November 30, 2008

ABC Podcast, Episode #25 and visual aids

This episode of Awesomed By Comics is brought to you by More Comic Book Knock-Knock Jokes, because INTERRUPTING INTERGALACTIC STARFISH. Evie and Aaron are a little bloaty and slow after Thanksgiving, but still manage to get a bolt of disdainful adrenaline out of Batman RIP (and think Grant Morrison could learn a lot from Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu). The conclusion to Hickman and Ringuet's excellent Transhuman series is Monkey-tastic, and this time we mean the kind without Peter Tork.

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Cover of the Week

Evie and Aaron's pick, from Secret Invasion: Inhumans #4, cover by Stjepan Sejic

Panel(s) of the Week

Evie's pick, from JSA: The Kingdom by Geoff Johns, Alex Ross and Fernando Pasarin:

Aaron's pick, from Nova #19 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Wellinton Alves and Geraldo Borges:

November 26, 2008

So I just finished Batman RIP... (spoilers)


I'm trying to formulate a well-supported criticism of this supposedly mythos-defining storyline that surpasses the threshold of a mere "GUUUUHHHHHHHHH..."

I guess the lowest hanging fruit is the notion that in a year when Batman is the number-one franchise on the planet, and any multiple of thousands of people might have wanted to check out the source material, RIP was an epic failure of judgment in the pure positive outreach department. It's not just that Morrison leans on ultra-obscure references from 70 years of Batman history, or that the non-linear storyline was muddled further by strange art, or that characters with unexplained motivations come out of nowhere, or that the identity of nemesis Dr. Hurt isn't clearly revealed even though Morrison teased it as "shocking" (and the leading theories of the Devil, Thomas Wayne, or your garden-variety crazy are hack, convoluted and bland, respectively), or that it ended with a "ZOMG Batman fell to his death in a fireball!" that obviously did not happen.

No, the primary problem with this story was WHO ARE THE FRICKING EUROPEANS? Seriously--Tim Drake gets in a fight in the middle of the street, and some friendly folks with Continental speaking quirks pop up and are all "pip pip, let us help you monsieur, we will take care of things here while you go find Batman, jawohl!" And I think that moment is the defining microcosm of the RIP storytelling flaw. Sure, maybe I'm supposed to know who those chaps were from some story Grant Morrison wrote eight years ago, or eight months ago, and it's not his fault that I don't. But I would clearly not be alone by a long shot, particularly if new readers decided to join the party after the summer, and it throws you right out of the action to a distinct state of "WTF?" that loosens the justification for everything else.

The references I did get, to things like Nanda Parbat and the Thogal, yes, they added to my experience. I like that Morrison tied that piece of relatively recent Batman history to what was going on with Bruce's psyche now, because it's interesting and thought provoking. Bruce had subjected himself to the most intense of sensory deprivation meditations, that simulates death and drives out demons, and it turns out he'd done something similar many years prior as part of an experiment with Dr. Hurt, that the doctor was now supposedly using against him. Cool. That works. Now... take me down that road. Introduce some twists, some "wild cards" like the Joker to fuck up everyone's plans, some moments of confusion where the reader doesn't know if what they're seeing is happening to Bruce or only in his mind. But don't throw in a merry band of anonymous knights who had, for no discernible reason, "mounted their own investigations" and figured out what was going on somehow and then leave them as fast as you brought them in so I have one more reason to think I'm missing the entire point. When most probably I'm not, and the point is this: "ha ha ha ha BOO."

Anyway. According to all previews and leaked info, the upcoming Batman mini-series "Battle for the Cowl," and whatever else is going on until Bruce Wayne eventually comes back and everything is normal, will not be written by Grant Morrison. So maybe it will be good and maybe it will be bad, but at least I know that it will NOT have a bunch of random Frenchies that distract me from what I'm supposed to understand.

And as far as who will be the next Batman, it's safe to say that I'm on Team Dick. Although the distinct benefit of the Nightwing costume is that it doesn't have a fine-ass-obstructing cape. Hmm. What was I talking about? Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2008


Jet packs for everyone! (Can't find an embed link for this, grr.)

Faster than a speeding TPS report

I unfortunately can't post examples due to employee discretion and not being a complete dope and all that, but I just want to mention that you should be jealous of the email I got yesterday from corporate communications, explaining how to implement new company branding conventions via a comic book spoof starring a strapping a superhero who will swoop in and correct all semantic inconsistencies. It was pretty rad, in only the way such a thing could be.

November 23, 2008

ABC Podcast, Episode #24 and #24a (Monkey Variant), plus visual aids

This episode of Awesomed By Comics is brought to you by Practice, which makes pizza pies, Punisher plots and porpoises, in addition to perfect. Evie and Aaron try to think of what could possibly make Wolverine more badass and popular, and discuss why Mayor Hundred doesn't need to be. Andy Diggle's electrifying (GET IT??) first issue of Thunderbolts earns some nods.

Be sure also to download Episode #24a, the bonus Monkey Variant. Don't let the previous Zombie Variant deter you. Really.

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Cover(s) of the Week

Evie's pick, from Uncanny X-Men #504, cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson:

Aaron's pick, from Amazing Spider-Man #578, cover by Marcos Martin:

Panel(s) of the Week

Aaron's pick, from Uncanny X-Men #504 by Matt Fraction and Terry Dodson:

Evie's pick, from Marvel Adventures Avengers #30 by Paul Tobin and Matteo Lolli:

November 20, 2008

I stand corrected

While I haven't made much mention of the recent Detective Comics "Hush" (or whatever it's actually called) storyline here on the blog, I've talked about it several times on the podcast, including giving the closing issue a Last of the Week award this past week for the very sweet Bruce/Selina nub nub bit, as well as Selina's lovely turn of monetary revenge against Tommy "Hush" Elliot for being so very shitty to her. The primary criticism I've had against the story has, of course, been the absolutely preposterous bit about Hush holding Catwoman's actual beating heart hostage in a Dr. Freeze-created machine, while Mr. Terrific and Dr. Midnite improbably kept her alive elsewhere.

But apparently, this is not preposterous at all.

See, this actual young lady lived in such a predicament for FOUR MONTHS, and just went home this week. Of course, she didn't have her original heart kept alive and returned to her, but that's not really what was getting at me anyway. So color me humbled, and more edumacated. Yay science!

But I still think the energy signature thing is dubious.


I just wanted to take a moment to salute the person who came to this site by googling "Am I too lazy to google?" We are kindred spirits, sir/madam.

I didn't get a chance to read any books yesterday, because I was at a class all evening toward the aim of enhancing my professional skillz. Did Sue Storm die? No I know she didn't, because duh.

November 17, 2008

More like New Krapton... oh whatever I can't keep up

UPDATE: Nevermind.

Ok, so, maybe Superman is caught in a rougher scenario* than I thought? This may very well be Geoff Johns' biggest triangulatory retcon challenge yet. But I think he's up for it.**

*Scroll down to "Stardust"
**I really do, no joshin. He's a master at turning nonsensical nonsense on its head until it looks like it was right side up the whole time. God speed.

November 16, 2008

ABC Podcast, Episode #23 and visual aids

Episode #23 of Awesomed By Comics is brought to you by Pasta, because eyyyyyyy, how YOU doin? You wanna go get some wheels n sauce? Evie and Aaron gush over I Kill Giants, and wonder why Marvel keeps printing Wolverine fan fiction. Due to the success of last week's Zombie Variant, we include a special foil cover.

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Cover(s) of the Week

Evie's Pick, from Fables #78, cover by James Jean:

Aaron's Pick, from Anna Mercury #4, regular cover by Paul Duffield:

Panel(s) of the Week

Aaron's pick, from I Kill Giants #5 by Joe Kelly and JM Ken Nimura:

Evie's pick, from Booster Gold #14 by Rick Remender and Pat Olliffe:

November 13, 2008

Ok but seriously

I'm not really a giant fan of Superman, for all the reasons that anyone who isn't a giant fan of Superman isn't a giant fan of Superman. He's a little too too, you know? I like me some baggage, and failure, and character flaws other than being too nice. But I still appreciate the scope of his importance, and read his various titles, because no self-respecting girl who follows the DCU and was a toddler in the late 1970s* would do otherwise. In general I don't get overly invested in the Superman stories beyond their importance to the big picture. Which is why this New Krypton thing is, how shall I say it, a triple helping of whack.

100,000 Kryptonians. With the power of Superman. And naturally without his values and loyalty to humans. Let's put it this way: if Geoff Johns and James Robinson manage to think up an escape from this situation that is not totally devastating or totally preposterous, I will be stunned. Either the world ends, or they all die in a General Lane Kryptonite attack, or Superman improbably convinces them all to behave forever, or somebody finds them an empty but perfectly inhabitable planet orbiting a yellow sun that they can all go be powerful and autonomous on. Ok, that one is probably the most plausible. But that seems a little anti-climactic.

I think, though, that what's really sitting weird about this storyline isn't the crap sandwichness of the situation vis a vis homeland security. It's that it just so wholeheartedly unravels the mythology of Superman. He's the last son of Krypton, forced to cope with this responsibility on Earth. That's, like, his thing. Sure there's been the joy and drama of introducing isolated characters like Supergirl and Phantom Zone folk and alternate-universe Kryptonians, but not a whole damn city's-worth of them--I know the bottle Kandor thing has been around for a while, and I'll admit to never quite getting my head around it--but this is just nuts.

Now I realize that people who have been reading comics for decades might look at this and go "girl, this is nuthin, we've seen crazy irretrievable shit and this ain't it." Ok fine. But you understand my concern. I guess maybe this is where reboots come in handy. Perhaps Johns phoned up DiDio sometime last year and said "Dan, I'd like to use my Crisis Line please," and Grant Morrison will render this all moot. Cuz otherwise, I don't see this ending without a whole lot of martial law and broke shit and PTSD.**

*Like Aaron with Julie Newmar, I attribute my first recognition of the opposite sex and vague understanding of its significance to Christopher Reeve. I assume this also works for gay males of my approximate age.

**I know it's comics, everything will be fine.

November 10, 2008

I like the hat

(via, thanks to my friend Dave who works, appropriately, for the Justice Department)

November 9, 2008

ABC Podcast, Episodes #22 and #22a (Zombie Variant), plus visual aids

This episode of Awesomed By Comics is brought to you by a Brand New Day--starring Barack Obama and decidedly not Mephisto-orchestrated--as well as some crap that Aaron made up about poor Oscar Hammerstein. A strong week for mini-series and one-shots holds up even under the yoke of a zillion Wolverines, and pretty art is everywhere. Fin Fang Foom and headless hookers excel.

Also be sure to download the bonus Zombie Variant episode.

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Cover(s) of the Week

Aaron's Pick:

Evie's Pick: from Punisher War Journal Annual #1, cover by Dave Wilkins

Panel(s) of the Week

Evie's Pick: from Secret Six #3 by Gail Simone and Nicola Scott

Aaron's Pick (activated by automatic Fin Fang Foom Rule): from Ms. Marvel Storyteller #1 by Brian Reed and Giuseppe Camuncoli

Evie and Aaron's Runner-Up: From Terra #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray and Amanda Conner

November 5, 2008

Yes we very probably can

Holy heck you guys. I'm exhausted and drunk on happies and hope while also majorly buzzkilled by my crap home state, which at the moment can break off and die in an earthquake for all I freaking care. Except for my family and many good friends, of course.

Anyway, I suppose maybe comic books come out today? I'll have to check on that.

Also, I noticed Andy Diggle twitter that he changed an upcoming script of Thunderbolts from saying "the president" to "President Obama," which made him happy, but which makes me go "dude, you're going to put President Obama in Norman Osborn's path of sociopathy? You dick."

November 4, 2008

Ok, one tiny comics thing

This is some kind of "Election Fools Day" thing right? That's not change we can believe in.

Your comics-related posts are on hiatus until I stop freaking the frak out, hopefully by Thursdayish

On Monday, November 1, 2004, I lived in Cambridge, Mass. and wrote this stirring pep talk and loving ode to my adopted home state about how it was places like Massachusetts that made the world okay, and we were going to get out there and send our senator to the White House gosh darnit, and oh the gay marriage thing made me so happy, and yay America. Well, we all know what happened the next day, and all I could bring myself to do at that point was post photos of Courtney and myself as Jem and Jerrica because what the fuck was the point of anything anymore, it was all so truly outrageous.

Of course, less than a month earlier, I had also written this open letter to the Boston Red Sox, saying that I loved them and everything but please don't break the curse and win the World Series because after the Super Bowl and everything there's just no way Massachusetts was going to sweep all important 2004 contests, so basically they would be dooming John Kerry to defeat.

So, in 2008: a) The Red Sox did not win the World Series; b) much more importantly, the Cubs did not break their endless curse and win the World Series, thereby dooming their Senator's White House chances; c) I did not write a warm, fuzzy hope-filled screed about how genuinely patriotic and optimistic and misty-eyed I'm feeling, even though I totally am. Come to your own conclusions, see you on the other side.

November 2, 2008

ABC Podcast, Episode #21 and visual aids

This episode of Awesomed By Comics is brought to you by OH MY GOD NOVEMBER 4TH CANNOT GET HERE FAST ENOUGH LET'S DO THIS THING ALREADY. Warren Ellis can't avoid winning several ABC awards after writing 694 books this week, and Incredible Hercules remains Marvel's strongest title, and not just because of all the sexy. Raise your hand if you secretly want the Brown Bomber to get an ongoing.

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Cover(s) of the Week

Aaron's Pick: Amazing Spider-Man #575, cover by Chris Bachalo

Evie's Pick: Incredible Hercules #122, variant cover by Henry and/or Guru?

Panel(s) of the Week

Evie's Picks: From Justice League of America #26 by Dwayne McDuffie and Ed Benes

and from Incredible Hercules #122 by Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente and Clayton Henry & Salva Espin

Aaron's Pick: From Avengers: The Initiative #18 by Dan Slott, Christos Gage and Steve Kurth (note: award given solely by virtue of the Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends Super Skrull)