Monday, May 31, 2010

Haunt #5

Haunt 5 - Comic of the DayI've finished the first tale in the Haunt ongoing and I can't help but thinking one thing: why doesn't the costume goo cover the lower half of his face?

Getting back to the costume in a bit, though I know it will be the only thing you think about as I continue on (it's like when you are reading a novel and finish a whole page but then realize you had been thinking of something else the whole time and have no idea what you just read)...wait, what was this sentence about again? Scanning...ah yes! The actual issue, Haunt #5, ends in a way a new ongoing's first story has to. The hero saves the day, but not quite, thus, allowing for future reoccurring villains and connective plots. Sure there are a couple of "didn't see that coming moments" but all in all a standard wrap up.

I think I like Haunt. Mainly the creative team of Robert Kirkman and Ryan Ottley, the writer and artist behind Invincible, bring characters alive (even the dead ones) through bloody violence and emotional outburst like few teams can (Kirkman and original Invincible artist Cory Walker were great at the same thing, as well). Some of the characters are caricatures, but they work in a book like Haunt which is filled with super secret special agents and super secret smart (the characters are kept's no secret that they are smart...ah never mind) villains.

Reading through the grape vine, which means Wikipedia these days, I discovered that the amazing Kurt Vonnegut was recognized by Kirkman in several ways. I'm tired so I've just linked the above Wikipedia word with Haunt's wiki page. The comic of the day was...oh wait! So what is up with not covering the face? If the character is going to be Spider-Man mixed with Spawn then they should really give him the bottom half of his face make-up...that or have him grow a beard.

I like the beard idea.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ex Machina #6

Ex Machina 6 - Comic of the DaySometimes you don't know exactly why you like an artist's work right away. You stare at their creations and no that it speaks to you or fills you with a sense of aw or even emotion, but when another person asks you why you like it all you can offer up is, "I just do."

Thanks to Ex Machina #6, I now understand why "I just do" like Brian K. Vaughan's writing so much. He tackles social, governmental and taboo issues in stories that compelling for other reasons all together. Vaughan's work with Y: The Last Man takes a look at how gender effects society, how gender effects individuals and the effect of gender on others, government and the world; yet, the story is also about a guy and his monkey trying to get by in a world where every man has died in an instant. The outside story is entertaining but the underlining issues of gender is what gives the book such great depth.

Another quick example is Brian K. Vaughan's Pride of Baghdad. It is based on a true story about lions who leave an Iraqi zoo when it is damaged during the current Iraqi conflict. The book comments on the fact that the lions have a moment of freedom, yet since the became free under odd circumstances the freedom is short lived and results in the lions destruction. Vaughan use the stories of the lions to shed life on what happens when one doesn't create their own freedom, but rather they are given it rather clumsily.

Going back to Ex Machina, Vaughan's first story arch touches on race through a piece of art baring a certain derogatory "N" word on it. Arguments for the interpretation of the piece were included throughout the book, and regardless on the characters take on the art or what the outcome regarding it ended up being, I appreciated the discussion.

In the comic of the day, Ex Machina #6, a couple of new topics are brought up which involves a bit of interesting dialog. First, in a brief discussion between a Mayor Hundred and his friend/city employee, the speak about the issue of the poor public education in New York, the possibility of education vouchers for the poor and the ideology for the use of affirmative action. The other part of the book happens at the end and will bleed into issue #7. The Mayor is asked if he will wed two men. The Mayor implies he has no problem with it at the end of the comic, but we will have to wait till the next issue to discover how that will play out.

I love it. The political and social stuff being mixed into my paper entertainment pleases me to no end. The best part about reading it in the comic is that I don't have to pick a side. Vaughan presents arguments for both sides, which I can just sit back and take in.

Some critics may argue by bringing up these issues Vaughan is leaning one way or the other on them and telling the reader to think his way. I disagree with that assessment. Ed Brubaker gets criticism for his books (most notable the recent Captain America "Two Americas" story line) for raising current political and social issues of our day and both Brubaker and Vaughan are doing just that: "raising" the issues. They never tell a reader to think one way or the other they simply present the situation and have their character (who has an established view point) make a decision. The reader is just that, a reader: following along and able to judge for themselves. There are plenty of comic books available to readers who just want nonsense entertainment, hell even I like the non-sense some times, but if a reader really wants to get their noodle going they should pick up a Brian K Vaughan book the next time they hit their comic shop or local bookstore.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Powers: Cosmic (Vol.10)

It can be tough to get into a comic book so rich with developed characters as Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Avon Oeming's Powers, but whether you know the back histories or not the tenth trade paper back in the Powers run, Cosmic, is an excellent book.

Cosmic begins with a seemingly random man, outside looking for his dog, getting split in two by a super powered person falling to the earth. The super powered character just gets up and flies away leaving one man dead and a homicide to be solved by the detective team of Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim. The dead man turns out to be a super-powered defender of the earth's section of the galaxy. He was like a Green Lantern or a Nova Corp member. This fact, which is later revealed when his home is searched, adds a wrinkle to the investigation.

It should be noted that in the Powers universe using super powers is illegal. Detective Christian Walker used to be a superhero, but lost his powers and now does his part as a detective. In Cosmic, Walker is chosen by the galactic entity in charge of the designating of powered protector in the earth sector. So in Green Lantern, when a Lantern Corp member dies the ring finds a worthy new person to become the next Lantern. In Powers some alien gives a worthy person the opportunity. The alien says, "You down or what?"

I really enjoyed this story, not for the interesting characters or the world of Powers, but rather because the person who was killed is killed for a reason unlike many other stories which rotate around a "who done it" and "why" story. When the killer is found the "why" seems refreshingly new, yet at the same time not elaborate.

This comic of the day, Powers: Cosmic (Vol.10), is a good story which will get readers into the series and looking for back volumes. The characters are interesting but more importantly, if the other volumes are anything like this one, they will contain fresh takes on worlds where people have powers.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #632

The Amazing Spider-Man #632 starts off as another visual festival thanks to the pencil work, and some inking, of Chris Bachalo. His Spider-Man styling is by far the best in the business. The ways he positions Spidey is at times comical and other times very spider-like, a style partly made famous by Todd McFarlane. The use of Spider-Man's eyes on his mask is nothing short of genius. The mask will be covered with white eye representations when Peter is astonished or stunned giving emotion to in inanimate face. Just think what Bachalo would do to Iron Man's face. At least with Spidey's mask it is made of cloth and has room to move and crumple (which Bachalo also does so well), but with Iron Man's mask there is no ability for scrunching or movement. The inkers and colorist could try to give the metal depth but Bachalo, well dang, I would love to see what he could do.

Getting back to The Amazing Spider-Man #632, Bachalo fills the first 15 pages of the book with panel after panel of wonderful entertainment. Bachalo even redesigns the Lizard, whom had already redesigned in the previous two issues of Amazing Spider-Man. He adds a bit of what looks like hair to the top of the Lizard's dome which doesn't look too weird until you get past page 15.

Just like last issue, Bachalo does not do all of the art. The filler artists (probably because Bachalo couldn't complete the issue in time) has a plain style in comparison to Bachalo's. It almost has an anime feel to it which really harms the story telling aspect of the book. I felt like I started reading a different story all together. Plus, as I was getting at in the previous paraghraph, the design of the Lizard by the filler artist is very hard to look at. The hair was questionable when done by the masterful Chris Bachalo, but done by an average artist (when I say average I mean still a fine artist but not on the level of a Bachalo) the Lizard looks hokey and dumb.

I hope The Amazing Spider-Man #633, the conclusion of the "Shed" story, is done completely by Bachalo. I believe there are a couple weeks in between it's release date, so hopefully Bachalo has the time to complete his work. The story has been very compelling, but the art flip flopping has been distracting.

(Note: I just bought a webcam and I have been recording stupid stuff for a few days now...the following is a video of me typing this blog. I cut the 20 minutes in the middle to spare you just a bunch of clicking sounds.)

(Note 2: The video was removed due to poor loading times and me coming off as a total nerd. Sorry.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Doomwar #4 (of 6)

I think I may be an idiot.

In Doomwar #4 T'Challa, the original Black Panther (not the fist held high kind), faces a very tough decision which involves the protection of his nation, Wakanda. His nation, and nation's forces, are being devastated by Doctor Doom's newly vibranium (material stronger than diamond) enhanced Doombots and T'Challa has to bring in some outside help. But who could he bring into the mix ready to fight...if the money is right?

Well, I think the Doomwar #4 cover is supposed to elude to who T'Challa is forced to contact, but while I was reading the comic of the day I had know idea who he was going to ask for help. I was thinking it was going to be some villain he has squared off with before, but I could not think of one mighty enough to take on Doom or one whom wasn't already being used in another Marvel storyline.

I think John Romita Jr. did a good job of tricking the audience in a strange way. The cover seemed to be just another "oh god, another one of these covers" cover, but it turned out to actually have some meaning to the book. The assumption of the cover character's appearance on the comic book cover as just another marketing scheme was a poor one, yet one I was glad to make. The surprise at the end was just that to me...a surprise.

With everything above said, I still care very little for this mini series. I just don't care because the story doesn't seem as if it will have an impact on characters I care about or even the Marvel universe as a whole. The book is purchased every month now just to finish out the run. It just feels wrong to have a partial mini series. It's like buying three turkeys at the store because when you get three you receive 25% off, yet you only need one. To be honest, I'd rather have three turkeys than this whole series.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wolverine: Weapon X #13

Jason Aaron and Ron Garney get me. What I have been receiving regularly now for the past few months is a fun story, the coolest characters, amazing art and funny bits of dialog wrapped up into the Wolverine: Weapon X comic books.

Wolverine Wednesdays -  Wolverine: Weapon X #13

In Wolverine: Weapon X #13 we pick up Wolverine and Captain America's (the Bucky one...when am I going to be able to stop identifying which Cap I am talking about?) fighting off a few Deathlok cyborgs..from the futuurreee (insert creepy ripply voice)! When some nearby superheroes such as Spider-Man, the Thing, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman and Steve Rogers drop into the fighting mix, the Deathlok units are over powered causing them to retreat.

The story takes a Terminator 2: Judgment Day twist when Cap-B (that's my new way of identifying Cap Bucky) and Wolverine-A (I won't do that again) go to the man's house who is going to one day invent the new evil Deathloks. Cap-B and Wolverine are inclined to just kill the guy but a previously decapitated Deathlok do the job for them making for an appearance by a different type of futuristic Deathlok that is now on the prowl.

Did that work? Comparing a half man half machine to a cat..."on the prowl?" Cliche stupidity.

The art work by Ron Garney is again, pitch perfect for these characters. Deathlok has never looked cooler. Just wait till you hit that last page where the reveal of the new and improved Deathlok hits your eye-balls. My eyes burn so good after this image. The one downfall in Garney's art comes on a couple of pages where you may notice Spider-Man's head is drawn funny in this comic of the day. It looks like he is a mini cone-head.

Speaking of Garney, I wonder if he ever goes to Ireland and uses pick up lines using his last name. "Hey ladies, wanna bend over and kiss the Garney stone?"

One last thing before you finish this post and close Wolverine: Weapon X #13, go back and discover one of the greatest dieing lines ever:

"Take care of my possums."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Alias #6

Private Investigator Jessica Jones starts her second Alias arch with a little girl talk with Carol Danvers, Ms. Marvel. Brian Michael Bendis does amazing things with Jones. He makes her very different (from other heroes, women and investigators) but also connects her to those very things. A simple scene, like a lunch date with a girl friend where they talk about their love-life, paints Jessica Jones as a woman at heart.

When Danvers and Jones chat, Danvers mentions how Luke Cage is a cape chaser, implying that he likes to sleep with superhero women. I always thought it was funny when Marvel characters use phrases like "cape chaser" because it focuses as identifying a hero as a caped character. In Marvel there are very few characters who actually sport capes. Thor, Magneto and Doctor Doom (but they are villains)...that's about all I can think of. Hmmm, does Moon Knight have a cape? I think so. The point is...DC is the company with the classic heroes with capes. Their big two both have capes: Superman and Mighty Mouse...I mean Batman. If DC characters do not exist in Marvel, then they would not have recollection of early caped heroes, thus, making the "cape" phrases not applicable. If there was a questionnaire that Marvel had to fill out and it read the question: "Do 'cape' phrases make sense in your universe?" the answer would be N/A.

Oh yeah, the comic of the day...Alias #6 is primarily a way to get a little deeper into understanding who Jessica Jones is and what her psyche is like. In the very end of the book (the beginning of the next arch's actual story) Jessica seems to learn something new about her family, or should I say...extended family. That last part would make more sense if you read the book. Anyway, between a meeting with a super-fan who thinks Thor is gay and an online chat that has Jones acting like a man picking up other men, there is a lot to like about this book.

Hmmm, I just mentioned those scenes dealing with gay men were enjoyable and I thought of the idea of making a gay vampire story today (which spoofs Leslie Nielsen's movie Dracula: Dead and Loving It) titled Dracula: Dead and Loooovvvinggg It! (or Dracula: Gay and Loooovvving It! - which ever is funnier). You learn something new about yourself every gay...I meant day! Damn! I got me!

(Note: Mom, in case you read this, I'm not is.)

(Note 2: Is a straight guy writing a spoof movie with a lot of gay jokes like a non-Jewish person telling Jewish jokes? Seinfeld joked about a dentist converting to Judaism just for the jokes, has anyone converted to Gaydudeism just for the jokes?)

(Note 3: Note 2 was dumb.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Reed Gunther #3

In the third installment of the Houghton brothers' (Chris and Shane) Reed Gunther comics, we catch up with Reed and his bear buddy Sterling as they attempt to catch up with the monster caging, idol swiping, bad guy. Besides the plot of chasing down the bad guys, Reed Gunther #3 highlights Reed's and Sterling's close relationship. Hardly ever apart, the two pals get separated for a period of time in Reed Gunther #3 and start to feel their gravities pulling each other back together again. By gravity I of course mean Sir. Isaac Newton's law of gravity: when one is far from their bear, it is only a matter of time, before that near. It's something like that...I dropped out of middle school.

Reading Reed Gunther again after all of these months makes me remember a couple of great things about this book.
  1. I like the black and white. Color is constantly getting in the way. Now I know what you're thinking...Dom's a racist. Well excuse me! I just think a cowboy and bear should remain the way god intended them: as albinos.
  2. Is this comic of the day long! Indie books mean no ads. That also means no money for the Houghton gang, but the readers will appreciate these two soon to be homeless brothers for the novel-like comic.
  3. When the rights to the Reed Gunther movie are sold I am thinking Nathan Fillion would be perfect for Reed. He has the mix of goofiness, charm, ruggedness and courage which make up the black and white cowboy. The only hitch would be the stache. The make-up people could glue something to his face and make it work. Oh, and for Sterling...Hurley from "Lost."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Boys Vol. 1: The Name of the Game

The first six issues of The Boys is an excellent opening to a very adult book. In previous posts I've praised other writers (Warren Ellis) for writing stories that deal with superheroes in different, and often times, more realistic ways. Granted, realistic is a relative term when dealing with superpowers based comics, but holding stories true to how human nature and society actual is is (double word double points) quite refreshing.

In Garth Ennis's...ok, wait a moment. What is with these writer's last names ending with the letter "s"? I never know exactly how to do the possessive punctuation with the apostrophe. Anyway, back to Garth Ennis and his work on The Boys, he writes a story about the gathering of a team of normal humans who keep Superheroes in-line. In the world Garth Ennis creates, superheroes are very much like rock-stars who think they can do anything they want in regards to causing a disaster to stop a villain or, even more along the rock-star status, using and abusing women left and right.

A specific scene involves a humiliating degrading induction of a new female superhero to a popular superhero team. Another scene shows a couple of popular heroes doing very taboo things to each other for the joy of a good time. People that should be the face of morality and the society they protect are out of control with self indulgence and lack of care for the public.

This attitude is dangerous. With the backing of the C.I.A. a group of boys and one girl basically sabotage heroes into being good. They find the dirt on the good guys. They understand that the world isn't just right and wrong, good and evil. The grey areas need looking out after, and the Boys do it.

The Boys Vol. 1: The Name of the Game gets the comic of the day tag for more reasons than the original story. I mentioned earlier that the book was adult oriented and by that I mean there are a lot of naked chicks and sexual encounters. I read the book late at night with some sensual music on. All I'm saying is...I appreciate the art more on some pages than others.

Apparently, I'm 11 years old.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street

In yet another of my comic of the days dedicated to the works of writer Warren Ellis, I will be praising the level of story telling while at the same time gush over Ellis's genius.

Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street contains the first three issues in the Transmetropolitan run. The first volume introduces Spider Jerusalem, a journalist very much styled off of the late Hunter S. Thompson. Spider is a bit off but very on task at the same time. He hates the corruption of society at the top of the ladder. His style of journalism is to find the story that is in front of everyone face but nobody wants to talk about because they are to afraid of those in power. He is crude and in your face, but open-minded and very intelligent.

Spider starts Back on the Street having lived as a hermit in the mountains for five years. He was paid to write 2 books for his publisher and is being threatened with a lawsuit that would put Spider in jail if he refuses to produce the books. He used to be a famous writer and by the end of Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street, he is his disappointment. He doesn't fight injustice in his work to be famous, but rather because it is what must be done. If it wasn't for the fact that he needed money and to honor a damn contract, Spider would probably live off in some corner of the world alone, forever.

Ellis does a nice job of creating a world in the distant future. It's filled with a metropolis of advertising, sounds, trash and corruption. The future is very much like the present...just more some aliens and technology which can make matter out of nothing. Spider is written with a sharp tongue and a no hold-back attitude which instantly makes him likable to the readers. He says what he wants and does what he wants. He also has a small spider tattoo on top of his he's got that going for him.

Transmetropolitan Vol. 1: Back on the Street has brilliant dialog, insight into the powers that be and their relationship with society, strippers which say "fuckhead" a shit load and half alien half human poor people. It's pretty much like every other Avenger comic book out there, I know. But if I was you, I would still give it a go.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Northlanders #1-8 "Sven the Returned"

Brett Favre would not be able to give these Vikings the run around. The Vikings of Northlanders live and die by the sword. They inhabit the northern lands of Europe, northern Scotland in "Sven the Returned," and are tough like their environment. There is honor in their actions, which Favre can learn from, but there is also a brutal fierceness which also comes across in these Northlanders tales.

The first adventure, "Sven the Returned," spans the first 8 issues. Sven, is the heir to a community which has lost their leader to death. The son returns looking for a quick monetary fix, but receives an unwanted welcome by his cowardly and now ruling uncle. Sven begins a serious of Guerrilla warfare against his uncle and his uncle's followers which slowly drains the community of combat ready males. When the battle comes to a head an unexpected outside threat rears it's non-horned helmet giving the vikings a shock to their bearded community.

Northlanders is a brutal title. Carried under DC's Vertigo publishing, Northlanders is given the ability to tell the story through bloody visuals and sexually charged intimate moments. The story writer Brian Wood and artist Davide Gianfelice want to tell is left unfiltered and in turn enjoyable. Though I wouldn't say the story is anything new because it is basically the "Lion King" with humans, it is still worth checking out. Gianfelice's art is strong and gives the vikings look that breathes warmth in a horribly cold setting.

The arcs in Northlanders cover different characters in different time periods in different regions in...just kidding, that's the end of that thought. The best way to read Northlanders is in the collect forms. It keeps everything separate, so that you aren't even reminded that there are other stories beyond the arch you are on. No annoying preview page for the next issue enticing you to continue on...not that it would be a bad thing to check out stories beyond this comic of the day, Northlanders #1-8, "Sven the Returned."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Age of Heroes #1 (of 4)

Even superheroes like to kick it on Sixth Avenue.

The Age of Heroes #1 is not a great comic. Let's just get that out of the way. It is an issue filled with 4 mini stories about what days in the Marvel Universe are like now post "Dark Reign." For the most part it is a random book which I would normally avoid because I understand it was thrown together to capitalize off of the "Heroic Age" shiny new event title. The comic book did make my stack of stapled papers, and become the comic of the day, because of it's lovely cover.

Artist Greg Tocchini draws and designs a multi-character cover that has trying to decide which character pose I like the most. Spider-Man is penciled with his head focused off to the side prepared for whatever is coming his way. His suit is drawn with a killer large front spider and colored with dark tones. You won't find any blue in this bad-ass Spidey image.

Two other characters that really jump off the page for me are Captain America and the Black Knight. They are gazing off into opposite directions yet both propping themselves up high in the air on the Sixth Avenue street post. They may not be flyers but they can still reach great heights when it comes to ready positioning.

Tocchini's cover is captured on the page and on a person in the foreground's phone. His work comes off as very fun and lively with lots of bright reds and also bold dark tones.

Great cover...ehhh, on the actual content of Age of Heroes #1.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Avengers #1 (Vol. 2)

I wonder about Wonder Man.

This comic of the day,  Avengers #1, is a standard begin Avengers book which shows the assembling of the team. Apparently being an Avenger is still a huge honor because many of the younger heroes which are asked by Steve Rogers (the original Captain America) are very excited to except the invite. Everyone asked says, in so many words, yes accept for Wonder Man. Big W brings up the fact that the Avenger name has been involved in many injustices lately and that simply being an Avenger can lead to more problems. Rogers give Wonder Man an open invite encase Wonder Man changes his mind and Rogers is then given a foreshadowing warning.

Wonder Man says, under his breath of course, that he may need to change Roger's mind about the need for a super team such as the Avengers. Wondy is drawn with some slicked back hair in the issue. Is Brian M. Bendis trying to turn Wonder Man into a villain? I actually hope he is. Throw in a little battle between old friends to the books. Plus, Bendis has been known to take liberties with the extent of a characters powers. I hope he makes Wonder Man the true titan of might he was originally intended to be.

Oh yeah...and he has a sweet W uniform. Nothing says tough guy like a massive W shirt.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Haunt #1

Comics can be like movies. Often their are trailers for movies that will interest one to the point of wanting to see it, but not necessarily wanting to pay to see it. Waiting for the movie to come out online to Netflix (it's become a verb) or borrow from a friend becomes the acceptable option. Recent movies which have fallen under this category for me have been 2012, Surrogates and the Twilight movies...don't judge me!

In terms of comic books, Haunt by Todd McFarlane was a book which hit stores a while ago that interested me. I wanted to check out McFarlane's art and what exactly his new hyped character (which has a slight resemblance to a mix of Spawn and Spider-Man) was all about. So who would be my Netflix? Who would be my sucker friend who shelled out the cash for this Todd title? It turns out my good buddy had the same curiosity I had, but ended up purchasing the trade paper back addition of the first arch. The wouldn't buy the individuals, but gave the slightly better value trade a chance. And thus, so now am I thanks to the free non-Netflix service called borrowing.

Writer Robert Kirkman begins the tale of two brothers, a murdered soldier and an angry priest, who bound together in a moment of confusion. The title Haunt, from what I can make out so far, refers to the idea that the dead brother "haunts" his living priest brother after he is killed. The dead brother simply guides his living bro to watch over his wife (I can already tell the widow and brother are going to hook-up...get some!), but when he attempts to physically move his brother from harms way the combine to make a bullet resistant Venom-like character: minds combined and bodies linked.

The story itself is so so so far. I think it's a start and I actually like it, but mainly I just wanted to type the word "so" three times in a row and have it actually be correct. Maybe when I finish the trade another issue within it will become a comic of the day, but as for now Haunt #1 will do.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Planetary #10

Though the cover isn't much to look at, Warren Ellis writes yet another interesting take on superheroes in Planetary #10. Ellis fleshes out his Wildstorm comics world of Planetary by presenting the idea that the Planatery universe is much like the DC universe and may in fact be nearly identical if not for a few chance moments in time that changed the course of an existence.

We are shown three different cases which are iconic and familiar to comic book readers. We see an alien couple on their dieing world place their only child on a spacecraft destined for anywhere. The shuttle happens to land on earth, but is not greeted by a farming couple; rather the alien child's escape from a dieing planet is is met with extreme prejudice. There is nothing worse than a long flight followed by a quick death.

Another tale we briefly witness includes a being chosen to protect life and the universe with powers granted him by a collective team. His powers reside in a lantern which resides in his chest. Unlike the DC classic character where stealing the source involves sliding off a ring, this characters powers are stripped through removing the lantern like Indiana Jones II style.

Our last glimpse of similar super stories that could have been is a very short scene where we see a strong woman from an island untouched by modern man set out on her journey to enter the modern world and share her peaceful ways with the rest of the planet. As soon as she leaves her hidden island a hidden evil swipes her life and her promise of a brighter tomorrow.

And that's the Planetary world in a nutshell. It could easily be protected by great heroes like many other worlds and universes are, but with just a few changes in history we end up in a place not quite certain of it's future. We are left with a time in which we can not rely on punches or might to protect us. We need knowledge of the unknown. We need to know more secrets than the bad guys. Knowledge is power in Planetary, and the comic of the day, Planetary #10 shows how evil could have evened the playing fields with just the right knowledge at the right times.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Spectacular Spider-Man #200

Do you remember when The Spectacular Spider-Man was still an ongoing title? It was filled with mostly B-list villains and plots that never touched the mainstream Spidey-verse (unless they were tie-ins like "Maximum Carnage"). It also was a consistent book to go to for one's Green Goblin fill.

 Spider-Man Sunday - The Spectacular Spider-Man #200

I'm talking back when Norman was still dead and Harry was still crazy. Harry Osborn was the second green aerial-gliding menace, following in the footsteps of his father Norman Osborn. Not only did Harry have daddy issues, but he also went bipolar once he came in contact with pop's goblin serum. For years Harry tormented Peter, his best friend, because he blamed Spidey/Peter for his father's death. All of his rage for Peter came to a head in The Spectacular Spider-Man #200.

In this "Giant-Sized 200th Issue", the Green Goblin basically follows Peter all over town baiting Peter to fight him and do something he'll regret. Harry wants to see Peter's seemingly happy life be filled with chaos and destruction just like Harry's was for so long. In an attempt to finally kill Peter and himself in suicide by building demolition (the most common way to kill your self in 1993), Harry nearly kills Mary Jane (they're old pals) and his son, Norman (named after his sweet). Harry ends up saving Mary Jane and his son and then Spidey himself once he realizes family and friends are worth living for. Oh, but right after Harry saves the people he almost murdered he drops dead himself due to the toxins in the Goblin serum. Death by building would have been cooler.

The issue has an overload on emotion. Sal Buscema pencils so many panels of raged out faces. The consecutive panels of Harry are the best because in one panel Harry will look wacked-out crazy with anger and then the next he will have a puppy-dog sad face. The issue is really the tour de force of facial expressions (tour de force...don't know if I used that correctly). Every comic of the day needs a puppy-dog face, and The Spectacular Spider-Man #200 has it!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Nextwave #9

My posts are not intended to be reviews or even book suggestions (unless I specifically urge readers to read a specific book), but often times they inadvertently come off as that. If many of my posts appear as recommended reading I hope people are catching on to the fact that Warren Ellis is an amazing writer.

To be honest, I got into Ellis's work pretty late in his career. Fortunately for me, he is consistently putting out new stuff for me to fill-up on. Basically, Ellis keeps adding to his work for me to sort through on my own time. I'm sorry Warren. Your job may be to write, but mine is not to read. Yet with a writer like you doing great things in dialog, narrative and story, I wish it was. (Yes. I was talking directly to Ellis just then. We're tight.)

Though at the moment I am getting more and more into Planetary, my favorite Ellis original title is Marvel's Nextwave. I've written several posts on Nextwave, and I am sure to write several more, but you can tell I like the book when I have now written a post about 25% of all Nextwave existing issues. It mixes humor and superheroes in a way that hasn't quite been done before. I like humor. I like superheroes. I love Nextwave.

Nextwave #9 carries on the style of 2 issue story archs by kicking off a tale that pits the Nextwave team, former agents of H.A.T.E., against a bunch of powered people the world has never heard of. The random characters have back stories that link them closely to other famous Avengers: a super-soldier created from Captain America's pee after he was created in 1941, a scientist who was doing stuff with human size while Hank Pym was but spent time double checking his research as apposed to just testing it on himself and others, a kind of angry guy who got high on gamma radiation, and a dude with a bucket like helmet reminiscent of Iron Man. The off-beat super characters tell their stories to the reader in quick "I coulda been a contenda" segments that cut into the Nextwave story nicely.

Let me make this clear. I recommend you read Nextwave, and more specifically, Nextwave #9. This comic of the day mocks the idea behind becoming a superhero and how it takes a bit of chance and style to become a famous hero. The book is just fun, as usual.

Oh and me. We'll do lunch.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Dark Avengers #13

It was a short, but good run. Dark Avengers was built to be the new Avengers team with an edge, due of course to their team of ex-cons and crazy people, but I always saw it as an extension of writer Warren Ellis and artist Mike Deodato's Thunderbolts archs. There were some major additions to the team such as Ares, Sentry and Daken. Yet a couple of regulars, including the team leader Norman Osborn and team trouble starter Bullseye, still remain key members to the team.

Unlike Thunderbolts, Dark Avengers dealt with some of the heavy hitters which would shape Marvel's current path quite dramatically. Sentry, for example turned out to be the single most important charcter in Marvel events over the past month. Dark Avengers delved into his true origins and what keeps the Sentry from becoming a crazed lobster type evil. Ummm, so I hope you've been reading Siege because that last part may make no sense at all.

Speaking of Siege, Dark Avengers #13 deals with the clean-up and wipe out of the Dark Avenger team. The remaining members who are still alive are brought into answer for their crimes against the United States and the world. Well, that's not exactly true. One mo-hawked son of a mutant is able to creep away leaving his solo series the possibility of issues outside of a prison. The prison is reserved for the leader of the pack (vroom vroom) Norman Osborn. He believes what he did was all for the good of the country and mankind. Not only is Osborn trying to convince Iron Man, Cap, Nick Fury and everyone else, but he is also trying to convince himself. And by himself I mean the idea of the Green Goblin still in his wacked-out mind.

Dark Avengers ended as a consistent top monthly seller. It had well toned art, wonderful writing by Brian M. Bendis and great use of edgy Marvel characters. This last Dark Avengers comic of the day will be the marking point of Norman Osborn's end to any type of power. Unless, of course, if you count his power over horrible hair styles. He's been in control of that for years.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Heroic Age: Marvel Previews #79

Marko Djurdjevic has been busy.

In the upcoming year for Marvel comics there are many new titles, old titles and new old titles which are taking Marvel into their "Heroic Age." Avengers, New Avengers and Avengers Academy are among some titles starting up with their first issue in the upcoming months. While there are different artists on the various titles it seems each new book has a couple of variant covers with at least one drawn by Marko Djurdjevic.

The Heroic Age: Marvel Previews #79, the free handout which is my comic of the day, displays the covers of many upcoming Djurdjevic variants. They are some of the best covers in the free give-away book. Many of the variant covers of Djurdjevic's connect together to make a large 10ft poster, as well. You can order the poster seperately for about $35. I'm down. Now I just have to find a wall large enough to lay the poster flat on.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #631

Chris Bachalo's part 2 of his "Shed" arch was released to my fiendish hands today. The Amazing Spider-Man #631 comes off of the scaly heals of Bachalo's beautiful The Amazing Spider-Man #630 which features the Lizard and everyone's favorite friendly community we call home, we'll say neighborhood, Spider-Man. Though the arch is written by a fine writer in Zeb Wells (who actually tells an entertaining story which gets into the head of the Lizard), for me, this arch is dominated by the pencil work of Chris Bachalo.

Though I loved this issue, there was one aspect of it I was not happy with. The first 9 pages were drawn by another artist! That artist did an admirable job, but I will not even mention her name. She already took 9 potential Bachalo pages from me. She has received enough attention as it is...Emma Rios. No more.

Once Bachalo's pages kick in...the magic happens. His first three pages build the reader up with slight panels of his work. Then when the forth, fifth and sixth page are hit, the intensity of a meeting between Spider and Lizard are pumped into our veins. Quick burst panels are punctuated by larger imagery capturing a vibrant moment in the combat that takes place.

One scene depicts a quick 2-step movement which ends with Spider-Man on the Lizard's head. The first part of the image is drawn gently and colored with dull tones so that it seems like the past, though it just happened a split second ago. This page really defines the amazing supporting team in colorist Antonio Fabela and inkers Townsend and Mendoza that Bachalo has during this project. The inking makes his characters pop right off the pages and an extra touch to Bachalo's art (some of which Bachalo inks himself).

A key thing to look at in The Amazing Spider-Man #631 is the design of the Lizard. Bachalo goes with a more iguana looking Lizard than other artists have used in the past. He has a think neck and is very inhuman like. It is this refreshing take on an old classic, which has been around since Amazing Spider-Man #6 (which I own), that gives his character design extra strength. His second comic of the day this month is filled with his wonderful Spidey imagery we (me) have all grown to love, but it also contains Bachalo's re-imagination and design skills.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

War of Kings #5 (of 6)

Before there was the Sentry, Marvel's Superman was Gladiator (Kallark), the the leader of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard. There have been comic covers such as Fantastic Four #249's which refers to him as a Super-Man...the hyphen is obviously added for legal reasons. He was created in the 70's and has gone through periods of many appearances to not showing up for years at a time.

In Marvel's, now 5 plus years running, cosmic stories you can only go so long before bumping into the Shi'ar, and that means Gladiator. War of Kings is part of the ongoing cosmic adventures and specifically deals with the Shi'ar race and who will rule them.

The comic of the day, War of Kings #5, features some rage filled irregular battling from the mo-hawked Marvel. Gladiator, enraged by the true ruler of the Shi'ar, Lilandra, fights his former allies to hunt down the Shi'ar traitor responsible for Lilandra's death. Before he can get to the man behind the act Gladiator must go through an elite Shi'ar combatant named Black Cloak. He is a large monstrous being with a massive spear which he uses to cut into Gladiators hip. Black Cloak has his spear to Gladiator's throat when out of nowhere Marvel Girl explodes the head of Black Cloak. Gladiator then goes on to massacre the evil Shi'ar responsible for Gladiator's rage.

War of Kings #5 isn't much of a single issue but I do enjoy seeing Gladiator go nuts. In other comics he fights with a calm demeanor and controlled use of force. To see him emotional is rare. Turns out...he's a big softy.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Fables #65

This was seriously hard. Trying to pick out the best Fables cover is like trying to find the best note in "Clair de lune." As Claude Debussy's notes form together to make a masterpiece, so to do James Jean's Fables covers. Not one can stand out as the best cover because they are all classics.

I ended up choosing Fables #65 for a couple of reasons. First of all it is part of the "Good Prince" story line, which has a set of covers featuring both animals, the armor clad frog prince and a red plume which stalks my vision were ever it may be fall. The other reason I picked Fables #65 as the comic of the day is that it features Khan the tiger. Tigers are, of course, awesome but they are also dear to someone dear to me.

The dreary tones in this imagery are perfectly contrasted by the dark oranges in the tiger, Khan, and in the circles which encase the comic title's letters. Plus, the ever present plume marking our set hero is present drawing the eyes to attention before our carried knight. In the comic the Frog Prince is being carried because the weight of his armor is too much for him to bear for too long. His companions carry him at length during his journey to destiny.

The Fables covers are what painter/illustrator/all around creative individual James Jean is best known for. Though that is the case now, he is striving to one day be known for his true passion painting. In a Q & A which I attended of Jean's, I asked him if he felt the way about Fables in the same way Alan Moore feels about Watchmen. Watchmen was amazing and ground breaking, but Moore always wanted to be known for what wrote next. Being forever pegged based on one work did not suit him at all. It turns out to James Jean has similar feelings. Though he said he never regrets Fables and is very proud of his time on the covers, he would like to be known for his content original paintings in the future. He has a lot of art ahead of him and whats people to know him for what's next. I think that is what any great creative mind strives for: their work becoming so filled with passion and beauty that the anticipation of what is next drives your fans to hold your future work as their favorite pieces.

But for now...look at that tiger and tell me it's not sick.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #630

Over the years there have been some amazing Spider-Man artists (see what I did there...the very first sentence and I already had some nice word play). Some of my favorites include Todd McFarlane, Mark Bagley and Steve McNiven: all three have brought unique styling to the web-slinger's design, and not just the in costume Spider-Man penciling. Who can forget McFarlane's classic Peter Parker imagery. McFarlane turned once high-school nerd into James Dean. Peter had a flip in his hair and a sweet leather jacket to give him that sweet late 80's flair.

Spider-Man Sunday - The Amazing Spider-Man #630

Like the great Spider-Man artists of the past, the current Amazing Spider-Man artist is leaving his mark through another excellent comic of the day, The Amazing Spider-Man #630. Chris Bachalo brings an energy to his panels that gives Web's a sense of agility-enhanced movement, humor and fantasy. His costumed Spider-Man is so much fun to see do...anything. He could sit there just staring at a street sign and my eyes would water from lack of blinking.

Speaking of eyes, Bachalo's liberties he takes with reality is what makes the excitement of Spider-Man so wonderful. Spidey's mask is made of cloth and has a set design, yet when Bachalo draws the mask he uses the eyes as if they are actual eyes. They widen when surprised and narrow when Spider-Man ponders something confusing. The give the man in the suit emotion and a physical language which is often hard to utilize when dealing with a masked character.

The over exaggerated style isn't for everyone, though. Some readers like their radioactive spider bitten comic hero to be more realistic. Do not just act the part of a normal person, but also look it. Admittedly, there is a time and place for a subtle style and a time for an over the top turbulent style. Since The Amazing Spider-Man #630 deals with the Lizard, a very agile, aggressive and wild character, Chris Bachalo's art fits in perfectly with the story. As long as the next issue doesn't involve the Lizard and Spider-Man playing chess for panels on end, look for Bachalo's follow-up (ASM #331) to dazzle like a certain washed-up white wear'n woman mutant.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mighty Avengers #36

Coming back to the Mighty Avengers after not reading for about 10 issues reminded me why I stopped picking up the book. Mighty Avengers #36 is not a bad comic book by any means, however, I find that I just don't care about the characters in it. Mighty Avengers started out as a relevant comic title when Tony Stark/Iron Man was putting the Avengers team together, but now it involves characters that haven't been too relevant to the overarching Marvel storyline.

Hank Pym headlines the title. But like Ant Man, I feel Pym is too small a Marvel hero to by the marque name that Marvel needs to entice readers to continue. I have heard discussions over if anyone cares about Hank Pym, not just in Mighty Avengers, but in any comic book. Is it that heroes that are based on size are just not very exciting anymore? Just being small or large isn't amazing enough to readers these days. Plus, we already have intelligent heroes such as Mr. Fantastic and Tony Stark. The time for Pym is passing.

In the end, the comic of the day is the final issue in the Mighty Avengers series, so I will gladly collect it and read it to see if the writers  leave any bit of hanging story or information at the end that could lead into something cool. The book is basically filled with yet another Ultron undoing. Ultron is constantly being undone by his father/creator Pym, but at least this time Ultron weds Pym's female robot creation.

Ultron is thinking to himself (translated from 1's and 0's) Ha! That'll show you Pym! I hope you think about how the sparks will be flying during the friction on the wedding night. I'm gonna grind the hell out of your fem-bot and polish her parts.

Ultron is a vulgar robot.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine #1

Spider-beard, Spider-beard,
on Peter's face, it just looks weird.
He still spins a web, and he sighs,
all while looking like, homeless guys.

Look Out! Here comes the Spider-beard!

Spider-Man gets all Tom Hanks Castaway-style in Jason Aaron and Adm Kubert's Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine #1. Ol' web-head and six-claws have mystically been taken back in time and succeeded in living in the past for seemingly a long time. Not together, mind you. No, no, no. The two fan favorites have grown apart in their liking for each other in this web and claw adventure. It's like living with the same roommate in a dorm room for 4 years. By the end of those 4 years if you haven't killed each other you should both be given honorary awards.

I'm guessing one night Wolverine tried to get animalistic on Peter's ass and Peter's Spidey senses kicked in hard. Just a guess. It's always the guys who want to look tough and manly like Wolverine that turn out to be...well, not as you expected.

Did I mention Peter grew a hobo beard? I did? Well, he also caught a bunch of large spiders and kept them in cages. While Wolverine kept to his wild-man roots by joining a tribe of monkey-men, Peter just went crazy. I mean...spider-pets? Oh, also he had face carvings all over his cliff-side hut. No biggie. That's perfectly normal.

A comic of the day should have three things: Spidey, Wolvie, and bum representing...which I guess was also Spidey. The book is off-beat, but a toe tapper none the less.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

iZombie #1

So, you are getting a little bored with The Walking Dead. You need your zombie fix but you don't want to get too serious. Just a fling. Walking was becoming so dramatic every week that you realized you need a break...some time apart...time to think things over. Well, you're in luck! The perfect light-hearted and independent zombie comic book came out, just for you.

iZombie #1 paints Eugene, Oregon as a place populated by vampires, weredogs, ghosts, and of course zombies. The story's heroine, or lead I should say, is a zombie named Gwen who needs to eat one human brain a month to keep her 28 Days Later-style inner zombie at bay. Ghosts and zombies alone don't make an ongoing title, but add to the mix that when a brain is consumed Gwen then gets all X-Men Rogue on the brain donor and sees their memories. Wouldn't luck have it that her current meal is from a murdered body, and like most murdered minds all they can think about is vengeance.

Writer Chris Roberson uses some clever bits of dialog and even some nice use of female narration for his lead, Gwen. When Gwen points out that guys always latch on to an interest a gal may have and then beat it to death by always zeroing in on it, I I do that? I'm sure I do. In many ways I feel like the comic book is trying to say at a core level, guys are basically zombies when it comes to women.

The art of Michael Allred keeps iZombie #1's tone to an appropriate "we are just having a bit of fun here" level. The character designs are clean, not overly detailed or sketchy looking. The star of the story is the casual "real-life as a zombie" idea. Allred does a good job to display the characters in this world without distracting the reader from the upbeat pace of the book. I think the art is also a good fit with the story because it is an older style art design. It kind of throws the reader back to when zombie movies were a bit campy, but fun.

Like Joe the Barbarian from Vertigo (a division of DC), iZombie #1 was only $1. The marketing idea is sound: get readers to give it a shot because it is only a buck. It has worked on me several times now. And hell, I even make the books the comic of the day. Like so.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Captain America #605

Rub a dub dub, one man in a tub. Not a butcher, nor baker, but Mr. Ed Brubaker. The tub of creativity, and stories that read with content on multiple levels, is filled with Brubaker and his conclusion to "Two Americas" in Captain America #605. You can't get this tub at the Home Depot.

"Two Americas", Ed Brubaker's latest Captain America adventure, concludes with a seemingly final confrontation between the fake look-a-like Cap and the new mantle bearing Bucky Cap. Brubaker portrays the doppelganger Cap as a man wondering where his America of the 50's has gone, a sentiment many current Americans share. Yet as the fake fails to notice, the old ways have changed, and who is to say they haven't changed for the better.

Sure technology and the expanding of global jobs has changed the economic landscape which used to encourage entrepreneurship and farmland ideals, but the expansion of communication and ideas has lead to better social awareness and understanding of other cultures. Equality has been pursued in ways it has never been before so that we can share America instead of encouraging two Americas: the rich and the poor, the white and the not-white, the christian and the other religions, the gay and the straight. Due to changes in the world, which technology  has touched (economy, world awareness, environment, communications, etc.), America must also change or remain left in the past. If America can evolve as a unit, I think we have a good chance.

Jerry Seinfeld has a bit about how in the future all of society dresses the same in full body silver jump suites. At some point we have all come together to agree...mainly on jump suites. Brunaker concludes "Two Americas" by pointing out that while we may all have the best of intentions and good hearts, we must meet at some kind of intellectual and mural middle ground. At the core, we want the same things: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Unfortunately for the fake Cap, by the end of this comic of the day, he was unable to hold on to all three.

If you happen to pick up Captain America #605, an excellent edition to the Captain America story-line and the Ed Brubaker storytelling collection, you will be treated to some fine art by Luke Ross. Ross especially shines with his closing Cap and Bucky confrontation 4 panel page where Bucky closes the page with the line, "Damn it all to hell..." Which, by the way, has a double meaning.

You'll see.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Planetary #2

Coming off of Nextwave, Warren Ellis's other off-beat team dealing with odd things book, I easily warmed up to Planetary by just the second issue, thus making Planetary #2 the comic of the day. Warren Ellis has created, with the help of artist John Cassaday and colorist Laura Martin, a world which is littered with historical objects and moments the public doesn't quite know about.

Tracking down these artifacts and locations of intrigue is a band of three abnormally powered individuals. Recruited as the new guy which discovers the world of Planetary along with readers is Elijah Snow. Yes, his power is cold related. How'd you guess? The Planetary organization veteran is played by Jakita Wagner: a super fast, strong and practically invulnerable leading lady. She leads the trio in both physical attributes and experience. Oh, and of course The Drummer...because every band needs a drummer. He has natural abilities to disrupt and understand near-by communications and streaming information. Basically, he can see what you just texted to your friends. The three form the privately, and unknown, funded Planetary: the "Archaeologists of the Impossible."

In Planetary #2 Ellis takes readers and Planetary to the northern most island off the coast of Japan called Island Zero. Island Zero...hmmm. Have you ever seen an old Godzilla movie and wondered "where the heck did someone came up with this stuff?" Welcome to Planetary #2. The island of misplaced monstrous wonders cradles two old foes while they lay to waste after many years and films of battle. Seeing the destruction of once noble creatures  brings back memories of Radio Flyer when another Elijah finds his beloved beast beaten down.

Speaking of Radio that not one of the saddest scenes in cinema? I liked Adam Baldwin in "Firefly", but as "the King" in Radio Flyer he is possibly the most evil man ever. Also, what's up with Adam Baldwin in all of these "fly" productions? Okay. Those are the only two. Yet, there is a lot of flying in Independence Day.

General Gray: "Is that glass bulletproof?"

Adam Baldwin: "No, Sir!"

Dead alien.

Monday, May 3, 2010


"Unless you hate animals, you'll love this book."

Truer words could not have been spoken in reference to the tbp WE3. Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely's tale of three furry killing machines on the run from the government is better than bad, it's gud. The comic of the day presents readers with a "what if" scenario that doesn't seem too far off no matter how cruel it may be. In this adventure of one part dog, one part cat, and one part rabbit, the tech-enhanced animals' emotions and basic needs to be told they are "gud" places this story right up there with all of the other three robotic-suit-wearing animal stories.

It sounds funny to say, but Morrison gets inside the heads of the animals to present unique responses based on their type of animal. '1', the dog, acts as the leader. Being as dog's are placed as "man's best friend" we reward them with the leading role. '1' yearns for human affection and to be told he is a "gud dog." He is very protective, like a standard dog, and is also built and armed like a tank...which helps with the whole protection thing.

'2', the cat, is your standard cat stereotype: very independent, stealth-like, sassy and fierce when she wants to be. She is the most deadly because of her agility and surprise attack style which catches even the toughest opponents off guard. Some of her kills, in this 3 part tale of survival and safety-seeking, are both brutal and very sleek. All of her kills, but one (you'll know it when you read it), are enjoyable. She has a problem with authority and does not like to take orders from '1'. Cats and dogs don't always get along, but once in a while, when they team up, they can make the best of partners.

Rounding out the trio is the mine expert '3' a little rabbit. '3' is a jumpy nervous team player. '3' takes orders from '1', but is always sure to see what Ms. Kitty's move will be, as well. '3' is a sad story which readers will appreciate and even let out a "f*** yeah!" during his shining moment. Slow and steady may win the race, but rabbits are always cool no matter the outcome.

Besides some million panel story telling style in the first chapter of WE3, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely put together an action packed gripping adventure. Quitely's art shines when it comes to '2' and '3', but his dog pencils at time look out right grotesque. Though that may be the direction aimed for at times, it still felt a little out of place when compared to the softness of the rabbit and cat.

This Homeward Bound meets Short Circuit meets RoboCop animal adventure is a fast pace thrill. "Unless you hate animals, you'll love this book."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #529

Scribe J. Michael Straczynski and artist Ron Garney gave Spider-Man and Marvel fans alike their first glance at what a Spidey-suit can look like with the expertise of the world's greatest engineer wielding a needle and thimble.

Spider-Man Sunday - The Amazing Spider-Man #529

Tony Stark gives his then assistant Peter Parker a new upgraded uniform to wear while catching thieves just like flys. The Amazing Spider-Man #529 only gives us sneak peaks at the suits potential, such as being able to stop point blank gun shots, see thermal signatures and gliding on wind currents, but the sleek design (and cover of the issue) tells us there has to be more to Peter's new duds.

I thought the outfit was pretty cool. Most experienced comic book readers new that the suit would be temporary, but I am unsure if many readers thought the suit would only last a handful of issues. The enhanced suit gave Spider-Man the opportunity to possibly tackle some other larger scale villains, yet Straczynski was never given the opportunity to pen those adventures. Civil War began and questions over Tony Starks true intentions of the suit were questioned: was it simply a high-tech way to keep track of Spidey or even control him?

I love Ron Garney's design, yet my favorite image of Peter in the Iron-Spider suit is on the cover of Civil War #5, penciled by Steve McNiven. Spider-Man is getting beaten by several villains out for radioactive spider blood and McNiven captures Spider-Man's attempted escape and anguish in his new tattered Iron-Spider suit beautifully. I'll get into that issue a bit more in tomorrow's post.

Today's comic of the day reminds me of how one can be excited for new beginnings but sometimes the old reliable was reliable for a reason. It worked. Comic characters often have to reinvent themselves to seem fresh to readers, but some of the characters, like many of us, go through changes just to return to who we really are. Sometimes people need to go through times of change to make sure the person they were is who they want to continue to be. Peter Parker is down to try anything if it involves being the best person he can possibly be. He's a freak like that. Just ask Mary Jane.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Iron Man #120 (Vol.1)

Today is Free Comic Book Day!

Initially the day was a day which publishers created a free comic book to hand out to their loyal fans who have supported them. Also, the day was a marketing idea designed to potentially get children into comics. The comic industry is much like the cigarette industry in that it must constantly try to get a young demographic interested in their product to become addicts.

Now Free Comic Book day has become a day of comic book celebration. Stores get writers and artists to come out to their shops and sign and sketch for comic fans, children, and anyone else just looking for pleasant experience. The shops will have costumed entertainers come out for fun photo opportunities and even face painters for the kids. I saw a couple kids yesterday with half of their faces' painted like Venom: a couple of symbiot tikes.  They were awesome!

The Comic Bug, my local shop, also had a raffle where they handed out prices such as gift cards, posters and books. By rsvp'ing to their event page on Facebook I was automatically entered into their drawing. Not knowing when the drawing was I casually showed up to the shop at about 4pm, an hour before the event started winding down. Five minutes later the raffle had begun, and wouldn't you know it...yours truly won a $50 gift card to the Comic Bug! I was so lucky. If I wasn't there to claim the prize they would have raffled it to another person.

Since there was 25% off everything in the store, I decided to use my gift card right away. I got about $70 of free trade paper backs and hard cover collections: one of which was the Iron Man classic Demon in a Bottle HC.

The first issue in the arch by David Michelinie, Bob Layton, John Romita Jr. (who does everything, I am finding out) and Carmine Infantino is Iron Man #120 (Vol.1). Tony Stark is several martinis deep on a plane when it is sent landward by a tank which has been thrown at it. Most plane crashes occure via flying tanks so this part of the story was pretty predictable. A tipsy Stark saves the day by donning his red and gold, but runs into an angered Sub-Mariner and hilarity ensues! Okay, they don't start spitting jokes, rather, they start throwing rocks and punches. Namor (the Sub-Mariner - whose name I have been recently taught how to say correctly by a man with 3 names...none of which I like) does the rock slinging while Iron Man throws the punches. Who throws rocks these days? Plus, Namor conveniently had a pile of boulders just sitting near him? Atlantians (Atlantis in origin, not Hot-lanta)...what 'cha gonna do?

This issue has it all when it comes to goofy Iron Man-ness. We see the Iron Man suit in a small suit-case, the Iron Man suit being crazy flexible (apparently made from the body of the T-1000) and we see how the Iron Man suit can hold Tony Stark underwater simply by covering his mouth and eye holes with little panels. The suit is air tight, I guess. You would think that Stark would have some kind of skin disease by now due to lack of oxygen from being in the otherwise air tight suit all of the time.

Iron Man #120 is the comic of the day on this Free Comic Book day because it was just that, free. As this Free Comic Book day comes to a close find that someone special in your life an tell them to give you a moment. Go over to your comic collection, take a long look, and say "thank you."

April Comic of the Day Recap

April actually started kind of slow. I wrote a bunch of posts that felt like reviews. I am trying to go for more of a critique or observation blog. There are plenty of review sites out there. I need to keep the writings original and coming from a different point of view.

Here are a few of the comic of the day posts I am proud of this past April.