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The Selfish Avengers: Thunderbolts Finally Gets on Track

August 23rd, 2013 Posted by Gavok

First off, it pains me to say that after forty-plus issues, Venom is cancelled. I’m bummed, not just for the obvious, but because I wanted to see if it could have outlasted the 90′s solo series, which went a full 60 issues. I can’t say I’m too surprised. The whole demon subplot (which is still a dangling thread) really hurt the momentum and the symbiote’s been tossed to the sidelines as a character, always being drugged up and being a mental non-factor. It’s a weapon rather than being a creature.

They did just give him a teenage girl sidekick and that had potential. Ah well. Chances are he’s going to be killed in the big upcoming Spider-Man crossover when Doc Ock Spider-Man goes too far or something. You know, regular Spider-Man never did blow a gasket over Venom being a government agent and member of the Avengers. You’d think he would have had a passionate opinion about that, but all he ever did was make a joke about the Punisher and tell Venom to please not kill Carnage.

Whether Venom’s set to die or not, he currently has another series to call home in Thunderbolts. Recently, Thunderbolts was pretty bad, mainly because it was written by Daniel Way, who wrote 11 issues of… I’m not really sure. It was a bunch of twists and turns and I found myself not caring for a lot of it. Frank Castle strapping a landmine to his chest and jumping onto a guy was pretty sweet, though. That and it gave me one of my favorite Deadpool quotes with, “You may kill me first, but I fucking guarantee I’ll kill you last.”

Charles Soule took over as of issue #12 and already it’s felt like a breath of fresh air. #12 was a Punisher-centric story that turned his “banging on the side” relationship with Elektra into something more dramatic as she’s given him reason to kill her down the line. Then #13 was kind of average because it was an attempt to clean up Way’s mess by explaining who the hell Mercy is and why she’s on the team when she’s yet to do anything of note or interact with anyone other than Red Leader. For any of you who haven’t been paying attention, Leader has been resurrected and he’s red. He’s currently the intelligence of the team, although he’s given limited intellect to work with to keep him from remembering who he was. Right now he’s just a timid follower of General Ross, retaining his personality from before he became an insane supervillain.

The big problem with the series has been that it hasn’t delivered a hook. Sure, I get that it’s taken the Thunderbolts name because of General Ross’ nickname and how they’re a bunch of dark heroes with blood on their hands, but why are they together? The first issue had Ross recruit everyone and it gave the idea that they were going to be a non-mutant version of X-Force. Even though it took fourteen issues, this week’s issue FINALLY gives us an idea of what the series is really all about.

And it’s a pretty awesome idea.

Right there! Why couldn’t they make this clear from the very first issue? Hell, the second issue or even sixth? Why did we have to wait that long to get this great hook for a series about a group of heroic killers working together? I mean, you’re the fucking Thunderbolts! You know what the original Thunderbolts were known for? Telling us why we should be reading it from the end of the first issue! Imagine if Citizen V unmasked in the middle of the 14th issue.

“The Selfish Avengers.” All members of the team (outside of Red Leader and Mercy) get a chance to lead the team into a mission of their choosing. If Deadpool wants them to kill Sabretooth, they will all go off together to kill Sabretooth, go back home and ask Elektra who she wants iced. It kind of has a low-rent Illuminati feel to it.

So far the first choice has gone to Castle, leading to this exchange.

I hate it when comics get so obsessed with decompression that by the time they get to the point, people have stopped reading and it dies. That’s what happened with Chaykin’s Squadron Supreme and I have a feeling it’s going to happen here. I don’t have too much experience reading Soule’s stuff, but so far he’s turned Red Lanterns around and he’s been doing good work on Swamp Thing.

All that I’m saying is to give Thunderbolts a chance. Which is really the opposite of giving peace of a chance.

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Fourcast! 14: The Girlcast

August 31st, 2009 Posted by david brothers

14-notes

(yeah, i don’t even know. we talk about girls and women and things in an extra-special almost-hour long show this time around. save me from myself by subscribing on itunes or straight up RSS.

apologies to jack kirby.)

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“Me? I’m magic.”

June 25th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I’ve been digging Zeb Wells and Clay Mann’s Elektra miniseries. I wasn’t going to read it, because Elektra has been in pretty poor shape since Miller left her, but man, Zeb Wells is a guy who should be the next big thing. Him, Paul Tobin, Fred van Lente, Jeff Parker… Marvel has a legion of really dope guys playing their midlist right now. Anyway, each issue has had some sort of cool thrill. I died in the first issue, we got the awesome escape from Shield in the second, and a good dose of Night Nurse in the third. What’s the fourth issue got to offer?

elekbull-01elekbull-02elekbull-03
elekbull-04elekbull-05

Welp.

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I see how it is, Marvel.

May 9th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

From Dark Reign Elektra #1:
elektra-brothers
and Deadpool #10:
dp-gavin

C’mon, guys. I can appreciate wanting Gavin to die. I’ve been on that path since like 2001. But why’d you have to turn me white and try to have Elektra kill me? :(

Esther should probably watch her back. I’m sure she’ll show up in Batman: Battle for the Cowl annnnny minute now.

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Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

April 22nd, 2008 Posted by Gavok

The weekend of chunky guys dressed like Colossus and hot women dressed as Slave Leia has come to an end. I myself had a great time, spent with hermanos from this very site and a whole bunch of guys from Funnybook Babylon. Sadly, Thomas “Wanderer” Wilde deemed himself “too broke” to consider joining us and Hoatzin would have probably involved a gigantic plane ticket paid in rare diamonds, since he’s from Europe. I don’t know. I really have no grasp on how that type of thing works. Besides, Hoatzin seems to have vanished from our planet. What happened to that guy?


This one movie sent the other movie into space.

Day One

Last year I got to New York the day before the con started, which allowed me enough rest and whatnot. This year I had to come in the first day of the event and kill time until David Uzumeri came in from Canada, since he was in charge of dealing with the hotel. I walked straight from the Port Authority bus terminal to the Javits Center, which tired me the hell out.

After getting my swanktastical press pass, I met up with hermanos and Joseph of FBB. They were at a panel starting up that was a screening for a new Will Eisner documentary. Since I was tired from all that walking, I decided to stick around and watch it. I found it interesting in the sense that I honestly didn’t know all that much about Eisner, which is almost a sin if you’re a comic fan. The four of us (David U. showed up towards the end) mostly agreed that while it had some fantastic stuff in there, such as taped conversations between Eisner and guys like Kirby, the sum of it was incredibly dry.

Shortly after, we went to the panel on online journalism, with guys from Newsarama and CBR there. It wasn’t as good as the comic blogging panel from last year and mostly focused on arguing over criticism vs. getting press releases. Once that was done with, I was rested up enough to do some wandering.

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You’re so super, man…

January 15th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Are Daredevil and Spider-Man the only Marvel or DC heroes with on-panel frontal nudity?

Spidey went frontal in Spider-Man: Reign (at least until an editor caught it) and Matt Murdock spent a decent bit of Elektra Lives Again with his netherbits out.

I’m just curious.

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How Very Meta

January 9th, 2008 Posted by Hoatzin

I know that if you’re writing for a comic book blog and it deals with superheroes you’re pretty much obligated to say something about One More Day, but I think everybody’s getting sick of it by now and I don’t have anything interesting to say about it anyway. So I’m not going to write anything about One More Day itself, but the song Four Color Love Story by accoustic indie band The Metasciences came up on my playlist the other day and I had to share it with everyone. It was composed about two years ago but is almost eerily appropriate for the story. Even the line “Elektra isn’t evil or insane” is accurate, since she’s actually a dead Skrull.

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White Tiger: An In-Depth Review

September 12th, 2007 Posted by Hoatzin

I really like comics. Sequential art is possibly my favorite medium. But unfortunately not all comics are good and sometimes it’s necessary to show some tough love. Occasionally one must criticize books that fail at their intended goal and examine what precisely went wrong, for the sake of comics, because comics should be good. The recently completed White Tiger, written by Tamora Pierce and Timothy Liebe and drawn by Phil Briones and later Al Rio and Ronaldo Silva, happens to be one of those books.

Although it’s a niche book, I feel it deserves closer examination for a variety of reasons. It’s a spinoff of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev’s fantastic definitive run on Daredevil. It’s a comic about a legacy character. It’s a comic about a female character. It’s a comic about an ethnic character. It’s a comic by a popular novelist (and her husband) doing their first comics work. It’s also a comic that, so far, has done very badly in sales, dropping from 24,663 copies for issue #1 to 13,621 copies for issue #5.

Although stellar sales figures shouldn’t be expected from a niche book by an unproven creative team, the fact that the book shedded over ten thousand readers in the course of issues 1 to 5 means people just plain aren’t liking it. In an industry where new characters, even legacy characters, are hard to push and both ethnic and female characters are rare, it’s sad to see a book about a new ethnic superheroine fail so badly. But why did the book fail? After reading it, I have come to a conclusion: It’s a bad comic book, in just about every way. Let’s review. Bear with me: This will be long. Read the rest of this entry �

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Marvel Nemesis: The Comic Miniseries

August 26th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

I’ve discussed comics based on video games before. Many of them aren’t very good. There are exceptions to the rule out there, like the UDON Street Fighter series. That is, if you can get past the horrid delays and the lack of anything of importance happening in most issues. The Darkstalkers comic wouldn’t have been all that bad had it lasted more than six issues and actually went somewhere.

The subject today is Marvel Nemesis: The Imperfects, based on the similarly named videogame Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects. This review is going to be a little different, as I’m going to try and lead you through the process of me reading this series. The experience of reading these issues when they came out is worlds different than if I were to be reading them for the first time now.

The news first hit that Electronic Arts would be releasing a Marvel fighting game. The place-holder of a name “Marvel vs. EA” was the popular term for this new project and immediately, we were lambasted with awful joke after awful joke. As a comedic writer, something that annoys me is when somebody makes an obvious joke that half of the hemisphere had already made and acts like they’re a comedic genius. The kind of people who make jokes about Mr. Fantastic stretching his wang. Anyway, for months on end, everybody chimed in with the same played out “Spider-Man vs. Madden” or “Wolverine vs. Gandalf” punchline. It was really sad.

Over time, details about the game, such as the actual title, were announced. The first footage of the game featured Spider-Man, Wolverine, the Thing and two EA-created characters Johnny Ohm and Brigade. Artist Jae Lee had a major role in the art direction of the game and made the character select images. He would also draw the cover art for the comic miniseries. Mark Millar was brought in for character designs and backstories. The creative team for the six-issue miniseries would be writer Greg Pak and artist Renato Arlem. I was unfamiliar with Pak at the time, so I had no idea that this was a really good thing. Renato’s art style shares similarities with Jae Lee’s style, so that’s also a big plus.

The cover features a foreground shot of the story’s villain, Niles Van Roekel. Behind him are Spider-Man, Wolverine, Elektra and Thing, all infected with some kind of green goop nastiness. Thing is what it looks like when you chew Fruity Pebbles and then open your mouth and stick out your tongue.

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The What If Countdown: Honorable Mention Awards

November 20th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

As I said in the last article, most What Ifs are interesting in their own way. Whether it’s because they tell a really good story, an abomination of a story or if the changes in reality are completely off the wall, almost every issue has something worth talking about.

I just talked about 100 of these stories and a couple extra ones I thought were crappy. So rather than have me write a bunch of exhaustive issue profiles, how’s about we just look at the bits and pieces that got my attention? It’s time to hand out the What If Honorable Mention Awards!

If I wasn’t so lazy, I would probably Photoshop a bunch of golden Uatu statues.

Edit: It looks like I didn’t have to. Thanks to Kyle Hayes for the award trophy.


Strangest What If Couple: Quicksilver and Gwen Stacy

This comes from What If the Age of Apocalypse Hadn’t Ended (volume 2, #81). Tony Stark, head of the human resistance, joins up with Magneto to figure out a way to save Earth from the coming of Galactus. Among Tony’s fellow human freedom fighters are the Hulk, Sue Storm and, strangely enough, Donald Blake’s bodyguard Gwen Stacy. Er… yeah. I guess with her dad being a cop and all… No, it still sounds goofy.

Pietro is without a sister and Gwen needs a boyfriend who can kill her with whiplash. It’s only natural that these two would find each other.

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