4 Elements: Captain Atom

October 2nd, 2012 Posted by Gavok

12 months after DC’s problematic reboot made its way onto the scene, we finish the month of getting various #0 issues of DC properties. A couple comics are canceled as of their #0s, which includes the clever use of which in Resurrection Man. For years, that guy’s been wandering around while wondering who he really is and where he comes from and to have his story end in the origin issue is kind of perfect.

One comic I’m disappointed to see go is Captain Atom by JT Krul and Freddie Williams II. Not at all surprised, granted. In fact, I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did (I had similar feelings about ill-fated comics Azrael and Magog). The series was selling terribly and did even worse than Hawk and Dove, which makes me incredibly disappointed because that means at least two people were buying Hawk and Dove before that got the axe.

I feel Captain Atom got a bad rap and was far better than most gave it credit for. It’s no surprise why. Captain Atom is a bunch of comic book wrongs somehow making a right. That’s excluding Williams, who while there are a couple issues that seem a little too fluid and melty, his art is great stuff. I mean, this is a comic written by JT Krul. That is NOT a name that makes you optimistic. You can reboot continuity all you want, but people will still remember a tripping Roy Harper holding a dead cat and thinking it’s his daughter. The fact that he hasn’t worked on anything notably good since then keeps that red flag flapping.

Then you have Captain Atom himself. Captain Atom is one of those guys who I really want to like, but know it’s a hard sell. He’s pretty boring most of the time. He’s a Superman-level hero without much of a spark. He’s so boring that they’ve given themselves no choice but to try and turn him into a villain three times and all three times it went horribly wrong. There have been times when he’s shown promise. I thought he was the perfect ambassador character to interact with the Wildstorm Universe during Captain Atom: Armageddon. I’ll even say that I didn’t hate his portrayal in the days of Extreme Justice. Judd Winick was able to make something of him in Justice League: Generation Lost but, oops, Flashpoint happened and that character growth no longer matters.

You put a character that’s hard to pull off with a writer who can’t pull off something readable and… you get something good! There’s something inspiring about that. I still won’t buy anything with Krul’s name on it that involves a bow and arrow, but I’ll be a little more open-minded to his future work.

I feel that Captain Atom is the best use of the New 52 concept trying something new. New 52 is essentially DC’s Ultimate Universe, only it’s the new mainstream instead of a parallel. Too many characters are nothing more than a reset button for the sake of telling the same stories, but you have guys like Morrison’s Superman who go in a slightly different direction. Captain Atom strays away from the original concept while holding onto just enough, making him a cross between pre-Flashpoint Captain Atom, Dr. Manhattan and the Sentry.

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Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 12

November 22nd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

It’s the third week of the third month, so what DC comics do we have in store? What will drop off and save me a couple bucks and what will stay with me for another month at least?

We start with Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. I am really, really enjoying Snyder’s take on Batman here. More importantly, I’m loving his interactions with Bruce and Lincoln March. I’m almost desperately hoping that Lincoln isn’t messing with Bruce and that he isn’t part of this owl’s nest conspiracy. When I see the two, I get the feeling of Bruce Wayne and Harvey Dent. At least, what we’re meant to think the two were like. We never really got to experience much of it. An episode or two of Batman: The Animated Series, but other than that it’s usually Batman sulking over what Harvey’s become while doing what he can to make it like the old days. The idea of Bruce genuinely getting along with someone outside the hero/Bat community as a friend is something that I haven’t seen explored nearly enough. If Snyder plays his cards right, Lincoln could end up being a possible mainstay in the Bat-cast.

The other thing about this issue is that this is one of the rare times where owls come off as anything close to threatening. I understand that owls are actually scary as hell in real life, but in fiction, I can rarely buy it. Nite-Owl from Watchmen always looked like a complete doofus and Owlman always seemed like a complete joke of a concept. As far as I can tell, the only cool owl-based designs have been Supreme Power‘s Nighthawk and Soul Calibur‘s Olcadan.

Damn it, Namco. Why did you stop using this guy in your games?

Anyway. The story’s been doing a good job of painting an owl-based villain who I can actually take seriously. Hope Snyder and Capullo keep it up. Stick.

Birds of Prey by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz continues to be a decent book that’s ultimately forgettable. I will say that Poison Ivy seems like such a different character when she isn’t standing around in her leaf pubes. The black and green bodysuit is a nice change. I’ve been enjoying Starling, especially when compared to the boring leader Black Canary. The team is starting to come together a bit more, but it’s hard to say if I’m still going to continue liking this. I’m going to go on a probationary stick here.

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Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 8

October 25th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Another week has gone by and once again, I have my plate full. Last month, I dropped Blue Beetle, Legion of Superheroes and Red Hood and the Outlaws. From what I hear from those who have read those, I made the right decision. That leaves ten comics to read and review.

First is Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, which may no longer tie in with Nightwing. It’s hard to tell, since their “Dick Grayson is a killer” plots appear to be moving in different directions. Still, it’s the best Bat-book of the relaunch by far. Snyder’s Batman seems to embrace just enough sci-fi gadgetry, high-octane action and dickery without going too overboard. I really dug his moment of confronting Nightwing about the suspicions that he was involved in a murder. He takes Dick’s explanation at face value, which makes it seem like a trust moment where he’s cool because they’re family… only we find out that Bruce is a bit of a cock (calling him a dick in presence of Dick doesn’t sound right) and didn’t trust him all that much after all. Dick, used to all of this, plays it off like it’s the usual Bruce thing, but even Bruce seems a little disappointed in himself.

“Yes, I’m a jerk. I know.”

The main story is moving along well enough and I’m cautiously optimistic about the possibilities of the new mayor hopeful character. Of course, I won’t know more about what he’s all about until the next issue. Most definitely sticking.

Birds of Prey by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz isn’t so much a bad comic as it’s just weak. I kind of like it, but there’s nothing especially strong about it. There wasn’t too much in terms of strength of the last issue either. It’s cute and I can easily see the potential in the characters, but it’s in this strange middle area. Nothing about it offends me, but nothing about it has me super excited. I’m going to go probation style on this one. Sticking, but I need something to latch onto by the next one or I’m done.

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Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 4

September 27th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

We’ve reached our fourth week and if you’ve been following the comic blogosphere (whoa, Microsoft Word accepts that as an actual word!), it’s one filled with two instances of controversy that are bundled together. Don’t let it distract you too much, as we still get a really solid week overall. Am I going to be keeping every book? Hell no. But in the end, it’s a strong set.

Now let’s get to the gratuitous boob—I mean, let’s get to the reviews.

We get a sandwich of fantastic and the first slice of bread is Batman by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo. A far stronger showing than the Detective Comics issue we got a couple weeks ago. Both comics used the same idea of trying to lure in new readers by showing what they know as an intro – in Detective‘s case, Batman vs. Joker mystery and in Batman‘s case, a fight against a bunch of known and lesser known villains – but this one simply gets it out of the way so it can move on to the real story. It’s a great scene that doesn’t so much show Batman as being able to beat a bunch of villains on his own, but able to beat a bunch of villains with a sneaky plan and teamwork. In fact, I just realized that with the reveal from a couple pages later that the opening scene of Batman #1 is a modern-day retelling of the Adam West show’s animated opening.

The opening scene is pretty awesome and does something that, to me, makes a good comic. That is, give us a cool sequence but have it make sense. Snyder decided to give us Batman and Joker vs. a bunch of rogues and goes out of his way to give us an explanation that makes total sense and even slightly hints towards the big cliffhanger. It’s opposite of Secret Avengers #13 where Nick Spencer had the kickass idea of having the ghost of George Washington lead a bunch of soldier ghosts and the Lincoln Monument against Nazi mechs, but when it came time to explain it, the entire issue imploded on its complete lack of logic and fell apart.

Capullo’s facial expressions rule the roost here, especially once Harvey Bullock enters the story. I genuinely enjoy it whenever Bullock and Batman get a scene together, mainly due to their mutual respect and Bullock’s inability to give into Batman’s bullshit. In only a few pages, Harvey becomes so expressive that it’s hard not to love the lug.

If there’s any complaint about this book, it’s that Riddler Mohawk. Hey, remember when Riddler was a detective on the level? Remember how promising that was? Well, nowadays he’s in Arkham with a Mohawk shaped like a green question mark. Goddamn it, DC.

Snyder’s Batman is not only better than the other Batman-starred books of the reboot so far, but it’s also better than his work on Swamp Thing. You better believe I’m sticking.

Then we have Birds of Prey by Duane Swierczynski and Jesus Saiz. This is a weird one because it’s a good comic that I quite enjoyed, but it’s the least memorable one of the week. I’ve never gotten into Birds of Prey before, but as an introduction and rebooting of Black Canary as a wanted criminal for accidental vigilante murder, it does its job well. There’s fun action, good art and some okay character interaction. Especially that of Keen and the new heroine Starling. It’s cute to see them play off each other and the ending hits us with a curveball in regards to what we expect to see out of their possibilities. The ending also hits us with a mystery and a major sense of doom in terms of what’s been going on with Black Canary in the last fourth of the issue. I’m interested enough to stick and see where this is going.

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This Week in Panels: Week 62

November 29th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

This week we have entries from the usual crew in Space Jawa and Was Taters, but also an addition by Luis, who gave me something from Amazing Spider-Man. When I discovered who that’s supposed to be holding the decapitated head, I let out one hell of a sigh.

Amazing Spider-Man #649
Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos

Avengers & The Infinity Gauntlet #4
Brian Clevinger, Lee Black and Brian Churilla

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This Week in Panels: Week 45

August 1st, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Welcome back to another week of showing the gist of the comics we’ve read from this week. Not an overly fantastic week, but my personal picks for the better comics are Franken-Castle, Punisher MAX and Generation Lost.

Authority: The Lost Year #11
Grant Morrison, Keith Giffen and Brandon Badeaux

Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #4
Grant Morrison and Georges Jeanty

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International Incidents

June 30th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

These days I don’t read too much from DC. I check out things from the Green Lantern neighborhood, the Batman neighborhood, Secret Six and I’m probably the only one mourning the loss of Magog’s solo series. What’s really keeping my attention these days is the Booster Gold section of the DC Universe in Booster Gold and Justice League: Generation Lost.

Let’s go back a second to the days of Countdown to Infinite Crisis. So much has happened since this story that I’ve almost forgotten about how I and many other DC readers had felt when it happened. The big reveal of the comic is that Maxwell Lord, former liaison of Justice League International, is not only evil, but has always been evil and the Booster/Beetle/Fire/Ice version of the Justice League was created to keep the brand from being competent. To prove he’s a jerk, he shoots and kills Ted Kord.

One of the big responses from the fans was how this idea that Max was always evil went against his behavior in Justice League International. One instance brought up is the twelfth issue where it’s revealed that Max has been blackmailed by a super computer called the Construct to betray the team, as the Construct has kept Max from succumbing to several bullet wounds. Max turns against the Construct and destroys it, allowing himself to die in the process. His body is recovered by the League in time and he’s brought to the hospital. There’s a scene between Scott Free and Oberon where they discuss what a great guy Max really is and how Martian Manhunter himself has been doing a full scan of Max’s mind to search for any sort of corruption. The last panel of the issue shows that J’onn had walked into the comatose Max’s hospital room and placed a JLI membership badge in his hands. According to one of the greatest psychics, Max is completely clean.

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Man, is that Monarch awesome or what?!

December 30th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Hey, did you hear? Monarch is badass.

Over the past month, DC has been releasing Countdown: Arena. In it, Monarch has been planning for his war against the Monitors. Why is he at war against the Monitors?

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War of the Marvels: The Next Videogame Letdown

September 4th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

First thing, big thanks to whoever submitted the comics/wrestling parallels article to Fark. You are a true class act, whoever you are.

Said article is also deemed incorrect thanks to Mr. Kennedy getting himself suspended and therefore written out of the “Vince McMahon’s long-lost son” storyline. Though I guess that does make him the wrestling version of Captain Atom.

Electronic Arts has announced another Marvel fighting game with no title yet. Rather than be a sequel to Marvel Nemesis, even in style, the game appears as a Marvel version of War of the Monsters. War of the Monsters was an all right game, though pretty shallow. The new game doesn’t look very different.

Here is the trailer and here is the in-game footage. The roster so far is Spider-Man, Captain America, the Hulk, the Juggernaut and Dr. Doom. Allow me to rail on the footage, character-by-character.

Spider-Man: Cool that they go with the small-eyed look, much like Alex Ross intended with his original Spider-Man movie designs. The part where he saves the blond lady from the falling building, but does nothing to save Bruce Banner reminds me of that Jay Pinkerton parody with the avalanche.

Captain America: Apparently able to punch the Hulk a mile away, Captain America pretends to be alive for this upcoming game. The designers show that they’ve come up with like a hundred sketches of what Captain America should look like here. Listen, I know I’m not paid the big bucks like you fine fellows, but why not… I don’t know… make him look like Captain America?!

See? Capcom got it right.

Hulk: They end the trailer with the Hulk yawning. I don’t get it.

Juggernaut: For a guy magically given an instant and infinitely buff body, why does the Juggernaut look like he needs to do some sit-ups? And stop trying to make him resemble the Vinnie Jones movie version. That’s not something that needs emulating.

Doctor Doom: First off, nice kilt, Scrooge Von Duck. Here I thought Doom was a strategic mastermind that acted evil behind the defenses of diplomatic immunity, not a guy who terrorizes the populace by taking a stroll through New York City in broad daylight. It looks like Jim Rhodes redesigned Doom’s armor by giving him missiles instead of the trademark energy gauntlets. Plus he blows up a building in his attempt to kill Spider-Man, showing that even Doom is over 9/11. No tears this time.

I’ll have a real article up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings: Cab to Cat

February 6th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Welcome to the fifth installment. Took me longer than expected, but a lot of these guys are big names. If you reach the end of the article, Batman will reward you with his greatest quote ever.


New Mutants #87 (1990)

Originally, Cable appears in Uncanny X-Men #201 (1986) as a baby, but I figure it would probably make more sense to show his real introduction. The story begins with a terrorist act by a team of Stryfe’s henchmen in some facility. The only one I actually recognize is Four-Arm. After they leave, a new figure enters through a hole in the wall.

Cable tracks Stryfe’s team on their next mission, where they plan to kidnap a couple kids out of a government facility. He takes the battle to the enemies, but their numbers eventually overwhelm him. He’s left to die and the mutants get away. The issue ends with Cable in military captivity, thinking about how he went at this the wrong way. He’s going to need help.

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