Justice League DARK (Issues 1-5)

February 7, 2012

What’s up, wordpress? This is your boy Keith Carmack, a vet/usual blogspot poster of terrible movies. My slacker-in-disguise friend Tyler asked me (all the way back in November) if I would be interested in reviewing some comic books that he and I were getting into and I said “oh fuck yeah dude!”. 3 months later my enthusiasm to “write” about the things I am reading went from “who gives a shit?” to “I should really write this down if for anything to keep track of what’s going on in this bullshit world of the new 52 comics from the DCU” and here we are. I apologize to Tyler first and foremost for ruining his really efficient and streamlined blog on my rambling, curse words, poor grammar, and run on sentences. Oh and my awful opinions on cool shit.


I don’t know who these weird characters are. Ty made me buy this because of the cover art by an artist I’ve never really heard of (comic book fan or clueless schlub?) and so my fate was sealed. The title of this Peter Milligan penned book is misleading to me having just finished issue 5 because there is really no justice sussed out nor are they a proper league of super heroes. I’ll give them this much, the legit Justice League do show up in this inaugural issue only to be laid to waste by a witch and never heard of/referenced again in the coming issues. Also is Batman banging this racktacular Zatanna girl? Why are they hanging out? I’m already getting off track here. Basically Madame Xanadu (who?) is reading tarot cards and peeking around in this magic filled world where the future can be seen and she sees nasty stuff that could be avoided if she just meddles in it. At the epicenter of this maelstrom of shit is a witch (sans hat and broom) who goes by the name “The Enchantress” who is…in a tiny envelope on the floor…of an old house in the middle of nowhere? Ok. I guess. At this Evil Dead house, Supes, Wonder Woman and Cyborg (the varsity squad if you will) try to give The Enchantress the boot but of course get their asses handed to them as they are fucking with magic and they are superheroes with no knowledge of the dark arts. This is basically the nerdiest of the new 52 titles as it contains both super abilities and fucking magic, so dumb. Even writing this I’m cringing and in fear of being stuffed in a fucking locker. Anyway Madame Xanadu who is also a stacked headband clad palm reader decides she should assemble a crew of freaks to try and prevent this terrible future she’s foreseen. A seemingly non-power/magic possessing chick named June Moon (no idea) shows up randomly and causes society to deconstruct in a plague of confusion and shit.  Turns out she is the attractive and cute side of The Enchantress who wanders aimlessly into Deadman’s apartment where he is having a tough time with his girlfriend as he has possessed the body of a frat boy to try and bang her. Weird. Wild. Stuff. Deadman sets his sights on June Moon because he wants to hook up and it’s a scooby-doo esque mystery he must solve. I dunno. John Constantine gets a page devoted to him and he’s hands down the most throw away character of the series he does basically nothing, which is a shame because he’s arguably the coolest character of the bunch. Um a guy in a magical trenchcoat/”meta-vest” or something (yep) named Shade does some crap but it’s not important. He ends up going to Xanadu’s place and is all like “what is up? the dark arts and the black masses are acting weird, you summoned me?” cliffhanger splash page and we are off to…

JL:DARK #2: The Enchantress’ reach spreads from hicksville to major cities now as Zatanna strolls into a weird bug infested jungle in the middle of a street and the witch starts speaking to her from a car radio. Sigh. Jesus, reading the issue was one thing, recapping it makes it sound so dumb. Anyway Zatanna peaced out on Bats and is on her own now to figure out or stumble haphazardly into the events that unfold in this issue. She puts herself into a protective trance like coma. Deadman blows it hard with his babely white haired boo and she peaces on him HARD leaving him with a dazed and confused (read: easy) June Moon. Mistake. At the cliffhanger Xanadu is left saying the words “I will give you names of the others. Destroy them all, witch” and you’re all like “whoa is Xanadu evil? is she saying to the witch to kill our would be heroes?” this cliffhanger and subsequent question are never answered again. It’s dumb. Maybe they’ll come back to it in the next arc but I highly doubt it.

(the team of idiots)

JL:DARK #3: The brilliantly drawn cover by Ryan Sook offers up a collage of images of Zatanna doing a huge jump on a motorcycle (lol), Constantine throwing a ball of fire and Deadman about to throw a huge punch! Make no mistake, readers, NONE OF THIS COMES CLOSE TO HAPPENING IN THE BOOK. Okay the witch is now out and about in her 100% pure evil mega-gross form, she apparently wants her 100% babely innocent cute side (June Moon incarnate) back, make sense? No? Good. Constantine wakes up Zatanna from her self inflicted coma as he is the only who knows how to snap her out of it since they have history together (noice) and they do a meditation thing together in their pj’s and you see Zatanna in her bra for a panel and it’s rad. Anyway they barely share panel time together and he’s off like a stone cold pimp. Meanwhile back in Deadman land he and Moon are kicking it in his living room getting cozy and talking pure nonsense when Shade summons a portal to the living room and it freaks her out she leaps off a building thinking it’s the witch who has found out her whereabouts. Why fucking Shade can’t just like text Deadman or call him or send him an e-mail or something is beyond me. He, instead, non-verbally communicates to Deadman “yo D, hop through this portal I know we don’t know each other and this light show might freak you out but we need to talk” hey go figure Boston Brand (Deadman) doesn’t jump through he instead jumps into the body of Moon just before she is going to plummet to her death and saves her. Also rape vibes. Shade freaks out and is bummed Boston didn’t fall for his stupid teleport thing, goes to a bar where Constantine is watching him and they don’t do anything together. Great “teamwork” here for this league of…oh nevermind. Shade is told by Xanadu to recruit a real menace a loose cannon named Jay Young AKA “Mindwarp”. I dunno it’s fucking stupid. Mindwarp ain’t home, he’s in Sydney doing god knows what. Shade ports to him and is like “yo dude, we got some dark arts that need tending to”, Mindwarp could give a fucking steaming pile of shit. Deadman and Moon are driving around the countryside now (?) where they run into (literally) the witch and she’s super pissed and oh no she’s finally found June Moon cliffhanger/splash page!

JL:DARK #4: Oooooooookay, let’s wrap this fucker up, Milligan. Deadman literally rips the witch apart from the inside out and is all “Sike, it’s not even the witch it’s a shell” thus rendering the previous issue’s cliffhanger a big ol fart. Constantine then goes to Deadman’s ex’s place and eats beans from a can, one of my least favorite cliches of all time nobody fucking eats beans out of a can, and broods and says some scary shit to her and is like “wherever that June Moon goes death is sure to follow, she’s no bueno” blah blah blah he’s on his way out. If you’re keeping track John is fucking all over the place, he’s at this apartment, he’s at a bar watching Shade from the…shadows, he’s in London falling from the sky. Motherfucker has no legit super powers he’s just catching SouthWest flights like all the time? I don’t get it. Through narration Xanadu tells us that the witch has basically driven people all over the globe crazy stupid stuff happens all over the place her witch grip tightens with every passing blah blah blah hurry the fuck up dark justice league. Zatanna shows up in hicksville where the almighty white envelope holding The Enchantress is and she gets her ass kicked. Why did she go alone? Why the FUCK is the witch hanging out in a furniture-less room in a tiny pocket sized envelope? GAH! Zatanna mind teleports (handy) into Shade’s arms, they’ve never met…it’s taken them 4 issues to meet. John slaps Madame in the face for being spooky and sketchy I dunno it’s never resolved. Boston and June are in a hotel room now and he’s like “hey lets try this light show portal thing of Shade’s real quick” they jump through it and she is left there as the Witch approaches and Deadman is now hanging with Shade and Zatanna and he’s pissed about it. Ultimate cock block move.

JL:DARK #5: Constantine having used his frequent flyer miles is now with June Moon and he’s like “yo, there is a witch tornado of death surrounding us hop in this pentagram I drew on the floor and we’ll be safe, bet you’re glad I showed up out of nowhere and did this.” Shade, Zatanna, Xanadu and Deadman bicker then go to hicksville real quick to fight the witch where she throws every trick in the book at em, it looks hopeless until out of fucking nowhere that Mindwarp guy shows up and doesn’t do fucking anything at all, John is over there casting a fucking spell (I shit you not) which basically melds Moon and The Enchantress into one docile little green riding hooded chick and that’s it. The 6 hang out at the ol’ palm reading shop say mean things to each other and then part ways never to work again together. The last panel is Xanadu looking at another tarot card her face in horror and “NEXT: THE ROAD TO HELL”.

(good god man)

Jesus, if you read all of that I’m truly sorry. So there you have it. Absurd right? My final review of JLDARK 1-5? Good not great. Characters I’m wholly unfamiliar with barely interacting in any manner that could loosely be described as a team let alone a league. Fucking none of them like each other, and they only all get together in issue 5. It’s a decent read, it’s much more wordy than many of the other new 52 titles I’ve read but it’s also very convoluted and very confusing.  It’s an unclear story of whys and how comes for me. What happened to Superman and Co. in issue 1? Why did the Madame say that cryptic shit at the end of that one issue? Why can’t anyone communicate with each other? The Mikel Janin art is very, very cool (though most of the time I am left wishing that cover artist Ryan Sook was doing the interiors oh well) and lends itself to the dark subject matter very well. Will I read more? I guess so. The addition of Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Essex County Trilogy, Animal Man, etc) coming on as writer has saved this title for me. Thing I liked most about the book? Zatanna in her bra.



Animal Man #2

November 3, 2011

The premier issue of Animal Man showed us a good-natured superhero, albeit a little aloof, who is also first and foremost a family man. The second issue pushes this dynamic even further by showing us that Animal Man’s daughter has manifested powers of her own, much to the parents surprise. Although we have seen something like this before in comics (most notably Franklin Richards from Fantastic Four), it’s a fun idea and is sure to lead to some interesting problems down the road. The way that Buddy and his wife attempt to deal with their child’s newfound abilities is handled quite well, and as we witness the Bakers deal with bleeding tattoos and resurrected pets, we see that they really are a tight-knit family unit and that Buddy will do anything to assure their safety and well-being.

The art and writing are a fluid continuation of the first issue, with the larger story gathering steam. It’s all very gradual, decent storytelling. We might not know where we are going just yet, but I was happy to stay focused on the family dynamic that is the heart of this book and really cement some ideas there. I want to note that while issue #1 showed us some of the graphic/horror imagery that Travel Foreman can do (with creatures akin to something from John Carpenter’s The Thing), issue #2 shows us that his surrealistic art will really get a chance to get even weirder as we go into the Red, with body parts contorting and skewing all over the place.

I like whoever or whatever the three Lovecraftian creatures (who have now assumed human bodies) are, and they seem ready to do some damage. There are some parallel’s I have noticed between Animal Man and Swamp Thing regarding threats to the source of the hero’s powers (the Red and the Green respectively) by some dark force, which I hope is no coincidence. The seemingly inevitable crossover would be fun to see for sure.

Animal Man #2 proves that this title is one of the highlights of the New 52. I don’t know how anyone could argue otherwise. My expectations are set to be high now, so I am hopeful this one can keep going as strong as these two issues have been.

Rating: 9/10

Animal Man #1

October 21, 2011

My main knowledge of Animal Man stems from the infamous run Grant Morrison had in the 80’s, which was so perfect and complete by itself, that was all I ever needed to read of the character. When the new 52 was announced and Animal Man was slated to be a featured title, I knew I had to pick it up.

Buddy Baker (aka Animal Man) starts in a familiar setting, and one which really makes this character shine – at home with his family. What other superhero has a family they come home to? It’s such an interesting dynamic and really helps me get attached to Buddy, who is pretty much a regular dude trying to figure it all out. We enter his life as he is in the midst of deciding how much he wants to be a superhero, an actor, a stunt man, an activist, a family man. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Animal Man is that it is basically an 80’s archetypal character, but now much more rooted in a horror landscape, with a very creepy and surreal exposure to “The Red”, which is somehow tied to Animal Man’s power.

Travel Foreman’s art is refreshingly stark, with solid and bold colors, clean inks, and some interesting use of white space/panel design, and his art is one of this title’s strongest assets. There is movement and life in his artwork which really belongs in a darker storyline that Animal Man is obviously becoming (see below for said “movement” in his art).

Jeff Lemire’s writing is pretty good, pretty snappy, very well-paced, and although I’ve never heard of Lemire before, he seems quite capable. Lemire really does a good job of showing us what a nuclear family with a father who is a superhero would be like. Most superheroes live a pretty solitary life, but Buddy is a genuinely nice guy who loves his family and wants what is best for them, which will undoubtedly get him into trouble down the line (as it has before).

Animal Man has always skirted on the side of an ironic superhero, highlighted by Morrison’s run with the character where he is by all accounts a fairly cheesy/lame character (he has the power of any animal), but just by making his powers a little more savvy and juxtaposing such a bright character with the dark, ominous overtones of this latest incarnation, I can’t help but enjoy this one, and look forward to the next month’s issue.

Rating: 9/10

The New 52… I’m back in it baby.

October 14, 2011

A while back, it was brought to my attention by friend Keith that DC was relaunching 52 of their titles. What would be called “The New 52” immediately made me curious? What? How? Why? Marvel had kind of done this with their Ultimate line years ago, and now DC was trying to shake it up. Kudos.

I hadn’t been reading comics with any devotion for quite a while. I was always a Marvel guy, mainly stemming from their strong influence on me through the 80’s and 90’s growing up. I like to think I am still a Marvel guy at heart, but the endless event titles and crossovers really got to me after a while, and so I had to stop reading comics…until now.

The new 52 did exactly what DC hoped it would in my case – suckered me into buying a couple of their books. Of the 52, I still had to laugh at a lot of them (Hawk and DoveOMACVoodoo? Who are these people?), and mind you this is all alien territory for me at this point.  I’m used to my stories by Ed Brubaker and Brian Michael Bendis; who is thisGeoff Johns and what does he want from me? But I had enough nerd in me to know which character was which and what their powers are, so I figured, why not?

Now there will always, always be characters in DC that I simply cannot get into (sorry Supes), but here was my chance to start fresh, right? And so I committed the ultimate sin. I downloaded the entire first issues of the new 52. I know, I know, I am ashamed and that will be something I carry with me for the rest of my life (natch), but as someone who has been burned by comics before, and as I am treading in foreign waters with just a paddle, I feel okay about it. After quickly skimming through the titles that I knew I would never like (a lot of them really), there were a few that really stood out to me, and I was at the comic shop the next day to go down a very familiar road yet again.

In my personal opinion, the most interesting titles of the new 52 are Animal Man, Aquaman, Batman, DC Universe Presents: Deadman, Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE, Justice League Dark, Suicide Squad, and Swamp Thing. There are some other titles which I still felt were pretty good and I may yet subscribe to (i.e. The Flash, Green Lantern, Supergirl, Green Lantern Corps) but I’m still taking baby steps here, and the ones that I really enjoyed grabbed my attention much more.

So here I am world, a newborn DC guy. I am anxious to see how this continues, but rest assured, I’ll be offering up some reviews as I go along. Who knows, I may find myself giving Marvel another chance (they still have so many of my favorite artists!) but until then, looks like I have at least 8 titles to look forward to every month.

Welcome to my nightmare.

We’re back…

March 28, 2011

Might as well right??


February 25, 2009

In possibly the most ambitious and potentially “iffy” move ever made by movie producers, an Avengers movie will be made.  After the success of Iron Man and the glimpse of potential for the Hulk, Marvel is doing a possible coup de grace getting other big player characters in one movie together.  While this has fanboy’s everywhere drooling, I remain wary of the pitfalls of such a task. I mean Sooo much can go wrong here. The first thing that everyone should be wondering – who will be involved?  Here, we have gathered our resources and minds to come up with this ultimate cast for the Avengers transition to film.


Iron Man – Robert Downey Jr.  

It’s pretty much a given that no one else could play Stark as RDJ already has.  Stark is Downey Jr.  ‘Nuff said.


Captain America – Daniel Craig

This is a tough one.  A Brit playing the icon of America?  Craig has already proven himself as a Bond for the ages, why stop there?  True, he turned down the role of Thor when asked by Branaugh for that film, but in a perfect world, he would absolutely rule the roost as Cap. 


Bruce Banner – Jeremy Davies

Perhaps the tiniest blip on the radar in terms of “star-power” here (although his popularity on LOST is on the rise), it makes perfect sense then that Davies take on Banner, the unsung hero and alter-ego of the Hulk.  Davies is small, skinny, but also possesses a tortured and hidden dark side that I don’t feel has really been expressed in the past two Hulk movies, at least very well.  


The Hulk – Javier Bardem

Not trying to say Bardem is ugly or brutish in any way, but the main thing that the Hulk has missed the last few films is he is computer generated.  I’m not saying we paint Bardem green and give him a puffy wig, but motion capturing Bardem into a CGI Hulk (a la Crudup as Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen) would give him the human identity he’s been missing.


Thor – Karl Urban

It was a unanimous decision.  Yes, poor Urban has already seen his share of warrior roles (LOTR, Pathfinder) but he’s been in those roles for a reason.  He’s tall, handsome, and would carry the role of a thunder god with ease.


The Wasp – Rachel McAdams

Not only does her youth inject a much needed life to the team, but the Wasp has always been a pretty face. McAdams would be great here as someone who could build on the rather weak character and make it her own.  


Giant-Man/Goliath/Yellowjacket – Guy Pearce

Guy Pearce was made for a superhero role.  The guy was a bodybuilder once after all, and he has a kind of edginess to him that would work very well with a character haunted by the insecurities in his life.  He would breathe life into this otherwise blase character.


Black Panther – Djimon Honsou

In the shortness of African actors who are both strong and have some acting cred here in America, Honsou is one of the only choices for the Black Panther.  He’s got a ferocity to him that would lend well to the Avengers “loose cannon” member.


Nick Fury – Samuel Jackson, George Clooney

Well they’ve already said Jackson will be Fury in the movie (though there are rumblings of trouble here), but I would like them to go a step higher and throw Clooney in the mix as well.  Clooney of course matches the traditional Fury, but you throw in some spy related talk about how Fury always has to change his appearance to stay hidden, and it works perfectly. 


Vision – Paul Bettany

True, Bettany was already the voice of Jarvis in Iron Man, but then wouldn’t it also make sense for him to be the Avengers cybernetic hero the Vision?  He’s slender, sharp, and can play cold while still being empathetic.  

While the paycheck to assemble such a team would be huge to say the least, such a team would also be one of the most amazing line-ups ever brought to life.  Think about it…

Stuff Read 12/10/08

December 11, 2008

In the wake of Marvel’s Secret Invasion ending, Marvel is going to have to muster up some decent single-title work.  Right now, I am only really into Thor, Eternals, and maybe Avengers (whichever version that may be now), but honestly I’m kind of getting sick of Marvel.  I know, that was heracy, but Marvel seems to be returning to one of the aspects that made me leave comics before – masturbatory.  Every issue ties to another, every plot line bleeds into another plot line: it’s confusing.  Plain and simple.  Anyways, on to this weeks stuff…

Invincible #56 – Invincible is one of those titles that I really didn’t think I would enjoy as much as I have been, but lately, the goings-on has been kinda boring.  There is way too much lull in the events that are taking place.  I think Kirkman must be setting up a lot of pieces to the bigger picture, but still, a lot of what happened in this ish seemed to be pretty negligible.  

100 Bullets #98 – 2 more issues to go, and I am just as confused as what is going on here.  Again, it’s a problem to read this title month to month because it really should all be read in one sitting.  I’m looking forward to when this series ends, just so I can read #1-#100 and hopefully feel good about it.  I have faith it will all work out in the end, but I’m wary of, again, so much stuff going on.  

Dark Reign #1 – Bendis and Maleev (Daredevil) team-up again for this Secret Invasion fall-out issue.  It’s interesting to see what could be brewing here, but I am having trouble really seeing too much of a threat from this alleged “Dark Reign”.  Namor and Emma Frost are both historically troubled, but not villains (and I was a bit miffed to see Namor essentially dumbed down to a thug in the issue).  The threat here seemed only to be Harry Osborn trying to pull a Lex Luthor and control the world.  It’s just kinda…silly.  I’m losing my faith in Bendis, as hard as that is for me to say.  But I am hopeful that he and Marvel handle this delicate situation well, because my future as a reader may just depend on it.

The Walking Dead #55 – This series needs to come to an end quick.  It seems like it might be leading up to that, but I am tired of fake psychosis and nothing really happening.  I can’t keep track of who’s coming and going anymore, and frankly, all of the characters save the boy are forgettable at best.

The Next Batman Cast o’ Characters???

July 25, 2008

It’s somewhat sad that we are already wondering “What’s next for the Batman movies?” when The Dark Knight has only just been let out onto the tracks, but fandom is fandom and it’s on everyone’s minds, and here we are.

So who or what will be in the next one?In the world of Batman that Christopher Nolan has created, we are rooted more in realism/plausibility than fantasy.It would seem that the more eccentric Bat-villains, like Mr. Freeze, Poison Ivy, or even Penguin wouldn’t really work here (at least not in their truest form) and should be thrown to the wayside.  I think it was a great idea to show the Joker in TDK, because it completely deviated from ideas people already had, and gave us something new and exciting.  Even the newest incarnation of Two-Face was welcome, as the strange taste of Tommy Lee Jones’ version was washed away.

But still, we should hope that the next one (assuming there will be a next one) will look at those characters we haven’t yet seen on the silver screen, and make them just as cool and interesting as those in TDK.

Killer Croc – I think they could and should try him.He’d be great as both a throw-away character or another major player in the next film.I honestly thought that Thomas ‘Tiny’ Lister was Croc in The Dark Knight, he had the perfect look and tone down (until he showed his true, somewhat heroic colors).File those teeth down to points, throw some sort skin disease/deformity on him, and you have Killer Croc.

Mr. Zsasz – Very easy to do as he is basically just a serial killer who marks his body count on his flesh.Anyone could play him, he doesn’t have any sort of fantastic element to him, and he would be perfectly functional in the Nolan world.

Clayface – They could do it, just tone down the “I am a morphing blob of clay” to “I am a prosthetics and make-up genius” and it would totally work.Make him a little smarter than he was in the comics and he would be a great lead villain, because after all, what’s better than a criminal you can never identify?

Mad Hatter – Totally not going to work, complete silliness here. As you can’t take him seriously, he would be a great throw-away character, maybe just guest starring as a nod to the comics, with all of the other prisoners laughing at his ridiculous nature after his arrest (?).

Catwoman – There’s a lot of speculation that Catwoman will show up soon (there’s a brief, brief hint at Batman’s armor holding up against “cats” in TDK) but it’s been done before…twice. Sure they could probably whip up a cool little storyline for her, but there’s so much room for Batman to develop more before she shows up, I’d hate to see him get tangled up in a love story of any kind just yet. I’d hope Nolan would to play a little tougher than that.

Robin – I actually do think this would work at some point, though obviously not in the same capacity as the comics.They could even just skip and go right to Nightwing, or follow the Miller idea of having a female Robin (Ellen Page?). Again, it’s way too early in the Batman mythos to introduce a “new element” of a kid who Batman takes under his wing.Batman needs to be a loner for as long as possible before we even think about giving him a sidekick, especially after his losses in Dark Knight.

Hush – I wasn’t a huge fan of the comic storyarc (it got a little too shaky for me), but taking the concept of this manipulative villain and applying it to the Nolan universe would be pretty easy and acceptable.My only qualms would be yet another movie based on a Jeph Loeb story, which is pretty limiting given Batman’s entire history.

All in all, I’d really enjoy a double-fisted villain attack in the next one (Clayface the brains, Killer Croc the brawn) but really, they could completely continue with the ganglords and thugs approach that has worked well enough the last two films. But a brawl between Croc and Bats would whet the palettes of many fanboys out there, so I would expect something more than just knives and guns next time.  We have to remember this is a comic movie, and no matter how far Nolan has succeeded in making his Batman universe as close to our own, anything can still happen there.  And that’s just what we want to see.

RIP Dave Stevens

March 12, 2008

Dave Stevens died on Monday from leukemia.  He is best known for creating The Rocketeer and for his skills as an artist, often noted for his pin-up girl illustrations.  He was 52.  The Rocketeer was one of those characters that not only appealed to me visually, but conceptually it was so intriguing to have a character based on the mythos of pulp heroes like The Shadow and The Phantom, but created today.  At the time, no one was really paying those pulp heroes much mind, and certainly The Rocketeer showed that they could be cool and be relevant to some degree.  For me, Dave Stevens helped bridge a generational gap; from my interest in The Rocketeer, I could go back and look at Doc Savage and The Spirit with a better understanding.  And of course, The Rocketeer film was one of my favorites growing up.  At any rate, hopefully his creations and ideas don’t die with him.  Carry the torch!

New Stuff 11/29/07

December 3, 2007

Marvel Zombies 2 #2 – Well, the story hasn’t really gotten me quit intrigued yet. I will give it another shot because the first zombie run was so fun, but honestly, this title might have been better left dead. A critical flaw in a lot of these “novel” ideas is overkill, and i can only hope that we can avoid that here. Tread carefully, Marvel, very carefully.  

The Sub-Mariner #6 – Yeesh, what a disappointment. The Sub-Mariner is easily one of (if not) my favorite Marvel character. He’s got history, he’s got charisma, and he is very unique. In this mini-series however, we are given a character that is both flat and linear, he strays too far from his recognizable self and becomes “something else.” My biggest grudge was the inclusion of a before unmentioned son, whom ultimately (WARNING SPOILER) he kills in an all too cowardly fashion (for Namor) to almost no real purpose. It was a dues ex machina, and most unwelcome. Please Marvel, do not this character become what he is turning into.

100 Bullets #86 – 100 Bullets really does need to be read all in one sitting, it’s so dense that the monthly break between stories/characters/plotlines really kills the momentum and pacing. I did enjoy learning more about Victor, who is probably my favorite of the Minutemen right now. This was a single shot issue, so don’t be too afraid to miss it, but something tells me it will be more important very soon. 14 issues to go! 

The Walking Dead #44 – Kirkman continues to crank ’em out. The Walking Dead is in the midst of one of the heavier storylines right now, with an attack on the prison our survivors have learned to call home. I see disaster looming, but you never know. One thing is for sure, blood will be spilt, and in buckets. I am secretly hoping this title ends soon, because it really is starting to become evident that you can’t go too much longer with these people, but I think Kirkman understands what he is doing, so for now, I do trust him. For now…

Invincible #46 – Kirkman is becoming the Brian Michael Bendis of Image (hell, even Marvel). Invincible takes a bit of a break while pieces come into play for the next assuredly intense storyline, but still entertains and maintains the freshness that it has always had. I cannot understand why this title has not gotten more acclaim, but maybe I like it that way too.    

New Stuff 11/14/07

November 14, 2007

New Avengers #36
At this point, Bendis must be driving himself insane. Scheming/writing both Avengers teams titles, Illuminati, Ultimate Spider-Man and the upcoming Secret Invasion arc, he seems like he might actually be slipping a bit. This issue felt very confusing and disjointed to me, too many different storylines rolling into one together. It is incredibly dense, and Bendis’ style of dialogue might be a bit too much for the delicate situations we are being presented with. Interesting read, but too quick and too broad to keep me happy.

Thor #4
I have never been to strong a supporter of Thor, it always kind of felt like Marvel was cheating by introducing a character with historical resonance, but alas, here we are. Last months issue was awesome, if you don’t know why, pick it up ASAP. This month, the issue got a little too preachy for my tastes, by throwing Thor in the middle of an African tribal dispute. “Really? Amidst all the stuff that was moving forward with him, you send him to Africa?” It was a little too much of a “real world” scenario in a comic book, which I never really care for (article coming soon on that topic!). Beautiful art by Coipel though, whose work I always look forward to seeing.

World War Hulk #5
Exactly what I feared would happen when Pak was given the duty to write such a large, expansive story? Dissapointment. The entire run had some moments of note, basically anytime the Hulk delivered an ass-whupping to almost every hero in the Marvel Universe, but where we should have found some sort of definitive end/insight into the Hulk as a character, the whole ending just sort of threw up all over the 48 pages of confusion and grandiose action. I have no idea what just happened. Okay, so who’s dead? Who’s alive? Is New York a steaming pile of rubble? Can the Hulk glow now? Is he red now? Perhaps another read is needed, but it just seemed like had they given this writing task to another person (Millar?) we would have seen a bit more cohesion and an ending without a deus ex machina (yep, there’s one of those). Overall, all I can say “Meh.”

All Star Superman #9
For all the lack of interest I give DC, All Star Superman is surely their best title. Why? It’s essentially an Ultimates version of Superman, the entire mythos restructured by Grant Morrison, whose work is often hit or miss, but here plays well with the world-famous character. It’s more of the same, sure, but ASS (wow, that’s an unfortunate acronym) is always fun. Great art from Frank Quitely too.

Stuff I read: 8/29/07

September 1, 2007

This week was actually a kind of mix-up, as I missed some stuff from last week, but here we go…

The Walking Dead #40 & #41
The latest two issues actually were a bit of a break from the normal, as the cast settles into a life that isn’t nearly as threatening. While comparitively quiet to the rest of the series, the latest two help us get back to the characters and how they deal with a world of zombies. The final couple of pages in #41 are worth it too.

Invincible #45
Robert Kirkman’s Invincible is easily one of the better running stories in comics right now, both playing on the genre while also trying some new things. You can’t really say anything bad about this title, it’s just fun to read. This week we see some things starting to fall into place, and I can only think that Kirkman is setting up for an upcoming end to the series, which, while fun, has been lulling some in the last few reads. Although, Kirkman does seem unstoppable, and even his lulls are still interesting and fresh. Pick it up if you haven’t already.

Ex Machina: Masquerade Special This special issue is a flashback to back when Mayor Hundred was still the Great Machine. Illustrated by John Paul Leon (whose work on Earth X is easily one of my favorites), whose work here is quite welcome in the grittier story (sometimes Tony Harris’ work, while appropriate, can be a little too clean). I often enjoy BKV’s special issues, as they both allow for a single-shot story, but also other artists to come in and do something new. I enjoyed the issue quite a bit, and hope that we can get more of these specials more often.

World War Hulk: X-men #3
Hey, they survived. I don’t think I am spoiling anything by saying that, but the fight is still worth noting. The X-men have a strong case against an infuriated Hulk. It’s weird how much the X-men get sided nowadays, and aren’t really involved as integral to the Marvel Universe like they used to /should be. They deserve better, they deserve more, but they did survive the Hulk, so that’s something.

Paul Pope’s “PULPHOPE”

August 25, 2007

Paul Pope is possibly the greatest hope for contemporary comics we have today. Ever since his work on Batman: Year 100, I have been fascinated not only by his art, but his approach to the mythos and deconstruction of comic books in general. Probably what attracts me to him the most is his seemingly similar appreciation for what comics “could” be and what they actually are, which are two different things entirely right now. Comics can be art, comics can be for everyone, and Pope certainly approaches the medium as art.

In PULPHOPE, we see a side of Pope that extends beyond just comics, noting his influences and schools of thinking. It’s a peak inside his process, his mentalities, and of course his portfolio and the many images he has done over the years. It’s mostly just exciting to see someone who is trying to challenge comic books to be something more; its obvious he loves the medium, but is frustrated by a lot that comes with it. From his appreciations of Kirby and Toth, to his artistic and commercial endeavours, this man knows his stuff, and that is very important when trying to create something new and exciting.

Pope is the kind of artist I can hope to one day become, fresh and adventurous, but most of all passionate and ready to change a medium that is dangerously close to becoming (dare I say) unoriginal (if it hasn’t already). He’s on course to do bigger things, all we can do is watch and wait.

Stuff I read the week of 8/22/07

August 25, 2007

Astonishing X-men #22
The latest issue seemed a bit more grandiose than I would like, as I find Joss Whedon’s themes tend to be bigger than the page allows. I haven’t read his stuff since watching the entire Firefly series last month, and frankly, I feel like he should stick to television at this point, so that he can both establish the obvious comedic/dramatic timing that he intends every other page, and also provide us with more in each issue, as it often feels a bit rushed or cut off. Still, what happens next will either be a really bold move on Marvel’s part, or another cop-out that we have come to expect.

Immortal Iron Fist #8
Ed Brubaker seems to be moving in a different direction with this second run on his revamping/re-establishing of the Iron Fist character. Where the first run was an attempt to bring us back into the life of Iron Fist, this run seems to be more like a Van Damme flick (a fighting tournament? Really? Where’s Christopher Lambert?) and while it should be fun, I can’t help but feel like we are losing sight of the actual character while trying to flesh out an entire universe beyond our own (much less after only 7 issues just getting to know the character). I enjoyed it nonetheless, and expect it to be further surprising, as the first run really helped me like the character I had always made fun of as a kid.


August 18, 2007

The Panel is trying something new, something that will perhaps even replace the monthly publication as previously encarnated. Thus we welcome the newer trends of blogging, in the hopes to make the site more up to date and accessible to every and anyone. Please bear with us as we work out the kinks and continue to make this site better and better as time goes on. Enjoy yourselves, and check back every now and then for the latest posts and prose. Thanks!