Thursday, July 29, 2010

What's Next Is A Buck For All I Care #75

Action Comics #858 Special Edition (2010)
Detective Comics #854 Special Edition (2010)
Flash: Rebirth #1 Special Edition (2010)
Jonah Hex #1 Special Edition (2010)

“After Watchmen” was an initiative of low priced introductory comics that could be placed in the hands of all those people that bought the Alan Moore/Dave Gibbons opus in the run-up to the movie adaptation. The demand for blue pricks may not have been as great as hoped, but DC has continued to put out dollar comics regularly under the heading “What’s Next? Great Graphic Novels You Should Be Reading, “ and this is my review of a selection of such offerings.

Action Comics #858 Special Edition (DC, 2010, $1.00)
After an overly long “pre-title” set-up to something of a joke, Geoff Johns begins worshiping at the alter of the Richard Donner Superman movies by presenting Clark Kent as a schmuck. Peter Parker and his ilk can pull that that shtick off in 2010 because their super-heroic guises are the put-on, but the Man of Steel pretending to be a dork is just grating-- not to mention inviting about half a century of armchair psychoanalysis. Then there’s a flashback to that scene from the first Superman movie when Clark’s all put out about not being able to play sports or get laid on account of being so goddamned powerful. Poor bitch breaks up his pity party with a first visit from the Legion of Super-Heroes. I’m glad to see them back in continuity, but their now having appeared before Superboy’s debut insinuates their flamboyant costumes influenced Superman’s, which irks. This all leads to Superman getting acquainted with the revived Levitz-era Legion in their newly dystopic future, with a cute Silver Age twist. Geoff Johns’ writing is reliable, and I really enjoy Gary Frank’s art, despite the wonk eyes, overbites, and age lines on teenaged faces. I wanted to keep reading, so good on them.

Detective Comics #854 Special Edition (DC, 2010, $1.00)
Woo—the Barbara Gordon Batgirl is back as a full grown fetish queen with Dita-pale skin and cute little red bats on the soles of her boots. The panels are all deco’d out with lighting bolt gutters and central pin-up images in double page spreads that will sell great on the original art market. This book is so damned pretty and stylish and WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING?!?!

Who is Batwoman? I think I got a first name somewhere in this story, but definitely no last. What is the significance of the lightning bolts? Why is most of the issue devoted to the heroine beating up street thugs for information on some “church of crime” that goes unexplained? Which Batman is that, and why can’t the great detective figure out the chick’s wearing a wig? Was the heroine’s lesbian lover a new character, and if so, why was she introduced to waste two pages on establishing Batwoman as a lesbian? That space might have been more useful giving her origin, motivation, story to date, and a proper introduction to a single character in this entire book. When did Batwoman get stabbed in the heart, why, and how did she survive? Does Greg Rucka actually know any lesbians, because I do, and the “flannel” remark makes him sound ignorant? Reference mullets or shaved heads or tats or piercings— something relevant to the 21st Century dyke. Is that military guy Batwoman’s dad, and if so, what’s his name? Why does the lesbian super-heroine need her daddy to arm and oversee her operations? Why are there so many worm’s eye views of her pointy plastic tits and vinyl hugging twat, particularly the spread of her kicking dozens of random hood in the face? If it the same reason Bat-Gina gets her own girl Joker in the form of the Carroll-quoting Alice, and shouldn’t she be the Red Queen or Queen of Hearts, and do I need her costume to present a constant crotch flash of the camel-toed sort? Isn’t Harley Quinn already the girl Joker, with less vexing/pretentious dialogue? I know the answers to many but not all of these questions, including Alice’s being Batwoman’s long lost twin sister (really,) but what a nice big “fuck you” this vague as shit book is to the uninitiated. If only it weren’t so fucking beautiful to look at.

There’s also a back up where an unidentified female vigilante (psst—also a lesbian) has an older male work her computer and direct her actions without actually introducing anyone or explaining anything beyond the basics of a ripped-from-the-headlines story. Didn’t I just read this? Where are the design heavy layouts that interfere with the storytelling, though? That is the Question!

Flash: Rebirth #1 Special Edition (DC, 2010, $1.00)
Seven pages viewed through the eyes of a killer mowing down forensic scientists before reenacting the origin of the Barry Allen Flash. Two pages of single panel reactions from Flash rogues to Barry Allen’s return. Five devoted to fellow heroes speaking in hyperbolic praise of the man amongst themselves. One for the wife. It’s a good thing this issue runs thirty pages, because Barry himself doesn’t turn up until halfway through and a bunch of jibba-jabba. Now we can get down to… six more pages of Barry bitching about being a man out of time like he was fucking Captain America on the ice floe. Earlier on, Bart Allen was running down his resurrected grandpa, acting as proxy for fans miffed that Wally West has been sidelined after almost a quarter century as the Flash. This gave writer Geoff Johns the opportunity to metatextually address these critics, forgetting that the best defense is to show them their error, not lecture at them. I hate Wally West because he’s a judgmental prick handed a swell life on a silver platter, where Barry Allen was an agreeable stoic and accomplished professional who earned the wings on his running boots. Here though, he’s such a tense obsessive douche bag, he’d give Batman a run for his money. Barry’s such a bitch, he makes Hal Jordan look calm and rational by comparison. That simply will not do.

Not content to just have a classic hero chase after rogues, we’ve got the usual Johns foreshadowing through violent imagery, plus a tragic childhood involving daddies brutally murdering mommies. Ethan Van Sciver packs in the detail, but Wally West has always struck me as the pretty boy in need of a polished artist, where Barry is more geared for a Scott Kolins type. The book’s not bad, but it doesn’t feel essential, either.

Jonah Hex #1 Special Edition (DC, 2010, $1.00)
What a perfect introductory story! You’ve got a Clint Eastwood-style western anti-hero in the Josie Wales/High Plains Drifter mode whose actions are as fucked-up as his face. Hex follows a pre-Noahite moral code and applies Old Testament punishment to all transgressors, be they friend or foe. He’s an expert bounty hunter and an exceptional killer of men, all established through a four page scenario. A whole new story starts afterward, which introduces all the characters you need to know, follows a three act structure, and comes to a satisfying conclusion. There’s thrills, horrors and tragedy, all in eighteen pages. Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray show how it’s done, with the only caveat being that the formula may wear over time, since this is basically Frontier Punisher. Under a fantastic Frank Quitely cover is the lush art of Luke Ross. It’s obviously heavily photo-referenced, but much more fluid and lifelike than contemporaries like Mike Mayhew. Total package here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wednesday Is A Buck Or Less For All I Care #74

After Dark #0 (2010)
Arcana Presents 2010
Deadpool Marvel's Greatest Comics #1
Grimm Fairy Tales #5 (2010)

After Dark #0 (Radical, 2010, $1.00)
I remember watching Highlander on VHS, and being impressed with its high concept on a budget premise. Then I saw Highlander 2: The Quickening at the movie theater, in which they disregarded most of the cool fantasy trappings and lore from the first flick in favor of an attempt at hitting the reset button through hogwash science fiction. Later on, after the franchise was revived by going back to the original mythology, someone did a "Renegade" cut of Highlander 2 to excise as much of the sci-fi as possible. If you took all the bullshit that was re-edited out and strung it together, then added some bridging scenes under the supervision of Roger Corman, it would be a lot like After Dark.

The future world is fucked, and everyone that's left is a miserable twat living in a city shrouded in perpetual night. To cope, everyone drinks and dopes and riots and shit. To be continued... That's, like, fifteen pages. Dark fucking pages, too. Jeff Nentrup, who might have painted this, paint it black, yeah! Every goddamned page is black and gray. Not only is it dreary, but it's really lazy and boring. Alternately, this might be computer generated, because the few clear faces scene look like digital china dolls. There's some scarred up asshole who wants to be a Warren Ellis character and some messianic chick, but reading this garbage is just a chore. This is another one of those scenes where a couple of famous Hollywood cunts (Antoine Fuqua & Wesley Snipers) get high and decide some tired bullshit idea they ripped off is some kind of brilliance, so they take it to an intellectual property development company (Radical) to hire a hack writer (Peter Milligan) to make their leavings remotely readable. This is cynical soul killing eye strain, so back away.

If you make it through, there's an eight page preview of Hotwire: Deep Cut, and any single one of them has more going for it than the entirety of After Dark. Steve Pugh is one of the most fantastic artists going, I've loved his stuff for decades, and he doesn't embarrass himself by providing his own script. It's about these ghosts that inhabit technology to reconnect with the living, and a hot little sub-genius chick who has personal and professional dealings with the phenomena. These pages are gorgeous, colorful and packed with detail. I think I passed on the trade paperback collection of the first Hotwire mini-series because Radical publishes too much lousy material and I'm not big on Ellis. Thanks to this preview, I'm now punching myself in the tender part of my knee and eating a wire brush. I will make contrition at the next opportunity, even if my max Radical discount off retail is only something like 20%.

Arcana Presents 2010 (Arcana, 2010, $0.50)
I assume the title I gave for this sampler is correct, since there's no indicia, no copyright information and no creator credits. Oh yeah, this book has the distinct aroma of vanity publishing. For instance, the inside front cover features a text piece by the publisher hard pitching his companies wares as "high quality branded entertainment" with "intellectual properties" that could translate across multiple platforms. Clearly, he masturbates nightly to Radical Comics' publishing plan, but when your intra-office memo masquerading as an introduction is filled with typos, you might need to work out some of those finer details.

Okay, first story is called Kade: Red Sun about a roguish guy with raccoon mascara drinking and telling tales with Russian nogoodniks. That lasts eight pages. It's in okay color with okay art and okay story that's an excerpt from a book that might be okay.

The Hope Virus is about a dandy Oscar Wilde schoolboy motherfucker that I guess changes the world with his blog, probably for the worse. The art is this weird hybrid of Ed Benes type style with flashback material that looks kind of like Kade: Red Sun. I didn't hate the seven pages, but I feel no compulsion to read this emo stuff further.

The last seven pages are devoted to probably the seventh reintroduction of Mario Gully's Ant at likely its seventh publisher. Ant wants to be Spawn so bad it can taste it, and considering that this is some professional caliber Greg Capullo referencing, Todd McFarlane should hire this guy to revisit that property's glory days. I've read several Ant samples, and not only aren't they bad, but I really appreciate Gully's devotion to black super-heroines with junk in the trunk. I'm not paying for it, though.

Deadpool MGC #1 (Marvel, 2010, $1.00)
Rob Liefeld tried to rip-off Deathstroke the Terminator for one New Mutants story in I guess 1991, but Fabian Nicieza probably thought he looked like Spider-Man because he totally looked like Spider-Man and so scripted the character like a homicidal Bugs Bunny. A couple decades later, this retarded fucking character with a nonsensical name stolen from the worst Dirty Harry sequel is headlining a half dozen titles a month. This is why I don't read Marvel Comics anymore.

Why else? Decompression. This entire debut issue is one long, limp fight between Deadpool and some Skrulls in a Secret Invasion cash-in. There's no origin, backstory, supporting characters, continuity or nothin', and the story isn't even resolved. There's some stuff that's supposed to be funny and/or kewl, but it isn't. This is basically a non-mature readers issue of the Lobo ongoing series, except Paco Medina's pretty good art is wasted where Val Semeiks was right in his depths.

Grimm Fairy Tales #5 (Zenescope, 2010, $1.00)
I don't hold Zenescope in high regard because they use unproven talent, rely heavily on T & A covers, and generally target a high school mindset. That said, I have to admit some of my prejudice is unfounded, because most of the Zenescope material I've tried has been fair to middling, which is a damned sight better than offerings from Top Cow, Aspen, Arcana, Asylum, most Radical and quite a few other publishers I can't be bothered to refresh my memory about.

For example, maybe this fivish year old second printing of an odd issue of Grimm Fairy Tales was rereleased because it was the best story of the series. I don't know, but if so, they chose wisely. The art by John Toledo and Marc Deering is a bit awkward in that third rate publisher way, but it's looks good and tells the story well. Solid colors by Transparency Digital don't hurt. The true money is in the fairy tale itself, which is a dark reworking of Sleeping Beauty worthy of EC Comics, with an air of verisimilitude that could con me into believing this is some fucked-up Eastern European version of the fable I'd never heard before. Totally worth my buck, and the first time the writing in a Zenescope book made me want to try more. Kudos to Joe Brusha and Ralph Tedesco on a job well done.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Linkypeux of 7.26.2010

John Henry gave his life against the Inky Poo to prove a man could overcome a machine. Frank Lee Delano fights a losing weekly battle against the internet, so that his sacrificed time might save your own.


100 Sexiest Women in Science Fiction (70-56) (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)

Art & Photograpy
Monster PSA: Dick Durock (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Monster PSA: Lon Chaney Jr. (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Monster PSA: Evelyn Ankers (Rob Kelly Illustration)
From The Vault: Thurgood Marshall - 2002 (Rob Kelly Illustration)

That hideous strength (Armagideon Time)

Last Battle (Armagideon Time)

Economist Versus Idiot: The Hordes Of Jericho (The Factual Opinion)
Vote Warren (Rob Kelly Illustration)

Television Of The Weak: Mad Men/Party Down/Pillars of the Earth/True Blood/The Thick Of It (The Factual Opinion)

Sucker Punch Character Posters – Sexy? Kinky? Disturbing? (Egotastic!)
Clip From Hesher With Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Motorhead (Bleeding Cool)
Dellamorte's Box Office Wrap Up 7/23/10 (CHUD)
Inception review by Tucker Stone (The Factual Opinion)
Too Many Movies: Salt and Codename: The Soldier (The Factual Opinion)
Salt review by Dustin Rowles (Pajiba)
Ramona and Beezus review by Agent Bedhead (Pajiba)
The Kids Are All Right review by Daniel Carlson (Pajiba)

Red Band Machete (NSFW: Nudity, language, violence...)

Comic Books:
Lying In The Gutters – 19th July 2010 (Bleeding Cool)
Lying In The Gutters – 26th July 2010 – All About Con (Bleeding Cool)
Meet The Destroyer From The Big Screen Thor (Bleeding Cool)
Marvel To Publish CrossGen (Bleeding Cool)
God Loves Gay Robin – Comic-Con Vs Westboro Baptist Church (Bleeding Cool)
Kaiyodo's Extremely Limited Edition 'Apocalypse Meow' Toys (Comics Alliance)
DC Comics Solicitations for October, 2010 (CBR)
Image Comics Solicitations for October, 2010 (CBR)
Robert Kirkman Launches New Image Comics Imprint Skybound (Comics Alliance)
Foreskin Man Protects Baby Boys From Circumcision (Comics Alliance)
Jonathan Ross meets Jim Steranko, his comic-book hero (The Guardian)
Comic Book Legends Revealed #270(CBR)

Comic Book Reviews:
AICN Comic Reviews Shipping Week: 7/14/10 (AICN)
CBR Reviews Last Week's New Comics (CBR)
Comic shop comics: July 14-July 20 (Every Day Is Like Wednesday)
Best Shots Comic Reviews: PRINCE OF POWER, POWER GIRL, More(Newsarama)
Best Shots Comic Reviews: SUPERMAN, X-MEN 2ND COMING, More (Newsarama)
Best Shots Advance Reviews: GREEN HORNET, CHARMED, More (Newsarama)
Best Shots Rapid Reviews: TRUE BLOOD, ASM, More (Newsarama)
What I Read This Week: Wednesday, July 19, 2010 by El Jacone (El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker)

Comic Book Blogs:
Nobody’s Favorites: Halo (Armagideon Time)
Bronze Tiger "Postcard" by Sal Velluto (DC Bloodlines)
The Top Ten Bronze Tiger Covers (DC Bloodlines)
Bernie Wrightson's "The Muck Monster" from Eerie #68 (July 1975) (Diversions of the Groovy Kind)
“Comes a Warrior” from House of Mystery No. 180, May-June 1969. (Kingdom Kane)
"His Name is Kane" from House of Mystery No. 180, May-June 1969. (Kingdom Kane)
65: Fantastic Four #16 (Marvel Genesis)
66: Journey into Mystery #94 (Marvel Genesis)
Americommando and the Little One in 1943's Action Comics #57 and #58 (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
What If... the Fantastic Four Had Not Gained Their Powers? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)
What If... Nova Had Not Given Up his Powers? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)

NUDITY (Not Safe For Work):
Paris Hilton Bikini Candids on vacation in St. Tropez (3NE)
Crista Flanagan - PB Magazine - August 2010 x34 (DeepAtSea)
Helena Christensen - Man About Town Magazine - Issue #3 of Fall-Wint 2008 x6 (DeepAtSea)
Alexandra Richards (keith richards daughter) - PB France July/ Aug 2010 x11 (DeepAtSea)
Karen Elson - Boss Magazine - December 2000 x5 (DeepAtSea)
Emmanuelle Chriqui - Final Destination 2 Premiere - 30 January 2003 x14 (DeepAtSea)
Jena Malone - on set of 'The Ruins' - Queensland, Australia - 6 august 2007 x8 (DeepAtSea)
Sophie Duez - Lui Magazine ( France) - November 1982 (DeepAtSea)
Missy Rayder - Pop Magazine (UK) - Fall 2007 x9 (DeepAtSea)
Alessandra Ambrosio - Victoria's Secret Photoshoot - St. Barts - 22 & 23 july 2010 x82 (DeepAtSea)
Holly Marie Combs - Stuff Magazine - November 2002 x10 (DeepAtSea)
Gaelle Garcia Diaz and her amazing nude pictures from Che magazine (Egotastic!)
Shakira, All Wet and Short and Sexy! (Egotastic!)
Lindsay Lohan Complex magazine (Egotastic!)
Adrianne Curry Gets Her Sexy Geek on Via Twitter (Egotastic!)
From work to work... (Finn's Place)
Rosa Acosta in Daisy Dukes (hithiphop)
Alyssa Milano & Lauren Lee Smith Nude In "Pathology" (Unrated Director's Cut) HD 1080p .avi (Nebula's Nude Celebs)
Christina Milian Working Out (The Nip Slip!)
Dita Von Teese in Hustler September 2010 (
Scarlett Johansson by Sheryl Nields (Touch Puppet)
Emmanuel Giraud x Tangent Magazine (Touch Puppet)
Photographer Spotlight: Erwin Blumenfeld (Touch Puppet)
Ilary Blasi for GQ Russia (Touch Puppet)
Caitlin Lomax by Emmanuel Giraud (Touch Puppet)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Brightest Day is the Blackest Eye For All I Care #73

Booster Gold #33
Brightest Day #3-4
Green Arrow #1 (2010)
R.E.B.E.L.S. #17 (2010)

Booster Gold #33 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
I only bought Booster Gold #1 because the house ad promised me a pin, but I guess the offer didn’t extend to Circle K convenience stores. I wasn’t wowed by Booster then, he was an undesirable element in JLI and over twenty years later I appreciate him mostly as one of the last intact members of the funny League. Plus, he’s still a ne’er do well amongst titans, and I do love contrast.

Reading my first Giffen/DeMatteis issue of the current run, I can finally see the possibility of Booster Gold becoming a character I can like, a rare thing after so many biased years, Played straight, the time-travel element of the character doesn’t excite me, but when used for humor or as a means of developing a supporting cast, it has loads of potential. Rip Hunter has always had a stick up his butt, but his interaction with a child in this issue brought out his humanity. I assume the kid was ripped out of some doomed chronal potentiality, which is a card that could be played with a lot of cool characters from alternate DC timelines. Manhunter 2070 would be a pretty boss sidekick, and who wouldn’t enjoy a visit from Prez?

After a perfunctory battle sequence, Booster Gold is allowed a metatextual defense of his Justice League. I have a hard time seeing Cyborg as the guy getting into Booster’s face about his checkered past, but maybe the 4th wall press extended to unkind comparisons in the late ‘80s between JLI and the Wolfman/Perez model New Teen Titans. Anyhow, while Giffen has been an enabler in the steady ruination of JLI’s memory, co-writer J.M. DeMatteis finally gets up on his soapbox through Booster to address the haters. It was indulgent, but the kind I can lap up, under the circumstances.

Space is allotted to explaining Maxwell Lord’s infamous heel turn and Booster’s role in Generation Lost, before Giffen and DeMatteis use time travel to return once again to their heyday. The trip isn’t especially funny, but it is comfortingly nostalgic, and it’s nice to see Booster use his brain for detective work instead of con jobs. Temporal paradox rules the day, but I like the handling of the matter here.
Chris Batista may not be Kevin Maguire, but his clean, tight line is welcome. The characters may sometimes look referenced from action figures, but they’re well sculpted ones.

The thing that stuck with me about this issue was the time I felt I’d invested in it. I rarely walk into a bathroom with less than two comics these days, because they’re so light on story. Here, there are so many scene changes and plot twists, a modern writer would have dragged this on for numerous unsatisfying issues. Instead, Giffen and DeMatteis keep throwing good shit at you until something sticks, and in my case, I reek of entitled enjoyment.

Brightest Day #3-4 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
There once was a super-hero team made up of total bullshit B-listers that was redeemed by being genuinely funny, a rare quality in comic books. As a result, humorless fanboys railed against the book, the B-listers were replaced by C/D/F-listers, and the run just got more endearing and mirthful. Then one of the humorless pricks started running DC Comics, killing/raping/ruining all the old members of the fun team until they were just as shitty as most other comic book characters. Oblivious to his doucheness, the publisher then hired a member of the funny creative team to write the same characters with sticks up their asses. On one book, let’s call it “Booster Gold,” the funny creators still have fun with the funny characters that aren’t worth a shit when they’re not funny. On another book, let’s call it “Justice League: Generation Lost,” the publisher tries to do serious shit with the stupid characters that don’t matter to the straight world.

Dan Didio looks at a cover with Maxwell Lord’s nose bleeding, and in a Peter Griffith voice, goes “oooo, ominous. He’s mind controlling people.” Keith Giffen set the scene by having Lord put on his form fitting, ready for action Checkmate uniform, holstering a firearm, then going to his desk to think thoughts harder than anyone’s ever thunk before. This guy is out to shit on the world’s brains through his own. He’s preparing a mind turd hard and heavy enough to kill Elvis twice over, and when he’s done, blood trickles from his nose. Fans look at that cover, knowing full well Max isn’t bleeding from a fight or nothin’, and think “what a goddamned pussy.” Keith Giffen thinks about the cock-up over Ambush Bug #6, about how he could set Didio up to look like a fucking moron with a straight face, and chuckles to himself.

Right about now, you may be looking up to check if the header stated this was a Brightest Day, review, but I’m making a point. You see, there are two bi-weekly series running on alternating weeks for a year, and one fails at a conceptual level. Meanwhile, the other one moves at a snail’s pace, and could really stand to pick up Generation Lost’s slack for its own sake. Jim Aparo used to do this thing where he’d separate one image into a series of panels, with gutters and everything. This indicated slow motion, with figures frozen in shock/horror/etc. Each panel break was an instant in time, a heartbeat. Beat—beat--beat—beat—Action! That’s how this entire series to date feels.

Beat: Deadman battles Anti-Monitor.
Beat: Firestorm breaks up.
Beat: Aquaman unintentionally summons undead sea life, while Mera acts suspiciously.
Beat: Martian Manhunter reads a dog’s mind to learn about a homicidal alien.
Beat: Hath-Set escapes the Hawks into another dimension opened through the bodily remains of their past incarnations.
That’s five inches of plots advanced over twenty-two pages. I could elaborate on the dialogue, but that’s`really all there is to tell about the story. Two weeks later…
Beat: The Hawks go through the portal.
Beat: The escaped Deadman meets with Dove and Hawk.
Beat: A couple of black teens find a pool has dried out overnight.
Beat: Underwater villains kill innocent coast guardsmen.
Beat: Ronnie Raymond visited by salt “ghost” of Gehenna while Jason dreams.
Beat: Hawk asks Deadman to try resurrecting his brother.

What happened to Aquaman or Martian Manhunter? Tune in next month. How important are all the side series involving resurrected characters, like Justice League of America, Birds of Prey and so on? Who knows? The “trailers” in old Marvel Age and DC Sampler promotions offered more involved stories than this. One sixth of the way through the series, I’m still waiting for it to start. In terms of relative progression, we’re roughly equivalent to the first issue or so of Blackest Night, except I paid five times more to get there. Also, maybe you missed this, but Blackest Night didn’t have an ending. That book just sort of stopped, and then bled into this one. Now, all these storylines will inevitably bleed back into one another, but who wants to bet that’s more of an interruption than an evolution? I suspect the creators are teasing out arcs that won’t actually play through until four or more spin-off series roll out. Maybe instead of supporting two bi-weekly series that probably won’t matter in the end, we should just wise up and wait for the real show?

Green Arrow #1 (DC, 2010, $3.99)
Somebody please explain to me why I’m still reading books about a costumed archer a decade into the 21st century? I appreciate that Green Arrow has been published near continuously in some fashion since the Stone Age, but I think it may hurt DC Comics’ contemporary appeal to continue supporting a seventy year old cinematic fad. Oliver Queen has no gadgets, no super-powers, no money, a stupid costume, substandard fighting skill and wooden fucking arrows. This will not do, or didn’t three canceled series in a little over a decade offer any clues?

Look, get Connor Hawke a personal trainer… let him start running around topless with the six pack abs like Taylor Lautner. Give the kid a few million dollars and some diamond cutting explosive arrows. Watch the Smallville girlies wet their panties, and maybe get a real series going. At least shave Ollie’s stupid old face, though.

Hey look, Oliver Queen’s a modern day Robin Hood, because kids fucking love Robin Hood in 2010. That Russell Crowe movie was the hit of the summer, right? Now he’s got ridiculous villains and ‘90s art and the promise of homo Merry Men love and a magical forest that makes actual super-heroes suck more so Green Arrow doesn’t look as bad. This sure is a real winner this time! Alternately, you bitches better suck off that Brightest Day branding like a middle aged truck stop whore promised some rock, because fourth fuckin' time ain't looking too charming.

R.E.B.E.L.S. #17 (DC, 2010, $2.99)
The DC Universe is based in magic and pulp science fiction, two hard sells in comics for decades. DC made a big show of radically altering and reorganizing these domains during and after Infinite Crisis, hoping that a marketing push and sheer force of will would turn the tide back in their favor. On the magic front, they put out a bunch of bifurcated anthology series with ongoing protagonists and Shadowpact, but the only seeming remnant of that effort is Madame Xanadu, which landed at Vertigo. On the sci-fi front, there were the various Rann-Thanagar Wars, Countdown to Adventure, Omega Men, the Captain Comet anthologies, and a teased but stillborn Hawkman title.

It isn’t difficult to see where R.E.B.E.L.S. would have fallen into the scheme. Take Vril Dox’s security force, already reestablished in the Adam Strange mini-series that got the initiative rolling, would serve as an adversarial presence across the line. Dox himself would gather his renegade band of forgotten ‘80s Legionnaire analogues to try to retake his company, and team-up with the other sci-fi properties. However, most of the intended line sucked out of the gate, and was canceled. The running furiously in circles Jim Starlin had popularized in the ‘90s coupled with the Evil Space Catholics he hasn’t let go of since the ‘70s had kept the Comet/Strange rotating mini-series going for a bit, but Geoff Johns’ taking back Hawkman for Blackest Night seemed to be the death knell.

Once the R.E.B.E.L.S. cast had been introduced during their first story arc, you could practically hear the crickets’ chirping, so a change in direction seemed in order. Most of the earliest Silver Age Justice League villains were fondly remembered aliens, and their reunion here moored the book more closely to the Terran DCU. Then the lead characters from deceased sister books were folded into this title, and the team’s raison d'être was resolved a year and a half in. Now, with the creation of a new Rann tying into just about every major cosmological element in DC’s history, R.E.B.E.L.S. is essentially your one stop shopping source for all things space-related. The book even has its own Green Lanterns now. Not only does it make for exciting reading, but the book is one major crossover away from being essential. In fact, I suspect a cancellation and rebranding is in its near future.

After explaining all that-- the issue at hand? Eh. Lots of pieces moved into place, only to stall in favor of drawing out racial tensions as the new status quo. The art by Sergio Ariño is in line with the house style of the series. To drive my points home, the entire cast besides Dox is from Starlin's book, with only one "R.E.B.E.L." gets a single line in the entire book. Lots of room to expand on this thing, but we need a direction and protagonists that'll stick for the long haul.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Linkypeux of 7.19.2010

John Henry gave his life against the Inky Poo to prove a man could overcome a machine. I fight a losing weekly battle against the internet, so that my sacrificed time might save your own.


100 Sexiest Women in Science Fiction (85-71) (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)

Art & Photograpy
Christopher Nolan (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Sly (Rob Kelly Illustration)
The Colorful World of Miles Aldridge (Touch Puppet)

Christian Bale and Mel Gibson Rant Mash-Up (VERY FOUL LANGUAGE, and loud.)

If Movie Titles Were Honest: Top 30 (Cracked)
Welcome to Misguided PSA Comics (COMICS WITH PROBLEMS)

Let Me In... the mail... (CHUD)
Dellamorte's Box Office Wrap Up 7/16/10 (CHUD)
Inception review by Devin Faraci (CHUD)
Inception review by Tag Team (CHUD)
Predators review by Devin Faraci (CHUD)
Too Many Movies: Iron Man 2/Predators/Starship Troopers/Shake! Otis at Monterey. (The Factual Opinion)
Inception review by Daniel Carlson (Pajiba)
The Sorcerer's Apprentice review by Dustin Rowles (Pajiba)
Cropsey review by Brian Prisco (Pajiba)
Love Ranch review by Brian Prisco (Pajiba)
Howards End review by Steven Lloyd Wilson (Pajiba)

SyFy's Sharktopus

Comic Books:
Harvey Pekar, Cleveland comic-book legend, dies at age 70 (The Plain Dealer)
Lying In The Gutters – 13th July 2010 (Bleeding Cool)
Dark Horse Comics Solicitations for October, 2010 (CBR)
A Rerelease of Howard Cruse's Gay Graphic Novel (Hartford Advocate)
SDCC10: No Sleep for the Walking Dead: Chat with Robert Kirkman (IGN)
Comic Book Legends Revealed #269(CBR)

Comic Book Reviews:
AICN Comic Reviews Shipping Week: 7/8/10 (AICN)
The Buy Pile 7/8/10 by Hannibal Tabu (CBR)
The Buy Pile 7/14/10 by Hannibal Tabu (CBR)
CBR Reviews Last Week's New Comics (CBR)
Comics Of The Weak: The Obvious Answer Is You (The Factual Opinion)
Best Shots Comics Reviews: BATMAN: ODYSSEY, SHADOWLAND, More(Newsarama)
Best Shots Advance Reviews: CHEW, X-FILES/30 DAYS, More (Newsarama)
Best Shots Rapid Reviews: X-MEN SECOND COMING, More
What I Read This Week: Monday, July 12, 2010 (El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker)

Comic Book Blogs:
Nobody’s Favorites: The Forgotten One (Armagideon Time)
The Marvel Comics sandwich bag (Comics Treadmill)
Who's Dat: Edge (DC Bloodlines)
1984 Firestorm Postcard by George Pérez (DC Bloodlines)
Strange Adventures #14: "Destination Doom" (November, 1951) (DC Bloodlines)
Superman: The Man of Steel Annual #2 (1993) (DC Bloodlines)
Wonder Woman #112 (February, 1960) (Diana Prince: Wonder Woman)
Super Green Beret #1 (1967) (Diversions of the Groovy Kind)
Featured Customs: Rob W’s Thor Foes set. (The Fwoosh)
B'rett: The Seventh Most Important Martian Manhunter Adversary (The Idol-Head of Diabolu)
“The Battle Begins!” from Captain Action No. 2, January 1969 (Kingdom Kane)
64: Tales of Suspense #43 (Marvel Genesis)
Pins from Marvel Comics, Independents Comics, Movies, and TV (Once Upon A Geek)
Space Siren from Buster Brown Comic Book #31, Summer 1953. (Public Domain) (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
Space Adventures #33 (March, 1960) (The Power of Captain Atom)

NUDITY (Not Safe For Work):
Jenna Dewan Bikini Pictures Are Sexy Ass Hell (Egotastic!)
“Be Yourself” photographed by Delta Element for The Circle Magazine (FASHIONOGRAPHY)
Polina Barbasova by Sharif Hamza for S-magazine #10 (Finn's Place)
Irina Sheik Practically Naked In GQ (South Africa) (Lanky Bastard)
Dioni Tabbers Nude In "Vogue" (IT) July 2010 by Ellen Von Unwerth HQ Scans (Nebula's Nude Celebs)
Christina Ricci Nude In "After.Life" HD 1080p .avi (Nebula's Nude Celebs)
Zoe Saldana in August GQ (The Nip Slip)
Ali Larter's nude scenes from Crazy (Nudography)
Dita Von Tease Gallery (
Playboy Horoscopic skin (The Scandy Factory)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! (2010)

Before TV, print media and radio were the people’s forums, so you could find just about any kind of comic you might be interested in reading with a little effort. Other communication mediums took precedence, so now comics are mostly a ghetto for super-hero geeks. Back in the day, a Harvey Kurtzman type might poke a bit of fun at super-heroes, then move on to his next target. Today, there’s a whole genre of comics devoted to bitter, frustrated satirists who can only make a living in this industry by telling the most mean-spirited, hateful stories about costumed characters they can muster. Matt Sturges is one of those writers, and one of those books is Final Crisis Aftermath: Run!

Following on the set-up from a previous mini-series, a dumpy Silver Age villain who had appeared once half a century ago became among the most hated figures in the DC Universe. Through his connection to a hero’s murder and the betrayal of a host of villains, the Human Flame was left on the run from everybody and their mother. Joining a group of villains even less noteworthy than himself, the Human Flame takes a transformative journey toward realizing his ideal being. This is achieved through thinly veiled cursing, a supporting cast filled with junkies and other assorted reprobates, and the former bank robber becoming a full scale sociopath.

Run is one of those books, and it’s a good enough example of what it is, so Garth Ennis/Mark Millar fans may wish to take note. The Who’s Who reject super-villains throughout the book may be a little too silly for the hardcore, and the book lacks sexual situations or other prurient material its natural base may miss. The art of Freddie Williams II is broad and cartoonish, while mixing a Bart Sears type exaggerated anatomy, contorted posturing and meaty violence. Someday, Run will be pointed to as an example of the excesses of the aughts, but if you know what to expect, it can be a decent diversion.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Wednesday Is Any Day For All I Care #72

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1
Fathom: Blue Descent #0
Predators #1 (2010)
Wonder Woman #600

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #1
(Marvel, 2010, $3.99)
Joss Whedon was temporarily unemployed and John Cassaday wanted a more widely read project to spread his fame, so Marvel gave them an ongoing X-Men title. However, one of these guys was a big shot TV dude, and the other drew Planetary, so Marvel wasn’t going to get the schedule on a pre-existing title all Kevin Smith’d. Thus was born the Astonishing brand, which doesn’t mean it’s a new continuity like the Ultimate line, and isn’t degrees of mature readers like Marvel Knights or Max. Basically, Astonishing is just a way of saying “Look at me! I’m relatively self-contained, unbound by crossovers, and generally less shitty than the main line!” Alternately, it’s fucking pointless, like when you throw a medium hot Vertigo writer and the lesser Kubert boy at two major headlines in a cash grab. The favorite super-heroes of whiny everyman nerds and rageaholic dorks get tossed through time together, hanging out with cavemen until they run smack dab into the ending of Tim Burton’s Planet of the Clueless Remakes. There is no chemistry, Adam Kubert makes John Romita Jr. look excited to still be drawing Marvel characters after thirty years and an appearance by the Orb is the book’s highlight. There’s also a pin-up section by unknowns and middleweights which still manages to blow Batman #700 out of the water.

Michael Turner’s Fathom: Blue Descent #0 (Aspen, 2010, $2.50)
After the Image Comics bubble burst, only Todd McFarlane and Jim Lee still seemed to be riding high. Marc Silvestri had spent the early years keeping up with Wildstorm and Extreme’s output, putting out the finest gun-toting cyborg super-hero gobbledygook he could manage. Silvestri was also busy training a studio of artists to do the exact same thing, sort of like Continuity Studios if it had been spearheaded by Mike Grell instead of Neal Adams. Mike Turner came up from that system, but it was his grotesque Barbie doll anatomy and the bad girl fad that rebuilt Top Cow in the likeness of Witchblade. Gone was the X-Men pastiche, the sci-fi action, and all that purple/green leather. In its place were autumnal shades, decorative borders, doe eyes, and dark fantasy. Speaking as a retailer let me tell you, the ladies lapped that shit up—especially all the soap opera hotties with a y-chromosome. Besides massively refurbishing Top Cow, I think Turner might have even laid the groundwork for the acceptance of manga like Sailor Moon.

Eventually, Turner wanted a place of his own, and with some acrimony, Aspen Comics was built. As Jim Balent drawing big ‘ol titties was to Broadsword, Turner’s company mostly existed for the artist to draw anorexic chicks in bikinis with crusty H.R. Giger shit hanging off them. Whatever floats your boat, but Aspen was still just a poor man’s Top Cow, and by the time of his death, Turner was probably best for his rubber people super-hero covers at the Big Two. Like the Shakur family, Aspen keeps digging up Tupac covers to trade off of, but since Top Cow keeps the Turner clones busy, their interiors don’t hold up. Having tried a number of Aspen books over the last year or so, I figure their days are slightly less numbered than the rest of the industry.

Take Fathom, the book for which the company was named. For two-fiddy, you get a ten page original story and a sketchbook section by an entirely different artist who’ll handle the actual series. The story reads like one of the those old Marvel Age Annual two page “trailers” stretched long. J.T. Krul has been the Peter Stone of Aspen so far, but it seems like he spends most of his time these days at conventions, explaining that he’s not Eric Wallace, and to please stop blaming him for killing half of DC’s Asian characters. In his absence is some dude named David Schwartz, who I like better, but it’s still like comparing the acting careers of Jessica and Ashley Simpson. The art is by Scott Clark, who lost a lot of his game during a hiatus from comics. Consistently the weakest link in the Brightest Day art chain, Scott seems to have a pathological fear of ruled panel boarders/gutters, and the pages look shot from pencil roughs. Jeff Chang’s colors try to save the day, but there’s only so much you can do with cool featureless aquatic backgrounds with the occasional digital texture. Taken as a whole, Aspen and Fathom are one of those needless endeavors that don’t even inspire other publishers to buy their properties after a bankruptcy. Well, except maybe DC. Those guys are buy worthless companies like they were low bid eBay auctions.

Predators #1 (Dark Horse, 2010, $2.99)
Predator 2 was a travesty, but has it really taken a couple of decades to get a third film in this franchise? Then again, everything good about Predator was exhausted in the first entry. Reagan-era steroidal G.I. Joes firing Gatling guns in the jungle against an invisible alien killing machine hunting them for sport? There is nowhere to go from there but down. Sure, you could get into the Predators culture, or have future battles in space, but that’s fucking nerd shit. Predator was for doods who fire up the grill for Super Bowl parties and watch Spike network and relate to According To Jim. You expect them to get excited about Adrian Brody? Please.

This here is the comic book prequel to Predators, sans Predators. Fourteen pages are devoted to soldiers getting blown to meaty pieces. Rambo proved how glorious that can be when done right, but this is more like one of those no-budget horror movies where the “director” thinks he’s a gallon of fake blood away from a masterpiece, but will at best rate a twenty second clip on YouTube with 143 views. There’s a prolog to this prequel that either fails to provide the lead character with a quality back story, or fails as a fake-out if the guys dying there are supposed to be the same guys dying later on. None of it means anything in context, so it’s just a waste of time with below average art.

The six page back-up is by David Lapham, which sets up the lead’s motivations and an interesting story relevant to the world we live in. The art by Gabriel Guzman and Mariano Taibo is attractive and successfully references Adrian Brody without being slavishly stiff. It isn’t worth paying three bucks for six pages though, so it’ll get lost amidst the trade collecting that other garbage.

Wonder Woman #600 (DC, 2010, $4.99)
After the embarrassments of DC’s recent seven-hundredth issues, my expectations for this renumbered anniversary were pretty low. Blame the bar, but I liked this one okay. Television’s Lynda Carter started things off with a brief essay, with a rousing speech that explains the essence of Wonder Woman, then trails off into some new age hippy shit at the end. This was followed by an Adam Hughes piece of the Amazon Princess lifting a pachyderm for the kids. Solid so far.

I’ve been meaning to write withering reviews of a couple of Gail Simone’s trades, but her swan song fared well, probably in part due to its feeling more like a farewell to artist George Perez’s era. We’ve got an army of B/C-list heroines (on the heroine scale, I mean) along the lines of Phil Jimenez’s preoccupations during his run, but drawn better, and written like human beings speaking aloud. I’m not sure I was meant to come away with the feeling Batwoman was bashing Obama (she is moneyed,) and Miss Martian was unusually mature, but I dug everyone’s voices regardless. I bit of much needed closure arrived in the form of Vanessa Kapatelis’ graduation after fourteen years in high school and a villain turn, offering a very welcome human moment between the ladies.

After two very attractive pin-ups by Nicola Scott and Ivan Reis (channeling Steve Lightle,) Amanda Conner delivered the best story of the book solo. This was mostly an off-duty hang out session with Power Girl, and offered good humor and a believable rapport between the vastly different heroines. My only slight complaint is that Wonder Woman hanging out with a female Superman variation and a girl Batman incarnation felt a bit like she was slumming in the knock-off broads’ ghetto, but I like these characters, so screw it.

Guillem March’s pin-up, aside from a touch of cheekiness, offered a stunning visual representation of a power often depicted statically, all with Diana pulling a gloriously intense expression. Certified bad ass. Greg Horn had next, with a respectful piece. It was a touch dim, but I like the shine on WW’s metals. Then came Francis Manapul, an artist I increasingly dislike, as Diana joined a grim Amazon hunting party in the bush. Phil Jimenez presented a typically busy and stiff centerfold that felt like an ode to himself.

On seeing Louise Simonson credited with a Wonder Woman story, I was all “why didn’t she ever have a run?” Then I figured her only window of opportunity was during the Eric Luke period, by which point she’d already burned through her goodwill on a Superman title. Then I read her story, a team-up with the Man of Steel that reminded me of the fallow years leading up to the cancellation and relaunch of Wonder Woman in the ‘8os. Ohhh.

I don’t really care for Jock, but his Wonder Woman was so stylistically jarring, it reminded me of Randy DuBurke’s Black Canary serial and Mark Beachum’s rare non-pornographic paintings, all of which is to say kool-moe-dee. I also usually dislike Shane Davis, but his lightly rendered patriotic shot nicely recalled Diana’s WWII origins, adding an ethnic nose to zing the tea partiers.

I’m enjoying Scott Kolins new wash style, and I would be interested to see what Geoff Johns would do with the Amazing Amazon as a proper assignment. However, this is just a six page metatextual tease to set up the JMS reboot. Wah-wah.

Finally, there’s the All-New Adventures of Trailer Trash Wondie by J. Michael Straczynski and Don Kramer. I figure Kramer got the assignment because JMS’ fee ate into the art budget, and he was the only artist hungry enough for attention to draw Diana’s excessively ornate belt and accessories. Diana battles a group of Men in Black and leaves crappy looking “W” imprints on their heads, because Wonder Woman wasn’t derivative of enough male heroes already. Now she’s an urban avenger who lives in a sewer with mannequin Amazons, because Eastman and Laird didn’t make enough fun of Frank Miller to hip folks to the joke. Diana then meets up with a quirky oracle, because we haven’t seen enough eccentric mentor figures in popular culture. Even though the oracle is a young blind street urchin who can’t afford to buy bubble gum, she still manages to dress like a mall slut from 1996 and not get raped hourly under a bridge (that we know of.) For her part, “Wonder Woman” cops the bad attitude one would associate with a street level vigilante, because that’s what folks really want from the world’s greatest super-heroine. Finally, we’re “shocked” by the image of a fallen Paradise Island, take 346.

A text piece sees Jim Lee trying to over-explain his new costume design, proving once again that Jim Lee can’t write any better than he can gauge fashion. It’s so painful to read a guy trying too hard to sound more articulate or knowledgeable in an area than he really is. Worse is JMS’ contemptible contribution, showing his lack of self-awareness or the most basic understanding of the character he’s trying to “improve.” JMS is a sensationalist on a downward career trajectory, and whatever faults the mod Wonder Woman of the ‘60s might have had, they’ll likely pale before this misguided jackass’ upcoming abuses.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Linkypeux of 7.11.2010

John Henry gave his life against the Inky Poo to prove a man could overcome a machine. Frank Lee Delano fights a losing weekly battle against the internet, so that his sacrificed time might save your own.


100 Sexiest Women in Science Fiction (100-86) (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)

Art & Photograpy
Helen Mirren (Rob Kelly Illustration)
John Wayne (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Jerry (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Anja Rubik by Miquel Reveriego (Touch Puppet)
Alvaro Puentes for DMAG 02 (Touch Puppet)

Beloved, literary friends: J.D. Salinger and Ray Bradbury (J.M. DeMatteis' Creation Point)

THE PRO animated short. (YouTube)

Dellamorte's Box Office Wrap Up 7/9/10 (CHUD)
Predators review by Nick Nunziata & Renn Brown (CHUD)
Predators review by Dustin Rowles & Seth Freilich (Pajiba)
American Movie review by Drew Morton (Pajiba)
The Kids Are All Right review by Daniel Carlson (Pajiba)
Saved! review by TK (Pajiba)

Comic Books:
Lying In The Gutters – July 5th 2010 (Bleeding Cool)
Ken Penders Claims Sonic The Hedgehog Rights (Bleeding Cool)
SCOOP: Jonathan Hickman And Carlos Pacheco To Launch Ultimate Thor At San Diego (Bleeding Cool)
Rock Reflections of a Super-Hero: The Spider-Man Rock Opera [Music] (Comics Alliance)
Tragic Genius: Wally Wood (The Hero Initiative)
Comic Book Legends Revealed #268 (CBR)

Comic Book Reviews:
AICN Comic Reviews Shipping Week: 6/30/10 (AICN)
CBR Reviews Last Week's New Comics (CBR)
What I Read This Week: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 (El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker)
Comics shop comics: June 30-July 8 (Every Day Is Like Wednesday)
Best Shots Advance Reviews: IRREDEEMABLE, BOYS, More (Newsarama)
Best Shots Rapid Reviews: SHADOWLAND, BATMAN & ROBIN, More (Newsarama)

Comic Book Blogs:
Nobody’s Favorites: Razorback (Armagideon Time)
Aquaman 40-50 & Annual 4 (1998) (The Comic Treadmill)
Strange Adventures #14: "Destination Doom" (November, 1951) (DC Bloodlines)
"Hell-Rider" from Skywald Publications. (Diversions of the Groovy Kind)
The Return of the New Gods #12 (Diversions of the Groovy Kind)
Waaaaaaay too many words about 2006 comic book series Uncle Sam and The Freedom Fighters (Every Day Is Like Wednesday)
If 2007's Uncle Sam and The Freedom Fighters isn't the worst comic I've ever read, it's only because it was so bad I couldn't read it. (Every Day Is Like Wednesday)
"The Last Defeat!" from Tales of Suspense No. 91, July 1967 (Kingdom Kane)
62: Amazing Spider-Man #3 (Marvel Genesis)
63: Strange Tales #110 (Marvel Genesis)
Calvin and Jobs (Once Upon a Geek)
What If... Yellowjacket Had Died? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)

NUDITY (Not Safe For Work):
V Magazine #66: Sheila Marquez, Clara Lago, Leticia Z & Marina Perez (Egotastic!)
TGIF: Grettell Valdez Sexy Para Los Hombres (Egotastic!)
A Day in the Life of Egotastic!: Sexy Christina DeRosa Pays a Visit (Egotastic!)
Una Healy Topless Pictures Simmer Under Spanish Sun (Egotastic!)
Dita Von Teese on the Jean-Paul Gaultier runway in Paris (The Superficial)
Xamira Zuloaga by Alvaro Puentes (Touch Puppet)
Alvaro Beamud Cortes for Ponytail Magazine (Touch Puppet)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Wednesday Is Thursday, So There, There #71

Daredevil: Cage Match #1
Galacta: Daughter of Galactus #1
The Mystic Hands of Dr. Strange (B&W) #1
Sam and Twitch: The Writer #1

Daredevil: Cage Match #1 (Marvel, 2010, $2.99)
I bought this book because of the damn fine cover and the knowledge that the Luke Cage I grew up with would be involved in a story with the Matt Murdock I dug before both characters were neutered by Brian Michael Bendis. This would have made for a memorable eight page story in an anthology title, but as a one-shot, it’s stretched thin. I don’t know if it was a rush job or if the inks by Sandu Florea were inadequate, but Sean Chen’s work looks especially rough here. Otherwise, this is a good natured trifle.

Galacta: Daughter of Galactus #1 (Marvel, 2010, $3.99)
Take a holier-than-though vegan type, and then mix in functional anorexia and constant whining about daddy issues. Combine the ten dollar vocabulary of Sideshow Bob with Homer Simpson’s “mmm… doughnuts” simpleton tangents. Season with a Marvel super-hero cameo, and repeat every five-to-ten pages. Undercook for one note one shot collecting previously free online content. The result is a disagreeable dish that serves as few tastes as possible.

The Mystic Hands of Dr. Strange (B&W) #1 (Marvel, 2010, $3.99)
There’s a shop I visit on new comic day during breaks at work, to toss through recent releases and buy books I skipped on pre-ordering. I recall the day this title came out, when the dealer turned his nose up at the black and white throwback format. “Ew! Who’d want to read that?” It’s exactly that kind of uniformed, overly opinionated attitude, along with shitty discounts, that stopped me from buying most of my comics from physical shops.

I loved the magazine format growing up, especially when they involved cheap bulk reprints in the days before Marvel Essentials/Showcase Presents, plus a lot of artists are done a disservice by color. Certainly the great Pilipino invasion of the ‘70s thrived in the format, and I much prefer my Barry Windsor-Smith in Conan Classics and Mike Zeck in Punisher Magazine to the garish color comics. The Master of the Mystic Arts has always skewed mature, so he seems like a natural for the format. Unfortunately, the retro cover type is plainly a computer font, the frontpiece art is too dim, the book is cut in standard comic book dimensions on glossy stock, and the 48 pages feel slight. It’s a modest, illegitimate effort, recalling Marvel Comics Presents more than Savage Tails

“The Cure” is the main story, running a standard comic’s length. It’s about Dr. Strange confronting a cult and running game on the devil himself, Mephisto. It’s also small potatoes compared to the con job Loki ran in another recent Kieron Gillen script. Frazer Irving occasionally recalls the early days of ‘80s painted interior art, but most of the time its mundane and serviceable. “Melancholia” could have been heralded as the return of ‘70s icon Frank Brunner, but the guy has been a pale shadow of his former self for decades, and his work here looks like that of an amateur on a vanity project. The script on the twelve pager is by Peter Milligan, who tries to set up a twist ending ala Warren, but it’s both obvious and never quite gels into a true narrative. Ted McKeever continues to mainstream his esoteric style with “So This Is How It Feels.” The result is a really wicked looking creature foe that is somehow not a rejiggered Mindless One, versus an inadequate Sorcerer Supreme whose appearance and voice are way off. The story is a mess-- too funky for the norms, but too flat for the hip. Finally, there’s Mike Carey’s text piece “Duel In The Dark Dimension,” with a few illustrations by the always awesome Marcos Martin. It plays better in the mind than it would have on the page, and is alright for this sort of thing.

Sam and Twitch: The Writer #1 (Image, 2010, $2.99)
David Mamet is to Art Adams as`Brian Michael Bendis is to Ron Lim as whoever wrote this shit is to the swiping nobodies the Big Two staffed third tier books with in the early-to-mid ‘90s. Nevermind “The Writer,” this went bad at “The Editor.” It’s been fifteen years since Se7en, so the graphically literate serial killer isn’t exactly a fresh idea. It only gets worse when they somehow manage to write on almost any surface in a style strongly resembling a fuckin’ computer font. Then we’ve got characters speaking directly onto the artwork in Ariel, because some pretentious asshat failed to realize a decade back that their “innovation” was just Charlton typeset lettering for the digital age. Dialogue balloons come in really handy when multiple characters’ speeches are overlapping, but instead we’ve got a squiggly line at the bottom of the text, which screams lazy more than artsy. It hardly matters though, since all but one character speaks in video game cut scene exposition. That exception is Harvey Bullock, who instead speaks only in racist/sexist/willfully ignorant asshole. “The Writer” doesn’t seem to realize that the jerky detective cliché exists as two types: the antagonistic supporting character, and the no-nonsense tough lead trying to cut through lies/bullshit to get at the truth. Harvey Bullock is just an abrasive moron getting in the way of competent ciphers. Bullock isn’t clever, funny, or in any way vital to the story, but instead a narrative obstacle that shits on every page. The art’s okay, but everything else is garbage that made my eyes heavy.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Linkypeux of 7.5.2010

John Henry gave his life against the Inky Poo to prove a man could overcome a machine. Frank Lee Delano fights a losing weekly battle against the internet, so that his sacrificed time might save your own.


Art & Photograpy
From The Vault: Satan Girl - 2006 (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Time Out New York: Olivia Munn (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Julie the dog (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Fiona (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Katy Perry (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Katy Perry #2 (Rob Kelly Illustration)
Willy Vanderperre for V Magazine Summer 2010 (Touch Puppet)
Freja Beha Erichsen by Terry Richardson (Touch Puppet)

Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (Pajiba)

Television Of The Weak: The Best Pick-Ups Have A Square Edged Design (The Factual Opinion)

Uncut Grindhouse Finally Coming On DVD (Bleeding Cool)
Milla Jovovich Tweet-Leaks Her Costume Test For The Three Musketeers (Bleeding Cool)
Dellamorte's Box Office Wrap Up 7/2/10 (CHUD)
Inception review by Devin Faraci (CHUD)
The Last Airbender review by Devin Faraci (CHUD)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse review by Devin Faraci (CHUD)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse review by Dustin Rowles (Pajiba)
The Last Airbender review by Brian Prisco (Pajiba)
Session 9 review by Steven Lloyd Wilson (Pajiba)
The 20 Worst Movie Monsters (Heavy)

Comic Books:
Lying In The Gutters – June 28th 2010 (Bleeding Cool)
The Spotlight Is On Jules Fieffer (CBR)
Comic Book Legends Revealed #267(CBR)

Comic Book Reviews:
AICN Comic Reviews Shipping Week: 6/23/10 (AICN)
The Buy Pile 6/30/10 by Hannibal Tabu(CBR)
The Week In Ink: June 30, 2010 (Chris' Invincible Super-Blog)
Reviews of five recent-ish comic books (Every Day Is Like Wednesday)
Comics Reviews for June 30, 2010 (IGN)
Best Shots Reviews: SUPERMAN #700, X-MEN LEGACY #237, More(Newsarama)
Best Shots Advance Reviews: VELOCITY, ABE SAPIEN, More (Newsarama)
Best Shots Rapid Reviews: BATMAN BEYOND, IRON MAN, More (Newsarama)
Best Shots Comic Reviews: WONDER WOMAN, IRON MAN ANN, More (Newsarama)
G3 Review: Batman Beyond #1 (Girls Gone Geek)
June is Finally Over...Here's Reviews! (Green Lantern Butt's FOREVER!)
Reviews of Joey Weiser's latest works, Cavemen In Space and Mermin #1-#2 (Every Day Is Like Wednesday)

Comic Book Blogs:
Nobody’s Favorites: Next Man (Armagideon Time)
'Power Pack' Pilot Episode is an Awkward Blast From the Past (Comics Alliance)
Stop Smelling Like You Live in a Sewer with these Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Soaps (Comics Alliance)
Grading on a Super-Curve: Super-Hero Term Papers (Comics Alliance)
Famous First Fridays: Mockingbird (Diversions of the Groovy Kind)
Liberty Belle in E-Man #5 (August 1974) (Diversions of the Groovy Kind)
What I Read This Week: Monday, June 28, 2010 (El Jacone's Comic Book Bunker)
One Small Step – Animation by Bill Simmon and Flameape! (Flameape)
Public Domain Superhero Day! CAPTAIN BATTLE Sketchcard (Flameape)
Comic Blast From the Past: Hip Hop Heaven (Girls Gone Geek)
Tales of Suspense: Captain America in ". . . And Men Shall Call Him Traitor!" (Kingdom Kane)
Lando’s Love Lessons (Once Upon A Geek)
"I Wake Up Screaming!" from Vampirella #3, 1970 (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
Uncle Sam #1: The King of Crime (Pappy's Golden Age Comics Blogzine)
Caring For Your Wonder Woman Garden (Ragnell's Written World)
DOCTOR AMERICA - Occult Operative of LIBERTY (Sanctum Sanctorum Comix)
What If... Elektra Had Lived? (Siskoid's Blog of Geekery)
The Greatest Cover You've Never Seen: From 2000 A.D. #17 (1977) (Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!)
Manic Monday--What If Galactus Had Been A Little Bit More Hip? (Slay, Monstrobot of the Deep!!)

NUDITY (Not Safe For Work):
LeAnn Rimes Bikini Pictures Could Steal Many More Husbands (The Daily Fix)
Is Shakira The World's Sexiest Midget? (Egotastic!)
Nicole 'Coco' Austin Bikini Pictures Are Asstounding (Egotastic!)
V Magazine: Crystal Renn, Edita Vilkeviciute, Guinevere Van Seenus, Julia Stegner, Missy Rayder, & Frankie Rayder (Egotastic!)
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Lily Cole & Friends Nude In "Esquire" (UK) Aug. 2010 MQ Scans (Nebula's Nude Celebs)
Anna Faris and Chris Evans are Naked on the set of What’s Your Number? (The Superficial)
Brian Walker (Touch Puppet)
Izima Kaoru (Touch Puppet)
Virginia Slaghekke by Slava Filippov (Touch Puppet)
Lady Gaga by Terry Richardson (Touch Puppet)


Blog Archive


Surrender The Pink?
All books, titles, characters, character names, slogans, logos, and related indicia are trademarks and/or copyright of their respective rights holders.