Archive for October, 2007


So yeah… about that thing

October 31st, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I was supposed to have a Spider-Man 3 related article up tonight. That isn’t happening. Let’s look at the excuses I have this time:

– Sick as a dog. If you ever spend a couple months on a diet, I don’t care how much of a hurry you are in. You never, ever have McDonald’s. I’m never making that mistake again.

– That CHIKARA DVD contest ends on November 1st. I need all the time I can to dedicate to Photoshop usage.

– Guitar Hero 3, motherfucker.

– Part of the article involves rereading Spider-Man: Reign. If I’m doing that, I need about six hours of mental preparation.

But I’m not here empty-handed. Since it’s Halloween, a day about dressing up in goofy costumes, here is Venom dressed as a nun. Is there a good reason for it? Probably. Maybe. I don’t know. I forget.

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Planet of the Symbiotes: History Before it Repeats Itself

October 26th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

If it wasn’t for the fact that Frank Cho apparently needs ten hours to draw each female butt cheek and get it just right, the current arc in Mighty Avengers would be long over and we would be getting ready for the symbiote invasion. That’s not stopping New Avengers, where the underdog superheroes have already been possessed by the liquid nightmares. Not too much of the story is revealed yet. We still don’t totally understand what is going on and how all this came to be. Instead, New Avengers focuses more on the Hood hanging back with old Luke Cage villains and a Punisher bad guy Bendis has taken a shining to.

We do know that in the story, we will eventually see what looks like the Carnage symbiote take over Wasp and become giant. Bendis has also spilled the beans long ago that Doctor Doom is behind this for some reason. The first place my mind goes to is the old Spider-Man arcade game from the early 90’s. Not only did that game feature a 40-foot Venom, but the gist of the plot is that Doom was trying to take over the world with an army of symbiotes.

But that’s not what this article is about. This is about the first time New York City was under siege by the toothy, gooey monstrosities. As much as it might pain you to do this, let’s take a trip back to 1995, for the Planet of the Symbiotes.

The story thus far: Venom was in the midst of his anti-hero run, which only I enjoyed, apparently. Though stationed in San Francisco for a while, he relocated to New York City because the crossover potential was stronger. Enter Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider. This clone of Peter Parker heard Venom was in the area and made his superhero debut by defeating him. By removing the symbiote from Eddie Brock with his impact webbing (remember that?), he was able to dominate Venom in a way Spider-Man never could at that point. Eddie and the symbiote stayed separated for quite a while, until getting involved in an adventure with his colorful symbiote children introduced in the Lethal Protector story. Eventually, Eddie and the symbiote became one again.

Here’s the thing that few people realize about Eddie Brock, or at least Eddie Brock in the 90’s. Eddie never really was all that crazy. He was never the picture of perfect mental health, yes, but he wasn’t a raving lunatic. All of that came from the symbiote and being Venom. When the symbiote and its influence were taken away during that period of time, Eddie had time to reflect. He realized all the death he’s caused and how pointless his hatred of Spider-Man was. He didn’t intend to ever wear the costume again and instead just wanted to die. After being forced to don the symbiote again, the subtle control over his actions returned. This time, he’s more aware of it and wants to investigate it.

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PCS and 4l Collabo

October 25th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Yours truly is doing Picks & Pans over at PopCultureShock! Once a week, you get to marvel at my horrible taste on a site that isn’t 4l!

I’ve got reviews up for Countdown 27, Moon Knight, and Justice League Elite v2!

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Essential Luke Cage Volume 1: In Black and White… Mostly Black

October 22nd, 2007 Posted by Gavok

There are so many reasons people wished they could have Superman’s powers. The strength, the flying, the speed, the eye-lasers, the x-ray vision… er… Pretend I put “x-ray vision” in there a couple more times. It’s always funnier that way. Anyway, one of the cooler things about Superman’s powers is his ability to slowly storm forward as criminals empty clips into his chest and continue firing in horror and futility as the bullets keep bouncing off his body. I’m sure Batman wishes he was from Krypton just so he could do that every other hour. Superman doesn’t even need to do it! He could zip over and steal the guns if he truly wanted. He only does it for the kicks. That has to be the most gratifying thing you can do as a crime fighter.

Luke Cage exists for the sake of doing this bit whenever he’s in a bad mood. He also exists to show that black people can have bad fashion sense too, but that’s beside the point. Luke Cage’s main superpower is walking forward while armed bad guys shit themselves. The difference is that he loses a lot of shirts. Really. Luke Cage goes through more shirts than Bruce Banner.

Heheh. I wonder if he knows that in 30 years, that’s going to be a stinging insult.

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Orpheus Rising

October 18th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Hey, you know who was kind of a cool character? Orpheus.

Black Mask slit his throat and wore his face as a mask during War Games. He hasn’t been mentioned since, I don’t think. It’s been three years.

His buddy Onyx? She got stabbed by Jason Todd. No word on if she lived or died, because she also hasn’t been mentioned. It’s been a couple years on that front, I think. It was pre-IC.

How many reviews have you seen online for Percy Carey and Ron Wimberly’s Sentences?

I’m thinking again.

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It’s been a long time…

October 18th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

I have been fairly quiet in the past few weeks, haven’t I? I’ve got good reasons for it, I swear. In fact, I’ve got three good reasons– Heavenly Sword, Folklore, and SOCOM: Tactical Strike.

No, I didn’t pull a Joe Mad. I wrote the strategy guides for those games. This may come as a surprise, but writing strategy guides, among other responsibilities, tends to suck all the drive out of writing for fun! Plus, I’ve felt like sleeping for a week and man is it hard to write when you’re passed out.

I’ve got some breathing room, now, and my new project (secret!) involves very little writing, so I plan to come back in full force. I need to talk about why Frank Miller really hasn’t fallen off, why Jack Kirby’s New Gods saga has quickly turned into one of my most favorite story arcs (and I’m not even done with it!), and tons of other things. I figure I should talk about black people and comics, too, I guess. Is that my shtick yet?

We’ll see how it goes, but don’t call it a comeback! Actual words next time, I promise.

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Sweet Christmas!

October 16th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

It’s clobberin’ time—in the arena and in the streets, between the Gangsters and Panthers, and between the Fantastic Four and the elusive, malicious Golden Frogs!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

Full solicits here.

Diamond in the back, sunroof top…

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Peter Meets Lucas and the Comic We Need to See

October 16th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Amazing Spider-Man #121 and 122 are without a doubt two of Spidey’s most important issues in his 45-year history. In these two consecutive issues, he both lost his girlfriend Gwen Stacy and ended up killing his big villain Norman Osborn. Since then, the latter has been undone and the former has been beaten into the ground with Peter’s whining and made worse with that stupid baby retcon.

In retrospect, #123 is also an important issue. It’s the first meeting between Spider-Man and Luke Cage, Hero for Hire.

Luke Cage was still a very new character at the time with about a year to his name. He spent that first year mostly fighting low-rent hoods and some corny villains that I’m sure we will never see reinvented into 21st century badasses. By his eighth issue, he crossed paths with Dr. Doom, his first interaction with a mainstream Marvel character. It also led to the absolute greatest issue of any comic ever. The internet agrees with me.

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The Double Dragon Comic: World War Green Abobo?

October 12th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

It still surprises me that Double Dragon died out completely. You’d think we’d see a remake or sequel for the Wii or PS3 around this time, but nothing. No flashy resurrections like Ninja Turtles or Transformers. It just died, unless you count the re-release on the Gameboy Advance.

The game’s story was pretty basic. Billy and Jimmy Lee are two brothers with identical fighting skills. In a slightly decrepit future, their mutual girlfriend Marian is shot by a machine gun-toting cyberpunk and taken away. The brothers have to fight through legions of punks before saving Marian. In the NES version of the game, they couldn’t get the 2-player co-op to work, so they just made Jimmy Lee evil. Ignore that.

Several sequels were made, each playing up the same formula. Marian gets kidnapped and the brothers beat up street gangs in retaliation. Some of these games added weird mystical stuff to the series, like demonic gymnast crime bosses and evil mummies. There was a fighting game made for the Neo-Geo, but I never played it. Around then, the series took a turn for the worse.

A cartoon series was released and it was pretty bad. Instead of plainclothes martial arts vigilantes, the Lee brothers were full-blown superheroes. This led to a movie with a similar plot that was atrocious. In the videogames, the brothers teamed up with the Battletoads in a completely random crossover. Double Dragon 5 was released, but in actuality, it was a lame one-on-one fighter tie-in to the cartoon.

Back in 2002, SNK Playmore was set to release a follow-up fighting game called Rage of the Dragons, but the licensing fell through. Hence, the characters became Billy Lewis, Jimmy Lewis, Mariah and Abubo (rather than Abobo).

This comic, released by Marvel, came out in 1991. This is several years before the cartoon and the movie and the game where they fight a giant space rat named Big Blag. Instead, this is right around the time when Double Dragon 3 was released on the NES. Despite that, the series strays from loyalty to the games. Yes, Billy and Jimmy beat up punks and Marian is there, but besides that, the comic goes out into left field to add color. It’s more similar to the cartoon in ways, with the mystical superpowers and off-the-wall villains. The comic doesn’t even have Abobo in it!

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Matt Fraction is Good For You Reason #239

October 11th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Punisher: War Journal #12 came out this week. The whole Hate-Monger storyline went on a little too long, but since then, things have been looking up. The Bucky issue was a nice diversion and now we have this entertaining World War Hulk tie-in.

Here are three pictures of the issue for you. It’s okay, these aren’t much in terms of spoilers, unless you’re anal about it. Each picture is set-up for what you just know is going to be some sweet, sweet payoff.

Stuart is better than Microchip ever was. Stuart is an artist.

That last page and everything that follows makes me believe that Matt Fraction knows who I am and wrote this issue specifically to make me happy. If you enjoy it too, good for you, but that was never the point. It’s all about me. So there.

(Thanks, Mr. Fraction!)

In other news, Runaways is really losing me. Straying from the core plot mixed with delays makes me forget what the hell is going on.

Stay tuned tomorrow. I’m going to have a nice, full article up. I made it. For you. For Christmas.

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