Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hey Hawkguy!

I'm sure he gets that a lot.

My favorite exchange from a book full of great exchanges, via Hawkeye (or Hawkguy) #6 from Fraction and Aja.

Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm Officially Jealous of Franklin Richards

Now if I could just figure out where to get my own...

From the pretty stellar FF #1 by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Venom is a Slut Part 11

Worse, now there's more of them. It's like four times the slut.

Monday, October 8, 2012

It's Daredevil Time!

If only he came with a magic dog that looked like Foggy...

Monday, September 17, 2012

The X-Force That Could Have Been

Can you imagine a world where Shatterstar had a logical hairline? Where Magik was part of Cable's Crew? Or where Feral doesn't exist? Well, prepare for a glimpse:

Now, I can't decide if this was used as a pitch for the first X-Force book or if it was just tease designed to excite readers to something new from the New Mutants book. Could go either way, I suppose. All I know is that I'm glad I live in a world with Feral.

This Fringe-Like 'over there' look courtesy of New Mutants Annual #6

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

What's This About Marvel Now?

Didja hear the news? Marvel is doing a reboot!

What? Old News? Are you implying that because I've been noticeably absent the past few months that I missed out on my chance to talk about the craziness that is Marvel NOW? Maybe you're right, but indulge me.

I won't lie, the first time I saw this picture my heart sank a little bit. I was already preparing rants about what a huge mistake Marvel was making and how after twenty years I'd be finally walking away from this hobby I love so much. So imagine my excitement when it was announced that this wasn't a reboot in the DCnU kind of way, but instead a line wide refresh without doing away with any of the old continuity. And that friends, is how it should be.

Continuity is something that should be cherished, loved, and discovered. It should be something that adds to your enjoyment, but doesn't detract if you don't know it. Further, I think the more caveats you have to add, the less new reader friendly comics become.

The way DC did their refresh (because no commentary on Marvel NOW would be complete without a full comparison to the DCnU) in the end, only adds more headaches and creates a larger wall for the uninitiated fan to get over before they can enjoy the books. I find it problematic that when someone asks me a simple question about Superman, I have to qualify my statements with eras and relations to reboots to make sure I'm answering their question correctly. Try it. Try answering: "I thought Superman was married to Lois Lane, what happened?" Headaches.

Meanwhile, the Marvel method to refreshing the line becomes much easier to explain things. Sure, as with any long running fiction story you'll have bits of "they died but got better" or "they just kind of ignored [fill-in-the-blank]", but at least all the stories 'matter'. It's that respect for the overall long-running narrative that gives the Marvel method more merit in the eyes of a new reader.

The more I read about the new creative teams, storyline teases, and character combinations I find myself more and more excited about Marvel come November. There's a crazy freshness and new found energy in all the interviews that's hard to ignore. It reminds me a lot of the NuMarvel stuff from the turn of the century, when titles like Allred's X-Force, Morrison's New X-Men, and Tangled Web were challenging the limits of what you could do in a Marvel Comic. Except this time, it seems they're diving head first into big time super heroics, instead of focusing on the small interpersonal stuff.

I'm getting all revved up just thinking about it! What about you?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Best Thing From Toy Fair 2012

Hungover E.T.

Sure, the 1:1 replica of the BttF hoverboard, the full-sized Portal Gun (non-working), and the cavalcade of new minimates - including, but not limited to, a Composite Hulk, a Flash Thompson Venom, and a Brood - were pretty sweet, but nothing quite had the personality of ol'weekday morning drunky up there. I can't wait until he's mine.

Quality pictures of this awesomely horrible nightmare of a figure stolen from TNI

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Bill February 9, 2012

We're not going to dwell on the past. Instead we're going to gallop into the future as if this 'weekly' comic review feature has been published without major absences. Sound good? Good.

Let's do this thing!

Going Back to School:
Wolverine and The X-Men # 5
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Nick Bradshaw

I was done with the X-Books after Grant Morrison left. His run was the perfect blend of big, progressive ideas to keep me interested with a solid foothold in past continuity to make me feel like it meant something. To say I was upset with the near instant dismantling of all the cool new things he added to the mythos is putting things mildly. After that fiasco, I was certain that I never needed to read an X-Book ever again. That there would be no new book that would be able to attain that same level of manic creativity. And then Wolverine and The X-Men came out.

Holy. Shit.

This book ought to be a blueprint for how to make a successful X-Book - Nay, a comic book. Each new page is brimming with new ideas, new locations, and big visuals to match; it's a Morrisson book on meth, but 100% more accessible.

This issue picks up with Wolverine dealing with the financial realities of running the premiere mutant school in the Milky Way while the school in question is besieged by tiny Broodspawn. Also, Kitty deals with her magical insta-pregnancy and The Beast teaches a hands on Biology lesson by shrinking his students and hanging out in the body of their janitor. Like I said, the book is full of big ideas. Jason Aaron is totally knocking this book out of the park.

On the art side, Nick Bradshaw is giving the book a big, fresh look to go along with the writing. His stuff is, in the very best of ways, very comic book-y. And sure, at times, I find myself not liking his stuff as much as I want to, but I can't deny that he's delivering some fantastic pages.

I'm excited by this book in ways I haven't been excited in a while. It's a book that inspires as well as entertains, and I hope that it continues on like this for a good long time. I'm in no hurry for them to get back to the same ol' convoluted X-Men stories that got them here, but I am very excited to see them develop a whole new slew of classic stories for people to rip off for years to come.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Who Is Marvel's Batman

Namor and Aquaman. Green Arrow and Hawkeye. Deathstroke and Deadpool. Superman and The Sentry. Swamp Thing and Man Thing. The Green Lantern Corps and the Nova Corps. It's not hard to find analogous characters when looking at the catalogs of both DC and Marvel. These homages (or rip-offs, if you want to be mean) are a time honored tradition between the two companies. However, there has been one character that doesn't quite have a clear analogue: Batman.

Not that Marvel hasn't tried; far from it. Over the years, Marvel has put forth a litany of characters that try to invoke the same ideas of Batman - without sinking into the murky waters of copyright infringement - with little success.

So of the minor successes, who is the Marvel analogue for Batman? Let's take a look at the top candidates:


Moon Knight

Moon Knight (Post-werewolf hunter beginnings and Pre-current crazy Bendis makeover) has oft been considered the man to beat when it comes to Bat-Analogues. I'll admit that it's a pretty easy case to make when you take a glance at the character: He's highly trained, works at night, has tons of gadgets, and has a rich alter ego. Hell, he even has a crazy, murderous ex-sidekick.

However, once you dig a little bit deeper, the whole thing starts to fall apart. Even before his recent schizophrenic turn, Moonie wasn't the most sane of heroes. Donning up to three different alter egos in a manner that would make Stanislavski proud, he probably did more to scare his closest friends than his deadliest enemies. Further more, he has a penchant for being a little overly violent, like when he cut the face off of Bushman a few years back. I know Bats has done some extreme things in the past, but he tends to stop short of physical mutilation.

In the end, Moon Knight is more akin to the 90s AzBats everyone hates than he is the Bruce Wayne Batman everyone likes.

Pros: Night-themed, lots of Gadgets, Rich.
Cons: Crazy, Overly Violent.
Percentage Batman: 85%

The Shroud

The Shroud is definitely the dark horse on the list. Created in 1975, He's a blind, mystically-augmented, cape-wearing vigilante that one the surface doesn't seem like he'd be similar to The Bat. In a twist from Moon Knight, as you dig deeper into the character, the more similar to Batman he becomes.

Tell me when this sounds familiar: Ten year old rich kid, Maximillian Coleridge, is orphaned when his parents are killed in front of him by a common criminal. From there he devotes his life to justice, studying criminology while keeping his body in peak form. In an attempt to take one further step into awesome crimefighterhood, he travels to the east to work with some monks... who end up blinding him to unlock his mystic potential.

Now, blind, he's able to access a mystic extrasensory perception that allows him to see everything around him at once - Kinda like Daredevil, but without the radioactivity.

Since then, he's gained the ability to access a darkforce dimension that allows him to teleport wherever he wants to be. So, yeah, that kinda puts him in the 'definitely not Batman' camp. However, given his look and his origin, I couldn't not put him on the list. He's the analogue for when DC finally goes crazy and gives Batman powers, which I'm sure they'll do at some point...

Pros: Traumatized by Parents Murder, devoted life to Justice, got special training from Monks...
Cons: ...Those monks blinded him. Also he has mystic powers.
Percentage Batman: 65%


In a way, Nighthawk was literally created to be a Bat-Knockoff. In another way, he's the farthest thing from it. Put on your comics hat, things are about to become confusing.

Okay, so as a fun not-crossover-crossover, Roy Thomas created a JLA Analogue to fight the Avengers called the Squadron Supreme. The team was comprised of a superstrong flying guy (Hyperion), a super fast runner (The Whizzer), a man possessed with an otherworldly stone that gave him energy powers (Doctor Spectrum), and a regular human vigilante (Nighthawk). Simple enough, right? Wrong. That team came from an entirely different dimension that only occasionally, never permanently.

The version of Nighthawk running around the Marvel Universe right now was first recruited by the villainous Gamesmaster to be an evil version of his alternate dimension persona. After a brief flirtation with being the bad guy, Nighthawk came to the side of the angels becoming a charter member of The Defenders. Still with me?

So, convolutedness aside, it's Nighthawk's alter ego that makes him like Batman. As Kyle Richardson, Nighthawk runs a multi-national corporation that gives him the resources to fight crime that would make anyone jealous (except probably Moon Knight because he's got his own cash flow). More recently, Kyle's given up the mantle of Nighthawk to Joaquin Pennysworth in a move similar to Bruce giving up the mantle of the Bat to Dick Grayson. So he's like a Batman Incorporated Bruce Wayne now, without the galavanting the world and making out with a Catwoman analogue.

Pros: Literally created to be a knockoff Batman. Rich. Runs a company.
Cons: Was briefly evil. Crazy convoluted origin.
Percentage Batman: 73%


The more I think about it, there's only one answer to this question. There's only one character in the Marvel Universe with a history of taking down enemies way more powerful than them, someone with deep ties to supergroups both big and small, has at least one dead sidekick in their past, and dresses like a rodent.

That's right, Marvel's Batman is none other than Squirrel Girl.

And she would totally kick Batman's ass.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Greatest Recap of the Death and Return of Superman EVER

I stumbled upon this and would be remiss in my bloggerly duties if I didn't repost it here. Here's Chronicle screenwriter Max Landis telling it how it is about the Death and Return of Superman. Believe me, it's worth the 16 minutes and is the perfect thing to watch instead of that dreadful Madonna halftime show today. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Venom is a Slut part 10


This amazing Mike Del Mundo cover is just a friendly reminder that February is Venom month at Marvel. Also that I can't wait for this story to happen. Carry on.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Bill January 5, 2012

It wouldn't be Thursday (because it is TOTALLY Thursday) without my ramblings about the week's new comics. That's right, those past few weeks: Thursday-less. No more! 2012 is the year of the Thursday (or something like that), so let's get to some reviews to make it official.

Starting Off on the Wrong Foot:
Avengers X-Sanction #2
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Ed Mcguiness

Avengers X-Sanction is a very frustrating book. It's exactly what it promises to be (Cable fighting the Avengers) but, somehow every issue leaves me unsatisfied. It's just superficial fluff pretending to be something much more substantial and failing miserably.

Don't get me wrong, I really want to like this book. Really! Truth be told, Cable is one of my favorite characters from my comic reading youth. There was something about the combination overly complex origins and cybernetic parts (yes, I know they're not cybernetic... anymore) that made him wonderfully intriguing to my 11 year-old brain. I grew out of it, of course, but I've always had a soft spot for him and always like to keep an eye on his exploits. Even if they mostly involve him dying and returning in increasingly gimmicky ways.

And then there's Jeph Loeb, who I really have a hard time not liking. Sure, it's easy to hate on him for Ultimates 3, Ultimatum, or whatever else is the hip thing to not like him for, but I still like him. Personally, I loved his first few issues of the Red Hulk series, with its unabashed wide screen insanity. Sure it was kinda dumb, but damn if it wasn't a good time.

So with all that going for the series, you can understand how I was really prepared to love Avengers X-Sanction.

It's not that the issue is unreadably bad or anything, it's decent but it's not anything special. The characterizations weren't out of whack, there's a sense of logic to it all, and the fight was pretty cool (and epically drawn by McGuiness), but there wasn't anything that gets me excited.

Meanwhile, Loeb keeps dropping the barest of hints to a bigger story (more than likely Hope becoming the Phoenix), but not enough that I find myself intrigued. More, I just find myself bored because I can see the obvious conclusion. Maybe that's the whole problem: This book that's supposed to be amping my excitement for Avengers V X-Men this summer simply isn't.

And that doesn't bode well for the future.

Looks like it's gonna be a long year....

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Greatest Amusement Park Ever

Hey, lookit that, it's 2012!

Crazy how time flies and all that. How was your holiday? Me, I ended up visiting sunny Orlando Florida and the greatest amusement park I've ever been to: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

No wait. That's not how it looked. Lemme try that again, this time with a non-promotional picture.

Yeah, that's more like it. Because it ain't Harry Potter Land - Yes, that's what I'm going to call it from now on - without at least 10 people per square foot. But before I get into all that, allow me to introduce another 'land' from the same park for some perspective on just how cool Harry Potter Land is: The Marvel Super-Heroes Island of Adventure!

Since it was announced sometime in the late 90s, Marvel Land - at least I'm consistent with my naming conventions - has been a dream destination of mine. Seriously, what could be cooler than an entire section of an amusement park dedicated to my favorite four-color heroes? (don't answer that) Suffice to say, after a decade and a half, I had kind of built the place up in my mind to be the best thing ever. Unfortunately, the reality of the place didn't quite live up.

"Are you sure this wasn't something else before it was Marvel Land," I continuously asked the Florida-native FutureWife to her constant denials.

To be honest, there was nothing really bad about Marvel Land, there just wasn't anything special. Sure, there were cool little easter eggs here and there (a random Nelson and Murdock sign, Daily Bugle Newspaper dispensers, among other things), but on a whole the place looked like Tomorrowland with Marvel Heroes cut and pasted onto the buildings. Simply put, everything was very surface.

If Universal lost the rights to Marvel amusement parks tomorrow (which could happen now that they have Disney behind them), that land could be easily and quickly altered to something new. Tear down those giant cutouts of Dr. Doom and Magneto and you're left with just another futuristic looking city street ready to be anything from... uh... well, something futuristic. You get my point, it's generic looking.

Where Marvel Land was everything you expect from a typical amusement park, Harry Potter Land was the complete opposite. Where Marvel was all surface with random shoutouts here and there as an afterthought, Harry Potter was a fully immersive environment with everything in a very specific place to evoke a very specific feel. It was amazing.

Walking through the gates, you're immediately transported to the cobblestone streets of Hogsmead with it's quaint, and decidedly British, feel. All of the major shops from the books are represented, becoming more rides than shopping experiences with their attention to detail, movie-accurate merchandise - aside from the ubiquitous T-shirts and such that are readily available at almost every shop, of course - and completely in character staff throughout. However, while all this immersion is totally awesome, it only acerbates the worst part of amusement parks: Lines.

As cool as it is that every store, bathroom, and eatery in Harry Potter Land is it's own unique experience, it kind of hard to enjoy it when you're packed in like sardines. I honestly don't think I was able to take a full step forward the entire time I was at the park. Everything thing from Olivander's to the streets of Hogsmead were was full of shuffling and shoulder bumping as we attempted to get from one awesome sight to the next, but never enjoying the stroll down those cobblestone streets. And then there's the huge lines outside each and every store, requiring a solid 20 minute wait to do anything from entering Honey Dukes to buying Butterbeer (which is amazing BTW). While the whole land was amazing, it was certainly a test of my patience after an hour or so.

Seeing Harry Potter Land opened up my thinking to how awesome amusement parks can be. Hopefully the lessons that are learned from this money machine isn't that the kids want more literary lands - The FutureWife seems convinced that they'll use this success as a reason to make a Twilight amusement park. I hope against hope she's wrong - and instead are more interested in totally immersive parks. Imagine a Star Wars park decked out like Tatooine, A Lord of the Rings park made out to be part Minas Tirith and part Mt. Doom...

Or a Marvel Park decked out to look like a New York Street destroyed in a superhuman fight with very specific easter eggs and a real reason for the 'face' characters to run around. Now that's the park I wanted to see when I was 11. Here's hoping that's not too far off, now that Harry Potter has shown that it's possible.