Sweet Advertising

June 20th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

I was flipping through a trade for Avengers: Disassembled earlier when I came across this ad for the then-upcoming Young Avengers.

Three years after the fact, I have to say that this is a brilliant page. That one little tagline about how it isn’t what we think ends up having three different definitions.

First, you may initially think that these guys are the young versions of the Avengers. Like the Muppet Babies with battle armor. Obviously, that’s not the case.

Second, there’s the fact that a series entitled Young Avengers sounds like it has to suck. It turned out to be really rad, but the very concept sounds like it has every reason to fail. I recall asking internet friend A.o.D. about how the series was after two issues. His response was something to the effect of, “It’s trying hard to convince you that this is a good idea. I have to say it’s doing a good job.”

Those two were more immediate definitions. The other one wouldn’t be realized for quite a while. All four of those guys aren’t what you think in terms of what they’re supposedly based on.

Patriot may seem like Young Captain America, but he was lying. He didn’t have any Super Soldier Serum in him for a while. Even when he did, it was from the lesser-known Captain America: his grandfather, Isaiah Bradley.

Asgardian may have had the name and magic to suggest that he had some kind of link to Thor, but that was debunked once he changed his name to Wiccan and discovered that he’s really the son of Scarlet Witch. Somehow. I forgot how that whole thing worked out.

Iron Lad looked like he could be related to Iron Man on the surface, but he turned out to be a young Kang the Conquerer wearing Vision as armor. Now he’s just Vision with young Kang’s personality, albeit with his face blown off. Stupid Skrulls.

Speaking of Skrulls, we then have Hulkling, who has nothing to do with the Hulk other than aping his form. Instead, it turns out he’s the extremely powerful offspring of Captain Marvel and the Skrull Princess Anelle. No gamma radiation for him.

The Black Captain America, Scarlet Witch, Vision and Captain Marvel. The original four Young Avengers may live in the footsteps of heroes, but not in the way you think they would.

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Black History Month 06: Wu-Tang is For the Children

February 6th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

“I don’t know how you all see it, but when it comes to the children, Wu-Tang is for the children. We teach the children.”
–Ol’ Dirty Bastard

There aren’t a lot of black youths active in comics these days. Just a cursory, generous, and off-the-top-of-my-head count comes up with Natasha Irons, Night Thrasher (II), Debrii, Patriot, Prodigy… who else? DC’s got a stockpile of fashionable pretty little indistinguishable blonde girls and dark haired male sidekicks and that’s about it. We’ve got a fistful of grown-ups, and Luke Cage is leading the Avengers and playing the Captain America role (whoa), but what about the kids?

I had some harsh words about Patriot a while back, and I stand by them. His origin makes him a sucker and a weakling on a team full of people who have overcome exterior problems without falling victim to interior ones. I recently reread Young Avengers after a friend gave away the two trades and I still can’t get into it. It rubs me raw.

Patriot is an interesting character, because a young black male wearing the flag, even (or especially) now is rife with story possibilities. In a lot of ways, it flies in the face of logic. In others, it makes perfect sense. Ed Brubaker did a good job briefly discussing those issues in his issue of Young Avengers Presents. How do you reconcile history and the ideal? Do you even bother trying? Patriot is the grandson of a man who was pretty much tortured and ruined by the government who is represented by the flag he wears. What about that?

David “Prodigy” Alleyne from New X-Men is a character that I liked a lot. He had clever powers and was kind of a modern-day non-irreparably lame Doug Ramsey type of kid. He could absorb the knowledge, but not the powers, of anyone who he was close to. Then House of M hit and Kyle and Yost took over the series and bodies started dropping and I stopped reading.

But, I mean, before all that? He seemed pretty cool, even if he was only ever on maybe ten covers out of fifty-nine of the New Mutants/New X-Men run. (Yes I counted.)

I want a spectrum of characters. I want to see that young black kid who is all about fighting the power and bringing down the man. I want to see that kid who might not have grown up as poor as his other friends and has some guilt over that. I want to see that black girl who had to fight twice as hard as everyone else she knows to get half as far. I want to see those kids who reflect the people I grew up with, who run the gamut from this, to that, and the third.

I started reading comics almost twenty years ago. (I am not that old I just started reading early, shut up.) Why is the landscape barely different at all? Milestone Comics was how many years ago now? I mean, can a Brothers get a black Teen Titan who isn’t a) Cyborg and b) a shrinky bee girl? This is the pre-eminent DC teen team, you mean to tell me that they can’t get a quota kid or two to fill out the ranks? Farm some kids out of the Boys & Girls Club? I mean, blonde girls got it made! There’s one with every power under the sun! Why can’t I have a spectrum of characters to look at and show my little cousins?

“Hey, check this guy out! He’s pretty cool, right?”
“What’s his power? He looks aight.”
“Um, he got beat up so he took drugs so he could get revenge on those guys, and then decided he wanted to be a hero.”

Yeah, that’s not the business.

We’ve got a few characters. Making more isn’t even hard.

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Bendis Hates Tigra, Brubaker Hates Milla, BKV Hates Black People

January 30th, 2008 Posted by david brothers

Or do they?

How long do you give a story before you judge it? If it’s obviously one part of a series, do you wait until it’s done or are you just so turned off that you shun it forever and cast it into outer darkness?

I tend to walk the line. If it’s a writer I trust, I’ll ride it out and see where it takes me. If it’s a writer I don’t trust… well, I don’t generally read books by writers I don’t trust, so that problem basically solves itself.

I mean, I saw one of the best black characters in comics catch a bullet to the dome a while back. It was a good scene and a good story, so I stayed interested instead of turned off.

Also, can we please stop talking about how much X writer hates Y character just because bad things happen to that character? One joke in an interview two years ago does not a vendetta make, no matter how often and how loudly it’s repeated. Bendis doesn’t hate Tigra any more than he hates Dr. Strange or Mary Jane.

I should probably also talk about Young Avengers #1: Patriot sometime soon, too, huh? I’m sure you’re all dying to know my thoughts on it.

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Joe Q: Villain or Menace?

June 14th, 2007 Posted by david brothers

I’ve been putting out vinyl since ’93 and never looked back once
And y’all trying to chase me
You don’t innovate because you can’t innovate
It’s not a choice despite what you might tell your boys
Keep your identity crisis under the table
I always knew who I was and I’ll always be more famous

-El-P, “We’re Famous”

“What the fuck is DC anyway?” Mr. Quesada said, stoking the fires. “They’d be better off calling it AOL Comics. At least people know what AOL is. I mean, they have Batman and Superman, and they don’t know what to do with them. That’s like being a porn star with the biggest dick and you can’t get it up. What the fuck?” (Paul Levitz, DC’s president and publisher, declined to comment for this story through a spokesperson.)
The Observer, 04/28/02

Joe Quesada, EiC of Marvel Comics, gets a lot of crap.

To be honest, a lot of it is deserved. Marvel has done some bone-headed stuff under his rule. Losing Grant Morrison, the Heroes for Hire thing, giving Greg Land work, almost firing Mark Waid, and so on. I’m sure you have a laundry list of reasons to dislike the dude. He’s got a big mouth, too, and doesn’t hesitate to open it.

But, and here is the rub– it’s his fault that comics are so good right now. Let me explain.

There is a philosophy that a president, I think it was President Rickard, used to have. Okay, it was Truman and I was reaching way too hard for the Prez Rickard joke. Anyway, it’s “The buck stops here.” In other words, if you’re the boss, all the bad crap that happens is your fault, whether you had a direct hand in it or not. It’s a way of taking responsibility for things that your organization does. It’s also a way of blaming the head guy in charge for everything and anything.

Turn that around, though. Doesn’t the head guy in charge deserve some credit for the good things, too? I think so.

Joey da Q is not the best guy around, I won’t deny that. Marvel is hardly perfect. But, he’s trying, and I can respect that. Obviously, the credit for these decisions should be shared with his editors, the creators, Bill Jemas, and Dan Buckley, but Joe Q should get a slice of that, as well.

This is pretty long, and I cover a lot of stuff, from comics to sex to race to dissing the competition, so click through.
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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.


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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Young Avengers, and Why I Can’t Relate

September 13th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung’s Young Avengers ended up being something of an out-of-nowhere hit, despite fandom assembled’s idea that it would be something stupid. People rave about the awesome characterization, the realistic depiction of relationships both platonic and, uh, not platonic, between teenagers, and a careful attention to Marvel lore.

I can’t relate. I don’t like it. Let’s start at the beginning, all right?

I’ll be honest. When I first heard about Young Avengers, I couldn’t have cared less. The Avengers have almost always been Marvel’s version of Dad Comics to me. A bunch of characters I don’t like fighting villains I’ve never heard of. Young Avengers was about as interesting to me as a new Wonder Man or Ms. Marvel series.

Then, I read somewhere that it was going to be tied to Marvel’s Truth: Red, White, and Black miniseries. I found that mini to be quite enjoyable, so hurrah! Marvel hadn’t forgotten its black readership! Read the rest of this entry �

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Lobo’s back’s back.

August 30th, 2006 Posted by david brothers

Just a few quick bullets on what I’m thinking about in the world of comics right about now.

– This week’s 52 was good. Lobo’s reintroduction was great, and his origin, completely with pompadour, was a good look, too.

– I have a new issue of Kabuki to read. I’m positively giddy. I may wait until tomorrow to read the latest issue of the best non-monthly series ever.

– All-Star Superman, by The King of All-Comics and Frank Quitely, delivered. Lex Luthor’s eyebrow and sheer arrogance come through perfectly and hilariously.

– Mike Carey’s first issue of Ultimate Fantastic Four? Way better than Millar’s entire year, of which I read approximately the first three months. It’s that good.

– Black Panther’s World Tour has started up, and it’s going to be a doozy. Doom gets what’s coming two different ways. Next month is the Inhumans, I cannot wait for that.

– The Boys 02 is the second issue in a row to feature, er, doggy-style. Pun possibly intended. This is one of the most mean-spirited books I’ve read, but we get some good character insights in Billy Butcher and friends. I’m definitely interested, and Robertson’s art? It’s great.

x-men 190 Have you guys seen Chris Bachalo’s cover to X-Men 190? It’s incredible. The scene it depicts happens a little different in the comics, but that’s water under the bridge. There’s precious little Rogue in this book, but her old costume is lovely and her new assertiveness fits a character who’s been a mainline X-Man for years now. She isn’t just “Sugah sugah mope mope mope.” She’s a fighter. Carey is doing a bang-up job on this series. This guy is remarkably good in the Marvel U. His Hellblazer was good, but Lucifer never grabbed me. His Marvel stuff, though… too good. Loving it.

Mythos HulkMythos: Hulk by Paul Jenkins and Paolo Rivera is a four dollar bundle of joy. The Mythos series (right now just Hulk and X-Men) is a retelling of Marvel origins. They are updated for the modern era and boiled down to their essences. Rick Jones isn’t dared by friends to go onto the testing site, he’s an intern who isn’t paying attention. That sort of thing. They’re good stuff, and Rivera’s art is a treat. Highly recommended, and I hope they collect all of them into a handsome hardcover down the line.

– I read Wonder Woman 02. I’m done with the series. I realized that the moment I saw Wonder Woman start to do that stupid spinning thing from the TV show. No sir I do not like it. The Dodson’s art is great, as always, but Heinberg leaves me flat. Not quite Young Avengers flat, but flat. It wasn’t just the spinning what done it, either. It’s a book that seems to be trying very hard to get me to care, but does a poor job of closing the deal. Giganta is smart and tall… okay? Donna Troy is Wonder Woman and sucks at her job… okay? Wonder Woman is sneaking around and hiding… why bother? It’s weird. My favorite portrayals of Wonder Woman have been in the Morrison/Waid/Kelly JLA era. Doug Mahnke drew the absolute best WW ever. The wet hair look was way better than the usual comic book poofy hair. He drew her lean, but powerful, and his Angry Wonder Woman was something to behold. So, uh, now that I own the first 90 or so issues of JLA in trade form, I guess I’ll go read those when I want to read about Wondy.

Titans – Someone explain this image to me. Is this from the new issue of Teen Titans? I found it linked off SomethingAwful’s BSS forum and it… bleh. Johns, what are you doing, man? That first row, save for Aquagirl and Speedy is worthless, and I like Speedy despite Judd Winick’s handling of her. The second row has Beast Boy and Offspring and they’re cool, but the rest of that row is worthless, too. I realize I’m prejudging here, but Little Barda is too much. DC just needs to leave the Fourth World alone. Give it to Morrison and a good artist and just keep it out of anyone else’s hands. It’s cool to see Mas y Menos and Captain Marvel Jr, but again, the rest of the characters? Bleh. On the bottom row, I think that the two Daughters are interesting ideas, if pushing the gimmick a bit, and I like Ravager, and that leaves Osiris. If Osiris turns out to be Isis’s brother, he’s got the most poorly thought-out code name ever. It takes a lot for me to read Titans. Introducing a bunch of no-names and go-nowheres isn’t really drawing me in. The series hasn’t really grabbed me since Titans Tomorrow, to be quite honest. Maybe it’ll pick up, but I basically have read Teen Titans for two years of my life. I can do without it. It’s turned into the JSA, in that it’s a book about a team full of characters who should be guest-stars at best.

– To be quite fair, Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men is boring me, too. Ha ha, Wolverine, yes, but the rest of the book is cute references up the wazoo and SHOCK REVEALS. It’s very pretty, but I’m not even remotely interested in the story. It feels like it’s treading water, with Neat Callback Scene (Kitty Pryde in the sewer last issue made me roll my eyes hard) to Neat Action scene with no meat inbetween.

– Just to complete the custom combo, I found Serenity boring and Firefly decent to middling at best.

– Cameron Stewart is awesome. You all know this, yes? His upcoming book about Vietnam looks like the bee’s knees. However! He and his Royal Academy of Illustration and Design cronies are having a draw-off, and Harley Quinn was the pick for today. Harl is probably my favorite bat-villain, so go check it out. I kind of like Cam’s, since it’s classic Bruce Timm style, but all of them are good. Go look!

– Oh man, I’m totally going to pitch DC Joker Loves Harley Quinn and do it in the Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane style, but with more mayhem. Yes.

– Here’s an interview with Georges Jeanty, artist of The American Way. He’s a great talent, and TAW is totally a sleeper hit. It gets better and better. It’s telling a great tale of superheroics in the 1960s and actually deals realistically with race. I’m loving it, and 4l member Thomas Wilde likes it, too. He doesn’t like anything but Barb Wire, Vampirella, and other bad comics, so him liking a good book is astonishing. I’m kidding! He doesn’t actually like any of those books. However, if he doesn’t write for the blog, I’ll tell everyone that he does and then kill him while he sits in shame.

– I’ve gotten a buttload of trades over the past couple weeks. X-Men: The Coming of Bishop, Birds of Prey: Sensei & Student, Starman: Sins of the Father, X-Men: Golgotha, some JLA v3 trades, Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness, Spider-Man: The Assasin Nation Plot, The Punisher/Wolverine: African Saga (Carl Potts and Jim Lee! Whatever happened to Carl Potts?), and Monster volumes 3 and 4. Also Absolute Kingdom Come, though I don’t like Alex Ross’s art very much at all, but I love extra content in hardcover comics. I sometimes fear that I have bad taste in comics, but I love them too much to quit.

– So, summing up: Comics are great right now, Wonder Woman’s series is blah, Teen Titans is blah, but comics are still great, the internet is awesome, and I’ve got bad taste in comics. This ended up a lot longer than expected. It was supposed to be a short post!

– Peace!

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