Archive for February, 2009

Legendary Comics Writer Alan Moore on Superheroes, The League, and Making Magic

February 28th, 2009 by Rurik

I found this somewhat lengthy article on the WIred site. It’s a very informative look into Moore’s past, present and upcoming projects. Watches the Watchmen

I have issues

February 25th, 2009 by jason

Comics read since last time:

Birds of Prey 118
GeNext 1-5
Ms. Marvel 25-30
Invincible Iron-Man 1-7
Punisher War Journal 18-23
JLA 72-76
Teen Titans 24-26, 29-33, Annual 1
Outsiders 24-25, 28
Robin 146-147
Infinite Crisis 5-6
Jack of Fables 17-21

And I thought I had a lot of comics to talk about during my trip. Apparently, I’ve been on a bit of a binge lately, and have just been tearing through the trades. Again, I’ll break this up into a few posts for manageability.

Birds of Prey 118 was part of the Dark Side Club crossover that had been happening in Teen Titans, with Misfit and Black Alice duking it out for the entertainment of the masses. I liked this single story better than any of the ones with the Titans, probably because it seemed to have a bit more background on what was going on with the club. A bit of gruesomeness with Misfits powers, not to mention a deepening mystery surrounding her and Black Alice. Too bad the series is getting cancelled. Maybe DC will turn the Bat-family books into an anthology series. That would actually be kind of nice.

GeNext was kind of disappointing. I think that I’m looking for the classic Claremont that I remember from the ’80s, and I’m just not going to find that. I either have to accept him for how he writes now, or just give up on him completely. Personally, I think he’d be better off staying off the mutant books and writing something completely different. His history with the X-Men is going to colour everything he writes with those characters from now on. GeNext really seemed more like a marketing plan than a good story. It feels like Marvel trying to invent schemes to find the “youth market”, like a new young set of mutants set however many years in the future, tying into a few other titles of a similar theme. But hey, I was part of the youth market once, and I got into comics because I enjoyed the stories they were telling in the regular books at the time. I still think that they don’t need to trick kids into reading comics, they just need to have comics where kids are going to find them.

Ms. Marvel is more Secret Invasion side story. I’m expecting the actual Secret Invasion trade from the library soon, so it’ll be interesting to see what I think of that after having read all the side stories first. Maybe I’ll enjoy it more that way; the biggest complaint I’ve heard about it is that nothing really happens issue after issue. That’s probably because everything is happening in these crossover series. Ms. Marvel seems to be a bit more bloodthirsty in this trade, pretty much deciding skrulls during wartime are fair game for slaughter. Melo’s art is very reminiscent of Chaykin, especially considering the violence involved in the Battle of Manhattan arc.

Speaking of Chaykin, I think he’s a good fit for Punisher War Journal, at least as good as Steve Dillon on the Punisher Max series. I’m not sure what I think of Matt Fraction and Rick Remender on this series. It could just be that the character is hard to identify with, and it really depends a lot on how he’s being written. Garth Ennis did such a great job with Punisher Max, and the regular series, and PWJ has seemed a little….silly in comparison. Of course, more than anything, I think the Punisher is more of a foil than a character in his own right. This arc kind of ties up a few things about his history, right in time for the next arc to connect into Secret Invasion. The whole thing about a SHIELD agent obsessed with the Punisher has seemed a little contrived to me, and now having him in a crossover with skrulls? It’s getting a little cosmic for Frank Castle. Next he’ll end up in a team-up with Rocket Raccoon.

Fraction is also writing the new Invincible Iron Man series. I’m not sure why another Iron Man series was necessary to complement the current Leader of SHIELD series. Maybe they just wanted to give Fraction more work. The interactions between Tony, Pepper and Rhodey are great, but it seems to be retreading a lot of Orson Scott Card’s Ultimate Iron Man series. (Yeah, I read the Card series–he’s a bastard, but I got them from the library, and I’m a sad completist fan).

I have issues

February 20th, 2009 by jason

I never read The Question in the ’80s when it was coming out, but since DC seems to be publishing everything that Denny O’Neil wrote, and I can get it from the library, I figured why not. I really liked how the character was used in 52. This run is very different from that portrayal, with Vic Sage being a bit more of a bastard. I’d read O’Neil’s run on Green Lantern/Green Arrow, and he’s very topical. I wouldn’t say these Question stories are dated, in fact, I think they’re kind of timeless, but you get the same sense of the ’80s as you do when you watch a movie like American Psycho. Cowan’s art also defines the era, with the women’s hairstyles and shoulderpads. The art reminds me of Sienkewicz. I wonder if the Ditko stories have been collected anywhere. I’d love to read those and see how the character differs.

I loved the New Warriors comic in the ’90s, and I’ve recently started hunting them down at conventions from the quarter bins. Even when I got out of collecting in the ’90s, I would still stop in at Shinders and read this one on the rack during my lunch break. I’d never read the reality show mini-series version, and having them be the fall guys for Civil War (not to mention killing off half the team) left a sour taste in my mouth. The current run feels like it’s building to something, but taking its own sweet time to do it. There’s definitely plenty of action, but some of the secret motivations are going too long without a reveal. I know that the next arc ties in to Secret Invasion, and I’m enjoying where the creators are going with it as a counter to the registration act policies. It’s a bit of a stretch to suspend disbelief with the amount of tech they’re supposed to be reverse-engineering, but I guess it is a question of whether you can believe this but not this. Comics do seem to be in love with child geniuses these days, particularly of the technological variety. There’s Amadeus Cho in the Hulk/Herc comics, Marvin and Wendy in Teen Titans, the Blue Beetle’s posse, and now Kaz, Grace and a third whose name I forget in New Warriors. Oh, and the Japanese Toyman in Superman/Batman. Must be the new math.

Speaking of stories going on and on, the Gog/Magog story in Justice Society of America, tying in the Kingdom Come continuity is something I’m ready to be done with. I’m still enjoying the writing, and the characters, but I just don’t care about Kingdom Come enough. It was an okay series, but I just didn’t connect with it as anything other than an Elseworlds story. More interesting is the tie-in story bringing Power Girl home to Earth-2.

My thoughts on ElfQuest are going to get their own post, I think.

I have issues

February 19th, 2009 by jason

Comics read since last time:

The Un-Men 6-13
The Mighty Avengers 13-15
Teen Titans/Legion of Super-Heroes Special
Teen Titans 15-23
The Question 13-18
New Warriors 6-13
ElfQuest 6-10
New Avengers 38-42
Jokers Asylum
Justice Society of America 13-18 + Annual 1

A whole bunch of comics this time, since I was unable to post during my trip to the Doctor Who convention. I’ll break this into a couple of posts, probably.

The Un-Men was just starting to get interesting, bringing in Swamp Thing continuity, when it got the axe. Referencing Arcane and introducing his insect creatures made me take notice of the series more, but I guess for sales it was too little too late. I suppose it’s nice that they even put the series out in two trades and I was able to get them from the library.

Mighty Avengers and New Avengers are both Secret Invasion tie-ins with these issues. I still haven’t read the main story of Secret Invasion yet, so I was afraid that there would be much spoiled, but so far, that hasn’t been the case. Part of New Avengers is set in the Savage Land, without explanation of how the team got there, but for the most part, both MA and NA are having stories set in the background. You get what are practically one-off stories, where the main event is being hinted at, and here you have all the cool stuff that’s going on while the big guns are off saving the world. I approve. I think that I could probably skip SI itself and still know what’s going on from reading these.

Teen Titans had a couple of story arcs, one of which I read a few years when I was getting caught up on all the Infinite Crisis lead-ins. The stories get pretty dark starting around this period, as the characters deal with the aftermath of Identity Crisis and Doctor Light regaining his memory, and finding out how fallible their heroes are, not to mention the possibility that they’ll grow up evil. I really enjoyed the introduction of Speedy, Green Arrow’s HIV+ protege, and the massive reunion of just about every former Titan. I’m surprised they didn’t get George Perez to draw it.

To be continued…

ReadComics Podcast #028 – Book Club – PS238 Vol. 1

February 9th, 2009 by Martin

This podcast/book club features Florence, Jason, Mike, Susie and Marty, and is all about PS238: Volume 1, With Liberty And Recess for All, written and drawn by Aaron Williams. We stay mostly focused for the first 45 minutes or so, then veer off on a Dr. Who tangent in anticipation of Jason’s upcoming convention trip.

Listen to Podcast Episode #028 (30 MB, 65 minutes)

I have issues

February 8th, 2009 by jason

Comics read since last time:

Incredible Hercules 116-120
PS238 0-5
Locke & Key 1-6
Captain America 37-42

Secret Invasion is kind of incidental to the events in the Incredible Hercules, almost a device to tell the larger story and to be honest, I think it suffers for it. From what I’ve heard, Secret Invasion hasn’t been nearly as interesting as the crossovers to it, but Hercules would’ve been better off if they found some other reason to get the God Squad together than to go after the Skrull deities. It’s kind of a neat idea for a team book, and there could be a lot more stories there, a la Fables. I like the historical cutaways, which a lot of comics seem to be doing these days. What was Hercules doing between the classical Greek era and the modern comics era? Amadeus Cho is a fun character, but he’s starting to get annoying. Having him be a little more fallible made him more interesting in this story.

Locke & Key was fascinatingly creepy. I’ve been left hanging after this first collection, and I want to know more. I want to know what the key is that Bode found. Hill is going to give his dad a real run for his money. I’ve complained in the past about decompressed storytelling, and whole issues where absolutely nothing happens. This series, while I read it in the trade, I think I would actually enjoy more in single issues, as each issue builds a bit more, moves the creepiness forward a bit. The art fits the otherworldliness of the story, the artist doing a great job at drawing sinister, scary and in the case of Sam, just a little bit dead inside. I desperately want to know where this is going to go.

Captain America is dead. Long live Captain America! But which one? Brubaker is going into the history of the character, by bringing back the 1950s Cap, who altered his appearance to look like Steve Rogers. At the end of this trade, he vanishes, but is clearly going to come back to battle Captain “Bucky” America again. Part of this story was set in Minneapolis, at a political rally. Nothing in the background was completely recognizable as downtown, but you could see skyways. I don’t think we have any news reporters who wear shirts that show their navels, though. Are there any serious female reporters that would wear a bare midriff shirt while on air?

Tune into the the next podcast to hear our discussion of PS238!

I have issues

February 4th, 2009 by jason

Comics read since last time:

Last Defenders 3-6
Teen Titans 13-15
Echo 1-6
Wolverine: Logan 1-3

The Last Defenders got a lot better as it went on. I liked how Nighthawk tried different line-ups until he found one that worked, even if it didn’t include him. I can see this continuing on as a series, with a team on the run from the authorities, kind of an A-Team, always one step ahead. It had a bit of a NextWave vibe to it, with a little bit of Exiles thrown in. It really feels like a prelude to something else, with Yandroth playing a bigger role down the road.

Going on with team books, I’m still catching up with the 2003 series of Teen Titans. We’re running up to Infinite Crisis in a couple of trades, which is where I started reading the series regularly. A few of the subplots allude to the upcoming events; the main story in this three-issue arc covers Gar Logan’s temporary cure of his green hue, but at the loss of his animal powers, of course. Entertaining, but to be honest, I was more interested in the asides with Wonder Girl, Superboy and Tim Drake (formerly Robin–this is where Spoiler took over, just prior to War Games). How do you stop being a super-hero? The Loners touched on this with Julie Power trying to give up being Lightspeed (something I’d like to see more of–someone should write a Power Pack All Grown Up comic–maybe I should!) I should look for the Robin issues that tie-in here.

Terry Moore’s foray into the super-hero genre is good so far, but he seems to be taking his sweet time in getting anywhere. I’m not sure I could handle reading these in single issues–it was much more satisfying as a trade, although only sort of, because after six issues, it seems like we still haven’t really gone anywhere. The crazy homeless guy seems a bit of a stereo-type.

Brian K Vaughan wrote a sweet Logan story here. It’s short, it’s beautifully illustrated, and fits in well with the Wolverine: Origins series, although not officially a part of that. While Wolverine is far too overused as a character (I wonder what would happen if there was a year-long hiatus of using this character), I’m enjoying these little chapters in his life. It’s reminding me a lot of what’s going on with Iron Fist, where we get a window into the past, and the stories are very self-contained.

Comic Book Club: PS238

February 3rd, 2009 by florence

PS238 Volume 1Our next Comic Book Club podcast will focus on PS238 Volume 1: With Liberty and Recess for All, by Aaron Williams.  This book is about a school for superpowered kids, and we’re looking forward to hearing everyone’s opinions about it.

We’ll start with Volume 1, but since some of us have already read ahead several trades, so we’ll be happy to talk about the entire run so far.

PS238 Volume 1:
With Liberty and Recess for All
Monday, February 9th 7PM
Florence&Marty’s place

I have issues

February 2nd, 2009 by jason

Comics read since last time:

Young X-Men 1-6
Cable 3-5
The Last Defenders 1-2
Gotham Underground 7-9

Young X-Men is a lot more of a continuation of New X-Men than I thought it would be. Including New Mutants #1 was pretty neat; it brought back memories for me. I wish I could still get the feeling I used to get when I was reading New Mutants as a young teenager, but then again, isn’t that true of everything you remember from your youth? Nostalgia includes the Greek word for pain. The bad guy is telegraphed so early on, I hope they didn’t think anyone would actually be fooled by the subterfuge. I did enjoy this a lot more than I thought I would, but then, it is Guggenheim doing the writing. Although I’m annoyed by most of the characters, and miss some of the ones from New X-Men that I liked. Anole, come back, all is forgiven!

Cable got better, but only slightly. Cannonball apparently had no trouble finding steroids in future. Honestly, Sam Guthrie, one of the lankiest characters ever created suddenly has not guns, but cannons? At least I’m not paying for it, other than the cost of getting to the library. I have a feeling the time travel chase scenes will get old. Cable should’ve brought Sophie with him. Of course, it would’ve been a little too much of Voyagers crossed with Doctor Who at that point. Oh, with huge nonsensical guns.

I don’t know much about the history of the Defenders, just knowing some of the team line-ups. I don’t think I’ve read any of the original series, and much like the Champions, it’s always seemed like a way for Marvel to cash in on the success of the Avengers and the relaunched X-Men. At what point did the X-Men become an actual hit? I know that it was on the verge of cancellation in the ’60s, with a long run being reprints. But the Defenders has always seemed like a “why bother” team. Maybe it’s a way that Marvel retains copyright on certain characters by bringing them out, dusting them off for awhile. These first two issues are an awful lot of set-up, so far. I can feel Giffen’s touch, although not as much as when he and deMatteis wrote their other Defenders story earlier in the “bwah-ha-ha” vein. A few nods to Civil War, the Initiative, and even Secret Invasion, with Blazing Skull correcting Nighthawk about his moniker. I’m interested in Nighthawk’s history, so that might be a reason to go back and read some original Defenders stories. Was he one of Marvel’s answers to Batman?

Speaking of Batman, I wonder if anyone is able to tie together into a cohesive continuity all of the stuff going on in DC right now. Where exactly does Gotham Underground fit in to Batman RIP and Final Crisis? I finished this trade off last night, and it seemed mostly to be a rehash of War Games, as well as a way to reintroduce Spoiler. I love Batman’s rogues gallery, and would like to see more Penguin and Riddler–the Joker’s so over done now. But I’d like to see them given some respect again. Maybe a little less reinvention and bit more back to basics.