Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Batman Beyond #1

Batman Beyond #1 - Comic of the DayAfter years of hope and anticipation, Batman Beyond, the comic book was finally printed and shipped to comic shops today. The Batman Beyond television show, from years past, featured Terry McGinnis a high school student who has stumbled onto Bruce Wayne's Batman secret. Wayne provides Terry with a new Batman costume, and with his guidance allows Terry to become the new Batman. Oh, did I mention this all takes place in...the future! Yep, the television show had vision and excitement which establish a cult following, which on this day, flooded comic shops for the first issue of the new ongoing comic series of the same name and story. Flooded, leaked...let's just say there was water and that one of those yellow "be careful not to slip" signs had to be set-up.

So who did DC put onto Batman Beyond to visually capture the essence of the television show? DC went with a wise choice by installing, like Terry McGinnis, a young newcomer Ryan Benjamin. His interior imagery has nice movement and clean line work which never over-complicates a panel in this comic of the day. Plus, with the help of colorist David Baron, the Terry McGinnis Batman uniform has the perfect pitch-black and deep red contrasts which makes the hero stand out on every page.

A huge addition to Batman Beyond #1 is the Hush cover veteran Dustin Nguyen. Dustin has created some of the best Hush covers in print, including Detective Comics #850...one of my personal favorite covers over the past 10 years. Though Dustin is just handling cover duties, his initial framing of the story through the top part of the Batman Beyond comic bun is sesame seeded with a unique style that lets the reader know they are in for a Batman story that goes beyond (see what I did there) the present and into...the future!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Spider-Man: Reign #1

Spider-Man: Reign #1 - Comic of the DayThere is something about seeing my favorite comic book character in futuristic adventures that just tickles my fancy. Tickled in the way that doesn't cost money or involve driving around in a dark neighborhood until you can find a place to park where you think no one will drive by for the next 15 minutes.

This is yet another comic of the day post that proves I am full of shit. Early on I mentioned that I do not care for alternate universe tales, and though Spider-Man: Reign isn't necessarily an alternate universe but rather a possible universe to be, it is still a story out of normal continuity that I mentioned not enjoying. Well...I enjoy them when they involve Spider-Man...sometimes.

Spider-Man: Reign #1 begins a story involving an older Peter Parker who is living alone without Mary Jane. Peter appears to be feeble and to have to mental problems involving letting go of Mary Jane. He appears, in a strange way, as the pathetic Peter Parker before he was bitten by the radioactive spider so many years ago. He is lonely, jobless (seeing as how we are introduced to Peter as he is being fired from a flower shop) and about to be affected by an old man. Then Uncle Ben. Now J.Jonah Jameson.

Kaare Andrews writes Spider-Man: Reign, but that's not all folks! Andrews also provides the interior art! To be honest, I'm more into the covers than I am the interiors, but as soon as I get going in a Spider-Man adventure it doesn't matter if Captain Fucking Hook is drawing the comic, I'll still read all the way through.

Captain Fucking Hook
  • You thought I meant his hook hand (thus the joke about why he is so bad at art) but he does his pencil work with his still whole hand. I simply don't care for his style.
  • On the other hand (but not really), The Captain can do scratch board art with his hook. What? Because one hand is talented the other can't be? It's still connected to the same person.
  • Captain Fucking Hook's scratch boards fucking suck!
  • Captain Fucking Hook grew up Captain Francis Hook. When ever he would fill a scan-tron or form out he would just put a "F" in the middle initial spot. One day Captain F. Hook was at the front of a very long line at the DSS (Department of Sailing Ships) Office and he was taking quite a while. Well, after Captain F. Hook was still being helped by the only window clerk for going on 15 minutes one ornery and impatient bloke from the back of the line came to the front, looked down at Captain F. Hook's new Driver's license he was picking up and said, "Captain Fucking Hook, let's hurry the fuck up!"
  • Francis likes fishing, but always has a hard time getting the worm on the...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Ultimate Extinction #1

Ultimate Extinction #1 - Comic of the DayWikipedia wants me to buy more comic books. Like I do with when writing most comic of the day posts, I check out the comic title on Wikipedia to double check some of my facts such as creators, dates, spelling of objects such as Mjollnir and names such as Kallark (Marvel's Gladiator's real name). What I am not intending to find is that the mini-series I have recently purchased is part of a trilogy of mini-series. Oh, and the series I purchased, Ultimate Extinction, is the third part of the Ultimate Galactus Trilogy. That means I need to buy 2 more mini-series before I can read Ultimate Extinction they way it is intended to be read.

Though Wiki apparently hates me since I never add information or donate money, I am still thankful for it's existence. Wikipedia is a bit like having a friend with an iphone. That friend can be very handy when you are driving somewhere and need some info on the go; however, at other times in normal conversation your friend always has to whip-out their iphone (who am I kidding...they always have it out constantly playing with it. I'm right here!) and correct some minor misinformation in a story that wasn't even that relevant or necessary to know.

"Actually...Guatemala declared it's independence from Spain in 1821 but wasn't actually recognized by Spain until 1850. But you were saying?"

Fuck you.


Pros of Getting the First 2 Parts of the Trilogy
  • I get to enjoy more Warren Ellis dialog. Ellis is one of my favorite writers, so it isn't like I am buying comic books that I wouldn't mind owning.
  • I collect comics, anyway. That's what I do.
  • Reading the whole realized story from start to finish may pay off in the end. If the third mini-series is part of a grand story I may want to fully immerse myself in it to appreciate Ellis's work.
 Cons of Getting the First 2 Parts of the Trilogy
  • I'm not made out of money. I wish I was the money form of Pinocchio and when I lied rolls of Sacagaweas grew in place of my nose. (Note: I spent about 5 minutes figuring out how to spell Sacagawea, which can apparently be spelled several different ways.)
  • I have to wait to read the series I do have until I can buy the previous series. Ah, who am I kidding. I write a blog about comics every day. I've got time.
Dang! 3-2 in favor of spending money. You win Wiki. Like my iphoned friends...you're always right.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Complete Dracula #1

The Complete Dracula #1 - Comic of the DayThe tale of Count Dracula has been told over and over. Beyond just Dracula, vampire stories have been wildly explored from the movies Underworld and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to books such as the new comic American Vampire and the classic, Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer (as you were reading the title you were thinking it, i know...a modern day Iliad). The fact is, the vampire is a vessel for great stories. Yet with so many stories altering the original 1897 (thank you Wikipedia) Bram Stoker Dracula novel, how many of us actually know how the original story unfolded? Well, rather than read the original novel, I decided to pick-up the pictured Cliffsnotes in the form of Leah Moore, John Reppion and Colton Worley's, The Complete Dracula.

Leah Moore and John Reppion adapt Bram Stoker's novel using the narrative journal-esk form used in Stoker's Dracula. As the book begins a funny feeling of dread and "Oh damn...I know where this is leading" comes over me. I've seen enough movies and read enough books to know that going off a set path, exploring a dark old castle and hanging out with a "Count" is bad for your health. I know where the comic of the day is going, but I still linger on Dracula's intentions and just what the heck is going on at his castle.

Plus what's up with crawling up and down the castle walls? Is that really an easier way to get around. I know he is the lord of the undead but even his highness must care about dirty clothes: constantly rubbing up against the old stone and weather worn walls. It's just not sanitary.

Oh and the mirror tick... Dracula has such a strange reaction to not seeing himself in a mirror. In The Complete Dracula #1, the Count grabs the mini mirror from his visitor and tosses it out the window, after hissing at it, of course. Where as the cross may hurt his damned soul causing a cowering reaction from Dracula, it seems the lack of a reflection causes emotional harm. The pain of never seeing what other's see must be unbearable.

Walking around all day with a leaf in your hair at boarding school.

"What? What's everybody looking at?"

"Hey Dracula! Why don't you make like a tree and get the hell out of here!"

"One day Biff! I'm gonna...I'm gonna..."

"Gonna what?"

Dracula runs off crying under his umbrella and hooded cloak. Kids can be so cruel.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nextwave #12

Nextwave #12 - Comic of the DayThanks to the magnificently memorable 12 issue run on Nextwave, Warren Ellis, Staurt Immonen and Dave McCaig will forever remain a few of my favorite creators in comics.

Nextwave #12 ends in a way only this special run could end: the destruction of a giant red Tyrannosaurus Rex named Devil Dinosaur...or so we think. What seemed like an impossible escape from a 2 mile drop followed by a mega-explosion may one day be a possibility if Ellis, McCaig and Immonen ever got the band back together. Their sweet visual sounds included a baby M.O.D.O.K. powered robot escaping death at the hands of Nextwave only to get it later at the hand of a dino and his giant bullet hurling pistol. Any time a comic book sports a baby M.O.D.O.K. you know you are in for some fun.

And fun is all you get from Nextwave #12 and the complete Nextwave run in general. Warren Ellis writes characters who are both ridiculous and lovable. His recap pages are a unique treasure prepare readers for the situation they have gotten themselves into. The intro is a Q. and A. where Ellis explains what past issues may have offered, but also jokes around with the interviewer. In the comic of the day, Nextwave #12, Ellis rants about the comic being the last in the line of Nextwave issues. He has the questionnaire backpedaling and eventually regretting the loss of Nextwave, too.

While Ellis may be the front man,  Staurt Immonen and Dave McCaig are definitely the musicians that make the story and lyrics work. Immonen's clean simplistic style creates beautifully ugly characters, such as The Captain, and adorable evil children such as baby M.O.D.O.K.. With Dave McCaig on 1, 2, 3 fill in the spaces coloring duty their combo's are always bright and distinctive setting the tone for a zany roller-coaster adventure which you would totally put your hands up for except for the fact that the book's pages would keep flipping over. Damn you Nextwave-hating gravity!

It would make my life if the trio of creators got back together and road the wave for another thrilling 12 plus issues. Nextwave truly is a unique experience where the reader doesn't have to worry about back-stories or continuity. Just pick-up a Nextwave issue and enjoy.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness Vol. 3

Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness Vol. 3 - Comic of the DayI'm like the Human Torch: I'm burning through the Scott Pilgrim volumes so quickly.

The third volume in the Scott Pilgrim 6 magna book series, Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness, is filled with yet more fighting, ex-boyfriends and ex-girlfriends, and random funny moments which continue to make Scott Pilgrim a fun filled and unique comic experience. As I touched on in my first Scott Pilgrim post, the books are small magna books which, besides the fact that I am sure they turn regular comic readers away, seem like they would be super-quick reads. The first volume may have read really quick, but by the time you get to the comic of the day Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness, you'll realize the book is taking a bit longer to finish. That is a lesson I fully comprehended at 1:30 at night. It isn't that the book drags or anything, I just think there is literally more to read and comprehend. Thinking takes time!

Scott Pilgrim's battles are already getting more difficult and he still has about 4 ex-boyfriends to defeat. His 3rd ex-boyfriend battle involves a super-vegan powered telekinetic master. Using the power of one's mind against Scott Pilgrim seems like a wise choice since as the Scott Pilgrim adventures continue, Scott seems dimmer and dimmer. Scott Pilgrim is that likable guy who is often in his own little magna sized world. At time it comes off as Scott being selfish, but as the books continue you see he is not intentionally a bad guy. Which leads to my last point...

How does Scott Pilgrim have so many ex-girlfriends? He seems so stupid at times and other time so lackadaisical one wonders what a girl would see in him. He also has no job, lives in a one room apartment with a roommate and is broke. The only thing I can think is that girls think the awkwardness he exudes is cute. That, or girls just like the guy that ignores them or seems like they do not care as much. One guy strategy for getting chicks to like you is to ignore them. If you seem like you have other things on your mind as apposed to a certain girl that girl may find it a challenge to get into your life. The adventure that is "the guy who isn't all about them" may seem desirable.

In the lyrics of New Found Glory, Scott Pilgrim's for "stupid girls, who think that every boy is all about them."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thunderbolts #145

Thunderbolts #145 - Comic of the DayThis Thunderbolts team is so ridiculous, the comic itself even points it out.

 As I pointed out in my that Thunderbolts post for issue #144, the assembled team seems a little unrealistic considering what has happened recently with the program and Crossbones, the Thunderbolts newest ultra violent member. But with that said, the new team of the before mentioned Crossbones, Luke Cage, Juggernaut, Ghost, Songbird, Man-Thing and a few others are quite an entertaining group of characters to read.

Big ol' Juggernaut is as hard-headed as ever in Thunderbolts #145 while he thrashes through a forest in search of evil Asgardian trolls (the new Thunderbolt's first mission - capture destructive trolls that escaped when Asgard was destroyed by the Sentry). Juggs' brute force attacks seem to have no effect on the trolls who just sweep him to the side using...tree tactics. Trolls know their way around nature.

Cage, another strength guy, is finding that leading a team of individually motivated convicts, in the comic of the day, can be quite difficult even when you have them pumped full of nanno-bots.

The bots...how long are comics gonna drive home the nanno-bot control? The technology actually seems like it could work: receptors targeting one's nervous system to control them or cut off their thoughts. I would like to see the villains controlled by good ol' fashion "tear you apart Sentry-Ares style if you f*** with me." That's the way I was controlled as a kid. Maybe I wanted to throw a baseball through a window just to see it shatter, or steal my neighbor's bike because his didn't have handle-bar streamers like a chick's bike, but I didn't do those things. And why? Because my dad would beat my ass. It wasn't a bad thing. That bit of fear actually helped instill respect towards others and their property.

Oh, and I swear those father beatings will have nothing to do with the shit hole I put him into when it's time for a nursing home.

Happy belated Father's Day dad!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

American Vampire #4

American Vampire #4 - Comic of the DayAmerican Vampire is written well, but the art combination of Rafael Albuquerque on pencils and Dave McCaig on color duty keeps me picking up this issue every month.

Albuquerque's style in American Vampire #4 is like a Stuart Immonen style with a little more line work and sketchy feel to it. I like the simple yet penciled grit for the old west tale (which Stephen King pens) of evolved Vampires because this era of change in American history was not a polished one...especially in the late 1800's. In the western frontier change was done in the west where ladies' dresses dragged in the dirt and the western winds kicked up into the beards and once-white shirt's of men.

In the later 1920's story line of this comic of the day, Dave McCaig really shows his understanding of the story's tone by using very dark tone and shadowy blacks for many of his panels. The darkness represents both death and the mystery of the unknown outcome for our heroine. The dark tones engross the old euro-vamps in a layer of unfamiliarity of something from the past that may soon be forgotten in the shadows thanks to the new and improved American vampires.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Justice League International #60

Justice League International #60 - Comic of the DayAt times in the DC universe it seems like any character has the ability to go back or forward in time. In Justice League International #60 Green Lantern Guy Gardner takes the Justice League International group back in time to stop a villain who has gone back in time to stop Hal Jordan from ever becoming a Green Lantern.

In the correct time-line, when Hal Jordan's ship crashes in the desert he receives the Green Lantern ring from a dieing Lantern member. In the altered time-line the ring doesn't find the Hal Jordan whom doesn't crash, but rather, the ring finds the next best recruit, Guy Gardner. Gardner, in the altered universe looks pretty much just like Hal Jordan except his hair is red. Gardner also acts more honorably and heroic than he does in the altered universe because he knew that he alone was the protector of the sector, and that brought great responsibility. Gardner had to be a honorable man.

The story is pretty fun, as mindless as it is. At the end of the book, once everything is back to normal (thanks to the alternate universe Gardner who does what's right and sacrifices his very happy life to set things straight) Guy Gardner drops by to say "hi", and give Hal Jordan a hard time. Rather than retorting Gardner's jabs at him Jordan just shakes his hand and thanks him for "being the greatest hero of all." Gardner is shocked, which is quite funny. To shut Gardner up with kindness is a joy only readers who appreciate Guy can enjoy.

In this comic of the day, Guy Gardner is one exceptional guy.

(Note: What a lame ending...using his name in a different way to say how great Gardner was in a comic book. Bad jokes may make bad endings, but in this case, I wrote this little extra note about it which helped me save face...a little.)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World Vol. 2

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World Vol. 2 - Comic of the DayIn Canadian writer Bryan Lee O'Malley's second volume of his Scott Pilgrim adventure, O'Malley keeps the high level of humor and ridiculousness rolling as readers watch another evil ex-boyfriend burst into coins and learn a little bit more about the past loves of Scott and Ramona, Scott's current girlfriend.

Yeah, that's right. When an evil ex-boyfriend is defeated they burst into coins. Seeing as only 2 ex-boyfriends have been defeated so far, I am unsure if Scott will get more coins for beating ex-boyfriends as he goes or if the amount of coins is based on the evil ex's status in life. Only the future volumes will know...or people who have already read the future volumes.

Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, the comic of the day and second volume in the Scott Pilgrim series, features the meeting of one of Scott's ex girl friends and his current lady in blades (she wears roller blades a lot). In an over the top knife and pole from broken library art battle we learn that while Scott Pilgrim may do the main battling, the ladies of Scott's life also have some kick in their steps and fists in their pockets. This over the top scene is pretty fun and reads without thought of it not fitting in with the story.

The Scott Pilgrim stories work because the tone of the book is set with it's humor and anime-esk drawings. Since it looks a bit cartoony it can be a bit cartoony and video game-like. O'Malley has really created something unique and special with his Scott Pilgrim series.

Favorite line from Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World Vol. 2:
"He is as hot as the flames of the Hell you bitches are going to."
 - Joseph, 24 year old random bearded guy

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Marvel Age #65

Marvel Age #65 - Comic of the DayHaving a few issues of Marvel Age you would think I knew what the comic was about. Well, for the first time ever, I opened an issue of Marvel Age and discovered that it isn't a normal comic book. Marvel Age was a miscellaneous comic which provided several monthly features.
  • The next month's worth of titles to be shipped (released) are noted. The title, number, price, short description of the comic and the creative team are presented to the reader. Before the internet I can understand why a book like this would be important for avid comic book readers.
  • A "News Watch" section. This is just a brief information page on Marvel staffing news. Who's editing what? Who is taking over what book? The news section also provides a list of the top ten purchased comic books during a specific period of time. Apparently, in January of 1988, the first appearance of Venom (Amazing Spider-Man #300 was only the 3rd highest selling comic.
  • There is a "Marvel Trivia" multiple choice questionnaire which has answers posted later in the issue.
  • There are sections filled with stories by classic writers and creators such as Jack Kirby and Stan Lee.
  • A cartoon style comic strip. In Marvel Age #65 it happens to be a strip featuring Dr. Doom.
  • Spotlight sections feature a specific event or trade which Marvel is pushing. A couple pages are written about a Hercules graphic novel which is being released soon (soon in 1988 anyway).
  • Interviews with current Marvel writers/artists.
  • A section that looks back to previous years and what the state of Marvel was then.
The Marvel Age comic book seems like a fun idea, but obviously something that seemed more interesting and even useful back before the age of the internet. Marvel Age #65, the comic of the day, reminds me of a time when comic books and life was simpler. Maybe a little more boring. But simpler.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Incredible Hulk #376

The Incredible Hulk #376 - Comic of the DayBefore the days of the red Hulk, the red She-Hulk, and Skaar (Hulk's son) the battle for the strongest Hulk was between two and yet one Hulk.

The Incredible Hulk #376 is, as the cover of the comic of the day suggests, the battle between the grey Hulk and the Green Hulk for dominance over the puny Bruce Banner. Inside the comic book a battle rages on, but it isn't what is on the outside that compels me towards this issue; rather, the cover of The Incredible Hulk #376 by artist Dale Keown locks me in a visual embrace much like the two Hulks embrace on the cover. Keown presents the Hulks in a way in which everyone who has heard of the Hulk would predict. They are large, smashing ruble about them, and have classic angry faces. They do not look happy.

Keown worked on The Incredible Hulk from 1990 to 1993 penciling many iconic covers and imagery in the Hulk mythos. Keown then took his experience with the Hulk over to Image Comics where he created his artist owned Pitt. Pitt is pretty much the same physical character as the Hulk; and, though the Green Hulk eventually wins out in the old Incredible Hulk comics, by the looks of Pitt one can sense that Keown wanted the grey Hulk to win. Oh and besides the grey skin Pitt also sported a pony tail. Good choice.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thunderbolts #144

Thunderbolts #144 - Comic of the DayI am guilty of being the guy who says to other comic book readers, "It's a comic book. It doesn't have to be that realistic." While my point may have some level of validity, it is generally a poor argument for a plot or idea that isn't working for a group of readers.

There are levels of reality in comic books. If you are reading a Rogger Rabbit comic the reality level is low, thus the plot can be zany and not make a ton of sense to work. On the opposite end of the spectrum there are books like Stumptown which is a real life take on a private detective. The ideas behind a book like this have to absolutely be based in real life. If randomly when the P.I. shot at a bad guy a cartoon bullet came out of her gun and started talking to the bad guy the book would loose it's tone and respect by current readers.

There are also middle ground comic books which are reality based accept for the fact that there are superheros. Basic real life rules are still in place and people act normal, but there are some individuals with extraordinary abilities (flight, super strength, telepathy, etc.).

The middle ground is where a book like Thunderbolts #144 can be found. Thunderbolts exists in the world of real life with a hint of superhero. Thunderbolts is a comic based around a group of convicts or ex-cons working as a government backed team to fight super-crime. The idea is...society might as well use these super criminals' abilities to it's advantage rather than just having the criminals waist away in prison.

It seems like an idea that could possibly be hatched in real life. It may have some ethical issues which would need to be explored, but I could see a government rationalizing the Thunderbolt program. However...some people always throw in a "but"...I throw in "howevers" (plural form of however - not a real word...whatevers). As I was saying...however, while a government may use some criminals for their abilities I find it highly unlikely that they would use criminals who are more prone to super violent acts or criminals who enjoy making their kills suffer.

The last team use Bullseye who fit my above description of an uber-violent super offender, but he gets a reality pass because Marvel had placed a man in charge of the Thunderbolts program who had a warped mind himself: Norman Osborn. Osborn had a way of convincing the government that the Thunderbolts could be controlled no matter what they had done in the past. Osborn got his way and so I bought the violent offender being added act. But after Osborn was removed and his "Dark Reign" cleared away one may think the next group of Thunderbolts may lean towards a team with non-excessively violent characters. One would be wrong.


In Thunderbolts #144 the new team adds a non powered villain who not only has murdered so many people over the years, but he has also tried to over throw the government with the Red Skull and kill the national icon Captain America. Crossbones was chosen to the team with the excuse that he is needed because some of the other villains may relate to him more than the new leader and ex-con Luke Cage. The government is saying that if the super criminals don't like cage, maybe they can look up to this insanely violent murder for inspiration. To me this is where Thunderbolts #144 seems a bit far fetched...even for comics. After the terrible things that occured in the Marvel Universe after crazies like Osborn and Bullseye were running around, why would the government put more extra-violent people back into the mix? They wouldn't.

Though I enjoy the characters and even the story so far in Thunderbolts #144, I still do not buy the premise of this team in this comic of the day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #634

The Amazing Spider-Man #634 - Comic of the Day"The Grim Hunt" is the current Spider-Man story line which has finally begun with The Amazing Spider-Man #634. The building blocks which construct the comic of the day (and the rest of "The Grim Hunt") have been laid throughout The Amazing Spider-Man issues for seemingly a year now. So what is the event about? What does all of this foreshadowing and build-up lead to?

Lions vs. Spiders

Yep. "The Grim Hunt" is about a pack of lions versus a spider. Does that seem fair? Does it even seem entertaining?

Cats are super curious when it comes to spiders. They paw at them, poke at them and hold them down by a leg or two. The spider moves in awkward ways that the cat doesn't quite understand or predict, but the cat remains in control with quick inquisitive paw batting. That's what the pack of lions known as the Kraven family has been doing in the Amazing Spider-Man stories over the last year. The Kravens have just been playing with the spider, but now, they go for the kill.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The New Avengers #1 (Vol. 2)

The New Avengers #1 - Comic of the DayBrian Michael Bendis made the Avengers cool again. He used a simple plan which is presented to the reader on every title of the past 7 or so years. Bendis created a "New" group of Avengers.

Your father's Avengers of Thor, Captain America (the original) and Iron Man have had their combined stories told over and over. The years since their creation brought several more team regulars such as Hawkeye, She-Hulk and the Vision, but the stories up until Brian Michael Bendis largely centered around the Avengers Prime squad of hammer, shield and armor.

When it came Bendis' time to put his mark on the Avengers he attacked the Avengers themselves and Disassembled the group. He killed off some characters and destroyed the group making way for the rebirth of the New Avengers. Originally when the Avengers came together in the 60's the group was formed of Marvel's coolest fan favorite characters. It was not only a super team in terms of power wise, but star power, as well. Bendis took this approach when forming his new Avengers team with favorites such as Spider-Man and Wolverine. He brought on two of the original Avengers in Iron Man and Captain America to establish some tradition, but eventually separated the prime characters out completely ending up with a group which included Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, Iron Fist, Ms. Marvel, Hawkeye (brought back from the dead) and a couple more lesser known characters.

Wolvie and Spidey were now the old school characters and Bendis breathed life into characters which hadn't been fan favorites in years...if ever. The new mix of heroes became so compelling to watch as that got through tough situations without the old experienced vet or genius. They relied on each other even when they couldn't rely on each other (Civil War and Secret Invasion) to get through tough times. The characters became so popular in The New Avengers that several of them have has spin-off titles: Hawkeye and Mocking Bird, the motion comic Spider-Woman Agent of S.W.O.R.D. and Luke Cage as the leader of the new Thunderbolts team.

As The New Avengers starts up again with New Avengers #1, the likable family like cast is back and no longer on the run from the government. As a new adventure begins to unfold the reader is taken right back to the feelings of entertainment which Bendis always brings to the New Avengers stories, but the reader is also treated to more art by New Avenger experienced artist Staurt Immonen and the best colorist in the business Laura Martin.

Immonen is perfect for a team book like the Avengers because he doesn't get overly detailed while still drawing flowing action sequences and handling iconic costumes such as Wolverine's, Iron Fist's and Spidey's with such great ease. His art is made to look perfect for The New Avengers #1 thanks to Laura Martin's colors. I love her use of a wide range of bright and bold colors on this book. The tones give the Avenger name a sense of majesty and wonder in the way a child seeing Superman close up for the first time may experience (sorry to cross publishers on you there).

New Avengers #1, the comic of the day, has it all just as the New Avengers' title always has. Writing...check. Pencils...check. Colors...check. Dom continuing to buy every New Avenger issue Bendis releases...check.


(Note: I used the phrases "Avengers", "New Avengers" and "the New Avengers" so many times in this post I got so confused on which phrases to put into italics and which not to. I need an editor.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Green Goblin #1

Green Goblin #1 - Comic of the Day"What haven't we done with the Green Goblin?"

I imagine this is what Marvel was thinking when the started the Green Goblin title in the 90's.
  • They had done the original Green Goblin, Norman Osborn.
  • Marvel then came up with the Hobgoblin (Ned Leeds, a person who stumbled upon some old Goblin goodies).
  • Next, Harry Osborn, Norman's son, picked up the family business in the form of crazy, green formula, and goblin mask.
  • During the Infinity War story lines doppelgangers of many Marvel characters came to be, and one of them was Demogoblin, an extremely evil goblin creation.
  • After, and in between some of the above Goblins, there have been many other incarnations and variations on the original Green Goblin.
Finally, Marvel must have thought the next logical evolution of the Goblin was a good Green Goblin. It just so happened that in the past the only people stumbling upon Harry Osborn's old Green Goblin stashes around New York city were bad guys and guys down on their luck. With the emergence of the comic of the day, Green Goblin #1 we finally read about a good guy who just happens to be in a bad situation.

So tell me Green Goblin series...what good can a good kid do in a Green Goblin suit?

Actually, scratch that. I don't really want to go find the next issue in some bargain bin. Have you flipped through one of those bins? I think shops should start to put hand sanitizer dispensers by those things.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Batman Annual #17

Batman Annual #17 - Comic of the DayIn Batman Annual #17 the replacement Batman (Batman had his back broken by Bane), Azreal, confronts a monster cutting through DC at the time (early 90's) in this comic of the day, "Bloodlines" crossover.

This Batman tale takes place soon after Bruce Wayne's back is broken. While the blond Batman meets up with Commissioner Gordon he tries to speak in Bruce's gruffy voice and be reassuring to Gordon when asked if he has a plan to find the monster and stop it. Secretly, Azreal doubts himself and feels the pressure of living up to the high expectations everyone has for the Bat. Did I mention he was blond?

A couple things to take note of in Batman Annual #17.
  1. When the new blond bat takes off his cowl at one point, he immediately puts on some hipster sunglasses. Why would a person want to put something back on their face after wearing that tight mask all night? Plus, did he carry thus sweet shades in his utility belt? "Hmm...smoke pellets or Lennon glasses?"
  2. The monster shifts into the form of a woman. What are the odds that on the inside, yet another woman is a monster? The song came true. "Watch out here she comes. Look out boys, she'll chew you up! Ohhh, here she comes. She's a man eater!"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Avengers #326

Avengers #326 - Comic of the DayThe first appearance of Rage, the angry superhero with super-strength and invulnerability, raises the issue of racism within the halls of the Avengers, but more importantly, Avengers #326 highlights the prime perk of being an Avenger: sweet Avenger head gear.

The comic of the day begins with Thor, Cap, She-Hulk and others putting some construction time into their new Avengers' headquarters in New York. Cap and She-Hulk are wearing the coolest construction hard hats ever. The hats are yellow-orange and display an Avengers "A" on the front. I'm no expert on Avengers titles, but I believe I may have the first appearance of the Avengers construction hats. They're first appearance is equivalent to that of the Spider-Buggie or Black Tom Cassidy's staff.

What the hell does Cap and She-Hulk need a construction helmet for? They go into battles where they are being shot at, heavy objects thrown at them, and punches rained down on them like Chris Brown attacking Rihanna without her umbrella, ella, ella, hey, hey, hey...all the time! Plus, Cap is essentially wearing two hats. The mask goes over his whole head like a hat, and now he throws on another layer? Oh Captain, my Captain...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Sensational Spider-Man #38

The Sensational Spider-Man #38 - Comic of the DayThe Sensational Spider-Man #38 gave all true believers and children of the late 80's and early 90's hope. Hope that soon Eddie Brock would meet up with his original symbiot once again and cleanse the world of the Scorpion clad Venom. Unfortunately, we eventually got Anti-Venom and Scorponok kept the sympiot.

Lame!

The comic of the day has a cover which knowingly misleads readers. It isn't such a bad thing because Marvel fans knew that Marvel wouldn't go and kill off a staple character in the Spider-Man universe. Marvel would never hurt the Spider-Man franchise like that. Months later..."Brand New Day."

Looking back through The Sensational Spider-Man #38 all I can see is a broken down old cancer ridden Brock which still has the crazies thanks to a certain blob o'black. The story actually makes me sad. To think, a villain I grew up with has been reduced to plotting to kill defenseless old ladies. Though Eddie doesn't die as the cover depicts, the story of the death of the Eddie Brock I used to enjoy does begin here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Daredevil #507

Daredevil #507 - Comic of the DayBeing a fan of Daredevil is like being a fan of oranges. Who doesn't like oranges?

Nazis. That's who.

Daredevil is such an interesting character these days because his world is flipped around from his standard hero of the streets role. He currently leads the deadly assassin clan of Hand ninjas. Are there any other type of ninjas? Well, besides the peaches picking clan... If you are move'n to the country and plan on eating a lot of peaches...

"Look out!"

Daredevil #507 concludes a trip to Japan in which Matt Murdock (Daredevil, duh) tries to bring the other heads of the Hand organization together to achieve a cohesive peace. Of course, there is always one guy who is dissenting against Murdock. And why? No, not because the leader of their ancient organization is a blind guy who used to kill Hand ninjas every day of the week, but because he is white. Well, not Japanese. Close enough.

The hate for the Devil is shown through an assassination attempt on Daredevil's life by a group of ninjas not under Murdock's control. The pencils for the winter wonderland in which the Devil fights off the ninjas is presented quite beautifully by Marco Checchetto while the colors are rendered perfectly for Checchetto's style by Matt Hollingsworth (lots of rich red in a mostly white setting - the contrast makes for some lovely panels).

The cover by Paolo Rivera is also quite a treat on the comic of the day. The coloring feels out of this area which is refreshing to see compared to the other comic covers on the racks this week which are more modern (such as Marko Djurdjevic's Captain America #606). My favorite part about the cover are all the little ninja stars stuck in Daredevil's clubs, as if he had just blocked a shit load. Sure a couple got through his stick-waving, but the ones that didn't look the most fun. Ninja stars are usually more fun when they don't actually stick into a person's body.

Usually...

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life Vol. 1

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life Vol. 1 - Comic of the DayGood things come in small packages. Just ask my girl! Zing!

...seriously. Ask her.

Anyway, the comic of the day is yet another title I have avoided for quite some time. I've seen it at the comic shop (The Comic Bug) several times, but I always just brush it off as magna fluff. One of the shop keeps (I apparently live in the 20's with phrases like "shop keeps"), Adam Von I forget the rest, has suggested I read Scott Pilgrim books for about 3 years now (time length exaggerated for dramatic effect), but like a stubborn fool I declined his suggestions and picked up several copies of Emily the Strange comic books. Oh Emily...you're so strange!

To be honest I held out for 2 main reasons.
  1. Whats with the small pocket sized book? I hate these little magna sized books (Marvel's Runaways). I'm a man with man hands and man sized shelves for my manly comics. By not being actual comic size I viewed it as a lesser gimmick type book. The book is like David Eckstein. No body respects that baseball player because of his small size and lack of color, but he's actually pretty good.
  2. After passing it by several years ago stubbornness set in and I was done with considering it. It's the same way with Harry Potter books. My sisters and many other people have told me I would love the books and that they are actual well written but since I initially didn't read them think they were for kids, I will not go back on my misconception of them. I am plain stubborn and don't care.
So why now did I buy the first book? 2 Reasons:
  1. The movie version Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World is coming out soon and the trailer looked cool.
  2. Adam Von Comic Friend has recommended a bunch of good books to me lately and I think in another life we may have shared the same brain. I mean that guy suggested We3, Avatar the Last Airbender...wait a sec. It isn't like he is creating good stuff. He's just pointing it out. What a loser!
Back to my post where I do not create good stuff, I simply point it out. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life Vol. 1 is...well, good stuff. I read this book in like 5 minutes (time length exaggerated for dramatic effect) at work since it was a slow day. I am not one who laughs out loud often when I am not drunk, but since I was at work and it was 3 o'clock and I was drunk...I laughed out loud.

Scott Pilgrim is written with clever dialog you can imagine saying or hearing your friends speak. Scott puts himself in awkward situations which he gets out of with funny little situational and self deprecating lines. Right from the start, Pilgrim is in a conversation about meeting a girl he likes who is in high-school and only 17. Scott is 23. He plays base in a band, sleeps in the same bed as his gay roommate because they are broke and can only afford one bed and obsesses over a delivery girl he first meets skating through his dreams.

Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life Vol. 1 also has moments where songs are actually written out for you to sing and play along with. Guitar chords accompany the lyrics so you can try to put the song together yourself. Other fun moment come when Scott goes into video game mode. His battle near the end includes a 60 plus hit combo where he "air juggles" (phrase used for constantly hitting an opponent in a fighting video game so that they can not hit the ground and fight back) his opponent.

The first volume, Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, simply sets up Scott Pilgrim's life and the scenario that if he wants to be with his new love interest he must "defeat" her evil ex-boyfriends. Ain't no thing when your the best fighter in the ring, but after battle with one ex does Scott have what it takes to defeat 5 more? Only time and several more black and white small magna style books will know.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nemesis #2

Nemesis #2 - Comic of the DayWizard Magazine usually has a section near the back of their comic and pop-culture publication which lists the top 10 current writers and artists currently releasing new comic book work. Occasionally I would look at it and not understand why my favorite artists and writers weren't always on the top of the lists, but after reading Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's Nemesis #2, I now understand that sometimes even the greatest of creators can have an off project or issue. If I had lists...they may move down a bit this month.

Nemesis #2 just didn't do it for me. The story seems to move a bit too quickly. I feel like I am not invested in the characters yet. For example, Nemesis has a lead villain and seemingly lead good guy authority figure which has inadvertently put the man who would be Nemesis down his evil path of revenge. Of the two characters, I do not know who I am supposed to root for. I think I would rather the authority have control just because I do not like the cockiness of Nemesis. A man in an all white suit is always too confident (the Architect in the Matrix and Tony from Scarface) for his own good. I just don't know enough about the characters to care who comes out on top. Millar is forcing me to choose and it's making me uncomfortable.

Speaking of uncomfortable...come on McNiven! You are making me look bad in front of all of my friends I boost to about your art. There are too many old saggy faces in Nemesis #2 and not enough unique looking characters to show off McNiven's talent. I think this book isn't a very good fit for McNiven because his strengths seem to by stylish superhero looks. His work on Civil War and Old Man Logan (both books: written by Millar)were at their peak when he was penciling panels with superheroes dressed for success...that means in costume. All Nemesis has is and all white and smooth costumed guy with guns. There needs to be more laser arms, knife hands, rocket legs and people made out of gravel for McNiven to shine.

In the end, the comic of the day, Nemesis #2 is not something I am impressed with. Admittedly, Millar and McNiven's scale for success is out of whack due to their past work being off the charts, but in an industry of "ok, what's next?" I need to see a little more out of this dynamic duo.

(Note: I will be starting Top 5 lists on the side bar of 365 Day of Comics soon. One Top 5 for artists, one for writers, and one for ongoing titles.)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Last Airbender Prequel: Zuko's Story

The Last Airbender Prequel: Zuko's Story - Comic of the DayI am getting this magna comic of the day. I just finished the complete Avatar television series.

It.

Was.

Amazing.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hulk Gray

Hulk Gray - Comic of the DayBefore Jeph Loeb went all Rulk (red Hulk) on us he stuck to his guns and created Hulk Gray, a hardcover graphic novel about Bruce Banner remembering his early days as the Hulk...when he was still gray.

First I must address what I mean by sticking to his (Loeb's) "guns." Jeph Loeb has received his most acclaim when working with the amazing Tim Sale. Sale's stylized art can give great motion and action to a character while still capturing what makes each character unique and visually memorable: Betty's frail beauty to Hulks awkwardly-clunky power.

Tim Sale also does great work helping Loeb set the pace of his stories. A lot of criticism towards Loeb's recent work has involved the flow of his stories. The read: this happened, then this happened and then this happened. There hasn't been the feeling of transition which Sale brings to panels which are subtle, yet necessary. Tim Sale has helped bring success to the Loeb and Sale "color" books (Hulk Gray, Daredevil Yellow and Spider-Man Blue), but also to his Batman adventures such as Batman: The Long Halloween and Batman: Dark Victory.

The other pistol in Loeb's holster that factored into all of those books, which many will unjustly overlook, is the work by letterer Richard Starkings. Is it totally random that two of the greatest Batman stories (Batman: The Killing Joke and Batman: The Long Halloween) are lettered by Starkings? Is it coincidence that Loeb's best work is with Starkings on letters? No and no. The now Elephantmen writer helped present the dialog and narration with perfect placement to also help the pacing of the comic's read. Starkings may not have the name recognition of a Tim Sale to casual comic book readers, but in the industry, he is well know for his story-telling ability.

I once asked Starkings which Loeb/Sale "color" book he enjoyed doing the most and he answered: Hulk Gray. The Daredevil and Spider-Man books explored issues we have seen many times before, but the Hulk book shows the similarities between General Ross and the Hulk. The question of who the real monster is, and is there a "gray" area between war and peace or monster and man, are presented in Hulk Gray. Visually I would have to go with Daredevil Yellow because the yellow suit is just badass, but content wise I would have to agree with Starkings.

Most of the Loeb, Sale and Starkings team ups are stories told with a narrative throughout the length of the tale. While Bruce narrates his sad complicated early years in Hulk Gray, readers are nothing but thankful to be let in on his memories. This is yet another Loeb and Sale comic of the day, and like before, it won't be their last.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Web of Spider-Man #100

Web of Spider-Man #100 - Comic of the DayComic books can be like church. Church, to many people who would say they are religiously identified as Christian, can be a place Christians frequent only on "special occasions" such as Christmas and Easter Sunday. Casual religious followers find themselves either too busy or lazy to attend church regularly; however, they will make sure to hit up the holy halls for the big two on the church chart. Comic books can be the same in that a comic book reader may be a casual reader of certain titles. They make sure to pick up the titles on "special occasions" such as issues 1, 100 and every 25th issue in the title's run. These are generally the important issues (so say the publishing companies) which are larger then others and either open or close an important arch in the comic book's run. Other times they are used for marketing purposes...publishers hoping their comic book buyers whom follow religiously.

Spider-Man Sunday - Web of Spider-Man #100

Web of Spider-Man #100 is my choice for comic of the day and this week's Spider-Man Sunday addition because it is an example of a comic book that publishers too often dish out on a numbered issue they know most readers will buy.

Web of Spider-Man #100 is mix of marketing ploy and actual important issue. It does infact close out a story arch, but it's main selling point is "look at the crazy new suit Spider-Man is wearing in his 100th mega issue!" Spider-Man sports an armored suit which has rarely appeared since this issue. The cover is supposed to remind buyers that not only is this a 100th issue, but it may also introduce something that can be a part of Spider-Man for issues to come. To a trained comic reading eye, one can see that if the cover is too flamboyant or over the top giving something away then the issue is basically a throw away (don't ever actually throw a book away you Nazi) and the story isn't that important. A rookie reader will think, "Dang?! What have I missed since picking up issue #75? I need to get this!"

Now I am not saying a trained reader won't still get an issue #100 even if they know it'll be trash (never put a comic in a trash bag...the only bag for a comic should be a flat comic sized one with a piece of cardboard in it) the reader still gets the book. Just as with church, even if you don't truly believe in God you still want to cover yourself from eternal damnation on that slight chance you were wrong.

In the end, Web of Spider-Man #100 is not important. What is important is that we realize that like the church, the comic industry can be corrupt. The church knows people will always need hope and a sense of belonging or the need for saving; and the comic industry knows that readers will buy certain issues no matter what content they put into them. We as the public may try to police the organizations through logic, laws and our money, but in the end there are only 2 truthes in this world:
  1. Whether there is a God or not, people will always err on the side of "I'm not going to hell for not going to church for 2 hours out of the year."
  2. Comics are evil.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Thanos Imperative #1 (of 6)

The Thanos Imperative #1 - Comic of the DayI haven't really been keeping up with the Marvel galactic wars involving Nova, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and other cosmically powered Marvel heavyweights, but I will gladly pick up any title which features the mad titan, Thanos.

Thanos is such a great character because he is directed evil. He is not one of those villains that just commits crimes, or wrongs worlds just because he can; rather, Thanos has always had the aim to kill life throughout the universe to impress his beloved Death. Death, in Marvel's case or maybe just in the eyes of Thanos, is a woman. Thanos is all dead flowers and stale marshmallows over Death, so he will gladly do anything to give her what she wants.

Thanos has just returned from the dead, a fate he accepted since it brought him by the side of his mistress, and now has the rage of a...well, a mad titan. He did not want to return to life.

In the comic of the day, The Thanos Imperative #1, Thanos directs his captors to unleash him on an alternate universe that threatens the core Marvle universe. The alternate universe, known as the Cancerverse, is a universe without death. Apparently, there aren't any dead bodies, graves or urn salesmen (Are there urn salesmen any where? "Get you're urn!" I imagine them at baseball games.).Though the Canserverse lacks death, they seem more than willing to bring it to the main universe so that they can expand their bursting with life universe.

In the end the overall story doesn't concern me much. I just want to see Thanos get all cosmic on someone's ass.

Friday, June 4, 2010

iZombie #2

iZombie 2 - Comic of the DayDon't be fooled by the name of this comic of the day. There are many more monsters for a reader to get involved with in iZombie #2.

As Gwen, our zombie heroine, starts to literally paint the picture of the man's brain's memories she ate, the story opens us up to a few more characters. We meet the group of female vampires who run a camp for guys to enjoy on vacation. We ran into them briefly while they were up to some trickery while assisting with a paintball match in the first issue. Sure the group are young hot female vampires, just like every female vampire to ever be created, but visually...I'm ok with it.

A mummy, the wolf boy (from last issue) and a ghost (also from last issue) haunt the pages of iZombie as well. There hasn't been much in way of what is actually going on plot wise, but the characters are starting to expand and the feeling of iZombie #2 is light-hearted and easy-going. The third issue is in my sites for next month. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Franken-Castle #17

FrankenCastle 17 - Comic of the DayAfter reading this comic of the day you may think to yourself (as opposed to thinking to someone else), "I like this comic book. I want to get Franken-Castle #17." Well, good luck. You won't be finding a Franken-Castle #16 because Franken-Castle #17 is the first issue in the comics titled Franken-Castle...Franken-Castle, Franken-Castle, Franken-Castle!

The comic book formerly titled The Punisher has gone into a distinctively different direction than Punisher books of the past. The comic has a bit of a horror aspect to it and sports a half-man half-machine Frank Castle whom is suped-up with unnatural power, something the Punisher has always been void of. He is literally Frank the Tank.

While I am a fan of the new direction involving the super-natural Punisher, others have dropped the book and switched to the Punisher Max series in search for a grittier more conventional and real world Frank Castle. The change in name of the Punisher comic could be a way for Marvel to help distinguish the difference between Frank Castle worlds. Now, when a reader stops in a comic shop to get a Punisher title they will find a Punisher to their liking.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Ex Machina #10

Ex Machina 10 - Comic of the DaySo I know I mentioned enjoying comics by Brian K. Vaughan because he is able to work in social and current issues that are often not dealt with in comic books, but I also am thoroughly entertained by the basic plot of his Ex Machina stories.

Ex Machina #10 concludes the "Tag" tale which involves the only connection to Mitchell Hundred, a.k.a. the Great Machine, and him receiving powers that allow him to talk to machinery. The connection is a symbol on some scrap metal that was found by where the powers were originated. The symbol itself speaks differently to different people, and as we find in Ex Machina #10, it speaks with much evil intent.

The story wraps up a mystery involving a family in Hundred's past who are turning up dead. Vaughan does a great jump of keeping the identity of the killer involved secret until the final issue, which makes the build up much appreciated. The pay off is a machinery talking battle!

"When I say one, you say zero! One!"

"Zero!"

"One!"

"Zero!"

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

John Romita Jr. Avengers #1 Gatefold

Avengers 1 Gatefold - Comic of the Day

Was that a long enough title for you?

I wasn't sure exactly what to call the comic of the day. The promotional Marvel handout is a foldout mini poster which displays variant covers of the recent Avengers #1. The covers are all done by John Romita Jr. and all have the Avengers "A" in the background. Honestly...it's just alright. It is a cool little piece of Marvel which could be hung in the work-place work-space, but I haven't been a huge fan of John Romita Jr. lately.

J.R. Jr. has done some amazing things in the past such as his pencils on Daredevil with Ann Nocenti, but recently his stuff has been everywhere. He is on the Avengers books, he is doing Doomwar and I'm sure he is doing variant covers for some other book, too. I'm a little burnt out on him for the time being. I understand why he is the go to man for Marvel...the man can get his work done on time. Unfortunately, he has become the Deadpool of the Marvel artist. He's everywhere, and I'm getting tired of it.

May Comic of the Day Recap

The month of May featured some new titles, some old reliable comics and a bunch of Warren Ellis. Some of the newer titles were compliments of comic book borrowing. The great thing about every comic getting it's own trade paper back or hardcover is that they are easy to loan out. I essentially grabbed a stack from a friend and was set for a couple of weeks. The collections are also great ways to fully engross one's self into a new book. Understanding what the comic is about and if it is something worth picking up in the future is just another reason for picking up a trade early on in a series' run, as well.

My May highlights included:
It seems I have a lot of comics of the day which I am proud of this month. I tried to narrow the list but they are like babies...I always feel a little guilty trashing and disregarding them...just a little.