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War of the Marvels: The Next Videogame Letdown

September 4th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

First thing, big thanks to whoever submitted the comics/wrestling parallels article to Fark. You are a true class act, whoever you are.

Said article is also deemed incorrect thanks to Mr. Kennedy getting himself suspended and therefore written out of the “Vince McMahon’s long-lost son” storyline. Though I guess that does make him the wrestling version of Captain Atom.

Electronic Arts has announced another Marvel fighting game with no title yet. Rather than be a sequel to Marvel Nemesis, even in style, the game appears as a Marvel version of War of the Monsters. War of the Monsters was an all right game, though pretty shallow. The new game doesn’t look very different.

Here is the trailer and here is the in-game footage. The roster so far is Spider-Man, Captain America, the Hulk, the Juggernaut and Dr. Doom. Allow me to rail on the footage, character-by-character.

Spider-Man: Cool that they go with the small-eyed look, much like Alex Ross intended with his original Spider-Man movie designs. The part where he saves the blond lady from the falling building, but does nothing to save Bruce Banner reminds me of that Jay Pinkerton parody with the avalanche.

Captain America: Apparently able to punch the Hulk a mile away, Captain America pretends to be alive for this upcoming game. The designers show that they’ve come up with like a hundred sketches of what Captain America should look like here. Listen, I know I’m not paid the big bucks like you fine fellows, but why not… I don’t know… make him look like Captain America?!

See? Capcom got it right.

Hulk: They end the trailer with the Hulk yawning. I don’t get it.

Juggernaut: For a guy magically given an instant and infinitely buff body, why does the Juggernaut look like he needs to do some sit-ups? And stop trying to make him resemble the Vinnie Jones movie version. That’s not something that needs emulating.

Doctor Doom: First off, nice kilt, Scrooge Von Duck. Here I thought Doom was a strategic mastermind that acted evil behind the defenses of diplomatic immunity, not a guy who terrorizes the populace by taking a stroll through New York City in broad daylight. It looks like Jim Rhodes redesigned Doom’s armor by giving him missiles instead of the trademark energy gauntlets. Plus he blows up a building in his attempt to kill Spider-Man, showing that even Doom is over 9/11. No tears this time.

I’ll have a real article up tomorrow. Stay tuned.

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4thletter is for… deception

June 29th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

4lisdeception.jpg

You ever get the feeling that the wool’s been pulled over your eyes, just a bit?

Garth Ennis is known for a few things. Blood, curse words, comedic facial deformities, sex jokes, a mild hatred of superheroes, and more blood and then a few more curse words. On the good side, he’s a pretty solid plotter, he knows his strengths, he does great dialog, and he’s the best war writer since Kanigher and Kubert.

Just in case you aren’t familiar, he’s written comics where a demon named Baytor becomes master of hell, Nick Fury strangles another dude with his own intestines, an alien sex pervert becomes a British diplomat and gets eaten by a tiger while dressed in a corset with an orange up his butt, a soldier constantly tries to trick his superior officer into kissing him by faking death, a guy gets his nose swapped with his penis and vice versa, an Australian pope has sex with nuns and curses, the Saint of Killers shoots God, a short man with glasses has sex with a giant statue made out of meat, superheroes are depicted as a bunch of people who are completely worthless human beings (and sex perverts), a dude has sex with himself and then shoots himself in the face in front of his son, and– actually, this is a pretty good sampling of the stuff he’s known for. Plus, this is going to completely ruin the search terms on this site.

Anyway, Ennis has got something of a rep. He’s done his fair share of gross-out comics, though it’s usually played for humor. But, I’ve been noticing something in his comics. He keeps sneaking in these little things that make a scary amount of sense. I don’t necessarily agree with Ennis on the religion front, but he makes good points about how to live life. Sexism, racism, whatever– it’s all stupid. It doesn’t matter. Leave it behind and just do right.

The quote up top is from The Boys #8, a series about some humans whose entire job consists of smearing and then beating the snot out of superhumans, who are all sex perverts and callous jerks. We’ve seen a bulldog have sex with another, smaller dog, and a Teen Titans-alike have a screwed up coke orgy. The book opens with a guy swinging around with his girlfriend like they were in a movie, only a superhuman comes crashing down and basically explodes her on impact, leaving the guy holding her severed arms. There’s also a dude who lives below a comic shop who basically calls Will Eisner a punk. And despite all this grisly stuff, you get little scenes like the one in that image up there.

Punisher: The Slavers dealt with white slavers. On the one hand, it’s a wish-fulfillment fantasy. We, the reader, get our revenge on the rapist and slavers of the world through Frank Castle’s actions. He kills quite a lot of them, and the series ends with him lighting a local boss on fire on video, looking into the camera, and saying “Don’t come back here.” He sends the video back to Eastern Europe with one of the allies of the slavers. On the other hand, though, I can’t remember the last time I saw the aftereffects of rape and kidnapping in a comic. One of the cops featured in the story actually quits the force, because she believes she can do more good helping track and assisting the girls who were kidnapped. The last two pages of The Slavers are heartbreaking. You don’t have the full context here, obviously, but I think the pages are worth sharing. Check out the softcover or the hardcover (B&N link) if it catches your interest. The softcover’s like ten bucks, it’s worth it. I cut out the pages where Cristu was burned alive because they aren’t 100% relevant here.

For reference: Viorica lost her daughter to the slavers.

punisher_v5_030_p14.jpg punisher_v5_030_p15.jpg punisher_v5_030_p20.jpg
punisher_v5_030_p21.jpg punisher_v5_030_p22.jpg
(words by ennis, art by fernandez)

“All she can do is live with what life they left her.” Ouch.
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5 Questions from Tom Foss, 8 from Carnage

June 27th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Not that Carnage.

Before I get into it, though, I’ve got half of an idea in my head. Boxing, the NBA, and the NFL are mostly black (except for quarterbacks :doom:). What if you had a series of superteams, like say one in each of the 50 states, that were run like a sports team? Try outs, scandals, all stars, cocky all-stars fresh out of high school… There’s something there, but I can’t quite grab it yet. Any Given Sunday in a comic book universe.

First is Tom Foss‘s five questions:
1. You’re given the keys to the Marvel Universe, and your only order is to take one “What If” storyline from the entirety of the series and make it canon, along with whatever alterations occur to the universe as a result. Which story do you choose?

Geez. I’d probably pick Gavok’s #1, What If Iron Man Sold Out. It was an awesome story, one of the few What Ifs I owned as a kid, and had great art. It hit all my buttons– it was set just pre-apocalypse, semi-fascist, and had heroes coming back to be true heroes.

Actually, yeah, that’s it for sure. What If Spider-Man Kept the Power Cosmic was another great one, but it kind of takes my favorite superhero out of the runnings for further stories, so no dice. What If the Avengers Lost Operation Galactic Storm was great and I’d like to see that one. It was practically Annihilation III in terms of scope.

2. Who watches the Watchers?

The police. Peeping tom perverts always get theirs.

3. What five Marvel characters do you think are most likely to actually be Skrulls?

Sentry’s wife, the secret masters behind SHIELD, the secret masters behind HYDRA, and I don’t know. I haven’t really given specific Skrulls much thought. I’ll have to post my theory on why Nick Fury went underground, though.

4. Who are your top three, back-of-the-OHOTMU, favorite guilty pleasure Marvel characters?
1. Jubilee (who remains the only character I have a continuity nerd story pitch for)
2. Darkhawk
3. Terror, Inc.

Ugh, I was so impressionable as a kid.

5. Which Avengers base is/was the best?

I couldn’t pick if I tried! I only recently became an Avengers fan. So… I figure Stark/Sentry Tower? I don’t know. The mansion is just kinda blah.

Spencer Carnage is up next.
– I have to post these rules before I start.
– I have to tell you eight facts about myself.
– I have to tag eight people to participate.
– I’m supposed to leave a comment telling them they’re tagged and to read my blog.
– And the tagees need to write their own blog post, telling us eight things and posting the rules.

Ugh, eight things. Okay. Deep breath and
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G’wan and walk it out…

June 5th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Oh, man, it’s been a minute! Where have I been? Busy, that’s where!

In terms of work stuff, I have been co-writing Guide for The Darkness. I think the game drops later this month? I went to one of these Hot Import Nights show. Better yet– it was for work. I’d never been to an import tuner show, mainly because my taste runs more toward Continentals and Cadillacs than RX-7s and Mazda 3s, you know? It was cool. A lot more models than I expected, though. I didn’t get to see any of San Diego, either, and that kind of sucks! I’ve also been doing a gaggle of galloping game manuals. Curiously, all of them are nerdy or comic game franchises. In fact, the manual I’m wrapping up tomorrow morning is related to a certain franchise that Dark Horse publishes.

In terms of real life stuff, I’ve been adjusting to life in San Francisco, trying to figure out a workable budget that’ll let me stock my place and pay my bills, picking up a diet, and I’m probably going to start exercising here in my place. Need to find a pull-up bar that doesn’t need screws, but that ain’t likely. I’ve also been burning through these Entourage DVD sets I have. I haven’t had a haircut or a shave in a over month now. Time to lose the stubble and cut my hair down to a proper 1/8 inch. Gotta find somebody to do the hair line, though.

My neighbor, I think downstairs-ish, is playing Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayer right now. Last week, it was Sade. I can’t really fault her taste in music, you know? Really laid back. I’ve been listening to a lot of Ludacris and Outkast, myself.

Life is weird. Life is good.

In terms of internet stuff, I’ve been thinking up clever MySpace display names (“Darling, after Valentine’s, I’ve decided!” [get it?]), modding Something Awful’s comics forum (which really isn’t that hard), chatting about ISSUES IN COMICS with people I know, and reading and enjoying most of the blogosphere. Listening to podcasts, too. Check the Funnybook Babylon link on the right-hand side, there.

A couple people said on a blog that there are no non-stereotypical or non-offensive non-white male characters in comics. That was an interesting two days diversion, I must say.

In terms of blogging stuff… I’ve been slacking. I owe a certain comics blog that I really enjoy a guest post (which I’ve finally cracked after a few weeks of stage fright/lack of time). I owe 4l a ton of posts, too.

I’ve been trying to get things straight in my mind. I want to talk about how Nymphet getting canceled made me realize that I, and probably a lot of other people, only care about the first amendment when it suits me. Change comics? Whoo! Cancel pedo books? Whoo! Censor a book I like? Whoa, nelly! Hold up there.

How do making a change in someone else’s comics to reduce sexism/racism/*ism and respecting their right to free speech track? It’s an interesting dilemma. If you have any insight, feel free to share. I’ve thought about making this a separate post, but I don’t feel like I have my mind wrapped around it right yet.

I’ve also been wondering how to follow up my big post from the other weekend, too. I mean, how can you drop a manifesto and then come back with “Deadpool sure is cool hurrrrrr” you know? Here’s the answer: you won’t know how until you do it.

Anyway! I’m well-rested after my weekend in San Diego (kind of) and I really want to get back to 4l. The review post I owe you is up next (and I plan to write it tonight so I won’t be a liar!) and then hopefully some good stuff.

Peace up, A-towns down!

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No Solicitors

March 22nd, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Have you guys read the new Marvel and DC solicits? I love comics, but those things are a bore and a half. It’s like they don’t even want you to read their books.

It’s cool, though. Here are the ones that are new and good and interesting. Jumping-on points only here, with one exception, perhaps. My pithy and vitally important commentary is in italics.

DC Comics is first since Marvel is better!

BATMAN #667
Written by Grant Morrison
Art and cover by J.H. Williams III
The Batmen of All Nations reunite for a weekend of fine food and nostalgia, but an unexpected visitor has other plans for the gathering. Batman, Robin, and the rest of the Club of Heroes find themselves trapped and at the mercy of a dangerous madman on the Island of Mister Mayhew!
This is why I read Grant Morrison. Mad ideas that sound completely goofy. He’s Silver Age with a Modern Age sensibility. Plus, I hope the sweet Knight and Squire from JLA Classified 1-3 shows up.

ROBIN #163
Written by Adam Beechen
Art by Freddie E. Williams II
Cover by Patrick Gleason & Wayne Faucher
It’s Tim Drake’s first Father’s Day as Bruce Wayne’s adopted son, and he wants everything to be just right. Unfortunately, the justice-crazed supervillains known as The Jury pick that very day to go on a murder spree in Gotham City!
This is a great idea for a story. The “family” part of Bat-family doesn’t get looked at often enough. “The Jury,” though, conjures up images of a certain ’90s anti-Venom team.

BATMAN: HARLEY & IVY TP
Written by Paul Dini and Judd Winick
Art by Bruce Timm, Joe Chiodo and others
Cover by Timm
Paul Dini and Bruce Timm -two of the masterminds behind Batman: The Animated Series – join forces in this volume collecting the miniseries BATMAN: HARLEY AND IVY! Also included is the special: HARLEY AND IVY: LOVE ON THE LAM by Judd Winick and Joe Chiodo, plus a newly-colored story rom BATMAN BLACK AND WHITE VOL. 2!
It’s Harley Quinn, so shut up and buy it.
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All the Way Live(journal)

January 25th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

Our very own Thomas Wilde, in an attempt to further destroy any free time he has, has created a new LJ community for those of you out there curious about comics talk. It has a very cool focus and it would be nice to see it grow. It is called Comics 101, but it isn’t this Comics 101. Pure coincidence, I think. Anyway, the URL for it is here and you can join the community here. Copy/pasted from the comm info:

This is Comics 101, a Livejournal community dedicated to the discussion of comics. If you’re a long-time comics fan who wants to spread the word about his or her favorite books, feel free to post a few scans and talk the books up.

If you’re a new comics fan who’s looking for recommendations or character backstory, please ask, and our trained geeks will be right with you.

Comics 101 is a place for intelligent discussion, or as intelligent as a discussion of comics can get. Please do not flame other users, post requests for illegal scans of comics, or make substanceless “introduction” posts. All posts to the community must deal with comics some way, whether it’s with scanned pages, an information request, a discussion of recent solicitations, or other relevant topics.

Please put all scanned pages behind an LJ cut.

This is not a slash-friendly community. If you’re interested in discussing out-of-context panels, slash fiction, or “‘shipping,” please head over to scans_daily.

Comics 101 is roughly affiliated with the 4th Letter.

By “not slash friendly” he doesn’t mean “Arrgh slashers!” It’s more of an “Arrgh, canon only please!” sort of thing. If you’ve ever seen some of the posts on scans_daily devolve into fights over whether Batman makes googoo eyes at Superman more than Robin, you’d understand.

So go forth, tell us about some bomb comics or ask questions about something you’ve always wondered. No topic is taboo, but I think Thomas would rather stick more to things that can be backed up with canon rather than fan conjecture. It’s looking like a pretty laid back place, so go and have some fun.


In other, non-comics news– you folks like video games? My favorite gaming magazine (and yours :argh:) recently launched a new wiki called Hardcore Gamer Wiki, a place to stockpile tons of info on video games. If you’d like to help fill it out, pop over there, make an account, scope out the rules, and get to writing. Got a favorite game? Make a page for it. Is your favorite game underrepresented by its entry? Edit it!

The home page of the mag, of course, is hardcoregamer.com. You can find free downloadable issues of the mag on there and a button that will lead you to a place where you can go and subscribe to the mag for a year for 24.95.


100 Bullets came out this week. :)

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4thletter is… drama.

December 21st, 2006 Posted by david brothers

No text or essays for this one. I just really, really like the gif.

Want to know the quickest way to have all your blogging time sucked away? Work retail during Christmas and write about video games during the fourth quarter of the year, a.k.a. “The time every single freaking game in the entire world comes out all at once and you have to play most of them!”

More later, probably! I am currently enjoying a day off. I recently figured out how to access every single post from the original incarnation of 4l, which Gavok and I started back in March, 2005! Let’s see if anyone notices when we celebrate a two year blogiversary (such an awful word) four months after we had our one year! I think I’ll put up one of my earliest posts from the site. I just need a good name for the feature. Something faux old timey.

I’ve got a ComicSpace. Add a brothers, will you?

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 20

November 12th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Well, it’s been four months of lead-up. When the first part of the countdown came out, Lynxara asked about why I’d do a top 100 list for a series of books that only have 175 issues. Especially when I count two-parters as one entry. Truth be told, this isn’t like ranking the best issues of Nightwing or Mighty Thor. Most comic series have cohesion and you usually have an idea of what to expect in each issue. Writers, artists and story remain the same for months and sometimes years at a time.

What If, on the other hand, is different. What If is the ultimate comic book box of chocolates. Writers, artists, stories, ideas and tones change from issue to issue. Many stories are good. Many are bad. But almost every one of them is interesting in its own way. I could have easily have done a top 20 or top 50 list and be done long ago, but there’s too much fun we’d be missing out on. No jive-talking Incredible Hulk, or Matt Murdock crying over Wilson Fisk’s death bed, or Kraven the Hunter eating Peter Parker’s face.

Now let’s get in our Quinjet and take us down to #1.

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Round Up

October 28th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

It’s been a minute! Let’s chat.

-Did I tell you guys I’ve got One Volume Bone? I’ve got the first four colorized volumes, and I may continue to buy them, but I’ve got the big phone book now. I’m waiting before I start to read it, though I’m not entirely sure why. Anticipation?

I also scored Doom Patrol v4: Musclebound. Volume 5 is being solicited in January, and I’m hoping that Flex Mentallo trade is right around the corner!

Gavok still wants artists! Show us your funny bone and art skills!

-Stephanie Brown died in War Games, the Crossover That Blew. Her treatment was pretty shameful, and some would like to see a Robin memorial case dedicated to her. I’ve thought hard about this issue (no lie, i think about things sometimes!) and I just can’t agree. My argument, boiled down to its basics, is that “Steph wasn’t ever really Robin and she doesn’t need a Robin case.” That’s selling myself short, however.

Johanna Draper Carlson made a post on this subject a couple days ago and I ended up responding. I make an appearance in the comments thread and try to articulate why I feel that way. I really do have (what I think is) a well-thought out and reasoned point, so give it a look. I wonder if I could expand it into a better-edited post for here…

-Anyone else playing Marvel Ultimate Alliance on 360? If you’re not a jerk, add hermanos to your friends list and we can get our game on. The cast list is spectacular, Sue Storm is ridiculously good, and Deadpool is hilarious. Solid game all around and I wish I could’ve reviewed it in the magazine.

gtahgm.jpg-Speaking of the mag! HGM17 is out and about and ready for downloadin’. Our site is at Hardcore Gamer and here is the direct link to our magazine download page. Want to pay money for a print copy? Check out our subscribe page!

Go forth, my children, and make me rich read my magazine. We’ve got a dope Grand Theft Auto: Vice City cover story (complete with foil cover, no lie), a gaggle of galloping previews, some great reviews of video games due out soon, and a couple of sweet features. I think the Lost in VR feature ran this month, which dealt with VR in games. Check it out!

-More content later! I’ve got a Wildstorm post half done for you and those guest articles I promised before my business life exploded. Stay tuned, true believers!

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The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 14

September 26th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

The new Marvel solicitations have been released, detailing the new What Ifs. One is based on Deadly Genesis, which doesn’t interest me since I haven’t read that yet. The other, which looks to be awesome, is Age of Apocalypse. This time, Legion did kill Magneto… but he also killed Xavier. Judging from the cover, this could be very interesting.

35) WHAT IF THE AVENGERS FOUGHT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR WITHOUT RICK JONES?

Issue: Volume 1, #20
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Alan Kupperberg
Spider-Man death: No
Background: I myself haven’t read the Kree-Skrull War arc, but I get the gist of it from Wikipedia and the Watcher’s introduction. It doesn’t sound very good, all in all. The important parts to note are that the Super-Skrull had captured Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver with Captain America, Goliath (Pym), Iron Man, Thor and Vision off to save them. Rick Jones somehow got captured by some Kree guys as the Kree’s fleet prepared to invade Earth. In the end, Rick met with the Supreme Intelligence, who betrayed the Kree. He stimulated Rick’s mind so that he mentally projected memories of his childhood heroes (ie. the Invaders and the like) to beat up the Kree fleet. Sounds retarded, but it was the 70’s. This version of the story is far better. There’s a part of the original story where Rick Jones was brought before Ronan the Accuser. Rick stole a guard’s staff and attacked Ronan, only to do no damage. Ronan noted Rick’s courage and figured he’d make a good slave. In the Tom DeFalco version, Ronan is more pissed than amused and kills the boy with his cosmic hammer dealy. He calls for the fleet to make way to Earth and decimate it.

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