New Ultimate Edit Week 1: Day Three

March 9th, 2010 Posted by Gavok

Welcome back!

In our last installment, Hawkeye and Iron Man continued to talk about stuff (their favorite bands, chicks who’ve broken their hearts, the Matrix) until a bunch of angry dudes with superpowers showed up randomly. Sucks especially for Hawkeye, since nearly everyone on the opposing team appears to be bulletproof.

How will our heroes (if you can call them that) get out of this alive?! HOW?!

Join ManiacClown and I tomorrow as we watch the Ultimates continue to fight the Defenders. Then we get a special appearance by everyone’s favorite Ultimate Edit mainstay! Then again, I’m only assuming he is.

Day Four!
Day Five!
Day Six!
Day Seven!

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Great Moments in Black History #05: Try It

April 13th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

from marvel’s supreme power: nighthawk. words by daniel way, art by steve dillon.

(when it comes to supreme power, daniel way > jms. his nighthawk is like batman after waking up on the wrong side of the bed.)

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Black History Month ’09 #13: I Could Forgive The Past, But I Never Forget It

February 13th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

You want to know the problem with doing A Very Special Issue of a comic book? Nine times out of ten, it ends up being stupid.

JMS’s Nighthawk is my usual punching bag for this sort of thing. He’s basically a black nationalist. A better way to describe him would be as a “high school rebel.” You know the kid that read a bit of Marcus Garvey, maybe a little Ellison, and now he’s all “whitey” this and “cracker” that? That’s what Nighthawk is. He’s ostensibly there so that JMS can make a point about race, but it’s been a few years and I have no idea what that point could be, other than something completely surface level. Racism is bad? Black people can be racist, too? One time a black guy called JMS a cracker, and JMS felt really guilty about possibly having a racist thought in response, so Nighthawk is his penance, always there to chastise him and keep him on the straight and narrow? I do not know.

I read Superman 179 recently, which was co-plotted by Geoff Johns and Jeph Loeb, with scripting by Loeb. It’s A Very Special Issue of Superman. It’s the one where he comes face to face with Race and conquers the fell beast. I’m going to let this excerpt tell it.


So, what have we learned? That being an alien is just like being black? That sometimes black people get angry? That whitey is wrong AGAIN? That Superman is the smuggest jerk alive?

Now raise your hand if you didn’t know any of that before you read this issue. In fact, raise your hand if this portrayal of the subtleties of black/white interactions and inner city social politics is deeper than, say, what you learned about that back in kindergarten. No hands?

What, exactly, are we supposed to take from this?

This kind of story goes nowhere, says nothing, and is just one of those books that get done just so someone somewhere can check off a box and pat themselves on the back, for lo, they have written about racism and found it good. Look, there are even references to things black people like! Muhammad Ali! Malcolm X! We put “Fight the Power!” on the cover, that’s some straight up Public Enemy right there, boyeee! Plus! Hold on, get this, man!

Muhammad X is from Harlem!

Black cred? Skyrocketing, baby! Another issue like this and I bet we can totally dap up our homies, smoke Newports, drink foties, say nigga, and dance with black chicks without getting funny looks!

There’s a few bars from an OutKast song that I’m overly fond of. It’s about authenticity and appearances. “Now, question. Is every nigga with dreads for the cause? Is every nigga with golds for the fall? Naw, so don’t get caught up in appearance.”

In short, Superman 179 is dressed up like it’s down for the cause. It’s a story that’s ostensibly about how Superman is beyond race. He’s a human being, and human beings aren’t racist to other human beings. Even then, Superman will look out for Harlem and spend some time thinking over race. He’s Superman, of course he’s just that awesome.

Don’t be fooled. This grade school, Mickey Mouse, chirping bird approach to race is foolish. No one learns anything, it gives the hero a chance to be either pompous or admonished, and in the next issue, whoops, Harlem’s gone again! Superman’s back saving a mostly white cast! Ron Troupe, Superman’s brother-in-law is now divorced and MIA!

Superman 179, and books like it, are lip service in the worst way. They are an acknowledgment that race is a Thing, with a capital T, that must be dealt with in some way that usually does not involve punching. However, it will involve speeches, navel gazing, and a healthy lack of perspective, not to mention the general low level of quality. It’s false representing.

“We’re down with you!” books like this seem to say, but its eyes are hiding a corporate cunning. “We’re going to hook you, and you will like it, because we understand what you, a black person, go through daily! We did our part, now read Superman monthly, $2.99!”

Please. It’s a strikingly cynical approach to the whole subject, and one that isn’t at all thought out, at that. We know racism is bad. I’ve known that on a very real level since kindergarten. And yet, the comic books that keep talking about it keep doing it on the level of a four year old, with a hard black and white philosophy applied to situations that are anything but.

The problem is that we aren’t stupid, and we might have paid for it, but we ain’t buying it. Try again, kid. Maybe you’ll get a cookie when you write a good book, instead of going for a cheap pop.

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Return of the Knockoffs

July 8th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

I haven’t really seen anyone talk much about the new Squadron Supreme 2 miniseries, so I thought I’d take a crack at it.

To really get into my thoughts on the first issue of the new miniseries, you have to look back at what brought us here in the first place. The original concept of the Squadron Supreme was brought to us by Roy Thomas as part of an Avengers storyline. The team would be the first example of what would eventually become a very hackneyed comic book cliché of one company copying another company’s characters and changing their names to keep things legally clean. Sometimes this works, like the time Plastic Man trained with an invisible monk, a super-strong monk and a fire monk. Most of the time it doesn’t work, like when Superman and Batman had to face the Ultimates/Avengers-based Maximums or when Garth Ennis thinks up yet another Superman knock-off for the sake of making fun.

The Squadron Supreme, of course, was based on the Justice League. It was a cool idea at the time and their alternate universe was instrumental in the Defenders. It was there that they laid down the groundwork for Mark Gruenwald’s opus maxi-series based on the Squadron Supreme universe.

If you haven’t read the original Squadron Supreme series, I’d suggest you do. It’s not the best comic ever, but in light of the last few years in comics, it comes across as an interesting bridge between the older days of superhero morality and the more sensitive times of now. It mainly dealt with the team taking over the government and giving themselves a year to fix up the damage they had caused during a mind-control episode. The big deal of their plan to change the world is that they used a special machine to alter the minds of their villains to make them good. The moral dilemmas weren’t lost on the story, as some heroes left due to disagreeing with the situation and one member of the team got kicked off for using the same machine on another teammate to make her love him. In the end, it became a Civil War situation with Hyperion’s side up against Nighthawk’s side.

The Squadron Supreme world could never successfully follow up on that series. There were stories here and there, including an arc in Exiles, but nothing special ever truly happened with it.

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Joe Casey I Love You Forever

February 18th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Written by JOE CASEY
Penciled by JIM MUNIZ
Cover by LEINIL YU
DEFENDERS…No More?! It sure looks like it, as Iron Man shuts down New Jersey’s Initiative team…and Nighthawk’s dreams of redemption. But when the diabolical U-MAN threatens humanity, Nighthawk finds the best Defenders money can buy: Paladin, Junta and Atlas! Meanwhile, what role does DAIMON HELLSTROM play? And who has he sought out to advise him in his journey? A strange connection to the Defenders’ past appears as the must-have super hero team book of ’08 continues!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$2.99

You’re bringing back Junta? Oh yes!

Also, Jason Aaron, you get some love, too:

Written by JASON AARON
“Hell-Bent and Heaven Bound,” the first arc by the exciting new team of Jason Aaron and Roland Boschi, comes to its explosive conclusion. Ghost Rider has faced off against machine-gun-toting nuns, flesh-rending spirits and hungry cannibals, but has that brought him any closer to an answer in his quest for vengeance? Big things are brewing for Ol’ Flamehead in ’08, and the madness starts here, with what must surely be the most shocking last page in Ghost Rider history. Hint: He’s back!
32 PGS./Parental Advisory …$2.99

“He’s back!” can’t refer to anyone but Dan Ketch, right?

Oh yes!

marvel solicit previews

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Checking in with Some Random Musings

July 31st, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Good God. I’ve reached the point where I use the term “musings” on the internet. Shoot me.

I’ve been taking a break lately, due to several things holding me up and taking my time, like a crappy work schedule, Guitar Hero Rocks the 80’s and a bunch of crap you don’t care about.

In the meantime, a couple quick thoughts.

– I made like 15 new 4th Letter headers and then hermanos had to go and redesign the site. Fuck him! Though I have to admit, the new look is growing on me. I like the little “4th ____” gags in some of those headers. Took me a second to get why Ares is labeled “4th Planet”.

– If you didn’t know by now, Greg Pak is going to be doing a What If issue with a trilogy of stories based on Planet Hulk. One has Hulk land on the peaceful planet as the Illuminati planned. One has Bruce Banner land on Sakaar instead. The last, and most interesting one, is about Hulk dying in the warp drive explosion and his queen surviving to seek vengeance on Earth. This comic sounds awesome.

– Norman Osborn is the glue holding Thunderbolts together and making it readable.

– I just bought a ton of trades last week. Ant Man: Low-Life, because even though hermanos dislikes it, I give Kirkman the benefit of the doubt. Hyperion vs. Nighthawk, as it’s the only Squadron Supreme story I haven’t read other than that nine issues of hurt called Ultimate Power. Cassanova, because hermanos loves it so much and I dig that Matt Fraction. The Hood, because it’s BKV and I could go for a nice Marvel MAX title that doesn’t star Frank Castle or his oversized, black nemesis. Seven Brothers, because I’m in the mood to read something by Ennis that isn’t “heheh superheroes is fags”. And I bought Goon: Noir and 52 Volume 2 because… uh… well, there wasn’t really any thought process in those decisions. One is the Goon and the other is 52. That’s reason enough.

– CHIKARA show this Sunday in Philly at the ECW Arena. Come and join the fun.

– The cover image to Ultimates Volume 3 fills me with a strong sense of dread. Not only is this going to be an awful comic, but it’s going to be like a shotgun blast to the Ultimate universe. If this comic is as bad as I fear it to be, then the Ultimate line of comics will be at death’s door in probably two or three years. That’s such a damn shame.

– On the other side of the coin, the Marvel Adventures line is pretty fantastic right now. While the first issue of MA: Hulk wasn’t special, I absolutely loved MA: Iron Man’s initial issue. That’s the best reimagining of his origin outside of canon I can recall. Pick up Giant Size Marvel Adventures: Avengers if you’ve ever wanted to see a gorilla suckerpunch Wolverine in the back of the head through a closing time portal.

– Not comic related at all, but in the last couple weeks, I’ve dropped 15 pounds. Hells yeah!

Next time I’ll have actual content. I promise.

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Real Talk: Supreme Power’s Nighthawk

February 17th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Let me tell you a story.

This had to have been back when I was in the fifth grade, in Mrs Washington’s class. There’s this program called DARE, Drug Abuse Resistance Education. Basically, they explain to you that you should narc on your friends if you catch them with drugs and that if you try weed just one time you’ll immediately find yourself toothless, hooked on crack, in prison, insane, and stupid.

From Wikipedia:

The U.S. Department of Education concluded in 2003 that the DARE program is ineffective and now prohibits its funds from being used to support it.[5] The U.S. Surgeon General’s office, the National Academy of Sciences,[5] and the Government Accounting Office also concluded that the program is sometimes counterproductive in some populations, with those who graduate from DARE later having higher rates of drug use. Studies by Dr. Dennis Rosenbaum [6], and by the California Legislative Analyst’s office [7] found that DARE graduates were more likely than others to drink alcohol, smoke tobacco and use illegal drugs.

Sorry, the mean-spiritedness is just deafening sometimes. I’ll do better, I promise.

Anyway, our DARE officer was a cop we called Officer Wood. At some point during the class, I ended up asking him a question about the Black Panthers. I wasn’t quite as “conscious” back then as I am now, but I knew a little bit about a little something. I even used to have one of those leather Africa medallions. I know that some of you folks know what I’m talking about. I was curious as to what Wood would say.

“The Black Panthers were worse than the Klan,” he told me.

That’s stuck with me in the years since then. He’s practically taken on bogeyman status in my head. I realized that if you don’t know what you’re talking about, you should keep your mouth shut. Arguing from a position of ignorance makes you an idiot, and no one likes idiots. If you want to speak, you’d better know first.

Other than that, though, I realized how perception informs things. I doubt that Officer Wood knew what he was saying. The Panthers, like Malcolm X, have been villainized in the years since they were active. They weren’t about killing white people, or even hating them. They were “The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense” and were an anti-police brutality group. They weren’t angels, granted, but they weren’t the frigging Klan, either. To Officer Wood, though, they were.

This brings me to Nighthawk, from J Michael Stracyzinski’s Supreme Power. Supreme Power sometimes feels like kind of a retread of JMS’s other series, Rising Stars, at times, but it remains one of his better works.

Nighthawk, though. Hm. Problematic.
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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 17

October 24th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Sorry about that. Real life schedule sort of held me back for a bit. But I’m getting back into the swing of things and we’re almost done with this. Just a reminder for the artist types reading this, I could use your help.


Issue: Volume 2, #57
Writer: Chuck Dixon
Artist: Mike Harris
Spider-Man death: No
Background: There’s no exact turning point here. Frank Castle has always been on the run of the law. Every once and a while, he gets caught. In this story, while in prison, Frank meets Nick Fury. Nick has kept an eye on Frank and wants him to lead a SHIELD strike force. No more going after the petty dealers. Now he’ll be going after the top drug lords with weaponry Frank’s never imagined using. With a choice between that or spending the rest of his life in prison, Frank makes the right decision.

Wouldn’t you know it, Frank Castle has never had so much fun. With his hand-picked troops behind him, Frank goes after high profile villains he never thought he’d ever get a chance to go up against. We see as he and his boys go after the Yellow Claw and bomb his drug crop into oblivion. He actually seems far less cynical now, feeling that he’s actually in a war he can win.

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