Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesdaybusiness 2/27/13

Yeah so I'm a little drunk. Also I haven't slept properly in days? But I figured why let that stop me from talking shit on the internet, AMIRITE? There were a lot of comics today that I was pretty stoked about, so expect a little bit of gushing. And probably not so many words, because focusing my eyes is... hard.

Also, I didn't fuck around with any DC books this week, because I couldn't handle that sort of grumpyfeels. But friends are starting to recommend some DC books to me that they think won't send me to The Bad Place. If you can think of any current DC shit that you're enjoying, let me know in comments, otherwise I'll have to start reviewing old stuff just to prove I'm not one of those obnoxious Marvel fanboys who just hates DC on principle, because that is SO not the case.


Avengers Arena #5 by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker

This book remains strangely readable, even though I don't know who half these kids are and I think they got the character of Arcade completely wrong and the story is an obvious cash-in on the popularity of The Hunger Games. I'm quite enjoying it, and would definitely recommend it... but really I have no idea why.

Take that however you want to take it, I guess.


FF #4 by Matt Fraction and Mike Allred

You guys, I fucking love this comic.

I'm not entirely sure why, but Marvel dropped a few Valentine's Day issues this week. DC dropped their Valentine's Day special the week before Valentine's Day. Neither released any the week OF Valentine's Day. Publishing is weird, y'all.

Anyways, the main story arc has been relegated to about four pages in this issue, to make room for an extremely fun story about She-Hulk going on a date with ex-lover Wyatt Wingfoot... while the Future Foundation's resident Moloid Kids try and fail to spoil said date, due to their love for "The Jen".

The only problem I really see with this book is that it would make very little sense to somebody who didn't basically follow the entirety of Hickman's FF run. And you also need to possess a bit of knowledge about She-Hulk's romantic life as well, I guess. However, if you like comics and HAVEN'T read Hickman's FF run, you're missing out anyway, so you'd better get on that, for real.

And Mike Allred is killing it on the art as well. I've always been a fan of his work, and he is really on top of his game here.

I haven't implemented any kind of rating system on this blog, but fuck it: I give this book 5 of 5 stars. Jyeah!


Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven

You know that stupid bullshit thing that Bendis does that I hate? That thing where he retcons a character's origin and fucks around with basic facts about their past and personality, just so he can tell the story he wants to tell? Like the way he removed all that stuff with the High Evolutionary from Spider-Woman's past, or the way he wiped out anything noble about The Sentry and turned him into an insecure mess with fakey comicbook schizophrenia, or the way he decided that The Hood was actually powered by Dormammu, or the way he randomly gave the Scarlet Witch godlike powers she didn't have before, or the way he turned Namor, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Doctor Strange, and Professor X all into a bunch of short-sighted narcissistic assholes? Yeah, I hate it when he fucking does that.

So this book is a retelling of Star-Lord's origin story that completely ignores or completely changes roughly 90% of what happened in his ACTUAL origin story. And now Star-Lord's been a noble hero like, since birth, instead of being kind of an arrogant prick, which is his only defining character trait!

This is all leading up to a new GotG ongoing, I guess, which is leading up to the GotG movie.

I once heard this bit of sage wisdom from a fella who works at my local comic shop: "Bendis is only good when he's playing with his own toys." And it's completely true. A lot of his independent work is top-notch, and Alias is genuinely one of my favorite Marvel comics of all time, but Christ I hate it when he writes mainstream superhero books.


Hawkeye #8 by Matt Fraction and David Aja

This morning, the homie Dale of Pine Cone Comics Club said on his Facebook page simply "New Hawkguy Day!" That's all that needs to be said, really.

This continues to be an excellent comic, and I love it to itty bitty bits. There are plenty of critical analyses of this book all over the interweb, but I find that the best way to recommend it to people is to just show them a panel or two. They usually end up hooked.

This is how Hawkguy's Valentine's Day went down.


Journey Into Mystery #649 by Kathryn Immonen and Valerio Schiti

Another comic that I love love love. Kathryn Immonen has this beautiful blend of silly and surreal to her writing, and a real talent for brief, hyper-kinetic action scenes. This comic is also one of the best onomatopoeia delivery-systems available.

There was a brief and not-terribly-necessary cameo wherein The Superior Spider-Man tries to put the moves on the newly-berserkerfied Lady Sif. They made an editor's note on the page, indicating why exactly Spidey was acting so strangely; something they probably ought to have done in last week's issue of Avengers, where he simply came across as a bully for no good reason.

This was balanced out by a glorious montage of a few of my favorite Marvel characters (Photon! Hellcat!) fighting off various 1950s Marvel and Proto-Marvel monsters, which has become a recurring theme of this story (and was an important piece of Journey Into Mystery back in those days as well).

This comic is pure fun, and this issue in particular had one gag that I genuinely laughed out loud at. Don't let the #649 scare you off this book: The current story has only been running since #646, and you should absolutely read it.


Punisher: War Zone #5 (of 5) by Greg Rucka and Carmine Di Giandomenico 

This is a series that I really didn't want to see end. I feel like Greg Rucka is one of the best - and most underemployed - writers in the business. Like, how can this dude have won four Eisner Awards, one Harvey Award, and a GLAAD Media Award, and still only get tossed a miniseries here and there by both Marvel and DC?

Anyway, this miniseries was a genuinely fascinating look at the Punisher and how he fits into the Marvel Universe as a whole. It's actually not so much a Punisher story as it is an Avengers story: Spider-Man (pre-brainswitch) convinces his fellow Avengers that it's finally time to go after Frank Castle and find some way to detain him (because if you put him in jail he just kills everybody in the jail). Wolverine is actively against it, and essentially defects to the Punisher's side. Black Widow has a grudging respect for the Punisher, though doesn't shy away from her duties as an Avenger. Iron Man thinks it's beneath him, essentially brushing off the street-level side of the Marvel U as unworthy of the Avengers' time. Thor brings Frank a six-pack of beer and tries to chat with him, warrior-to-warrior. And Captain America is morally conflicted, because all the best stories are about Captain America being morally conflicted.

I think the best character-moment of this series was between Spider-Man and the Punisher, when Spidey says "You're not the only person to have lost people you love; You're just the guy who turned it into an excuse to commit murder!" It doesn't quite put Frank in his place like Spidey wants it to - and it shouldn't - but it does do a very good job of explaining why Peter Parker would find what Frank Castle does so damned offensive.

This being the final issue of the miniseries, I don't really want to spoil the ending. Granted, the big ending of this miniseries has already been undone a couple months ago, and Frank is starring in the new Thunderbolts series now, but still. Suffice it to say that all of the Avengers attack Frank at once, and he gives them a solid fight, and it's a really fun and powerful read. Go get it.

Iron Man: Not Better Than The Punisher


Thunderbolts #5 by Daniel Way and Steve Dillon

And that leads us to the new book that the Punisher is in, Thunderbolts. I'm gonna' be real here: I still have no fucking idea what's happening in this book. It is really taking its sweet-ass time to get around to the plot.

Also, at one point, Elektra and the Punisher have hot makeouts after a killing spree, and that is not how the Punisher operates in my version of things. This shit's not supposed to be fun for him.

Steve Dillon's art is still perfect for what this book is trying to do, though. I just wish the book would hurry up and do something.


Uncanny X-Force #2 by Sam Humphries and Ron Garney

 So far, this comic has not won me over, even with the presence of FuckYeahMohawkStorm. The characters have mostly just been complaining for two issues, except for Puck, who has been turned into an obnoxious pervert.

The previous Uncanny X-Force series was fucking brilliant, so this new book has a lot to live up to, and so far it's not doing so well. It's still early, though.


Uncanny X-Men #2 by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo

Everybody stood around talking. The end.


Uncanny Avengers #4 by Rick Remender and John Cassaday

While Uncanny X-Men has no action, Uncanny Avengers is ALL action. The Red Skull stole Charles Xavier's brain and is trying to use it to mind-control all of NYC into a violent anti-mutant mob. Captain America has put Havok in charge of a small group of Avengers and X-Men, and they are fighting the Red Skull. That's it.

And I don't mean to make this comic sound boring, because it isn't at all. It's terrific. However, there really isn't a whole lot I can say about it without resorting to "And then so-and-so punched this guy and it was all like BAM and he was all like 'UGH' and then everyone EXPLODED!"

There is also a disarmingly sweet, tender moment between Wolverine and Thor at the end of this issue. It was wonderful and unexpected, which is something I've come to love about Rick Remender's comics.


Young Avengers #2 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

So far, this is a very fun comic. Like a lot of the other Marvel NOW! books, it's spending a lot of time establishing its characters, and trying to slowly build up a team dynamic. Unlike a lot of the other Marvel NOW! books, it's not being FUCKING BORING about it.

This is an ultra-stylized book, and it cribs a little bit from other ultra-stylized books from the past - this issue cribbed pretty excessively from the Morrison/Hazlewood Animal Man run - but it never gets overpowering or distracts from the story. And so far the story is pretty solid: We've already got a small Skrull invasion, a demon from another dimension, and some Asgardian Frost Giants, just in two issues. The characters are tightly-written and very distinct, and their interactions are fun and clever.

In a kind of rare case, this is a book where I love the characters, love the writer, and love the artist. That may give me some unrealistic expectations for this series, but I'll try to keep it in check as we move ahead.

Not important to the plot, but I thought it was pretty funny.

Monday, February 25, 2013

One of THOSE Days...

I think my answer to everything today is just Ashley Judd Star Trek Card.

Ashley Judd Star Trek Card.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wednesdaybusiness 2/20/13


I spent Wednesday the 20th immersed in Dwayne McDuffie's work. Then things got weird for a few days, and now I'm back. So here are my reviews for last week's comics.

There are a few books that I wanted to review - Captain Marvel, Thor: God of Thunder, Daredevil, X-Factor, and Captain America - where I still need to catch up on some back issues to know what the fuck's going on. But all of them seem quite good from what I've read so far. Expect to read my Opinions™ on those titles soon enough.


Nova #1 by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness

I'm gonna' start out with this week's biggest surprise.

Typically, if I see the names Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness on comics, I stay away. Jeph Loeb is the dude who wrote one of the most baffling X-Men comics of all time, wherein we learn that while humans evolved from apes, mutants evolved from wolves, and there will always be a large blonde wolf-person and a short brunette wolf-person, and there always has been, and that's why Wolverine has to chop off Sabretooth's head (At least that's what I took away from it. Don't bother correcting me because I don't care.). Ed McGuinness is the dude who draws Superman and Batman as though they are identical twins, and seems to think that all men have 2-foot-long arms and all women have eyes the size of grapefruits.

However, they've been promoting this new version of Nova since the beginning of Marvel NOW! as though it's going to be a flagship title, so I decided to check it out. And it was pretty good.

We haven't actually seen any superheroics yet, but we've gotten a new young character established... and established in such a way that he won't necessarily interfere with anything that's happened with the previous Nova character, which is a very good thing. We also get the return of Rocket Raccoon and Gamora, who I assume we'll be seeing a lot of in the year or so building up to the Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

The only thing that's a bit baffling is that this is very clearly the origin story of a new character... but we've already seen this character show up months ago, at the very beginning of the whole Avengers versus X-Men thing. I'm not quite sure what sort of "present" we're in here. But it doesn't particularly matter, I guess.

All in all, I'd say pick up this book. Get introduced to Sam Alexander, Marvel's newest in a long and wonderful line of brooding, troubled teenage superheroes.


Alpha: Big Time #1 by Joshua Fialkov and Nuno Plati

This comic was sort of the opposite of Nova for me. It's introducing an angsty teenage superhero into the Marvel Universe, but it didn't succeed in making me give a damn about him.

Alpha's a young jerk with superpowers, but not enough of a jerk to be interesting like The Hood. He's an inexperienced teenager with massive power, but is not too powerful or too inexperienced, which keeps him from being as fun as Invincible. And his whole schtick is that he can only use one superpower at a time, which is something that Ultra Boy has been rocking since 1962.

It feels weird to say it, but I honestly think that Nova - who is a legacy character through and through - felt far more original than this totally new character.

I don't really expect this guy to maintain his own title for very long. My best wish for Alpha is that he fades quietly into obscurity for about 10-20 years, then suddenly has a triumphant return at the hands of a really talented writer who makes him into something cool and interesting.


Savage Wolverine #2 by Frank Cho

I didn't quite know how to feel about the first issue of this series, as I couldn't quite tell if it was trying to be retro on purpose. This second issue delivered the point home a bit better, and it is definitely pretty fun.

I genuinely have NO IDEA how or where this comic is fitting into the Marvel Universe Continuity... and I think it's great. The first issue had Wolverine literally just fall out of the sky and plop into The Savage Land, where he is now running around with Shanna the She-Devil and fighting dinosaurs. That's, like, the whole plot. It's just pulpy adventure: It's like The Phantom with adamantium claws.

The dialogue is a little obnoxious with its quippiness, though I think that's intentional, and part of the charm. And I love the overwrought, melodramatic narration; it's straight out of the 1930s and makes me smile, even though I know it's all just smirky camp.

It's like Wolverine's dialogue is being written by Spaceman Spiff.


Indestructible Hulk #4 by Mark Waid and Leinil Yu

I'm just gonna' go ahead and say that Indestructible Hulk is an awesome series, and you should buy it. I'm not even going to summarize it for you. Just buy it.

The only thing about this issue that I'm going to tell you is that at one point a bunch of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents shove Bruce Banner into a torpedo tube and launch him at a sea-monster. Seriously, go buy it.


Superior Spider-Man #4 by Dan Slott and Giuseppe Camuncoli

Well, as I predicted last month, as soon as Mary Jane was removed from the story it got a lot more fun. I'm not quite sure why the book's already switched to a new artist so early in its life, but Camuncoli holds his own in the current semi-cartoonish Spidey status quo. He draws Spider-Man a little bulkier than I'd like, but it's not even close to Ed McGuinness bulky, so I can't really complain.

This issue advances the idea of Otto Octavius learning how to live Peter Parker's crummy life by having him find out - at a very inopportune time - that Parker never completed his Doctorate. Not only is he no longer an Octopus, he's no longer a Doctor either. So he goes back to college, and it is lovely.

The issue builds up the return of Massacre, a villain I'm not too fond of. His only "super power" is that he's brain-damaged, and incapable of feeling remorse, which... isn't totally okay with me. And beyond the ablist nature of the character, I also would much rather see Otto Spidey take on more classic Marvel villains. Thankfully, the Green Goblin shows up at the end of this issue, which is usually a welcome sight in a Spider-Man book, and especially in this one. I'm just hoping Massacre bums around murdering folks for one or two issues and then shuffles back off to the weird 1990s time-warp he popped out of.


Morbius: The Living Vampire #2 by Joseph Keatinge and Richard Elson

I didn't pick up this book when it first came out, because I kept hearing people saying how stupid it was and how it wasn't at all true to the character. But this week I got caught up on it and... I like it. I don't fucking get comic fans sometimes.

Dr. Michael Morbius is trying to lay low for a while in a bad neighborhood until some ugly business blows over and he can make his way back to his lab. He's living on the street, making friends with scrappy homeless people and occasionally ripping somebody's throat open. I dunno'... It's fun.



Dark Avengers #187 by Jeff Parker and Neil Edwards

 At this point, this book is so deep into the plot that it wouldn't make any sense at all to a new reader. That being said, I really look forward to this book every month, and think Jeff Parker is fucking excellent. I'd advise everybody to go back to the beginning of this series and start reading it, because it's been a good, solid, fun comic the whole way through.

Also, U.S. Agent is back! Most people probably don't care, but I do!


Avengers #6 by Jonathan Hickman and Adam Kubert

As I mentioned two weeks ago, this book sort of started out as an Avengers story, and then morphed into a series of one-shots introducing new members of the team and going over their origin stories. This one's about the new Captain Universe, which feels completely unnecessary given the fact that Captain Universe can literally be somebody totally different tomorrow. The transient nature of the character is what makes hir interesting, so I hope they don't plan to tie hir down to this one host-body for too long.

I really liked where this story was headed, but I feel like it's kind of ground to a halt, and I really want it to pick back up. Right now everyone's just sort of wandering around telling eachother their backstories while Tony Stark tinkers away on the plot in his little lab.

One thing that was interesting about this issue: There was a brief scene of Spider-Man being an absolute bully towards Cannonball and Sunspot, and I was surprised and offended until I remembered that Spidey is walking around with the mind of Doctor Octopus. I think somebody picking this book up in trade five years from now might be very put off by that scene if it's lacking the context of the Marvel NOW! promotional blitz.


Justice League of America #1 by Geoff Johns and David Finch

You guys... I don't think I'm ever going to stop laughing at this cover. The Justice League of New Hampshire, you guys! Seriously, you guys... seriously. This is a thing that was published and sold in stores. It is... the best thing.

As for the comic itself... I hated it.

I am really trying to find a DC comic that I can say positive things about on this blog, but everything is 17 issues deep, and things have already gotten surprisingly convoluted in that 17 months, and any time I think I see a jumping-on point the comic ends up being terrible.

So this story is about tall, skinny Amanda Waller (who is sort of like my favorite DC villain, except they traded "interesting character" for "generic sexy person who doesn't really ever do anything but pose sexily") putting together a sort-of-but-not-really Suicide Squad, with Steve Trevor as a sort-of-but-not-really Rick Flag Junior, to fight the other Justice League. Oh, but not the other Justice League like Justice League Dark or Justice League International... the other Justice League of America. I guess. I was skimming. Also, Martian Manhunter is like a scary semi-villainous guy now? I didn't know that.

Anyway, whenever I see the Nü52 version of Amanda Waller, all I can see if a red wave of ragevision for a little while, so I missed most of the story, which had an awful lot of words. The art was busy and had a lot of cross-hatching, and all the men were gritting their teeth and all the women showed me their butts.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

We Miss You, Dwayne

Normally on Wednesdays I post reviews of the new releases, but this week I'm gonna' put that off for a minute. Today is what would've been Dwayne McDuffie's 51st birthday, and I sort of feel like his are the only comics worth reading right now.

I don't believe in an afterlife, so saying "Rest in Peace" is insincere. I  feel like the best way to honor the man is to appreciate his art, and he created quite a lot of it.

So if you need me, I'll be smoothing out the pages of my well-loved Fantastic Four trades, sitting in a pile of Icon and Hardware back-issues I've had since I was a kid, and watching Justice League Unlimited while I try to find Damage Control online.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Nü52 Wishes Us All An Icky Valentine's Day!

This book actually came out last week, but I thought I'd save it as a special Valentine's Day treat. For whom, I'm not sure, but whatever. I give you DC's Young Romance #1.

(TW: Violence, lots and lots of violence, a shocking amount of violence really for a book called "Young Romance"?)

#1 One-Shot! Rated "T" for Teen!

The fun starts right on the cover, because ARMORED BUTT. I love that Wonder Woman's metal(?) armor has a built-in wedgie. Also, I love that her nipples are apparently located somewhere on the bottom of her gigantic breasts. And I love that they're straight-up dry-humping over the smoldering corpses of their enemies. And Superman's knee-pads. Oh God, Superman's knee-pads. I know this gripe is like a year-and-a-half old by now but... WHY DOES SUPERMAN NEED ARMOR? HE'S SUPERMAN! WHY, JIM LEE? WHY?!

So once you get past the cover (which, to be real, took me a few minutes), then you're forced to deal with the stories. And... hoo boy. They sure are something. Let's take a look, won't we?


Batman and Catwoman in "Think It Through" by Nocenti, Lupacchino, and Mendoza

Catwoman: Hella Emo
We kick things off with a story about Batman and Catwoman. Which I guess makes sense, as one of the defining early stories of this bold new era featured them fucking the shit out of each other on a rooftop. So there's definitely some romantic tension to be mined here.

Or at least, that's what you'd think. Instead, the story opens on Catwoman, having failed a robbery(?!?!), sitting on a rooftop being reflective and mopey. Because that's what I think of when I think of Catwoman, and also when I think of romance.

Catwoman starts to reminisce about the first time she met Batman. And I know it's common practice for me to say that The Nü52 gets everything wrong, but MAN, The Nü52 gets EVERYTHING wrong. Batman: Year One is basically the perfect Batman comic. Y'all just released it as an animated feature last year! Why you gotta' fuck with it?!

Turns out that Catwoman first met Batman when she and her teenage boyfriend attempted to steal some shit from some poor people. Batman showed up, knocked them around, and scolded them like they were small children.

Please don't say "huge spunk" again, Batman.
A few things came to mind with this particular panel. Firstly, all the little armor lines on Batman. Again, I know this is old news, but it's just so unnecessary and fiddly. Secondly, the fact that Batman addresses everything to the male character; He doesn't speak one word to Young Catwoman in this scene, as clearly she just got herself wrapped up in this mess because women can't make decisions for themselves. Thirdly, and this is the thing that stuck out the most to me: Batman is at least twice the size of the other two characters. This was a narrative device used by George Lucas in the Star Wars movies to foreshadow that Darth Vader was Luke's father (SPOILERZ!), and here it comes across like the kiddos just ticked off Big Daddy Batman.

Though, to be totally fair, in their actual first encounter, Batman uttered the immortal line "QUIET OR PAPA SPANK!" Batman and Catwoman have a complicated relationship, y'all.

So Catwoman karate-kicks Batman once or twice, he chases after her, and then they smash through a window. That's it. That's the whole story. Young... Romance?


Aquaman and Mera in "The Lighthouse" by Castellucci and Miranda

This is the least objectionable story in this book, but that's only because nothing happens. Mera finds a stack of old love letters hidden away in their lighthouse, and she and Aquaman sit on the couch and read them. The letters tell a tragic story of love lost at sea, and it makes them both reflect on how lucky they are to have each other. It was nice, I guess. But I'd be lying if I said I didn't skim it.


Batgirl in "Dreamer" by Fawkes and Gopez

Wait, who is this guy again?

This was an odd one. I'm guessing it ties into the narrative of Gail Simone's ongoing Batgirl series or something. Apparently at some point in the past, Batgirl kissed this random thug, Ricky (who has a single crutch like Tiny Tim), for some reason that was not related to romance. Maybe a distraction or something? They don't explain it at all.

The story opens with Ricky committing petty burglaries to get Batgirl's attention so that maybe they can kiss again. She shows up, and then some other thugs show up and threaten her and Ricky, so she annihilates them. Then he badgers her into a pity kiss, and she gets totes turned on by it, much to her surprise. Is this a fanfic or something? Who is Ricky?

Now, I'm just gonna' skip the stalking and the sexual harassment. They are what they are, and clearly she enjoys the attention (Oh my God that actually hurt to type!). What I really want to explore is the extreme risk that this Ricky guy was taking here. How did he know that breaking into cars would summon Batgirl? What if he got Batman instead, or Robin, or the Red Hood, or Nightwing? He'd have ended up in the hospital, all because he was trolling for hot makeouts with a superhero.

Lastly, I took great delight in the fact that Batgirl's hair kept disappearing and reappearing from panel to panel. It's that sort of quality artwork that makes folks like me have such respect for DC Comics and the Nü52.

Kissing criminals makes her hair get sucked inside her cowl for 30 seconds.

Apollo and Midnighter in "Seoul Brothers" by Milligan and Bisley

I actually had high hopes for this story. While I haven't read the Nü52 Stormwatch series, Apollo and Midnighter are fun characters, and I quite like Peter Milligan as a writer. I've loved the bits and pieces of The Authority that I've read over the years... except for all the rapey garbage that Mark Millar wrote, or course.

I haven't actually gotten any chances to say it on this blog yet - so forgive me this brief tangent - but seriously, FUCK Mark Millar and his stupid bullshit rape fantasies. If you actually enjoy that piece of shit's comics, you and I need to sit down for a talk.

ANYWAY. I was a little dismayed to find in this story that they retconned away Apollo and Midnighter's marriage. In a lot of ways, I actually find that more upsetting then the undoing of the Superman/Lois Lane wedding. And judging by this (albeit short) story, they aren't even a couple anymore!

This story follows Apollo as he searches around Seoul for Midnighter to confess his feelings for him, but Midnighter is too busy kicking the holy hell out of a bunch of dudes with guns to really pay attention. When they finally get a moment alone together, Midnighter completely blows off Apollo's feelings.

Apollo then leaves, and the story ends with him hooking up with some Korean dude he met in a bar for some drinks and meaningless sex, while Midnighter presumably goes off to cave in some more heads. Young Romance is the title of this book, BTW. Just thought I'd remind y'all.

Unlike the others in this collection, this story actually was well-written and well-drawn, but... I still can't shake that Nü52 feeling. This is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. Well? How did I get here?


Nightwing and Ursa Minor in "Another Saturday Night" by Higgins and Greene

I seriously have no idea who Ursa Major is.
Nightwing's story opens with him being dumped by his girlfriend over an invisible telephone while he kicks a bunch of Asian-looking badguys in the face. I guess the Asian-looking badguys are attacking some white dude in a suit, whose bodyguard, a young lady in a ridiculous outfit apparently named Ursa Major, leaps into action. I have no idea if Ursa Major has ever appeared in another comicbook, for the record. She has no entry on Wikipedia, that's all I know.

I DO know that Ursa Major is a fucking AWESOME character over in the Marvel Universe. Also, my title isn't a typo: The title of this story refers to her as "Ursa Minor" but she is referred to as "Ursa Major" during the actual story.

At any rate, Ursa Major somehow overhears Dick's side of the conversation over all the screaming and kicking, takes pity on the poor dope, and decides to spend an evening leaping around on rooftops and eating takeout with him to cheer him up. It's actually a sweet little story. At the end of their super-date, Ursa Major says "Maybe we should do it again sometime." Nightwing suggests the next night, and she agrees.

He shows up the next night with a box of pizza in his hands and a smile on his face. AND SHE TOTALLY STANDS HIM UP.

That's fucking COLD, Ursa Major. You're demoted back to Ursa Minor.
I love the "END." It just drives home the emotional brutality of the whole thing. Romance!!!


Superman and Wonder Woman in "Truth Or Dare" by Diggle, Rocha, and Ferreire

Quit name-dropping, Hipster Wonder Woman.
Here we are at the meat and potatoes of this whole thing. Superman and Wonder Woman. The greatest romance of The Nü52 DC Universe. As might be expected, this is absolutely the most fucked-up story in the whole damned book.

Clark Kent and Diana are out on a date, at a romantic outdoor restaurant in Tuscany. They're having some light conversation about Diana's family, and OH MY GOD CLARK KENT JUST TOOK OFF HIS GLASSES IN PUBLIC.

He's clearly trying to make some sort of romantic gesture, with the whole "I can just be... ME," thing, but for serious: Clark Kent just can't take off his fucking glasses in the middle of a restaurant, no matter how comfortable he's feeling. That bald waiter? PROBABLY LEX LUTHOR IN A FAKE BEARD, ASSHOLE!

I suspect Clark was just too distracted by Wonder Woman's enormous breasts to realize his error in judgement.

So as they're sitting in a romantic outdoor Tuscan restaurant, they are listening to exactly the type of band you'd expect to see performing at a romantic outdoor Tuscan restaurant: Two punk-rock chicks with extremely erect nipples called "The Mantic Sisters".

Pony-Mohawk FTW!
To be fair, I've never been to Tuscany. Maybe this is totally normal. However, like most leather-clad Italian women, they turn out to be Sirens who are trying to enslave Superman and destroy Wonder Woman (again, I've never been to Tuscany, so I'm assuming this is what happens there). While their song takes its mental hold on Superman, one of their mentally enslaved minions attacks Wonder Woman with guns. Which... isn't that great of a strategy?

"Dammit! I totally didn't expect her to deflect the bullets with her magic bracelets!"
Wonder Woman nabs the dude in her Lasso of Truth, setting his mind free from the Sireens that loved him up and turned him into a horny-toad. Alas, they've already sunk the daggers of their evil feminine wiles into Superman, and he attacks Wonder Woman. Even the Lasso of Truth isn't enough to snap him out of it for... some... reason?

Thankfully, the nameless dude with the guns has awoken from his brainwashed stupor, with a truly hilarious "THE TRUTH... HURTS!" and he puts those uppity, dizzy dames in their place tout de suite, because god dammit he's a MAN! A man with GUNS!!!

How short are this guy's legs, anyway? Does he have no thighs?!
Then for some reason he takes a shot at Superman anyway? And Wonder Woman gets really worried? About Superman getting shot? With a bullet? But it's okay, he caught the bullet. Because apparently, and this is pretty wild you guys, but apparently... Superman is faster than a speeding bullet. I know, right? It blew my motherfucking MIND.

And then Wonder Woman and Superman say some sappy romantic things to eachother, which is really sort of the only romance in this entire comic.


Bonus: Perforated Tear-Out Valentines! For the Kids!

(click to embiggen)
This is where I couldn't really tell if it was satire or not. I mean, this is a T-for-Teen-rated comic full of blood, violence, betrayal, heartache, and some ginormous Wonder-breasts... and then it ends with this. I'm willing to believe it's a joke, but... It's awfully hard to tell. The Swamp Thing one is pretty excellent, and I'll admit I nerd-chuckled at "You've got Grayson beauty," because it was just so goofy. The self-referential reboot joke made me a little grumpface though, and I thought it was an... interesting... choice to use a slightly toned-down version the infamous butt-picture from Catwoman #0.


So there you have it. The Nü52's Young Romance #1. If you enjoy bad comics (and I most assuredly do), you should definitely pick this up. It came out last week for some reason, but I can't imagine that too many people bought it.

Happy Valentine's Day from OpinionsAboutThings Dot Com!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Wednesdaybusiness: 2/13/13

So, um... I actually found myself with very little to say about this week's offerings. I guess if I try to maintain this as weekly column, that's bound to happen from time to time...


Cable and X-Force #4 by Dennis Hopeless and Salvador Larroca

I've read every issue of this series as it's come out, and every month, immediately after reading the new issue, I completely forget everything that happened. There's like, some non-linear story-telling, and a few boring characters like Forge who aren't doing much, and I think Cable can see the future or something? This issue also introduced a charming new aspect: The villains (who seem to have no character or motivation yet?) are transforming people into FAT PEOPLE! That's it, I guess. So Colossus punched some fat people, and there were a lot of jokes about fat people, and the end.

This book is coming along after a string of truly amazing and groundbreaking X-Force books, so I'm judging it a bit harshly, but... C'mon, man. Fat-phobia is played the fuck out.


Fantastic Four #4 by Matt Fraction and Mark Bagley

This one's hard to review because all I can really say about Matt Fraction's current run on the main Fantastic Four book is "I like it." I have more Opinions™ about his FF series (which is SO much fun, you guys), but this series is - despite the renumbering - basically just a continuation of what Hickman was doing. Which is exactly what I wanted to be.

Issue #4 is a nice little Valentine's Day story. Reed paints a pretty picture of his family in a cave. It's sweet, in a traveling-through-the-unexplored-multiverse sort of way.


Avengers Arena #4 by Dennis Hopeless and Alessandro Vitti


First, let me say that nowhere in this book does X-23 fight Darkhawk. It just doesn't happen. A couple of the Runaways fight a couple of the Avengers Academy kids, but that's SO not what the cover would indicate. Darkhawk literally was not even in this issue. There is a lot of sensationalism inherent to the very concept of this comic.

Though as much as the concept of this book hinges on that "WHO WILL DIE?" sensationalism, and as much as the concept of this book is ridiculously derivative of Battle Royale and The Hunger Games - to the point where they just outright say it in the first issue - I still am having a lot of fun reading it. I didn't think I would when I first saw the pitch, but the inclusion of Arcade made me want to give it a try. I'm interested to see where this series goes... if anywhere.


Secret Avengers #1 by Nick Spencer and Luke Ross

This book was... okay. It's trying to bring Movie Stuff into the comics, which is kind of cool, I guess. Agent Coulson, Nick Fury Junior (who's suddenly looking a lot like Samuel L. Jackson), and Maria Hill are sending Black Widow and Hawkguy on ZOMG TOP SECRET missions with mind-erasing nanorobots in their brains for... reasons? Reasons that are shadier than they appear?

It was a decent first issue, and it had some great Hawkguy moments, but I don't know quite how I feel about S.H.I.E.L.D. being treated as shady and pseudo-evil. The writing and art are both pretty solid, so I'll definitely stick with this one and see how it plays out.


Uncanny X-Men #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo

And then Bendis decided to kick off a brand new X-Men series by having Magneto sit around in a small room with Maria Hill and talk about Cyclops.

The new costumes are kind of cool.



Katana #1 by Ann Nocenti and Alex Sanchez

Okay you guys, I tried to read a Nü52 book. I tried, you guys. I figured that for all my rhetorical bluster, I really ought to support this most rarest of beasts: A comic about a woman written by a woman.

But man oh man, it was SO BORING. The story noodled its way along without ever really saying anything, and the art was fiddly and distracting. I skimmed the last few pages because I couldn't force myself to care. Also, I think the main character had a sex dream about her sword? The whole thing was muddy and unclear.

It's worth noting that I've always considered myself a "DC Person".