5.24.2009

Panelology - Marvel & DC August 2009 Solicitation Picks


by Brandon

Now that Marvel & DC have released their solicitations for August 2009, I thought it might be worthwhile to look at books coming down the pike that are of interest to collectors. August looks to be a pretty decent month for collectors new and old. Both Marvel and DC have some neat looking books for old and new fans alike just begging to be pre-ordered. I know I'm going to have to make a lot of room for some new titles. Jenn won't be happy, but my inner-fanboy will just love it!


The House of Ideas has a few books that I'll be adding to my order this month. Here's a look at my picks.

- Dominic Fortune # 1 (of 4): It's always good to see Howard Chaykin writing and drawing a book, but its extra nice to see him return to a character that he created. In the various incarnations that have cropped up of this archetypal character from Chaykin's creative stables, Dominic Fortune was one of my favorites. He's been little used, but this looks to be one of those great returns we fans don't get to see very often. This title should be full of violence, zippy dialogue, loose women, and excellent art.

- Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1 and Avengers #1: Oh boy. I haven't made it a secret that I have been displeased with the direction of the Ultimate Universe lately. The bloated and unnecessary Ultimatum freak show has been ridiculously stupid. It's redemption time for this line. Starting with new first issues, Avengers and Spiderman look to be good starting places for those people who left the Ultimate Universe before Jeph Loeb's involvement was just a dusty twinkle in Joe Quesada's bad eye. Perhaps with the always entertaining Millar on board, Avengers will pick up with where his Ultimates 2 title left off. Otherwise, this lines probably in deep shit. Check this out, if only for the train wreck.

- The Marvels Project #1 (of 8): Ed Brubabker? Check. Steve Epting? Check. Worth $3.99 an issue? Not so sure. But, I might be willing to give it a shot. With the aforementioned creative team from Captain America on board, this will probably be entertaining at the very least. With Marvel celebrating "their" 70th anniversary, this title promises to be the centerpiece to their celebrations. Whatever. The big question for Marvel is will anyone care about a miniseries dealing with the Golden Age version of Marvel's oldest heroes. This has the potential to be a bust or a boon. I'm hoping for the latter, especially if I'm going to shell out $3.99 an issue!

- Captain America: The Death of Captain America Omnibus HC: Sweet Jesus! On the one hand, the $75 price tag gives me pause, but getting issues 25-42 of Brubaker and Epting's Captain America saga in hardcover is very tempting. I haven't bought any of Marvel's omnibus editions, but they look sweet and many people have had nothing but great things to say about these volumes.

- Marvel Bromance TPB: Huh? When I first saw this solicitation, I must admit that I almost just skipped reading it. But my curiosity got the better of me and I read it. I hate the term "bromance" but it is oddly appropriate for some comic books match-ups. It is with a little bit of shame that I must admit that this sounds kind of cool. As hokey as they may be, some buddy comics are just fun to read. Marvel selected a wide variety of characters here to spotlight, which is excellent because I don't think having Wolverine or Spider-Man pop up in your book constitutes the "bromance" label. Male bonding is cool and this should be a fun title to read.


I'm not much of a DC Comics kind of guy, but a couple of things in their August previews looked interesting.

- Red Circle Comics: The Shield, The Web, Inferno, and The Hamngman # 1's: J. Michael Straczynski takes a stab at bringing the Archie heroes into the DCU. I honestly think this is what JMS does best. I just wish he would go back to finishing The Twelve. Regardless, these books should at least be interesting for old and new readers. Plus, these specials are backed by some killer artists including Bill Sienkiewicz, Greg Scott, Roger Robinson, Hilary Barta, Scott McDaniel, and Andy Owens. Fitting these four issues into your order might taking a little more tightening of the belt, but I think they could be definitely worth it.

- Doom Patrol #1: Finally! It seems like DC has been talking about this reboot for months now, so I was happy to see it finally solicited. Kieth Giffen seems like a perfect fit for this book. To sweeten the pot, and to soften the blow of the $3.99 admission price, there is a Metal Men co-feature co-written by Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis with art from Kevin Maguire! That's right, this is the celebrated team that brought us the original JLI title in the late 1980s. I hope Giffen's back to the basics approach works out better for him that it did for John Byrne. I love all the various incarnations of this team and I am highly anticipating the release of this title.

- Peter & Max: A Fables Novel: This is another book that seems to have been discussed for a while now by the folks over at Vertigo. If you aren't reading Fables, you truly are missing out on one of the best titles to ever be published. This prose novel from Bill Willingham will be supported by ink drawings from Fables artist Steve Leialoha. Vertigo always does a good job with these special hardcovers and I don't think this one will disappoint any regular Fables fans. Sounds really good to me!



That's it for me this week! You can of course check out the Previews website from Diamond Distributors if you want to browse more solicitations and news.

Next week, I'll be back to talk about how my comic book life is changing now that the big wedding date is coming up faster than a speeding bullet. What am I doing to myself?
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5.23.2009

Shout Outs! and Scream Ats!

by Matt


Welcome to another "Shout Out/Scream At!” column! where I take a look at what makes me a happy fanboy (Shout Outs!) and what frustrates me (Scream Ats!) about the comic industry. With this column I will be covering Captain Britain, DC's Blackest Night, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and DC's Human Target hitting the small screen.!

SHOUT OUT! Blackest Night
I have never collected Green Lantern. My first exposure to the character (and to the DC Universe) was Zero Hour and Grant Morrison's JLA. I have always been intrigued by the concept of Green Lantern but never made the move to try him out officially by reading his book. I was also a little dissatisfied with Final Crisis and was slowly losing my interest in the DC universe as a whole. I was not going to pick up the Blackest Night event but there were 3 things that made me want to at least check it out. First, the Martian Manhunter revealed as a Black Lantern. The Martian Manhunter is my favorite DC character and I was ticked that he was killed in Final Crisis (I was real happy with Final Crisis: Requiem) and I am really curious about where being a Black Lantern will take him. Second, I couldn't resist Blackest Night #0 since it was free and it had a great balance of new content and provided enough information for me to catch up with all the current Green Lantern news. And I have always liked Johns writing and Ivan Reis's artwork. And lastly, Mailordercomics had the first issue for only 99 cents so why not give it a read? I am hoping this event is great. I have dropped all DC books and I miss the DC Universe.

SCREAM AT! X-Men Origins: Wolverine
For the most part I enjoyed the film and I saw it a second time with my dad and it was much better with a second viewing. I am not the type to be picky about how the movie compares to the comic, so I didn't mind the changes that were made to some of the characters. What I didn't like, and still didn't like upon the second viewing was the death of Silver Fox. I just found it utterly unbelievable that Wolverine would have been fooled with her death. He has been around death by being involved in so many wars, I am sure he could smell it. And the blood Sabretooth poured on her? Wolverine would know if it was her blood or not, I don't think he could have been fooled so easily. It would have made Sabretooth all the more bad ass if he had really iced her the first time.

SHOUT OUT! Banshee in Wolverine movie!
Did you catch the small cameo of my favorite X-Man Banshee? You do remember that Banshee was the FIRST X-Man to be portrayed live action. Anyone remember that horrible Generation X pilot? This huge Banshee fan was so bored he fell asleep and missed most of the show!

SHOUT OUT! Human Target TV series
I loved, loved the last Human Target comic series produced by Vertigo. I highly recommend snagging the first Human Target miniseries to get a taste of what the Human Target is all about. The small clips of the show look a little hokey and I am hoping that Hollywood doesn't just make this a cliche action show. I hope that they stick close to the Vertigo series and really make the stories about the man (Christopher Chance) having difficulties with taking on multiple persona's. Either way, I am looking forward to the series and will certainly catch it when it hits the airwaves. You can see the video clips here.



SCREAM AT! Captain Britain Cancelled
Paul Cornell recently stated on his blog that Captain Britain and MI:13 has been canceled. BOOOO! This was perhaps the only Marvel title that I was enjoying consistently. I thought Cornell really understood the Captain Britain character, Cap has not been written like this since the old Ellis run on Excalibur. What really makes me scream about this cancellation is that I was certain (and I could be wrong) that Joe Quesada said he was raising the prices on more popular titles so that Marvel could continue to afford to put out less popular titles like this one. It feels like Marvel is taking their money and running. I would have gladly paid $3.99 for this book anyway and I am happy that Cornell got to end the book the way he wanted too.

SCREAM AT! Captain Britain Omnibus Rescheduled Again!
I am sure that with Marvel releasing this huge Omnibus they wanted to capitalize on both the success and buzz of the new Captain Britain series and name drop Alan Moore. Funny, (well, not really that funny) that the new Captain Britain series has just been canceled and this Omnibus has been moved from June 17th to a new shipping date of July 1st. This was supposed to have been released March 25th. Now I fear that Marvel might just cancel this book entirely!
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5.12.2009

Shout Outs! and Scream Ats! Volume 5

by Matt


Welcome to my fifth “Shout Out/Scream At!” column! With this column I will be taking a look at what makes me a happy fanboy (Shout Outs!) and what frustrates me (Scream Ats!) within the comic industry. Today I will be covering Marvel's new Reborn series, Spider-Man and the X-Men, Sparta USA, Anniversary issue numbering and Avatar comics!


SHOUT OUT! Dave Lapham's new series, Sparta, USA
As sad as I am with the cancellation of Young Liars, I am thrilled that Dave Lapham has a new series coming out from Wildstorm called Sparta, USA. In his own words, he describes Sparta as "a typical middle-America town, and yes they love their football. In fact, their whole culture is built around football and apple pie. Oh, and upward mobility through subterfuge. I wanted to set a story in a self-contained town with an idyllic fa├žade but behind the scenes it was all spy games and sabotage. Sort of “Desperate Housewives” on crack. And not a soap opera. You’re the stock boy, you want to be shift supervisor, so you arrange for the old supervisor to have an accident, or a scandal." Unfortunately he is not providing the art on the series but the book is in good hands with Johnny Timmons at the helm. Football and Lapham, two of my favorite things!

SCREAM AT! Marvel's new Reborn series
I was really hoping that this was going to spotlight the return of Banshee but we all know who is returning. And we all knew it was inevitable. It just seems like yesterday that Steve Rogers was killed and I was hoping that he would stay that way for a bit longer. I like Steve as much as the next guy but I thought Bucky made a more interesting Captain America. Couple that with the $3.99 price tag and I am passing on this. And is it just me or has Bryan Hitch's work just not been the same? His work is solid enough but I have not enjoyed it as much as his work on the Authority and the first Ultimates series. If Steve Epting were drawing it, I would be all over it.

SHOUT OUT! Spider-Man and the X-Men mini series
The recent Spider-Man/X-Men series left me begging for more. I picked up this series because I have become a huge fan of Christos Gage but it was the beautiful cover by Mario Albreti that really sealed the deal. His artwork did not disappoint at all, I knew this series was a winner when I opened up the first issue and saw a panel of Gwen Stacy. The writing was a ton of fun too, Gage takes you through a new story involving Spider-Man and the X-Men and through various time frames. You get the first X-Men team, college Peter Parker, the black Spider-Man suit, the Morlock Massacre, Ben Reilly, Wolverine with bone claws and the present day X-Men and Spider-Man. And the villains are some of my favorites too, Kraven the Hunter, the Blob, Carnage, Mister Sinister and the Marauders. I don't want to spoil any of the story here, you'll have to trust me on this. If any of the above eras are a soft spot for you, I highly recommend picking up this series. How much did I like it? If a sequel is made with the same creative team, I would be HAPPY to plunk down $3.99. But SHHHHHH... don't tell Marvel that!

SCREAM AT! Dark X-Men Mini
When all the Dark X-Men images were hitting the Internet we were all speculating that this was going to be a new series. But then I heard that the Dark X-Men would appear within the pages of the Uncanny X-Men and I was happy. Then the new solicitations came out and sure enough, there was a new Dark X-Men mini solicited. Not only was it $3.99 but TWO issues were coming out during the same month. I love Cloak and Dagger and I am very excited that they are appearing in an X-title but I am going to have to pass on this. I cannot afford to spend an extra $8 bucks in one month. Not even the power of Paul Cornell can help me on this one. Guess I will have to wait for trade on this one.

SHOUT OUT! Anniversary Issue Renumbering
I am a little on the fence with this one. Part of me hates renumbering because it causes such headaches to keep track of. Especially if you are purchasing back issues (do people still do that?) and when you are filing away your books. But the other part of me (the really geeky part) is thrilled that Marvel is going back and renumbering its main titles. I always thought that it was cool that DC had books that were way up in their numbers and I hated that Marvel would just start a title back with a #1 just to sell more copies. I liked bragging that I started collecting the Uncanny X-Men with issue #200. That means I have been collecting that title for over 300 issues! I can't say the same with the other Marvel titles. Saying that you have been collecting Captain America since #310 of Volume 1 just doesn't have the same ring to it. Even though it will create some headaches, I am proud that Marvel is embracing their history.

SCREAM AT! Stinky Avatar comics!
I purchase my comics online and I can always tell when I have ordered an Avatar comic. I have been enjoying Doktor Sleepless (when I think I understand it) and I am loving Ignition City but it is a pain to really enjoy them. The ink or paper, or combination of the two really make the book stink! I had to put aside Ignition City #2 because of the smell. They really got to do something about that!

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5.08.2009

Panelology


by Brandon

What do Punisher, Eminem, Free Comic Book Day, Wolverine, Star Trek and DC's Multiversity have in common? Do I really have to tell you they end up being discussed in this week's column? I do actually rant and rave about all of these things. Enter, those who are brave.

Free Comic Book Day Recap
I hope everyone had a good Free Comic Book Day this past Saturday. Mine was so-so. I visited two shops over the course of the day. Heroes Aren't Hard to Find in Charlotte, NC is where I always visit on FCBD. I think I've missed one year making the pilgrimage north. This year was a fairly disappointing year both in terms of the titles offered and how Heroes had actually set up the store. Of the titles offered, I really enjoyed the Love & Rockets book. It's nice to see L&R jump into the FCBD foray. The rest of the titles offered were pretty bland. Heroes had the titles spread out all over the store on the shelves next to the regular titles. That's good for them to get exposure of the regular books, but bad for fans who had to fight the crowds to get to the free books. Also, their enforcement was lax. I personally saw one guy who was pilfering seven or so copies of each title as he moseyed around the store. It doesn't take the detective skills of Batman to know where those books wound up. Can anyone say "Buy it now?" However, I did pick up the first three volumes of X-Men Essentials for less than $20. That was awesome. Newsarama had a good recap story of the fun had by all at Heroes, if you're interested.

That afternoon, I went to Heroes & Dragons in Columbia, SC. While the only free book they had left was Blackest Night, they had a phenomenal sale going on in their store. I have visited this store in the past when they have had their "sales" going on and wasn't too impressed. I walked in thinking I would walk out with very little. Wrong! Their sale was absolutely fantastic! Nearly everything in the store was on sale, if not at least 50% off. I managed to pick up quite a healthy stack of Justice League Europe issues, more than thirty in all, for around $23. Not bad. Not bad, at all.

Punishing Eminem
Reading about the Punisher/Eminem team-up this past week has depressed me a bit. Sweet Jesus, I thought we had moved past the era where we had to have ridiculous crossovers involving Frank. I guess not. Though Frank has teamed up with lots of folks ranging from Wolverine to Archie, this one most definitely takes the cake for the "WTF" award. I think Punisher would put a bullet between the little prick's eyes just for the principle of the matter irregardless for his misogyny. If you're interested, XXL has the first part and should be on sale for your reading pleasure. Marvel will probably release a collected edition of the story... which means I may buy it.

I know, I know. Damn me to hell for being a Punisher completest. In a bit of positive Punisher news from Robot 6, it appears as if Jason Aaron ad Steve Dillon might be the new creative team on Punisher Max. Cool. I'm down with that so long as it's 100% Eminem free.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine = Meh
Already seen Wolverine? I did last weekend. It was mindless fun at best. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either. I think there were lots of cool snippets and scenes throughout the film, but I kept feeling like there was something missing. Perhaps it was a cohesive threatening villain? I never really felt any suspense throughout the film because Stryker and Sabertooth were going to live and Deadpool was pretty much a no-show until the final, over-the-top action scene. It was cool to see Gambit, but he could have been used a bit more. In fact, my biggest complaint about the entire film was the usage of too many mutants. It was cool to see them all on the big screen, but if they had just stuck with a couple core characters, it would would have been much more effective. I could have given a shit when Bolt was killed if they had taken the time to build him up. I could have given a shit that Xavier showed up beyond a "hey, that's neat" knee-jerk reaction if they had built that yup a bit more. Instead, we get a Cliff Notes version of each character at best; quantity over quality.

The film probably falls somewhere between X-3 and X-1 for me, with X-2 still being the best. maybe they will choose to move the story further in the next film rather than diddling around in the past. I feel like the above complaints make it seem like I hated the film. It was enjoyable and action packed, what you would expect from a Wolverine film. I think the cast could have been cut by at least half in order to provide a little breathing room rather than providing the obligation to spend a little time with a lot of characters. The general consensus amongst critics and fans is that the filmmakers should have let this one cook a little bit more. Let's hope they get off to a better start with the next film.

Making the Trek
Wolverine can kiss his spot at the top of the box office for good this weekend. Star Trek comes out today. I saw it earlier and it is wonderful. Very seldom does a hyped film live up to its hype, let alone even surpass it. Star Trek does. J.J. Abrams somehow manages to breathe life back into the barely limping franchise with this movie. Hardcore Trek fans will find much to complain about, but as a casual Trek fan, this was just an awesome film watching experience. Each actor must have been carefully vetted by the creative team behind this movie because they all nailed their roles perfectly. The mix of action, sharp banter, and the promise of a new day for Trek fans is overwhelming, but in a good way. I won't spoil anything for you, my fine readers. Just go see the film.

Flunking out of the Multiversity
I think DC hates bringing in new fans. I really do. I've been on a reeducation journey with DC, picking up books that I enjoyed from my youth and books that I missed out on that are supposedly classic. With such an emphasis on old DC, I must admit that my curiosity about what's going on in the modern DCU is piqued. Well, it is until I read an interview or story like this; Multiversity. What the hell, DC? Do you enjoy confusing people that much? Do you need to mire all of that talent under your publishing house in all of that useless continuity and multiple universe junk? I would have thought the fan backlash from Final Crisis would have taught DC a lesson. Instead, it seems that they are getting trapped in Grant Morrison's endless cycle of ideas. I love many things Grant Morrison has written. he's one of my favorite creators. However, he seems to be throwing a lot of big ideas on the wall with very little thoughtful execution to shore them up with. I think DC needs a Dr. Phil style intervention. I would pay big money to see Dan Didio sitting across from Dr. Phil as he starts into one of his "Dan, what's your problem?" rants. Maybe that very event is occurring in the multiverse right now. Who knows?
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5.04.2009

Shout Outs! and Scream Ats! Special Wolverine Edition

by Matt


Welcome to a very special “Shout Out/Scream At!” column dedicated to my fellow Canadian Wolverine! With the new Wolverine movie coming out I am dedicated this column to what makes me a happy fanboy (Shout Outs!) and what frustrates me (Scream Ats!) about Wolverine.

SHOUT OUT! Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
I never thought in my wildest dreams that they could get an actor that could portray Wolverine the way Hugh Jackman did. And I cannot imagine anyone else playing Wolverine. Hugh was the third man cast for Wolverine, Russell Crowe was the first choice but he backed out due to the pay he was going to get. Dougray Scott was the second choice but he had to back out because of another movie he was filming. Hugh Jackman was the right choice and I knew it the moment I saw him.



SCREAM AT! Wolverine's claws
This drives me nuts to no end. Ever since the X-Men movie came out, Wolverine's claws have looked different. In the beginning, Wolverine's claws came out on top of his hands. Not in between his knuckles. Marvel claims that movies do not affect the comics but I call baloney on this one. I am old school, I think they looked cooler on top of the knuckles and not in the middle of them.





SHOUT OUT! Wolverine Declawed
It sure took Magneto a long time to finally just rip the metal out of Wolverine and I couldn't believe that it actually happened in X-Men #25. What I really liked about it is that it took Marvel a good chunk of time for the Adamantium to return. Wolverine without metal first appeared in Wolverine #75 and it took until issue #145 to get it back. That was about five years he had the bone claws! And that was another cool surprise seeing him pop the bone claws for the first time. I thought Marvel really showed some guts with this move. They first teased him getting his metal back with #100, which I liked because Wolverine chooses to be an animal than pay the price for getting the metal and that it swerved readers and the metal would not come back for another couple of years. Unfortunately he looked really, really stupid. No nose, really hairy arms, he walked like an ape and wore a bandana. Ugh, that part was just horrible and I was glad it didn't last that long.

SCREAM AT! Daken Overdose
I didn't mind the addition of Daken in Wolverine: Origins but he is wearing out his welcome. Wolverine is overexposed but at least I like that character and I never felt in the beginning that he was forced down my throat the way Daken is. Marvel is trying to hard to make me like him by throwing him all over the place. To be fair, I do like that he is part of Dark Avengers but I am not happy that he is taking the best Wolverine costume with him!




SHOUT OUT! Wolverine: First Class
This series makes me laugh. I don't consider this series to be canonical and I think that is what makes me like it. There is nothing mind blowing about this series but I enjoy it quite a bit. I really like that his relationship with Kitty feels like it got its start here. Issue #6 is my favorite. Wolverine has to babysit Kitty, Siryn and Amp (the girl they rescued in the first issue) and all he wants to do is watch the hockey game. And of course, that doesn't happen. This book is just harmless fun.



SCREAM AT! Wolverine "Enemy of the State"
I did enjoy Mark Millar and John Romita Jr's run on the book quite a bit. Romita was the main pull for me and I was not disappointed. The story was like a summer action picture and I was in for the ride. The thing that really bugged me about this run was Wolverine killing Northstar. I didn't mind that Millar had Wolverine killing a teammate but I think it was not as a big deal as Millar thought it was. Wolverine killed a teammate but he did not kill someone he was extremely close too. Wolverine never served with Northstar in Alpha Flight, Wolverine was before his time. Northstar and Wolverine were not friends, they were co-workers at best. They never hung out together and Northstar was barely a member of the X-Men when he was killed. It would have made the impact Millar wanted if only Millar was able to kill someone that meant more to Wolverine. I can think of at least five other Alpha Flight members that would have meant more to him than Northstar. Now I am not saying it was not traumatic, it just wasn't as big as Millar and Marvel hyped.

Wolverine still ranks as one of my favorite characters and no matter what happens to him, I will still want to read about it.
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