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Ruining the Moment: Volume 3

April 11th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I should be finishing up my next installment of the WCW debacle, but it’s taking longer than I thought. Admittedly, it’s the least exciting of the three articles and it covers the most issues. Expect it up within the next few days. Honest.

In the meantime, how’s about we pass the time with more of these? For instance, in Annihilation, it was pretty badass when the Silver Surfer returned to Galactus’ thrall as herald. But I know the real reason Galactus was smiling.

Cassandra Cain Batgirl has been out of it for the past few months, acting like a villain and murdering people. I think I have an explanation.

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Civil War: The Confession

March 31st, 2007 Posted by david brothers

(feed problem fixed!)
Here is my confession.
I love comics.

But, I hate having to bag and board them.

It’s by far the worst part of comic collecting and part of the reason why I vastly prefer trades. With trades, I can read them and toss them on a bookshelf near similar or related titles. With monthlies, floppies, pamphlets, singles, or whatever, you’ve got books without a spine. You can’t stack them like trades, because they’ll fall over, and you can’t stand them up like trades, because they have no backbone. Monthlies are cowards, ladies and gents.

Bagging and boarding comics is awful. I don’t like it, so I tend to put it off for months at a time. I boarded fifteen weeks of comics tonight. I know this because I buy 52 and the earliest issue of that I had was #32. Fifteen weeks is, what, almost four months? 3.75 months. That’s a lot of comics! I usually spend around 20-30 bucks a week, excluding trades, so that works out to probably an average of 8 books a week on the low side. Ouch!

Another reason why this is so bad is because, in order to sort comics, you’ve got to go through a longbox. I’ve managed to keep myself to one longbox by trying to sell off the comics I don’t love. (Speaking of, I’ve been looking for the best way to do that. eBay lot of them all? It’s nothing particularly valuable, so a lot would probably get me the best bang for my buck.) As I go through the longbox, and this happens each and every time, I come across a book that I really like and have been thinking about rereading.

So I pull it out of the longbox. I sort a few more books and see something else. “Oh!” I say. “Union Jack. This was a good one.” Lather, rinse, repeat.

This doesn’t happen with a bookshelf, man, I swear. It’s just that when sorting things for a longbox, you kinda have to look at all the titles. With a bookshelf, you can skim or rely on memory. I don’t have to know where to put We3 on the shelf because I’ve got an entire shelf dedicated to Grant Morrison. I can just sling it up there. It doesn’t have to go between Kill Your Boyfriend (also due for a reread) and Kid Eternity.

(I also have a Frank Miller/John Romita Jr shelf, a David Lapham/David Mack/Ed Brubaker/Geoff Johns shelf, and a Garth Ennis/Mark Waid shelf. Bendis gets to share a shelf with almost all the ’90s X-Men crossovers and all the Mark Millar trades I wish I hadn’t bought.)

So, right now, I’m looking at Stray Bullets v2: Somewhere Out West, Loveless v2: Thicker Than Blackwater (counts, because it reprints an arc I want to reread), Iron Man: Hypervelocity 1-3, The Other Side 1-5, Criminal 1-5, Casanova 1-7 (though I am missing 2, 3, and 6 somehow), and The Intimates 1-12 (missing 5 and 11 here). This is in addition to the books I’m already working on, like The Mighty Skullboy Army (my first reviewer’s comp! review will be up soonest), Kyle Baker’s King David, and Jim Mahfood’s One Page Filler Man.

The cool part is that I read fairly fast, so I can be done with all this probably by Tuesday or Wednesday, where the cycle will begin again.

One last thing– you know how when you wash clothes, you always end up with a sock or something missing? That happens to me with comics. This time, though, I got lucky. I’m only down one book, and that’s Spider-Man: Reign #3. I don’t know where it could’ve gone, because I know that I purchased it.

I really want to reread that series, too.

C’est la vie, right? This isn’t really as negative as it sounds. These are all good stories and worth rereading.

Maybe I should just learn the ancient art of self-control?

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A Late Question

March 29th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

“The death of Captain America should’ve happened in Civil War.”

Have you guys seen anyone say that? Said it yourself?

I don’t get it. Civil War had a (lackluster) ending. Cap dying was only tangentially related to it, in that it just provided a somber backstory for it. He died as a result of a plot that’s been building in the book since issue one. It shouldn’t have happened in Civil War at all!

I think what it is is that Captain America 25 was a good read, and a better read than Civil War #7. It had the bang we wanted from the end of Civil War, rather than the sound and fury CW7 delivered.

I mean, really, CW was over in the first issue when they passed the law.

Food for thought?

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: The Finale

March 28th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I feel kind of silly making this article since it was supposed to be done months ago. There are several things that kept me from finishing it, but I’m going to take the easy way out. All the time I usually use to write these What If articles was really used to pretend I was writing for Lost. I love writing Sam the Butcher’s dialogue the most.

Starting it off, here’s a series of sig images I made for the Batman’s Shameful Secret sub-forum at Something Awful. I guess they worked.

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His Name was the Captain! Also, What If Crap

March 9th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I was going to use Wednesday to finish up the latest installment of Deadshot’s Tophat — filled with nothing but B and C-listers this time — but the big Marvel newsworthy thing kind of distracted me. I myself couldn’t go more than two minutes online without being bombarded with the big spoiler. Another five minutes later, the Reign of Supermen reference jokes were beaten into the ground.

(Yes, yes. We get it. Visor Captain America and a black guy in Cap armor.)

Whatever. It was still a great issue and had more surprises than CNN and Yahoo let us know. I trust Brubaker as far as I can urinate, so I’m sure this arc will be just as fantastic as the past 24 issues.

Poor Jeph Loeb. He writes a silly reveal that Hawkeye from the Heroes Reborn world is really Logan, only to have it smacked down by Captain America #25.

Now that Civil War is over and Captain America did that thing that he did in that issue that got spoiled, I look back and notice the familiarity. Back when I did the What If Countdown, there was one issue that didn’t make the list, but I didn’t so much hate it. Looking through the story, I see several parallels with what Marvel’s been giving us lately. Let’s take a look.

The issue is What If Steve Rogers Had Refused to Give Up Being Captain America (What If vol. 2, #3), written by Jim Valentino. And no, Spider-Man doesn’t die in it.

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Guest Words: Civil War Revamped

February 21st, 2007 Posted by david brothers

My infinitely patient buddy Mark Poa sent me an email all the way from the Philippines about a guest article on Civil War. He points out quite a few things that Marvel could have, and should have, done differently. Check it out below!

My friend asked me: “I remember you saying in an LJ post that you were on the side of Tony Stark in Civil War. Fair enough, I think that some sort of regulation is probably required in the case of superhumans, myself. But the burning question is, how do you think this should work? The way Tony’s been doing things is certainly not the best.

Ah, I do so love comic book type hypothesis.

Why is Superhero registration necessary?
1. People with superpowers are similar to special skills. CPAs, lawyers, doctors, and other professionals are registered so that their skills can be monitored and standards could be set for their use. I see superheroes as going through this route… registering as professional superheroes.
2. Registering would mean having standards. Training, education, special tests… all to ensure that activities would be regulated and that special provisions can be made for the use of special skills.
3. It’s a failsafe in case a superhuman goes rogue. Real names are registered

What did Iron Man and the pro-regs do wrong in Civil War?
1. Antagonize Captain America. Really, between Iron Man, Antman and Mr. Fantastic vs. Captain Freaking America… I know where the heavier symbol is.
2. Make it seem like registering would mean revealing your identity… and actually forcing Peter Parker to reveal his identity. Bad move in terms of getting other heroes to join.
3. Forcing heroes to register. Which inevitably turned it into an Us vs. Them thing.

How would I approach it better?
1. Convince Captain America to support the move from the start. Address his concerns. No forcing of registrants? Check. No drafting of heroes into S.H.I.E.L.D .? Check. Get him as a spokesman. Pronto!

2. I liked She-Hulk’s Dan Slott’s attempt to explain this by having She-Hulk say that no one is forced to reveal their identity to anyone except S.H.I.E.L.D. It sounds logical. No one but your fellow heroes would have to know your identity. Also, there should be measures to address fear that the database of S.H.I.E.L.D. would be hacked. I don’t know… keep all the information in Aaron “Machine Man” Stack or something? Just assure the registering heroes that their identities would be kept safe.

On a tangent… Not that secret identities mean much in Marvel anyway. The only hero I think that had a pretty intact and decent secret identity was Spider-man and look what happened. :P

3. Highlight the benefits of registration rather than forcing people to register. Registering would mean special status in society? Okay! Special training? Okay! Clearance from police agencies and access to the S.H.I.E.L.D. resources and labs? Okay! Get them special tax privileges in exchange for registering and following the rules? Right on!

That’s how I see it anyway. Sadly, I think the Marvel U’s level of distrust would prevent formulating any kind of “win-win” situation.

What do you think, sirs?

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She Got That Good Hair: Top 5 3 Black Women!

January 12th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

(edit: T’Shan was not BP’s sister. Shuri is.)

To our readers from When Fangirls Attack!– welcome! Check out the post and don’t be afraid to leave a comment, okay? Onward.

It’s been a long time, I shouldn’t have left you,
Without a strong rhyme to step to.
Think of how many weak shows you slept through,
Time’s up! I’m sorry I kept you!

–Rakim

Man, this article is crazy late, isn’t it? Just, uh, six months or so.

It’s late for a number of reasons. I’ve been trying to ramp up my writing career, which means more time writing about games, less about comics. Did it work? Well, I’m no longer living paycheck to paycheck, but talk to me in another six months.

The number one reason why it’s late, other than business and laziness, is that it is hard as crap to find good black female characters in recent comics. I mean, Monica Rambeau had a bit part in Black Panther and I’m not much for Nextwave’s portrayal of her, so she doesn’t really count. There was the great-granddaughter (grandniece?) of Jim Harper in Robinson’s Batman: Face-the-Face, but, uh, she had maybe nine panels of dialogue total, and that’s probably being generous. I’m not as familiar as I should be with Milestone’s work (beyond Static), so I wouldn’t feel comfortable putting any of those characters on this list. Bishop’s daughter in X-Men: The End has three strikes against her. 1) She’s Bishop’s daughter. 2) She’s in X-Men: The End. and 3) She’s Bishop’s daughter and is in X-Men: The End. Onyx is kind of cool, but I know exactly nothing about her and she got punked by Jason Todd so she’s out. Pantha, according to Wikipedia, is black, but, again, I know nothing about her. Thunder, from Outsiders? No thanks, hoss.

So… this is going to be a little different. It’s a top three because, frankly, there aren’t enough good black female characters out there. I’d include Glory Grant, ’cause she’s pretty awesome, but when’s the last time you saw her in a comic that wasn’t Civil War Frontline #10? (Nice guest spot, even if it was only a panel.) A better question– how many of you even remember who Glory Grant is? Monica Lynne is in the same situation. Charlotte Jones? Same deal.

I entertained the possibility of putting Monet St Croix on her, at least partially because I really enjoy her character. But, that’d make this a top 4 and these lists are traditionally either top three, top five, or top multiple of five. Four is right out.

So, a top three. But, I’m telling you, I better see some awesome black females over the next year or I’m going to do something reprehensible! I mean, black females in comics are like black head coaches in the NCAA!

zing!
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Like unto a thing of iron…

December 29th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

The new banners are in effect! We’ve got around 53 in rotation right now. New ones, old ones, ones with NFL Superpro in them. I like the new look and the logo is clean.

Let me review a couple things before I get into the meat of it, though.

Black Panther 23: This book has gotten better and better thanks in no small part to Civil War. One problem: Koi Turnbull’s art is completely inappropriate for the book. He reminds me a lot of Larry Stroman, from old school X-Factor and Tribes, I think it was called. The characters are big and chunky in general, and Panther in the sewer? I thought it was a new character. The surprise Soviet guest star had a cool scene with some interesting storytelling, but the storytelling in the rest of the book was just kind of soso, particularly in the last confrontation between Panther and an old friend. It’s decent, not good, solely due to iffy art.

Loveless 14: Obviously, I’m an Azz fan and this book is staying true to form. Daniel Zezelj provides appropriately moody art as we find out exactly why Ruth and Wes hates Blackwater so much. It is extremely harsh and pretty chilling.
The Union army, after raping Ruth, drag her into the city and talk trash. The top dog humiliates her in the city square and not one person lifts a finger, though they’re all watching. That’s heinous.
Azz is playing with time on this one, too. It takes place during July 17, 15, and 10, with July 10 featuring a not-so-surprise in terms of a death. The requisite flashback also pulls the present day (or past day, rather) person looking at their own past. it’s a technique I like quite a bit. One thing that’s certain is that Blackwater and her citizens deserve the hell that’s coming. Harsh book, but earns its A.

Okay. This next bit isn’t quite a review, more like a ramble.

I like Iron Fist. I like Luke Cage. I like Iron Fist and Luke Cage because it’s a merge of two of my favorite genres of film: blaxploitation and kung fu. The Heroes for Hire is one of my favorite duos and a great gimmick, I think. The slumming rich kid and the slum kid who wants to get rich.

The Immortal Iron Fist captures what I love about the duo and makes it work. The series gets better with its second issue as we get another glimpse of an old Iron Fist protecting what’s hers, the Iron Fist from the previous issue using the Fist in a new and intriguing way (these are not the droids you are looking for), and some wonderful Heroes for Hire interplay. Also, John Severin (yes!) does art on a wonderful flashback with tremendous payoff.

The idea of an Iron Fist lineage is one of those “Why didn’t I think of that?!” ideas. It’s so blindingly obvious and perfect that you cannot help but wonder why no one has done it before. A big part of kung fu movies (and actual kung fu, I assume) is passing down what you know. Kung fu is your techniques, your style, and your heritage. Having there be previous Iron Fists gives Danny Rand something to both live up to and pass on.

(This, of course, means that when I get a job writing for Marvel in the future, I’m going to have Danielle Knight, prodigal daughter of Danny and Misty, take up the Iron Fist in a rocking adventure across the United States to reclaim her heritage.)

The best part of this is that, if Marvel is feeling really brave, we can get an Iron Fist miniseries or one-shot about one of these old Iron Fists, be it about Wu Ao-Shi, the Iron Fist of 1545 or whoever. Please Marvel!

Matt Fraction and Ed Brubaker are doing a ridiculous job with this book, and David Aja’s art is top notch. Very moody and it really fits. He does dopey Danny Rand (Helllloooo Nurse!) just as well as he does fight scenes, especially the aftermath of Randall’s scene. Danny’s father issues sound quite interesting, too.

Best new Marvel book in ages, I think. Brubaker is hitting on all cylinders with Daredevil, Criminal, and Cap, while Fraction is rocking the house with Casanova and Punisher War Journal. Two great tastes that go well together.

Oh, and Mike Carey and Humberto Ramos on X-Men is as smooth as butter. Lovely issue, lovely art.

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 20

November 12th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Well, it’s been four months of lead-up. When the first part of the countdown came out, Lynxara asked about why I’d do a top 100 list for a series of books that only have 175 issues. Especially when I count two-parters as one entry. Truth be told, this isn’t like ranking the best issues of Nightwing or Mighty Thor. Most comic series have cohesion and you usually have an idea of what to expect in each issue. Writers, artists and story remain the same for months and sometimes years at a time.

What If, on the other hand, is different. What If is the ultimate comic book box of chocolates. Writers, artists, stories, ideas and tones change from issue to issue. Many stories are good. Many are bad. But almost every one of them is interesting in its own way. I could have easily have done a top 20 or top 50 list and be done long ago, but there’s too much fun we’d be missing out on. No jive-talking Incredible Hulk, or Matt Murdock crying over Wilson Fisk’s death bed, or Kraven the Hunter eating Peter Parker’s face.

Now let’s get in our Quinjet and take us down to #1.

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Catching up…

October 13th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

Okay, I’ve got some room to breathe, so let’s close some tabs and hit you guys off with some knowledge!

Seven Soldiers #1 is almost here! Scope the seven page preview for a look at what is sure to be a great finale to the best megaseries ever. Oh, baby, October 25th can’t come quick enough!

I’ve got a three part interview with Brian Azzarello that is honestly a must-read. Part one, part two, and part three. As usual, 100 Bullets is the best comic ever go buy it blah blah Loveless blah blah Deathblow blah blah awesome. Seriously, Azz writes great stuff, so check his interviews and buy his books. We get confirmation (again, possibly) that DC is going to support 100 Bullets through to the end, so I’m a happy camper.

Lisa Fortuner discusses the uncanny valley in comics and I pop up in the comments feed. This could turn out to be an interesting discussion, but only I’ve commented so far.

Gavok is a stupidhead. That’s not a link or anything, I just wanted to let you know that he’s got a funny face.


Now, I’ve got a personal rule on this site, which I’ve technically already broken by writing about Patriot a while back. I don’t like to talk about comics that I don’t like. I do enough of dealing with stuff I dislike in real life, you know? I don’t hold Gavok or Thomas to this rule, it’s just a personal thing. I don’t like to talk about bad comics unless I can get a laugh out of it or there’s some larger point behind it. Bruce Jones on Nightwing? :loleyes:. Winick on [variable]? :lol: again. Millar on Civil War?

I could say a lot. Instead, I’ll just say this: read Giffen on Annihilation instead. It’s the best “big event” going on right now. Civil War has had some sweet tie-ins (Wolverine, Captain America) but the main series is a joke.

On the other hand, Annihilation has Drax and his young sidekick Cammi, a not-stupid Richard “Nova” Rider, Gamora, planets exploding, Galactus as a weapon of mass destruction, Annihilus with the quantum bands, Annihilus killing Quasar to get the quantum bands, Quasar being killed, Thanos as scheming trickster god, and Phyla-vell. It is excellent and well worth your time. Also, Quasar died in it.

More detailed content later on. I need to take some time to chillax. I updated the sidebar, by the way. Can you tell what’s new?

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