Saturday, August 30, 2008

Back in Black! -Andrenn Update-

Did ya miss me?

Sorry about there being no Collection Spotlight this week, I got a call to go up to the Coast with some friends to celebrate the end of Summer, and I just couldn't resist. But now that I'm back, I'm way too out of it to do anything but type up 5 sentences and down a bottle of vicoden.

I won't get into the frustrating details, but very long story short, I ended up in a car for 8 hours with little to nearly nothing to eat all day. The only way I could be more tired is if I hadn't gotten a nap on the drive home in the back of the car.

So I've decided to cancel Collection Spotlight for this week, I was going to Spotlight Thunderbolts: Faith in Monsters, but that will have to wait for 2 weeks, as this Friday is the beginning to the 5 (maybe 6) part epic where I bi-weekly Spotlight the Spawn Collection books.

Yes, you read that right, a Bi-Weekly review of the Spawn Collection volumes, from volumes 1 to 5 (6 too if they can get it out on time and I remember to buy it sooner.) I figured I'd make it bi-weekly, so that it isn't just solid Spawn the entire time, which would probably get old fast, if it's bi-weekly then it's a little more tolerable.

I've got a few article ideas I'm cooking up, some of them weirder then others, expect them to start showing up soon.

I keep meaning to make a Comic Report Card on the Get Mystique arc of Wolverine, so expect that sometime soon hopefully.

Next Cover Talk will cover the Alex Ross Batman RIP covers, the variants too if I can find images of them. Also the Dustin Nguyen Heart of Hush covers. So look forward to that in a few days.

I should get paid tomorrow *celebrate! I blew all my extra cash on the Hotel and food!* so expect me to have a weekly review up come Wednesday, but I have....if I'm correct, at least 21 dollars in comics to get next week, thats a lot, so I may take a page from Kirk Warren and divide the reviews into 2 days to save myself some time.

This week is going to be pretty busy for me...actually, this month along with October will both be fairly busy for me. So things may be cut down to just Collection Spotlight and Cover Talk after a while, my random articles probably won't show up as much. To try and keep that going though, I'll do Andrenn Updates every once in a while, so that I can cover a lot of stuff in one post, save us all some time.

Random thing I wanted to mention, Tyler J, one of the editors at TMP has confirmed Spawn volume 6 to come out in September. My birthday is in October so I'll probably buy it then. Also, Book of the Dead has been pushed back to December. I also got my questions answered regarding price and availability, only 3,500 copies of the regular one, 3,000 copies of the ones with the Raven Spawn figures. From the sounds of it, I can only get these at comic shops, so I'm going to see if I can preorder the Raven Spawn figure one, wish me luck!

The wait for Amazing Spider-man #570 is I'd joked about...Andrenn wants his fix of Anti-Venom goodness.

I'm still a little pissed at the Venture Bros. Season finale, anyone else catch it? Was fairly poor, horrible cliff-hanger, definitely weak for this series' high standards.

All right, I'm starting to ramble here. So you have the gist, I'm sick, no Collection Spotlight this week, Cover Talk on Tuesday, reviews on Wednesday, maybe even Thursday, Spawn Collection epic reviews on Friday, going to be pretty busy in the coming few months.

See you all on Tuesday


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Ways to Die part 2 Review

I said that at times the reviews would be short, or no reviews at all, and that stays true to this weeks reviews, only ONE comic! Now don’t think I dropped Skaar and Wolverine, their tucked safely away in my pullbox, waiting for me to pick them up either next week or the week after that, along with them is New Ways to Die, part 1.

I decided to pick up part 2 to stay current with my favorite Web Head in tights, and to see what’s going on with a certain Mr. Brock. But enough talk, let’s pull out our guns, put on our best gunslinger hat, and get to the reviews!

The Amazing Spider-man #569

Written: Dan Slott

Art: John Romita Jr.

Opening comments: It’s been a long time, Spider-man. Remember our last dance? Oh how we danced, until you turned bitter and pushed me away. But I’ve come back to you; I’m willing to give you one last chance to make this relationship work. Luckily, it seems you’re not afraid to set the New Ways to Die arc on fire with part 2.

Story comments: the issue picks up right where part 2 left off, Peter in his apartment, being confronted by his good buddy Norman Osborn and this Thunderbolts. If you’re hoping for a big epic confrontation there on the spot, look elsewhere, the twist everyone figured would happen is the consequence here. Norman is simply here to ask Peter if he knows where Spider-man is, it’s a boring opening since we know nothing interesting is really going to happen.

Just as this cute scene cuts away, we get to check up on everyone’s favorite brain-eating anti-hero, Eddie Brock. As I’m sure you know by now, his cancer has been cured, by Mr. Li AKA Mr. Negative. We get a really great moment between these characters, Eddie so grateful for losing the cancer, as well as the bits of the symbiote, and Mr. Li divulges a little bit of a wink to the audience.

The hint that Mr. Li and Mr. Negative isn’t the same person is the fist interesting aspect to a BND villain yet. The idea of the villain not knowing he’s a villain, classic, but it hasn’t been done in quite some time…I think the most recent villain who comes to mind is…hell, I honestly can’t think of one. I would suppose the Green Goblin himself, really, how ironic.

After this we get 2 pages of Norman Osborn getting the key to New York City. In between his little speech, we get a very frustrating hint regarding One More Day…as it turns out, Pete just may know yet about his deal with the devil. It’s just a tiny little hint, not quite as plain and blunt as MJ’s a couple months back, but it’s frustrating either way. If you want us to get over OMD, stop bringing it up so damn much.

Following this is the moment I’m sure all Harry Osborn fans have been waiting for, Norman and Harry, father and son together again. What should be an interesting and classic moment is ruined as Slott chooses for the stereotypical Norman Jackass Moment to his son. Taking a page right out of the Spider-man film.

I can’t necessarily complain about it, but still, with someone like Dan Slott I was hoping for something a little cleverer than the typical Norman put-down followed by a pissed off Harry. Though it was nice to see him lash out his girlfriend, showing that maybe the apple isn’t too far from the tree after all.

After this we get Norman and his Thunderbolts (most of them, at least) hunting down Spider-man. We get some fun moments like him verbally bitch slapping Songbird and insulting Bullseye, always well for a laugh. This is followed with Spider-man infiltrating their make-shift base, trying to threaten Norman, and just ending up looking like a complete idiot.

I can understand that Spider-man thinks he’s got an edge over his old nemesis, but there is a difference between having an edge and just feigning intimidation, Spidey can’t seem to distinguish the two.

After this we get what is, in my honest opinion, the best damn part of this stuffed comic. Venom attacking the FEAST building thinking he’s found Spider-man, only to realize it’s Eddie Brock that the symbiote leads him to. This is followed by an awesome scene and the birth of….Anti-Venom!

Yes, that’s right folks, Eddie Brock, the former Venom, is now Anti-Venom. And he’s about to unload a can of white and black whoop ass on that poser Gargan. A 7 day wait has never been this killer.

Art comments: I think I should say that I honestly am not a big fan of Romita Jr. While I love his father’s work, I think Jr. has had both his ups, and his incredibly down downs. World War Hulk being my main point, while the first 2 issues where good, 3, 4 and 5 where all fairly bad, and he did not fit the tone of the book at all.

However, this isn’t World War Hulk, this is Spider-man, Romita Jr. is in his element here, and it shows. For the most part, his art is incredible, doing a great job on characters like Spider-man and Venom of course, but there are his usual moments when heads look like anything but a head, and composition goes out the window. Luckily, these bad moments are down at a minimum, so don’t worry too much over this, his art here is strong with some great work.

Final Comments: The story is a little all over the place, as far as pacing is concerned, and the art has it’s bad moments, but for the most part I’d say the second part to New Ways to Die is a strong comic with great character moments and some incredible art, if you’re a Spider-fan who, like me, left with the great Retcon of OMD, come back, you just may remember why you loved Spider-man in the fisrt place.

4 out of 5

Must Read

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Cover Talk: Secret Invasion

Hey, it’s our first regular edition of Cover Talk. We debuted Saturday last weekend with Cyblade #1, this time, we’re tackling several covers. All 8 Secret Invasion covers, along with some random covers from their tie-ins. Now Cover Talk is exactly what it sounds like, me talking about Comic Book covers, something that is important to my overall enjoyment of the Comics medium. I won’t be reviewing them, necessarily, but rather discussing what I do and don’t like about them.

So let’s get on with it and start with…

Secret Invasion #1

Cover by: Gabriel Del’Otto as well as 2 through 8

I love homage covers, their almost always great, and this is no exception. This is another great cover that sticks fairly close to the source cover; despite being just a bit off (I don’t recall Sentry in the first issue cover.) While it’s not an amazing cover, Del’Otto does well with what he can and turns in a great looking first issue cover.

Secret Invasion #2

When I first saw this cover, it was great, but that was simply from speculation as to the crashed ship and its inhabitants. But now that we know they are all Skrulls, this cover loses its interest and shine, and when you really look at it, it isn’t anything special or interesting. Too bad, it’s all right still.

Secret Invasion #3

This isn’t a cover. It’s a teaser image. It was released in Mid-2007 during an IGN interview as a teaser. That is all it was supposed to be. My best guess, someone got lazy at Marvel and forgot to tell Del’Otto to make a third cover, so they scrambled and brought this issue image up. Luckily it works with the content of the issue inside, the big reveal of Spider-Skrull officially stated in these pages.

Secret Invasion #4

This cover would be so great…if the Young Avengers where actually even in this issue, which their not, so this cover gets taken down a notch. Seriously, what is with this image? I was hoping for Fury and the Young Avengers, not Fury and…not the Young Avengers. Anyway, either way, it’s a great cover; I can’t deny that, and probably one of my favorite for the series.

Secret Invasion #5

Wow, I thought the cover for #3 was lazy, that’s just sad right there. While it is a great image of a Skrull, looking badass and sinister as all hell, I can’t help but feel…what a waste.

Secret Invasion #6

My favorite cover of the series, easily, this one just…blew me away. I love how the grey background leads in nicely to the flashy event of the Avengers Trinity walking up, looking pissed off and ready to take the Skrulls down to size. With promises that this issue does indeed contain this happening, that cover just rocks my shoes off.

Secret Invasion #7

As bland as this cover is, I can’t help but enjoy how wicked that Spider-Skrull looks, the web line effects, the drool, he looks really sinister and evil. I like the perspective on Wolverine too, very nice angle for the claw popping image.

Secret Invasion #8

This cover has VICTORY! Written all over it. But that’s okay; it’s a good cover for the most part. My only real problem being with that their all smiling with their eyes closed. It looks…a little on the odd side, to me at least, but it’s still a strong and enjoyable cover. I also would have liked it if we got a lot more heroes in this image, not just this 3, like, hell…show us a backdrop with tons of heroes behind them as they stand tall or something, something a little more epic for the final issue cover.

New Avengers #41

Covers by: Aleksi Bricolet

I really like how Spider-man looks on this cover; though I’m still not sure what cover this is paying homage to. One thing that frustrates me is that it’s kind of hard to tell their Skrulls, you have to look closely at them to tell.

New Avengers #42

I love that “Cosmic Code of authority” emblem, hilarious. Really, this is a fairly simple cover, some fun designs, but really it’s just heads with Skrull chins. Nothing too special, but I still like it.

Mighty Avengers #15

Covers by: Marko Djurdjevic

As I’ve said before, big time classic Vision fan, awesome to see a cover homage to his first appearance, Djurdjevic does a fairly straight homage, though there’s some obvious differences (besides the Skrull thing) it still looks pretty close to the original cover.

Mighty Avengers #16

I love this cover, just for the cover it pays homage to. I love that original cover, I have that comic, I love Frank Miller, and therefore I love this cover for homage to Frank Miller.

Secret Invasion: X-men #1

Cover by: Terry Dodson

That Skrull is totally dancing, right? It’s not just me, right? I don’t mind most of this cover, but damnit if that Skrull isn’t dancing or something. I’d complain about X-23, but they fixed that come release of the comic.

New Avengers #44

I loved the Illuminati series of 2007, and this cover is an amazing homage. I also love the grainy look, like it’s some really old picture or something, very well done.

New Avengers #46

Mephisto Skrull? Wow. Either way, I love how Bricolet does the villains on this one, especially Green Goblin.

Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1

Cover by: Stjepan Sejic

This is probably one of his best covers ever, seriously, this is a great cover. The look of the suit against Medusa, the hair affect, all incredibly well done.

Secret Invasion: Frontline #3

Cover by: Juan Doe

I really love Doe’s style, he’s an amazing artist, and this cover just screams “Something sinister in these pages”. I love how the Skrull just looks like this evil shape of death, gripping the man as if to give him his last few moments of life, very wicked.

So that’s all for today, folks, I hope you all enjoyed the first weekly edition of Cover Talk. This will be every Tuesday of the week. Now don’t always expect epic sized ones like this, sometimes I could be doing just a few covers, but hey, we’ll see about that later on.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Response to Robert Kirikman's Editorial

I’m sure everyone’s seen the video by now, the one where Kirkman calls out Marvel and DC for taking down the comics industry and pleading to creators to stop working for the big 2 and do more creator owned work. He goes on a bit of a high horse, saying that in doing so is the only way to keep comics alive in the long run.

Robert Kirkman's Editorial

Well I was tempted to sit back, say nothing really, but I have an opinion damnit and I’m getting it out there.

First of all, Kirkman mentions comics not being new reader friendly. This I agree with…to an extent. He makes it sounds like younger readers can never get into the big books like Iron Man and Batman, all these top seller classic comics. I disagree with that. Hell, I read Spider-man, Batman and all kinds of comics from the late 80’s and mid 90’s that where more mature reader oriented (not in the way that sounds) and I was just fine, even when reading these stories as a child.

Characters died, bad stuff happened, and I was fine with it. I knew it was just a story, nothing to take too seriously. My father knew I wouldn’t be afraid after reading an issue of Ghost Rider. Though maybe that is just me, maybe children nowadays are more impressionable then when I was young.

I agree that books like Marvel Adventures and Batman Strikes are dumb comics to give to kids. Because in the end, as they mature, they will only see comics as that immature dumb medium that entertained them when they where like…5 and 6. When I was 6 I was reading stories where Venom ripped someone’s head off, and Ghost Rider was taking down rapists. I learned that comics aren’t just for kids at an early age; I think that was important to my maturing and the comics I read as I got older.

But let us move away from that one subject, and onto the meat of Kirkman’s outcry, creator owned work. As I’ve said before, I one day hope to get into the comic’s business. I have tons of comic ideas, all of them ones I want to publish through Image Comics, if possible. Though I’m still young, still learning things like script composition, how to describe things well to an artist so that what I want to see happens, and all that jazz that I’m sure you don’t wanna hear about.

Anyway, my point is this. When I get into comics, I want to start with creator owned work, like Kirkman did. I have this one comic…I’ve got at least 300 issues worth of stories and development in my head, and I haven’t even finished the script for issue #1. I wanted that to be the first comic I publish, but then I realized…what if it didn’t work? My dream comic could be shot down fairly fast.

So I decided that when I do get into comics (and I will, and I’ll post all about it here for sure) that I will open with this one mini-series I have. It’s nothing too special, but I like it and it would be a good opener for me into the world of comics, try and get my name out there. After a while, if I can get work with one of the big 2, I want to start trying to get my name on big books after a while, see if I can build up a fanbase, then, after a while, release my dream book and give it a better shot.

Now I said all that to make a point, if you caught it. The point is that the big 2 are great places for up and coming creators to get their names out there. I’d never have heard of Matt Fraction if not for his Marvel work or Geoff Johns for his DC work. Hell, the only way I knew about Bendis was from Hellspawn and Sam and Twitch. See Marvel and DC help get these guys names out there, and if they want to keep working for the people that helped give them fame, that’s fine. While I’d like to see Bendis do more stuff like Powers, I don’t mind that he’s a Marvel guy now.

I would however like to see if there could be a better balance in the creator owned market.
Honestly, most creator owned work is from new guys, or people who refused to work for the big 2 so I’ve hardly ever heard of them for that. It would be great to see some big names like Morrison back into Indy comics more often, as most writers almost always excel in comics they’ve created.

At the same time, I want to see Brubaker still on Captain America, Bendis on Avengers and Zeb Wells in Spider-man. It’s great to see certain writers and artists on your favorite characters, like Dan Slott on Spider-man. These writers and artists obviously grew up with these characters, they understand them, and it would be unfair to tell them they shouldn’t work on the characters they love to work on.

Kirkman definitely seems to be burning his bridges with this statement. I can’t say I’m not disappointed in him for this, as I felt he was good at Marvel and he fit in well, it’s too bad he seems rather stubborn on this argument. Lots of creators seem to disagree with him, and I honestly can’t blame them.

I think the one writer who has done a perfect blend of creator owned work is Alan Moore, he’s always had such a voice in both mediums of Super Heroes and his own stories, and it’s been great. I think he is living proof you can have a safe balance of the two worlds, and that either shouldn’t be taken for granted or underestimated.

As I said in my Scarlet Veronica post, I’m always looking for interesting new Indy books to check out, but I tend to gravitate to older books like Spawn and Invincible, mainly because I know the writers behind them, I know I can usually expect a fairly enjoyable read with these comics. And that comes with a history with these comics, not because their Indy comics, or even simply because their Image, but because of history.
So no matter what Kirkman’s argument leads to, history is a heavy aspect to it. Even with Indy comics, so while I may be apprehensive at issue 1 of…say…Super-Duper-Boy 5000, you can bet I’ll gladly check out the latest Invincible. So Kirkman’s argument doesn’t completely work, history will always dictate comics for most people, and will be a heavy aspect to most, if possibly all, comic fans.
As much as I respect and admire Robert Kirkman, both as a writer, and a creator, I’m still disappointed with his rather stubborn and borderline ignorant editorial. He comes dangerously close to sounding as if he’s never even read a Marvel or DC comics, and blames them for the entire comic’s industries problems.
I don’t care much for exclusive contracts, mainly because I don’t feel it’s fair to tell someone they can only do work for you for so long as they choose. But if someone wants to sign that contract and does that work, that’s fine, that’s their choice and in some situations (like the recent Frank Cho and Mark Millar signings) I am happy to know that person will only be doing work for that specific company.

One thing I think Kirkman overlooked is money. Everyone needs it to live, and creator owned work doesn’t pay as heavy as working for either of the big 2. With creator owned work, there is always a small level of doubt if that money is always going to be there, if that book is always going to be selling hot, and what could happen should sales drop. With Marvel or DC, steady work with them is fairly safe as long as you keep everyone happy with what you’re doing.
Maybe I’m wrong on all of this, maybe Kirkman will prove me wrong come 2039 when Marvel and DC are both crashed and companies like Image dominate the market. But until then, I’ll gladly sip a Mountain Dew at my desk and enjoy the comics I’m reading, regardless if they are creator owned or not.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cover Talk: Cyblade #1

So last year was the big Top Cow Pilot Season. Several one shot comics came out, people read them, then got to vote for which one got to become an ongoing series. Last year’s winner was Cyblade, and later this year, October to be exact, her solo series debuts. I like Cyberforce and all that, so I think it’s cool that Cyblade is getting her own series, but…I have a problem with the cover to issue #1.

Now, I’m sure the first thing you notice about this cover is that Cyblade is naked and in the shower. Now, call me crazy, but why in the hell is this a FIRST ISSUE COVER? The solicit doesn’t mention anything about a shower, last time I checked. Does she get attacked in the shower? One would think that’s something you’d want to mention in the solicit, if it’s on the cover.

Now I honestly couldn’t care less that she’s naked, big whoop, my problem is that this is a poor cover choice for a first issue cover. Though let’s admit it, if Cyblade was a dude this cover wouldn’t be her in the shower. But that’s not my point; my point is that this is a bad choice for a first issue cover, that’s no way to debut a series.

Let me explain something about first issue covers, they should be…I don’t know…GOOD. See, to me, the basics needed for a good first issue cover are these things.

Has the main character on it.

The main character is in a dynamic pose of some kind.

The character is in their costume.

The character is using their power or ability.

These make for a great first cover. Just look at the first appearance of Batman in Detective comics, Action Comics #1, Spawn #1, Amazing Fantasy #15, the list goes on and on. They all have these specific things, and that’s what makes them great covers to debut these characters with.

Honestly, is anyone going to see this cover in a comic shop and say “Gee that must be a really interesting serious comic?” Hell no, I know I wouldn’t, I’d think “Oh, another T&A comic? Next.” The only people I can see buying this who have no history with the character are perverts, who will no doubt be sadly mistaken when this cover will probably have nothing to do with the insides of the comics.

Now, that cover may be bad, but the variant….well, while not perfect, seems like a godsend compared to the first cover.

See that? It covers all the basics, main character, in costume, dynamic pose and using her power. Everything we don’t get from the first cover is in that awesome variant. THAT, ladies and Gentlemen, is what a first issue cover should be. Now the original cover is fine, outside of it not being appropriate for issue #1, I have no qualms with it, if it where the cover to #2 and up, that would be just fine, but that’s just an incredibly poor choice for issue #1’s cover. It’s too bad, it will definitely turn away some of the more serious fans. Meanwhile, I’ll give Cyblade a chance, and hope I can score a copy of that variant.

So that’s my first official Cover Talk, on Monday expect my written response to Robert Kirkman’s editorial (I wrote it ahead of time, just in case). As well as on Tuesday expect our first regular Cover Talk on Secret Invasion. I hope you enjoyed the first Cover Talk, see you later.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Collection Spotlight: Batman and Son

While a little late, it’s still here, Batman and Son, our first DC Collection Spotlight. As I’m sure you know, Batman and Son was the start for Grant Morrison’s current run on Batman, and sets up several key factors to what is going on right now in Batman RIP from Damian Wayne, to Jezebel Jet, all important factors. So with that said, let’s get things started.

Story comments: There is quite a lot of story here, but I’ll try to touch on as much as I can without making this too long. Now right of the bat Morrison makes one thing perfectly clear, Batman is getting to much into Batman. As the years have gone by, he’s just about lost his Bruce Wayne persona, so he starts trying to get it back, this triggers a chain of events that puts Batman up against an army of Ninja Manbat.

All right, that sounds a bit odd, but there is a nice explanation to it. Talia poisons the wife of the original Manbat (his name escapes me right now) and tells him to make more of the serum, or his wife dies. This was a quick and interesting thing that had me gripped to the story, even if it was fairly short.

Speaking of Talia, I think this is the most villainous she’s ever been. She’s been a mixture of anti-hero and villain, but here she is just downright evil. Makes me wonder if Morrison forgot how she acts. Despite this, she still has her few, and yes, there are very few, good moments.

Now the main point to Batman and Son isn’t Talia or Batman being Bruce Wayne again, it’s about Batman meeting his son for the first time. One would thing this is a huge turning point in the batman comics, but really…it doesn’t seem to shake things up much, if at all, really. Like a whisper in a hurricane maybe.

Damian is immediately cold, calculating, murderous, violent, the ultimate brat. Morrison does a good job of showing us that this is not a good child, this is, in every sense of the world, an evil little child. Though he gives Damian a moment or two to try and show he isn’t pure evil, it fails to take away the image of this cruel and hateful person.

While it is great to see Damian clamor for his father’s attention and love, at the same time, it’s so absurdly futile that it gets frustrating fast. Damian and Batman’s interactions rarely are good, if interesting, and for a story called Batman and Son, one would hope for better interaction than this. What few times they do speak they are fairly hostile towards each other.

I applaud Morrison for not going the simple route of loving father and perfect son, but this extreme is just too far to the other side of the spectrum. Cold and vicious doesn’t make for an interesting read.

Despite my complaints, the first half to the Batman and Son collection is actually an entertaining read, despite my complaints, and it has some memorable moments such as the fight in the museum where the art reflects what is going on.

After the first half, there is an interlude, “The Clown at Midnight”. Following up on the opening of the story where Joker gets shot in the face by an imposter Batman. I failed to mention that, because that short moment was so unimportant to the overall Batman and Son plot that it felt very out of place.

The clown at Midnight is…and odd mix of comic and novel, while there are images of what’s going on, at times, it reads like one long book condensed into the pages. While it makes for an interesting read, it’s hard to get over the first 3 chapters or so that just drags on and on, and don’t seem to go anywhere.

The story is about Joker, how he’s gotten even crazier, and of course Harley Quinn is somehow involved. It’s all a little odd, but enjoyable, despite the strange format. It’s a great look into Joker’s mind, what little credible things we get. While I feel it’s more throwaway compared to everything else in the book, it makes for a creepy fun read and the CG like art really adds to the effect.

After this we return to form with the opening to the Tale of the three Batmen. Well…not so much an opening, as a prequel of sorts to what happens there. Batman is helping out a bunch of prostitutes who are being used by the police to keep this one violent brute calm. It’s a perplexing story with some really weird moments, most notably being how friendly Batman is to the prostitutes, you’d think he’d have a sarcastic crack or two about them, especially with Morrison writing.

Anyway, all the while when Batman is searching for this hooker killing brute, he has an inner monologue, and I have to say…it’s probably some of the worst Bat-monologue I’ve ever read. It’s awful. It’s nothing too big to complain about, but it really is bad and adds nothing to the situation, just points out that Batman needs to shut up and stay focused, or he gets his back snapped.

So after a confrontation with the brute, who is dressing like a mixture of Batman and Bane, Batman nearly gets killed. It’s kind of nice to see a throwback to Bane breaking Batman, but not much aside from that.

Probably the best part to this story is what Robin does. He has a brief moment of trying to take down Bat-Bane and he nearly gets killed, Batman shows up and we get a quick moment where Batman tells Robin that he has nothing to prove to him, since Robin is feeling insecure thanks to Damian.

The story ends up being rather futile, as Batman has to give up near victory since the brute guy is protected by the police. Since the tale of Three Batmen isn’t collected in this book, this story feels more like a throwaway than anything, compared to where it leads to at least.

Finally, we have my favorite story in this book, the tale from Batman #666. Yes that’s right, the tale of the future Damian as Batman up against the anti-Christ. It is, by far, one of the most insane and odd Batman stories I’ve ever read, but I loved it. Damian makes for a great Batman, even if he’s more flash than substance.

The final confrontation really pieces everything together, Damian gets in some amazing moments that where sorely missed come his first story in this collection. He gets to be all kinds of badass and just unleash all hell (no pun intended) on Satan’s Spawn. With things like Barbara Gordon as Police Commissioner, the nice touches and moments help make this a great conclusion to what is, despite my complaints, a strong and enjoyable collection of stories.

Art comments: I wish I had something to say on Andy Kubert. Really, he does a good job here. While I don’t think it’s his strongest work (and that Tony Daniel is doing a better job right now on RIP) he gets the job done and turns in some impressive solid work. He isn’t without flaws and faults in his work, for instance, Damian’s face tends to look…odd at times, most notably when he smiles, his face just looks…weird, like a cookie or a ball. Despite his flaws, Kubert turns in some amazing work here that shouldn’t be missed out if you’re a big fan of his.

Final comments: Batman and Son is an enjoyable story, despite it’s flaws, and has some great moments that the Dark Knight had been missing. Such as great moments with Robin (something that’s been missing for a while, in my honest opinion.) I also appreciate Morrison trying to get out there, not going for the same old thing, and this was before his insane RIP ideas, and when he seemed a little more down to earth with how he was handling Batman. If you want to get into RIP, but are afraid of being confused or otherwise, this is a good place to start, as it’s set the tone for Batman for quite some time, and probably will be the main focus of Batman for the next few years even after RIP.

Buy It.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Image solicits for November 2008

You knew if I did this for the big guns I’d give Image a spotlight too. Of course, I don’t buy lots of Image Comics, just Spawn, Witchblade and Invincible, but I may comment on some others, just to try and make this a little longer.

Image Comics in November 2008

Spawn #186

Okay, how is that not the most awesome cover I’ve ever seen so far in these solicits? That cover just makes me want to go into the future, do something crazy, to read this. It’s an incredibly well done cover, even if it’s a little more shadow than it is Spawn. I don’t mind all the spikes, weird as they are. But now, the solicit…choosing sides? Is Spawn going to Marvel or something? Color me confused.

Invincible #58

Why do I have a feeling this wont’ be coming out in November? Because it won’t, of course. Anyway…great cover as always, are they just now going to finally get into Mark and Eve’s relationship? I know we saw some of that come end of 51, but really, your waiting that long to touch on the subject? Oh well, I look forward to this issue for sure.

Adventures of Spawn #2

Do yourself a favor, if you haven’t read the 2 issues of AOS, go to and read them both. For free. Then you’ll know why their so great, and why you’ve got to have them in print. Seriously, both issues where amazingly good, story and art. Consider it like Ultimate Spawn, where it revamps the characters and creates a totally new storyline that can attract new readers, but pays homage to what made Spawn so great and is great for long time fans to love it as well. I can’t wait to pick this up.

Witchblade #122

What the hell is with that cover? Sejic couldn’t do anything even remotely interesting? It’s just Sara…standing there, as if on a picture. Maybe it’s supposed to be a picture that the reporter took or something, but I’m not seeing it. Bland cover aside, I’m interested in this arc, it sounds like Gleason may not survive it. I hope he does, Sara deserves to have a love interest that lasts more than 10 issues.

Spawn: Book of the Dead

Long awaited, and long overdue, I’m excited about this, very excited. It’s great to see Ashley Wood back on Spawn, and Van Dyke is a great artist so I’m psyched about this. I’ll get this as soon as it hits the shelves.

So that’s it for my Image Solicits talk. I’ll say this now, to make up for the missing Cover Talk this week; I’ll do a special one on Saturday, regarding the Cyblade #1 covers. Then a Secret Invasion special on Tuesday. See you tomorrow though with a Collection Spotlight on Batman and Son.

My thoughts on Spawn: Endgame

With Spawn Endgame being teased as the biggest Spawn story ever to hit shelves, I’ve decided to do another post on it. While last time was my initial thoughts on the reboot/new team on the book, this is more me talking about what I do, don’t, and am really hoping to see come October.

Nyx lives: From the sounds of it, they are completely rebooting Spawn, everything is changing, and it looks like Hine’s run just may be annulled for it. One thing Hine did a great job was make me like the character of Nyx, she’s pivotal now and I’m really hoping she doesn’t get killed off or lost in translation to Endgame. have admitted that Nyx will wear the symbiote now, with that there are several possibilities, the biggest being of course death. I hate blatant reboots/retcon as it is; don’t use this as an excuse to get rid of the best character in Spawn since the big guy himself. I’m over OMD; don’t give me another reason to be pissed off at my comics.

Of course I doubt Nyx will even make it to Endgame, if she survives, she’ll be forgotten and out of the picture no doubt. It’s too bad, she’s a great character.

Angela reborn: Dead is dead. We all know this. But sometimes that isn’t always the way it is in comics. While Angela’s death was a huge moment for Spawn, and a tragedy that can still be felt today (even if it not referenced) Angela’s death was major. There’s been debate if she should return, or stay dead. I thought she was a great character, and if their going to insist on killing off or forgetting Nyx, then the only suitable replacement is Angela the angel.

I’m not sure how they would do it, it could be something as simple as her revival because of Armageddon, or maybe even a little more complicated, like Mammon reviving her come end of Hine’s run, but she turns on him and aids Spawn. I’m not sure how it would work, but damnit; give us at least one good female character in Spawn. Wanda sucks, no one really cares about her, give us a character we care about.

Mammon be gone: KILL MAMMON. I don’t care what it takes, just kill him now or I won’t even waste money on Endgame. I can’t take this character anymore; he’s such an ass that it drives me nuts. But it’s not necessarily him only, I hate all villains like him, who know just absolutely everything and are 1000 steps ahead everyone. It’s insane, no one is the cold and calculated, demon or not, I don’t care, it’s gone from interesting and cool, to frustrating.

The only good thing about a character like Mammon is that it’s all the sweeter when he finally dies, or gets his ass kicked. He’s always viewed as this almighty badass, I would just love to see Spawn rip him in two and beat him down, and smash his neck in as he tries to breath his last breath.

Bottom line, if your going to insist on rebooting the entire series, take out the worst character you’ve got.

Violator is back: Take out one bad villain and replace him with one good villain. Maybe Todd McFarlane can reinvigorate the falling villain of Violator, the classic Spawn nemesis. Whilce Portacio has teased sketches of Violator, I really hope that’s some hint that he’ll be returning and kicking some ass. Such a great villain, who has been treated so poorly these last few years.

Get rid of the family: I know the whole Terry, Wanda, Cyan aspect to Spawn has been important, I’m not saying it hasn’t, but I’m just tired of them. They offer nothing anymore. They’ve all served their purposes in the series, we can be done with them, end it. They have nothing left to offer this story, Wanda is just used for bad slut jokes and Terry is a dimwit, Cyan is the only competent one and she’s a child. It’s insane.

Redeemer: Another great Spawn villain, but he seems to be have been another lost plot thread as the years go by. There’s been light talk of his return, but never anything solid beyond talk and hope. He was a great character, with some really great depth to him as far as villains and their histories are concerned, but for the most part, he’s been a forgotten memory in the spawn stories, barely even referenced. Now would be a perfect time to bring him back, if he be villain for foe, I’d love to see him as either.

Heaven and Hell: I think we should keep them closed off, but rather than just flat out ignoring them, have small cracks in them, slips in the stream of time and all that, demons from the past and angels from the future slipping in, something fierce and creative like that. It doesn’t have to be insanely creative or anything, but come on, Heaven and Hell are a major aspect to Spawn. You can’t deny what works, and Spawn’s inner struggle if he was good or evil was always great.

A duel identity: one of the odd things in the previews show what looks to be Al Simmons, who turns back into Spawn. These raises questions, one big one being: Are we gonna have the secret identity now? It was always important that Al only go by Al that no one knows his last name, but it was never a major aspect to Spawn. Could Spawn and Al Simmons be 2 different people, in the same body, now? I’m not sure what to think of that honestly, if anyone can make it work its Todd, but I’m just not sure what to think.

More guns: I really hope they quit it with the guns, it’s gotten ridiculous at times and I’m tired of Spawn always resorting to his ammo to do more whoop ass, there’s no more reason for it, we’re done here, stop it.

Legion: Another thing that will probably be forgotten come Endgame is Legion, the souls that where in Spawn’s body as he was reborn. I loved this aspect, as it made for some awesome moments (Samurai old man Spawn, anyone?) and was my favorite part of the Armageddon arc (bring back Chris!). Unfortunately, like some many other wasted opportunities, this will probably be forgotten as time moves on.

The counter: Will the counter return? There’s been some debate on the possibility, but I seriously doubt it. That thing is long gone.

More Disciples: another great part of Armageddon was the Disciples, like Redeemers but more bad ass. These guys where great, and Spawn’s fight against them was incredible, I would love to see these guys return. If they be friend or foe, I don’t mind, I’d like them as friend more and maybe have them team up with Spawn to help him stop some huge threat, like, oh, our next topic.

Urizen: Another thing I doubt anyone remembers at TMP, my favorite villain ever in the Spawn comic, Urizen was just plain great in every way, despite the short lived existence, he was just so cool. He needs to return, I don’t know how, I’m not even sure why, he just does. He would justify 185 more issues of Endgame for all I care.

So that’s all I have to say for now about Endgame, what is being the most hyped Spawn story of all time. But hey, these are just what I want to see, what about everyone else? I’m sure everyone has a different list of things they want to see come Endgame.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Marvel November 2008 Solicits

Yesterday I left my comments on DC’s solicits for November 2008, now today we’re moving on to Marvel. Obviously, this will be replacing Cover Talk, if only for once a month. Same rules as yesterday, no solicits post but below will be a link, comments and covers only.

Marvel in November 2008

Ultimatum #1 and 2

I’ve decided to get Ultimatum, Jeph Loeb or not, I love the Ultimate U and I’m excited to see what this Armageddon-esque ending has to offer. I also am really excited to see David Finch on art again. Now, I’m surprised issues 1 and 2 are in the same month. Call me crazy, but that’s just begging for a delay or something. Let’s hope I’m wrong.

Venom: Dark Origin #4

That’s the first really good cover so far for Dark Origin, all the others have been pretty horrible, but this one is pretty good. It’s simple, but good. Now that being said…what’s with the solicit saying the exact same thing as last time? Promising background on the symbiotes home world. While I’m glad we FINALLY get to see what the Symbiote home world/culture was like, why bring up Eddie hating Spider-man? We know that already.

Uncanny X-men #504

I decided to pass on this originally mainly for the Land art, but damn…Dodson on this issue? Sign me up! I’ll get it for sure. I love Dodson’s art. But wait…Emma is going to cheat on Scott? Aww…man…that sucks. They are favorite my (well, the only ones I even care about) X-couple. Just more incentive to pick this issue up and hope for the best.

Wolverine #69

I hate hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, and hate, Double HATE delays on comics. And damned if the wait for #69 isn’t gonna piss me off. But hey, it’s a great cover by McNiven and I’m hoping that it’s smooth sailing after this issue.

X-force #9

Gah…want…read…X-force…but I’m just not sure. I’m waiting for the trade usually, but I may simply pick up this issue for the Mike Choi art, love his work, and if he gets to be the ongoing artist I’ll be a happy camper. That cover kind of freaked me for a second, I thought that was X-23…and that…would have just been wrong. Just plain wrong.

Ghost Rider #29

I thought Marc Silvestri was doing covers for this story. What happened to that? Not that I’m complaining, I love Djurdjevic’s work. I’m jumping back onto Ghost Rider with this storyline that starts in October, Jason Aaron failed to bring me back in with his opening arc, and that disappointed me. I’m a huge GR fan, have been for a long time, and I am hoping Aaron is at his A-game with this story.

Danny Ketch #2

Bees. My God.

Okay, I don’t know who that girl is but she makes me think of Nyx, which is just plain weird. Anyway, I grew up with the Danny Ketch GR and I’m debating if I should pick this comic up or not, while the GR fan in me wants to, my wallet keeps saying no…

Iron Man #7

What? No way. No freaking-way. No way in Hell. Seriously? Well, all right. I can dig it.

Thor: Man of War

I absolutely, positively, 100%, loved the previous Thor one-shots, and this ties up Fraction’s Ages of Thunder “mini”. I’m excited for this, it looks amazing. If it’s anything like Reign of Blood, then count me in!

Ultimate Fantastic Four #58

It is so evil to tease us with a Pasquel Ferry cover when Tyler Kirkham’s art is on the inside. Oh well. I loved the Millar days of UFF, so I may pick this up to see how Ultimatum affects them.

Ultimate Spider-man #128

I really want to buy this arc, I miss me some Ultimate Spider-man. But I’ve played through the game; I know how it goes, so I’ve taken a pass. While I will get my Ultimate Spidey fix come October, I may jump on sometime around this.

Avengers: The Initiative Special

FINALLY! It’s about damn time the Hardball thing was resolved. I can’t wait to pick this up and see what happens, Hardball/Komodo was one of the best aspect to The Initiative, and I don’t mind the Uy art if it means seeing them again.

Hulk #8

I’m dropping Hulk come #6. The great art isn’t worth it. I am switching this to “wait for the trade” like a few other series.

Marvel Zombies 3 #2

Seriously, could that cover be anymore awesome? That cover just screams “this comic is going to be great, read it!” I know I trashed Land a bit in a previous post, but damned if, on occasion, he can do some great covers. I love how this time around their paying homage to Zombie Movie posters, this one obviously being 38 days later. I hope the next one is Dawn of the Dead.

Runaways #4

I honestly feel that Whedon ruined one of my favorite comics, with his delays and all that nonsense, but with Moore and Ramos at the helm, I’m excited for this volume. I look forward to issue #1 later this month, and this whole plot of the aliens after Karolina.

Skaar: Son of Hulk #5

As I said in an earlier review, I predict that Skaar Son of Hulk will start to get better come #3, and the solicit keeps my hopes up. I’m glad to see Pak isn’t dragging out this entire plot of the Prophet Rock, and that it is heading somewhere fast. Let’s hope where it heads is somewhere good, also.

Thunderbolts #126

I’m still a little hesitant as to Diggle taking over T-bolts, but this solicits sounds pretty good and has me psyched, I’ll definitely check it out for sure.

Secret Invasion #8

Hmm…not much to say here. It all looks and sounds good, lets hope for a big finish.

New Avengers #47

So this story is all about Luke Cage, no doubt around his loss of his family to all this paranoia and whatnot, it’s a really gripping story and I’m kind of pissed that it’s taking Bendis this long to get to this story. I hope everything works out for Cage…then again, this is Marvel, no one’s allowed a happy ending.

Avengers: The Initiative #19

Cloud 9 is back? Count me in!

Mythos HC

Just the other day I was thinking to myself “When are they going to release a collection of the Mythos comics?” and here we are! What luck! I look forward to this; I’ve heard nothing but love for this series.

Invincible Iron Man volume 1.

I may pick this up, I dropped this title since my wallet is getting so tight with all these damned comics, may switch it to “Collection only” like the others.

New Avengers Volume 8

I am glad to see that Marvel is releasing HC’s and TPB’s of Secret Invasion tie ins separately, rather then releasing them all at once. That is a much better idea, and it’s working well, I hope this keeps going.

So that’s it for November’s Marvel Comics. When they get posted on CBR, expect the same for Image Comics.