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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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This Week in Panels: Week 180

March 3rd, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Pfft. Jeff Parker. Who did he ever beat?

Ah, nothing like the first day of vacation. Before I get into the panels, just a quick plug. Next Sunday at 4pm, I’m going to be doing an improv show at the UCBeast in the East Village in New York. If you’re local, come check it out. It’s one of three shows I’ll be doing as part of being in UCB’s Improv 401 class.

To make my mood even better, Marvel just announced that they’re bringing back What If! Fuck yes! My bread and butter!

Got the usual crew this week. Gaijin Dan, Jody, Space Jawa and the photographer of the above picture Was Taters. Let’s get to it!

All-Star Western #17
Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Moritat and Staz Johnson

Aquaman #17
Geoff Johns and Paul Pelletier

Batman Incorporated #8 (Gavin and Taters’ pick)
Grant Morrison, Chris Burnham and Jason Masters

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This Week in Panels: Week 176

February 3rd, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Okay, okay. So my writing has been a little lax lately. I’ve been a bit busy, what with jury duty, a sketch writing class at UCB, the Royal Rumble, the Superbowl and work kicking my ass. But I promise I’ll get back to actually writing about comics again real soon! Scout’s honor!

I was never a scout, but I’m pretty sure I can keep that promise.

My superfriends are, as always, Gaijin Dan, Was Taters, Jody and Space Jawa.

All-Star Western #16
Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Moritat and Phil Winslade

Aquaman #16
Geoff Johns and Paul Pelletier

Avengers #4
Jonathan Hickman and Adam Kubert

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This Week in Panels: Week 173

January 13th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Yo. I have to get up early tomorrow for jury duty, which I think means I have to put on battle armor and hunt down Venom, so I’m just going to rush this update. It’s me, Jody, Gaijin Dan and Space Jawa. Was Taters is currently flailing around in a pit of quicksand.

Action Comics #16
Grant Morrison, Brad Walker, Rags Morales, Sholly Fisch and Chris Sprouse

Age of Apocalypse #11
David Lapham and Roberto de la Torre

Animal Man #16
Jeff Lemire, Steve Pugh and Timothy Green II

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This Week in Panels: Week 168

December 9th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

This week I’m just flanked by Jody and Gaijin Dan, but that’s okay, since they both read a lot of stuff. Lot of great books came out this week, such as Action Comics, Avengers, Deadpool, Minute Men, Hawkeye and that Hellboy thing (so I hear).

Panels, away!

Action Comics #15
Grant Morrison, Brad Walker, Rags Morales, Sholly Fisch and Chris Sprouse

All-New X-Men #3
Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen

Animal Man #15 (Gavin’s pick)
Jeff Lemire, Steve Pugh and Timothy Green II

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This Week in Panels: Week 162

October 28th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Ahoy! In what Mother Nature will surely insist is my last post for a little while, here’s this week’s taste of comics read. I have my usual crew in Jody, Gaijin Dan, Space Jawa and Was Taters.

Interesting week in that we reached the end of many great Marvel runs due to the big Marvel NOW! changeover. Considering how fantastic the enders are for Journey Into Mystery, Incredible Hulk, Captain America and FF, I can’t help but notice how Marvel is flat-out making DC look incompetent in regards to the New 52. Everyone’s getting their own true sendoff without seeming rushed and pointless.

Though apparently Daniel Way’s final issue of Deadpool shit the bed, so we’ll ignore that one.

A-Babies vs. X-Babies (Jawa’s pick)
Skottie Young and Gurihiru

A-Babies vs. X-Babies (Jody’s pick)
Skottie Young and Gurihiru

All-Star Western #13
Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Moritat and Phil Winslade

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Crossover Celebration Part 3: Archie Meets the Punisher

October 24th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

When I talk to non-comic reading friends about comics, one thing I like to mention to mess with them is that Archie Meets the Punisher is a thing that happened. That always seems to get a little bit of a reaction out of them, but not as much as my claims that it was actually quite good! The usual follow-up to that is, “How could that possibly be good?” and it hits me as a loaded question. There are different reasons why it works so well, but it wasn’t for years until I found out the perfect way to explain it to the uninitiated.

Archie Meets the Punisher came out in 1994, just prior to the explosion of Marvel/DC crossovers that we’d see throughout the era. The Archie and Marvel camps were friendly with each other and there was a joke going back and forth that there should be a crossover where Riverdale becomes a darker and more violent place and Archie becomes a vigilante after his family is killed. Obviously, that didn’t happen, but writer Batton Lash came up with an outline that pleasantly surprised everyone involved and they moved forward with it.

Many crossovers are meant to be a look at the similarities and differences between the two parties involved. This book is less about the former and very much about the latter. On one hand, we have Archie Andrews, the optimistic and corny lead character in a town where the sun is always shining and the biggest tragedy is the decision over which hot girlfriend he’s going to ask out on any given night. Then you have Frank Castle, the dead-inside Vietnam veteran whose family was murdered by the mob, leading him to dedicate his entire being to showing no mercy to the criminal element. Granted, these are still the days when Marvel and DC weren’t overly violent, even in murderer anti-hero comics, and the only blood you’d see was a shadowy spray of black with no shot of the wound, but it’s still entirely messed up to do a story that mixes these two very, very different characters.

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This Week in Panels: Week 158

September 30th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Hey kids. I’m helped out this week by Jody, Gaijin Dan and Space Jawa. Jawa wanted me to note, what with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles issue having come out this week, that the new cartoon is worth checking out based on the first episode.

I should note in the upcoming images that the gentleman in the Space Punisher panels is none other than Jarvis the Butler. Yes, in this reality where everybody is reimagined as a futuristic dude from space, the biggest badass on the block is none other than Jarvis. It’s rad.

Speaking of rad, the panels between me and Jody perfectly explain why FF was such a great issue this month.

All-Star Western #0
Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Moritat

Aquaman #0
Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise, Part 3
Gene Luen Yang and Gurihiru

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This Week in Panels: Week 155

September 9th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Ahoy! I was going to name this ThWiP #0, but that would involve going into the origin of this nearly 3-year-old weekly segment. Ah, what the hell, here’s the origin:

“Hey, David. I have an idea for a weekly bit every Sunday. I’d call it Panels of the Week and I’d–”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“Really?”

“Yes. Do whatever. I’m BUSY with writing for Comics Alliance and sleeping with all these models so I don’t care about what you do with your time.”

“Oh. Thanks. …Can I maybe have–”

“No. Get your own.”

“Shucks.”

My helpers are Jody, Gaijin Dan, Was Taters and Space Jawa.

Action Comics #0
Grant Morrison, Ben Oliver, Sholly Fisch and CAFU

Age of Apocalypse #7
David Lapham and Renato Arlem

Animal Man #0
Jeff Lemire and Steve Pugh

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This Week in Panels: Week 153

August 26th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Heyo. It’s time for that panel thing that I do every Sunday. My contributors are Gaijin Dan, Jody, Space Jawa and Was Taters with the weather.

Jody didn’t send me Amazing Spider-Man this time around, which only goes with what I’ve been hearing that the latest issue was all kinds of terrible. Meanwhile, I, Vampire is great fun this week with an awkward team-up with Stormwatch as they face the unique threat of “zombie vampire vampire-hunters”.

All-Star Western #12
Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, Moritat and Scott Kolins

Barrage #12
Kouhei Horikoshi

Flash #12
Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato

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