So what else is new?I only got once comic this week, but boy is it a doozy.
Dark Reign: The Goblin Legacy
The title might as well be Amazing Spider-Man #'s 39-40 and stuff, because the real meat of the comic is the reprints. The Green Goblin hatches a scheme to learn Spidey's identity, succeeds, kidnaps Peter Parker, explains how he became the Green Goblin, ultimately culminating in a totally epic fight that ends the reign of the Goblin (amnesia! You don't get more Spidey soap opera than that!)
Forever, huh, Spidey?
All the while, J. Jonah Jameson gets his jolly on, and Aunt May worries about her poor dear "frail" Peter. Classic Spider-Man!
It's all framed in a Dark Reign sequence, and although I love what it's done with Norman Osborn, I think it's lost much of its steam since its opening. Sure, I already have the two issues of Amazing in Essential format (black n' white), but I am a sucker for old-school Stan Lee Spidey, and colored John Romita Sr. stuff. It's a terrible addiction, but I think it's valid.
You pick up the comic, and you get lost in it! It's a world where the writer winks and nods at you. A world where superheroes kick their villains in the face, while spouting five long sentences in mid-air.
. . . and, well, a world where there are things like "anti-spider-man explosives"! I love it.
There are better ways to get your spidey nostalgia on than this, for sure. But it's not too bad, if I say so myself.
Adam Warren is credited as the first maker of the"Original English-language Manga" (OEL), and when I heard that his Empowered involved a superheroine spoofing some of the more ridiculous parts of super-comics, I was pretty interested.
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: "Empowered" is her name, and, well, getting tied up and gagged is her game. The character was born out of constant solicitations for Adam Warren to draw fetish pictures, and Adam Warren takes a twist to that for the better.
He makes fun of a lot of superhero conventions, creating a superhero soap opera/sitcom, where our protagonist, Empowered, is really self-conscious about her body, her place in the "Superhomeys" super-team, and her relationships.
WHAT I LIKED: It's pretty fun! There are several four- to 10-page short stories, each broken up by a "Empowered addresses the reader," style kinda thing. It's fun, and it's different, and if Adam Warren knows anything, it's those two!
There's even a segment where, as Empowered is tied up, her captors wonder if she's a famous person or not. It's pretty clever, and is kind of a retcon for why All Women in Superhero Comics Are Impossibly Proportioned.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: There's a "EXPLICIT CONTENT: PARENTAL ADVISORY" thing-y on the cover, and there's a reason for it! There are a heck of a lot of swear words and even some, um, explicit content. It really does walk the line between "satire" and "near-softcore-porn."
While I loved the wackiness of the stories, some of them are just way offbeat. This is not one of those Serious Comics That Takes Itself Seriously. Which is, well, kinda why I think it's awesome. It's just that other people might not.
EXTRAS?: There's actually a specific place at the end of the book that's labeled "EXTRAS," with some bonus pin-ups and sketches and stuff. It's pretty sweet!
FINAL THOUGHTS: It won't start a second Women's Liberation Era, but it might get you wondering, maybe even challenging, some things in comic books that you're used to.
Or, you can get it for the near softcore porn and cheesecake art. It's all good.
In case you haven't heard, there were other comics that came out this week besides Amazing Spider-Man #600! They include
Power Girl #3
by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Connor
See Power Girl.
See Power Girl save.
Save, Power Girl, save!
and that's the issue. For real. Don't get me wrong; I am all for superheroines saving the day, but I kinda want my superheroes to have, you know, depth! And if not that, if they're bland Superman archetypes, then I at least want the plot to be weird and goofy! The supporting cast has more personality than PeeGee!
That is so frustrating! This comic book doesn't really add anything new to the superherho story, and three issues is enough for me to spend on it. I apologize Power Girl, but you are dropped.
Gotham City Sirens #2
by Paul Dini and Guillem March
Last issue's cliffhanger had Ivy gassing Catwoman up, in order to coerce Batman's identity from her. The follow-up to that is fairly clever. I like how Ivy's hair is all floaty in the first three panels. "Gravity? We don't need no steenkin' gravity!"
I likw how Dini is tying Sirens to its brother title, SOG (Streets of Gotham), by having Harley run into "Bruce Wayne" here. Since Bruce is dead, Hush is actually impersonating him, and since Harley was a member who ruined Hush's reputation, this doesn't smell good for Harley! It's up to Selina and Pam to rescue her -- cue cliffhanger! Oh Harley! What wacky hijinx will you get yourself into next!
main story by Dan Slott and John Romita Jr., a TRUCKLOAD of back-ups from a TRUCKLOAD of people
I am going to be honest, but I think Doc Ock totally got shafted in the main story. The idea is that he's trying to create a better city, but it doesn't come off as "Hey guys, I'm gonna make NY better and stuff." It comes off as "Grrr I'm gonna take over NY, and you're gonna like it and stuff." It's a great idea, in theory, but it didn't work out so well later on. I just don't see the Doctor being this psychotic.
Aside from that, the story was great! John Romita Jr. got the chance to do what he does best -- draw Spider-Man, along with the entire Marvel Universe, and Spidey does all the fanservice-y things that I like, such as:
The actual story involves Amazing Spider-Man at its best: taking Peter Parker's life, and Spider-Man's life, and then forcing the two of them into a blender on "HIGH." The results are messy, and they make good comics. The Peter-Parker's-life part here revolves around Aunt May's wedding to J. Jonah Jameson, Sr. There's also a beautiful cliffhanger that couldn't get any more Spidey Soap Opera: Peter says, "No way!" and May says, "Anna Watson?! What have you done?" after someone catches her bouquet - - It's Mary Jane Watson! TO BE CONTINUED!
After that is a whopping 42 pages of new material! No ads at all either, except the two behind the front and back covers.
There's an absolutely brilliant and hilarious 12-pager from Stan Lee (The Man himself!) and Marcos Martin. Spidey talks to Dr. Gray Madder, a psychiatrist who looks just like Stan in my Essential Spider-Man's! It summarizes the madness of Spidey's past 47 years, and it is so fun!
There's a heartwarming five-pager from Mark Waid and Colleen Doran. It's about Ben trying to be a good father, and Peter trying to be a good son, and both of them screwing it up. . . it got me bawling, to be frank.
There were other stories too. Guggenheim did a piece that rampantly objected to the continuity placed by Slott in the main feature: c'mon guys! If you're both in Spidey's braintrust, you really oughta know what the other's writing.
Kelly does a short piece that warns of Stories to Come.
All in all, this was a great, fun comic book that left me feeling warm inside, and reminded me why I love ol' Webhead. I'm glad I got it!
Hot on the heels of volume 6, here is its direct sequel
Teen Titans vol. 7: Titans East
by Geoff "Isn't he writing Blackest Night?" Johns, Tony "Oh yeah, he did Battle for the Cowl" Daniel, and fill-in artists
WHAT IT'S ABOUT: So, like the Avengers, the Teen Titans of San Francisco have finally decided to branch out! . . . Oh wait, no, that's incorrect. Slade Wilson AKA Deathstroke AKA The Terminator starts his own brand of Teen Titans in Manhattan, in order to get back at the Teen Titans.
Bad story ideas ensue.
WHAT I LIKED: If there's anything Geoff Johns does well, it's continuity bookkeeping. He rewrote Hal Jordan's history with an eye for bringing him back to life; he rewrote his fair share of Superman tidbits in Action Comics, and he does a little fleshing out of Kid Devil's history here in volume 7. It's good comics that really makes a character deeper.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE:
That is supposed to be the face of a man who is getting his arm ripped off. Hmmm how painful can it be!
The art isn't too bad, though. It's just that it's inconsistent. Tony Daniel seems like he can't do more than 3 issues in a row before getting winded. Kinda like me and jogging, except Tony's actually getting paid.
But seriously, Batgirl does Deathstroke the Terminator's dirty work, because he injects her with shots that are never explained. They only say that these are the same injections that he used on his own daughter, Ravager.
That is a ridiculous, uninspired idea, and I expected better from you Geoff Johns. Also boring is Deathstroke the Terminator's motivation throughout the story. Horrible.
EXTRAS?: Cover gallery at the end. This isn't a monumental trade, so it doesn't get anything else. I am a little disappointed that the price point is now $14.99. Teen Titans managed to hold out for so long at $9.99, using pulp-y material for the sheets. Now they're using the modern material.
They are really pushing Blackest Night aren't they? One of the cashiers tried to get me to get it, "if I was looking for a dark comic;" the entire staff was wearing GL t-shirts, and my local shop even scored a visit from the inker of the first issue. All the geeks were talking to him too, albeit from a socially safe and non-threatening distance.
It was hilarious. Superman/Batman #62
by Michael Green, Mike Johnson and Rafael Albuquerque
He brings it again this time, with a look back at The First Team-Up Ever between modern Robin (Tim Drake) and modern Supergirl (Kara Zor-El).Apparently, their first team-up was to stop an outbreak at Arkham, and they encounter all sorts of people, from Two-Face to Ivy and Killer Croc, etc. The best person they encounter though, is Mr. Zsasz. This is the Bat-villain who, whenever he murders someone, marks a tally by cutting himself. His body is riddled with tally marks, and he is one of the more twisted Bat-villains! His gimmick doesn't involve clowns, it doesn't involve plants or a penguin fetish -- he freakin' cuts himself.
That is insane.
It was really scary to see Robin and Supergirl (still new to Earth) encounter all the horror in Arkham, and even in themselves, but it's separated very nicely. It's a story that they're telling to each other as they're having lunch.
There's a "sneak preview" at the end, for Keith Giffen's upcoming Doom Patrol comic, which is a 3.99 comic that I actually plan on getting. The six pages were really hard to understand, because they dump all this info on you while the Doom Patrol is getting their Patrol on in some island, and it's really hard to keep up. Meh.
Mr. Rafael draws a MEAN Killer Croc! What a great comic. Amazing artist.
Oh my! Is this the second week I'm not getting any weeklies? Geez. Oh well. At least this came in the mail today. Thunderbolts #133 by Andy Diggle and Miguel Sepulveda
This issue had a totally rockin' cover, with Songbird rockin' her way and lunging at a two-gun-wielding Black Widow!
The inside didn't live up to the outside though. I guess it was bound to come, but this is one of those downtime issues, where the T-bolts don't have any missions to do at the moment. It's more like a build-up, explaining some character motivations, setting up some new mysteries (who's that guy in the mask?), and giving us a pretty furious cliffhanger (Nick Fury!).
All in all, when you get down to it, you can't have every issue be an extended fisticuff-explosion, so I'm really glad that Diggle uses this time instead to build up the tension between the T-Bolts. The great thing about these guys is that none of them like each other! And they're all jerks!
Next issue, I hope to see Songbird apply some of the lessons she learned as a hobo. She is probably the last vestige of the T-Bolts. . . when they were actually redeemable!
I am mighty tempted to get Marvel Divas this week for a number of reasons, not the least of which is this gem of a panel:
YES! I couldn't say it better myself, stinky-unshaven-man-with-a-couple-flies-buzzing-around-him! I am totally all for taking classic lines from the 60s and ruining them, but I am NOT all for Marvel's current marketing ploy, which is a lot like "We've jacked up all our miniseries-es by one extra dollar without adding a single thing extra. . . let's see if the fanboys will notice!" So I will trade-wait the four-issue mini, if it turns out well.
For today, we are doing a couple Fantastic Four stories.
Generally, I really dig the Fantastic Four's concept: a family of imaginauts going on all kinds of wacky adventures. Particularly, though, it doesn't always work out, so I mostly limit myself to just getting Fantastic Four one-shots, and y'know what? It's worked well for me. Case in point, Tom Beland's foray into the F4, sending them to Puerto Rico for both business and pleasure.Beland makes use of the Four's powers in a new environment - I love it when they do that, emphasizes the four as a family together, and no one could draw this better than Juan Doe! His inks are smooth and sleek to look at, and he uses such simple lines to express the most complicated emotion. It's so unique!
I love it.
They also worked together on a sequel, focusing on Johnny Storm and ol' Webhead himself travelling to Puerto Rico, specifically the island of Vieques.
It sucked. Juan Doe can't draw Spidey, it featured waaaay too much preachy infodump and waaaay too little wacky adventure concepts. What a disappointment.