Good to be Home Again

August 16th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

So, back from Orlando. I’ll write up the trip report on that in the next day or so.

As I returned to the land of Jersey, I was introduced to this cover image for Anti-Venom: New Ways to Live #3.

Yes. Many times, yes.

Comic books have been very, very good to me.

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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?



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Hola, Bobbito!

June 17th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

I dug the first issue of New Mutants, but #2 hit one of my few nitpicky pet peeves. This bit right here:


Naw, son. In addition to being browner back in the day (what’s up with the coloring in this book? everything is set to “superbright”), Bobby is Brazilian. They don’t speak Spanish down there. It’s Portuguese. In fact, here’s a bit from a letters page I found in an X-Force comic I was reading about a month back. It’s from somewhere between issue 80 and 82, I think. The page it was on had reactions for X-Force #76, so you do the math.


Listen to Giancarlo Lima, fellas! I’d have emailed this directly to whoever’s editing the book, but New Mutants doesn’t have a lettercol email setup, near as I can tell. And leaving Zeb Wells a Youtube comment just seems… weird.

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New Mutants #1

May 11th, 2009 Posted by david brothers

newmutv3001_dc11-1I don’t have history with the New Mutants. I never read their original book, and by the time I’d tried the satellite X-books, they were X-Force. I know a lot of X-Men fans hold the New Mutants in high esteem, but for my money, X-Force was way more interesting. I reread that old X-Force stuff a few months back and didn’t regret it, exactly, but it wasn’t very good, either. The idea of a second generation of X-Men who decided that Xavier’s way wasn’t perfect is a good one, and one that Grant Morrison revisited to great success in New X-Men: Riot at Xavier’s.

That was years ago at this point, though, and those times are long gone. The members of X-Force have given up, regressed, grown up again, and joined the actual X-Men. New Mutants #1 was written by Zeb Wells, pencilled by Diogenes Neves, inked by Cam Smith and Ed Tadeo, and colored by John Rauch. I checked it out mainly off the strength of Zeb Wells. He wrote the awesome New Warriors: Reality Check, starring Marvel’s other second generation of heroes, which was quickly thrown under the bus by Mark Millar’s Civil War. After reading it, the name New Mutants is basically a nostalgia grab. It stars Sam Guthrie, Roberto Da Costa, Amara Aquilla, Illyana Rasputin, Xi’an Coy Manh, and Dani Moonstar, and I found it a pretty solid first issue.

I’m really only familiar with Sam and Bobby as far as the cast goes, in addition to the surprise villain at the end. Even still, Wells does a pretty good job of selling me on the characters I don’t know, two of whom are blonde females of about the same height. I like that Illyana, who I’d previously seen when she died and maybe in some old X-Men reprints, is back and not exactly a good guy. She’s actually pretty sinister, and not in a “rough edge on a smooth team”-Wolverine sort of way.

The fact that the young students hate her is also a good touch, and a good example of something Wells does that I enjoy. He references a lot of backstory pretty seamlessly, but I never felt like I needed to know exactly what went down in, say, X-Infernus, which was a worthless story with solid art. The references are just used to build history, and to give Wells a bit of short-hand when sketching out the characters for new readers. I feel like Wells gets these characters. Sam and Bobby come across as best friends from jump, and Sam’s loyalty to his friends in particular is very clear. I also didn’t mind the suiting up scene, which usually comes across as corny.

I’m not as keen on the art. John Rauch’s coloring is working in that same style Pete Pantazis has been doing over on JLA– where each character is so brightly light that they look washed out and lightened. To be frank, it’s offputting and ugly. There’s not really any mood to the coloring, other than Outside, In A Basement, and Red Because She Might Be Evil. The color should enhance the art, rather than detract from it. It also sucks that Bobby Da Costa looks about as Brazilian as Bobby Drake.

At the same time, Neves’s art is solid, but unspectacular. He’s pretty solid at drawing kids, though his adults tend to skew a little too much toward the overmuscled superhero stereotype, rather than the early 20s mutants they should be, but that’s just comics as usual. Neves pulls some great facial expressions out of his hat, and though the issue doesn’t have a traditional fight scene, it seems like he’d be perfectly fine at choreographing and staging a solid fight scene.

New Mutants #1 was a solid, if a little unimpressive, read. I’ll give it another issue or so based on my past enjoyment of Zeb Wells and the fact that I like Bobby, Sam, and the surprise villain at the end. For it to be truly good, though, it’s going to need better coloring to even up the art. As-is, it’s a good start, enough to keep me interested, and a pretty decent mid-tier Marvel book. I like seeing these old characters turned into adults, and hopefully it’ll stick this time.

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Venom’s Shiny New Origin: If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It!

September 6th, 2008 Posted by Gavok

It’s not easy being a Venom fan. Or, to be more specific, it’s not easy being a fan of Eddie Brock. I’m more or less saddled in with him for life because in the end, he’s the guy who got me into comics and is instrumental to this site’s existence all together. That’ll be a story for another time. Maybe I’ll finally get around to that series of articles about his history next week. I’m getting nowhere with the next Deadshot’s Tophat installment anyway.

Now, I’ve read through the 5 years of Venom being the Lethal Protector (fun fact: reading almost every Venom appearance from the 90’s is so torturous that the Republicans now believe I’m qualified to run for office). It wasn’t a good series, but like all failed comics, it’s at least interesting when you look at what went wrong. What went wrong is Venom’s flaw as a concept. Esther made a post about ailed characters who can never fix what’s wrong with them (note: who the hell is Esther?). Rogue can’t touch, Babs can’t walk, Peter Parker can’t be happy, and so on and so forth. At least those guys have strong characteristics and rich histories. Venom isn’t allowed to have that.

Most of Venom’s 90 run worked like this: a writer would use him for a blatant crossover story and occasionally introduce a new dynamic to the character. He’d give Venom some direction and a little bit of promise. After that storyline, said writer would leave and be replaced with someone else. That guy would toss all of that development out of the window for the sake of writing his own wicked crossover story and it all starts over again.

Then Larry Hama took over for the rest of the run, which is interesting for the fact that the final few arcs were based on Venom fighting for amnesty by working for a corrupt government group that’s implanted him with a bomb if he gets out of line. Doesn’t that sound familiar?

Not like they’ll ever follow up on that connection. You see, Venom is a malleable character against his own will. Nobody cares enough to do anything meaningful with him. No matter how many girlfriends he’s given or how many moments of clarity he gets, every single writer after will disregard it all because Venom’s their pet dollar sign with fangs and a hate-on for Spider-Man. No more, sometimes less.

There’s almost some kind of sad tragedy to it. Some kind of Groundhog Day curse, but without the hilarity of Chris Elliot.

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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!

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.

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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What’s So Civil About War, Anyway

September 27th, 2006 Posted by Wanderer

Civil War is really fucking stupid.

I think I could fix it.

Let’s see if you agree.

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