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This Week in Panels: Week 229

February 10th, 2014 Posted by Gavok

Okay, well, maybe “mediocre” is going too far. Superior Carnage had a really good first four issues, but then the last one put all the interesting toys back in the box.

MASSIVE week of panels this time around with 40+ images. I read a lot, but so did Matlock, who is still keeping up with DC’s big event for whatever reason. Though I guess Bane dressed as Batman riding a horse isn’t the worst reason. Flanking us as usual are Gaijin Dan and Space Jawa.

Though, I’m wondering. Should I fail them?

All-New Invaders #2 (Gavin’s pick)
James Robinson and Steve Pugh

All-New Invaders #2 (Matlock’s pick)
James Robinson and Steve Pugh

All You Need is Kill #3
Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Ryosuke Takeuchi, Yoshitoshi ABe and Takeshi Obata

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This Week in Panels: Week 210

September 30th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Heya. So the idea was that Friday I was supposed to do another installment of This Character in Panels because it was the 4 year anniversary of this weekly segment. Then when working on it, I remembered that it takes like ten times as long to do one of those updates as it does this. Yeah, so I’ll try to have that done tomorrow. The last week’s been a complete mess for me and I’m super glad to have it all done away with.

Elsewhere, I’ve written a review of Street Fighter Origins: Akuma that got posted at Den of Geek US.

This week ends Villains Month at DC, meaning I can go back to knowing what it is I want to read from that company. Thanks to Matlock, who read about 95% of that experiment and gave me panels for it. Also thanks to contributors Gaijin Dan and Space Jawa.

Action Comics #23.4
Sholly Fisch and Steve Pugh

Aquaman #23.2
Geoff Johns, Tony Bedard and Geraldo Borges

Avengers #20 (Matlock’s pick)
Jonathan Hickman and Leinil Francis Yu

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Guide to the Injustice Roster: Explaining Comics to People Who Don’t Read Comics Part 3

April 3rd, 2013 Posted by Gavok

THE FLASH

Alias: Barry Allen?
First Appearance: Showcase #4 (1956)
Powers: Fastest dude ever, heals quickly, can vibrate himself through matter, can vibrate into different realities, with the assistance of the Cosmic Treadmill he can travel through time, is able to lend his powers to others
Other Media: Appeared on many cartoons, had his own live-action TV series in the 90’s, appeared on Legend of the Superheroes (a failed Justice League spinoff of the 60’s Batman show) and the live-action Justice League of America TV movie, was kind of a big deal in Daddy Day Care

Warning: the history of the Flashes involves some time travel fuckery and in a lot of these cases, I’m just as confused as you are.

The Golden Age Flash was Jay Garrick. Maybe five people care about him and they’re all mad I just said this. Moving on.

Barry Allen (you know, from Catch Me If You Can) became the Flash in the 50’s. He was a forensic scientist who got splashed with chemicals while being shocked by lightning. That gave him the powers to run super fast and he decided to be altruistic with it, naming himself the Flash after his favorite comic book hero. He garnered one of the best rogues galleries in comics, got himself a sidekick in Kid Flash (his nephew Wally West, who got his powers in a similar way) and a fiancé in Iris West.

One of his villains was Professor Zoom, who looked identical to Flash except for having a reverse color scheme. Zoom was from the future and had powers and an appearance that were just like Barry’s because he was a huge Flash fanboy who went insane. Jealous of Flash’s relationship with Iris, Zoom killed her by vibrating his hand through her head. Barry tried to move on and later got engaged to another woman, but when Zoom attempted to meddle in that, a threatened Flash ended up breaking his neck and killing him. Flash was put on trial for murder and it got really weird because it turns out Iris was really from the same future era as Zoom and she was alive there somehow, so he ran to the future and spent some time with her.

Flash returned to the present during the big Crisis on Infinite Earths event. It’s there that he faced down the villain Anti-Monitor and ran circles around his big world-destroying master weapon, destroying it via vortex. The stress on running faster than he had ever run and being unable to let up tore Flash apart and caused him to painfully decay as he powered on, screaming that he had to save the world one last time. He ruined Anti-Monitor’s plans, but at the cost of his own life. Kid Flash discovered the empty red tights – the only thing that remained of Barry – and swore that he would take up the mantle and make him proud.

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Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 11

November 15th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

The New DC experiment continues with the second week of the third month. As it is right now, I’m reading 32 of their titles. Let’s see what I’m left holding onto after another go.

Batman and Robin by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason is up first. I’m loving the relationship between Alfred and Damian. Even when you take away Alfred being slick with his chess and tracker skills, you get this feeling that he’s stealth-fathering Damian much in the same way he did Bruce. Only here, we’re able to see it happen more clearly. The villain has yet to do anything for me, but I enjoy the rift of disagreement he brings to Bruce and Damian. Damian feels underappreciated and underestimated, when Bruce is genuinely afraid for his wellbeing. The idea of Batman being so afraid for Robin hasn’t really been done all that much since he was babying Tim based on the death of Jason. There’s a strong desperation in his actions and a question of which Wayne is right in this situation.

Meanwhile, Gleason’s art is looking fine. I feel this comic is getting stronger by the issue. Definite stick.

Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman continues to be an entertaining pile of barely-connected scenes featuring a bevy of subplots. I don’t care because I have no trouble following it and the art is fucking nice. The best part of it all is how all these different subplots are coming together more and more and the varying art styles are starting to interact. The realistic ghost, the well-shaded Batwoman, the Mike Allred-style Kate Kane, the noirish Chase, and almost comic strip-like Bette. A cool touch I really like is how the art starts to change in the characters. Now that Bette is Flamebird out of spite for Batwoman, she is shown to be in the same shaded and detailed style that Batwoman had before losing her mojo mid-issue. I mean, just look at the final page.

I barely even notice the “to be continued” and feel a groan come on when I turn to the next page. I’m in for the next go. Stick.

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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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Ghost of the Revenge of the Son of the Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

October 22nd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Another year and another trip to the Jacob Javits Center for New York Comic Con. My fifth NYCC. And now you have to hear about it. Unless you came here by accident or you’re one of the 90% who only come here to read the David Brothers posts. If so, I apologize and understand.

I mean, for one, you won’t see this kind of crap in a Brothers post.

Maybe in an Esther post. Probably maybe.

DAY ONE: THURSDAY

This is the first year of NYCC where they had Thursday open, as far as I know. The place was only open for three hours, so it was mainly about getting the lay of the land and enjoy being able to breathe on the show floor. Shortly into my trek, I met up with my B&N coworker Jody. He was nice enough to hold the camera as I made this terrible, overplayed visual joke.

I spent a couple minutes at the Capcom area of the floor, where I briefly got to try out Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 and Street Fighter X Tekken. Then they had a weird little spot where they promoted the upcoming game Asura’s Rage by sticking people in a glass booth and having them scream as loudly and angrily as possible to see where they rate on the rage meter. When it was my turn and the host asked why I’m so angry, I told him I had been fighting with my eating disorder, which he didn’t know how to react to. I ended up with a 95%, which is just fine. I also got a strained throat, a promotional wig and a poster that I left in the hotel. I didn’t even see what the game looks like.

I found a booth selling comics in batches based on runs. I tend to like those better because a lot of the time, the weird shit I’m on the look for isn’t available in trade form. I bought a handful of stuff, including both runs of Seaguy and the original run of Rocket Raccoon, but one thing I had to get based on the cover was Superman vs. Terminator from 1999-2000.

Can Superman stand up to the Skynet Masterlock Challenge?! Really, though, I was too enthralled by the concept. I don’t care how many Terminators you have. It’s a bunch of faceless villains vs. a guy who will casually eat a robot if someone dares him.

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Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 7

October 18th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

For any new readers, here’s the deal. I used to read a lot of DC comics. Then over the years, they lost me to the point that I was only reading about six a month. Over the first six months of their big reboot, I want to see how strongly they can hold onto my interest. Week-by-week, I’m looking at what I want to keep, what I don’t and what I’m on the edge about. As it is right now, I’m still reading 37 of their new titles, but it likely won’t last.

More DC books hit their #2 issue this week. Of the stuff that came out, I’ve already done away with Batgirl, Legion Lost and Mr. Terrific. That leaves ten books.

First is Batman & Robin by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. The main story of the issue is Bruce’s attempt to be a supportive dad to Damian and Alfred noticing that he absolutely sucks at it. While Damian is able to hold back his bloodlust in Bruce’s company, he emotionlessly takes it out on a bat. I think this is awesome. This is how it should be. It isn’t regressing for the sake of regressing. Why did Damian chill out in the first time? Because of who was mentoring him. Dick Grayson was such a loving, supportive and emotionally genuine partner that Damian was able to let him into his heart and change him. Bruce doesn’t stack up and Damian is starting to have a hard time figuring out why Bruce is worth following more than his mother.

It’s great because after having to put up with years of Dick trying to live up to Bruce’s example, Bruce is now in a spot where he has to live up to Dick’s example. Batman needs a Robin, but Damian is just another Batman. Batman doesn’t need another Batman. Neither has the crutch of a cheery partner to keep them stable, so dysfunction is in their future.

Gleason’s art is fantastic when it comes to action. Really enjoying his stuff, especially this page from after a criminal announces, “What the hell?”

I’m going to stick on this one.

Also in Gotham is Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman. Despite what I said about Gleason, it’s Williams who is the true king of art these days. Good God! The opening scene especially, where not only is he doing the cool x-ray box to show bones being shattered upon punching impact, but Batwoman is colored differently from Flamebird. Flamebird is flatter and more simplified, while Batwoman has a more realistic sheen that makes her step out of the page like a 3D image.

The story is more coherent than last month’s intro, though the threat appears to be just as much a mystery as it ever was. The Cameron Chase part does include something I really wish we’d see more often in comics. I like when people try to figure out a superhero’s secret identity and get it wrong in a way that makes sense. Like how Jameson used to think that his son was Spider-Man or how Gordon once believed Harvey Dent to be Batman. It always makes it easier to accept that the public hasn’t figured out what appears so simple to readers such as us. While the story isn’t setting my world on fire, the art is and the narrative is worthy enough. I’m going to stick.

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This Week in Panels: Week 106

October 2nd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Before I get started, I’d just like to point out that I’ve succeeded in improving Marvel’s miniseries event Fear Itself. Behold!

I’d read the hell out of that comic. Anyway, got a gigantic set of panels this week. Not only did I read way more than can be considered healthy, but I’m joined by David, Was Taters, Space Jawa and Luis. This is a week where we’ve been blessed with Venom vs. Anti-Venom, which is a great way to distract me from the unfortunate sadness that comes from Anti-Venom’s impending death/depowering.

:(

All-Star Western #1 (Gavin’s pick)
Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Moritat

All-Star Western #1 (Was Taters’ pick)
Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Moritat

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This Year in Panels: Year 2

September 21st, 2011 Posted by Gavok

I can’t believe I’ve been doing this crap for two years. I just did the 100th installment of This Week in Panels a month ago, so this is less of a big deal, but whatever. This Week in Panels has been about me and people who read this for whatever reason picking out panels that best represent the comics we read. What is the comic? Sell it with one panel without the context. Let the readers figure it out.

Going with what I did a year ago, I decided to do a little look back at the past 52 weeks. The challenge is to showcase a panel from each week without double-dipping on the same series. Let’s see what the last year have given us.

Amazing Spider-Man #664
Dan Slott, Christos Gage, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Max Fiumara

Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine #5
Jason Aaron and Adam Kubert

Axe Cop: Bad Guy Earth #2
Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle

Batman and Robin #15
Grant Morrison and Frazer Irving

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Brave New World; Bold New Direction: Week 3

September 20th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

We’re halfway into the New 52’s debuting month… sort of. Pretending the first week didn’t happen. You know what I mean.

Last week I dropped three books and put a handful on probation. How does this week stack up? Going in alphabetical order again, it’s pretty top-heavy. Bear with me because it’s not as entirely positive as the first half is going to make it look.

To start, it’s Batman and Robin by Peter J. Tomasi and Patrick Gleason. I already hate the villain in this story (in the good way I’m supposed to hate a villain) for taking out the totally kickass design for Russian Batman. The whole idea of Batman trying to finally get past the death of his parents so he can look back at them fondly instead of “MY PARENTS ARE DEAAAAD!” is not only a good selling point for me, but follows up on my favorite moment from Grant Morrison’s final issue of Batman and Robin where Batman looks at a destroyed portrait of his parents, then immediately tells Damian that he’s proud of him for making the right decisions.

Personally, I loved Dick Grayson as Batman and part of it was his relationship with Damian. They had a great dynamic of Damian being a jackass and Dick being cool about it because it’s like working with a younger Bruce. That adds to the story here as there seems to be an underlying feeling that Damian is a child whose real father just got custody when he was really starting to love his step-dad even more. I’m interested in the concept of the one Robin who doesn’t roll with the punches on a regular basis and instead will outright talk back without a smirk. Bruce goes from having sidekicks who become like his strained sons to having a son who has become a strained sidekick. Insubordination is neat on its own, but having it come from a younger version of the guy giving the orders moves it up a notch. I’m sticking.

Even better is Batwoman by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman. This one is all over the place, but all of those places hold my attention. The art is absolutely beautiful and despite never getting around to finishing Elegy (I’ll get to it!), I was able to follow it easily. Everything except the weird possibility that Montoya might be dead. The real talent in JHW3’s work is how different each scene looks. It’s almost hard to understand how Kate and Batwoman are one in the same based on how they’re portrayed. Sure, their basic physical descriptions match up, but Kate is drawn in scenes that show her almost down to earth while Batwoman is this sleek apparition of a figure that can’t exist in that same reality.

It’s like watching Jim Carrey transform into a CGI being. I’m going to stick with this one too.

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