Monthly archives: February, 2009

Book of Doom: Johnny Monster #1

So, I learned something very important. Don’t try new things. Ever. You’ll get burnt and disappointed, and your friends will think less of you. That is, at least, what I surmised from the reactions to Johnny Monster #1.

In my own views, the issue was certainly not good. It was kind of fun – you know, fighting monsters is right up there on career tracts with astronaut in the level of awesome. But this “fun” belied juvenile pacing resulting in a rushed plot placing getting from Point A to Point B ahead of figuring out how. This leaves it a good comic for someone who is, say, six-years-old who sits in rapt attention of the plot of a Mario Brothers game, but for connoisseurs of nerd books like the Doomkopf crew, it’s left sorely lacking.

Plot? Johnny Monster is a monster hunter, the only humane one. He traps the monsters, as opposed to the rival monster poachers. But something seems fishy to a name-forgotten-or-not-said reporter, who realizes that Johnny speaks monster. It’s because Johnny lives in a valley with the monsters and listens to outdated music with them. The reporter found this out by following him, and finding out that Johnny was raised by one of these monsters.

That’s a Disney Channel premise right there, complete with so-so monster design. For its audience, there are fun parts to the book. But outside of that audience, yawns follow.

A couple people reserved more hatred for it, so let’s start off with Jim Doom: (more…)

A Day in the Life of Wolverine

Interesting article today on Graphic Fiction, a blog by Van Jensen, about a pitch he submitted to Marvel regarding a potential Wolverine story he came up with a few months ago. Long time readers probably remember Van as former Doomkopf contributor “Jean-Claude Van Doom.”

Apparently, his pitch has recently popped up in Marvel’s May solicitations, though with a different writer and with no affiliation to Van to speak of. It’s a fascinating read, so I suggest checking it out. He’s careful about making sure he doesn’t step on any toes (especially the legal kind), but I don’t care about that,* so let me just say that I’m absolutely certain that Marvel is a bunch of thieving jerks* who stole his idea* without any compensation, and if I were him, I’d sue the pants off ’em.*

And then I’d sell ’em pants!*

*Legal Disclaimer: Don’t sue me. I’m joking.

Trinity #38

trinity 38It’s been awhile since Fin Fang Doom has regularly reviewed Trinity, and, since he initially claimed he was going to be reviewing every issue until the very end, I figure that somebody should step in to pick up the slack, since he went off and made friends and started neglecting his promise to you, our faithful and loyal readers.

As luck would have it, I don’t have very many friends, and the ones I do have aren’t that much fun to hang out with, so I have nothing holding me back from reviewing this series. Afterall, I slugged my way through Countdown, and this series doesn’t seem to be nearly as groan-inducing as that one was. I’ll be following Fin Fang’s basic outline for reviewing, so that you long-time readers won’t even miss a step. Hold on to your butts, it’s time to get this ball rolling!

In the lead: The Holy Trinity (haha) are finally back, after a really long, boring absence, and they have their work cut out for them. Batman, in his God form, is about twice the size of Gotham City, and he’s working on some sort of mystic spell-casting in order to save all of humanity. He spends most of the issue in a big-ass church with stain-glass windows, lighting candles (that produce a LOT of smoke) and reciting incantations.

Worst to First: February 18th, 2009

I only bought four issues this week, and, yet, I’m still torn over what to pick for the worst issue and what to pick for the best. That’s right, it’s an even split. Two issues that stunk so bad I could barely stand to finish them and two that left me pretty well satisfied.

When I was in the comic shop today, I debated over whether or not to try out some new stuff, since I’ve basically lost track of what’s been going on with the X-Men lately, and I haven’t read an Avengers issue since the dumbass ending to Secret Invasion. Inevitably, I decided against trying out either one, but it really struck me how many different X-Men books there are these days. Same goes for the Avengers. You’ve got First Class, Young, Legacy, Uncanny, Astonishing, New, Classic, Initiative, Mighty, Dark – – I mean, come on! How many different books do they have out right now to tell the same crappy stories with slightly different rosters?

Anyway, I’m making a pledge right here, right now. If the day ever comes where there is one book on the shelf titled, simply, “The Avengers,” then I’ll pick it up. And, likewise, if there’s ever just, “The X-Men,” I’ll buy that, too. I’ll even settle for it being Uncanny, since that’s been around a lot longer.

Say what you will about DC, but at least they’re not dicking us for all our money with twenty versions of the Teen Titans. Oh, wait. Or the JSA? Aha! That one actually works. Anyway, on with the reviews.

robin 183Worst: Robin #183

The basic premise of this final issue of Robin is that Robin’s sent a death threat by Lady Shiva, and he spends the rest of the issue assuming that he’s going to be dead by dawn. Instead, he beats her up and hops off into the sky, promising that, soon, “It’ll be time to meet the NEW ROBIN!”

While Nightwing tried to give us some sense of closure to the long-running series, Robin just gives us a throwaway “adventure” with the promise at the issue’s close that this is, “Only the beginning…”

Now, that’s not a terribly bad idea for an issue, but, boy, does this sucker stink. For instance, there’s a line of dialogue where Detective Harper asks Robin about the death note, asking, “You know what it means?” He responds, “Means you should order the worst dessert on the menu.” To which she replies, “Which would make it the best.” And that’s the end of the conversation.

Now, bear in mind that the death threat note didn’t make any mention of dessert. The only logical explanation is that Harper is dressed in an evening gown, because she “hopefully” has a date later. So she asks him about the death note, and he instead tells her to order something bad on her date. So how does she derive that doing that would make the bad thing on the menu turn into the best? Stuff like that gets me stuck when I’m reading through a comic, so I naturally had a hard time getting through this clunker. This doesn’t make sense in the way Final Crisis didn’t make sense; this doesn’t make sense in the way that it’s complete nonsensical word salad. I know the words, and the sentence structures technically fit, but I don’t get what they’re in aid of. What is their purpose?

Oh, plus, thanks to the fact that this is written by the King of Pop-Culture References, Mr. Fabian Nicieza, we get throwaway lines about Wii Fit, Dr. Phil, and a line from the song, “12 Days of Christmas.” Wait, what? (more…)

Book of Doom Preview:
Johnny Monster #1

For my pick for Book of Doom this week, I’m ending the backwards hegemony of Nightwing idolatry and DC obsession perpetrated by Jim Doom and Doom DeLuise, and going with the one with the dinosaur on the cover: Johnny Monster #1, first issue in the Image Comics mini-series.

Johnny Monster is the world’s foremost super-star monster hunter, but what the world doesn’t know is that he was raised by the same monsters he’s ‘hunting!’ Now, in order to save his adoptive family…he must fight them!

I know literally nothing about the series aside from those two sentences and the fact that it has a dinosaur monster thing on the cover. Writer Joshua Williamson’s previous works include the Dear Dracula graphic novel, and J.C. Grande’s art recalls Art Adams.

Want to join in on the fun? Email

What I’m buying this week – Feb 18, 2009

robin 183Doom DeLuise:

• Robin #183 – I’ve been having an on-again/off-again relationship with Robin over the past few months, but I figure that since this is the final issue, I may as well pick it up. Give myself some level of closure, at least. The fact of the matter is, though, that it’ll probably be the exact same issue as Nightwing was last week, where Robin will be all mopey about how Batman’s dead, and then he’ll renew his energy in the war on crime, leading into Battle for the Cowl. I hope it’s not that obvious, but my gut tells me it probably will be.

Johnny Monster #1 – Even though Doominator hasn’t posted the preview yet, this is his pick for this week’s Book of Doom. I know nothing about it, but I’m hoping it’ll be a pleasant surprise.

Amazing Spider-Man #583 (5th Printing) – Just kidding. This is such crap; I can’t believe it’s gone to a fifth printing.

Guardians of the Galaxy #10 – I’m eager to see where the Guardians will fit into the War of Kings event. Hopefully, it will bring the team back together so we can get some more kick-ass stories with the entire group, rather than having all these separate storylines weaving in and out of each other. Not that that’s bad; I just prefer it the other way.

X-Factor #40 – Rumor has it that X-Factor got good again, and since this is a pretty small week for me, I figure I may as well pick it up and see what’s going on. I dropped this book shortly after the conclusion to Messiah CompleX, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can keep up with all that’s developed since.

Jim Doom: (more…)

The Doomino Effect for February 11, 2009

In this episode: Action Comics #874 | Nightwing #153 | Incognito #2 | Madman Atomic Comics #13 | Batman #686

Speaking of Batman #686, this was the first of the two-part “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” story by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert. I can’t quite put my finger on why I loved this, but I loved it.

I would like to make quite clear that I don’t really know what’s going on. In lesser hands, I would assume this to be nothing more than just a two-issue way to make a bunch of inside Batman jokes, like naming a bridge after Jim Aparo and drawing the Joker like he appeared in the animated series. But these are Neil Gaiman’s greater hands, for one thing, and the narrating dialogue lets us know that the strangeness of it is a mystery that will be solved. It was an unnecessary, but appreciated touch, although it’s something that the underwhelmed Chris at the ISB seems to think is a problem.

There’s just something so delightful about the little skits that unfold, like we’re watching a doomed variety show or something. I loved the introduction of the villains by way of the hapless and hopeless alleyway valet, from Catwoman to Two Face to the Joker. I mentioned before the apprehension about this just being a bunch of Batman in-jokes, but it seemed more like an eerie celebration of 70 years with the combinations of characters, disguises and Matchbox-esque cars. Again, in lesser hands, it could have been quite lame. As it was, there was a fantastic uncomfortableness about it.

The Scott Summers Awards for Top 5 Doomed Superhero Romances: #1

#5 | #4 | #3 | #2 | #1

gwen stacy spider-man#1: Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy
Began Courtship in The Amazing Spider-Man #31, 1963
Written by: Stan Lee

If your knowledge of the Spider-Man universe were based solely on the hugely successful movie franchise, you’d think that Mary Jane was Spidey’s one true love, and you’d be under the impression that Gwen Stacy was just some background character that flirted with Spider-Man in the awful, awful, awful third movie.

In the comics, however, you could certainly make the case that Gwen was the greatest love of Spider-Man’s life. She certainly was his first love.

They first met when Pete was in college and the attraction was immediate, though Peter had other things to deal with, and Gwen dated both Flash Thompson and Harry Osborne while waiting for Pete to notice her. Eventually, though, she got his attention and they started dating.

As is the case in all relationships, though, they had a few complications that pretty much any couple can relate to. For instance, there was one point where Gwen’s father, Captain Stacy, attacked Peter while his mind was being controlled. After they got through that, some time later, Spider-Man was fighting Doctor Octopus when Captain Stacy accidentally got crushed by falling debris from the fight. Gwen left for Europe to deal with her grief, which halted their relationship for awhile. Who can’t relate to that?

Eventually, Gwen came back, and she and Peter resumed dating, planning their future together, and discussing the possibility of marriage.

What Doomed It: (more…)

Time Well-Served With Criminal

Criminal vol. 2, “Lawless”

Criminal vol. 2, “Lawless”

I know other Doomkopfers have already praised Criminal up and down in the 2008 year-in review (2007, too), but I’m new here, and feel like I ought to send another good word to the creative team. It’s the kind of book that was written just for me. My first experience with writer Ed Brubaker was on his continuing run on Captain America, the first post-2000 take on the character that was actually any good. When I found out he was starting some creator-owned series I was interested, and when I found out it was called “Criminal”, I was a guaranteed buyer. I love the cop & criminal genres: detective stories, film noir, heists. They’re 20th century westerns. A battle between the black hats and the white hats, only their roles are so often interchanged.

Anyway, Brubaker is built for stories like these. (more…)

Using Muslim superheroes to battle radicalism in youth

The Cornfed Gamer tipped us off to this AP story about new efforts to create fiction and games based on Muslim superheroes. From the Jakarta Globe:

From video games like “Bab el-Hara’’ to a Kuwaiti entrepreneur’s comic book empire featuring Muslim superheroes, the Arab world’s private sector is leading a push to provide Muslim and Arab youth with homegrown heroes, as a bulwark against the trend toward radical Islam throughout the Middle East.

Clearly, superheroes won’t offset all the problems that stoke radicalism — anger at corrupt Arab regimes and at Israel over its treatment of Palestinians — but El-Zanaty said he hoped these pop culture characters could give young people a positive image of themselves as Arabs.

“We wanted something that reflected our culture … developed with an Arab perspective,’’ he said.

In Kuwait, Naif al-Mutawa had a similar vision. The Teshkeel Media Group founder, a psychologist, drew some inspiration for his comic book empire from treating Iraqi soldiers suffering trauma after the first Gulf War in 1990. Some of these men told him they’d been raised to view Saddam Hussein as an Arab hero .

“What kind of message are we sending to our children about what a hero is, and what a hero does?’’ al-Mutawa asked. His “The 99’’ — as the comic book series is called — draws from the heyday of Muslim civilization. Each hero is named after one of the 99 qualities the Quran attributes to God, such as “The Powerful’’ and “The Loving.’’

Cornfed asks “Are there any Arab or Muslim heroes in comics today?” I’m sure there is someone really obvious I’m missing, but I can’t think of anyone. Frankly, Nightcrawler is the only character I can think of whose religion is ever mentioned. My brain is also fried today, so I’m waiting for all the other examples I’m forgetting.