Dying has its perks

Occasionally, a thought will pop up in this head of mine, and in this case, it was when I was reading Eternals (review here!)

There's a scene where Sprite monologues to his fellow Eternal Makkari about their immortality. Makkari's been in love with Sersi for forever. Makkari doesn't even remember this, but Sprite decides to fill him in -- oh hell, here's the passage:
"Oh, Makkari. I loved listening to you telling your story. The hardest bit was keeping a straight face. I mean, just the idea of you being all Ooh I love you over Sersi.
"You two broke up about half a million years ago because she was cheating on you. Then you broke up about twenty-five thousand years ago because you were cheating on her.
"You broke up about sixteen hundred years ago because you were bored with each other."
This made me feel how lucky we are that we get to die. I know, it's a funny sentence, but there's a truth to it.

We have a time limit to our lives, and we need to make as much of that time as we can. When that time comes, we have to face it, and whether we do so happily or not is what matters. The Eternals aren't so lucky, so time never really means anything to them. They can break up and get back together and waste all that time in their lives, and it won't ever matter to them.

Well, unless you're Sprite. It must suck to be Forever Young.

nnnno. . . Nooo! NOOO!

ANNOUNCEMENT: I'm postponing new comics for next week, because this week is so scrawny for me. Sorry, guys.

I know, Sentry. It's a real bummer to me too. Sometimes it's just easier to take singles and review them, but I think it's about time that we looked at trade paperbacks again, and I just couldn't pass up this opportunity. . .

. . . because my library had Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr.'s

The hardcover collects the oversized issues 1 through 7 of Gaiman's Eternals, and there are some extra sketches and interviews as well.

First off, before this book, I had no clue who the Eternals were. Sure, I knew they were created by the god-like "Celestials," but only because they had a cameo in some Fantastic Four story, and a meaningless one at that.

The seven-issue mini was written to basically take the Eternals to a point where they could be written. A timid premise, but if Gaiman's at the helm, then you can generally trust on a strong execution.

The mini's first half is basically a mystery, in that the Eternals have to remember that they're Eternals. This is the interesting part, because Mark Curry, a pre-med, has to learn that he's actually the Eternal speedster, Makkari. See, "Mark Curry" is such a delicious alias isn't it? Icarus is also aliased as Ike Harris!

Sersi (Eternal name: Sersi. I know. Ingenious.) is a party planner, but she eventually discovers : Thena (Eternal name: Thena. Creative, huh?) is one of Tony Stark's tech designers, as well a mother to one kid boy, but that all changes when she learns of her Eternal origins.

Okay, not really. The sad part is that while the kid will age, she won't.

The reason that these Eternals can't remember their selves is because of one other Eternal: Sprite, who's an 11-year-old kid. Since Eternals are immortal, well, Sprite has been eleven for forever. With his power of illusion, he'd gathered enough energy (method too convoluted. ask later.) to not only reshape everyone's perception; he also reshaped their reality. Makkari is Mark Curry, aspiring M.D. Sersi is, uh, Sersi, party planner, and Thena is Thena, mother extraordinaire.

Sprite also made himself mortal, so that he could age and finally become an adult. That's an important idea to him, experiencing what other adults can.

Eventually, once all the intros and backstory are out of the way, we learn of the Deviants' plan.
Some background about the Deviants: when the Celestials created the Eternals, they also created some genetic mutants: the Deviants. Their mutation has gotten so prolific that not one Deviant is the same species as the other. That is so cool.

Anyways, they plan to awaken the Dreaming Celestial in San Francisco, so action is GO!

I won't spoil anymore, but that is a hell of a lot of summary, so you should remember that this miniseries was made just to remind people of who the Eternals are. It does that, and it does it compellingly enough!

On the art side, well, it's John Romita Jr. After all the Spidey posts with his art, I really think that's all I need to say!

The extras include Johnny's sketches, next to Kirby's original designs. They are awesome. There are also some interviews, which detail specifically Gaiman's set of mind for the mini and affection for Kirby's works.

In short, the trade accomplishes what it was meant to accomplish (with gorgeous art!) but I would definitely not pay a big thirty bucks for it.

I will, however, put Knauf and Acuna's Eternals on my radar. They're currently following up on Gaiman right now!

A coupla' fun panels

too lethargic today to make a real post. Blegh. Blame the weather. Blegh.

So Hal Jordan's niece is having a birthday party, and the Justice League is invited.

Wouldn't the world be a better place if everyone's uncle was Hal Jordan?If it walks like Green Arrow and talks like Green Arrow, then it's Batman.

Explanation here:

I'd tell you the source, but I only scrounged up these scans from the internet, so I can't tell you. Maybe someone could help me out here?

"thoughts" on SDCC (for real this time)

Best quote from SDCC:
"The only time I've ever seen Brian Michael Bendis speechless is at Wizard World Chicago when a 7-year old in a perfect Hawkeye costume walked up to Bendis and said, 'Why do you hate me'"
-Peter David

Second best quote from SDCC:
"Thank you for being so hot."
-an awkward fan to Marjorie Liu, novelist and upcoming writer of "NYX: No Way Home"

Sorry about the craziness of last post, but then again. . .


So without further ado, let's just try to do what I tried to do last post!
  • Willya lookit that. Looks like the super-books are gonna get a big storyline in New Krypton, with -- holy moley! 100,000 kryptonians populating Earth??? Crossovers are too rich for my blood, but that sounds very enticing. I'm already reading 2/3 of the super-books after all (Supergirl and Action Comics).
  • Hey, that's pretty. . . interesting. JMS plans on using vintage Archie superheroes for his Brave and the Boldrun. I guess that gives me something to expect, because the title is one I generally read on and off, and with Stracynski on it, that's definitely an "on."
  • How disappointing. It looks like Loeb gets a lot of the spotlight in the "Ultimate Marvel panel," and I think we all know what's happened to his writing ever si--

Professor Xavier fighting a dinosaur -- with bone claws! Hardcore, man.
  • The cover for Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #2 is really sweet too. Although Mark Brooks annoys me (the cheekbones! Everyone has the same cheekbones!), it makes me happy to see Peter and MJ together. In any continuity.
USM annual #2

  • Kevin Smith, no. I mean, I appreciate that you're bringing back the enigmatic Onomatopoeia to the DCU, but could you pleasedo it in the Green Arrow book? Judd Winick doesn't write a Green Arrow/Black Canary/Mia Dearden nearly as well as you did.
  • So here's the interview with the up-and-coming writer for Green Arrow/Black Canary, who also is the writer for Helen Killer. You might recognize the title as taking a deafblind historical figure and turning her into a super-ninja bodyguard. Cross your fingers with me, guys; let's hope he treats the Green and Black well!
That's what SDCC had for me! Anything from the con that has you excited?

"thoughts" on SDCC

San Diego Comic-Con is still going on right?

If so, then I suppose we should take some time to talk about it, because it's a fairly big time in comi--


Let's learn to draw Lego Batman!

Here's my attempt:

Heh. Do you notice the little "GameStop" on the bottom there? This is from an activity book from the video game store, which I got when I went to lose all my free time. I guess this goes to show that video games are hitting children just as much, if not more than comic books these days. . .

I did do this part of the activity book, but no, I didn't do the Pokemon puzzles!

(I helped my baby cousin with them)

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves. . .

Boy Blue takes up the spotlight to continue our Fables saga, and unfortunately, no, he doesn't get into a crazy saxophone solo in the next volume of Fables.

Instead, he travels to the Homelands by himself to strike at the Adversary's heart and kill lots of Goblin butt.

Do you see the two things he's holding right there?

The blue cloak is enchanted, and it's called the Witching Cloak. It's pretty much impenetrable, and it lets Boy Blue turn into any animal he desires!

(Yes, he does turn into a bluebird for one page.)

And I think you can guess what sword he's holding: it's the Vorpal Blade from the poem "Jabberwocky!"

I may be speaking for myself, but that's the coolest literary reference I've ever read.

Scan taken from Fables vol. 6: Homelands. Not only is there a straight-up classically-written adventure story, there's also a hollywood fame story and a one-shot of one fable's return to Fabletown.


Now that's what I call the sixties! (Ambush Bug edition)

Can you believe how awesome this week was?

Not only does Chris Giarrusso at last get his own trade digest in Mini Marvels: Rock, Paper, Scissors, Howard the Duck finally gets his own omnibus hardcover! Suffice it to say, my life is incomplete without that hardcover.

In the middle of all this, can you believe there's even more comics gold? I'm referring, of course, to

Ambush Bug: Year None #1
by Giffen, Fleming and Milgrom

Ambush Bug and Ace the Bathound

This may be my first time reading the Bug, but I will tell you that it is a wonderful read.

Ambush Bug travels through the DC Universe in a series of gags, and his excuse this time is a murder mystery. Specifically, he has to solve the murder of Jonni DC.

You might recognize the name as a spoof on DC's old-school mascot Johnny DC. In fact, he still talks to the reader if you pick up any kids' DC comics like the about-to-be-defunct The Batman, or The Legion of Super-heroes in the 31st Century, both of which are based on the Kids!WB cartoons.

The entire comic is set up like this, with lots more nods to the DC Universe. There's even a Women in Refrigerators gag, an Egg Fu cameo, and a hilarious new villain based on comics during the sixties. Remember those Go-Go Checks?

(click to enlarge, you hep cat. It's been a while since I've used these happenin' kinds of images!)

Well, I don't, because it wasn't my era, but that doesn't stop it from being any funnier! You only need to be passingly familiar with the DCU and comics in general to love this comic! Some original and genius material include Ambush bug's arch-nemesis Argh!Yle! and Ambush Bug's son, Cheeks the Toy Wonder.

(again: enlarge to clic-- you know what I mean)

As you can tell, this issue was awesome, and if you're not getting issue one, then you better be waiting for the trade!

My only complaint critical-wise is that the story is only loosely connected to the premise. Ambush Bug takes a hell of a lot of tangents before he closes up the case of Jonni DC's death, but those tangents are hilarious in every panel. It also appears that the six-issue mini will probably have six standalone stories instead of one interconnecting one, but with Argh!Yle!, who can really tell?

Newsarama even gave a feature to the Bug. The article is titled, "An Interview with Ambush Bug. Lord Help Us." It's a fun read, and definitely worth your while! You should go check it out.

And a little extra for you: Giffen even takes the time to make references to Chicago jazz!

I had to look up the references myself, which goes to show you the wealth of Chicago pride I have, but that doesn't stop the creative team from telling the hell out of this issue. You can probably tell if I'm psyched up for the next one!

X-City by the Bay: Uncanny X-Men #500

Talk about buyers' remorse!

I got way too many comics today. It makes me feel bloated just to think about it. Ugh. This week is gonna set me back so much that I'm gonna have to mortgage some of my organs. In fact, I should probably just abstain from comics for the next week or two!

Or maybe even the month!

oh really

Okay, fine, Mr. Banner! You got me.

I got two this week.

Uncanny X-Men #500

by Brubaker, Fraction, Dodson and Land

Stupid variant covers! Terry Dodson's was gorgeous, and it even had Jean in it, but my shop was selling it for a whopping thirty dollars! Ten times a regular comic book!

(deep breath)
You might notice that this is pretty much the first time ever that I talk about X-Men on the blog.

I admit it. I bought into the hype for the X-Men's 500th issue, but I have an excuse.

Early in the year, I got a marvel subscription to X-Men: First Class, but the title's lately been floundering, so I thought it'd be fair enough to change the sub from First Class to Uncanny. The sub actually starts at issue 501, but it would just make sense to start at issue 500, since it's been awhile since I've actually read the X-Men.

Here's my history with X-Men: Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men #'s 1-12, a lot of Chris Claremont's early works in Uncanny, some miscellaneous miniseries from the library, and, of course, every issue of First Class thus published. In short, since First Class isn't even in continuity, I'm relatively a new-ish reader.


The characters are as I remembered them, and no one's really taken a left-turn character-wise. I like how Beast tries to make their headquarters as green-friendly as possible, and there's even a fastball special (!), but there's one thing that I didn't get. No it's not Cyclops saying "Suck it!" although that too is confusing. Instead, it has to do with Magneto, who apparently lost his powers at some point.

Anyways, this issue is mostly set-up, but, since it's a 500th issue, there's a little something special. The San Francisco MoMA holds an exhibit on "Mutant kitsch," and San Franciscans end up cosplaying X-Men of the past and present to much hilarity.

See, in that panel, Magneto is awakening the defunct sentinels to attack the X-Men. The hilarious part is that all of the civilians think this is part of the exhibit, which explains the over-dramatized expressions on their faces. For once, Greg Land actually draws with storytelling in mind.


I know, I'm confused too, but that's the exception to the rule, because he can't seem to draw Emma consistently and some of his panels are over-the-top and don't fit the dialogue. There's also the tracing; how could we forget the tracing?

Although Land takes up an atrocious majority of the issue (25 pages???), Terry Dodson gets some action too (13 pages), and quite frankly, it should have been more. I mean, Emma is just great here:

All in all, an issue that's mainly for set-up, but doesn't seem to commit any crimes. I know that people call some instances out-of-character and all, but I guess I'm fortunate to not have read any current X-books?

Seeing as how Fraction and Brubakers both are on the book, I trust the next issue to follow up well.

Holy crap, I drew out this post for way too long. Since I'm abominably lazy my head hurts, we'll talk about the other comic I got tomorrow.

Although I felt only lukewarm about this title, you can bet on better feelings for the other title!

Marvel: your post-apocalyptic future

(NOTE: wearing black is a given, so let's just skip that and go right ahead to the good stuff, hm?)

ONE: Wear spikes on your person to look more bad-ass and post-apocalyptic!

dormamu's iron man

TWO: If you're Wolverine, you need to serrate your blades.

dormammu's wolverine

THREE: Additional limbs always help, you know.

dormammu's spidey

And if all else fails, you can just set your head on fire.


Scans taken from Keith Giffen, J.M. Dematteis and Kevin Maguire's Defenders. It was a five-issue mini, in which Dormammu teams up with his sister to take over the universe and absorb all eternityyyyyyy.

Have you seen. . .

. . . DC's new company website?

The only thing new about it is the format though; it doesn't appear that they've added anything at all. The minisites are relatively new, but that's probably a month or two ago.

One general thing about the website: there's a lot more in the site than there appears. They should really work on making everything available or visible on the homepage.

For example, by looking at the homepage, you could never tell that they have a super-database of origin stories for everyone!

. . . The Dark Knight?

I haven't seen it yet, and I don't think I plan to. I mean, I know it's awesome, but the theatre's just all the way over there, and I'm too lazy to get anyone to go with me.

. . . the cover for Nova #18?

nova 18

It's so bad. What happened to Alex Maleev? Did he get a stomach flu or something?

The question still stands! If you did see these and wanna comment on anything, feel free to!

I'm beginning to sense a theme here. . .

Sometimes, people will come up to me, bright eyes, and open arms, and they ask me,
"Kevin, where the heck does Hal Jordan get hit the most?"
And how can I deny you, imaginary people? Here's your answer:

His head.

Can you tell what that is? That's a shotgun. Hal gets hit in the head with a shotgun.

Why doesn't Hal just wear a helmet when he goes superhero-ing?

He could disguise it as a lantern or something.

Hal's head can't have very good luck when even the floor hits it.

Can you believe I got this all from the same trade? Green Lantern/Green Arrow volume 2, by Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams.

Good stuff. It also has the classic "My ward is a junkie?!?!?!" issue.

Achtung!: Fables volume 5

We're gonna take a break from the week's comics with -you guessed it- some more love for Fables.

One of the more interesting aspects is that the Fables have a mortality determined by their popularity. Snow White, for example, since she's so popular among our culture, managed to survive a sniper's bullet to the skull!

Jack of the tales also became a Hollywood producer at one point, and produced a Jack trilogy, which made him incredibly famous, so that he wouldn't die.

This enhanced mortality also means that the Fables have been living for a pretty damn long time, and for us readers, it means that there's a wealth of stories to see about our favorite characters.

Like, for example, Bigby Wolf fighting Nazi Frankenstein:

Mein Gott!

Don't worry; Bigby totally wins.


Raaaarrrgghh! Scans courtesy of Fables vol. 5: The Mean Seasons. These scans are from only a peripheral storyarc, and the trade is really about the election for a new mayor and a major life change for Snow White.

Hint: they're fuzzy; they're cute, and they fly!

Cover to Cover: "He's pointing at Arcturus! Go way back!"

Ah, do you smell that?

It smells like. . . new comics.

Don't get too much of a whiff now, though. You're gonna need your effort to go through some of these with me today, not the least of which is. . .

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #26

by Jeff Parker and Ig Guara

Jeff Parker's second issue in his four-issue return to MA:TA is here!

And yes, the cover art is true: The Avengers play in a game of baseball against Galactus and the Silver Surfer.

Speaking of whom, it appears that the cosmic two are getting a lot of page time. They just wrapped up a three-issue arc in Nova, after all!

But baseball isn't all that happens here. In the regular Marvel Universe, the ultimate nullifier was the only weapon that could instill fear in Galactus, but its function was never really stated. Parker here makes a healthy retcon, and says that the ultimate nullifier nullifies quantum reality and reshapes it according to its user's wishes, which leads to all sorts of craziness besides baseball!

A great issue that's kid-friendly and done-in-one. It's really a shame that most people take kid's comics for granted.

Birds of Prey #120
by Tony Bedard and Nico--Michael O'Hare????

Solicits, you're breaking my heart.

This is the third time that you've lied to me. Over here, you say that Nicola Scott would continue as artist, but that's not the case when I picked up Birds today. I'd bring up the other two instances, but it would just be too painful now. I mean, I knew that Nicola would be leaving sometime to join Gail for a Secret Six ongoing, but I didn't know it'd be this soon!

. . . Do you hear that? Of course you do. That's the sound of my tears hitting the keyboard.

Anyways, new artist Michael O'Hare doesn't do a half-bad job, but he certainly doesn't stand up to Nicola Scott yet. The feet on everyone just looks wrong, and the eyes occasionally look too big. The faces on Oracle and Manhunter and Infinity are consistent, but Black Canary just looks too scrawny, and it makes her look too young, which makes no sense at all.

Away from the art, there's also, um, the story, which left me a little cold. Oracle and Canary meet up again, but the reunion is kind of cold, and the two continue to be secretive around each other, which is bad =(.

There's also a scene where the Joker gets angry at people for stealing his Joker gas when he was on the Hell Planet (as per the miniseries Salvation Run), but that wasn't too strong.

Mostly build-up this issue, so hopefully next ish is better.

Cover to Cover EXTRA: Hack/Slash not so sharp?

Remember how when there was that Spider-Man glut that led to all kinds of Spidey spin-offs?

Like Web of Spider-Man" or "Untold Tales of Spider-Man" or "Miss Muffet's Burly Adventures featuring the Amazing Spider-Man?"

Well, consider this post like one of those, because there's a comic I got last week that I still wanna cover with you guys, but didn't feel like going over.

But no, unfortunately it doesn't contain Miss Muffet's Burly Adventures. It's instead about the thirteenth issue of Hack/Slash, finishing up the crossover with the "Bump" franchise.

Honestly, the jokes were flat, and the main character's attitude felt plastic.

I don't know. I hate ragging on a book I've been with since its first issue, but it just doesn't feel right giving up $3.50 for an issue anymore. The book doesn't feel. . . like it used to feel. I don't know. Maybe I'm just crazy.

Nova 5

Yeah, I get the feeling too, Ko-Rel of the Nova Corps!

Join the Universal Church of Truth today!

Hey guys, it's Kevin here!

I just wanted to chime in on the blog and tell you about this super-cool new cult religion I found the other day!

It's called the Universal Church of Truth, and the only thing you have to do is swear your eternal fealty to the Matriarch today! Don't delay, and you'll get all these hosts of powers today!

For example, faithful believers can, with just two simple words, enchant shackles with which to maim and suffocate any heathens!

Guardians of the Galaxy #3

YES, Drax the Destroyer!

Through the magical power of faith, you can also create shields to block the bullets of said heathens who are sure to shoot you most unrighteously!

Guardians of the Galaxy #3

No sir,
nothing will hurt you so long as you have faith!

Guardians of the Galaxy #3

Well, except for maybe a dreadful biomass constructed from the subatomic fissures within fifty-two hundred separate life forms.

Ouch. Scans taken from Guardians of the Galaxy #3, by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Paul Pelletier.

Become a believer today!

Cover to Cover: Won't anyone think of the animals?

The next batch of this week was real easy to remember. It's the Action Comics and Detective Comics.
legacy comics,

Before I talk about those, though, I wanna mention some preliminary stuff.

-DC's still running that "The Real Power of the DC Universe" in the house ads! They cut off Vixen, Batwoman, and Harley and Ivy though.
-Green Arrow/Black Canary came out again this week. It's the tenth issue, which means there's only four more issues until I can get back to the title! Yay!

Action Comics #867
by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank

I don't normally read Action, but I picked up last issue, and it was just wonderful. Great character beats, intriguing villain and just good storytelling.

I can't really say the same for this issue though. Sure, there's a nice moment where Superman comforts Supergirl over the horrors of Kandor, as well as a strong father-son beat between Pa Kent and Clark, and even some good moments at the Daily Planet office, but I simply cannot forgive one thing. The last eight pages are nothing but decompressed fighting! Was this really necessary???

It's issues like these that make me feel like an idiot for getting singles, but we can't forget just how gorgeous the art is. Gary Frank wowed me during Squadron Supreme, and he's still wowing me now. The only complaint I have is that Supergirl's lips are so. . . so thick. It's kind of eerie.

Detective Comics #846
by Paul Dini and Dustin Nguyen

To answer all three of your questions. . . YES
YES: this is the beginning of a new arc featuring the return of Hush.
YES: this is branded as a "Batman R.I.P." tie-in, but only in name.
YES: it's still awesome.

I know some people out there are disappointed that this is nothing to do with Batman R.I.P., but this issue is really well-done. It's paced well; a new villain is introduced (to the best of my knowledge) whose gimmick is based on Aesop's fables; Bruce takes on a new persona next to "Matches Malone," and we get a reminder of who Hush is.

Batman and Catwoman even team up, and they flirt along the way!

I loved how Batman used the excuse of saving the animals that Dr. Aesop illegally smuggles to spend more time with Catwoman.

Because who wouldn't want to spend more time around her!

The art also continues to be pure joy. Even the children look gorgeous.

It's too bad about Dr. Aesop though.

If the next four parts are paced this well, I'm gonna really enjoy this "Heart of Hush." I also hope Catwoman starts appearing here more, since her own series will be gone, and Nguyen draws a fantastic Catwoman.
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