Thursday, September 30, 2010

Franken-Castle #21

Franken-Castle #21 - Comic of the DayTime cures everything...even half robotic, cut-up, brain damaged types.

In Franken-Castle #21 the Punisher is shipped off to a secluded island of monsters for his, and others', own good. In something seemingly taken from the Illuminati's playbook when dealing with wild creatures such as the Hulk, the League of Monsters (so legit the get the capitalization treatment) ship Frank off to an island where he can heal-up using the magical powers of the Bloodstone.

In an instant of writing genius, or laziness (depending on how much you actually care), Rick Remender has Franken-Castle drop to the ground on Monster Island in exhaustion, and on the next page throws a "weeks later.." in the corner and gives readers a long-haired, healthy and all human Frank Castle. Sure his mind is warped from the bright red rock in his heart, but besides that...he's kill'n and thrill'n monsters like it ain't no thang.

The comic of the day ends when Frank gives the Bloodstone back to the League of Monsters and Else Bloodstone after a little spat in the jungle...on Monster Island, mind you. Frank walks away healed and ready to go.

And that...is how you bring Frank Castle back from the dead.
  • Frank dies.
  • Monsters put him back together a la Frankenstein.
  • Franken-Castle puts shiny gem in his heart.
  • Franken-Castle heals to form of...Frank Castle!
  • Frank lives.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

World War Hulks: Spider-Man Vs. Thor #2

World War Hulks: Spider-Man Vs. Thor #2 - Comic of the DayI thought World War Hulks: Spider-Man Vs. Thor #1 was less than stellar, but that was before I read the follow-up.

The comic of the day doesn't have the one thing it's first issue did have: the first look at Hulk-Thor. The only thing this 2 issue mini has going for it is Jorge Molina's Thor imagery. Unlike Smurfs and the Na'vi, Hulk-Thor is blue and badass. Though, if he wasn't so easily enraged, someone should tell him that his tribal tattoos are stupid. I would say how unoriginal his lame tats are, but seeing as Thor has been around for thousands of years, in one form or another, he may be the first to sport the mark of the gym-rat.

World War Hulks: Spider-Man Vs. Thor #2 is only filled with lop-sided fighting between Spider-Man and Thor. Eventually Thor stops beating up Spider-Man when he discovers that hitting spiders makes "Thor hammer heavy." Later, Thor and Spidey make up then go "smash!"

I'm glad I am through with the World War Hulks comic books.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

World War Hulks: Spider-Man Vs. Thor #1

World War Hulks: Spider-Man Vs. Thor #1 - Comic of the DayIn my on going examination of the World War Hulks Vs. titles I am finding that just because the stories share a similar title does not mean the stories are similar in quality.

World War Hulks: Spider-Man Vs. Thor #1 goes with a similar style of Hulk-like characters (in this case Thor and Spider-Man) used in World War Hulks: Captain America Vs. Wolverine, and the comic of the day even has the same type of use of flashbacks to explain current emotions; however, what World War Hulks: Spider-Man Vs. Thor #1 does not have is an interconnecting flashback story. That is the main difference between the Cap/Wolvie story and this Spidey/Thor tale.

World War Hulks: Captain America Vs. Wolverine had a story which brought two characters together who had a long history, some of which (we come to find out) they didn't even know about. The two characters are alike in many ways which revolve around memory manipulation and horrible experiences. This isn't found in World War Hulks: Spider-Man Vs. Thor #1. Thor and Spider-Man have flashback stories which deal with individual moments where they were pushed to overcome childhood situations by acting in a way unnatural to them at that time. The story just isn't as interesting because nothing new is added to their histories or overall story. We see the same old youth scenes these characters are always being presented with. The story was boring.

As far as the visuals go, I thought Jorge Molina's art displayed his talent quite well. I could see Molina eventually being put on a large Marvel title that would be in need for big action packed scenes with larger than life characters.

One last note. As I mentioned in the previous post, the Thing Hulked-out may be one step behind Thor in Hulk form when it comes to overall power. He could almost take the Hulk when he was in normal Thor form with his added gamma power, Thor could destroy the planet with one swing from his hammer. Visually he looks how I would want the God of Thunder to look all of the time; however, his dialog hurts my brain to read. A mix of ancient vocabulary mixed with the lack of vocabulary makes for some rough sentences. I hope issue 2 has Spider-Man shutting him up with some webbing to Thor's mouth.

Monday, September 27, 2010

World War Hulks: Captain America Vs. Wolverine #2

World War Hulks: Captain America Vs. Wolverine #2 - Comic of the DayFollowing up on my last post, World War Hulks: Captain America Vs. Wolverine #2 comes off as the almost sleeper hit comic of the year! Okay that's not quite true; however, the comic of the day was actually kind of good.

The main story, which involves Wolverine and the Bucky Captain America fighting, flashes back to when Wolverine first met Bucky when he was the Winter Soldier. The story involves torture which Wolverine suffered while his old kid pal Bucky just watched and prepared to kill Wolverine. Of course the Winter Soldier was being manipulated and mentally controlled at the time, but some wounds, even with Wolverine, don't fully heal.

The past story was actually well done and good, but it kept getting interrupted by Hulk-like Cap and Wolvie battling. First of all, the completely furred Hulk-Beast Wolverine bugged me the whole time; and secondly, this story could have been done without the two being locked in Hulked-out battle. The Hulk stigma the book carries really brought down the appeal of the book, and, at times, the good story which is found on every other page when a flashback was paneled. If Cap and Wolverine got into a fight for another reason this book could have been better.

Better Reasons to Fight
  • "No, chocolate is better than Vanilla!"
  • "Oh, your metal arm isn't adamantium?"
  • "Colbert is better!" "No way! Stewart is better!"
  • "How small is the population of states like Rhode Island and Wyoming? They still get 2 senators?"

Now for the back-up story. The last several pages of the book followed the Thing and Human Torch in Hulk forms...fighting...obviously. It also flashed back to another situation where they got into a sibling-like fight providing the idea that the Thing and Torch will just always be fighting about something. The main thing I took away from this story is the fact that the Thing (or No-Thing as Ben Grimm calls himself in the issue) should just about be the strongest thing (no pun intended <--that's a lie) in the universe when he is Hulked-up. Grimm is already super strong beyond many characters in Marvel, with the help of gamma he has to be the strongest there is (besides possibly Thor which we'll talk about tomorrow). If the Hulk came from puny Bruce Banner, and No-Thing comes from powerful Thing, than no thing (count it) should be stronger than No-Thing!

Yet...some how the Human Torch is able to knock him out?

Like I said, "almost sleeper hit comic of the year."

Can you place something you just typed a few paragraphs ago in quotes? Oh well.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

World War Hulks: Captain America Vs. Wolverine #1

World War Hulks: Captain America Vs. Wolverine #1 - Comic of the DayMike Wellman: writer, creator, comic book shop owner and evil genius. As I perused the comic books along the wall at the Comic Bug, my local comic book shop, I noticed a group of four comic books from several weeks ago which had not sold out...yet. Next to the issues was a typed up document which let comic book browsers know that though first glances of these four comics may bring a regular to scoff, if they were but given a chance to grow in one's mind the reader may latch onto some bit of enjoyment from the books. Scoff! Yes, I scoffed still. But then the evil genius went to work on my impressionable young mind and said, "...discounted?"

I now own all four World War Hulk: Vs. issues.

World War Hulks: Captain America Vs. Wolverine #1 is the first of the four issues I flop open and read. Without reading the issues leading up to this story I quickly understand that Captain America and Wolverine are Hulked-out and down to battle. On some low level I enjoy the fighting. Pointless and filled with rage as the fighting may be, it is still entertaining.

Writer Paul Tobin works in a story from Wolverine's past which involves Captain America back when he was a Russian assassin known as the Winter Soldier. The story is supposed to give meaning to why Wolverine has rage enough to fight the Hulked-out Cap. I actually think the story is fine. It does help take attention away from the ridiculous story in which characters are Hulk-like randomly.

For me, the highlight in the comic of the day is the art. Jacopo Camagni's art has a simplistic look to it which in some panels has hints of Stuart Immonen. Three particular panels where Camagni draws Bucky back when he was the Original Captain America's side-kick, are absolutely beautiful. Those three panels in his portfolio alone could get him a gig on a major Marvel book.

The last part of World War Hulks: Captain America Vs. Wolverine #1 has another quick story about other characters such as the old Captain Marvel, the Thing, War Machine and Ms. Marvel whom are also Hulked-out. It's quick fun that has some snippets of past Nextwave (one of the greatest 12 issue runs ever) scenes which liven up the dialog light back-up story. Not bad.

I think the World War Hulks: Vs. comic books could have been better sellers if they came out at a different point in time...maybe another couple of years. I think readers are so burnt out on the Hulk comics right now that a couple of fun 2-shots that are Hulk related just seem like more fuel on the fire which burned-out over a year ago. The World War Hulks: Vs. comics mirror Bruce Banner's reason for being the Hulk: wrong place at the wrong time.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Marvel Tales #262

Marvel Tales #262 - Comic of the DayComic books like Marvel Tales are a little strange. They contain stories that originally printed in another comic book and stories which are completely new to the specific issue. I don't think I enjoy the reprint idea unless it is reprinted in a trade paper back or a hardcover addition. Something about the publisher reusing stories, without adding much new content, to sell more issues seems a little sleazy to me. You basically get a 4 to 8 page original story and a new cover for the price of a standard comic book.

The comic of the day retells a Marvel tale worth retelling: the first time Woodgod and the Hulk meet. Who the heck is Woodgod? Have you ever played Mega Man 2? You may remember a certain stage boss you had to beat using Metal Man's buzz saw blades. That certain stage boss...was not Woodgod. That was Wood Man. But still! Mega Man 2 was sick! Am I right?

Marvel Tales #262 has me thinking about video games which basically means the stories inside were pretty lame. I will say, the one part I did enjoy was in the X-Men back-up tale. At one point Colossus grabs Wolverine to pull over their classic grab and toss move, but Colossus gets momentarily blinded and throws Wolvie into a wall. That part did make me smile.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nemesis #3

Nemesis #3 - Comic of the DayThank the gods the world doesn't actually look like the one Steve McNiven draws in the comic of the day, Nemesis #3.

Before I get into just what exactly I am talking about above, I should preface it by saying Steve McNiven is one of my favorite artists. Sure he is currently in my "365 Days of Comics Top Artists" list, but that's mostly because he doesn't put out a lot of books or art for me to marvel over. His work on Civil War left me going to the Marvel website for years considering buying a framed print of a couple of his covers, and his Old Man Logan run was so strong I gladly bought all of the individual issues and the hard cover edition which was later released. Bottom line...if McNiven was on the McValue menu he would be the chocolate dipped frosty-cone. ($1 for the cone with that chocolate sauce that hardens onto it after like 20 seconds...it's amazing. If you happen by McDonald's at 1:30 in he morning you may see me double-fisting it with a couple o' cones.)

What was this post about? Oh yeah! The way Steve McNiven draws peoples faces close up is creepy. His proportions seem correct and the faces almost look real except for the pink rings around the eyes. He often draws that underneath part of a person's eyelid, that some times rolls over a bit, so it can be slightly visible. McNiven over exaggerates this part way to often leaving characters with pink rimmed eyeballs. The face seems a little zombie-like at times. That pink part is definitely there, and I do like the attention McNiven is given to this not often touted about part of the eye that seems to always grab a hold of my escaping eye-lashes and cause me great irritation; but, I don't need to see it accentuated, so often, in all of his close ups.

If McNiven was a commander at Bunker Hill he may have said, "Don't fire until you see the pinks of their eye!"

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Avengers #5 (Vol. 2)

The Avengers #5 - Comic of the DayI don't hate the Avengers, the second volume with the classic title, but I do think I will be dropping the book when the current arc about the time-stream being broken concludes. The Avengers #5 was interesting in that it pushed the current adventure in a direction I did not see coming: the comic of the day is the first appearance of Ultron in the Heroic Age era of the Avengers.

Reasons I enjoy The Avengers
  • Brian Michael Bendis writes some of my favorite iterations in comics. The conversations between the Spider people, both Woman and Man, are highlights in most of his Avenger titles.
  • The Avengers main title has all of the heavy hitters. Iron Man, Thor and the Captain Marvel are very powerful and they are all 3 on the Avengers main title team.
Reasons I'm Ready to Move On
  • John Romita Jr.'s art bugs me more and more. His characters are very box-like and lack flair. I enjoy some of his older work on Daredevil, but his work over the last 10 years has not bean to my liking.
  • Overall, I like the characters on the New Avengers and Secret Avengers titles more.
  • I'm into the story more in the other Avenger titles, and since comics get expensive I figure if I cut a box from my monthly haul...it should be an Avenger title since there are 3.
I may come back to this comic book in the future. If anything, this specific comic of the day has shown signs that the direction of the Avengers' stories can be quite epic and event-like with-in their own world.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Secret Avengers #5

Secret Avengers #5 - Comic of the DayGo with what works. That's exactly what Marvel did when combining the efforts of writer Ed Brubaker with artist David Aja, once again.

The two talents, Brubaker and Aja, worked together on the critically acclaimed Marvel comic, The Immortal Iron Fist from 2006 to 2008. Aja was just breaking into the mainstream field when he started working on Iron Fist and by 2008 the comic book community was taking notice. Aja won the Eagle Award (award voted on by UK comic fans) for "Favorite Newcomer Artist" in 2008, the same year Matt Fraction (who co-wrote The Immortal Iron Fist with Brubaker) won an Eagle Award for "Favorite Newcomer Writer."

It seems like the only thing better than putting Aja and Brubaker together would be to throw Fraction into the mix, as well. Unfortunately, Fraction is busy on many other titles; but fortunately, Aja and Brubaker seemed to have captured the story telling ability they were praised for several years ago.

Secret Avengers #5 stares the Secret Avenger title away from a fantastical team story involving battles on Mars, and drives it towards personal non-powered character stories about a mysterious past of someone we didn't think existed...sort of. Nick Fury becomes the focus of Steve Rogers after his apparent involvement with the Secret Avengers most recent mission. When Rogers goes to the source, Fury himself, for some answers Fury speaks of a second Fury...just as clever, but not as real.

The gritty art ads to the story of the second Fury's mysterious origin and past. Fury takes on the feel of a street level character in Aja's art giving the reader the idea that Fury 2 is just a simple man, when in fact he isn't exactly a man...or is he.

The comic of the day is very different from the first 4 Secret Avengers issues, so if you were not that into the first arc do not be afraid to pick up Secret Avengers #5. If you liked the early Immortal Iron Fist issues, you'll like this one, as well.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Avengers #289

The Avengers #289 - Comic of the DayWhat is the number one thing that everyone wants to see in a comic book? ...besides naked ladies, Jake the Snake, and a drunken Silver Surfer.

That's right...robots beating the crap out of people.

The Avengers #289 pits the girl green goliath, She-Hulk, and the Prince of the Sea, Namor, against a group of large destructive robots. One robot is of course made with an adamantium coating because apparently everything is coated in adamantium in Marvel comics. Nothing is ever made with just regular metal any more. Titanium is for toys. Steel is for sissies. Adamantium is for men! It's right there in the name. It's for "Adam", or also in the name "a-man."

Back to people pounding...these robots do a number on She-Hulk especially. She walks up, throws a punch, and then gets run over. She is smashed through several buildings, grabbed by a leg and swung through another building and then smacked around with an uprooted tree. On top of that, she is almost taken to near by water and held underneath. Thankfully Marrina, an Atlantian, saves She-Hulk before her green lungs could turn blue.

Namor on the other hand fights a couple of robots. He is getting smacked around a bit until he takes one to the water and dead-lifts it's head off it's body. Shades of the great might of the Namor of the golden-age shine through in this scene: all powerful and unstoppable.

Panel for panel, this comic of the day has some of the most robot rumbling I've seen in a book in weeks! On a scale from 1 to 101110101001 I give it a 10010100111.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Adventures of the Thing #1

The Adventures of the Thing #1 - Comic of the DayOriginally presented in Marvel Two-In-One #50, Ben Grimm attempts to go back in time and transform himself back to human form with a formula created by his stretchy teammate Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards.

John Byrnes written and penciled story has the Thing using a Doctor Doom time machine to get all Huey Lewis like and go back in time to when his body was still in the development process...when he wasn't quit so rocky. The past Thing was still filled with a lot of rage from the transformation incident and rather than listening to his future self the past Thing chose to fight himself. Make sense?

Eventually, when the future Thing got his past self to drink the formula the past Thing turned back into Ben Grimm. The future Thing then went...back to the future...and noticed that nothing seemed to change. Ben Grimm was still a buff boulder. Reed then tells his buddy that unfortunately Ben only succeeded in creating an alternate reality and that he could not change his current situation by altering the past.

This is a very interesting point with which comic books deal quite often. When characters go to the past, the publishers must determine if they want the story to actually affect the overall universe or if they just want to give you the alternate reality bs they pulled in this comic of the day. Don't get me wrong, I think what is displayed in The Adventures of the Thing #1 is a great way to explain all of the time travel that takes place in comic books, and how it never really seems to affect the future, but I do not like how most of the time when a character alters the future it doesn't take hold.

Time travel is always tricky to deal with no matter what the medium. It never seems as simple as it does in the Back to the Future movies.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #170

The Amazing Spider-Man #170 - Comic of the DayWhen reading a book like The Amazing Spider-Man #170 from 1977 the main thing that sticks out to me is the coloring. Sure the stories are often robotic and the dialog is dated, as it is in this comic of the day (especially when Mary Jane makes a Jimmy Carter teeth joke), but the colors in pre 80's comic books have such a limited pallet due to technology's limitations and lack of creativity that it hurts my eyes to read a whole issue.

Spider-Man Sunday - The Amazing Spider-Man #170

I attempted to get through The Amazing Spider-Man #170 because I noticed that the cover included a character from Ed Brubaker's great Captain America run: Doctor Faustus. His whole shtick in Captain America and in the Amazing Spider-Man revolves around mind control. He claims to be the world's greatest psychologist because he can mess with the heads of heroes, but I claim he is the greatest because he can wield a smoke while doing battle with Spider-Man. At one point he does a two-handed hammer fist move and still holds on to his cigarette holder.

Doctor Faustus is also alright in my book because he reminds me of my pal Ted Cohen. Ted aspires to be in a profession in which he gets into people's heads, is down for a smoke that will make the mind loopy, has red hair and the ability to grow a gnarly beard. Ted Cohen is Doctor Faustus...one bad-ass motha.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fell #5

Fell #5 - Comic of the DayCreating 365 Days of Comics was primarily a project to help me with my writing; however, I am finding that writers such as Warren Ellis, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker and Brian K. Vaughan, and artists such as Ben Templesmith, Tony Moore, George Perez and Stuart Immonen are teaching me how to create a comic book to fit it's specific story.

Proper Panel Placement

Fell #5, by Warren Ellis and Ben Templesmith, is a great example of how a comic book story about a something as simple as a detective getting a suspect to confess to a crime may have several different ways it can be framed and presented, but the tone and desired reaction may need a specific unique technique. The series Fell often uses a lot of panels to tell it's stories. There are several pages with 9 panels in total. The amount of panels help present the story with a specific pace and emphasis on any given scene. The dialog and art in the actual panel are not always necessary when understanding the intent of a panel, but rather the size or even page placement can be the key factor to understand the story.

The comic of the day, Fell #5, specifically has a lot of 9 panel pages with quick little scenes of dialog that let the reader know that there is a calculated back and forth between the detective and the suspect. In fact, once detective Richard Fell and the suspect are locked in conversation the only times the panels take up more than one ninth of the page is when something unsuspected by detective Fell happens. The brief moments of large panels shock the reader just as they do the main character, thus involving the reader in the story as if they are actually there.

I know use of panels is important to comic book story telling, but not until I started to dabble in comic book writing on the side and getting through several issues of Fell did I realize the strength of panel placement and size. I always gush over Ellis books because his stories provide me with great pleasure, but this time it is more than pleasure I have received: it's also knowledge.

(Side note: Pick up the Fell trade.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Hawkeye #1 (Vol. 2)

Hawkeye #1 - Comic of the DayAfter losing his gal Mockingbird in Avengers West Coast #100, the red foil-stamped cover issue I posted on last month, Hawkeye does what any emotionally devastated hero does and takes off on his own, living in seclusion from the outside world and it's cruel nature. Basically, Hawkeye went emo.

In Hawkeye #1, Clint Barton, stumbles upon a seemingly Hydra backed base in northern Canada where he finds a half human, half animal creature being attacked by the base's security. Since the creature seems to be fleeing, Hawkeye takes it upon himself to help the mini Wendigo-like fella escape the security forces and Trickshot, Hawkeye's former mentor/teacher. The story is nothing special, but some aspects of it ring of early 90's Marvel. For example...

Mixing Avengers and Adamantium

Marvel really threw around this supposedly rare unbreakable metal a lot in the 90's. Hawkeye uses arrows with adamantium shafts in the comic of the day, Wolverine villains like Cyber (his body was laced in adamantium) appear, and even Spider-Man baddies such as Doctor Octopus received adamantium laced arms (not his human arms, the octopus like ones). Funny enough, when it comes to Hawkeye and adamantium, they both originally appeared in Avengers comic books.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Uncanny X-Men #289

The Uncanny X-Men #289 - Comic of the DayDo you remember the X-Men cartoon television show? Of course you do. Who doesn't? Do you remember the worst episodes? If you said the Storm centric episodes...you're right! I think the first season contains the episode where the Shadow King gets into her son's mind and controls him, but then Storm and few other X-Men go back to her homeland in Africa and save the day. Lame! It was boring because it didn't contain enough mutants or mutant powers. Oh wow, Storm just made it rain and saved the crops! Another action packed adventure. Oddly enough, season 2 of Wolverine and the X-Men contained a Storm going back to Africa tale, as well, making that episode the worst episode for Wolverine and the X-Men.

Yeah, Storm is hot, but all of the X-Women are made to be hot. (Yes...I did just say comic book drawing are hot. It's how I get my kicks. Don't judge me.) Why do several guys constantly want to marry Storm. The former Black Panther is currently married to her and in The Uncanny X-Men #289 Forge proposes to her. In fact, in the comic of the day Bishop even hits on Storm while she is explaining the X-Men's mission statement: another sexy conversation lead by Storm.

I guess the draw is that she is powerful. She is strong minded and has pretty brutal powers when it comes to messing-up a field of corn. Some guys like the strong woman thing. Personally, I'd go with Jubilee. I like my woman to be able to provide some sparks, but not be the leader. I'm the man. It's just more logical for me to be the sexist one. She can have the extra "e" and be the sexiest one in the relationship...because "sexiest" is the same as "sexist" just with an added...oh never mind.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher #4

Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher #4 - Comic of the DayThough the story borrows from established post apocalyptic themes, this Punisher-pwning possible future tale ends on a predictable, yet fun, note.


Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher #4 wraps up Jonathan Maberry's take on what would happen if most every hero and villain (not to mention non-powered regular people) contracted a virus which basically zombiefied them, and the only hero not effected was the already trigger happy Punisher. It turns out that it is a good thing that a hero with the ability to not hold back and just do what needs to be done is the last hope when it comes to putting down super-powered zombies. Most people may think someone with elite powers, but Maberry creates a world where only the viscous and selfish survive. Well, excluding Deadpool who just keeps coming back to life no matter how the Punisher and others kill him.

I think the timing of the 4 issue series, Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher, is pretty funny considering that in the main Marvel continuity Punisher book, Franken-Castle, the Punisher is that which he is trying to put down in Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher: a monster. In a not to distant Punisher arc, the Punisher was actually trying to save monsters. Punisher fans are certainly getting their fill of monster tales lately.

Last note about the comic of the day...Deadpool is at his best. He has the best scene and line in Marvel Universe vs. the Punisher #4, and he really added to my overall enjoyment of this concluding issue.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

All-Star Superman #8

All-Star Superman #8 - Comic of the DayMe am no like All-Star Superman #8.

Grant Morrison deserves an award for his All-Star Superman #8 script. The comic of the day includes the most confusing dialog to ever make sense in a comic book. Morrison constructs the simplest statements in the most difficult fashion for his Bizarro square-planet adventure which Superman goes on. Understanding what each Bizarro character is saying takes several reads and a very loose understanding of the English language. I actually felt like I may have comprehended what the Bizarros were saying if I just read through their speaking parts quickly. It's like when you read a novel that you are really into and your brain fills in the meaning of words you do not know so you may push on with the engaging story.

The thing to know when dealing with Bizarro characters is that the meaning of what they say is the opposite of it's actual meaning. "Hello" means "goodbye", "no" means "yes"...that kind of thing. It does become difficult when the Bizarros use the pronoun "me" all of the time. It's the Bizarros talking in the third person, basically. When they proclaim that they are doing something they often say "me am". Yeah...

This issue is no guide to sentence structure, that's for sure; however, All-Star Superman #8 does leave your brain in overdrive and your mouth with a smile.

Morrison no am comic book poet.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Venom: Tooth and Claw #2

Venom: Tooth and Claw #2 - Comic of the DayI tried to get through Venom: Tooth and Claw #2 but after reading yesterday's comic of the day I was so burned out on ridiculousness, I couldn't finish this comic book. Instead, I decided to focus on another aspect of issue #2 which I noticed from Venom: Tooth and Claw #1: the ads and extras.

The advertisements in Venom: Tooth and Claw are amazing. My favorite is actually from the last issue... on the inside of the back cover there is an ad for a Star Trek card game, and on the outside of the back cover there is an ad for a Star Wars card game (this ad is actually on the back of both issues, 1 and 2). Seeing these fanboy rich universes which hate each other so close together makes me smile in a "there are bigger nerds than I" kind of way.

Any two page spreads? Of course. A huge Action Man ad lies in the middle of Venom: Tooth and Claw #2 and confirms what every viewer thinks when laying eyes on this 12 inch action figure: who the f*** is Action Man? I hope Action Man was worth the cost of the 2 page spread. By my assumption that no person has heard of Action Man, I would say he was not worth the price.

To be honest, one part of the comic I did like was the fan art section at the end. I mean who doesn't enjoy a bunch of childrens' crappy art at the end of a crappy comic book? If I wanted my suffering to continue I would read the last and third issue...which thankfully, I do not own.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Venom: Tooth and Claw #1

A 1996 mini series with a first issue cover featuring Venom and Wolverine has to be bad, right? The adventure inside was obviously thrown together just to cash in on two overly used and popular Marvel characters. I did not remember the mid 90's being about deep story telling, but I opened this issue up to give it a chance and not judge a book by it's...oh lord...this comic of the day is really bad.

Right off the rat...Eddie Brock is walking down a street when he is attacked by a shape shifting rat that eats Brock whole. The introduction alone made me hate this book. But if some random rat eating Venom in the first few pages wasn't stupid enough, this mini series starts to follow a plot from a previous Venom tale which is only referenced in editor's notes along the way: great story-telling technique.

I'm lost. Venom is out of the picture right away. Quick, bring Wolverine into the story so I can find my bearings! Ah yes, here he is...with his motorcycle in-doors on like the 10th floor of an apartment complex? It's cool. I can deal with motos in odd places. Just say something Wolverine-like so I can at least smile. Excuse me? Oh, I'm sorry Wolverine. I couldn't understood what you just said since every other word was just spelled incorrectly in that speech bubble you just spouted.

The horribly edited bubble reads:
"I don't know whose mug Dirt Map is wearin' fight now, but that big masty lump in the barf is mome other than a psycho-chicken name O' Venom!"
"Fight now" should be "right now", "masty" should be "nasty", "Dirt Map" should be "Dirt Nap" and "mome" is supposed to be "none." The "n" key must mot have beem workimg. Oh, and "O"? is Wolverine a pirate's bartender now? He is often serving cups o' grog and the verbiage just stuck with him? So many questions! Venom: Tooth and Claw #1 is so bad that I actually look forward to reading issue #2 tomorrow. Who bets I find more typos?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

American Vampire #6

American Vampire #6 - Comic of the DayAmerican Vampire #6's similarities to dried-up blood-sucked dead body:
  • Extremely thin.
  • Unnaturally light.
  • Shocking at first sight.
  • When done with, both are stored in a box.
American Vampire #6's differences from a dried-up blood-sucked dead body:
  • Lively innards.
  • Leaves viewers with a smile.
  • The body lacks great color.
  • One's a book, one's a body...duh.
When the comic of the day sits in your hand your joy of picking up Scott Snyder's fun take on American vampires turns to slight anger as you feel Hulk-like due to the weightlessness of American Vampire #6. The issue is extremely thin and unnaturally light for a $4 comic book. The previous issues of American Vampire included a second story written by Stephen King, but the current American Vampire #6 is a solo creation by Snyder and offers a single story. While the issue lacks many advertisement pages, it does not have the amount of pages usually associated with a $4 comic book.

Lucky for readers, the story by Snyder and the exceptional pencils of Rafael Albuquerque and coloring by Dave McCaig make the book's price easier to swallow: like fresh blood down a vampire's throat the contents of American Vampire #6 go down smooth and refreshing. The Albuquerque and McCaig pairing adds to the time period covered in American Vampire by establishing a believable setting. McCaig's tones also establish that we are not dealing with an action packed superhero romp, but rather a more subtle tale of dark mystery and dread.

Though American Vampire #6 is thin and depressing to look at, the innards are worth the poking around your $4 dollars will allow you.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Daredevil #510

Daredevil #510 - Comic of the DayThe art has not been impressive this week for Marvel comic books. Yesterday's comic of the day had a nice exterior with poor interiors, while today's Daredevil #510 has nice interiors and a horrible exterior.

If John Cassaday took more than 10 minutes on this cover I will be extremely surprised: a generic looking Kingpin holds a torn part of the standard red Daredevil uniform (which actually looks like a mini torn red DD cape) with a black clad red-eyed Daredevil head in the background. The cover has no movement, no creativity and Laura Martin's colors don't even help the imagery pop. On a scale of 1 to this cover doesn't even deserve a quality scale I'd give this cover a "RU", as in "RU" serious?

I will mention that Marco Checchetto pencils and Matt Hollingsworth's coloring combination make for some nice storytelling in Daredevil #510. The tone of the story is supposed to dark, and the evil evolving in Daredevil's Shadowland should be covered in a blanket of blackness. The inside panels add to the Shadowland experience, where as the cover...makes readers question picking up the next issue in the arc.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #642

The Amazing Spider-Man #642 - Comic of the DayHow can a book with a stunning cover by Marko Djurdjevic fail so miserably on it's interior art? The Amazing Spider-Man #642 features one section of Marko Djurdjevic's Spider-Man universe art banner he recently created for Marvel. Djurdjevic has been Marvel's go to artist when it comes to their big titles' covers, but apparently when it comes to their interiors they could really care less who pencils the content.

This is going to sound a little harsh but, Paul Azaceta has produced one of the worst drawn issues of the Amazing Spider-Man...ever. I know what you're thinking: Dom is being over dramatic because he has a man crush on Spider-Man. First off, crushes are normal and I've accepted that we (Spidey and I) can only just be friends. Secondly, the proof is in the lack of putting an artist on this book that fits the character (that sentence was supposed to be a play on "the proof is in the pudding" saying but it just came out a little choppy, thus this whole section explaining it...where was I? Ah yes...). Pudding is tasty. Azaceta's art is not.

Getting into specifics, Azaceta's character design was poor. Not only did Peter look out of shape, but Peter and the rest of the characters looked Hispanic. In the beginning of the book, before I read any dialog, I did not know Peter Parker was in the scene. I though it was some scene involving a few Hispanic characters that would set up a scene in which Peter enters. Besides the fact that his character designs did not look like the appearances established in the webverse (it's now a Spidey certified term, like webbometry...like geometry with webbing), he also just drew Spider-Man poorly. In the suit I assumed Spidey/Pete was easier to draw, but I guess it's hard not to draw Spider-Man as the fat guy who comes to your Halloween party in a stretched-out Spidey outfit.

Azaceta made Spider-Man look bad. That is unforgivable. Please don't be mistaken, though. Azaceta's art may fit another genre or book better. He still has some talent. It's Marvel I can't forgive. How could they see his art and think, "There's are Spider-Man! Hey-o!"? I know art is just one aspect of a comic book, but when it is so far off the mark the reader (me) is very distracted and not focused on the content of the story. This means not only will I not like the art, but now I just assume the story sucked, as well. I'll have to wait until the braille version of the comic of the day comes out so that I can read the braille review off of icantseeshit.com. They have great reviews...all done in audio files.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Fell #1

Fell #1 - Comic of the DayA trade paperback and hard cover comic book collection can often times be chalked-up to what was on sale at the local comic shop, local book store or comic convention. Trades and hardcovers add up when bought at full price, so smart weekly comic consumers need to look out for deals when it comes to large ticket items.

Fell, written by Warren Ellis, is a book I purchased when there was a 50% off any thing non Marvel or DC. Fell #1, specifically, is a nice introduction to Richard Fell, a homicide detective transferred to Snowtown, a city poverty stricken and dreary. Fell's skills as a detective are displayed during a scene in a bar in which he basically reads people he has never met. The comic of the day's detective Fell isn't necessarily an original character type, but he leads readers through a dark city which clearly has issues that feel real and interesting.

Alright, story aside, can we talk about the hands? The hands are creepy. Ben Templesmith draws these thin, skeleton-like hands which seem so disturbing every time they are in a panel. Templesmith's art highlights include his not overly descriptive yet surprisingly expressive faces and his presentation of the backgrounds in each panel. The back grounds take on a blurry decade setting which gives this detective based story a strong noir feel. Besides the Crypt Keeper hands, Templesmith's presentation of the Ellis story is perfect.

Oh, and if you pick up this trade...you have been warned. The hands will haunt you.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Scarlet #2

Scarlet #2 - Comic of the DayI used to read all of the new comic books I would buy on Wednesdays as soon as I got home from work, or even at work when the slow day would call for it, but for what ever reason I have started to allow myself time to soak in the individual new comic books. I'm not saying that I'll hold onto a comic book for several weeks...it's more like up to 6 days. It also happens to be the books that are less flashy and more real-world that I end up saving to read. I knock some of my favorite titles like the New Avengers and Thunderbolts out right away, and then eventually get to some of my more content rich books such as Stumptown, S.H.I.E.L.D., and Scarlet.


Scarlet #2 took me about 6 days to get to. I liked the tone of the first story which Brian Michael Bendis set in motion and I am a huge fan of Alex Maleev's art, so this was definitely an issue I was looking forward to reading. After waiting 6 days to polish off my collection of 9/1 comics I came to the conclusion that I should go back to reading all of my comic books right away.

The comic of the day is a nice example of how an established writer can change up his comic book presentation effectively. In the last issue of Scarlet, readers are treated to a new style of Bendis narration in which the title lead, Scarlet, speaks to the reader: telling her story. In Scarlet #2, we view panels where the narration is still being spoken to us as if we are over her shoulder, but Scarlet also plays back what happens in her story and speaks to us as if we were there when it happened. So as she is about to off a cop, Scarlet tells readers what's on her mind and frames the situation for us. It makes for a different style than I have seen Bendis use before and helps deliver his story in a new tone.

I would suggest readers who claim to be sick of Bendis, yet still pick up all of his books weekly, pick up the first two issues of Scarlet and then read them immediately. Do not wait 6 days and miss-out any longer.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Morbius: The Living Vampire #3

Morbius: The Living Vampire #3 - Comic of the DayI find that in many Spider-Man books (let's face it...any Morbius title in the 90's is basically a Spider-Man title) the writers are constantly trying to show that Peter Parker/Spider-Man is a normal guy that readers can relate to. Beyond having Spidey swing through real parts of New York writers often place pop-culture references into his dialog such as they have in Morbius: The Living Vampire #3 when he mentions at midnight, that he would rather be at home watching Letterman. A statement like that would be ok if done correctly, but maybe the editors and writer should actually watch Letterman to know what time his show is on.

This issue was created in 1992 while Letterman was still on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman which aired at 12:30 a.m.. He did not switch to CBS, taking a 11:30 p.m. time slot until August of 1993. If Spider-Man was out at midnight he could still get home before Letterman started. Little things like that bug me.

Besides that, another thing which caught my eye was a note by Stan Lee at the very end of the comic of the day, which I'm sure was at the end of many Marvel comic books during Morbius: The Living Vampire #3's release. Stan Lee announces that a new X-Men animated series will be coming to the Fox network. The X-Men show in the announcement is of course the hugely successful Marvel comics show which ushered in a whole new comic book generation of buyers. I guess I assumed a new Marvel television show would be advertised in Marvel's comic books, but until today I had never seen the actual announcement. Just kind of a neat thing to read...for history's sake. Nerd history, of course.

On a side note...I hear Morbius was in today's issue, as well.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Justice League America #78

Justice League America #78 - Comic of the DayJustice League America #78 is an issue where the United Nations asks the JLA to help out with a nation resisting the U.N.'s request of a ceasefire. It is your standard JLA book complete with the leadership of Wonder Woman and the cockiness of Guy Gardner. The book is basically a throw-away issue that broadly covers ideas regarding should superpowers help with national conflicts (a slight commentary on actual events, such as the USA getting involved in other nation's civil problems) and war can never be a good thing.

The thing that has me purchasing a ticket on the complain train is the fact that the cover had to add the tag, "Maxima Overdrive." On the comic book cover Maxima is front and center holding a military vehicle and looking intense. In the comic of the day all of the JLA members fight equally in the conflict. Maxima in no way puts it into...

Oooooh! Just as I was typing that last line I realized the cover isn't implying Maxima gets overly fierce while fighting in Justice League America #78; rather, the cover is making a very bad pun. Maxima is holding something that "drives"..."over" her head: "Overdrive."

I hate it even more now.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Ka-zar the Savage #1

Ka-zar the Savage #1 - Comic of the DayThe thing I always consider when catching an episode of "Survivor" (I think it is in it's 20th season or so) is how hard it would be to be around attractive women. There have been seasons with plenty of attractive contestants because while it may take cleverness and physical ability to win, it is still a television show which needs good-looking people to... survive several years on prime-time TV. Watching a group of hot muddy people...not so bad. Watching a group of ugly muddy people...yeah, think about that.

So here we have some beautiful people, shirtless at times, getting raw and primal with nature, what do we think is going to happen? There is going to be some pairing and hooking-up. But this isn't regular hooking-up. This is "we are in the jungle without a shower, bath or cleaning supplies for weeks" hooking-up. It's dirty. I'm not talking dirty hook-up in a bathroom at a club (I write a comic book blog...I assume this happens because television shows like "CSI" tell me it happens. Where else is a party girl going to get murdered?), I'm talking dirty "going to be dirty in places that need cleaning when dirty," dirty. Yeah, the gross kind.

Personally, I take a shower after I kiss a woman (one woman, I swear...she reads this blog *cough* stalker *cough*). Get'n down...lord! I'm using the loofah and everything after that physical act!

Now is the point when readers think...
  • Dude, his girl friend must be gross if he is cleaning so often.
  • How does a guy writing about comics every day have a girl friend?
  • I thought this post was on Ka-zar? What's with all the naughty notes?
I'm getting to Ka-Zar!

In the 1981 Ka-zar the Savage #1, Ka-zar has a scene where he gets down with Shanna, a jungle woman. They literally stumble into each other's arms and begin to rumble in the jungle. Afterward they are just laying in the jungle's foliage, back in their jungle garb and airing-out. Gross! I mean don't get me wrong...I heard Shanna knows what she's doing when swinging from the vine (if you know what I mean), but jump in a lake and find an aloe plant...something!

To make it worse, Ka-zar tries hooking-up with another woman in the jungle the same day. I heard Ka-zar was a beast but I didn't know he was a dog. You know he wasn't planning on finding a lake after round two, either.

The comic of the day has presented one of my worst fears: me and a smoke'n woman alone in the jungle...oh and she's of course into me...duh. If I make it happen I die due to a horrible disease, but if I pass I'm a fool.

Heck! I'm no fool. I would die a man's death!

A Ka-zar man's death.

Friday, September 3, 2010

All-Star Superman (TPB: Vol. 1)

All-Star Superman Vol. 1 - Comic of the DaySure, I'm a Marvel man. Look at most of my posts and you will notice that I swing on a webbed line towards Marvel comics, but that does not mean I won't pick-up a comic, trade or novel that is said to be a must read.

Take All-Star Superman for example.

When the first trade came out for the All-Star Superman series, written by Grant Morrison and penciled by Frank Quitely, all I heard was that it was possibly the best comic book on the stands. I was floored the first time I heard that a Superman title was so well done because let's face it, at this point, 70 plus years later, what else can be done with the Man of Steel?

Enter Grant Morrison

Morrison has a knack for reinventing and reinvigorating some of the most popular characters in comics. His work on Marvel's the New X-Men brought the X books back from the brink of the forgotten and irrelevant. He made people fall in love all over again with their old flame from the past. Fortunately for DC, Morrison did just that for their greatest character, Superman.

Morrison added what Superman books were missing for a long time: charm. All-Star Superman presents Superman, and the characters around him (Jimmy Olsen, Perry White, Lex Luthor, etc.), in a manner that suggests the reader already knows a bit about them. Clark Kent stumbles around like we know he does and Jimmy Olsen gets into trouble and in need of big red n' blue like he always does. The basics are covered and the added content is not dark or seemingly too serious. The first 6 issues in the All-Star Superman trade have fun mini plots which are self contained in each issue. There is a carry-over plot, but the individual issues deal with their own whimsical stories such as Lois having super-powers for a day, Jimmy turning into Doomsday to save Superman and Clark Kent interviewing Lex the day before Lex is supposed to be put to death. The books read with quick dialog and a sense of "awe" which is very distinctive to Superman.

Of course I must mention that Frank Quitely, Morrison's New X-Men, All-Star Batman and WE3 partner, ads to the adventure which is the comic of the day, All-Star Superman. He nails the size of Superman while also drawing Clark Kent large yet awkward, almost making it believable that people don't understand Clark and Supes are one and the same...almost. Each character has a distinct presence in each panel, none of which outshines the other. This may be Quitely's most impressive feat in a book that features the most recognizable comic book character ever. I will mention that at time his art does not appeal to me...I think it's the small mouths. Take a look at a Quitely character, and look at the mouths. Am I right or not? I've stared to long at this point I don't know anymore.

If you take away anything from this post, just know that it is a recommendation. I don't always recommend the books I post about. Some I just make fun of, but All-Star Superman is a book for any type of comic reader and I recommend it to everyone. Superman is after-all the character that really took comics new heights. Every person over 10 years old has discovered Superman, but I urge you to rediscover him in All-Star Superman. You won't be sorry.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Taskmaster #1 (2010)

Taskmaster #1 - Comic of the DayWhy does he wear such a goofy outfit and what is with the skull mask? Is it even a mask? I really do not know. And that...is why I picked up the new Taskmaster #1.

Fortunately for me, due to some recent past events, which I am completely unaware of, the Taskmaster character (who apparently has a normal non-skull face) has lost his personal memory. When I say "personal" I mean to say he can not remember his past: how he came to be, his friends and family, what his job was...if he had a job, is he a good guy or a bad guy? These are things Taskmaster is looking to remember or find out.

Taskmaster #1 seems to imply that his 4 issue adventure is going to feature Task's search for his history. The comic of the day also, briefly, catches readers up on his skills. He has the ability to mimic anyone's (who he has personally seen before) movements and non-superpower related abilities. There is a nice visual representation of this ability put on display when panels of Task are spliced with panels of the character's moves he is mimicking and using to his advantage. Spider-Man, Hawkeye and others are forever instilled into his subconscious, meaning that even if he has lost old personal memories he still has the ability to maintain his photographic reflexes.

Bottom line when it comes to Taskmaster #1, this issue is awesome. A large reason for that is the fun and slightly dark art by penciler Jefte Palo and color artist Jean-Francois Beaulieu (with a name that long I may never mention this colorist again). The art is playful at times and intense in certain well timed spots such as when Taskmaster final suits up to fight hired groups of no-names mercenaries. The coloring is soft and muted with a limited pallet. The only stand out coloring is done through the lettering...mostly screams of pain.

I didn't know much about Taskmaster going into this issue, but now I know enough to look forward to the next installment of Taskmaster.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stumptown #4

Stumptown #4 - Comic of the DayI can't actually remember what the story was about, but I know I liked it.

Independent comic book creators have the luxury of taking their time with a comic. The writer and artist have the ability to go through several drafts to make sure the product being released to the public is the creator's absolute best. Independent titles can do this because they are not as wide spread as comics in the Marvel or DC lines which have tens of thousands of paying customers waiting for their comic books monthly and weekly. An indie book may have a slight following, but the publisher is not going to be made or broken based on if a book is released on set dates.

As I mentioned above, no specific time-table in which a comic needs to be created by seems like it may be a good thing, but it can actually turn out to be quite detrimental to the independent comic book, as well.

In the case of Stumptown #4, Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth certainly put together a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading; unfortunately, I forgot what lead to this point in the story that the payoff didn't seem to have as much impact as a closing of a story should. Rucka places dialog in his characters mouths that seem to come straight from recordings of real events. Plus, Southworth style is so subtle the storytelling is allowed to do it's job and tell a story without distraction from overly visual details...engrossed without lingering per panel. The comic of the day feels natural and not forced, probably due to the extra amount of content filled pages that accompany the $3.99 title. Many books that set readers back $4 end up giving you some throw away extra story in the back of the book, by another writer and artist. Yeah, I'm looking at you Captain America!

Additional pages to make for an individual good read does not make-up for the fact that I lost a bit of interest due to the 2 month wait. Stumptown, unlike other indie titles, does get a pass for having to wait a long time for the title because Greg Rucka is attached to it. When a big name writer is attached to a book there will be fans that will wait and not worry about the fact that everything that happened in the previous issues is forgotten or hazy; yet, if another indie comic title without a big name on it tried pulling this Stumptown lagger action that title would be just another forgotten title amongst the indie graveyard.

In the end I'm left not really saying much. I wish the book came out regularly so that I could remember what the story was about. But either way, I'm still going to pick up Stumptown because it's just that good.

August Comic of the Day Recap

August was a very trying time for me. Looking at 365 Days of Comics one may believe that I was able to continue the month on schedule, typing up a comic book post daily. Unfortunately, I was a bit of a slacker this month. There were two times in particular that my posts were about 5 days behind. I simply adjusted the posting times to the days I missed and bam! Comic of the day posts - written (seemingly) on time.

Here are some of my favorite posts, written both on time and late, from the month of August.
Enjoy!