about The Hood and Mr. Fear, pretty much any villains are going to be cooler than The Matador and Melvin the Gladiator. I also found myself kind of feeling for Matt and Milla the couple, which is good for me as a reader, because lately I’ve just been waiting for Milla to get killed or disappear or something. But now, I’m like “Man, that sucks. Won’t you jerks just leave these two lovebirds alone?”

New Theory: The island is in the Mojoverse!

I can’t be the only one that noticed the Oceanic Airlines advertisements in this week’s Marvel comics. There was one ad on top of a cab in Daredevil, and there was another one behind Apocalypse in Ultimate X-Men. Those things looked so out of place that they were pretty much all I could focus on in those pages.

OceanicI don’t really undertsand why they’re there, though. Viewers of Lost certainly know the name Oceanic Airlines, but does anyone else? What’s the point in having this sort of viral marketing when the only people you’re marketing to are the people that are already part of your market?

So I got to thinking, maybe this isn’t something planned with the guys at Lost at all. Maybe this is Marvel’s new attempt to be hip and cool by associating themselves with the hip and cool TV show of the moment. They have “Colbert ’08” signs in the background sometimes, too.

Regardless of whether or not this is a cross-promotion or a cheap pop culture reference, it’s annoying. The Oceanic Airlines images stick out like a sore thumb, because they’re computer-generated images layed over hand-drawn artwork. That crisp, clean logo just doesn’t look right on top of a expertly-rendered taxi. Now that I’m looking at the final page of Ultimate X-Men again, it turns out there’s not one, not two, but three Lost references in that one splash page.

If an artist decided to drawn in a reference to one of their favorite TV shows (or whatever) every so often, I’d have no problem with it. Sometimes those sort of Easter eggs can be kind of fun. But when it’s obviously forced in there by editorial, and it happens more than once a week (and especially if it’s more than once a page), that’s just stupid.

Too Many Cooks…

There’s a misguided notion in Hollywood among some circles that bigger is better. The more supervillains you can pack into a big budget summer superhero blockbuster, the more excitement will be generated. If Batman has to overcome not one, not two, but three villains in his new installment of his megapopular franchise, he’ll look like an even bigger hero than in the last movie, when he had his hands full with just one! Right?

No, I’m sorry, that’s wrong. Any time you put more than one main villain in a superhero movie, you’ve given yourself the proverbial kiss of death.

With reboots of failed franchises all the rage these days in Hollywood – – reboots toward simpler times, with less villains, focused more on what makes the heroes tick – – it’d be easy to think that maybe the trend has stopped. After all, in Batman Begins, the main villain was Ra’s al Ghul, and the Scarecrow merely served as his henchman. Falcone was a dying remnant of the old Gotham that Batman cleaned up, once and for all. One main villain, tons of focus on the hero. Great movie.

With Superman Returns, you had Lex Luthor, and only Lex Luthor, to fight the Man of Steel, rather than the last time we saw him on film, when he faced off against Luthor and some stupid clone of himself. These newer movies were each a return to form (Superman Returns still sucked, though), pared down to what made the characters iconic in the first place. (more…)