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We Care a Lot Part 17: The Hollywood Influence

September 15th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

The status quo for Venom had been changed, perhaps forever. The Venom symbiote had moved away from Eddie Brock, leaving a cancer-filled husk of a human being. While Mac Gargan found success as the new Venom, Eddie would be nearly forgotten about, suffering in a hospital bed. Eddie Brock himself was never a match for Spider-Man from the start. What hope would he have as an antagonist when he’s weakened by a disease?

Around that time, directly after Civil War, Marvel was making a big deal out of Spider-Man’s new look. Or old look. Whatever. The third Spider-Man movie – which featured the black costume – was on its way to theaters and Marvel chose to capitalize it in a way that really didn’t work. Spider-Man would start wearing a black costume again. The whole thing was a list of letdowns.

Was it the Venom symbiote? No. It was just a spandex costume he wore because he wanted to kill the Kingpin. Wearing black means he’s totally hardcore now.

So he’s going to kill the Kingpin? Ha! Come on, this is Spider-Man. The only people he’s killed are Gwen Stacy and Wolverine’s spy girlfriend, both unintentional. Spider-Man’s too much of a pussy to even kill Darkseid with a god-killing gun if he had the chance.

Okay, but the black costume will have some kind of storyline blow-off, right? No, not really. He wears it for an arc or so of his different comics, confusing people who will pick up and read World War Hulk for years to come. Then he simply stops wearing it. Like, at the beginning of One More Day, where it would make sense for him to still have it on, he’s back to his regular tights. Everyone was too distracted by the, “Jesus Christ! Really?!” aspect of that story to give a damn.

But what does that have to do with Eddie Brock outside of cosmetics? The reason Spider-Man was so cheesed off at the Kingpin in the first place was because a hitman accidentally shot Aunt May when going for Peter. Now she’s in the hospital in critical condition.

Aunt May in a hospital bed? Huh. I guess that’s one thing cancer-ridden Eddie Brock could take in a fight.

It’s a nice reference to the famous Kraven’s Last Hunt cover of black costume Spider-Man rising from beneath the earth in front of his own tombstone.

The Last Temptation of Eddie Brock takes place in Sensational Spider-Man #38-39. It’s written by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and drawn by Lee Weeks.

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We Care a Lot Part 12: A Factory of Loose Ends

May 17th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Last time on We Care a Lot, I covered the last days of Venom’s solo series. In my last few articles, I totally forgot to cover an obscure comic dedicated to him by the name of Uncanny Origins #7. Uncanny Origins was a somewhat short-lived series where each issue went into the backstory of a random Marvel character, featuring cartoony art by Dave Hoover. Each issue cost only a dollar, so you can’t really hate on it too much.

Bob Budiansky writes through Venom’s origins and story up to his Lethal Protector days.

“He thinks of himself as a superhero – dedicated to defending the innocent from evildoers everywhere. But the reality is that he is a grotesque parody of everything he believes himself to be, a superhero in his mind and his mind alone… for no good deed he does in the present can ever erase the evil of his own wretched past!”

Aw, come on. Don’t be so pessimistic.

The opening couple pages are interesting in that they’re new to us. We see Eddie Brock, smarmy as hell, visiting his ex-wife at a restaurant. He’s pretty high on himself for his successful Sin-Eater stories, but that just pisses off Ann and makes her leave less than a minute into their meeting. Everything always has to be about Eddie. Eddie defends himself, claiming that he’s doing the public a service with honest reporting, but she won’t listen.

Then we see Eddie being called to work and the subsequent firing. From there, it shows the events of his first appearance from his side. After his initial defeat, we get a montage page about how he has lost to Spider-Man again and again, until it gets into how Venom is out to be a good guy. It recreates the events where Ann gets Venom to leave Spider-Man alone and that’s the end of the issue.

I do like how Budiansky helps bring a little understanding to Eddie’s rage by showing another reason the Sin-Eater situation has ruined his life.

Whoa, whoa, whoa! What’s this about girls on girls?

Enough of that. Let’s get to the real article.

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Ultimatum Edit Week 1: Day One

November 7th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

If we are here not to do
What you and I wanna do
And go forever crazy with it
Why the hell are we even here?

There was never any good old days
They are today, they are tomorrow
It’s a stupid thing we say
Cursing tomorrow with sorrow

When we stand here in a row
Looking like a bunch of heroes
I know that-ah deep inside
Nothing more but bunch of zeros

– “Ultimate” by Gogol Bordello

We couldn’t stay away.

After the job that ManiacClown and I did with Jeph Loeb and Joe Mad’s Ultimates 3, we decided that we would give the follow-up event Ultimatum a shot. When I say we’d give it a shot, I don’t mean that we were sure we were going to target it from the very beginning. More that we were going to give it a shot of being passable and leaving it alone.

As it got closer to the release, we knew that although it was nice to be generous, it was going to be all for naught. Between the Ultimate Captain America Annual that showed Ultimate Black Panther’s origin and the laughable X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover written by Loeb’s Heroes buddies, we could tell that the writing was on the wall. Loeb was referring to Ultimatum as the story that would destroy the Ultimate universe and sadly, he’s already been doing that. Ultimate Spider-Man remains the only thing worth reading.

The Loeb backlash has already started somewhat. He’s been axed from Heroes. From what I understand, those burned by the first six issues of Hulk have left in droves. Don’t they realize that Hulk, who has become Joe Fixit again for no reason, is fighting Sentry, Moon Knight and Ms. Marvel because they’re sort of Marvel’s version of the DC Trinity? That’s compelling stuff! I’m not even sure how well Ultimatum will do in the long run, since it’s not really latching onto Millar’s Ultimates run’s success like Loeb’s last foray. And, you know, there are far better comic events going on with Secret Invasion and Final Crisis. Then again, now that he’s off Heroes he has more time to write comics. Stupid double-edge sword.

Enough rambling. Let’s get down to business.

Join us tomorrow for more exposition!

Day Two!
Day Three!
Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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Review: Peter David’s Iron Man Movie Novelization FIGHTS! and FIGHTS! with Repulsor Rays!

March 26th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

A year ago, I bought, read and reviewed Peter David’s novelization of Spider-Man 3. I thought it was pretty good and went on record to say that Sam Raimi would have to go out of his way to fuck up that movie. Wouldn’t you know it, he did exactly that. He deleted a handful of scenes that would have turned the movie’s three villains into more than ridiculous, one-dimensional jokes. While he removed all the valuable Eddie Brock and Sandman scenes, he made it even worse by hardly shaving off any whiny Mary Jane moments.

I made the decision to go for round two. This time Peter David writes a novelization based on the upcoming Iron Man film. More than anything, I was curious. The build-up has been nice. Not just with the trailers, but the feeling that there’s love in the movie. I recall Jon Favreau saying that in preparation, he had been reading every single issue of Iron Man from the 60’s on. So would love be enough to make this story work?

Yes. Yes it really would.

I’m not going to give out explicit spoilers, but if you really want an absolute blank slate to the point that you didn’t even watch the trailers, by all means don’t read this and instead just give me $5.

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Bendis Hates Tigra, Brubaker Hates Milla, BKV Hates Black People

January 30th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Or do they?

How long do you give a story before you judge it? If it’s obviously one part of a series, do you wait until it’s done or are you just so turned off that you shun it forever and cast it into outer darkness?

I tend to walk the line. If it’s a writer I trust, I’ll ride it out and see where it takes me. If it’s a writer I don’t trust… well, I don’t generally read books by writers I don’t trust, so that problem basically solves itself.

I mean, I saw one of the best black characters in comics catch a bullet to the dome a while back. It was a good scene and a good story, so I stayed interested instead of turned off.

Also, can we please stop talking about how much X writer hates Y character just because bad things happen to that character? One joke in an interview two years ago does not a vendetta make, no matter how often and how loudly it’s repeated. Bendis doesn’t hate Tigra any more than he hates Dr. Strange or Mary Jane.

I should probably also talk about Young Avengers #1: Patriot sometime soon, too, huh? I’m sure you’re all dying to know my thoughts on it.

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clOne More Day

December 6th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

(Note: This was originally meant to be a few paragraphs, only it stretched into a full rant about a series of things. I’m not a Spider-Man expert and haven’t read every single thing he’s been in for the past few years. Forgive me if my information is off. But I feel that I know enough for my ire to be justified.)

Back when Marvel was in the latter days of the Spider-Man Clone Saga, the writers all got together to brainstorm a good way to end this massive story arc. They needed something big. A lot of the ideas weren’t so good, like revealing a big chunk of it to be a virtual reality program or have Peter Parker go public with being a clone or just kill off Ben during Onslaught. Some were a bit better, like revealing that Judas Traveler was Seward Trainer from the future and that Seward betrayed Peter into thinking he was a clone all this time. The most interesting and best way to keep both Peter and Ben fans happy turned out to be a time loop.

See, Ben would start remembering events that happened to Peter. Being buried alive by Kraven or fighting Venom. Then, during a big villain gathering climactic finale, Carnage would mortally wound the Judas Traveler and Scryer would reveal his true self. He is Mephisto, orchestrating this whole mess.

As part of this craziness, Peter is sent back in time five years with a distorted memory. Hence, neither is the clone. Peter Parker and Ben Reilly are both Spider-Man, just aged a bit differently. Not the best story ever, but it wasn’t too bad.

There were a handful of reasons why this idea was turned down. Ben should be more aged if this was true, but considering the healing part of his powers and the relatively less stressful life he’s had in those five years, I could buy that they’d still look the same. Then there are a couple continuity issues, like how Mephisto is supposed to be dead around that time. But the main reason why it was tossed out?

Mephisto doesn’t really belong in a Spider-Man story!

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Children, Gage, and Mary Jane II: Mary Harder

November 17th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

How many comic characters have come up with recently revealed/brought back into play children?

Wolverine has Daken and X-23, kinda. Agent 13 is preggo with Cap’s baby. Namor had that son show up in his mini. Superman has Chris Kent. Batman has Damian. Hulk has Skaar or whatever. Corsair had Vulcan, though that’s kind of stretching the timeline a little. Punisher’s got a tyke.

That’s eight in, what, just under two years?

Anyway, Christos Gage is one of my new favorite writers. His Union Jack was the bomb, his House of M Avengers was mostly recap/revamp for Cage fans, but good, and so on. He’s got a couple books dropping soon. Iron Man Annual #1 and T-bolts: Breaking Points. Both are one-offs.

Tony Stark as James Bond + Bruce Wayne is a brilliant move, seriously. Why hasn’t anyone done this before? It’s totally Tony Stark. Danny Rand is Kung Fu Billionaire, Tony Stark should be Mecha James Bond. I want to pick up both books now. Gage generally does good.

But yeah, there’s something else in those previews that I noticed. Check out this image and think back a few months to the Mary Jane statue thing.

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I laughed.

My question is– is this a knee-slapper with a knowing wink or a face-slapper with a mean glare? It’s kind of obviously presented as something that isn’t altogether kosher or positive… my money is on wink.

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Mighty Avengers and World War Hulk and How They Relate

July 26th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

I’ve seen this in a couple places, so I activated my giant brain and put some thought to it. 72 hours later, I have a solution.

Short answer: they don’t.

Long answer:

In World War Hulk, Sentry is shown as unresponsive and noncommittal. He has yet to lift a finger to help the anti-Hulk side.

In a recent issue of Mighty Avengers, so recent it just came out yesterday, something happens. Lindy Reynolds, wife of the Sentry, is apparently killed by Ultron. I say apparently because there is at least one 100% fake death in the series already, not to mention the fact that Ultron can create appendages and probably change shape.

People are linking this and WWH to explain why Sentry is so out of it. Here’s a simpler idea–

The Hulk is a good friend of Sentry’s. He’s only calm around the Sentry, so the Sentry has kind of a paternal love for him. He wants to be able to help him as best he can. And then, one day, Hulk comes back and blames Reed Richards and Tony Stark for firing him into space. The Sentry’s own friends betrayed Hulk.

And then they come to him and ask him to help the Hulk… by taking him down.

When they ask him to help, Sentry asks Tony for a moment. He wants a word with him. My bet is that Sentry asked Tony, “Is it true? Did you send him into space?” and Tony said, “Yes.”

That’s why he’s sitting on the sidelines. His own friends are using him.

WWH is a good story and it stands on its own. It doesn’t need Mighty Avengers and it’d be foolish to tie that in.

WWH is about old Hulk vs new Hulk. His new friends vs his old friends. General Ross shows up in the last issue. He’s an old enemy, but his daughter was married to the Hulk. She’s dead now, I think. Hulk’s invading Earth because his wife died. There’s your drama right there.

The Rick Jones = Miek thing is pretty dumb, though.

WWH, when you boil it down, is about relationships. World War Hulk: X-Men is proof positive. (It’s also the only tie-in I’m enjoying.) The X-Men, even after all the crap Xavier has put them through, stand by their former headmaster. Xavier is willing to give in, but the X-Men are a family. All for one and one for all. It’s pretty good stuff.

I’m betting that the big fight in WWH isn’t Hulk vs Sentry. Not at all. I feel kind of like it’d be an depowered Hulk (read: Banner) versus Bob Reynolds. It’s just a hunch.

Oh, and Spider-Man: One More Day isn’t about Mary Jane dying at all. That’s a smokescreen. Joe Q is pulling the wool over your eyes again.

It’s about Aunt May getting one more day with Uncle Ben, or maybe her family, before she dies.

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Back in Black is Stupid.

June 22nd, 2007 Posted by david brothers

“I am not what I was before,” the silence says. “I am anger, I am madness, I am the spider. And God help you if you get in my way.”

No, really. This arc has been pretty bad, and the new issue? Terrible. Why?

Because we know how this ends. We’ve been here before.

Spider-Man: No Laughing Matters is a post I wrote last September about a pre-Clone Saga arc I liked a lot. In it, Spider-Man gets really angry, starts beating people up like crazy, and has an aunt on her death bed. Things between him and Mary Jane are really tense and he can’t quite manage to open up. It’s a story that has Spider-Man ready to kill… but he pulls back at the last second and remembers who he is.

Does any of this sound familiar? This arc was better 13 years ago, guys.

Images with sweet, sweet Bagley art from that story arc. The four pages of Peter reacting to Aunt May being hospitalized are better than anything Back in Black gave us.
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And one of my favorite covers:
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Back in Black is hollow.

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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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