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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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We Care About Journalism

July 31st, 2013 Posted by Gavok

Joe Lynch directed this sweet-ass short film called Truth in Journalism. In a fake documentary in the style of Man Bites Dog, a trio of filmmakers follow around disgraced newspaper reporter Eddie Brock. Obsessed with showing his side of the story and what he’s all about, Eddie appears to be a little unhinged, low on scruples, lower on compassion and he’s definitely hiding some kind of secret. Eddie’s played by True Blood star Ryan Kwanten.

Definitely watch it past the credits.

He’s just a smidge too scummy in parts for my taste as an Eddie Brock fanboy, but it’s still a damn fine little movie.

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The Top 200 Fighting Game Endings: Part Nine

June 25th, 2013 Posted by Gavok

40) Mortal Kombat vs. DC Universe – SUB-ZERO
2008

Sub-Zero gets the special treatment in the big DC crossover game. He’s the only guy on the Mortal Kombat side who’s aloud to take down Batman in a straight fight in the story mode. The story mode also paints a picture of Sub-Zero being a guy who’s unsure of what it is he should be doing. He’s more virtuous than what his ninja clan stands for, but he’s also the odd man out when it comes to the other defenders of Earthrealm. Nobody trusts him to do the right thing, but he does want to do the right thing.

Inspired by Batman, Sub-Zero decides to use his efforts to being a cape-wearing vigilante who creeps through the darkness and cold to crush evil wherever it lies. This way he can be a good guy and defend Earthrealm without having to put up with Liu Kang and the others. The Lin Kuei doesn’t take the desertion well and much like Batman, Sub-Zero will now have to contend with a pissed off league of assassins trying to hunt him down.

39) Skullgirls – PEACOCK
2012

Peacock is the one character in Skullgirls who has a personal connection with the final boss Marie (otherwise known as the Skullgirl). Patricia was mutilated by the mafia and her friend Marie, in all her sadness and anger, found the Skull Heart and wished for revenge. She’s since started massacring the mafia, while at the same time, becoming more and more of a puppet for the Skull Heart’s evil and turning into something increasingly demonic. Patricia was rebuilt as Peacock to destroy Marie, augmented with reality-bending cybernetics. Due to her own shattered psyche over what she’s gone through and her love for cartoons, Peacock takes the form of an old-timey cartoon character and fights with cartoon physics.

Peacock confronts Marie and tries to talk her down to no avail. Marie shows off that she even took out the man who nearly killed Peacock and started this mess. Still, Peacock knows that Marie is fighting a losing war for her soul and it’s only a matter of time before the Skull Heart takes over completely and makes her unstoppable. Peacock defeats her friend and as part of her victory, is offered the Skull Heart. She’s able to make any wish her heart desires, but why do that when she’s already the strongest?

Marie is still alive, but is falling to pieces by the second. She apologizes for all she’s done. Peacock smiles and forgives her, saying that they’ll always be friends. Besides, now that she’s fulfilled her purpose of destroying the Skullgirl, she can find a new purpose in continuing where Marie left off, killing off mobsters left and right. Marie feels happy about this and burns to nothing.

Peacock makes good on her promise and takes out most of the mafia. With only a couple left, she goes after a mobster named Lorenzo. Lorenzo has something up his sleeve with his enforcer Black Dahlia. It ends with Peacock and Dahlia going at it.

You know what’s crazy? In an ending where our hero kills her best friend, it’s still the most optimistic ending in such an otherwise colorful and wacky game.

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This Week in Panels: Week 137

May 6th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Howdy. Strong week with many thanks to Jody, Gaijin Dan and Was Taters for helping out. While Space Jawa has nothing for me in terms of this week, he did stock me up on some Free Comic Book Day panels for next week’s update. I’ve been busy the past couple days, so I haven’t been able to read too much, but I did have to chuckle at the free Avengers comic Marvel gave out.

It’s a rerelease of the .1 issue they did a year ago, which has yet to have any bearing on Marvel. Some jumping-on point. Anyway, the book featured a subplot of Spider-Woman being kidnapped by some mad scientist types and finding herself in a cell with her wrists cuffed together and her clothes missing. I mean, I guess Bendis has done that before with the full team, but having just a woman tossed into this role is asking for trouble. I don’t go around looking for fan outrage, but considering so many considered it way over-the-line when Bendis had Dr. Doom — the evil mass murderer and dictator — refer to Ms. Marvel as a cow during a rant, I can only imagine the Spider-Woman thing didn’t go over so well. In the Free Comic Book Day release, they alter all the panels from these scenes. Not only is she recolored so that she’s wearing her outfit, but they changed her dialogue so that she’s no longer yelling at the Wizard to give her back her clothes.

I imagine this is either because A) the misogyny outcry backlash, B) more kids are going to be getting these comics, so they should calm down on the cheesecake and/or C) if you want to see Jessica Drew’s skin, you’re going to pay for it, mister!

Like I said, I find the whole thing rather funny. Especially when you look closer at the panels. The Mad Thinker must have decided that Spider-Woman’s costume wings were a major danger and had them removed before putting her in her prison. And also, while her costume was always tight enough to be painted on, that doesn’t stop her feet from looking very non-bootlike. Seeing her curled, yellow toes just looks weird.

Enough about Spider-Woman’s obscured lady bits. Here are some panels.

Action Comics #9
Grant Morrison, Gene Ha, Sholly Fisch and Cully Hamner

Age of Apocalypse #3
David Lapham and Roberto de la Torre

Amazing Spider-Man #685
Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos

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This Week in Panels: Week 135

April 22nd, 2012 Posted by Gavok

What a day! Today is when I got to take part in my Improv 101 graduation performance, which apparently came off pretty well. I can’t speak for myself too well, since that was my first time performing on stage and being up there was just a gigantic blur. Had a strong turnout, though, including a visit by Chris Eckert.

I’m in there somewhere. I might possibly be the black woman, but I can’t say for sure. I’ll talk more about my experiences at UCB in the coming days, as well as hopefully have something from YouTube to show for it.

Lot of contributors this week. David has my back, apparent from all the manga, but I also have Was Taters, Space Jawa, Jody (also nice enough to check out the show) and luis. With all the comics read by all of us, the most gripping question asked is, “Why does Scarlet Witch write ‘DREAM JOURNAL’ in the middle of her dream journal?”

Amazing Spider-Man #684
Dan Slott and Humberto

Avengers Prelude: Fury’s Big Week #4
Christopher Yost, Eric Pearson, Agustin Padilla, Don Ho and Wellinton Alves

Avengers vs. X-Men #2
Jason Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Matt Fraction and John Romita Jr.

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7 Elements: Carnage USA

April 15th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

The whole 4 Elements article concept is David’s baby. The four ties into the four in 4thletter and 4thletter comes from David’s name because he’s an egomaniac, an Eggo maniac and possibly a Lego maniac. You can also say that the four comes from there literally being four elements, but I’m pretty sure there are like a hundred of those things, so that’s definitely wrong.

This is David’s site and all, but Carnage USA is my comic. It’s a comic specifically made for ME. Me. Gavin Jasper. And since I’m Gavin, which starts with the seventh letter of the alphabet, that means I need to talk about the 7 Elements.

Carnage USA is the sequel to last year’s Carnage, both by Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain. Carnage was the story that returned Carnage from his grizzly death of being torn in half in space by the Sentry back in 2005. It acts as a loose sequel to the character’s most mainstream adventure Maximum Carnage while introducing yet another symbiote anti-hero in Scorn. By the end of the story, not only is Cletus Kasady alive and reunited with his blood-red costume, but he’s also on the loose and nobody knows where he’ll end up next. All we know is that he has something bad on the horizon.

The plot of Carnage USA has Cletus venture to Doverton, Colorado, where he goes to a slaughterhouse and kills the entire stock of cows. The symbiote grows off the meat and expands to the point that he’s able to infect and assimilate the entire town through plumbing. A handful of the Avengers (Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Hawkeye and Thing) are sent to go deal with it and find a town of frightened human puppets before Carnage takes them too. Spider-Man gets away and the government goes to plan B… while trying real hard not to move to the dire plan C, which is to blow the county to kingdom come.

This miniseries helps support the idea that in comics, there are no bad characters, but bad writers. For such a mainstream villain who got his own popular videogame back in the day, Carnage’s death was met with little backlash. For years he’s been seen as nothing more than 50% shallow Venom mixed with 50% shallow Joker. Nobody’s ever really tried to write something decent with him and whenever he got the spotlight with his own one-shot, it was usually a bunch of gory dreck that didn’t do anything for me.

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This Week in Panels: Week 124

February 5th, 2012 Posted by Gavok

Only hours ago we had the Superbowl, which made me a couple bucks richer. I should probably do some kind of tie-in to this, but when I suggested me and the other ThWiP regulars do our own Superbowl Shuffle music video, one of them stabbed me in the temple with a screwdriver. Maybe next year.

This time I’m joined by only Was Taters. Good enough for me!

Action Comics #6
Grant Morrison, Andy Kubert, Sholly Fisch and ChrisCross

Animal Man #6
Jeff Lemire, John Paul Leon and Travel Foreman

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4thletter’s Guide to Carnage USA #1’s Cliffhanger

December 15th, 2011 Posted by Gavok

This week marks the release of the first issue of Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain’s Carnage USA. This 5-issue series is a sequel to last year’s Carnage. Originally set to be called Astonishing Spider-Man/Iron Man, Carnage told the story of how Cletus Kasady and his alien costume came back from having the Sentry tear them in half in space back when New Avengers was first starting up. Cletus was shown to be alive, albeit with a robotic bottom half and proceeded to give both heroes a headache while unintentionally creating a new hero with a living costume.

As a guy who never cared for Carnage and had no desire to see him come back, I consider the miniseries shockingly good. It’s definitely worth checking out. The end showed that Carnage was biding his time for his next move while keeping his mindless and loyal pet Doppelganger on a leash. That leads right into Carnage USA where the serial killer has manifested his powers in a scary way that makes him more megalomaniacal than he’s ever been shown. He tussles with a couple members of the Avengers and the fact that this is the first issue should tell that it doesn’t work out so well for the good guys just yet.

It’s the final page that sells me on the series. For the sake of spoilers, I’ll blot out the bottom part in the preview, but click to see the full glory.

Hey now! Someone call the doctor because it’s been well over four hours! Zeb Wells obviously wrote this entire comic for me specifically. I’d imagine that there are a lot of people confused by some of the names here, so as the world’s foremost expert on all things Venom, I thought I’d give a quick who’s who.

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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 Week in Panels: Week 100 SUPER SPECIAL EXTRAVAGANZA! (Part 2)

August 22nd, 2011 Posted by Gavok

Okay, so PART ONE is getting a little too stuffy. Here’s part two.

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