Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wizard World Anaheim Program (2010)

Wizard World Anaheim Program - Comic of the Day
This comic of the day is not really a comic book at all. It was the program the handed out for free at the Wizard World Anaheim convention. I actually think the cover is kind of cool. It has a very other-worldly setting with William Shatner's and some other guy's (he looks kind of like the lead guy on ABC's Flash Forward) face.

Sorry for the short post. I'm tired.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Franken-Castle #19

Franken-Castle #19 - Comic of the DayFranken-Castle #19 represents one thing I hate about collecting comic books and one thing I love about the Punisher.

Franken-Castle Friday - Franken-Castle #19

The ugly truth about Franken-Castle #19 is that the comic of the day is ruining my comic book cataloging. The comic book series started out as the Punisher, so the title found its placement in my comic book box consisting of other Punisher comics and other titles which begin with the letter "P". Unfortunately, the title changed from the Punisher to Franken-Castle, yet continued in it's numerical progression. This brings me to the problem: Do I continue to put the book in session with the Punisher (since it will most likely turn back to the title anyway), and get all Dexter with my books by breaking the code; or, do I follow the code to a "T", "P" and "F"? Cataloging comics is already frustrating and time consuming, this just adds to the mess of it all. Fortunately, it has happened before, most recently when the Incredible Hulk turned into the Incredible Hercules, so I do have some experience with the situation. Harry, I'm breaking the code. The book will stay in the "P's".

Now with the good things about this book.

This issue reminds me of why I love comics. If you like books where the characters actually fight it out for the length of the book...get this comic. Two hardcore brawlers in the Punisher and lil' Wolverine (Daken) go at it like comic book fans always wished two classic characters would (Daken is basically Wolverine). Guns, claws, trains, explosions, impalings, scene changes...all the while the two are tearing into each other. And that isn't even the best part.

Wait till you get to the last 2 pages.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Secret Avengers #3

Secret Avengers #3 - Comic of the Day
It's been quite a while since the days of the New Warriors. The young team was comprised of mostly lower level superheroes such as Night Thrasher and Speedball, but they also had the future break out star Nova. Nova is a character with great power that was pushed into the spot light again just a few years back when the space-type wars and characters started up. Nova has been a powerful ally on the side of good who often isn't seen for how powerful he is when heavy weights like the Silver Surfer, Galactus and Thanos are around.

Thanks to Ed Brubaker's Secret Avengers ongoing we get to see Nova compared to lower level heroes such as Moon Knight, and even some higher level heroes like Valkyrie. In the comic of the day, Secret Avengers #3, we get to see Nova in action. Granted he is wearing a weird alien hat which increases his powers...wait, he always has a weird alien hat...anyway. Nova is able to mess up some intergalactic robot protector made by a Watcher who is designed to be able to beat anyone with the weird hat on (not the weird yellow Nova hat). Nova's added power is too great for the protector and we get to see just how sick Nova can be when compared to Captain America, Asgardian or Watcher-bot.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wolverine Weapon X #15

Wolverine Weapon X #15 - Comic of the DayThe problem with time travel stories is that unless they are very basic, like Back to the Future, by the end there is often confusion and lack of interest.

Wolverine Wednesdays - Wolverine Weapon X #15

Like Michael J. Fox, Wolverine Weapon X #15 is a little shaky. The main Deathlok unit in Jason Aaron's "Tomorrow Dies Today" arc begins to question his lack of human emotion and in turn overrides his human killing nature. Basically, the cyborg part of Deathlok wants to experience being human and shuts down the human voice inside of him from retaining control of his actions. Why or how the Deathlok unit does this is a bit unclear. I think it had something to do with him killing a woman in the future before he went to the past to kill the woman again...yeah, I don't know.

I did not want to take out my feelings for the content of this book on Ron Garney's art, but I will. It was still better than many Marvel artists with regular titles, yet it was not up to the Garney standard. It actually looked a little rushed. Some panels looked as good as ever, and then others just seemed sketched out quickly and unrefined. Again, the art may have been fine and I am just nit-picking at the comic of the day since it made me feel stupid for not fully understanding it.

Me is stupid.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Batman: Hush

Batman: Hush - Comic of the DayJeph Loeb and his favorite letterer Richard Starkings team up again to add to their already long resume (wiki it - this is going to be a short post and I do not want to type every book they did together out then link them all to the posts I have already done on them) of successful stories. With the legendary Jim Lee, whom adds his buffed-out Batman style, DC adds another memorable Batman story to their list with Batman: Hush.

The comic of the day reads like many of Loeb's other stories with a narrative over the top of the story. In this case, the narrative goes a long with the story as apposed to the main character remembering an adventure or moment in their life. Of course, the whole time reading the book one is trying to figure out who the mysterious villain is pulling strings in Batman's life. Like Loeb's The Long Halloween (also lettered by Starkings), Batman: Hush is filled with many classic Batman's rogues. As the book's pages turn, another villain is added to the fold, piling on the list of potential head puppeteers.

Loeb has a way of leading a reader down an obvious path and then knocking them off of it very abruptly. Sometimes in comics that can come off as too tricky or even cliche, but the way the "Hush" arc progresses the style of deception is welcomed. Like Batman in "Hush", the reader is pulled in different directions throwing off the necessary concentration of a detective which is needed to solve exactly what is going on, and why.

The story is long and will take a portion of your work day to comple...I mean...I didn't read this while at work! I was working hard all day. As I was saying...while reading Batman: Hush at home (dramatic pause) I came to appreciate the ending of the book and found the last 10 pages very rewarding. It's no Christopher Nolan ending, but it makes you think and smirk all the same.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Captain America #601

Captain America #601 - Comic of the DayWho would have thought that the winner of the 2010 Eisner Award for best single issue would be a comic book which involved superheroes fighting vampires? 2010 Eisner Award winning best writer, Ed Brubaker, wrote an extremely deep issue which I had to reread to understand what Brubaker was trying to say or express in Captain America #601.

My first take was that the book explores the agony of war. Captain America and Bucky Barnes, men bread for the inhumanities of war, struggle with seeing people die around them only to have to kill the innocent again when they rise as vampires. The vampires are turned from men, women and children. This is where I started to understand the comic of the day a bit more.

Becoming a vampire is like an evil, uncaring, indiscriminate virus. Good people wonder why evil happens. Why was/is there evil so unjust and merciless such as the Nazis? WWII was a time of destruction, bigotry and evil without reason. Just as the Nazis spared no one unlike themselves, so to did the vampires in Captain America #601. They fed on good men whom fought for what was right. The vampires attacked outsider women who only meant to inspire and bring joy, and the vampires attacked a little girl...innocent by nature. The vampires as Bucky describes to Nick Fury caused Bucky and Cap to do the opposite of which they were trained and created for: kill innocents.

The super-natural tale is quite moving when thought of in terms of evil making one do what they never wanted to. In Captain America #601, Cap and Bucky represent the soldiers on the side of right, and WWII was a horrible war, but no different than any war which takes lives. Cap and Bucky are every man who had to carry a gun and do things they were never meant to do to another person. No good man wants to take a life, but evil and the Nazis pushed good men to do terrible things which can never be forgotten.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #359

The Amazing Spider-Man #359 - Comic of the DayI recently saw a twitter feed from Erik Larsen which stated he was very proud of the Spidey-verse character Cardiac which Larsen first penciled in The Amazing Spider-Man comics. This tweet stood out to me because one of the first comic books I can remember getting (from my father, I think) was The Amazing Spider-Man #359 which displayed Cardiac battling Spider-Man on the cover.

Spider-Man Sunday - The Amazing Spider-Man #359

This particular comic of the day is, if I can remember correctly (it was a long time ago), the comic book which got me into comic book collecting and Spider-Man in general. I started getting consecutive issues after this book and really began to fall in love with the character.

The Amazing Spider-Man #359 is actually the first cameo of Cletus Cassidy, the serial killer which was jailed with Eddie Brock. A few issues later Cassidy made his first appearance as Carnage. After the Carnage books wrapped up their 3 issue arch I began to explore older Amazing Spider-Man issues by way of my cousins comic book collection (he had old Venom stuff which at the time felt so evil and intense) and through searching the comic bins at my local comic shop in Willowick, Ohio.

That was my first comic book shop. I do not remember the name of the place but I remember the counter was raised like a pharmacist's counter. With promises of extra chores and help in the yard, my father bought me Avengers #100, my first old comic book, from the display case at my first shop. It was like owning the first baseball card or an Egyptian artifact. It was old, slightly worn and all mine. I bought myself plenty of Sleepwalker issues, Spawn #1 and the black bagged Superman #75 (which I still have unopened in the bag) there, as well.

I would like to go back to Ohio one day and stop by that ally way by the grocery store. The little unnamed shop where my father picked up The Amazing Spider-Man #359, and thus set me on my comic book path.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Alias #8

Alias #8 - Comic of the DayIn this follow up comic of the day post I plead to my readers to pick up some Alias comic books and give the Marvel Max series a try.

Brian Michael Bendis writes strong female characters. I've gone on about this before in previous posts about Alias, Spider Woman and the new Bendis book Scarlet, but I must stress his care for the female experience. His women do not seem over the top or exaggerated, but rather they are women possessing the bare minimum (if any) super-powers yet they still get their jobs done and continue to wade through their seemingly crappy lives.

Alias #8 is the third part in a story about Rick Jones. Rick was the kid Bruce Banner pushed out of the way when the gamma bomb went off. Well, if you don't know much about Rick Bendis lays out his past in an interesting way which may or may not be all true. Rick's word is all readers and Jessica Jones (no relation...so she and Rick think) have to go off of when determining why Rick has left his wife and why there may be skrulls after him.

The skrull aspect is interesting to me. In the future Jessica Jones is linked to a baby which may have been a skrull, and now that I read that skrulls may be involved in her series from back in the early 2000's when all of the Secret Invasion (skrulls invading earth after years of planning and spying) ideas were supposedly thought up by Bendis...well...I am definitely curious to see where this Alias arch goes.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Alias #7

Alias #7 - Comic of the DayWhile continuing on with the Brian Michael Bendis Marvel Max series Alias, I read through a couple of pages (which while in Alias #7 were important to the story) that when done in the recent Avengers and New Avengers issues are not appealing at all. The pages I am referring to are completely text based pages. No panels. No pictures. Just text.

At the end of the restarted Avengers and New Avengers titles there has been all text pages that consist of the Avengers heroes retelling their early team experiences. While the content may be interesting, it has nothing to do with the $3.99 comic book I bought and by the time I get to the end of the issue I am only interested in the current storyline. I am not in the mood for a trip down memory lane at the moment I complete the current issue's story. I tell myself I'll go back and read the text pages later, but let's be honest...that's not going to happen.

Alias #7 does the full page of text right. It is relevant to the story at hand. In the comic of the day the text is direct text Jessica Jones is reading from a book. There are not several pages in a row of text to read and the font is large enough where the page takes maybe a few more moments than looking over a normal paneled page.

I hope Marvel stops putting the dialoged past content in the back of their books and just keeps the books a few pages shorter, and a dollar cheaper.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #638

The Amazing Spider-Man #638 - Comic of the DayMost posts on The Amazing Spider-Man #638's "One Moment in Time" opener are going to be about the actual content. The biggest game changing event in Spider-Man history since Peter removed his mask about a year before, "One More Day" altered the relationship between Mary Jane and Peter Parker forever...or at least so far. The Amazing Spider-Man #638 tackles what was changed in Peter's life to make the Parker marriage no more. The comic of the day...it...well...

Ok! That's it! I can't go any further with this comic book. You can alter Spider-Man's history, you can take the Venom symbiot away from Eddie Brock, and in this very issue you can draw Peter Parker kind of chubby; but for the love of everything the Spidey-verse is, was and ever shall be...you have to get Mary Jane's hair color right.

Mary Jane's hair (deep breath) is RED!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The New Avengers #2

The New Avengers #2 - Comic of the DayThe New Avengers might be my favorite comic book right now. Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen seem to bring out the best in each other with every issue of The New Avengers.

Starting the New Avengers line is a story involving magic. Wooo, mysterious. The characters involved in The New Avengers #2 are the duel team leader (Thunderbolts team leader as well) Luke Cage, the ex magica himself Dr. Strange, Iron Fist, Wolverine, the ever love'n Thing and the rest of the classic New Avenger gang. The comic of the day has them caught up in a little tussle. Nothing dramatic. Oh yeah, the fate of our existence hangs in the balance, but like whatevs.

I've spoken about Immonen's simplistic style before. It just works when there are a lot of people on the page. Too much detail clutters up the pages with intense action and takes away from the focus of a panel. Immonen is the perfect team book artist.

Oh, did I mentioned Cage above? If you are also reading Thunderbolts right now, you may notice that while Luke Cage is leading two teams at the moment he is also getting thoroughly punked. In both issues Cage is being dominated by the "bad guy(s)". I don't know about you (you being the reader...yeah, I'm talking to you) but I like my leader to be in charge and not constantly getting messed up. But maybe I'm just being old fashion.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour

Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour - Comic of the DayThe first thing I was asked when I finished Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, which came out today during a rare comic Tuesday release, was, "How did you like the ending?" I think that is a fair question when asking about a book that finalizes a 6 year span of highly original storytelling. My answer? I liked it.

What can I say? Bryan Lee O'Malley takes Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour to places his books all go. The Scott Pilgrim volumes travel through a world which is very familiar to our own, yet it is also a world filled with modern day fantasy which can only be captured in a comic or work of fiction. Scott experiences life and has relationships that evolve the way real world ones do for us readers. We make friends and then grow apart. We have odd pasts which are cruel at times. We've gotten shitty jobs (Scott's dish cleaning) but we're super proud of ourselves for being chosen for it. In many ways Scott Pilgrim's life is very regular, but in other ways it is simply pure imaginary fun.

What if life had video game moments? What if we could do battle, unfortunately lose by way of death, but then use an extra life we received somewhere along the way in our game of life, and live? Hell...I'd be fighting people constantly!

Some of the best video games ever are based on reality.
  • 007 - Just a spy killing for country
  • Pong - Just a game of tennis for the un-athletic
  • Mario Brothers - Just a couple of plumbers clearing evil shit from pipes
  • Pac Man - Just a speed freak on a crazy cannibalistic trip
We have worked real life into video games. It was only a matter of time before someone worked games video games into real life. Though I am, admittedly, a pioneer in this field. One time after playing Sega's "Vectorman" for 3 days straight I tried double jumping a puddle in the movie theater parking lot on my way to seeing Van Damme's Sudden Impact. As a people, I am glad we had to fall short in a few puddles along the way to creating a unique fantasy adventure such as the Scott Pilgrim series.

As I mentioned in the beginning, I liked how the Scott Pilgrim run ended. I am not going to say "I wish it ended like this" or "like that" because I was just enjoying the story being told in this comic of the day. I let myself be immersed in the story, and let O'Malley tell his tale while I sat back, listened and smiled.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine #2

Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine #2 - Comic of the DayWhy in the heck does Wolverine need a gun? Look at this cover. Astonishing Spider-Man and Wolverine #2 has Wolvie holding a pistol. If I had hands with indestructible claws on them I would use hand to hand combat for everything.
  • Archer's Duel - Hand-2-Hand
  • Submarine Attacks - Hand-2-Hand
  • Fighting Galactus - Hand-2-Hand
  • Water-balloon Toss Game - Hand-2-Hand
Using a gun when you have claws on your hands is like licking your way to the center of a tootsie-pop. Get all wise owl on that pop and bite that thing!

If you want to pick up this comic of the day you will get an explanation for Wolverine's gun-mode, and you will also get a well drawn Spider-Man and Wolverine thanks to Adam Kubert. His pencils on this book are spot on. When I picture what Spidey and Wolverine look like in my head they look exactly the way they look in this comic of the day. Admittedly, I picture them with Rollie Fingers like mustaches, but that is another story for another post.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #637

The Amazing Spider-Man #637 - Comic of the DayThese are a few of my quick notes on the final installment of the "Grim Hunt" storyline in The Amazing Spider-Man #637.

Spider-Man Sunday - The Amazing Spider-Man #637

Why can't Spider-Man be a bad-ass more often? In the comic of the day Spider-Man has a bit of rest in him thanks to a nice nap in a bed of dirt. When he crawls his way to the surface he is filled with new energy and rage. Death and harm have fallen others stemming from their acquaintance with Spider-Man, the first of the Spyders. You can attack Peter all you want, but when you mess with his family he will go crazy on you.

Like in the pre "Brand New Day" arch, "Back in Black", Peter goes after those who attack the ones he is responsible for (family, friends and other Spider-like heroes which have been inspired by Spider-Man). When ever Peter feels rage he suits up in his black costume and does things that aren't Spider-Man appropriate. He brakes bones, nearly kills and calls people names. One time he scratched a guys eyes! That's messed up.

In The Amazing Spider-Man #637 Spider-Man is amazing.

The other thing I wanted to touch on briefly was the variant Oliver Coipel cover. Why does it look like a wrap around cover when it isn't a wrap-around? The cover pencils look okay, but the imagery is off center and kind of awkward. Plus, can there be more type on the cover? We get it. There are a lot of things going on in this issue and a lot of people working on it. Use a page inside next time. Sheesh. It's called making a comic book 101.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ex Machina #16

Ex Machina #16 - Comic of the DayIn my last post I sang my praise for Brian K. Vaughan (if you consider rap a form of singing), but now I would like to briefly write about what continues to keep me interested in his Ex Machina series.

Ex Machina #16 is a fine example of how Brian K. Vaughan takes a fine science fiction idea like being able to talk to mechanisms from blenders to guns, and makes that fantastic idea the third most interesting thing about this comic of the day. Issue #16 focuses on family and the things that keep them together and apart. BKV has created a character in Mitchell Hundred that can do amazing things. Hundred had been gifted by a freak accident which gave him powers, and that part of the story is what drives the comic book on the surface, yet BKV has developed a supporting cast of friends, co-workers and family that keep my interest.

BKV uses a story telling feature in Ex Machina which jumps the reader back in time and then forward again. Using moments in Hundred's past to define his actions or thoughts in the future is a tool which is seen in BKV's work such as the little known television show Lost. Themes such as "the past repeating itself" and "learning from one's past" are ways to explore a character's experiences and emotions without having a narrative. Basically, BKV uses the exact opposite style of writing as Jeph Loeb: main character narrative (Loeb's Marvel color books and Batman books).

What defines a BKV book? Well, his comic books are basically science fiction for people who do not like comic books. His books are about developing characters and relationships first. If you can achieve a realistic take on your books players, the plot will take care of itself.

Pick up a Brian K. Vaughan book today.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ex Machina #15

Comic of the day post.
Ex Machina #15 - Comic of the Day
Dom drop a load on em'!

BKV, how can I explain it?
I'll take you page by page it.
To have y'all readin' shall I typin' it.
B is for Brian, K is for Killin' through your temple.
The last V...well...it's not that simple.
Its sorta like another way to call a man a genius.
It's seven little letters that are missin' here.
You get on while read'n at the other comic,
As the poster it seems I gotta start to explainin'.
Bust it!
You ever had a book and read it just for a starter?
You read its name and number and then you feelin' much smarter?
You get home, wait a day, it's what you wanna know about.
Then you read up and it's the writer or the subject's feel.
It's not a front, F to the R to the O to the N to the T.
It's just the subjects are so good (Boy, that's what is scary).
Its BKV, time Brian V's what you get it.
There's no room for collecting it there's just room to read it.
How many readers out there know what I'm gettin' at?
Well if you do, that's BKV and you're not down with it.
But if you don't, here's your membership.

You down with BKV? (Yeah you know me!)
You down with BKV? (Yeah you know me!)
You down with BKV? (Yeah you know me!)
Who's down with BKV? (Cuz every homie should be!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Invincible Iron Man #28

The Invincible Iron Man #28 - Comic of the DaySince the creation of Iron Man in 1963 artists have struggled with capturing the emotion of the character. Tony Stark himself is easy enough to draw: these days his distinctive look is captured with a tan and a goatee. The tough art comes while Tony is in his Iron Man suit. How does an artist make a metal, unmoving face-plate, show emotion?

Easy. Salvador Larroca just bends the metal.

Larroca realizes the facial emotion is very important when dealing with tight conversations, so rather than draw the eye-slots or mouth-opening with crisp straight lines, Larroca angles them a bit in the comic of the day. If Iron Man is angry, Larroca pencils the eye slots slightly downward towards the middle of the face. If Iron Man is sad...the reverse. Slight shading also helps with the noise point on the Iron Man face-plate, but in The Invincible Iron Man #28 it's all about the tilted eye-slots and once in a while a slightly curved mouth-opening.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Thanos Imperative #2

The Thanos Imperative #2 - Comic of the DayBlue blazes? Really?

To use the expression "blue blazes" once n a comic book is pushing it. It recalls memories of watching campy television shows like the Adam West Batman series (which was awesome for what it was), but not in a fun sign of the times way. A non-child comic book written post 80's should never carry such an old phrase...let alone use it 3 times. In was honestly distracting. If it is some old catch phrase of Nova's, I do not care. I would rather see a bleeped out word like $%*^. Sorry. I didn't mean to get too vulgar there.

Though the comic of the day was difficult to read at times, The Thanos Imperative #2 provided a few moments of wonder and excitement. Headlining my wonder wall for this issue is the collection of the space abstracts such as Galactus. The level of threat in The Thanos Imperative #2 is so great that the literal big boys show up to keep our universe's door shut. The only thing that out does the awe of Galactus and the Galactus-like beings holding off their unknown enemies is the last page of The Thanos Imperative #2.

Once readers get by "blue blazes" (sorry for even posting "it" repeatedly) I think will enjoy the large scale of this visually engrossing comic book.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe Vol.5

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe Vol.5 - Comic of the DayIn Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together, Scott Pilgrim gets it together. His relationships seem to be on the up and up and his life with Ramona, his girlfriend, seems to be on track. And then came volume 5, Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe.

The comic of the day is where Scott's life get's deconstructed. His relationships with his friends becomes strained and end up in very different places then where they were established in volumes one and two. Scott himself seems to shift from the devolving Homer Simpson we see in the last book to a motivated, but forgetful still, guy. This is finally the issue where Scott's previous behavior and actions come back to haunt him, yet instead of being on the side of "he had it coming" we end up hoping he can recover. He is the player, on the team we hate, that is just so likable. How can someone hate David Ortiz?

The Double Impact like battle (if the Van Dams were evil) wraps up the second to last Scott Pilgrim volume. In exactly one week from now (next Tuesday the 20th) the last Scoot Pilgrim installment comes out: Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour. After five mostly black and white magna books filled with ex-boyfriend battles, video game jokes, relationship difficulties and characters that seem to be just exaggerated enough to not remind me of a specific person, I can not wait to pick up the finale Scott Pilgrim volume.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #556

The Amazing Spider-Man #556 - Comic of the DayChris Bachalo has created some memorable Marvel covers. He has created iconic Iceman imagery with his X-Men #190 cover and a spider-smashing face blow with is Amazing Spider-Man #575. With astonishing covers like those one wonders why, when they come across The Amazing Spider-Man #556, Chris Bachalo limited his talents to fit the story in this comic of the day.

Bachalo does Spider-Man like no other artist. His energy driven pencils give the wall-crawler a flare that few artists can capture. Yet sandwiched between some excellent Bachalo covers of the Amazing Spider-Man #555 and #557 is the very basic (for Bachalo) Amazing Spider-Man #556. We see a tiny Spider-Man in a vast cover of cold. The cover conveys the chill Spider-Man is feeling during the odd blizzard which is taking place in New York city during the Bachalo driven "Brand New Day" tale. Like the previous run-on sentence, the cover works, but could have been handled better. As a fan of Bachalo I am greedy to see more, and unfortunately, this cover is intentionally simplistic...just like this post.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

X-Men #1 (2010)

X-Men #1 - Comic of the DayA lot of people have hated on the new X-Men #1. Readers seem to not be taken by the current story line flowing through the X titles regarding the undead Dracula and his vampire minions. The vampire thing has been done so many times and before seeing just where this story can go readers have scoffed at the idea.

If you've frequented my blog before you will know I enjoy many vampire tales (American Vampire, Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer and The Complete Dracula). I think the vampire is an interesting creation which when mixed with other supernaturally powered creations can make a fun story or two. In the case of mixing mutants and vampires...I see possibilities.

I am unsure if vampires sucking mutated blood has been done before, but there should be something to it. Maybe a vampire because even more powerful with sucking mutie blood. Or maybe a mutant turned to the ranks of vampires is now an unstoppable agent of the undead. Mutant powers plus night-stalking powers can't be too shabby.

My top 5 Mutants I want to see as vampires:
  1. Angel - Would his wings turn to bat wings?
  2. Namor - Would his ankle wings turn to bat ankle wings?
  3. Mimic - If vampires do not have reflections, would Mimic be able to reflect other's powers?
  4. Jamie Madrox - Why bite others to create a vampire army when you can simply make your army via yourself.
  5. Professor X - Mind and blood leech. Deadly combo.
The comic of the day is just a stepping stone to some potentially fun story lines. Right off the bat (pun intended), we see Wolverine decapitate a vampire in X-Men #1. That panel alone tells me this story has a future in my comic box.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Casanova #1

Casanova #1 - Comic of the DayThe whole time I was reading this book I could not help but see the world of the Umbrella Academy. With Gabriel Ba providing art on both titles, and the fact that both Gerard Way and Matt Fraction both use an assortment of strange hard sci-fi characters, it was hard for me to understand if Casanova took place in it's own brand new world.

I re-read the second half of the book to understand the story more and started to feel a bit more comfortable with the comic of the day as it's own entity, but Ba's art is so distinctive and story defining that I have a hard time separating the Umbrella Academy and Casanova. Casanova, the title character, looked a bit like the Kraken from Umbrella Academy, too. I enjoy Ba's art, but it may be hard for me to ever accept it into other stories and publisher's books.

Casanova #1 was an interesting enough story for me to care about. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement for this book; however, by the time a reader gets through the end mini-story (with art by Fabio Moon) from within the first story that Fraction puts together, the reader will realize that the book has it's charm and a reason to pick up the following issue.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Scarlet #1

Scarlet #1 - Comic of the DayI was starting to think that Bendis was a bad-ass woman in another life based on his excellent writing of female characters, but maybe he simply writes female characters the way guys wish women were. After reading Scarlet #1 I was thoroughly excited to see more of this comic and character in the future. I thought Bendis wrote an interesting first issue which set up where the book was going and where Scarlet, the title heroine, intentions lie and how they came to be. All in all, I liked the book. But then along came a woman and her independent ideas... The nerve!

Apparently my take on Scarlet #1 was not shared by my obviously tasteless lady pal. She didn't hate it, but was not impressed. At first I thought the basics:
  • Women are just dumb in general.
  • Women are huge liars, and she never read the book.
  • Women are crazy jealous of other women, and this woman hates on Scarlet because she is so amazome (yeah, so cool she is the mix of "amazing" and "awesome").
  • Maybe she didn't like the art...but what do women know about art? Back to my first point!
Touching on the art should not be lost in this post. Alex Maleev has done wonderful work yet again for his Daredevil and various other Marvel one-shots partner, Brian Michael Bendis. Maleev brings a shadowy feel to his imagery and excels in his facial expressions. His faces make me absorb the individuals joy, pain, anger and everything else in between. Scarlet has been a lovely follow up to his Spider-Woman motion/regular comic book, also written by Bendis.

Back to why women may not like Scarlet #1... I'm thinking it's the female tone. Maybe women don't really react the way Scarlet has in the comic of the day. Does the reaction feel false? I just don't know. I could be going abut this wrong. Maybe it's not a women don't like this book but just this issue or style type of thing. Maybe the way the narration is told through speech square blocks just feels wrong. The square blocks do seem as if Iron Man is telling the story. His speech is always in a square, but usually colored, block. Freak'n robot. All that technology and he can't make his voice sound normal.

Sudden End.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #636

The Amazing Spider-Man #636 - Comic of the DayIf you aren't reading the current "Grim Hunt" story arch in the Amazing Spider-Man then let me sum up the comic of the day, part three, for you: the twist everyone saw coming...came.

Isn't that the problem with so many stories these days? If you read a lot of fiction, comic books, watch television often or even attend the movie theater regularly you pretty much know how many comic book stories are going to end or evolve. Plus, when the comic book you are reading is advertising the next story arch within the pages of the current story arch you can kind of see where the book is going. There is not a whole lot of mystery in current superhero comic books.

With that said, there is more to "Grim Hunt" then what happens to Peter Parker. The tale chronicles the attempts of the Kravinoff family as they try to resurrect their father Kraven "the Hunter." The how and why are explained quite quickly in the first couple of issues, but as readers get into the third part, The Amazing Spider-Man #636, the question of "does Kraven even want to be brought back" arises. It is an important question because while his family longs for the return of their father, the fact remains that Kraven killed himself. He wanted to die after he defeated Spider-Man and wore his black pj's. Crazy bastard.

...and that reminds me!

I always hated how proud of himself Kraven was after he buried Spider-Man alive. He felt like he got the best of Spider-Man, but for a self proclaimed great hunter Kraven sure was quite the cheap-shot artist. He was always trying to use some kind of drug or gas on Spider-Man instead of just going at him in hand-to-hand combat at full strength. I guess Kraven is no different from today's hunters: killing deer with rifles. You know...a fair battle between man and beast.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ultimate Extinction #2

Ultimate Extinction #2 - Comic of the DayDespite Wikipedia's advice I decided to just go ahead and continue reading the Ultimate Extinction mini series, and after reading Ultimate Extinction #2 I now understand what other readers see in the Marvel Ultimate Universe books.

I have talked about avoiding the Ultimate books in the past because they are not apart of the standard Marvel continuity books which I have invested my interest in for so many years. Tweaking origins and the development of characters I grew up enjoying did not appeal to me...at first. Now I am beginning to find that sense of wonder which comes along with discovering new worlds of imagination. While reading the comic of the day Ultimate Extinction #2, the comfort that I usually have when reading a Marvel book was not present. I did not know where the book was going, where the characters intentions lie and even who some of the players are. Reading an Ultimate book is like being introduced to comic books all over again.

A comic book story can only be told so many times with the same heroes and villains before the excitement is absent from the pages. Marvel's Ultimate takes on their books and characters allows familiar faces to still be used, yet changes the premise of an established story, origin or character intention. The Ultimate Universe is growing on me because I love comic books, original stories and Marvel characters.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together Vol. 4

Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together Vol. 4 - Comic of the DayScott Pilgrim is Homer Simpson. You may not have caught onto it at first, but as you read from volume 1 on the Homer Simpson effect is clearly taking place.

The long running television show "The Simpsons" originally featured Homer, a none too bright father who had a heart of gold and a brain of donuts. Mmmm, donuts. As the show continued on for many seasons Homer started to be written with a stupider and stupider tone. His casual dim-witted behavior turned into the ridiculous moron of a character we see on the "Simpsons" decades later. In the Scott Pilgrim books, Scott Pilgrim seems to be written in the same vein as Homer, stupider and stupider. At times I scoffed out-loud while reading the fourth volume, Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together. He can barely remember his birthday now? Geez...or gggggggg (literally G's).

Okay after that last line you are starting to think these posts are like Homer Simpson. You have a point. Moving on...

Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together is, despite the opening, a fun read. By this time the characters have become people I know. For example, lines said by Scott's friend Stills are specifically funny when said by him and when Scott asks a standard dumb Scott question the book makes you roll your eyes and think, Scooottt.". As a new reader to the book, just jumping on at the comic of the day and volume 4, one may not get the personalities of the characters or why the heck Knives still hangs out with Scott's crew.

Great weird, but fun, additions to Scott Pilgrim Gets it Together Vol. 4
  • Subspace. Yeah. Even the book doesn't know what subspace is at first.
  • Ninjas
  • Half-Ninjas
  • The L-word. Not "love". Lesbians. Though "love" does make an appearance...a hot sexual appearance.
  • + to experience points everywhere!
  • Lastpage hidden Bryan Lee O'Malley gem. It isn't part of the story but it is still fun and a can't miss page.
  • Color! Well...some. The first bunch of pages gives you an idea what some of the characters look like in color. Surprisingly, like Homer Simpson, they are all yellow?! Just kidding only Knives is Asian. Comic book racism always brings a lovely ending to my family friendly posts.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Earth X #0

Earth X #0 - Comic of the DayThanks to a 75% off bin I now have the complete Earth X series. My buddy was going to get it but did not. I was going to get it for him because I'm that friend who is not genuinely nice or a good person; rather, I try masking it by simply buying things for people. I'm a bad person but you at least get something out of it. Well, usually. In this case I kept the Earth X series. I'm a bad person.

Earth X #0 is a bit of a read. I wouldn't say the issue is incredibly long, but it is like reading the Marvel series Marvels or DC's Kingdom Come. What do all three of these comic books have in common? Alex Ross. Ross is one of those creators that people love when they first discover his art but then get burned out on very quickly. I am not quite to that point. I think he is more than an artist as proof with his story creation ability in his Dynamite published books, Earth X and many others. He is credited with story creation in many of his books though not the actual scripting.

The comic of the day follows an android named Aaron Stack, or X-51. He is taken to the moon by Uatu, the Watcher where he is told the story of Earth...the story which no body but the Celestials (the true creators, not man labeled Gods), and the Watcher Uatu, know. X-51 is then told that due to Uatu's loss of vision, which I have a feeling may come up in future issues, X-51 must be the new Watcher of Earth.

Seeing as Earth X was written in 1999, a pre 9/11 world, I would like to see the authors' (Jim Krueger and Alex Ross) take on humanity and it's future. The book may be the same if it was created 9/12 or if it was created 20 years ago, but I think it may still be an interesting read.

As I mentioned before, Ross has done books very similar to Earth X in his work on Marvels and Kingdom Come. All three seem to involve the witnessing of Earth changing due it's champions or other society changing events. The third person point of view seems to be something Alex Ross is intrigued with, or as his haters would say... "something Alex Ross has played out. Hack!"

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dead of Night #1 - Featuring Man-Thing (MAX)

Dead of Night #1 - Comic of the DaySticking with the Marvel MAX theme from yesterday's post, mixed with my curiosity over a lesser known Marvel character who has been around for some years now, I picked up a Dead of Night MAX mini series. When I purchased Dead of Night #1, featuring Man-Thing, I did not know there were several other MAX mini series released at the same time featuring different characters such as Devil Slayer and Werewolf by Night. Knowing that now, after reading the comic of the day, I probably will not be picking up the other minis.

Don't get carried away with that last statement. I did not say that I did not like Dead of Night #1. In fact, I did enjoy it. The additional information which was left untold in my above paragraph is that Man-Thing is currently apart of the very popular and fun comic and team, The Thunderbolts. The new Thunderbolt team definitely has some odd choices on it, but none more out-there than the addition of Man-Thing. I've seen him around in art work, in a couple recent Punisher comic books and in a foreshadowing Thunderbolts issue from some months ago, yet I never really learned much about him. Is he like Swamp Thing? What is his origin story and what is with the teleporting thing from the Thunderbolt's issues?

The first issue of Dead of Night knocked out the origin story, but that's about it. The reader gets to see a brief time when Man-Thing was just...well, a man. Searching for new super-soldier serum, yadda, yadda, yadda, he falls in a swamp...BAM! Man-Thing!


(Note: If you are thinking about looking for this issue you should know going in that the tale is told by a "Tales From the Crypt" like creature who digs graves. He's called Digger. Yeah, very creative. I know.)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fury #2 (MAX)

Fury #2 - Comic of the DayGarth Ennis is the reigning champ when it comes to pushing the envelope in wide spread comic books. His writing style of bringing the vulgar, ugly and gritty realities of life to comic books is clear to see in some of his popular works such as his Punisher MAX run and his current success The Boys. His The Boys co-conspirator, artist Darick Robertson, had come back to his creative counterpart after several years apart...which leads us to our comic of the day post on which the duo first teamed up.

Marvel's MAX line allows writers and artists of the most popular comic book company (Marvel) to be as real as they want to be. With wide spread books that can reach children Marvel couldn't just allow any of their titles to contain curse words, nudity and graphic violence...society simply wouldn't allow it. So what did Marvel do to eventually get some vulgar filth the adult comic reading public was longing for? Well, they turned to cigarettes.

Cigarettes are bad for you. The data is in. We all agree on that fact; however, apparently there may be some fools (or third world babies - check youtube and be disgusted) or children who had never heard this shocking news. "Smoke in my lungs are...bad? Balderdash!" (I like how my person has never heard cigarettes are bad, yet knows the word balderdash.) If you can remember where we were...the government decided it was in societies best interest to brand every cigarette box with a warning notifying users of the hazards they were about to get into. This branded warning is all it takes to get a potentially harmful product in the hands of citizens.

Marvel, being filled with chain smokers, took notice and slapped a warning of their own on their potentially harmful product. The label reads, "Parental Advisory, Explicit Content." Thus, the Marvel MAX comic line began.

The story of an old-war relic, Nick Fury, was portrayed in the MAX line simply titled, Fury. Ennis writes about a man without a war, a man without a mission, who hates how the country and his specific organization of peacekeeping, known as S.H.I.E.L.D., has changed. Fury #2 is the turning book in the mini series where the need for Fury arises, and Fury is ready and more than willing to fill that need.

Fury #2 is a little over the top in certain scenes. The story is fine, but in several panels involving Nick Fury taking his nephew to the zoo Darick Robertson gets a little crazy with the graphic imagery revolving around tigers, Fury's nephew and a very talkative meal. I almost couldn't look at the panels. The MAX book really allows the artist as well as the writer to take imagination to the extreme, and though it was a little much for me (a little Nancy apparently) I appreciate that Marvel gave Robertson a platform to showcase his talents and unhindered creations.

The MAX line isn't for everybody, and in fact, Stan Lee has been quoted as saying he doesn't care for what Marvel has done with the Fury series (a character Lee created). But times are a'chang'n and so are peoples tastes in comics. I believe the Max line is a great change of pace for Marvel centric readers who want more of an adult touch. Stan Lee may be harmed by the second hand smoke, but Marvel is just doing as the cigarette companies would: giving the public what they want... no matter who it harms.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Spider-Man: Reign #4

Spider-Man: Reign #4 - Comic of the DayBy the time you get to Spider-Man: Reign #4, the last issue in the Spider-Man: Reign mini series, you begin to notice Kaare Andrews forehead and in between eye lines on every character. I am unsure if the vertical lines bug me or if they are intended to bring more attention to certain faces.

Andrews art didn't sit well with me during Spider-Man: Reign #1, but by the time the series and comic of the day concludes his talents are appreciated. Andrews design and pencils are best suited for the characters that are...well, suited. The super-villains and Spider-Man (in his various uniforms) have an exaggerated stylized look to them that reinvents their looks in a world 30 years later. Spider-Man, and even the scorpion at times, has a McFarlane feel in that he moves like a spider and is drawn with a flexible frame.

The story wraps up with a surprise or two, yet nothing overly unpredictable. In the end, the story concludes in a way one may expect, but it isn't the conclusion which will satisfy Spider-Man readers...it's the journey Andrews takes us on while using that familiar Spider-Man theme of power and responsibility that will make Spider-Man: Reign a nice addition to any Spidey collection.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Secret Avengers #2

Secret Avengers #2 - Comic of the DayIn the words of Chris Rock, "...and it's all right, because it's all white."

Ed Brubaker is writing an interesting opening story arch in Secret Avengers, and that should be no secret (well played) to anyone who has ever read his work: most notably and currently, his Captain America. However, the honor of comic of the day is given to Secret Avengers #2 not for it's story-telling but rather for the appearance of Secret Avenger member Moon Knight in a cape-less/hood-less uniform.

It should go without saying that wearing the cape and hood on Mars, a planet smaller than Earth with a lesser gravitational pull, was a good call. The cape would flail a little differently and drop at an odd pace, thus throwing out Moon Knights game. If he was a much stronger character the subtleties of a cape's weight may never come into play. For example: Thor wears a cape and is in between space and other planets constantly, but he has such limitless strength that the weight of cloth probably doesn't exist to him. If someone told him that cloth weighs something he wouldn't believe them.

"By Odin's sash, this material is light!"

The look of white ninja looks cool for Moon Knight. Though the all white body-suite makes him look like he has a pretty generic costume, besides the red dirt it is sure to pick-up on Mars, I agree with Chris Rock.

June Comic of the Day Recap

There were some dips in posts, but I felt as if I finished on a strong note. Take a look at some of my favorite comic of the day posts in June.
 Enjoy!