Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Bill September 29, 2010

It's a sad day for this day marks the end of one of the greatest, most fun adventure The Punisher has ever embarked. That's right, today was the end of FrankenCastle and the world will never be the same...

Canceled Book of The Week

FrankenCastle #21
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Dan Brereton

For a series that was all kinds of giant fun, this finale was a bit of a letdown. But I don't think it was Remender's fault. In a nutshell, it felt rushed.

After coming off of the huge bloody fight with Daken last issue, Ol' Frankencastle holds up on Monster Island to recuperate. And exactly three pages into the story, we get our last glimpse of the greatest undead cyborg vigilante ever:

That's it, no more FrankenCastle. A page and "Weeks" later, Frank is healed and sporting a pretty sweet beard while he hunts monsters. While he looks good on the outside, apparently the bloodstone that healed him (that being the special stone that feeds off of revenge and vengeance) is making him kill crazy.

So Frank's support staff would do what any group of friends would do, and recruit Elsa Bloodstone to tear it out of him. A chase and philosophic conversations later, Frank looses the stone to become the man that he always was: The boring old plain jane, "I kill mobsters because they killed my family", Punisher.


I don't know what I really wanted from this story, but I was honestly expecting a little more FrankenCastle in it. But I get it, Remender did what he had to do because of publisher concerns, so his story was probably sped up a bit. Or more than a bit.

It makes me sad that this book never found the audience it deserved. I admit, I was on the fence about it when it started; the idea of a zombie Punisher seemed silly and not typical for the character, but that's exactly what made it great.

Why not try something new with The Punisher? Yeah this idea brings up bad memories of spirit guns, but it's infused with so much more fun that it instantly dashes those thoughts. Besides, it's not like you can't get original recipe elsewhere in the Marvel Publishing line.

Frankencastle was one of the most fun, violent, and creative books that starred Frank Castle. In my mind, there's only so many ways I can watch Frank kill a thug before it starts to get old. But watching him throw around ManThing while taking out dragons? That's something that I will never get tired of.

Farewell FrankenCastle, you were awesome while you lasted, but like all good things you had to come to an end. You will forever be my favorite take on the character and I will make sure that everyone knows it.

Until your inevitable revival, have fun beating the crap out of Angel Punisher in limbo.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekend Matinee: AVENGERS

No, this isn't a secret leaked clip from the new Joss Wheadon movie. Instead, it's the next best thing: A minisode from the upcoming cartoon show.

I'll tell you, the thing that I was most excited about regarding Disney's buyout of Marvel was the prospect of having all their properties under one roof. And the Avengers is the cartoon that I was hoping they would produce.

After years of piecemeal cartoon universes with hints of something larger going one, we (Marvel fans) finally have something to rival the DC Animated Universe. And really, anything that helps the world forget the 90s Avengers cartoon is a good thing in my book.

Anyway, so the clip this week is actually a minisode of the show. So in less than five minutes you can see Iron Man fight giant robots, argue with Rhodey, and take on Hydra. I can't wait for this show to premiere.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tony Stark's Big Board of THE FUTURE!

As I mentioned yesterday, in Avengers #5 there was a huge timeline that hinted at the future of the Marvel Universe. Let's check it out one more time, shall we?

Maybe not as vague as the DC 'Future hints', but still pretty cool nonetheless.

Anyway, the way I see it, it's my duty as a blogger to address these hints and make shocking/horrible guesses as to what they pertain to. Let's do this thing, starting from the left and moving right.

Siege - I think I know what this is, and I didn't like it. Moving on.
Captain America Reborn - Which I finally read, thanks to the trade being released this week. I think this is pretty self explainatory.
What did Cap See? - Cap saw martians attacking and all kinds of dead heroes. I'm thinking it might be the Ultron War (which the future Avengers are stuck in), if it isn't some random martian attack.
Nine Worlds in Disarray - Isn't this what's going on in Thor right now? I'm pretty sure...
Heroic Age Begins - And so it did. I think it's kinda weird that Siege is before Captain America's return on the board, when it was clearly the other way around.
Three - The new Fantastic Four Storyline. My money's still on Sue leaving (read: getting dead) the team.
Hope Returns - This was Second Coming. I guess the X-Titles are set a little bit in the future.
Spider on the Horizon - This one's probably Origin of the Species. Unless it refers to Peter having a baby. Or, in an off OFF chance, to Arana becoming Spider-Girl.
Man without Fear - Shadowland. Again, it looks like this is set a bit in the future.
Throwbacks - I think this is related to the next one, and involves the return of all those dead heroes in the Chaos War. Wait... since when did the Chaos War become Blackest Night?

Chaos - I mean seriously, it's an attack of the Chaos God, not the god of death. Why are all these dead heroes being recruited to fight him. Weird. Also, this is clearly referred to here.
What is where Asgard Should be? - K'un-L'un is moving on up... Either that, or the people of Broxton, OK are in for a fight.
Five Lights - The new, and apparently dangerous, mutants that popped up after Second Coming. Again, weird that this is here in the timeline and not sooner. I knew the X-Men were kind of out of synch with the rest of the Marvel U, but this is crazy.
9.9.9 Who is worthy? - And I'm guessing of those five new mutants, only one (or half of one) will survive. I bet it's the cool one...
Master of Kung Fu - The next story arc in Secret Avengers? I really doubt that Shang Chi is going to get a push...
Nova Antiquus - The long awaited appearance of Ol'Timey Nova? Yes! Bring on the top hat and monocle!

Academy Traitor - It's totally Hazmat. Or Veil. I never did trust a girl who was all hot air. waka waka waka...
Return of the King - Dormammu is coming back in a big way. Look for him in New Avengers by the end of next year.
The Drumm of Revenge - And Brother VooDoo will be involved. I'm guessing on the bad side...
Night Falls - Looks like Night Thrasher's return will be short lived. He is coming back, right?
Iron Lad (Re)turns - The Young Avengers Vision will change "back" into Iron Lad after Tony remembers he can rebuild shit and puts the original back together.
All Hope Lies in Doom - I hear this is a line from the Fantastic Four series. I hope it involves the Basement of Doom in the Council of Reeds (as in Richards, not saxophones)

Schizm - Civil War part 2? Be still my heart. It won't be though. It'll probably be the followup to the Bogan storyline from X-Treme X-Men that everyone's been waiting for.
H:1 Stark Resiliant - Does this mean that Invincible Iron Man is waaaay out of synch with everything?
Where's Wanda - I think I know where the Young Avengers series takes place. That explains how Steve is in the Captain America costume. Poor Bucky, I hope he goes to a nice prison.
Galactus Seed - Galactus is gonna bang the planet. Either that or it's a plug for the new Galacta series that'll die on the vine.

Fear without Man - Daredevil's rebirth. Or future Tony was having an existential crisis.
Steve's Vision - Apparently whatever Steve saw in his vision was way down the line, but not the Ultron War. I guess we should plan on Martians.
Yesterday's X-Men - The return of Beak, Angel (the insect one), Thunderbird (the Indian [no, the Indian Indian, you racist!]), and Xorn. Woo!
Ultron War - Ultron returns for a reunion with his father (Hank Pym), mother (Janet Van Dyne), mother-wife (Jocasta), Son (Vision), Weird Son Clone (Iron Lad, see above), Wonder Man (for kicks), and M-11 (Because Agents of Atlas have to show up in everything). Then, after a few drinks, Hank and Ultron start to fight and Ultron decides to destroy the world. Aren't family reunions the best?

Born to Burn - The Human Torch melts through a condom and knocks up some floozy. His baby is just a ball of fire and poop.


There you go, my totally 100% (in)accurate predictions for Marvel's future. I'm sure I'll keep you posted with "I told you so"s just in case you forget how awesome I am.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Bill September 22, 2010

Finally, this week I had some books come out. Mind you, I couldn't find one of them, but at least the ones I did were interesting. But I'm not going to talk about them.

Nope, instead I'm gonna rag on Bendis. What can I say, I'm a man of my word.

Worst of the Week:
Avengers #5
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: John Romita Jr.

There are times I wonder if Bendis has ever read a Marvel comic before. I mean, I get that this situation the team is in is totally crazy, but do they all really need to act like amateurs?

It goes like this: WIth half the team in the future (we'll get to them), the other half defends New York City. Or at least their supposed to. Somehow though, they forget how to be superheroes in the face of this latest crisis. When faced with rioting mobs, giant cosmic beings, and other random facilitators of violence, the majority of them stand around with their fingers up their asses.

The Spider-Man I know would be in the thick of the riot, pulling out as many innocents as he could until he physically couldn't and even then he'd find the energy to grab more, instead of the one presented in this issue that stands around talking about how scared he is while asking the others what to do. UGH!

I was a little frustrated, to say the least.

Best of the Week:
Avengers #5
Writer: Brian Bendis
Artist: John Romita Jr.

See what I did there?

Okay, so the beginning of this issue aside, it was actually pretty good. The team in the future was presented with a twist that I genuinely didn't see coming along with a pretty cool ending.

This issue seemed like Bendis read my previous reviews and made up for that lackluster third issue by just cramming story into this one. Everything moved at a pretty impressive pace (especially for Bendis) AND shit actually happened. I was totally amazed.

That said, the best thing about this issue had to be the Rip Hunter-esque (yeah, that's right, I made a DC reference. What of it?) diagram of the future. It's really cool, check it out (click it to make it bigger!):

Right? Totes Awesome. I'm gonna digest this and post my theories on it tomorrow, hopefully before places like Robot6 do (they do such a good job on those things... jerks).

Anyway, this issue got me all hot and bothered for the next. Here's hoping Bendis keeps it up, and doesn't fumble the end as he tends to do.

There you have it, my all Bendis Bill. For the record, I also picked up Avengers Academy (totally great!) and the first two issues of the Power Man mini (surprisingly pretty cool), but failed to pick up Skullkickers (sold out). Am I missing out? Lemme know!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wonder Man Is an Actor..

But if you're not over 18, you'd never know.

Character assassination courtesy of Steve Englehart and Al Milgrom via the vastly underrated and totally crazy West Coast Avengers #1

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Weekend Matinee: POINT BLANK

This one should be more well known than it is.

In a trippy, neo-noir, almost classic, John Boorman directs Lee Marvin along a path of revenge. After being left for dead following the perfect heist, Marvin is out to settle the score against his old partner. Told in a fractured narrative, you never really know what's truly happening or what's just imaginary.

I saw this one a few weeks ago and was blown away by it's taut story and compelling visuals, even though I'm still kind of digesting what happened in it. It's great stuff, you should totally check it out.

That said, this clip is funny out of context, so enjoy Lee Marvin's remodeling methods:

I told you to change those ugly sheets...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Why Didn't Anyone Tell Me Cartoon Network Was So Good?

If you're not watching Cartoon Network, you're missing out on some of the best cartoons ever.

That's not phrase I throw around lightly, their new shows are really fantastic. Like Dexter's Lab, Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack fantastic. It might just be me, but I felt like for a while there CN fell into this pit of obscurity with their shows. While shows like Ben10 and The Misadventures of Flapjack got some attention (moreso for Ben10), they seemed like they were solely for kids and not 'all audiences'.

And yes, when I say 'all audiences' I mean late-twenties guys like me.

Now a new batch of shows have popped up and are seriously great. Like add them immediately to your DVRs kind of great. Allow me to elucidate.

My reintroduction to CN started here, with Adventure Time, the story of a dog and his human in the mystical land of Ooo.

I know, I know, it sounds very... childish. Well, it is, but in a great way. There's such unbridled imagination, crazy energy, and the right kind of cartoon-y violence, it's exactly the kind of show you would want a kid to watch and you can totally enjoy as an adult-ish person.

It's got candy eating zombies, a rainbow unicorn, magic powers, crazy dungeons, knife storms, frozen business men, demon cats, wrestling, hipster vampire queens, trolls, wizards, princess rescuing, autotune singing, and MORE! Combine all this with a magic dog (voiced by Bender!) and mathematic exclamations and you got yourself a can't miss show.

Check out this clip:

The Regular Show is anything but. It's one of those that could have been on Adult Swim if the animation was shittier and the jokes were a bit more crude (no offense to Adult Swim, but you know it's true).

The show's about two twenty three year old slackers, Mordecai and Rigby as they deal with the perils of, well, being a slacker.

So far only two episodes have premiered, but they've both been hilarious. Great one liners, fun set pieces, complete absurdity, and loads of fun; it's everything you want from a great cartoon.

It's my new obsession, I suggest it becomes yours too. Here's a link to the first episode:

Man, this show is fucking epic. But it's no surprise considering it's creator: Genndy Tartakovsky. It's totally on the opposite end of the spectrum as the other two shows, it's none-the-less twice as amazing.

The show follows a stranded princess, her bodyguard, and their robot helper as they try to assimilate into Earth culture (read: High School) and fight off any intergalactic invaders (read: Giant Monsters!).

In standard Tartakovsky style, it's packed full of the crazy action anime is known for with a distinctive western tinge. In other words, it's full on giant monster fights without all the hand-wringing that hampers most animes.

If you were a fan of Samurai Jack, Voltron, or even Gundam Wing, you should love this show.

Honestly, I don't have much more to say about it, as there's only been one episode so far, but if things continue at the tempo the first episode established, this one'll become a bonafide classic.

There it is. I don't know about you, but talking about all this got me all excited. I'm gonna go watch these all over and over again.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Behold The Might Catlactus!

As seen on Agent M's tumblr and drawn by Katie Cook, this is one of the most fantastic cat/cosmic being mashups I've ever seen. And definitely the most adorable.

This is a meme that I could stand to see more of.

Check the tumblr for more cat mashups, including my other favorite: M.O.D.O.C, The Mental Organism Designed Only for Cuteness.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Bill September 15, 2010

Another super slow week for me this week. I know, I know, I should almost put this feature on hiatus until I can figure out how to rework it.

But that would be quitting. And momma didn't raise no quitter!

Instead, let's look at what I did get and why I haven't been buying a lot lately (which isn't at all related to lack of work, I promise!)...

Buy of the Week:
Thunderbolts #148
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artist: Declan Shalvey

Man, Thunderbolts is GREAT! Great pacing, great art, great characters, great premise. Even when they have a fill-in artist liek Declan Shalvey, it still looks totally amazing. I wish there was more of it every month, there's just too much story for one book! It also doesn't help when they get pulled into a line wide crossover.

Here's the thing, I love it when my Marvel Universe crosses over with itself; it makes me feel like everything that's happening is real and impactful (which is part of my problem with Young Allies, but I digress). That said, it's weird when I'm not reading the big central story line.

Disassembled, House of M, Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, Siege; I was in the thick of it for all of those, for better or worse. I felt like I needed to so I could understand the books I love so much. And then there were the smaller events, mainly the X events, that I thought I could ignore and not miss much.

Apparently not so with Shadowland.

It hit me today as I was reading this Shadowland tie-in that Shadowland is actually a pretty big event. So much for it being a small family book crossover, I guess. Or maybe it's my fault for reading a bunch of street level books?

The point is I put together why I haven't been buying so much lately: I'm not buying into the big event. Normally, like with Siege, I bought a good chunk of extra books to keep up, which meant I had more to talk about during reviews. But since I'm not getting this one, suddenly my comic buying has shriveled to it's normal levels, unbolstered by big events.

It makes me feel kinda empty.

So there's the other problem. We're smack dab in the middle of this thing. Do I go buy up all the issues I missed? That seems dumb. The only answer I see is to hold tight for the next big event and never let this happen again. That, or do something really silly like buy something that's not Marvel.

Buy something other than Marvel? I say crazy things sometimes...

Can't wait for Chaos War! WOOO House of Ideas!

Opinions on my little Shadowland rant are greatly appreciated. Am I missing something awesome? Should I be buying it all? I'm thinking I should at least read the Power Man book, if for nothing else than the awesomeness that is Fred Van Lente.

Next week should be back to normal, so instead of reading my rants about crossovers, you can read my rants about hating Bendis. Try not to get too excited in the meantime.

Monday, September 13, 2010

First Issue Spectacular: SuperPro #1

What better way to kick off the 2010 NFL season than to look back on their lasting comics legacy: NFL SuperPro. Or at least the first issue, I don't think I could take the entire series...

First off, I gotta tell you that this first issue is a misnomer. SuperPro actually began a few months prior in a special of the same name. In it you got all the things you'd expect from a first issue: The origin, the introduction of the supporting cast, and the setting of the status quo.

I don't have that issue. Instead, I have an issue that reads like a second issue that refers to events that already happened without giving me reference to where they happened. It's all kinds of fun. You should be ashamed of yourselves Fabian Nicieza and Jose Delbo, you should have known better...

Anyway, the issue starts off like you would expect: With SuperPro fighting off a would be assassin.

Unfortunately for Superpro (or more accurately the guy he was protecting), during the scuffle, a second assassin appeared and shot the target. A chase ensues where Superpro shows us just how awesome he is:

Needless to say, the guy gets away.

Or does he? It seems everyone's favorite wallcrawler is in town on some dues-ex-machina business, maybe he can swing in and stop this obviously dangerous criminal.

Spidey just likes to watch, I guess. It's not like he has a history involving letting criminals run away only to have them come back and hurt him somehow. Hey... wait a minute....

Maybe he was a clone. It was the 90s after all.

Regardless, Superpro decides to call it a night. After getting picked up by his cameraman/driver/defacto sidekick Ken, SuperPro changes into his civilian identity, Phil GrayField and heads back to his hotel for some deep thinking about his origins.

And to make some late night booty calls.

The next morning, Phil heads to the courthouse for a big press conference that just happens to be targeted by another assassin. This time it's SuperPro's turn to laze on the bench while Spider-Man does all the heavy lifting.

And by heavy lifting, I mean, effectively kill a man. Cause you know, Spider-Man's badass like that. He kills guys all the time, it's not like he has a crippling guilt any time he does anything that might seriously hurt someone else.... Hey, wait a minute!

It's gotta be a clone. That's the only thing that makes sense, right?

Whatever. Spidey follows a bad tip and ends up where the action isn't happening. Lucky for us, SuperPro has the uncanny ability to be at the right place at the right time. Or a close approximation thereof.

Finally we get to see SuperPro shine as he kicks the shit out of half a dozen faceless hi-tech grunts while he spews some of the worst one liners ever.

Oh SuperPro, how can I make fun of someone so adorably stupid?

For reasons that should be obvious, SuperPro here never really took off the way everyone expected him to. Combined with the NFL getting all fidgety with the rights, this series was doomed to only last twelve issues. Twelve issues that I'm never going to read... No sir...

What's that? The following issues involve villains like a place kicker turned ninja named Quick Kick, a time traveling assassin named Instant Replay, and an issue so racist it was pulled from the stands within a week? Dammit, that sounds awesome.

I guess it couldn't hurt to read a few more...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Weekend Matinee: WORST WITCH

I sometimes force the GirlFriend to watch movies of questionable quality from my youth. This week, the tables were turned.

She gave me the age old excuse that I always gave her: "I thought this was the best movie ever when I was 6. I used to watch it ALL the time." I should have known it wasn't going to be pretty.

The movie in question is The Worst Witch, this crazy UK TV movie from 1986 starring a really young Fairuza Balk, Dianna Rigg, and Edna from the Facts of Life. The best way to imagine this movie is as a cheap Harry Potter knock off for girls with no heart and a slapdash story. It's plodding, nonsensical, and just generally boring. And definitely not something my inner eight year old wants to watch.

Anyway, the real "Fun" of the movie doesn't happen until near the end when Tim Curry shows up. Yes, ol' do-anything-for-a-paycheck Curry shows up as the Grand Wizard, the best and most handsome of all Wizards, to wow the witches in training on Halloween.

His arrival and the ensuing song are quite possibly the most 80s thing I've ever seen. It's like a monkey ran wild with a video toaster. And it's something that we should all revel in:

Right? Has anyone seen my tambourine indeed. Good show, Mr. Curry. Good show.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Bill September 9, 2010

I don't know what happened this week, but I only had one book come out. It was okay though because the store I went to last week didn't have all the books I wanted, so I was able to make the trip worth my while.

That said, I'm gonna change up the format this week. Come on, let's see what happens...

Best Anthology in a While:
I Am an Avenger #1
Writers: Jim McCann, Duane Swierczynski, Alex Zalben, Chris Eliopoulos
Artists: Chris Samnee, Jason Latour, Tom Fowler, Chris Eliopoulos

When I was bitching about the Age of Heroes anthology weeks ago, this is what I was I wanted that book to be. The stories were meaningful, pointed, and just generally good. Sure, the Pet Avengers and Squirrel Girl stories didn't need to be in there, but the other two totally made up for them.

The first was a fantastic Young Avengers story by Jim McCann (of Hawk and Mock fame) and Chris Samnee (of Thor the Mighty Avenger fame) in which the team gets officially inducted into the ranks of the World's Greatest Heroes. Not only do we get some great interplay, but it also gives us a bit of continuity clean up regarding who gets to keep the name Hawkeye (Spoilers: They both do).

The story was seriously great, and makes me yearn for a YA series written by McCann. He'd be the perfect fit, as he tends to balance that old school adventure feel with great character interaction; a must when it comes to the Young Avengers. Here's hoping he gets the chance once Heinberg is through.

On the opposite side of the emotional scale is Dwayne Swierczynski and Jason Latour's defacto epilogue to The Immortal Iron Fist. As a quick aside, I don't talk about that series nearly enough. I don't know what it is, but those books inspire me and not just the Fraction/Brubaker stuff, as the book really got interesting when Swierczynski came on.

Anyway, the Iron Fist story deals with the unfortunate fallout of Misty Knight's pregnancy. In summary, it didn't go well, so Danny and Misty are taking a break. It was a very touching, personal story that I'm really glad to see, even if it was painful to read.

I'm tentatively considering getting the next issue in this series. I'll keep you posted if I do.

Most LIkely to Get Cancelled:
Young Allies # 4
Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: David Baldeon

I really really love this book. The characters, the setup, the writing, the art; everything. Unfortunately, that means this book is not long for this world.

It's a pretty solid fact that when I like a book, it gets canceled (See FrankenCastle, but you knew that) and this one isn't going to buck the trend. It's no one's fault, really, it just doesn't have anything in it to jazz up the casual fan.

The character selection is totally off beat and full of characters with potential, but no one that really jumps out. I know Nomad is getting a push in the Captain America books, as is Arana in Spider-Man, but I don't think that's equating into readers. Or at least, not enough. I read it for Gravity (on of the best characters of the 2000s!), but I know he's not the headliner he should be.

As for the story, it's really clever but it lacks resonance because it's not referenced anywhere else in the Marvel U. These new villains showed up and blew up a chunk of Manhattan, but you'd never know if you weren't reading this book. It's a bad sign.

I really want everyone to check out this book. Give it a whirl, I promise you won't be upset. Its got fun lines, great characterization, interesting villains, everything you need for a great book.

Please don't let this one be cancelled. Marvel is already taking FrankenCastle away from me, I don't think I could bear them taking another fun title away....

And on that dour note, I'm off. For the record, the other book I bought tonight was Thor Mighty Avenger #4 which featured a great night drinking with the Warriors Three. Fun stuff and still the best Thor book I've ever read. I'm going to suggest it to everyone before the movie comes out.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The End of Spider-Girl

I give Tom DeFalco a lot of shit on this site. I rag on everything from his pacing, to his characters, to general story lines; There isn't a ton of his stuff that I let pass without some snark.

That said, he did a pretty good job on Spider-Girl: The End. Not a great one, but still a better job than I expected.

The story is what you expect, the last adventure of Spider-Girl. As told by an old woman (kind of. The POV is a bit wonky), we see ol' May Parker's final showdown with her villainous clone, April, in which May sacrifices herself to save the other's life. And I have to admit, I was pretty surprised that DeFalco did this, as he tends to eschew those deathly moments most of the time.

Of course, it turns out that the old woman telling the story is April, and because of her actions the world has become a terrible place. Humans live in the sewers, hunted by Carnage-esque "Bio-Preds", while the remaining superheroes work on a plan to end this insanity. The plan, of course, involves time travel.

As expected, April heads into the past to stop herself from killing (albeit accidentally) May. As a result, April learns of the horrible future and ends up sacrificing herself to save May, giving May the first large personal trauma in her superhero life (I don't count the death of Crazy Eight, that was just silly). Good for DeFalco for going for it. It's about time May had to deal with some real emotions.

While this issue had some great moments, it also really highlighted the problems with the title. For being a book that prides itself on being full of retro-classic, done-in-one adventures, there was a lot of excess story baggage. It's the unfortunate result of only having one writer for 12 years.

I know how this sounds, but hold on and lemme explain.

Have you ever tried to read a Claremont story from the late eighties? As was Jim Shooter's orders ("every issue could be someone's first"), there's all this exposition in it to help a new reader catch on, but it's still really dense and confusing. Even if you try to read a new jumping on point (like X-Men #1 or Uncanny #281), there's still all this crazy stuff you need to know because Claremont still had his master story to tell, regardless of issue numbers. It's the same problem Spider-Girl has.

When Spider-Girl would get a fresh start, it ended up just being a continuation of what came before it. That's not to say DeFalco didn't try. Lord knows he did a much better job than Claremont ever could making the book accessible, yet he still fell into the trap of continuing his 'master' story.

In the end, I'm really glad that DeFalco got a chance to tie up his loose ends and put the book to rest, even if it's not how he probably imagined it. And now that he's placed the reins on the ground, I can't wait until someone else picks them up and runs with them and takes the one true Spider-Girl to new heights.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Johnny Blaze: Geek protector

If there's one thing Johnny hates, it's people picking on Peter Parker.

From the classic Spirits of Vengeance # 6 by Howard "I didn't mean to fuck up Spider-Man" Mackie and Adam "I can draw more than just Wolverine" Kubert.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Weekend Matinee: SCORPION

Imagine Chuck Norris, but uglier and with less charisma and you'd get Tonny Tulleners, the star of Scorpion.

This is one of those movies that I watched strictly because of the awesomeness of the poster. It was like someone threw Cobra through a window, with the Chuck Norris promise of something amazing. It's anything but.

I honestly couldn't tell you what the whole thing was about, as I couldn't really find the energy to focus on it. All I know is that someone got killed in Mexico and then Tonny had to go on a mission to kill more. Along the way, he kept having flashbacks to his youth where he and his hooligan brother attempt to vandalize a graveyard. Not in the typical spray paint kind of way, but in a "let's knock over some bust kind of way". It was a very odd way to spend a childhood.

Anyway, poor Tonny is unable to move this statue throughout his childhood and the failure haunts him into adulthood. Ultimately, after completing his mission of revenge or something he's able to find the strength to finally teach that fucking statue a lesson.

The moral: You're never too old for some good ol'fashioned graveyard vandalism.

I think I know what I'm going to do with the rest of my weekend...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Bill September 1, 2010

It was another pretty solid week this week. Solid. Not outstanding, not terrible, just solid. Which is almost kind of disappointing (I'm hard to please, I know). So instead of just going on and on about how great Hawk and Mock was, how much fun Prince of Power was, or how surprising good Spider-Girl was (I'll write a separate review later, I owe it to her), I'm going to prattle on about the books that didn't quite sit right with me.

Sound good? Good. Let's get to it.

Least-Most Disappointing of the Week
FrankenCastle #20
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Tony Moore, Paco Diaz, and John Lucas.

Methinks there was some last minute changes on this one. I can't quite put my finger on it, but the super rushed Paco Diaz and John Lucas art is a bit of a tip off. Maybe it's the realization that FrankenCastle is ending (NOOOOOO!!!!),but something seemed off about this issue.

Don't get me wrong, it's totally what you would expect the final issue of a four issue fight scene to be: Lots of crazy action, some wobbly plot elements, and a resetting of the status quo. And I have got to admit that the twist to defeat Daken was really clever. It just wasn't what I wanted it to be, I guess.

Again, it wasn't bad but it wasn't great either. It's just kind of there and that's not what I expect from a book like FrankenCastle that brings it every time out of the gate.

Just color me underwhelmed, I guess. And depressed. Only one more issue until it's all over...

The Most Disappointing of the Week
Avengers: Children's Crusade
Writer: Allen Heinberg
Artist: Jim Cheung

I think I've said this before, but let me say it again for posterity: I really like the Young Avengers. Of all the young teams introduced over the past few years, the Young Avengers are the best realized and the best utilized. But not here.

This book fails on a few levels for me.

First off, I can't figure out when it takes place. I try not to be one of those fans, but this book really bothers me. Steve's in the Cap outfit and Tony's in his Extremis Armor, but then Magneto is living with the X-Men. Meanwhile Stature and Vision are back on the team with no mention of their time on the Mighty Avengers. Or how she ditched the group to be in the Initiative.

Speaking of weird character things, Wolverine is just baffling in this. I get that he wanted to kill Wanda as soon as she went crazy, and probably harbors some kind of grudge against her, but he just comes off as down-right villainous in this. What kind of hero wants gut not only a defenseless woman, but the lost child trying to find her. It just felt really out of character.

Let me say this right now: I will totally rescind these remarks if somehow this story is being influenced by the non-existant Chaos magics. If these Avengers turn out to be some kind of creation of Wiccan's to subconsciously keep him from his goal, I would accept everything in the story thus far. I might even call it a genius move.

Finally, the twist at the end feels like it came outta left field. Without giving it away, it feels like a copout and just a way to get a guest star next issue. Said guest star has no real reason to do what he did, it just all feels so arbitrary...

Whatever. I just hope that after this is all done, we can finally get the Young Avengers ongoing that we've been denied for far too long.

That's all she wrote. Come back next week where I complain about all my books being too damned good all the time. In the meantime, I think I might head back to the store and try to find something different. Suggestions welcome.