Monthly archives: March, 2008

The Doomino Effect for the week of March 12, 2008

March 12, the most recent comic book day, was my birthday. My wife took the day off to hang out with me, and one of the things to do on my list was go to the comic book store. I tried and I tried, and I could only find 3 comics I wanted to buy, but it turned out to be a very good week.

Even though Messiah Complex somehow left me not caring about it as much, I am still loyal to X-Factor and thus picked up X-Factor #29. I’m not sure why I’ve had such little interest in this book. I don’t even think it’s because of the PANS vs REMS battle looming in the background. There’s just something going on – likely related to my overall apathy toward comics in general – that made me not care to even open this book. In fact, it was the last of my three comics that I read this week.

Well guess what! I really liked it, and it got me excited about reading it again. And want to know the greatest irony? It was by bringing back one of the lamest villains EVER! Spoiler alert on, but the villain is ARCADE!!!! I even kind of suspected that early on, but thought to myself, “They wouldn’t bring him back — he’s just too lame.”

But part of what has made X-Factor so good in its 2-plus year run is Peter David’s ability to give the absurdity in these people’s lives some painfully real context. In fact, I might say that’s the single best thing about this book. This is a fairly ridiculous cast of characters going through almost Seinfeldianly bizarre situations and interactions, yet the stories remain firmly rooted in how these guys deal with them on a personal, emotional level.

Could there possibly be a better book in which to drop one of the most ridiculous comic book villains ever? The answer is no.

Speaking of potentially lame blasts from the past, that leads me to Mighty Avengers #10, in which Tony Stark, The Sentry and Doctor Doom have ended up in the ’60s, or sort of the ’60s, since the Marvel timeline seems to kind of constantly shift to where the real-life ’60s were always about 10 years ago. I think I even remember reading somewhere that that’s actually official.

The ol’ Mighty Avengers need to get a move on, because the delays in this title seem to be holding back the rest of the Secret Invasion. Issue #12 is supposed to come out in April. But I bet Mark Bagley’s a pretty good guy to have on pencils if you’re behind on a deadline. I’d never been a fan of his, actually stooping to the level of disliking his art at times, but he’s definitely a good fit for an action-packed superhero book.

Countdown to Final Crisis: Seven

countdown 7If the competition for the year’s worst cover were held today, friends, you’ve got your winner right there. An expressionless Kyle Rayner throws up the weakest Green Lantern force field ever made, as Superman cracks down on it with an angry left hand (though he looks more constipated than angry), Wonder Woman shatters it with her lasso (much to the surprise of a Donna Troy with some serious blower’s cramps), and Batman does his own damage with … purple pills?

Add to that the fact that what you see there on that cover doesn’t even come close to happening within the actual issue, and I’d say even Michael Turner should be safe this year. Plus, if you’re going to put big bold words on the cover that read, “Challenging the Justice League!” and then not include anything even remotely resembling a challenge to anybody in the issue, well, fuck, I don’t know what to say to you.

Enough about the cover, though. What actually happens on the inside? Well, all our main characters are back on Earth (but which one?). Holly and Harley head back to Gotham, Jason leaves the group, and everybody else heads to the Hall of Justice. Once they get there, the Justice League says, “We don’t know you! Who are you people?” Superman then starts flying toward them, and Firestorm teleports them all away.

Once away, Holly and Harley magically show up, along with Jimmy Olsen, and they all say the same thing. Nobody here knows them. What could possibly be the explanation? If only they’d been spending the past year traveling through the Multiverse, maybe they would realize there are lots of Earths out there with slightly subtle differences and then possibly they could think of some sort of a clue!

The bulk of this issue, however, is spent with the heroes arguing, again. Una wants to save Karate Kid, but Ray says it’s going to be nearly impossible. They eventually go to Cadmus, and they argue some more, until some guy with little horns (named Dubbilex) shows up and says, that, though he’d like to help, Karate Kid is already dead.

It’s funny how the big cliffhanger last week was Ray Palmer saying that they now had to decide whether or not to kill Karate Kid, but then they don’t really decide anything this week; they just keep arguing the same bullshit. And, then, whoops, too late; Karate Kid’s dead. Take that, Ralph Macchio!

I’ve seriously been waiting for the past forty-four weeks to make a bad Ralph Macchio joke.

Man, this thing just keeps amping up more and more! I’m so excited to see what happens next that I can barely even oh wait no I’m not.

The Doomino Effect for the week of March 5, 2008

This weekly review is going to end with a plea. So sit tight.

I didn’t do a Doomino Effect last week because Doom DeLuise started reviewing his weekly stash, and not only did he review every comic I bought last week, but I pretty much agreed with him. So in the interest of not making this site redundant, I just decided to ignore the comics I bought.

But speaking of Doom DeLuise’s reviews, that leads me to Logan #1, which cost $3.99. I didn’t realize that I spent $3.99 on it until reading his review. As he pointed out to me, the price is hidden on the back. Sneaky bastards.

I saw a few unfinished black and white versions of this comic sitting on the shelf beside the one I bought. Maybe Marvel only charged $2.99 for the ones they forgot to finish.

Anyway, it’s Wolverine in Japan in World War II. He’s probably going to get nuked. That’s novel, considering we’ve only seen Wolverine survive having his flesh blown off his body about 83 times in the past year.

I kind of feel like Brian K Vaughan is like the Neil Gaiman of the ’00s: he’s a multi-media crossover superstar writer, and he writes those comics that the hip non-comics readers are willing to read. Remember how in the ’90s, all the hip kids read Sandman and Neil Gaiman books of poetry or whatever? Ten years later, it’s Y: The Last Man and Lost, baby.

Failed analogy aside, I just didn’t feel as much from this book as I would’ve hoped, as is the case with nearly everything I’ve read by Vaughan. Risso’s art was nice, but I was actually more impressed with the watercolors that some people will miss out on. In spite of its stupid price, though, I will probably keep reading it because of my hopes for it.

I hope, I hope, I really really hope, that maybe this is supposed to be some kind of spiritual counterpart to the Chris Claremont / Frank Miller miniseries from the early ’80s. That book really helped define the modern Wolverine character, and with the way he appears in series like X-Force and New Avengers, I’m glad there’s something to remind us of the Logan guy behind the mask.

Seven Reviews for Seven Brothers – 03/05/08

To start with, let me just say that the reason that title is so ridiculous is because, to be honest with you, I couldn’t think of anything good. I bought seven comic books this week, and I’m writing seven reviews of those comics. Happy? Overall, it was a fairly off week. Either that, or I’ve become way too critical of superhero comic books. Whether it’s one or the other, I still disliked just about everything that came out. Let’s get to it, shall we? In no particular order:

cable 11. Cable #1.
First up, let’s laugh at that variant cover by Rob Liefeld. Why does he feel the need to make sure that Cable has immediate access to at least six guns and a boot knife? Isn’t that a tad…oh, I don’t know, excessive? I’ll curb my criticism to just that aspect and leave alone the knee pads and the idea that Cable’s just pulled a muscle in his groin.

On the regular cover, however, Cable just has his one gun and a holstered pistol on his hip. That’s more reasonable, I’d say. One thing that doesn’t change is that Cable appears to be about the size of a house, both on the cover and throughout the issue.

I suppose one of my main problems with Cable, from just a character standpoint, is that he hasn’t progressed out of the era that created him. He’s still “The Ultimate Mutant,” with tons of guns and guts and the ability to do just about anything. Why not modernize him and give him a few flaws or something (other than that stupid virus thing)? I suppose making him the sole protector of the first new mutant baby since M-Day is something, but it feels more like a crutch than something that’s actually relatable or interesting.

At this issue’s close, Cable gets shot in the arm (in the same spot where he gets shot earlier in the issue!) and Bishop shows up to take the baby. By the way, Bishop’s right mechanical arm looks to be about the same size as the rest of his body combined.

Pretty stupid first issue.

Side tangent: What’s wrong with Marvel Comics? Why is it that the middle page comes unstapled in just about one out of every five comics? That’s never happened to me with a DC issue. (more…)

Doom and Doomer: Justice League New Frontier

new frontierDOOM DELUISE: Hello, everybody. Welcome to our latest joint review of the new WB-produced direct-to-DVD animated version of the Darwyn Cooke story “New Frontier.” I’m here with my fellow blogging cohort Jim Doom to discuss our thoughts on the flick.

To start with, going into this movie, what was your knowledge of the New Frontier story? Had you read the miniserieseses? I suppose my question is, what were your expectations upon sitting down?

JIM DOOM: I’ve never read it, but I’ve only heard good things about it. To be honest, when I first heard about the New Frontier comic, I had no idea who Darwyn Cooke was, but just he had some sort of comics god status because of the series. Considering it was a self-contained story, I was figuring the movie would be able to follow it pretty well.

Obviously, since I haven’t read it, I don’t know if that was the case, but it wasn’t going to be immediately saddled with the problem the Superman: Doomsday movie had, and that was taking a whole lot of continuity and fragments spreading off in different directions and trying to compress that into something self-contained.

And considering it was based on something so highly regarded, I figured it’d probably be pretty awesome.

DD: Interesting. I went into it with pretty much the exact same frame-of-mind. I’d never read it, but I thought it was going to be pretty awesome, because of the same reasons you stated. The Superman: Doomsday movie was trying to put two years worth of comics into a single 70 minute movie, whereas this one was just one mini-series, spanning a dozen or so issues.

With that in mind, though, overall, what were your impressions, in a broad sense?

JD: I was pretty disappointed. It was better than Superman: Doomsday, but that movie was awful. I think it shared many of the same flaws, and I really hope that DC gets those worked out before the completion of the Batman animated films.

DD: It makes me wonder if there’s an unwritten rule at DC Animation that says they can’t make a direct-to-DVD movie that’s longer than 70 minutes? It seemed this movie felt incredibly rushed.

JD: Really? I didn’t get that sense. To me it felt like it turned a pretty weak story into a stretched-out weak story. Though maybe if I really took the time to ponder it, the weakness would turn out to be because it was rushed. I don’t know. But it was just, “Hint at The Center for an hour, and then fight an island. The end.” (more…)

Countdown to Final Crisis: Eight

countdown 8Well, would ya look at that cover? Is this the first Countdown appearance for Blue Beetle, Doctor Fate, Hal Jordan, Hawkman, and the Flash? Why, yes. Yes, it is. What an odd time to introduce them. Oh, wait, silly me; they’re not actually in this issue. They’re just on the cover. I’m getting ahead of myself.

In thinking of how to approach writing this blog entry, I started to feel bad about how negative my blogs about Countdown have become lately, so I decided to start this week off by pointing out at least one good thing about this issue. So, here goes nothing: They finally explain why Captain Atom went from being a hero at the end of the Captain Atom: Armageddon mini-series to the tyrant Monarch (aside from the fact that he was put in the armor at the end of Battle for Bludhaven). Aren’t you just dying to know what the answer is? Solomon the Monitor did it off-panel.


Let’s move on. What happens this week? I need a beer.

Ok, starting over. What happens this week? The heroes argue. That’s pretty much it. Karate Kid’s infected, obviously, and Una wants to take him home, but Ray Palmer thinks that’s a bad idea, since it would unleash the Great Disaster. Seriously, she should just listen to that ominous name and realize that can’t be a good thing.

Also, Jimmy Olsen has arrived with the Biker Mice from Mars (only, instead of mice, they’re hippies, and instead of Mars, they’re from somewhere else), and he wants to confront Darkseid, but Donna Troy thinks that’s a bad idea.

Eventually, Solomon the Monitor gets sick of all this shit (like me!) and zaps the whole gang off Apokolips, back to Earth. Uh-oh, Spaghetti-O’s! Ok, actually, now that they’re back on Earth, the Great Disaster is going to hit, and it’s at that point that it will no longer make sense as to why they’ve stopped tying all of the other DC books in with Countdown. We’re facing one big clusterfuck over the next couple of months, I have a feeling.

That’s all that happens. I’m sick of wasting my time on this crap. Thankfully, it’s almost over.

Oh, and one last thing. Now that the cosmic chess game between Darkseid and Solomon is over, are they at least going to answer the question of what they were even playing for? Seems a lot was at stake for it to just be a game for kicks.

Meaningless Awards of the Fortnight

The Best Writer Award- Ed Brubaker

If only three Ed Brubaker books came out every week. Captain America #35, Daredevil #105 and Criminal Vol. 2 #1 all come out this week, and not surprisingly, all of them were awesome.

Daredevil 105Daredevil was the conclusion to the Mister Fear arc, and what a conclusion it was. DD finally got to go one-on-one with Mister Fear this issue, but despite kicked Fear’s ass, DD still lost. For DD, this has all been about finding a cure for the chemically-induced craziness of his wife Milla. But Brubaker through in a gut-wrenching twist, that there is no cure, and there’s not even any way to find a cure. So Milla is batsh!# insane pretty much for good. Not only did Brubaker deliver a very emotional moment for our horned hero, but he managed to write the go-nowhere wife out of the book for the foreseeable future.

Captain America continues to show why I chose it as 2007’s Best Ongoing Series. Bucky is shaping up to be a very competent replacement for Steve Rogers. I really like that Black Widow is now seemingly the second lead in the series, because something about the character has always appealed to me. And now Sharon Carter is pregnant with Cap Jr., although on the plus side, she seems to be not brainwashed anymore.

I’m glad that Criminal is back from hiatus, as the first two arcs were some of the best comics of the last few years. Criminal is certainly one of the best values on the stands today, as Doom Deluise pointed out this weekend. The first issue of this arc seems to be the setup for a revenge story, and if that’s the way Brubaker’s going, I’m looking forward to the ride.

C&D 50The Helluva Send-Off Award- Cable & Deadpool

Before I started reading Fabian Nicenza’s Cable & Deadpool, I didn’t like Cable or Deadpool. As far as I was concerned, they were cheap products of the 90s, when big shoulder pads, big guns and a history with Weapon X was all a character needed. But after 50 issues, I’d grown quite fond of these two. Okay, I still kind of hate Cable, but Deadpool’s become one of my favorite characters.

Deadpool is a funny character. Just like Spider-Man, She-Hulk, The Great Lakes Avengers, Formerly Known as the Justice League and Hero Squared, Cable & Deadpool perfectly combined humor with super-heroics. Cable was a great straight man for the over-the-top Deadpool, but when Cable toom a temporary dirtnap, the book juts got better. Agent X, Weasel and especially Bob: Agent of Hydra became part of one of the best supporting casts in comics, and hopefully Marvel has the common decency to release an Agency X series sometime in the future.


Alphabetical Weekend Reviews – 02/27/08

Hello, and welcome to the first ever alphabetical weekend review session with yours truly, Doom DeLuise. The idea is, I’m going to review all of my comics I bought last Wednesday in alphabetical order. I’ve also come up with a nifty grading system; in the spirit of alphabetizing, I’m going to give exceptional books a grade of the highest letter, A. And, as the books decrease in quality, I’ll lower the grade down through the alphabet. The lowest score will be, oh, what the heck, how about an F? And, just for the hell of it, and since I don’t particularly care for the letter, there will be no use of the letter E.

Matter of fact, from here on out, I’m not going to use the letter E again, throughout the rest of this blog. Starting now.

action 862First up, w’v got Action Comics #862. Wait, why am I typing numbrs in a blog about non-numbrs? I don’t know! Anyway, how is this? Glad you thought to ask. In this ish, the Legion realizes its fight against the Justice League is too big for the core group alone, thus bringing in the Subs in a cool little twist. They also figure out how the sun has been turned red (Earth-Man’s been using Sun Boy to nefarious ends). The names of these characters are all really unoriginal.

Most of all, this issue is just a whole bunch of fighting, leading up to the ultimate confrontation between Superman and Earth-Man. Next issue is the conclusion, so who wants to put down money that they’re gonna fix the sun and Supes is gonna win big? Maybe after that, he can go back to his normal time period and beat Zod and settle that whole mess.

Letter Grade: B. Solid issue, but nothing to call home about.

Next up, let’s talk about The Godamn Batman and Robin #9. Greatest series running today? Perhaps. What Frank Miller has accomplished here is really remarkable. He’s put The Goddamn Batman and Robin into the real world, essentially. If The Goddamn Batman were real, do you think he’d be anything but an egotistical maniac asshole? He’d have to be to put on a cape and cowl and hop around rooftops.

And, finally, at long last, in this issue we see the introduction of Robin, who gets into a pretty heated brawl with Green Lantern, before breaking GL’s windpipe. Again, if a little circus runt were given a couple weeks of combat training and been recruited in a “war” by a psychotic man in a bat suit, do you think he’d understand his actions or know his limits? Doubt it.

Letter Grade: A. Great comic, through and through. It took me about three issues to stop griping about this series, and I hope that all the other gripers out there who gave up on it will give it another shot. (more…)