Thursday, February 22, 2007


...must die for THIS!

If we had a Civil War on Earth-K, at least it wouldn't be this lame.

I think the company-specific proclivities of this site are a little obvious sometimes, but that's why I want to make this clear up front. Civil War, as a whole and issue seven in particular, sucked in a way black holes would envy. This isn't Marvel bashing, its a simple statement of fact. I can believe people enjoyed it up until the end, but now that issue seven is out, anyone who is still claiming they enjoyed it is either one of three things.

1. A Liar. Simple as that.

2. Does not, in fact, actually like comics (you can change comics to super-heroes if you think this is too confrontational).

3. A drooling moron.

You can tell, BTW, that it isn't Marvel bashing because I read SEVERAL Marvel books and so does the Cap'n. In my case, every one of them is a fringe book. She-Hulk is wonderful (although Civil War hasn't helped it), Immortal Iron Fist is the Sensational Comic Book Find of 2007 (I know the first issue came out in '06, but just barely), everyone knows how we feel about Daughters of the Dragon, X-Factor is brilliant, etc. We even still like the Ultimate Universe more often than not (after all, 616 FF has NEVER worked for me, but UFF did even under Ellis' sad handling). Also, while I enjoyed the ride a lot, I will freely tell you that Infinite Crisis doesn't hold together all that well when you're not swept up in the momentum of it. In fact, it really doesn't work at all and is not a fun second read.

All that being said, I don't have the emotional resonance with the MU that I do with the DCU. With that in mind, I can understand and sympathize with the people that were upset about CW (pre issue seven), but I couldn't really get upset with them. I understood the feelings, but objectively, like an anthropologist might understand a tribe's disappointment when their magic rock fails to glow.

Issue 7 changed all that, though. Now I'm upset, not because of the content but because of the total LACK of content. This is what we got excited for? This hollow excuse for a denouement? Again, IC wasn't very good once you got on the back end of it, but at least there really were some status quo changes. Heck, real and true fallout is STILL happening and not just in that boring excuse for a rag called 52. My erudite and good friend Zac says it this way:

Civil War somehow managed to break the fourth wall and show us a world where the government runs superheroes. When the government runs superheroes there will be lots of talking about things and principals, and then some really bland stuff will happen; and nobody will get too worked up or disappointed. Just like every other government program.

I just reread it and it's hard to even form a coherent thought about why I hate this book. It's just so wrong. And I honestly feel that the things that are wrong with this book are in most ways the reasons I don't like Joe Quesada. Lots of wishy-washy flim flammery, empty promises and hollow deliveries of non-ideas, seasoned with the occasional load of crap and unwarranted hype. At this point I would actually like a Clor book.

These are the words of a man betrayed by his love, and her name is the Marvel Universe. That vile temptress.

Here, just for fun, are my honest to goodness, page by page reactions to Civil War #7. The internet could break in thirds.

Page 3. Oh SNAP, Bishop! Take that, 90s!

Page 4. Black Panther = Deus Ex Panther (see: Morrison’s JLA, Batman = Deus Ex Batman)

Oh SNAP, Tony! Spidey is gonna getcha!

Page 5. It must be an Elseworlds story or something…Iron Man is scared of Cloak.

Page 6. Somebody just TRY and tell me Reed isn’t bitch slapping Sue!

Page 8. If any normal humans in the MU didn’t fear supers…they do now.

Page 9. Jokes about Spider-Man’s adjectives. And here I thought this was going to get silly. (side note: we get it, everyone underestimates Spider-Man…JEEZ!)

Page 11. Imperious Rex, indeed! This might be the only part of this whole mess that actually looked cool.

Page 12. Its Clor! And a bunch of nobodies! (yes, I’m aware Captain Marvel is in the picture. I stand by my statement)

Page 13 & 14. Well, Cap cheated…I guess. At least he’ll beat hell out of Iron Man for a while.

Page 15. Ben’s back from Paris! (who cares) Reed isn’t a total douche! (who cares)

Page 16 & 17. I knew Stan Lee, Mr. Millar. And you, sir, are no Stan Lee.

Also, Clor is a ROBOT? I call total bull$#!t! They did brain surgery on him and he BLED! BULL. $#!T.

Page 18. Oh bull$#!t AGAIN! Cap was never going to kill Tony, that’s just crap.

Page 19. Bull$#!t trifecta! The common man LOVES Cap and has for decades.

Page 20-22. What comes after trifecta? Cap CRIES? That’s the big finale? WTF? “We’re just fighting”??? I had no emotional connection to this story until now. My new emotion: revulsion.

Page 23. Even Frank thinks this is bull$#!t.

Hey, whaddya know, Reed is still a prick. “General hero amnesty” my a$$. God, what a mess.

Page 24. A FULL 93 minutes might not be enough crying for everyone who once loved the Marvel Universe.

Also, just what the hell is the Justice League Oklahoma going to do all day? Ugh.

Page 25. How will there be any super battles if the prisons actually hold the super villains? Maybe the fabric of reality HAS been altered somehow.

Page 26. Painful things we did on the way to respectability. Hey, Millar! Pull up your pants, your politics is showing!

Page 27. Well, at least Tony isn’t just a dick to his friends.

Page 28. So that’s what 42 means. Can he GET more sanctimonious?

Page 29. And condescending. I hate this book more than cancer.

That's honestly way more than I meant to say, but I got a little help from my friends AND a play by play of the crap. I don't even have a clever ending.

Friday, January 12, 2007

People who know me probably don’t think I can do it, but here it is! The All Positive Post coming directly from the Mothership, top of the Earth-K Galaxy! 500,000 keelowatts of four-color power! Giving it to you in your eye-hole!

· 100 Bullets continues on to its thrilling conclusion. I’m a trade-reader of the Bullets (so I’m exactly ¾ of the way through the story), but I can tell you that this book never does anything BUT fire on all cylinders. It has mutated from a morality/revenge tale into a noir conspiracy theory with roots in Colonial American history that guarantees a skyrocketing body count reached in unmatched style. Twists and turns abound in every arc, and even the arcs that don’t immediately make sense as part of the greater story are brought home eventually. The art is dark, dangerous and sexy as hell. The books are so gritty that even the toilet paper DC prints the trades on comes together with the art and story to be part of the experience. I’m still trying to figure out how I can need a shower after every story and yet continue to think it’s a world I wouldn’t mind living in… as long as I had a couple high-powered handguns to keep me company. Highest honors.

· My buddy and favorite cat to ring me up at my LCS, Rob Vollmar, is having some roaring success with the Bluesman Trilogy. It is sad, poignant, historical, the art (brought to you by Pablo Callejo) is beautiful and the whole reading experience should probably come with a soundtrack CD. In fact, I’m going to suggest that Rob have a playlist available to listen to while reading. Lastly, it’s been optioned for a film. Run and read the books before Hollywood spoils it with crass commercialism!

· Godland (no, I don’t know how to make that little crosshatch through the O), is like Kirby with none of the introspection or deeper themes. Or Kirby if he’d had a couple bad hits of acid. Wild ideas, crazy villains, cosmic beings; it sort of reads like early Marvel if they’d been more aware of what they were up to. Meta-Marvel you might say. I have no idea where it’s headed or what the story is really about, and when I can usually see a lot of the story beats telegraphed from six issues away, that shoots it to the head of the class for me.

· Casanova absolutely freakin’ rocks. The vibe is sort of a bizarre mix between Starlin and Steranko, a cosmic spy story with daddy issues. Gabriel Ba takes ridiculous scripts from Matt Fraction, a VERY limited palette and churns out art that seems simple at first, but then you start to notice how many details the guy CRAMS into every panel. The prose stuff in the back that explains what was going on in Fraction’s life, world and head when he wrote the book is even good. Normally that stuff bores me to absolute tears or ends up being like knowing a little too much about sausage manufacturing techniques, but here it is a bow on the special gift that is Casanova. And the whole damn thing costs two measly greenbacks. Buy it, you ingrates.

· The Black Coat: Call To Arms is the first in what I hope to be a long string of limited series. I thought it was going to be a Scarlet Pimpernel-esque thing set in the Revolutionary War…and it was. But then pirates showed up. And zombies. And Ben “The Original American Pimp” Franklin! This thing is like historical fiction by the guys responsible for Doc Savage and the Shadow. The book has so much pulp, it gets stuck in my teeth when I read it.

· Gail Simone is a Geek Goddess. All-New Atom, Secret Six and Birds of Prey are or were (Six is lamentably over) at the top of my reading stack every time they come out. Each of these is super-heroes done right, even when the book is about super-villains. BoP is in the midst of an internal shake-up and, usually, that would worry me. Status quo changes are rarely good news if the book was successful and a great read already, but Gail has earned the benefit of the doubt. More than that, she’s earned my complete trust. I have no doubt that, despite the sea change, BoP will continue to kick ass. At a DC where several of the OYL new launches have been abandoned (Sword of Atlantis) or are so crap they’re soon to be abandoned (Hawkgirl), I don’t doubt for a second that Atom will stick the longest. Lastly, while this may mean nothing to many, Gail has actually made me excited that there will be a Catman fig in the next Heroclix release; no mean feat.

· Justice Society of America is only two issues in so I can’t gush very much. I’ll be honest, though. Based on the Donner/Johns debacle and the mess Titans has become, I was worried that Johns couldn’t bring the heat anymore. I loved JSA LOTS and didn’t want to see it messed up. Well, I needn’t have worried. With two issues under its belt it is probably the best OYL launch DC has had (even though it isn’t technically an OYL launch) and it is kicking the crap out of Justice League of America. I mention the second only because of the handicap. The Justice League has all the cards in this game, but JSofA balls it out with pure chutzpah and makes the JLofA look even more boring and amateurish than it normally would.

· All Star Superman. What should I say here? If you’re reading it, you know how awesome it is. If you aren’t, you’re some kind of communist robot zombie from a totalitarian future who has been programmed not to like comics that contain too much awesome. This is a book that manages to take stuff we should all be sick of hearing about (Lois discovering Superman’s secret identity, Lex as criminal genius, Krypto) and manages to not just make them readable, but causes you to fall in love with them. Literally FALL IN LOVE between page 1 and page 22.

All that stuff from yesterday is really stupid and really pisses me off and makes me want to shake some editors/writers/Dan Didios until their necks snap, but this stuff is the reason I hang in there. This stuff, and the promise of more stuff like it, is the reason I show up every Wednesday and why I get all excited when the negative stuff happens (especially if it happens to something I was previously very positive about).

Talk back, our tiny audience! What examples of Radness and Awesomeitude would be in your All Positive Post?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I return from Earth-K!

Well, it has been a WHILE, hasn’t it? I don’t think we had any readers anyway, but if we did, we’ve absolutely killed them off one by one with inactivity. Still with several of our fave blogs going the way of the dodo, I felt I needed to get back on ship.

Unfortunately, due to a ridiculous schedule (the downside of being a private investigator trying to catch scofflaws at nefarious deeds is that they don’t follow a schedule and might do said deeds at any moment, which necessitates you watching them morning, noon and night; Rockford never had to do stuff like this, that’s for certain) I haven’t had much time to ruminate on comics and due to starting the new business, I haven’t had much money for them either.

The other thing is, I kind of wanted to say some positive stuff about the comics I really like. Unfortunately, its hard to do anything interesting with “Birds of Prey is really great, if you’re not reading it you really ought to be” or “JSofA, although a needless relaunch, is only two issues in and already five thousand percent more interesting than JLofA.” See, even in the second one, I accidentally get some digs in on a stupid editorial decision and a book that SHOULD be the premier super-team book at DC but is, instead, lackluster, boring and stupid.

So, I’m going to say just a few negative things and not elaborate on them at all or back up my opinion in any way. It’s my blog, I can do that if I want. I suspect the good Cap’n might disagree with some of them and, if so, he can reply and a riotous debate will ensue! Also, if we haven’t bored any of our “readers” then I’ll expect comments. Again, unadulterated negativity coming at you…now!

· While I applaud the twin ideas of single issue stories and bringing Bruce Wayne back, Paul Dini’s issues of Detective Comics just aren’t that great. They aren’t bad, but he certainly isn’t God’s gift to Batman comics.

· Calling Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman the Holy Trinity of the DCU is insulting for two reasons. First, thanks for cheapening a core doctrine of my belief system. Second, and a lot more trivial but a lot closer to the heart of the matter, Wonder Woman isn’t very interesting and, I suspect, nobody really cares about her. Putting out her One Year Later book on a semi-annual basis isn’t helping this. From now on, all honest people will refer to them as the World’s Finest and Wonder Woman…when they bother to mention her at all.

· As lightly mentioned above, Meltzer’s JLofA is really boring and, I suspect, really stupid. I stopped reading after the nonsensical #0 and the plodding #1 & 2, so I’m guessing a little on the stupid part. Still, criminal mastermind Solomon Grundy and Not-Speedy being on the team certainly SEEM very stupid.

· Why isn’t Teen Titans good? It used to be VERY good and they certainly have potential. I’m very interested in all the junior versions of DCU heroes that have been mentioned. It takes a DCU staple to a logical extreme and maybe a little into the illogical (in a good way). Also, Kid Devil and Ravager are great!

· Bringing back Jason Todd didn’t have to be a bad idea, but it went ahead and became one anyway. A completely stupid re-origin based on a completely stupid plot point from a mostly stupid big event didn’t help this.

· Why is Jason’s costume still up in the Cave now that he’s a psycho killer? And why is Stephanie Brown completely forgotten? Out with the Todd outfit, in with the Steph outfit in the shrine. Two people live in that Cave and it’s about time they both get reminded of the person that actually had the potential of being a great Robin and how they both failed her miserably.

· In retrospect, Infinite Crisis wasn’t very good. I was carried through it, blind to most of its faults (until the rushed and terrible #7), through sheer momentum. The creation of a really expensive hardcover with the artwork actually finished and the tone and theme of the story more or less completely changed has NOT done much to make me feel like a valued monthly customer of DC either.

· 52 is boring and real-time comic book storytelling is possibly one of the least interesting ideas in comics right now.

· I was convinced on the strength of Daughters of the Dragon (Earth-K approved comic goodness!) to buy Heroes for Hire. Unfortunately, it isn’t what it ought to be. I think being mired in Civil War is a big reason for this, but losing Khari Evans on art is also a major factor.

· Astonishing X-Men is at best middling. Also, I suspect Whedon will be the death of Runaways for most of us that are currently fans. This upsets me as I am a big fan of most of Whedon’s tv work.

· Civil War is big and stupid, which actually apparently seems to be the point. So I guess that’s a win…ish.

· I love the new JSofA (see above and tomorrow), but DC’s current policy toward token lesbianism makes me VERY scared of where Stargirl and the underwear-less Maxine Hunkel are headed.

· Three words for the DCU: TOO MUCH RAPE.

· NextWave being canceled is a travesty as it is very possibly the best book Marvel was putting out. Plus, it was Warren Ellis being funny. That doesn’t happen very often…at least not on purpose.

· DC convinced me to pick up several new books OYL, but only one is hanging on and that’s mainly on the strength of Gail Simone (I’m looking at you, All New Atom!). Hawkgirl was just embarrassingly bad. Sword of Atlantis looked to be going somewhere, but the driving force behind it is leaving it before it’ll have anything like the needed time to breathe. I am now very leery of trying new DC things, and that’s too bad.

· I feared this when I first read about it, but Richard Donner really doesn’t have a clue what to do with Superman. Also, a modicum of continuity might want to be observed just in case anybody who actually reads Superman comics decides to check it out.

· Killing the Question and (probably) making the most annoying character created in the last ten years the NEW Question is a really stupid idea. Possibly stupider than killing the beloved Blue Beetle and replacing him with a token minority in high school wearing Kirby-tech.

· As I have made mention of token lesbians and token minorities, it is incumbent to say that I have nothing against some racial diversity in comic book universes; in fact I think it’s a very good idea. But when you see the treatment of Super Chief and Black Goliath, it is difficult for my cynical internal monologue to not assume that the well of minority characters is being refilled in order to have somebody to kill in ten years.

· The new Supergirl is poorly conceived and brings so much baggage with her that I would likely still find her unreadable even if they managed to put somebody on their book that knew their word processor from a hole in the ground.

Okay, that’s all my negativity. Tomorrow…POSITIVE things! Comics I love! Comics you should be READING! Comics that are doing it RIGHT, whatever that means!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I Can't Wait to See What I Get Next Punishment Day!

A few months back, the incomparable Chris Sims of the indescribably awesome Chris's Invincible Super-Blog held the a Q&A contest in which his loyal blog monkeys could post random and creative questions for him, all of which he would answer, with the best question being rewarded with free comic swag, an autographed issue of Cracked magazine featuring an article by Mr. Sims, and, the pièce de résistance, a badly drawn crayon picture of the super-hero of the winner's choice.

My question was this:

Question: is this page from Punisher 2099 funny because it's funny, or is it funny because it's not?

Imagine my surprise when, after three days of answering some truly innovative and entertaining questions, the generous Mr. Sims named yours truly the winner with the following response:

Answer: I don't know, but that might be the single greatest page in comics history, and I am going to insert those phrases into every single conversation I have from now on.

"Hey Chris, how many donuts do you want?"

"Thirty six... CALIBER."

Congratulations, Cap'n Neurotic! You've earned yourself:
  • A poorly-done crayon drawing of the comic book character of your choosing!
  • A signed copy of CRACKED Magazine #2, featuring two and a quarter pages of all-new Chris Sims "humor!"
  • Max Collins and Terry Beatty's Wild Dog #1-4, where a vigilante in a hockey jersey kicks a terrorist in the face so hard that it breaks his neck!
  • And my personal copies of The Punisher #22-23, where Frank Castle attends Ninja Training Camp, as seen in the ISB's One Year Awesomeversary!
Soon after posting the results, The Expert on All That Is Awesome contacted me to get my mailing address -- he initially inquired if he should just mail it to "the edge" -- and find out which comic book characer I would like him to draw poorly; after much soul-searching, I finally decided on the ultimate kung-fu super-hero, Iron Fist.

Not too long after that, I learned that The Great and Powerful Sims had a MySpace page. After being added to his friends list, I left him the following comment:

Many thanks for the add, sir, even if your horribly fabricated profile means you're a filthy, filthy liar. Why, I bet the crayon drawing you promised won't even be poorly, poorly drawn. Let me warn you now: if I get a well-drawn picture, I will be sorely disappointed.

Unless it's of Iron Fist kicking MODOK in the head, in which case, all is forgiven.

Lo and behold, what should arrive in my mailbox a few weeks later but this:

It's hard to explain just how giddy this picture makes me. I'm just sorry it's taken me this long to get it scanned in for the entire world to enjoy.