Monthly archives: March, 2010

What I am Reading From Avatar Press

I have a hard time recommending books from Avatar Press to people.  They are like a small press version of Marvel where you get a number of really good things mixed with some really bad things.  On the positive side Avatar is the best place for Warren Ellis and Garth Ennis fans to find most of their best current work.  Avatar has been forward thinking in having Freak Angels posted in installments online for free fallowed by collected trades in print (which has been moderately successful for them).  On the negative side the artists tend to be second level at best along with some extremely unreliable release schedules.

Probably worst of all is that they take a page from Marvel and use the $3.99 and $4.99 price tags without the justifying page count to match.  Now I realize most small press books have to charge more to meet costs, but given how creator owned comics at Image get by just fine with a lower price tag and better production qualities it leaves me annoyed with Avatar’s business tactics when they could be doing the same.  Avatar Press books are worth picking up when they are priced right.  So with that in mind I think the byline for Avatar Press books should be “Wait for the Discounted Trade.”


Doom and Doomer:
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths

DOOM DeLUISE: So last week, Jim Doom and I watched the newest movie from DC Animation, “Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths.” Big picture, overall, what were your thoughts? Better or worse than previous efforts from DC’s animation department?

JIM DOOM: Big picture, I’d say that I keep hoping for DC to learn from the faults of previous movies, I keep going into these movies waiting for this to be the one I enjoy, and I keep coming away from them hating them for the same reasons.

I feel like we are long past the point of broken-record status on these things, but once again, we’ve got a DC animated movie that thinks you can make a really stupid story mature by adding blood, death and sexual references.

I did feel like the animation was stronger in this one than previous efforts. In other DC animated movies, I kind of felt like they were stuck in the style that began with Batman: the Animated Series and continued on to the Justice League cartoons. I mentioned it as we were watching it, but the animation reminded me a lot of the style of Aeon Flux — much more fluid and lifelike, and less abstracted and simplified. I guess maybe it’s a little counterintuitive to act as if DC is progressing in a way that reminds me of an early ’90s cartoon, but I liked that.

Good animation wasn’t nearly enough to overcome the many many many flaws in this thing though.

DD: Well, y’know Mean Gene, I think you have a point about the animation, though I found it incredibly tiresome that everybody seemed indestructible, including Batman and Owlman. When the physical violence in the movie doesn’t have any sort of lasting implications, it’s just a bunch of punching, kicking, and dust clouds with no real importance.

JD: Yeah, and I think that’s just one of many examples of how these movies are dumbed down far beyond the point of being convincingly mature on any kind of intellectual level. Part of what makes Batman interesting is that he’s just a normal guy. Normal guys don’t have giant stone pillars dropped on them and walk away from it. You take away the normal guy aspect of Batman and he’s just another superhero in a cape.

But that gets at another problem with this movie — absolutely terrible characterization. (more…)

Best Publisher of 2009

marvel vs dc
Jim Doom: DC!

Some of this is because of good work by DC, including the flawed but still very good Blackest Night and the fantastic new Batman & Robin. But a lot of this is because of Marvel’s insistence on charging $3.99 for so many of its books. When a publisher chooses a path that knowingly shuts out a large number of its readers and succeeds based on the ability to squeeze another dollar out of the most loyal, I say “Bad.”

Looking at past years, I can’t help but notice a pretty consistent pro-DC list of results. The ironic thing is that I think all of us here at Doomkopf were reading only Marvel books until the buildup to Infinite Crisis. It was a great gateway into DC’s universe, and I think the enthusiasm around it fed our desire to start this site.

Here were our favorite publishers from previous years: (more…)

Bendis-Hate Post #65,934

A few days ago, Marvel announced a third Avengers book that they’ll be putting out when the Heroic Age starts in May. Just like they did with Avengers and Secret Avengers (well, sorta), Marvel is revealing the cast of New Avengers one at a time through promotional images.

IAmAnAvenger_NewAvengers_02 After first announcing Luke Cage (who’s suddenly starring in two different team books), Marvel revealed yesterday that Spider-Man would be on the team. After letting out an audible groan, I got to thinking…maybe it’s not such a bad thing.

The groan wasn’t in reaction to Spidey being on the team. As much as I don’t think Spider-Man makes sense as an Avenger, I’ve become accustomed to that (and quite frankly, I’m surprised it took Marvel 40 years to put their #1 character on the team). No, the groan was because I don’t want New Avengers writer Brian Michael Bendis anywhere near my friendly neighborhood wallcrawler. He’s one of only two writers that has made me actively dislike a Spider-Man comic (the original Ultimate series), and the other was Reggie Hudlin. That’s not good company to be in.

But if Bendis is busy writing Spider-Man as a member of the Avengers, that means he won’t be writing him in the comic that really matters for the webhead, the thrice-monthly Amazing Spider-Man. If Bendis wanted to write ASM, his butt buddy Joe Quesada would give it to him in a second. And that would be terrible, because then I wouldn’t have a comic starring my favorite fictional character that I could stomach. At least I could turn to Peter David’s great Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man when Hudlin’s Marvel Knights Spider-Man left a sour taste in my mouth. If Bendis took over the only regular Spidey comic, I’d have nowhere to turn.

So please enjoy writing Spider-Man in your Avengers comics, Bendis. Please get your fill of the character and get it out of your system. You don’t go anywhere near my Spider-Man comics, and I won’t go anywhere near your Avengers comics. Deal?

Best Hero of 2009

Jim Doom: Batman!

Excluding things written by Tony Daniel, I have to say Batman. In Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin and Judd Winick’s Batman, Dick was believable and fun to watch as his own man. Both writers were able to cast him in the character of Batman while maintaining his own defined Dick Grayson personality. Given the limited run of Batman & Robin and the upcoming Batman-in-time series, I’m inclined to believe that DC let Tony Daniel write Batman because they knew he was devoid of ambition and incapable of thinking too big, therefore presenting no danger of causing any irreparable damage. Let him mark time while Morrison does the hard work elsewhere. Batman: Unseen was great too. The big blemish on his year — getting killed in a really stupid way — is only as big of a mess as it is because of how great the character is. You take a dump on Geo-Force’s death and it’s not a problem.

Honorable Mention: Captain America. Bucky had a great year as Captain America, but he was overshadowed by the far-too-early return of Steve Rogers.

Here are the heroes we dug in previous years: (more…)

Worst Hero of 2009

Jim Doom: Cyclops!

Cyclops is such a huge douchebag. I seriously can’t even stand X-Men books anymore because of this prick, and I used to read ALL OF THEM. I don’t mind unbearable characters when they appear to serve a greater purpose in the big story, but every time I dip back in to the X-world, I fail to see anything other than “God, this guy has such big balls!”

Honorable mention: Super Young Team. Just stupid piled on top of stupid. I held out hope that Morrison spent so much time on them in Final Crisis because they would eventually have some big important role to play. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me about five hundred times, and that’s how I describe the experience of reading Final Crisis.

Here were the worst of the supposed best from previous years: (more…)

Best Villain of 2009

Jim Doom: Norman Osborn!

The Dark Reign era certainly has its flaws (some of them by design), but I have no problems whatsoever with the greater experiment Marvel attempted – putting the military branch of its universe under the control of a power-hungry opportunist. It was a fun attempt at art-imitates-life, giving Marvel its very own Dick Cheney, and I don’t think there’s anyone better suited for that role than Norman Osborn. Most importantly, Osborn gave the heroes someone to rally against so they could stop fighting each other, and Marvel was in desperate need of putting a stop to Hero vs Hero.

Bonus points for creating the Dark Avengers – I very much enjoyed the exploration of the idea of Avengers being interchangeable behind the masks. That idea has obviously been addressed over the past few decades, but never to the degree of putting villains in those roles.

Here were the bad guys we loved to hate in previous years: (more…)

Worst Villain of 2009

Jim Doom: Mandrakk the Vampire Monitor!

The biggest villain of Final Crisis makes his debut in a god-awful two-issue 3D miniseries and then decides to show up in the last issue of the main series. It’s probably worth mentioning that he was defeated by Superman in Superman Beyond 3D #2, so that miniseries was relevant in that it introduced the main villain and irrelevant in that its conclusion was completely ignored. Did I mention the same guy wrote both?

Honorable Mention: Libra. I picked Libra last year thinking that I was going to be soooooo wrong this year. Much like with the Super Young Team, I was convinced there was no way Libra would end up being as lame and useless as he seemed – there had to be some greater purpose for him. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Here were the lamest baddies from previous years: (more…)

Marvel Adding Backup Features to Avengers

Robot 6 has reported that the two Bendis written Avengers books will have backup features in each both written by Bendis.  This comes on the announcement that New Avengers will relaunch with a new number one issue titled New Avengers.  That’s right it’s the exact same name and clearly the usual ploy to try and inflate sales numbers.  Marvel has been doing it so much lately that it’s becoming harder for them to sell these sort of things,  but they still think it’s a good idea.  On the positive side they will at least have 30 pages of content to go with the $3.99 price tag and the backups will be written by Bendis so it will not have the problem Captain America has with the backup feature not completing the main feature.  Better late then never.  No word on if the Secret Avengers will have a backup feature as well but given that Brubaker’s Captain America books have featured 30 pages of content it will more then likely be the same for Secret Avengers either with backups or 30 page stories. (more…)

Best Single Issue of 2009

Jim Doom: Blackest Night #0!

Geoff Johns has written quite a few comics this year that I completely disliked, moreso than in any other year I can recall. But when he’s been good, he’s been great, and Blackest Night #0 was a perfect example. This issue was a fantastic combination of a big-picture scene-setters for the upcoming mega-event with small-scale, touching moments between friends.

I wrote at the time, “He packs so much power into so few words when he needs to, like “It’s not my fault hiding in the shadows is your only ’super power’” and “…If there’s an escape [from death], you can bet Batman’s already planning it.” Then there was that fantastic bit of dialogue in which Hal reveals the new Robin to Barry:

HAL: “…And Robin’s insisting that Bruce isn’t really gone.”
BARRY: “He’s holding onto hope. That’s what Dick always gave Batman.”
HAL: “I meant Tim Drake, Barry. You haven’t met him yet. He’s the current Robin.”
BARRY: “Right. Tim Drake. I like him already.”

I mean how sweet is that? Barry learns a little about the new Robin, but the readers learn a ton about Barry, and count me among the readers who needed to learn about Barry, particularly after not liking him much post-Flash: Rebirth #1. But what is so cool about this is that these two guys who have returned from the dead are having the luxury of reminiscing on their deaths as part of a conversation, all the while the threat of the Black Lanterns is looming overhead.

Honorable Mention: Giant Size Old Man Logan. This took forever but it was so worth it, even if it had Wolverine in yet another Men in Black ending. This has been one of my favorite comic stories of all time.

Here were our favorite single issues in previous years: (more…)