Monthly archives: January, 2009

The Doomino Effect for Jan 21, 2009

In this episode: Green Lantern #37 | Amazing Spider-Man #583 | Guardians of the Galaxy #9 | Mysterius the Unfathomable #1 | Superman Beyond #2

Speaking of Superman Beyond 3D #2, I skipped the first issue last summer because it struck me as dumb. Then Doom DeLuise told me that issue #1 explained how Superman could look away from Lois in Final Crisis #3 without killing her. I thought “Oh … that’s good. At least Grant Morrison felt that was something that needed acknowledging.” Nevermind that someone with so much contempt toward external continuity regarding his Big Event would then create some necessary external continuity, but that’s another topic for an already-happened day.

For the life of me, I had a hard time remembering what happened in the first issue, even though DD loaned it to me a week or two ago, so I got the copy out again to cheat. A bunch of Supermen and Superman peers from across the multiverse were gathered to save the cosmos from the Destroyer, the “Echo of Midnight,” bashing on this big bad ship as they careen diagonally through the multiverse, and they ended up in Limbo. They found a book that basically gave the DC multiverse its own point-for-point version of the Valentinian origin of existence. I’m not sure why Dan DiDio thought it was a good idea to let Grant Morrison rewrite the DC properties as an update of a 2,000-year-old gnostic tradition, but I also don’t get why they brought Wally back so soon before bringing Barry back. Best I can tell, the story also revealed that Superman is basically a reflection of some kind of Monitor archetype. But Mandrakk the Evil Monitor arrives at the very end, and Ultraman is quite happy about this.

So now, issue #2. By gnostic terms, it appears as if Mandrakk is some Lucifer / Demiurge composite, as Ultraman explains “There is a God. And he hates us all,” and he refers to his love of material extistence. I could be off on my gnostic mythology, but that seems to fit, especially considering how we later find out that Mandrakk was once Dax Novu, a.k.a. The Radiant One, a.k.a. the first son of Monitor, and we also find that he and the Christ / Big Robot Superman entity fit into some kind of cosmic duality, not unlike our Superman and Ultraman. But that lady monitor, whose name I keep forgetting, informs us that Mandrakk’s arrival means “the circle of monitors has fallen.” You know, for something that huge and profound, I really wish I could’ve seen that drama unfold rather than just being told it happened in a single word balloon.

Book of Doom Preview:
Final Crisis #7

final crisis 7 superman jg jonesThis is it, folks. The conclusion we’ve all been. . . waiting for? After a full year of build up (I can’t type that with a straight face), six stuffed issues, and several spin-off mini-series, this is the end of the line for Grant Morrison’s epic final chapter in the Crisis Trilogy.

For the most part, it’s been a bunch of freaked-out gobbledygook, and the spin-offs have had almost nothing to do with the flagship series, but, still, tomorrow we’ll be able to know for sure if it was worth the wait. Who knows, maybe tomorrow, everything will click into place and the rest of the series will finally make perfect sense, and we’ll all apologize for giving Final Crisis such a hard time over the past few months.

I mean, probably not, but we can at least try to be optimistic.

Oh, and, just for those of you at home keeping score, by comparison, the seventh issue of the previous chapter in the Crisis Trilogy (Infinite Crisis, duh) featured an all-out brawl between all the superheroes and supervillains in Metropolis as well as a fight across the galaxy pitting Superboy-Prime against two Supermen, every other flying hero, and the entirety of the Green Lantern Corps.

Here’s hoping Final Crisis #7 can live up to that! And, as always, feel free to send us your thoughts to by Friday night to be included in the weekend roundtable.

Written by Grant Morrison; Art by Doug Mahnke and Christian Alamy; Covers by J.G. Jones and Doug Mahnke
The dramatic finale to the epic, seven-part saga of the DC multiverse concludes with an apocalyptic battle for the soul of humanity that must be seen to be believed! Can the heroes of 52 Earths save the multiverse? And is the only way to save it, to change it forever?

Best Publisher of 2008: Marvel or DC?

Here we are. The final post in the 2008 year-end wrap-up. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our picks and pans from the past year, and now we leave you with the main event. We at Doomkopf tend to stick to superhero comics, with capes, tights, spandex, and a healthy dose of crazy powers, so the ultimate matchup doesn’t include independent publishers, since they’d probably not get mentioned in a best publisher discussion anyway. We’re admittedly blunt about it.

So it comes to this:

marvel vs dc

Jim Doom says: DC!

I was disappointed with Secret Invasion, but I don’t really think Marvel had a bad year necessarily. I just enjoyed what I read from DC more, particularly the great Batman RIP stories in Batman and the easily-overlooked Heart of Hush in Detective, plus the great string of Superman stories in Action and then the New Krypton crossover. Along with Trinity, DC seems to be really trying to return a focus to their core characters. It’s strange to think that 2008 was also the year of Countdown, the end of DONG and the stumbled start of Final Crisis. But FC seems to be gaining its footing, and Trinity seems to be a vast improvement over Countdown. DC appears to be learning from its mistakes.

I’m excited about where both publishers are going to go in 2009. I like the groundwork Marvel has laid with Dark Reign, returning a focus to good guys fighting bad guys, rather than two years of good guys fighting good guys. DC also has plenty of intriguing things lined up, not the least of which is the conclusion to Final Crisis.

Doom DeLuise says: DC! (more…)

Best Hero of 2008

iron manDoom DeLuise says: Iron Man!

Iron Man had a rough couple of years, what with being the “bad guy” during Civil War and his unpopular stint as the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. In 2008, however, he started to redeem himself with a new continuity-free series and some badass moments during the Skrull invasion.

What really set him apart from the rest of the comic book heroes, though, was his big summer blockbuster film. While “The Dark Knight” may have grossed more money and generated more buzz, Batman took a backseat to his onscreen foe, the Joker. With “Iron Man,” on the other hand, the most entertaining aspect of the movie was its title character.

Tony Stark/Iron Man, as portrayed by Robert Downey Jr, stands as possibly the best adaptation of a comic book superhero ever put on film. It blew me away when I saw it last summer, and it continues to amaze me all these months later. I can’t wait for the sequel.

Jim Doom says: Batman! (more…)

Batman: The Brave and the Bold

So I finally caught an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, the newest DC show on Cartoon Network. A friend drew my attention to it a few weeks ago, saying it was very “old school,” and that I should check it out. Several DVR cycles and auto-erasing due to space constraints later, I finally caught an episode before it was deleted.

The one I saw was about the Blue Beetle, in which Jaime the new Beetle on a quest to learn more about Ted Kord. I was pleased that the discussion about Ted’s heroic death (which was completely re-written for the cartoon) was dealt with in a mature but kid-appropriate manner — as opposed to something like Superman: Doomsday or New Frontier, which would classify as neither kid-appropriate nor mature. It reminded me of some of the most profound cartoon episodes I saw as a kid, but that’s another topic for another blog.

The thing on my mind now is that The Brave and the Bold theme song totally reminds me of something, but I can’t place it.

This is my best guess as to what I’m thinking of, but I’m not sure that’s what was tickling my brain.

Worst Hero of 2008

dark tower long road homeDoom DeLuise says: That Dark Tower Guy!

I’ll be honest with you; I don’t know dick about this series. I bought the first issue of the Gunslinger in 2007, but that’s the extent of it. My old roommate used to buy this stupid thing all the time, though, and I’d occasionally read an issue while drunk or at his behest, so I have a fair idea of what’s going on.

And, as far as I can tell, the main problem with the entire thing is that the main character is just about the most boring character you could possibly imagine. As far as I can remember, I don’t think he’s even had a single line of dialogue in any issue I’ve read.

He’s just laughably bland.

Jim Doom says: Cyclops! (more…)

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Book of Doom:
Mysterius the Unfathomable #1

I chose Mysterius the Unfathomable #1 as this week’s Book of Doom because I was looking for something completely different to dig me out of my spandex superhero rut. And with that as my goal, it was a complete success.

I went into this with absolutely no familiarity whatsoever with either creator. I was quickly sucked in to artist Tom Fowler’s work — the scenes were elaborate and rooted enough in reality to give the story a “real life” context, but the people were drawn in an expressive way that reminded me of Will Eisner’s work at its most cartoonishly reduced (I mean that in a good way). There’s also this kind of smooth incongruity to Fowler’s lines — they’re polished and flowing at times, yet at other times they seem almost etched and labored. It gives a subtle tone difference between things like a woman’s face and a revolver.

Story-wise, it did everything it needed to hook me. Jeff Parker created an ongoing storyline by way of a shorter self-contained story that introduced the main characters, their quirks and their necessary background. The exposition came by way of an effortlessly unfolding situation rather than through conversations forced for the sake of the readers.

Delfi plays a fun surrogate for the reader, being a guide through the story that’s still relatively new to the situation. On the surface, and likely deeper than the surface, Mysterius is a kind of selfish scumbag, but there seems to be a deeper constitution to him, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that develops.

It’s rare that I turn to anything — a book, comic, album or movie — hoping it can fill a specific entertainment void and end up satisfied. Usually it’s an unrealistic expectation heaped on something that really has done nothing to deserve such an unfair precondition to enjoyment. But Mysterius the Unfathomable #1 totally did the trick for me. I’m picking this up next month.

• Doom DeLuise’s review is coming up, but first, here is guest reviewer grifter from Digital Tales of Graphic Narratives:

Best Villain of 2008

batman the black gloveJim Doom says: The Black Glove!

I’ll confess that I was pretty hard up for a good answer to this, but I dug Batman RIP quite a bit this year so this is what I settled on. I like the idea of this villain that is sort of nowhere but everywhere, with several origins, ambiguous power and influence, and also kind of a representation of a spectrum of sins. I still don’t really think I know who or what the Black Glove was, but I’m strangely content with that. It might still be ambiguous or I might’ve just missed something, but I like that the Black Glove still functioned as a great nemesis even without me needing to know or really care who he / it was. The Club of Heroes story from Batman was one of my favorites of 2007, so I’ll give the Black Glove some residual credit from last year too.

For the most part, though, 2008 was a good year for heroes who didn’t need villains to overshadow them. The Skrulls had the public face of Spider-Woman, but she was less a villain than militant theocracy in that story. Brainiac was a jerk, and the future Justice League was a bunch of scumbags, but I don’t think either were around long enough to really qualify. Brainiac especially kind of seemed like a means to an end, as much as I enjoyed that arc. Joker played a fun role in Batman RIP, but he was really just a supporting villain (and I hated how Tony Daniel drew him). I thought The Hood was going to be a bigger deal in 2008 than he was, but maybe 2009 will be his year. I’m probably overlooking something obvious, but deadlines are deadlines.

Doom DeLuise says: Brainiac! (more…)

Batman: No Rest in Sight

batman rip death fateNewsarama has a new interview up today with Dan Didio, editor-in-chief of DC Comics, in which they ask him the following question:

Let’s talk about Final Crisis #6 – the book, as you mentioned, did well for you, and sold out, but that was the “conclusive” death of Batman, despite the conclusion of the “Batman R.I.P.” storyline in the Batman series in December – and no one really paid attention. I mean – you showed the body…?

First of all, this is the problem with taking reader questions. There’s not really any question in that stupid thing; it’s just a rambling mess of incoherence. To paraphrase: Batman died and nobody paid attention. Thoughts?

Here’s his response:

I agree – and as I said, the book did sell out, but also, it’s issue #6 of a 7-part series, so that issue #7 is one of the things that we want people to read to understand the full scope of the story that’s unfolding.

Also, we’ve been pretty upfront about what our plans are for Batman and the Batman family, and I think that everyone needs to hang on until Final Crisis #7 hits the stands. Following that, we can open up the discussion on our publicity for it.

What the hell is this buffoon jabbering about? After the conclusion to R.I.P was met with mediocre reviews and general apathy, Didio claimed that we just had to wait until FC #6 to see the Final Fate of the Dark Knight. Now that’s been met with more shrugged shoulders and questions of how long it will be before the status quo is returned, so what does Didio do?