Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Short Halloween

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Short Halloween - Comic of the DayLike the partial title of this post and comic of the day, this Halloween the post will be short.

Spider-Man Sunday - The Amazing Spider-Man: The Short Halloween

The Amazing Spider-Man: The Short Halloween is a one-shot comic book created by Saturday Night Live's Bill Hader and Seth Meyers. The comedic duo writes a Halloween Spider-Man story which has the web-head getting dazed after falling off of a building and accidentally being mistaken for a guy dressed as Spider-Man for Halloween. The guy's buddies just think their pal dressed as Spidey is drunk so they don't notice the staggering and inability to walk.

Ok, this post has already gone on too long. Happy Halloween! Time for scary movies!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Walking Dead #78

The Walking Dead #78 - Comic of the DayThe Walking Dead is a comic book series I know is good, yet have never read (don't read my week one, 5th post). It is consistently rated highly on comic book review sites, some of my friends like it, my girlfriend even has the first several hardcovers, but for whatever reason I just have yet to pick up an issue. And now, with the new The Walking Dead AMC television series I will probably Harry Potter it and never read the actual original material. Watching the well done moving and audible version (plus it has color) will be enough for me.

Now just because I am not going to read the comic book doesn't mean I wasn't happy to receive The Walking Dead #78 at the Long Beach Comic Con today (because today is the technical day I received this comic of the day...according to the date on this post, of course). The issue is a special variant cover issue which displays a bunch of zombies from the television show behind a chain link fence. There is also a little LBCC icon which let's you know it is a convention exclusive.

The use of the actual television zombies is a great way to promote the show. Though the show starts with just 6 episodes, with the advertising efforts and already large comic book fan base of the highly acclaimed title The Walking Dead is sure to be a successful series for AMC.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Secret Warriors #21

Secret Warriors #21 - Comic of the DayPretty much every Secret Warriors issue has me thinking that the next issue will contain some climax or story point which finally pays-off with Nick Fury winking with his one good eye and saying, "Just as I planned." Secret Warriors #21 does not leave me looking forward, but rather, the comic of the day has me living (or reading in this case) in the moment.

Hickman has displayed this "the next issue will have the pay-off" in his S.H.I.E.L.D title, as well. I always end his books thinking I liked it, but that nothing really fully developed. I like the book while I read, but not when I'm done. Hickman books do that to me.

In Secret Warriors #21, Hickman finally comes back to swords which seemed to have great meaning many issues (months) ago. Hickman also comes back to the idea that a God has to complete some sort of task to be worthy of his God-hood. This idea was explored during "Dark Reign" with Ares and his son, Phobos. Finally, Hickman is getting back to that story's and the swords' stories significance...and I am into it.

Thank you Jonathan Hickman, for rewarding my loyalty to your titles.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ultimate Thor #1

Ultimate Thor #1 - Comic of the DayReading through Ultimate Thor #1 I started to see similarities between this comic of the day and several other popular (acclaimed and not) comic culture stories.

The first thing I thought of when seeing Thor in Ultimate Thor #1 was that he is basically Shia LaBeouf's Sam character from Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen. First off, I know the plot wasn't up to critics' standards, but the CG and action sequences were sick. I Transformers 2 for it's popcorn nature, so there! Secondly, I compare Thor to Sam because he is crazy style writing symbols, read by few, in random locations. Thor is writing symbols all over the floor in some lab where a pad of paper and pen has to exist. Does he have to sketch all over the floor? That labs poor janitor. It's one thing to sweep up, but to buff out sketchings...I hope he get's overtime.

The second story I see in Ultimate Thor #1, and in Thor stories in general, involves the comics' use of the ice giants. They are Thor comics' robotic foot soldiers. Like the foot soldiers in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic books and cartoons, the ice giants are enemies which the Thor characters can destroy in brutal ways without the use of gore or blood. When the Ninja Turtles would stab into and bust apart the robotic foot soldiers (and even Mousers) it did not seem overly brutal or wrong for children to view. It wasn't like Raphael was sinking his sai into a human heart. No, no, no. That would be too violent for the average reader. Thor books got it right a long time back when Thor was fighting ice and rock based characters.

Ultimate Thor #1, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Transformers 2 as it's also known, also includes some fantastic ink work by Dexter Vines. I know that subject shift came out of nowhere, but the art was very well done in this book and I had to mention it in some way. Vines captures the character design and makes every focus point in each panel pop. I don't always notice the inkinginging (sure that looks weird but look at the word "inking" spelled correctly...that looks just as strange, but shorter), Ultimate Thor #1 must be noted as a comic book with a hell of an ink job (also the term for an octopus bj).


(Note: The comic cover I posted is the Long Beach Comic Con variant cover which I received 2 days in the future...according to this posts date.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Avengers #6

The Avengers #6 - Comic of the DayAt long last! The first Avengers' story line has ended!

After the ending of Siege, and "Dark Reign" in general, the "Heroic Age" popped-up on titles everywhere in the Marvel Universe. The Age's main books have been the various Avenger titles, including today's comic of the day title The Avengers. Left with wonder at the new direction of the "Heroic Age", I decided to pick up the various Avengers' titles and give their first arcs a shot.

The Avengers, the title with the heavy weight characters such as Iron Man, Thor and Captain America, just wrapped it's first story which involved time travel, Ultron and future children Avengers. I wouldn't necessarily say I did not like the adventure Brian Michael Bendis started out with; however, I just never cared too much...largely due to the art of John Romita Jr.

I'm done with J.R. Jr. His art looks more and more remedial every time I see it. I understand he works fast and he has a recognizable name, but unfortunately for Marvel I think John Romita Jr.'s name may be hurting this series in the future. I have yet to hear one person at my comic shop say they enjoyed the art in the Avengers. I echo their thoughts, and here by declare that The Avengers #6 will be my last issue in the series until a new artist steps in.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Captain America #611

Captain America #611 - Comic of the DayDid publishers use the President of the United States as often as they use him these days?

I know I've mentioned before about how Marvel (especially) will latch onto whatever is hot to sell more books (Wolverine, Venom, Deadpool, Squirrel Girl...), but latching on to the popularity of President Obama seems a little strange. Though Presidents have appeared in many books over the years, I wonder if the President was so often put into positions in which he played a key role in a comic book.

There were several Thunderbolts comic books where President Obama was being attacked, some Siege comic books where President Obama is angry over the rogue nature of Norman Osborn, and now the most recent Captain America #611 where President Obama does not give Bucky Barnes for his crimes of the past. With media, the internet and imagery in general gaining a wider audience every day, the most powerful man in the country is one of the most recognizable men as well. I have to imagine that helps sell a comic book or any publication with images. Creating a connection to the potential buyer is important, and by using the President's mug Marvel is capitalizing on that fact. Heck, their President Obama/Amazing Spider-Man issue went into something like 6 printings. The man sells a book.

The comic of the day tries keep it real by installing the President into the story, but President Obama has such a strong presence that I am slightly distracted from Captain America #611's plot.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Secret Avengers #6

Secret Avengers #6 - Comic of the DaySome of my favorite Marvel comics books over the past 10 years have been comics which reintroduce B level characters, or characters who have faded away over the course of time. The reemergence of Iron Fist, Spider-Woman, the Hood, Rhino and even Bucky have been the focus of my favorite stories and possibly the reason for Marvel's mini boom of success. Their writers are dusting off old characters and giving the a past (in Bucky's case), a identity (in Iron Fist's case) and a soul (as in the case of Rhino).

Of the 4 characters I mentioned previously, Ed Brubaker has done extraordinary work for 2 of them (Bucky and Iron Fist). In Secret Avengers #6 it seems he is trying his hand at yet another forgotten hero with little to no superpower: the Master of Kung Fu, Shang-Chi. Shang-Chi was a creation of the early 70's when the martial arts were on television and in the theaters. Naturally, Marvel road the success and created Shang-Chi much in the same way they created Squirrel Girl...squirrels were just so in at the time.

In the comic of the day, Shang-Chi is told of the plot to resurrect his evil father Dr. Fu Manchu. Steve Rogers goes to Shang-Chi for both his help and to keep him close. Shang-Chi will most likely be key in the Secret Avengers books for the next couple of months. The anticipation of what his father will have in store for him and what a Master of Kung Fu can do against a master of Evil with be interesting to see.

Based on Ed Brubaker's track record I would expect to see Shang-Chi as a regularly appearing character in most every Avenger title from now until Marvel uses him to death...once again.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #647

The Amazing Spider-Man #647 - Comic of the DayThis ain't my first rodeo, Marvel; but did you have to include a bunch of content that is simply repeated in full in another issue?

Spider-Man Sunday - The Amazing Spider-Man #647

In most milestone books, or books larger in page count than their usual size, publishers throw in multiple stories. Marvel's Captain America is a comic book with additional pages, beyond the Captain America story, that contain a story about Cap's once different dimension side-kick Nomad, and on occasion, Batman: Streets of Gotham will have a secondary story after the main comic's arc. This is ok. Many comic books do this and it is acceptable when done well. What isn't okay is what The Amazing Spider-Man #647 puts in it's trunk. What you gon' do with all that junk? All that junk in The Amazing Spider-Man #647 trunk. I'ma get, get, get you...Ok. That was too much. Sorry.

Anyway, the comic of the day doesn't just give readers a mini adventure by a two bit artist (There is one short story that looks like my 9 year old sister drew it after watching Sailor Moon), readers also get several wasted pages of a preview of another comic book. I hate the comic previews because they make the book I bought seem like it is bigger, and bigger is better...I hope (I have little else going for me). The previews are all over the internet for free and are often found in the catch-up books released for free. The preview pages are added to pad the product and help them justify the $3.99 charges.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind a page ad for another book. A nice enticing image is quick and to the point. That, I can do. The 6 extra pages of the next story the publisher wants to ram down my retina (I'm no scientist. I don't know how eyes work.)...that, I can do without.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Superman: Earth One

Superman: Earth One - Comic of the DayThe biggest problem I think every comic reader, or even person on the street (like Cash Cab style), has with the Superman mythology is that somehow not one person can see that Clark Kent is Superman. In Kent form, Superman simply puts on some glasses, wears his hair differently and stumbles around. I wore a Gumby costume to work this Halloween and everyone knew it was me (don't mind the date on this post...I have a time machine). The Daily Planet is filled with investigative reporters and nobody can tell Clark is Supes?

The reason I mention this is because a section of Superman: Earth One focuses on the moment Clark Kent steps in front of the Daily Planet staff and they can't tell he is just the super being the watched take out an alien invasion. The scene is so blatant because the staff just saw the action and super hero up-close. Plus, when Clark steps in he claims to have been the first person to interview the hero (which no one had seen till that day) and now knows everything about him. His remarkable similarity in appearance to the flying, strength enhanced, wonder is just a minor coincidence.

That scene killed me and made me understand why I never got into Superman comics long term. This of course comes right on the heals of reading Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman which made me wonder why I never got into Superman comics long term.

Overall, the comic of the day wasn't bad; however, it didn't feel very original. Besides the use of the ship Superman came to Earth in, and the fact that he is sooo emo (like Tobey in Spider-Man 3), the story reads like a mix between Smallville turned comic and a Superboy tale. Plus, the art just seems ok. But, to be fair, I did read the book by way of printed copies of every page put together by way of a 3 hole punch and a couple of brads. Some of the pages had less ink than others. Oh, and the pages were in black and white.

Like a judge at the Olympics, I would give this title a Superman: Earth Three as it's score. It's the first of the Ultimate Universe-like DC books and I feel I should give the upcoming participants room to be able to score higher in both difficulty and creativity. Here's hoping the next Earth One book sticks the landing a little better.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Scanimation Star Wars Book

The Scanimation Star Wars book is not exactly a comic book, but it is highly comic book related. There are words and pictures! Yes, it is very much like any other comic book except for one major difference...the pictures move!

Rufus Butler Seder creates a book known as a Scanimation book which displays several images in one location which change as the book reader turns the page. The image appears to move. A good way of thinking about it is like looking at a flip book with only one page flipping. Check out the Star Wars adventure from Episode 1 to Episode 6 in the video below.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Hellblazer: City of Demons #1 (of 5)

Hellblazer: City of Demons #1 - Comic of the DayMy second #1 of 5 in 2 days, Hellblazer: City of Demons #1 is the first Hellblazer/John Constantine comic book I have ever read. The movie, Constantine starring Keanu Reeves, was very stylish and right-up my ally in terms of genre films: action, battles between heaven and hell, and based on a comic book. So why then am I just now picking up a Hellblazer book? Honestly, the book was just sitting near where I set down my pile and I thought it was one of my books. By the time I realized it was not mine I noticed a recognizable style and name on the cover, and it wasn't John Constantine.

Sean Murphy burst onto the comic book scene with his pencil work in Grant Morrison's Joe the Barbarian. The Vertigo title has an interesting story, but I think it's strong art which includes beautiful large panels by Murphy, has turned Joe the Barbarian into an epic modern-day fantasy which has a very Wizard of Oz feel, at times.

So did Murphy's art success carry over into Hellblazer: City of Demons #1? Well, yes, but the best is still to come. The first issue doesn't give Murphy a ton to work with. The issue mostly consists of an accident that John gets into and his trip to the hospital where he almost passes over to the other side. One graphic decapitation via botched hanging panel does stand out, but otherwise, there isn't much on demons or room for a lot of creativity in this comic of the day. Fortunately, there are still four issues to look forward to that are sure to bring an evil creature or two.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Carnage #1 (of 5)

Carnage #1 - Comic of the DayCarnage is one of those characters that got too zany and crazy for his own good. Besides his origin in the pages of Amazing Spider-Man #361-363 where we learn he had dramatic childhood and "Maximum Carnage" where we see him try to create a family he never really had (let alone one he could control), all of Carnage's stories became about killing just to kill. Brian Michael Bendis and Marvel finally understood they couldn't get anymore good stories out of the character, so they used him to show-off the power of the Sentry in the New Avengers first arc, "Breakout." Sentry takes Carnage up into space and rips him apart, effectively killing Carnage...or so we thought.

Carnage consisted of two parts. He was one part the human host Cletus Kasady (a serial killer) and one part the spawn of Eddie Brock's Venom alien symbiote. When Sentry ripped Carnage apart readers thought that was the end of the red killer (both man and alien), but Zeb Wells and Clayton Crain's new mini series Carnage bring the once fan favorite villain back into the spotlight.

For me, Crain's art alone brings credibility to a character lacking it. His at has a dark textured feel to it which sets the tone for the stories Crain helps tell. His art allows Wells to tell a story that immediately lets readers know that this story is serious and not some flashy tale of goofy destruction. Crain's work is very unique and acts as the perfect change of pace the Carnage character needs. The comic of the day is a very brief set-up of what will be happening in the mini-series, but because of Crain's art I enjoyed Carnage #1 thoroughly.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Avengers: Age of Heroes Poster

Avengers: Age of Heroes Poster - Comic of the Day
Marko!

Poster!

Marko!

Poster!

If you haven't noticed all of the Marko Djurdjevic comic book covers on Marvel comics these past months than you are truly a fish out of water. Many of Djurdjevic's covers are parts of a larger piece of art, a 9 foot 9 inch poster. I posted about his Spider-Man Origin of the Species poster which I picked up about a week ago, and now I am posting about his previous poster release, the Avengers: Age of Heroes poster.

This poster is also a mash-up, just like the Origin of the Species poster, but it includes more characters which may be familiar to casual fans (unlike the Spider-Man poster which only included Spidey-verse characters). The Avengers: Age of Heroes poster includes popular Marvel characters such as Wolverine, Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, Iron Fist, Loki and of course, Spider-Man.

When I purchased this comic of the day which isn't a comic I took it into work and hung it up on my boss's office window which looks out onto the rest of the office. He was out of the office, so some other workers and I thought it would be funny to wall up his window with posters. The 5 seconds of reaction to the posters before he tells me to take them down may not be worth the trouble of putting them up, but I don't care. His office window faces my work space, and I will enjoy the short time that I can have the Avengers: Age of Heroes and Spider-Man Origin of the Species posters in my line of site.


(Note: When my boss comes back I'm sure he won't mind if I put them up on the office walls. He's cool like that.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Strange Embrace #4 (of 8)

Strange Embrace #4 - Comic of the DayNot a fan. But to be fair, I had no idea what was going on.

Thanks to Mike Wellman and Richard Starkings of Comicraft, I had the opportunity to read one part of the horror tale that is Strange Embrace...for free. A free comic book on a day other than free comic book day? It must be good. Okay, enough of the mocking. Wellman and Starkings are stand-up gents whom I'm sure had no idea I would not be into the book at all. With that said, they need to earn back my trust in a big way.

Getting to the actual comic of the day, Strange Embrace #4 has the main character dealing with some personal issues, but not really. His relationship with his wife and father become strained yet he does nothing about it. Instead, as we find out at the end of the issue, he does strange ritualistic things alone in the back-room of his father's shop with strange African artifacts. I mean...that's what I do when I'm going through some shit.

I think the genre or style of comic book isn't my cup of tea. I like mainstream titles, superhero books and the occasional noir private detective book. It's hard for me to embrace an Image title which features a naked guy with nails through his skin (including his nipples) on the cover.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Spider-Man Special Edition: The Trial of Venom #1

Spider-Man Special Edition: The Trial of Venom #1 - Comic of the DayThere are a few things I just won't do to my comic books. One comic cardinal sin, and thing I just won't do, is cut apart a comic book.


Spider-Man Sunday - Spider-Man Special Edition: The Trial of Venom #1

For many years comic books included ads that were meant to be cut out as coupons or mail away proof of purchase to help obtain some product. Comic books were not thought of as being objects that held value, other than personal value, and so children were encouraged to cut up their comic books and buy sea monkeys, army gear and all kinds of wacky items. Once the idea that comic books could be valuable collectibles really started to resonate with the publishing companies, they started to cut back on the amount of coupons or subscription cut-outs appeared in comic books. You may have noticed that comic books in the 2000's have very few cut-out options, but that doesn't mean there are not any. I did recently see a cut-out option for some Marvel character-clad boots. Very fashionable.

In the 90's Marvel ran a cut-out promotion for Spider-Man Special Edition: The Trial of Venom #1. It was a one-shot (yet still numbered) featuring Venom, one of Marvel's more popular characters at the time. I remember seeing the option in many Marvel comics at the time, but couldn't bring myself to the idea of ruining one book to obtain another. I never took advantage of the promotion. I refused to harm my comic books and I always will.

With that said...

Years later I ended up purchasing the comic of the day through Yahoo Auctions. Big shout-out to Yahoo Auctions for allowing me to keep my books unharmed and still allowing me to get my hands on a comic book I've wanted for years. Woop!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Shadowland #4

Shadowland #5 - Comic of the DayI'm not going to make this long. Look at the cover of Shadowland #5 to the right. This is the cover, of the comic of the day, from a mini series that was supposed to be a big "street level" Marvel character event. Marvel had the right idea when they decided to bring in a big name artist to attach onto this event; but unfortunately for Marvel, the former Astonishing X-Men John Cassaday no longer exists. There is only this shell of an artist known as Shadowland John Cassaday...and that's a name no one should have to live with.

Check out Cassaday's similar comic cover effort on the Shadowland crossover, Daredevil #510. Notice the familiar theme of a poorly drawn villain in-front of a poorly drawn Daredevil?

Eisner cover-artist nomination?

Friday, October 15, 2010

The Invincible Iron Man #31

The Invincible Iron Man #31 - Comic of the DayMatt Fraction's use of technology in The Invincible Iron Man #31 and The Invincible Iron Man #30 has been very current in regards to real world applications...literally.

Not only does the comic of the day's arc include the creation of a car that does not run on gasoline or other forms of environmentally harmful substances, but The Invincible Iron Man #31 also includes the use of cell phone applications, or apps as they are called for short. The apps in Iron Man are made by the Hammer Industries, a competing tech company which is always out to get Tony Stark, and designed to have online users control deadly predator drones to destroy targets Hammer Industries wants destroyed. It's a free application which can be downloaded on a smart phone such as an iPhone. The app seems like just a game to the user: a military like game where you must control a drone to destroy a target, but the app is actually a way to have anonymous people unknowingly commit crimes and blow stuff up...namely Tony Stark.

People with smart phones, and phones which can play games, are crazy for their apps. One application in real life, Angry Birds, has become so popular there is talk about it being turned into a movie. I hope the producers can get Leo.

...Leo! (done in whispered Dr. Evil voice)

Apps can be both tools and games, and in the case of The Invincible Iron Man's current arc, they are one and the same. Bravo Matt Fraction. Invincible Iron Man, which started out as a Fraction story, has become so realistic that it is now becoming very close to a...non-Fraction story. (That happened.)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Superior #1

Superior #1 - Comic of the DayOne of my favorite films when I was young was Big, staring Tom Hanks. Big tells the story of a 12 year old kid who is at the stage in his life where he is just barely to small for the finer things in life such as going on sweet roller coasters and hooking-up with tall chicks. After being embarrassed, because of his size, he stumbles upon a mysterious fortune-telling machine, called Zoltar Speaks, which granted Josh Baskin (Tom Hanks character) a wish. He wished to be big. The next day Josh woke-up as a 30 year old, and the kid as an adult in the adult world hilarity (and a little heartache) ensued. I own the VHS and randomly the Blu-Ray.

Superior #1 is basically the same story as Big with a couple of minor changes: the main characters size doesn't hold him back but rather his physical ability, and instead of a fortune-telling machine the comic of the day uses a speaking space monkey. The similarities that are pretty much exact include: the main kid first turning into his wish in his room and going to his best friend with his dilemma, first. Plus, I'm pretty sure there is a page when that song, "The space goes, down, down baby, down by the roller coaster..."

The story does have some differences, but the feel is very much like Big. I can already see the direction of the story going towards a kid as an adult in the adult world thing happening, except add the phrase super-powered in there somewhere.

I wonder if the chick from Showtime's Weeds will be in the upcoming issues?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The New Avengers #5

The New Avengers #5 - Comic of the DayHave you ever read the Silmarillion? Let me guess, you got about 25 pages in then gave up. The world of Tolkien is very interesting and wondrous; however, the elaborate names of characters, places, and battles is so intense that the story is incredible hard to follow and boring.

Writer Brian Michael Bendis takes readers on a Silmarillion-like adventure in The New Avengers #5 by using a ton of sorcerer-speak and an intense amount of dialog. I am usually a big defender of Bendis's dialog, which is often criticized for being too elaborate or long winded; but, this time I cannot defend the New Avengers writer because the conversations about "what is happening" go on for far too long.

One thing I can't hammer Bendis on in the comic of the day, when it comes to his dialog, are the words he puts into the mouth of Spider-Man. Having the goof-off of the group jokingly uncover what is going on by saying "maybe this Agamotto dude just wants his eye back"was classic. The magical types look at each other and realize Spidey is on to something. That scene made me smile. Well, the scene and South Park's "Jersey Shore" episode on in the background.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Origin of the Species Poster

Origin of the Species Poster - Comic of the Day
Recently I was able to get a hold of the Marko Djurdjevic "Origin of the Species" Spider-Man poster. It's 9 feet 9 inches long and a little over 2 feet tall. A poster this size is cannot be made of just regular paper; rather, the poster is made of a plastic-like material so that it can hang firm and not rip due to it's own weight. The poster is big and strong...strong like the art on it.

The poster is filled with characters of the Spider-Man universe. The highlights for me include Venom, Anti-Venom, Lizard, Morbius, Mr. Negative and Spider-Man himself. To be honest, I find that the poster is left-side heavy when it comes to the best of Marko Djurdjevic's art.

I also ordered the Avengers Marko Djurdjevic poster, so you may see that comic of the day post, that isn't actually a comic post, in the near future.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thunderbolts #148

Thunderbolts #148 - Comic of the DaySure the latter part of Thunderbolts #148 is filled with ninjas in sewers getting all Voltron (Power Rangers for the young readers) on the Thunderbolt squad, but the highlight of this comic of the day comes in the male mess hall of The Raft, the high-security prison.

Every team, or pack of friends in general, should have a big friend that. He is easy going because he knows that his size will protect him and that no one will mess with him...basically, people fear the big dude and the big dude knows it. In the Thunderbolts, the big dude is in the form of Juggernaut. He is as big as they come and he has been in more battles than any convict on the current Thunderbolt team. So what do other group members do with the big dude? They befriend him...and then kill a man using the hulking bud as a shield to hide behind.

Crossbones, the Captain America attempted murderer, is no fool...a psycho, but not a fool. His scene, which ends in the assisted kill of some prisoner talking trash, is a great moment which shows team members bonding and starting to act as a team outside of missions, as well. Seeing two sly bad guys work together is fun, especially when it ends in murder.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Punisher #75 (Vol. 2)

The Punisher #75 - Comic of the DayBefore Marvel MAX allowed their mainstream heroes, such as the Punisher, to curse and get real violent writers had to go shift key crazy to produce real world dialog that fit the tone of certain comic books.

In 1993's Punisher #75 the writing team best now known for bringing back great cosmic story telling, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, produced a very standard Punisher tale of destruction and heroic vigilantism. You can tell the writers of British because their symbols used in their curse words include the British "pound" symbol. I don't think the "pound" symbol is often used in curse references. Maybe the character was supposed to have an English accent. That sounds right.

The cover of the comic of the day is both very plain and very memorable. The Punisher #75 has a close up of the Punisher as he is holding a bloody knife (the Punisher only uses a knife once in the issue to cut a rope...he hates ropes), and standing in darkness with a bit of light on him. His face features resemble his skull face logo on his chest, and his knife has a slight sparkle on it's tip. Just the tip! Oh, and the issue is embossed. Bam! Instant classic!

In the 90's all you had to do to make a comic book worth an extra dollar was create a cover that popped out in some way. Also, throw in some silver foiling for that extra special deception. Often times these issues were the anniversary or special numerical mark issue. They always sucked. Web of Spider-Man #100... case and point. The Punisher #75 unfortunately fell victim to the special addition issue curse and no amount of British "pound" symbols, foil coating or face skullery could save it.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

X-Force #11 (Vol. 3)

X-Force #11 - Comic of the DayI wanted to know who Eli Bard was, but in the words of the Matrix's Switch...

"Not like this. Not like this."

Eli Bard is a mysterious character who has been hanging around the anti-mutant group the Purifiers...basically crazy religious people with guns who hate diversity in the human race. So yes...republicans. Anyway, Carl Rove a.k.a Eli Bard, stays behind the scenes for a while until the end of X-Force #6 (volume 3) where he bonds with some techno-organic creature and then of course gets away.

In X-Force #11 readers are basically treated to a campfire horror story by Warpath where he explains Eli Bard's origin story. Most of the issue is in simplistic art that is a flashback going back to the times of the Romans. Eli has a few years under his belt. The comic of the day eventually gets back to current time with about 2 pages left which is actually interesting, and leads into another future X-Force story.

The comic of the day is boring. Most of the time a story being told to you through narration without much dialog is no fun. It gets the information across quickly, but it feels lazy and like a quick way to explain something that may be complicated.

Alright. I know who Eli Bard is. Moving on to X-Force #12. Yeah, I've been reading a lot of X-Force lately.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Taskmaster #2

Taskmaster #2 - Comic of the DayThere are so many things I love about this book, but first, I would like to briefly mention things I hate about it.
  • What's with the ign.com quote on the front cover? Is this a novel that needs a shout-out by a well-known newspaper or magazine? I guess since it's a comic book the holla' comes from a website...a respected and browsed nerd website. I don't not like IGN, I just think it is kind of tacky when a non-reprint has a recommendation quote on the cover. It basically says, "We are cooler than you and got to read this comic before it hit stands."
  • Also on the cover is a small advertisement for the new Disney channel Avengers show. The show may be cool and fun, but I don't want it on my cover. Plus, it's bright Disney-kid tone just doesn't fit the tone of this comic of the day. I have to admit though, the ad definitely stands out. Marvel Marketing Machine! Damn your calculated moves!
With the dislike tasks (I could have choose many words here but...) out of the way I will now gush about Taskmaster #2.

High up on the list of questions about Taskmaster is: what's with the skull mask? Well, wonder slightly less after reading Taskmaster #2. Writer Fred Van Lente starts to dip into Task's past a bit which leads us to a gang of skull-mask wearing fellas of the Spanish speaking variety. This pack of skulls is lead by the goofy Don of the Dead, a Spanglish speak'n, sombrero wear'n, pistol, sword and cape clad villain. Who's under the skull-mask and sombrero surprises Tasky; and, though we the readers have just met the Don of the Dead, we are also a little surprised when we see who it is.

Spoiler Alert!

It's Squirrel Girl. Well, it could be...

Though Van Lente's great dialog and fast pass story make this comic of the day a must have, it's the art of Jefte Palo that really steals the show. In the past, when looking at Taskmaster you would think his uniform was absolutely ridiculous, but now, through Palo's designs Tasky looks pretty amazing. The uniform feels legit and even subtle. The way Palo draws his flopped over hood adds a bit of charm to Tasky, especially when you see a face shot which includes his mask in the darkness of his hood with only his two white eye spots showing. Palo's art has charm and movement that allow the characters to be expressive while fighting or while giving an impassioned speech. Plus, after another excellent cover, Palo lines up Taskmaster #3's cover (on the last page of Taskmaster #2) which will have you impatiently waiting for more. Much more.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

American Vampire #7

American Vampire #7 - Comic of the DayFor readers who check in from time to time, you may notice American Vampire is becoming a regularly acknowledged comic. It should come as no surprise to readers who also have picked up Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque's take on evolved vampires in America why I have posted so many times on the Vertigo title. American Vampire is very well done.

Scott Snyder isn't looking to reinvent the vampire wheel, (which visually I see as either a wheel on a bike that needs to be inflated with blood every day or a game show wheel which i spun on "Who Wants to Kill a Vampire" - a show sort of like "American Gladiators" but with more vampires..."and you've spun ...Razor! Here's your stake. Good luck.") rather Snyder seems to be adding anew branch to the vampire mythology tree (which visually I see as...just kidding).

In American Vampire #7, Snyder does a nice job of developing his next story line further by adding some characters' histories and questions about who are new set of characters really are. But Snyder also closes out the comic of the day on a strong note, much like he did with American Vampire #6, by inserting a familiar vampire from past issues.

Albuquerque's work is again very good; however, I did feel a slight drop off in this issue when it came to face design. The older guys especially took the brunt of Albuquerque's line work with a ton of extra stress markings. The father of the comic's Las Vegas Chief of Police, Chief McCogan, has so many old man line on his face at one point he literally looks like a zombie. But what's one zombie in a book full of vampires? No biggie. The Albu-Quirky art is still keeping me looking forward to issue number 8.



(Note: Imagine the cover with the creator's names, Scott Snyder and Rafael Albuquerque, plus the title, American Vampire, in the blank space at the top. They went all vampire-in-mirror in this image.)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Uncanny X-Force #1

Uncanny X-Men #1 - Comic of the DayI picked up Uncanny X-Force #1 because I felt like I knew the characters involved, but I quickly found out I have know idea who the white ski-mask guy who talks to some bio-tech weapon thingy is. Oh, and what's with the bio-tech thingy?

Nevermind. Scratch that last thought. It doesn't matter because the tag-team of Rick Remender and Jerome Opena work better together than the Bushwhackers. Bringing their Fear Agent and Punisher experience to the newest Uncanny X-Force title, the two have set the stage for an interesting story involving the first mutant, the insane mercenary mutant, the old adamantium man mutant, the purple hand-dagger mutant, the first mutant's horsie-man and a guy in a white ski-mask...we'll call him Carl. Mysterious Carl.

Jerome Opena's art is a particular highlight in the comic of the day. The way he details his character's costumes down to the seams on Wolverine's, Deadpool's and Carl's uniforms is appreciated because every little extra detail adds to the engrossing experience.

The reveal at the end of the issue has me interested, once again, in the X universe, which is a very dangerous universe to get interested in because when you get interested in one X-book that often leads to collecting many X titles. At one point there is going to be a crossover, and I will buy the other X titled comics involved, and I will be very disappointed, and I will stop reading X-books, and I will miss-out when they introduce characters like Carl, and then eventually buy a new X title and say...who the heck is the guy in the white ski-mask?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

X-Force #1 (Vol. 3)

X-Force #1 - Comic of the DaySo how different would the third X-Force series be 17 years after the first original X-Force #1 comic book came out? Well, there's a little more blood and a little less team members.

The original X-Force was a group of young mutants, formerly the New Mutants, lead by the experienced military mutant from the future, Cable. The new team also has an elder mutant leader, but one with a little less grey hair and a little more hair in general. Wolverine leads a team of three consisting of himself, X-23 and Warpath. All three have claw like weapons (Warpath has 2 vibranium knives, and Wolverine and X-23 have adamantium claws) and all three are down to kill a lot of people to protect mutants.

The X-Force of now has been assembled as a hit squad by Cyclops. The regular X-Men cannot be involved in murder no matter how bad the bad guys are; but, Wolverine has already killed enough people that another hundred to thousand won't affect his conscious one way or another, X-23 is a trained killer so it's nothing new to her, and Warpath seems to be the young mutant turned man looking to impress the old veterans Wolverine and even Cyclops to an extent.

I think the new comic of the day, X-Force #1, really captures the essence of who Wolverine is years after his many experiences with the X-Men. Wolverine is supposed to be the best at what he does, but in so many comic books Wolverine is always getting beat-up and knocked around; however, X-Force (volume 3) captures the ruthlessness of Wolverine when he is in pure destruction mode. Maybe he is holding back in other books because he is around the other more innocent X-Men, but in X-Force, Wolverine just straight up brutally kills anyone he deems evil...and I like that.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Beards of Our Forefathers

Beards of Our Forefathers - Comic of the DayHave you ever entered one of those contests or filled out one of those cartoon panels where the picture and dialog/thought balloons are already created, you just need to fill in the dialog/thought balloons with text? Marvel used to have pages you could fill-in what Spider-Man said during a battle with a villain like Doc Oct.; and even more recently, comics like Reed Gunther have website browsers fill-out actual Reed Gunther comic pages with their zaniest dialog for a chance to win free comic prizes.

Creating dialog to fit a scene is an art which many of us try, but few of us do well. One of those few happens to be David Malki. But unlike the other few (who will remain nameless because I don't actual know others...it just sounds better when trying to say you think someone is creative), Malki creates dialog that runs contradictory to the scene making for some of the funniest comic strips ever captured in a book with the word "Beards" in the title.

Beards of Our Forefathers is a book capturing comic strips from Wondermark.com, the site which Malki originally posts his offbeat humor. This specific comic of the day is more of a book, and not a traditional comic. It was given to me by my comic book shop pal Mike to borrow to see if I liked it. Well Mike, I do like it...that means you'll get your money, so call of the dogs (Mike has been sending hero-click nerds to my apartment all week to knock on my screen door. The screen door knock is so strange at an apartment. You can't actually tell if it's your screen being knocked on, and you don't want to check in case it's the door next to yours being knocked on. Then you are stuck in an awkward stare with some random dude...or chick...hey-o!). Anyway...did I mention the book was signed by Malki? Cuz it be!

Thanks Mike!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Amazing Spider-Man #644

The Amazing Spider-Man #644 - Comic of the DayThe art is not growing on me; however, the story is.

Spider-Man Sunday - The Amazing Spider-Man #644

The third part of "Origin of the Species" story line really does not progress the story very much. The comic of the day is pretty much filled with poorly drawn B-list villains attacking a poorly drawn Spider-Man holding a poorly drawn baby. That was a little harsh. Without going further into how the women are particularly ugly when penciled by Paul Azaceta, I'd rather just end on expressing that Azaceta may be more fit for a smaller press non costumed book...like a detective or P.I piece.

Speaking of art, I ended up buying Marko Djurdjevic's "Origin of the Species" 9 foot-plus poster. The Amazing Spider-Man #644's cover has two of my favorite points on Djurdjevic's poster: the Lizard in his dark green scaly glory and Mr. Negative who has a very Michael Jackson blend of black and white...mostly white.

Back to the content of The Amazing Spider-Man #644, not much progresses in the story; however, I did particularly like the use of Rhino and the Chameleon. Rhino had just a brief appearance, but his scene brought-up recent Rhino story-line moments when Spider-Man pleads with him and uses emotional reasoning to fend Rhino off. This is something that would have never happened years ago, but now after some recent Rhino stories, the moment feels right.

The moment with the Chameleon is even more brief than Rhino's appearance but I enjoyed it purely because Chameleon is in it. The plethora of recent Spider-Man comics involving the Chameleon is nice to see considering he was the first Spider-Man villain to appear in The Amazing Spider-Man comic books. Using him as a more prominent character helps validate Stan Lee's use of the character for the very first The Amazing Spider-Man ever...and that's what Stan Lee has been needing all of these years: validation.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Captain America #610

Captain America #610 - Comic of the DayCaptain America #610 wraps up another story which explores not only Bucky's issues with taking over the role of an icon, his friend Steve Rogers former mantel of Captain America; but Ed Brubaker's latest Cap adventure also explores what a classic Captain America villain such as Baron Zemo thinks of the new Captain America.

A few things stand out after finishing the comic of the day. First of all, even though I liked the latest run, a large part of the last bunch of issues has dealt with Bucky being able to accept that he is Captain America. By this point I get. He feels like he can't possibly live up to Steve's legacy...we all get it. I would like to see a story that has Captain America on a mission that has nothing to do with his past. Though his clouded Winter Soldier past is interesting, a new creation by Brubaker may be quite refreshing.

The second thing I noticed about Captain America #610 is that Butch Guice can draw a tone appropriate book. The art isn't amazing but it tells the story with a lot of intensity when the story calls for it. The middle four panels of face, hand, face, eye capture the moment of Captain America's desperate escape from Zemo's rocket. Also, Marko Djurdjevic cover is filled with sweet shield movement and awesomeness.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Secret Warriors #20

Secret Warriors #20 - Comic of the DayI just can't trust what is going on in Secret Warriors #20. Anytime I read a comic book with Nick Fury I am unsure if he actually knows what is being sprung on him, or if he knows traps are coming and purposely walks into battles knowing what the ends will be. I have to believe Fury knows what he's doing. He's been around the block. He wears an eye-patch and he rolls with a group of kids...ok, that last part is weird when you say it out loud.

The quality of Secret Warriors is still high on into it's 20th issue. Jonathan Hickman writes a story that seems to thrive on dialog where the reader wonders if they are getting the whole story. As I mentioned above, Nick Fury is hard to read. Everything he says is calculated. Hickman really sets up every issue to be an issue that leaves you anticipating the next. Will the next issue be the issue where Fury admits he knew everything all along, or will it be the issue where Fury's long plans finally come to fruition.

The comic of the day did leave me a bit bummed. Hickman may do an always impressive job, but his artistic partner on Secret Warriors #20, Mirko Colak, does not present strong visuals. The popular pencils on Secret Warriors came from Stefano Caselli many issues ago. Since then the art has been fair, but never impressive. I would like Secret Warriors to get a regular artist so that I can regularly be completely satisfied with this title.

September Comic of the Day Recap

The recap of my favorite comic of the day posts is on-time this month...just check out the date on this post!

Take a quick look at some of my favorite posts of September.