Review: Scarlet Spider #6

I am a child of the 90s. The two big series I remember actively collecting are 1) the Clone Saga and 2) Deathmate. I barely remember what either are about (did they really have “plots”?). None-the-less a Scarlet Spider book featuring not Ben Reilly but third-string-Peter-Parker Kaine peaked my interest. So far scarlet spider has generally been an entertaining book, which, although initially fueled by 90s nostalgia, has established it’s own voice quite nicely. It has however been uneven at places and last issue (my least favorite of the run) had more than a couple cringe-inducing moments. This is issue Is a return to form though still with a few bumps along the way. Continue reading

Double-Play Review: Earth 2 and World’s Finest 2

As some people have commented, the New 52 universe feels scarcely populated.  DC’s strategy has been to focus on their handful of iconic characters from which they plan to spin-out stories that brush in the details of the universe. This strategy, while successful in many ways, has come to the detriment of many beloved Golden-age and legacy characters. James Robinson begins to rectify this with a new Earth 2. This universe, one of the new 52 universes, which is to be the home of Power Girl and Huntress (though, as their popularity would dictate, they were quickly jettisoned to the main DC Universes and their own series, World’s Finest, in the first issue of the Eponymous Earth 2 series) as well a new JSA. Or at least something that bears a semblance to what we have known as the JSA.

Traditionally the JSA were the first crop of super-heroes to appear, mostly around WWII, in the DC-verse. Publisher’s have always had an uneasy relationship with character origins that were historical situated, specifically the ageing issues that they inevitably lead to.  Previously DC had utilized the Earth 2 concept as a way to explain away the discrepancies of such historical situated origins. As a result, Earth 2 stories have a pretty lengthy and developed publishing history. Those who were expecting a modern update of these stories will be severely disappointed. Earth 2 is as different from Pre-Crisis on Infinite Earths, or even Post-Infinite Crisis Earth 2 (which, although editors went out-of-the-way to make clear was not the same earth, was in fact a very clear homage) as imaginable. Whereas the JSA had been treated as the forbearer of the JLA for a while now, Earth 2 is re-imagining them as a group heroes who fill the vacuum left after the catastrophic destruction of the JLA.

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Review: Creator Owned Heroes

I have never really loved, or even hated,  anything produced by Gray or Palmiotti and 30 Days of Night, my sole venture into Niles’ work, was underwhelming to say the least. So I bought this book solely on the strength of its concept. An anthology equally featuring serialized creator-owned stories and comics-magazine-style content, e.g. interviews, pictures, etc. Although, as many have commented, the format isn’t exactly novel,  the creator-owned  hook is what really has caught people’s attentions.  As with virtually every form of entertainment, it’s incredibly pervasive for comic book fans to elide a certain key term: industry. The comic-book industry, by all accounts, doesn’t seem to possess the most progressive model regarding labour issues. Like most fans, it’s something I know in the back-of-my-head yet my desire to see Batman hook Superman in the face with a kyprtonite mecha suit ensures that those thoughts stay exactly there – in the background. However, I do want to see comics – as a medium, as a format, as an industry – grow, expand, mutate. In the last three decades it certainly has. The advent of the graphic novel, literary acceptance, the looming spectre of the digital revolution. None-the-less, for those unlucky enough not to be one of the handful of superstar writers, they don’t seem (and this from an outsider’s perspective) to reward their creators commensurate with the blood, sweat and tears that go into production. Enter creator-owned heroes. With this book, these guys are really trying to carve out a new space free from corporate exploitation but also editorial interference. The numbers will tell if this is a successful venture financially, but creatively, it mostly delivers.

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Review: The New 52 Wonder Woman (Issues 1-9)

A year-and-a-half ago I stopped reading comic books. I was in the middle of landing a new job in a new city. Reading comics fell by the way side.  When, finally, I was comfortably situated in my new surroundings I dropped by my local comic book store only to discover that pretty much everything I used to read was either canceled or renumbered. They were also all refashioned with this queer “New 52” logo. I get the attention of one of the employees so I can ask what the f happened.

Flashpoint. Geoff Johns. Co-Publisher  Dan Didio.

Being a DC Man, and Vertigo practically a husk of its former self, I dejectedly left the store empty-handed, cursing under my breath the dastardly shadow G-off Johns once again casted on my life.

Flash forward a year or so in the future. Its my day off and all of my favorite television shows have had their season wrap-ups. Sure I could work on all those writing/design project I keep meaning to finish but why the hell would I want to do that. On a whim I decide to head back to the comic book store. Once there I decide that I am going to buy the corporate spin and see this as an opportunity to start reading books that I would otherwise never read due to sprawling cumbersome mythology.

Wonder Woman. Check.

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My Ideal JLA

From my back and fourth with Grey today I came to the conclusion that you can learn a lot about a DC fan given their opinions on who should be on the Justice League. I am not a Big 7 man, hell I am not even a trinity man. The one JLA comic that I have truly loved is JLI. I say this to prepare you for the fact that my ideal roster is pretty unothordox. So lets just have it.

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Darwyn Cooke and Mark Waid Are My Heroes

This week found Darwyn Cooke and Mark Waid at the center of two distinct media blitz in the world of comics. First, when asked what he would change about the way Marvel and DC do buisness he responded:

Second Mark Waid used his keynote speech at the Harvey Awards Nomination ceremony to give his insights on digital piracy.

I’ve been asked a lot to speak about digital, because it’s such a passion with me and I’m such an advocate. But saying “Let’s cheer for digital comics!” seems kind of mundane. I want to talk tonight instead about how we fret about downloads and “piracy” and their impact. How we’re in danger because people are breaking copyright. But, first, let’s talk a little about copyright and its history. [Continue Reading]

Both theirs words have been taken a little out of context; Cooke has been accused of homophobia and Waid has been accused of supporting piracy. I, however,  don’t think their words could have been more timely.

Comics I Am Excited For:

Sometimes my reviews can be pretty cranky, so to prove that I actually enjoy and look forward to reading comics every week I have decided to start posting my pull list and some commentary supplement. If you have a comic book you think I would love or, hell, even hate (I enjoy reviewing those too) send me a line.

Action Comics #892

I don’t read much Marvel. But it is not because I am some obssessed DC fan-boy. No, I never read Marvel as a kid so I don’t know where to start. I really wish I could find out why everyone think Amadeus Cho is the shizniz but I can’t figure out why he’s the main character of a Hercules book that used to a be a Hulk book (what?). Anyway, there are a few exceptions. On the recommendation of a friend I picked up Wisdom and fell in love with it. I was both estatic when Cornell began the monthly Captain Britain and MI: 13, my devotion so great that I read the secret Invasion crap which I knew nothing about, and in-turn heart broken by its early demise. To cut to the point: I am super excited that Paul Cornell is now a DC exclusive and even more excited he’s on a Superman property. I haven’t read the first couple issues yet but I plan to be caught up by the time this gets to my LCBS.

Batman #702

Grant Morrison’s Batman; The shining light of Superhero comics. The anti-Watchmen. The comic run that is so good, and so daring, you have no idea why its being published by one of the big two.

Gotham City Sirens #15

Paul Dini got the short stick. He’s the other Batman writer. But those that know know that his run in Batverse has produced some of the most consistently brilliant books of recent times. Also Guillem March. I dropped this book after the first issue. I thought the art was Romon Bachs on Azrael bad. I am talking truly atrocious. But somehow between issue 1 and 4, Guillem has created one of the most beautiful art styles of recent memory.

Time Masters Vanishing Point #2

Like Action Comics this is a book I plan to catch up on. I haven’t read Vanishing point 1 but I am excited about this as it ties to ROBW.

Justice League Generation Lost #8

If you would have told me a year ago that both Geoff Johns and Judd Winnick would be writing their own bi-weekly series and that I would actually prefer Judd Winnick’s what would have I said? … Probably that Geoff Johns is a hack who while could churn out crap to rival Titans would never produce something that would even approach the quality of The Adventures of Barry Ween, Boy Genius.

Unknown Soldier #23

The mix of quasi-superheroics and astute geo-political commentary is unlike anything the medium has ever produced. It is quite special. This obviously means this book is getting canned. Counting this issue there are 3 more to go. You will be missed Unknown Solider.

I  would also purchase Madame Xanadu #26 and Scalped #40 if I were not ridiculously behind the curve when it comes to these two great books. I am still playing catch-up.

review/RANT: Brightest Day #8

So at the start of the summer I stopped reading comic books. It wasn’t a concious decision. The first couple of weeks I was just too enthralled in FIFA madness (wtf U.S.A?) and I just kind of fell off the wagon. Anyway, I have started to catch up. I thought a cool opportunity resulting from playing catch up would be that I could read five straight consecutive issues of Brightest Day. To my incessant complaints that this series is borderline incoherent (not to mention st00pid) many have argued that it will read better in the trades. If this experiment is any indication… Nope. This story really makes no f!ing sense.

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