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This Week in Panels: Week 9

November 22nd, 2009 Posted by Gavok

This time, I’ve sadly been left high and dry by my 4th Letter comrades. Feh. Guess I’ll have to take care of this week myself. Maybe they won’t have anything to add to my weekly segment, but I’ll have something to add to their little podcast tomorrow, just you wait and see.

Adventure Comics #4
Geoff Johns, Sterling Gates and Jerry Ordway

The Authority: The Lost Year #3
Grant Morrison, Keith Giffen and Darick Robertson

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We Care a Lot Part 18: The Sammy Hagar of Cannibalism

October 13th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

“Oh, no. No no no. That’s—that’s Venom. That’s Venom as me. That’s—and it’s not even the good one. It’s Mac Gargan.”

— Spider-Man, New Avengers #50

Due to popular demand, I guess I have to dedicate one of these installments towards Mac Gargan, the current Venom. First, a quick refresher on who Mac Gargan is and what he was up to before donning the hungry goo spandex.

Mac Gargan used to be a greedy private investigator, doing just about any job as long as the price was right. Jonah Jameson hired him to figure out the link between Spider-Man and Peter Parker. Mac wasn’t getting anywhere due to Peter’s spider-sense indicating when to slip away, so Jameson pulled out the big bucks for more desperate measures. Using an experimental serum and a cybernetic suit, he transformed Mac into the Scorpion. On the plus side, he was granted strength and agility to counter Spider-Man, along with a cool tail that shoots stuff. On the minus side, it drove him completely mad.

I think we need more villains who are only evil because whatever gave them powers also made them fucking crazy. A lot of the early Spider-Man villains had that going for them.

Scorpion existed for decades as a B-list Spider-Man villain. He was one of the many, many villains who in some way existed as the dark shadow of Spider-Man. Due to his insanity and his insatiable hatred for Jameson, Gargan tended to fail as a team player. Also, some of his insanity came from his inability to remove his costume.

Mark Millar reinvented Gargan for the better during his run in Marvel Knights Spider-Man, which I covered earlier in this series. At some point, Gargan had become a top henchman for Norman Osborn. His armor was gone, though with many operational scars left behind, and his sanity had been more or less restored. Sure, he was still a bad guy, but he was a coherent bad guy. Under Osborn’s orders, he orchestrated the kidnapping of Aunt May as a way to mess with Spider-Man and get Osborn out of prison.

As we know, the Venom symbiote – having skipped on its latest host – decided that Gargan was ideal. Perhaps it was how Gargan’s Scorpion powers are notably comparable to Spider-Man’s. Perhaps it was Gargan’s hatred of Spider-Man, spiked with his lack of Eddie Brock’s morals. But by the end of the day, Mac Gargan had become Venom.

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This Week in Panels: Week 2

October 4th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Back for another week of panels that give you a vague essence of the comics we have read this week without any real context. Let the non-reviews begin!

Amazing Spider-Man #607
Joe Kelly, Mike McKone and Adriana Melo

The Boys: Herogasm #5
Garth Ennis, John McCrea and Keith Burns

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This Week in Panels: Week 1

September 27th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

This is a new idea I decided to play around with. Rather than write up reviews of every little thing we read every week, we would simply try to get our point across via This Week in Panels. Each week, the collective of 4th Letter would post panels from various comics that have come out that we’ve read. Good or bad, we’ll try to portray them through one panel and let you draw your own conclusions. No gigantic spoilers or anything like that. Just an attempt to show you the essence of what the comic is all about.

Hopefully Esther starts responding to my emails so we can have more DC representation.

Amazing Spider-Man #606
Joe Kelly and Mike McKone

Blackest Night: Superman #2
James Robinson and Eddy Barrows

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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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Bullpen Bulletins

April 20th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

Quick hits while I’m at lunch at work:
ITEM! Jog wrote a great review of The Spirit over at Comixology. He pins down a lot of what I liked about the movie, and even calls to attention a few things I completely missed, like Spirit’s inability to commit to women means that he also cannot commit to death, who is personified as a woman.

ITEM! I talked about Models, Inc. and Marvel Divas a Saturday ago, wondering if the former had been bumped for the latter. I realized shortly after the post went up that it’s 2009, we have the internet, and you can just email people and ask. I emailed Paul Tobin, asking if the series had been canned, and got a very nice response back. In short, the series is in moderate limbo, but is being reworked. Mary Jane is out, but the series is going to be set in the modern Marvel U. There’s no schedule for it yet, but it isn’t erased. So, cool! I can’t wait to see it. I’m very, very skeptical of a 3.99 price point for any comic, but Models Inc. is just the kind of series I’d like to see more of.

ITEM! I still don’t care about Marvel Divas, though. Doesn’t sound like my kind of book at all.

ITEM! It’s a good week to be Jog, because he also talked about some French comic or something yesterday. (It’s Metabarons.)

ITEM! The only Dark Reign book I’ve really liked so far is Elektra. Zeb Wells and Clay Mann told a fun story of a ninja assassin coming back from the brink. It’s light, but fun work. The other Dark Reign titles? Ehhh. Norman Osborn has been replaced with Snidely Whiplash, and is suddenly the guy who will order people to shoot down a commercial aircraft just to see if maybe the new Iron Maiden (dumb name) is worth bothering with. The Hood is suddenly monologuing his evil little heart out while torturing subordinates, making him a cut-rate Kingpin. I don’t know, it’s just coming off overall lame.

ITEM! I liked Fear Agent, but Rick Remender’s Punisher? I can’t do it, man. I think Punisher really probably died with Ennis to me.

ITEM! I have a similar problem with the X-Men. Mike Carey’s first 12-18 issues were really very good, but the last great run was Grant Morrison’s, at least on the writing side.

ITEM! Speaking of New X-Men, here’s the last word on sexy comics, from New X-Men Vol. 5: Assault on Weapon Plus:

new-x-men-142-assault-on-weapon-plus-01-02new-x-men-142-assault-on-weapon-plus-01-03new-x-men-142-assault-on-weapon-plus-01-04
new-x-men-142-assault-on-weapon-plus-01-05new-x-men-142-assault-on-weapon-plus-01-06

Actually, I was thinking about how weird and sexless and unarousing this is.

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Son of the Return of the Wrath of Comic Con

February 11th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

Now that I’m fully rested after having to endure that exhaustive weekend of New York Comic Con, now would probably be a good time to do a detailed write-up about the event. Well, that’s not going to happen.

Truth is, there isn’t too much to write about. It was your usual fare, only with tons more people than the last couple years, meaning that it was harder to walk around and even harder to get into a couple panels. One panel about self-publishing I couldn’t get into because it seemed to have been held in a room the size of an elevator and was already filled to the brim. And the DC/Marvel panels? Forget about it. I went to a couple, but I had to stand in the corner due to the amount of people there.

By the way, if anyone was at the Dark Reign panel, I was the jerkwad asking about D-Man. Yeah, that’s right. D-Man! Represent!

I got some books signed here and there. Jason Aaron, despite looking like a guy who would tear your throat out with the slightest provocation, is a really swell guy and really gracious. Van Lente, Gage, Parker, Pak and Calero were also pretty cool to talk to. My true failure of the weekend is my inability to find Larry Hama in time. I had hoped to have him sign the “Venom vs. Carnage inside the internet” issue of Carnage Unleashed and the “Rad Eddie” issue of Venom: The Hunted, but by the time I figured out where he was going to be, I was a half hour too late. Oh well. He probably would have haymakered me for it anyway.

One of the cooler moments is finding former Booster Gold co-writer Jeff Katz and Booster Gold creator/artist/writer/caterer Dan Jurgens at the DC booth. I asked Jurgens about whether or not Booster’s old secretary Trixie is Rip Hunter’s mother, which he said no, but a good guess. I began explaining my harebrained “Ted Kord is the next Batman” theory to Mr. Katz and he surprised me with the revelation that he himself has read that very article. Hell yeah! High five!

Unfortunately, he tore down any hope of Kord being the Dark Knight. Awww.

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Behind the Green Goblin Door

December 17th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

This is several days late, but like I’ve said, computer troubles. Read it anyway.

Secret Invasion has come and gone. Skrulls are old news and now the more beloved villains are beginning to step forward, forming their own little Evil Illuminati. Fittingly, they all counter the original Marvel faction in their own way.

– Tony Stark is replaced by a more ruthless businessman/inventor in Norman Osborn, who shares similar ideals on unity among the powerful.
– Reed Richards is replaced by Victor Von Doom, his eternal rival when it comes to his intelligence.
– Charles Xavier is replaced by Emma Frost, who, while heroic, could potentially do some more underhanded things to help her race. Then again, look at who I’m talking about. Xavier’s done some shady stuff already. Bendis originally wanted Magneto for the role, but you know how it is for that guy.
– Doctor Strange is replaced by the Hood, the magical avatar of the Dread Dormammu himself.
– The enigmatic and overly powerful Black Bolt is replaced by the more enigmatic and more powerful Loki, now in a female form.
– Namor, once a proud king able to own the room with his regal presence, is replaced by a meeker, disheveled and more desperate shell of himself.

Norman puts together his own Secret Society concept and tries to sell it onto the others. The two main points of interest are the mystery man – which I will get to in a second – and the suggestion by Doom to Namor that this will all lead into some kind of massive supervillain Civil War in the future.

That discussion is for another time. Let’s discuss the mystery man.

“If you so choose as to even lift a suspicious eyebrow towards me and mine… you and my friend here will have some words. Emma, you’re a psychic, I can feel you poking around in my head now… You read minds… Tell me… Am I lying?”

“No.”

“Something for even a goddess of mischief to think about.”

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