Monday, April 29, 2013

Adventures of Superman #1, Now 99% Controversy-Free!

So the first issue of the extremely controversial Adventures of Superman series has been released with very little fanfare. DC Comics hasn't even made so much as a Facebook post about it (UPDATE: They just made a Facebook post, at about 3:45pm EST).

You can get it for 99 cents on the Comixology App HERE.

If you haven't been following this particular controversy, I'll sum it up for you:

Last February, DC Comics announced it would be launching Adventures of Superman, a "digital-first" anthology series with a whole mess of awesome creators, including Marv Wolfman, Bruce Timm, Jeff Parker, Christos Gage, and a lot of my other "Must Buy" artists and writers. The announcement came along with a really nice piece of Superman art by Chris Samnee.

The trouble was, it was also announced that the first two issues would be illustrated by Chris Sprouse (who is a talented artist and seems like a nice enough dude), and written by Orson Scott Card (who is a beloved Young Adult author and also ONE OF THE MOST VILE HOMOPHOBES ON THE PLANET).

An aside: To be totally honest, I wasn't actually aware of Card's complete batshit assholery until this controversy started. I worked in a bookshop for five years, and sold literally hundreds of copies of Ender's Game - often on school reading lists - without hearing a peep about this; nor did I hear any mention of it when he wrote Ultimate Iron Man for Marvel Comics. I read Ender's Game as a teenager and wasn't a fan, so I never bothered looking him up or anything, I guess.

However, even the tiniest bit of internet research turns up that he is the great-great-grandson of noted polygamist horrorshow Brigham Young, he is a devout Mormon and has written Mormon musicals(!), he is a denier of both global warming and evolution, he has served on the board of directors for the poorly-disguised hate-group National Organization for Marriage, and he is one of the most ignorant and hateful little men in the fucking universe.

In 1990, Card called for homosexuality to be criminalized. In later years he backpedaled on that particular statement, alternately saying that he doesn't believe it anymore or that he never said it in the first place. However, he has continued writing some of the vilest and most ignorant things regarding homosexuality that I've ever read, including this essay where he claims that same-sex marriage will lead to the end of civilization, and this interview where he famously said "Gay Rights is a collective delusion." (The Salon interview - titled My Favorite Author, My Worst Interview - is definitely worth a read.)

Thus, when it was announced that this guy - this fucking guy - was going to be writing about Superman, many folks suspected that he may not be the best person to be talking about Truth, Justice, and The American Way. And things sort of exploded all across the internet. DC Comics pulled the "the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that" excuse, which doesn't actually fly with me. Retailers across the country were locked in a massive debate over whether or not they'd be willing to carry the printed collection of the comics. The media jumped all over the story. By March, Chris Sprouse decided to bail on the project, which was a possibly career-saving move. Last I've heard, the Card story has been pushed back... Though I don't know who the heck would be willing to draw the thing now.

So here we are. Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee have had their story bumped to the forefront, and I'm really glad for that. I sort of view Chris Samnee as the biggest victim of this whole mess: Any time anybody in the media discussed Card's disgusting views, it was accompanied by Samnee's promotional art.

Now, if you read my weekly reviews, you probably know that I am a dude who loves Jeff Parker's work. I rave about Red She-Hulk and Dark Avengers constantly, and he is easily one of my favorite writers in comics today.

So, after all that controversy, all the arguments, all the hard-to-read articles about hate-mongering and bigotry... We've ended up with a fun little Superman story.

The story itself is quite short: the digital version is broken up into handfuls of panels, but I'd say that in terms of a printed comic it's probably 8 or 9 pages. It's not perfect - Lex Luthor testing evil formulas on meth addicts is a little evil even for a supervillain - but it's overall just Superman trying to save people from a super-fight while also trying to save the person he's fighting, which I think really nails down the whole idea of Superman as a character.

So yeah. Ultimately, I'd say it's definitely worth a buck. If the Card story ever gets printed, don't buy it... but good folks like Jeff Parker and Chris Samnee deserve a bigger shot at Superman, and deserve our support.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Wednesdaybusiness 4/24/13

Oh thank God, a week free of Age of Ultron tie-ins. Let's see what else I can find to get offended by!


A+X #7 by Zeb Wells, Dale Keown, Christopher Yost, and Orphans Cheeps

I'm starting to feel like this is one of the funnest and most overlooked comics to come out of the whole Marvel NOW! thing. I've genuinely enjoyed every issue I've read, and the short, one-off stories make it very easy to simply pick up and enjoy. Also, it's very refreshing to see superheroes teaming up to fight supervillains instead of just beating up on eachother.

The first story in this issue features Beast calling in Tony Stark for help on the new Hulkbuster project he's building for S.H.I.E.L.D. Robots go berserk, the Hulk shows up and goes even more berserk, everybody quips a lot, and it is very entertaining. As an aside, I've always written Dale Keown off as a 1990s throwback, but his art on this issue is really fantastic. I tried to track down any recent work of his, and it seems like he's only done a few covers here and there. I honestly hope Marvel gives him some more projects.

The second story follows Thor and Iceman as they duke it out with Frost Giants. Iceman goes all Omega Level Mutant in the end. The art is fun and Pixar-esque, done by two people who call themselves "Orphans Cheeps"? I couldn't find them on Wikipedia.

I love the super-science pissing contests.

All Star Western by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti, and Moritat

Booster Gold goes back in time and meets Jonah Hex! Just... just like he did back in 2007's Booster Gold #3... except that this story's way less fun, and WAY more bloody. Um... Yeah. Seriously, fuck the Nü52.

Um... Yeah. Seriously, fuck the Nü52.

Avengers Arena #8 by Dennis Hopeless and Kev Walker

Between this book, and his run on Thunderbolts with Jeff Parker, Kev Walker is rapidly becoming one of my absolute favorite artists in comics. The guy can tell an entire story just with his panel layouts. His depictions of Juston and his Sentinel in this issue are straight-up beautiful.

As for the plot in this book, it still comes and goes. As I've been saying from the start, I find it extremely readable despite not liking the concept or some of the writing. Dennis Hopeless is becoming a bit of an enigma to me: I don't think I actually like his writing, yet I still end up enjoying his comics a lot. It's... confusing.

When I first heard the concept behind X-23, I thought I'd hate her. Instead I think she's awesome.

Avengers #10 by Jonathan Hickman and Mike Deodato

It's getting to a point where I can't even summarize this series anymore. It's huge and cosmic and multiverse-spanning. I absolutely love that Marvel is allowing Hickman to use their flagship book to tell such a surreal, experimental story. Seeing Marvel's editors put that much faith in a creative team is really heartening, especially as more and more creators ragequit DC due to an overly pushy and obnoxious editorial staff.

This comic seems to be leading the Marvel Universe into something massive. As I've gushed about before, they've already brought back the New Universe characters... and it's starting to feel like that's only the start.

Everything's gone all fucky in the Multiverse!

Batman: The Dark Knight #19 by Gregg Hurwitz and Szymon Kudranski

This is possibly the creepiest story about The Mad Hatter that I've ever read... But I don't mean that as a compliment at all. Instead of making him weirdo-creepy, like Gail Simone did in Secret Six, or terrifying-creepy, like Jeph Loeb did in Haunted Knight, they've just made him pervert-creepy.

They've also given him a brand new origin story that... doesn't have anything to do with Alice in Wonderland. Which is weird? And stupid? Also, he's not an inventor anymore, he got his powers from prescription medications. BIG PHARMA, AMIRITE?!

Also, I just love Batman comics that don't have Batman in them.

Um... Yeah. Seriously, fuck the Nü52.

Um... Yeah. Seriously, fuck the Nü52.

Fantastic Four #7 by Jonathan Hickman and Mark Bagley

Continuing their educational time-traveling, the Fantastic Four has gone from their battle with Blastaar at the beginning of time to a battle with Blastaar at the end of time. Not only have these past two issues formed a nice little arc with a classic villain, they've also somehow managed to create neat bookends for the entire existence of the Marvel Universe.

As I've mentioned before, Matt Fraction is basically just continuing the plot that Jonathan Hickman started years ago, and one of the aspects of that is further fleshing out the characters of the kids: Franklin and Valeria Richards. Franklin is gradually gaining control over his reality-warping abilities, while the rest of the family is finally starting to admit that Valeria has been one of the smartest people on the planet since infancy. It's nice to see the kid characters get developed, instead of just being used as story leverage.

I also really like the up-front demeanor that both writers have imparted Valeria Richards with. It gives her dialogue an almost meta-textual feel at times, like in this issue, where she points out that it's statistically pointless to be afraid of Blastaar when they've clearly beaten him dozens of times before.

Valeria Richards: Problem Solver

FF #6 by Matt Fraction and Joe Quinones

Meanwhile, in Fraction's Earth-based Fantastic Four book, Bentley-23 has been kidnapped by Medusa and the new Frightful Four, one of the Moloid kids has decided to identify as female, the evil Johnny Storm from the future is still being evil, Ant-Man is still mourning his daughter, the HERBIE robots are all starting to look and act like Dr. Doom, The Inhumans get pissed at She-Hulk, Dragon Man is being a detective, and Darla can't get the Yancy Street Gang to stop harassing her.

What I'm saying is, they pack a lot into each issue of this comic. And that's not even including the big ending of this issue, that I want to spoil but won't.

The only thing slightly off in this issue is the absence of Mike Allred on the art, though Joe Quinones does his best to ape Allred's style and Laura Allred is still on the inking. Mike Allred seems to occasionally take issues off from the books he works on: If I remember correctly,  Darwyn Cook used to fill in on X-Statix from time to time as well. It's not the worst thing ever, but it's slightly distracting.

They have not explained the Doom-HERBIEs, nor Ant-Man's pajamas.

Guardians of the Galaxy #2 by Brian Michael Bendis, Steve McNiven, and Sara Pichelli

This comic continues to be beautifully-drawn and annoying-written. I like the overall idea of the story, but Bendis always manages to find subtle ways to piss me right off. He's turned Rocket Raccoon into a murderous sociopath, which isn't really my thing. He fills each page with so many goddamned speech-bubbles that you can't see the gorgeous artwork. He either forgets chunks of continuity, or just rewrites history when he sees fit.

But the most irritating thing - something that has bothered me about Bendis since he first started at Marvel - is the fact that he writes his own character biases into his comics. Way back in Alias, he made constant jokes about how stupid She-Hulk and Speedball were. Just a couple years later, She-Hulk was ripping her friends in half and Speedball was locked away in prison. He's continued this trend of first making fun of, and then attempting to destroy, any character he personally doesn't like. In this issue, he includes a completely random and unprovoked slam against Captain Britain, and it leaves me a bit worried for one of my favorite superheroes.

For all the things I love about Marvel right now, they still give Bendis WAY too much control over their content.

STFU, Bendis.

Journey Into Mystery #651 by Kathryn Immonen and Pepe Larraz

Not gonna' lie: I was absolutely terrified that after the one Sif-as-Berserker storyarc was over, they were gonna' bump Immonen off the book and have it change direction again. However, I've been pleasantly surprised.

Basically in this issue Thor, Sif, and the Warriors Three band together to fight Fenris in their pajamas. I still find myself feeling like this is a comic that's being written just for me.

The gods don't mess around, even in their jammies.

Morbius the Living Vampire #4 by Joe Keatinge and Richard Elson

I've heard a lot of folks complain about "Hobo Morbius", but I'm enjoying this comic. I like the take on the character that despite his vast scientific knowledge, he's still the kind of bozo who'd accidentally turn himself into a Living Vampire, so he's bound to get himself into trouble sometimes.

Morbius is still running afoul of all sorts of mobsters, and now they've also introduced The Rose into the mix (though they haven't specified which The Rose it actually is).

This issue also had a really beautiful quote from Dr. Morbius: "I've encountered much worse. I once fought a guy who was covered in eyeballs. And he was from Hell, so..."

I fully intend to try and work that quote into my daily life.

Eyeball Friend. Band name!

New Avengers #5 by Jonathan Hickman and Steve Epting

I'm not even going to try and explain this one. Let's just say that The Illuminati are still trying to find a way to stop the universe from kerploding, and it's pretty cool.

Also, I often feel like I could curl up in Steve Epting's art and live there.

Oh, and don't never fuck with Black Bolt.

Red Lanterns #19 by Peter Milligan and Will Conrad

This comic started off with one of the "heroes" trying to convince a woman he just date-raped to forgive him. I sort of just skimmed after that.

I normally like Peter Milligan, but he's gonna' have to win me back after this one.

Um... Yeah. Seriously, fuck the Nü52.

Um... Yeah. Seriously, fuck the Nü52.

Uncanny Avengers #7 by Rick Remender and Daniel Acuña

This issue is a bit of a toss-up for me, personally. On the one hand, it's sort of being billed at the forefront of Marvel NOW! and yet would be completely, utterly baffling to a new reader. On the other hand, it's continuing the storyline from Remender's Uncanny X-Force run, which is one of my favorite comics from the last ten years.

It basically seems like this storyline will be very rewarding to anybody who followed several years worth of the author's previous work, but will severely alienate anybody who didn't. So it's good, while also not good? I don't know how to feel about it.

The writing's solid, though, and Acuña's art is REALLY pretty.

The Apocalypse Twins are fun so far.

Uncanny X-Men #5 by Brian Michael Bendis and Frazer Irving

Just let Bendis take a nap already. I'm sick of writing his name thirty times a week!

This series has actually picked up, though. The first couple issues were just talking, but this issue was almost entirely a fight-scene between Magik and Dormammu, and I'm fine with that. It seems like next issue we might get to see the X-Men fight the Mindless Ones, and I'm fine with that, too.

Bendis is actually doing a really solid job on the X-Men books he's writing. I just don't get why they have to have him writing ninety other comics as well, is all.

People in comics talk QUICKLY.

X-Termination: Conclusion by David Lapham, David Lopez, Guillermo Mogorron, Raul Valdez, and Matteo Lolli

So the X-Termination crossover has come to an end. Aside from having WAY too many pencillers working on each issue, this has been my favorite crossover that Marvel has done in a long time. It was short, it highlighted some good comics that I was unaware of, and it made some significant changes without being a bullshit "THE WORLD WILL NEVER BE THE SAME!" stunt.

The door to the Age of Apocalypse universe seems to have been finally closed. The last surviving version of Nightcrawler died closing it, so now the X-Men are left without a Nightcrawler again. The only AoA character to stay behind in that reality is Jean Grey, who still possesses the power of Apocalypse and thus might be able to survive... I personally hope she does, and that she and Wolverine get married and have badass babies. Everyone else has bailed to the main Marvel Universe, to either join the X-Men or to lay low and live a peaceful life. Or, in the case of General James Howlett, who is absolutely one of my favorite new comic characters, to track down this dimension's Hercules to try and hook up.

Can I just talk about General James Howlett for a minute? I am so shocked - and happily so - that they let Magical Gay Leatherboy Wolverine survive this crossover and make his way into the Core Marvel Universe. I didn't know how they COULD kill him off - he can heal just as quickly as "our" Wolverine and his skeleton is actually even stronger - but I was one hundred percent certain they WOULD kill him off. Instead, he was left with a sort of bittersweet ending, with his lover dead but an interdimensional duplicate of his lover currently single. I seriously want them to make a comic about Howlett and Hercules hooking up. I'd probably even settle for a fanfic.

I'll probably actually write an entire article about X-Treme X-Men at some point. It was a fantastic comic that flew right under the radar, and deserves a cult status that it may never get.

I thought this was a really sweet moment. I don't know why they needed to kill off all the Nightcrawlers.

Young Avengers #4 by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

This comic is just plain fun. I dare say it's almost Nextwave-level fun. And that is my highest possible praise. Just save everybody the trouble and go check it out.

This issue made me love Noh-Varr even more than I already did. We're talking about a character who, in his very first miniseries, spent an entire day evacuating and destroying buildings throughout New York City just to spell out the words "FUCK YOU" large enough that they could be seen from the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier. And this issue managed to make him even cooler.

Love it. That is all.


Thursday, April 18, 2013

Wednesdaybusiness 4/17/13

These reviews brought to you by Box O'Wine. Box O'Wine: It makes life fuzzier!


Age of Ultron #6 by Brian Michael Bendis, Brandon Peterson, and Carlos Pacheco

In this somehow-more-grim-than-usual issue of Age of Ultron, Wolverine goes into the past to kill Hank Pym while the others go to the future to kill Ultron.

Sue Storm follows Wolverine to try and stop him, but ultimately decides that Pym needs to die for building Ultron. So Wolverine stabs him through the temple.

The future team finds a future completely run by robots - unsurprising, as their present is also run by robots - and then the robots rip them apart.

I still don't quite get where the fun is.

Here is my favorite superhero of all time, getting his head shot off with lasers.

Wolverine and the X-Men #27(AU) by Matt Kindt and Paco Medina

Woot. Another tie-in to a story I don't like. I'll never get tired of these.

Odd thing: The solicitations for this comic all said "Make sure you read Age of Ultron #6 first!" but... the events in this comic actually take place BEFORE the events in Age of Ultron #6.

In this book, we follow Wolverine and Sue Storm as they travel through the past, breaking into a S.H.I.E.L.D. base to ascertain Hank Pym's whereabouts... Wolverine to kill him, Sue to stop Wolverine from killing him.

I hate to admit it, but I thought this comic was actually really great. Matt Kindt is an indie dude that I'm glad to see getting some light shined on him, and Paco Medina's art is really solid. The story is pretty interesting: Aside from the whole killing-somebody-who's-saved-the-world-multiple-times assassination plot, Logan and Sue are both trying hard to not step on any figurative butterflies while they're in the past. But while they're sneaking around the S.H.I.E.L.D. base, Sue can't help but call her husband and let slip that S.H.I.E.L.D. is monitoring their family, and Wolverine tries to free a small alien from a cell only to find that this action leads to the creation of The Brood. It's a sort of madcap time-travel story; I might even go so far as to call Logan's encounter with a Brood Queen "zany".

I'd still recommend the regular Wolverine and the X-Men series over this, but it's easily the best and most lighthearted Age of Ultron tie-in I've read so far.

Alois Hitler was, by all accounts, an abusive fuckhead. FYI.

Astonishing X-Men #61 by Marjorie Liu, Renato Arlem, Klebs deMoura, Matteo Buffagni, Raul Valdes, and Carlos Cuevas

Yeah, this comic really did have as many pencillers as I listed above there. The art is inconsistent like WHOA, changing dramatically in both style and quality from page to page. It's incredibly disorienting, and there's no narrative reason for it; It seems to just be a deadline thing or something.

However, that's really my only gripe with this book. I'm still really enjoying the X-Termination crossover. It's inspired me to catch up with some series that I missed out on, it seems to finally be giving some closure to the Age of Apocalypse universe, and it's managing to be a dark story without the forced grittiness of Age of Ultron.

The cover is a little misleading, as we haven't actually gotten to see a proper goodbye between Wolverine and Age of Apocalypse Jean Grey (who fell for each other during Rick Remender's dimension-hopping Uncanny X-Force run). However, we DO get to see Jean Grey take hold of the "Apocalypse Seed" under the assumption that if she was able to briefly control the Phoenix Force than she ought to at least be able to control becoming Apocalypse for a little while to stave off the universe-devouring blue guys. And she does, and it is really cool.

Meanwhile, Sage uses her computer-brain to connect with the memories of the now-dead Celestial, and finds out that the Celestials created these mysterious giant blue guys millions of years ago but - realizing they had the power to kill them and everything else - sealed them away in one dimension as a prison, where they stayed until AoA Nightcrawler and AoA Beast accidentally set them free. Prophet decides that the only recourse is to use the mostly-wrecked Age of Apocalypse dimension as the new prison for the blue guys (they're just referred to as "the monsters" in the comic). He announces that everybody had better get back to Earth-616 while the getting's good and figure out a way to seal the portal.

During all of this talky stuff, Apocalypse-Jean is beating the holy hell out of giant monsters, so there's never actually a dull spell. I appreciate that.

Apocaphoenix does NOT fuck around.

Cable and X-Force #7 by Dennis Hopeless and Salvador Larroca

This comic is finally starting to grow on me. I'm really hating the obnoxious buddy-cop stuff between Forge and Dr. Nemesis, but the rest of the characters are doing pretty well. Colossus is trying to rot in prison because he feels so guilty about what he did during Avengers vs. X-Men. Domino is trying to bust Colossus out of said prison, but it's partly only a diversion so that Boom-Boom can break into a top-secret S.W.O.R.D. base that's underneath the prison and free an alien mass-murderer for unclear reasons. Cable is trying to steal a S.W.O.R.D. spaceship for equally-unclear-but-related reasons, and Cyclops - who showed up to see how Cable was doing with his life in general - decides to help him out. It's all pretty fun stuff.

I think in some ways this book won me over as soon as they added in Boom-Boom.

If YOUR dad really loved YOU, he'd help you steal spaceships too.

Captain America #6 by Rick Remender and John Romita, Jr.

Cap's done fucking around. He's still trapped in a world created by Arnim Zola like he has been for a decade or so, and Zola just stole Cap's kid, threw Cap off a cliff, and left him for dead.

Cap finally storms Zola's fortress, and kills a whole lot of Nazi monsters. He also may or may not have killed Zola's daughter, Jet, off-panel, but I hope he didn't. She's a pretty cool villain and I want her to stick around.

I really like the way Remender is handling this book. Throwing Captain America into a way-out-there science fiction story feels like something brand new, and when you're talking about a character who's been around for as long as Cap has, that's impressive.

In this comic, Cap is the one removing peoples' heads.

Captain Marvel #12 by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Christopher Sebela, and Filipe Andrade

The other Cap spends this whole issue fighting an off-brand version of Deathbird in the skies over NYC. She's still in grave medical danger if she tries to fly, but is struggling with the flying motorcycle she was given, which she thinks is stupid.

The issue is essentially a fight-scene, and in comics that's not a bad thing. There are a few scenes of her doctors slowly trying to get to the bottom of what's wrong with her, and a Big Villain Reveal at the end that I won't spoil until the next issue comes out, but other than that this thing is all action.

I'm recommending this comic to everyone I know. I love it, and it's only 12 issues in so it's easy to get caught up. Go get it.

"Yahoo Serious Film Festival"

Catwoman #19 by Ann Nocenti, Rafa Sandoval, Cliff Richards, and Stefano Martino

Oh, goody. More "WTF" fold-out covers! I'm actually enjoying the sort of old-school Silver/Bronze Age feel that these have, where they try to fake you out into caring with the cover, and then the book has nothing to do with it.

If you've been following along (and to be honest, I mostly haven't), you'll know that Catwoman is a MEMBER of the Justice League (or at least the Justice League that appears in this story), so they have no reason to "capture" her. They're working off some nebulous plan that they apparently discussed in Justice League of America #3 - according to the footnotes - to steal a Martian artifact from the museum under Arkham Asylum? I don't fucking know.

They chuck Selena into Arkham Asylum after a staged fight, and then they proceed to treat mental health facilities as if they haven't improved since the mid-nineteenth century. Usually Arkham Asylum is portrayed as a sort of futuristic place, built to house and treat supervillains, but apparently in the Nü52 it's a dank old dungeon full of torture equipment. Jeremiah Arkham is an obsessive and a sadist, and they use cruel and unusual punishment on the patients regularly. Catwoman also goes on a charming litany of outdated and slightly-offensive terms: "Bug House. Loony Bin. Bedlam. Snake Pit. Cuckoo's Nest. Rubber Room. Zombie Hotel. Easy to check in, hell to check out."

She breaks out and hurts a lot of people, setting a few mass-murderers free along the way. She makes it to the poorly-defined basement museum, and the story ends with a BE SURE TO BUY JUSTICE LEAGUE OR AMERICA NUMBER FOUR and I am left wondering why I decided to start trying to review DC books.

I've always loved that Arkham patients often get to keep their costumes on.

Dark Avengers #189 by Jeff Parker and Neil Edwards

As the A.I.M.-created alternate dimension they're trapped in begins to collapse in on them, the Dark Avengers are getting closer to finding their way back to good old Earth-616. U.S. Agent is all put back together, Ragnarok has been turned into much less of a brainless kill-bot, and Moonstone's got a new costume to match Captain Marvel's changing fashion sense.

This comic is a lot of fun, and Jeff Parker's one of my favorite writers in the industry. This story is pretty far-reaching and complicated, but it's well worth getting caught up with if you have the time and money.

I didn't think I would, but sometimes I really love Skaar.

He-Man and the Masters of the Universe #1 by Keith Giffen and Pop Mhan

Can't lie, I was a little surprised to see this on the shelves. He-Man stuff tends to coast on nostalgia alone, and usually ends in commercial failure. But I guess DC is into taking likely-to-fail risks lately, so I figured I'd go along for the ride. Plus I've always liked Keith Giffen.

After reading through this supposed "first issue", I had to get onto Wikipedia and figure out what the fuck was going on. Apparently this series is following a miniseries from last summer wherein a lot of changes happened, both to the origins of the characters and to the Eternia (Eternios?) I remembered from childhood. For instance, this series starts with the Masters of the Universe attending the funeral of the Sorceress, who Skeletor apparently beheaded?

The funeral is cut short by the arrival of Despara, who is Hordak's daughter. She's basically Hordak with breasts? She comes through a portal to kill some people, and He-Man and Teela rush in to fight her.

This comic is weird. It absolutely feels like a Nü52 He-Man story. Everything is rebooted and grim and full of violence. Keith Giffen adds a bit of humor to the proceedings, but it's mostly a pretty dark affair. I dunno' where Man-E-Faces, Sy-Klone, and Mekaneck are, but I won't be totally into this comic until I see those guys.

Man, Hordak got HOT! (I feel dirty even making that joke.)

Iron Man #8 by Kieron Gillen and Greg Land

After being pitted against Death's Head in hand-to-hand combat, Tony Stark finally decides he's had enough of this trial, summons his suit, and blasts the fuck on out of the place. Shortly after, the Celestials show up and obliterate the entire race that had Tony on trial. He finds out that the robot-guy who helped him get his armor reactivated expected this all to happen and planned the whole thing, so now Iron Man - who's not cool with genocide - is chasing him into space.

What I'm saying is that this comic has kind of a lot of stuff packed into it, but it's all stuff that I like. Not a huge fan of Iron Man's new space-armor tho. It's a little too busy and not Iron Man-ish enough for my tastes.

I wouldn't mind seeing Death's Head show up in every comic Marvel puts out.

Justice League #19 by Geoff Johns and Ivan Reis

This comic represents the absolute worst thing that could happen to the Nü52: That they'll just use this brand new universe to retell stories that weren't told too long ago in the first place. This is just Mark Waid's Tower of Babel storyline from JLA about ten years ago, but with Despero as the villain instead of Ra's al-Ghul. Fuck that bullshit, I'll just read the original.

To quote Chris Sims of the War Rocket Ajax podcast:

What happens is that Tower of Babel was a really good story, and this is the dumber version of that, where someone goes into Batman's chest of drawers where he has his contingency plans in little metal briefcases with the logos of the people they can take out. You see Cyborg's logo, which is great, but Cyborg doesn't have a logo on his costume, which means that Batman either sat down and drew up a logo for Cyborg, or went to the graphic design department of WayneTech and had them do it.

The only thing I kind of like about this issue is a scene of Firestorm and the new Atom waiting around to be inducted into the Justice League while nobody shows up. It's kind of cute, and funny. The new Atom seems kind of cool, though Geoff Johns has a hilarious inability to write any character that isn't a white man, so he has this latina woman saying shit like "check yourself before ya wreck yourself" (fucking seriously!?), proving once again that he probably shouldn't be allowed to write comics without supervision.

There was also a SHAZAM! backup story, also by Geoff Johns, but I only skimmed it because I don't even fucking care.

1 out of 5 blarghs.

I wish this was just the Firestorm and Atom show.

Legion of Superheroes #19 by Paul Levitz, Scott Kolins, and Jeff Johnson

Spoiler: Mon-El doesn't actually die. Nor does he lose an arm, go bald, or even "fall" like this fold-out cover implies. He's basically fine. Because he's as strong as Superman.

I'm still new to the Nü52, so I'm not sure if this is correct, but this seems like it might be the first time the Legion has fought the Fatal Five? At any rate, I'm glad to see it, because I love the Fatal Five.

This was a fun comic, and one that I may try to catch up on. My one real beef is with the way the Emerald Empress talks, which is fucking obnoxious. I usually like Paul Levitz, but every time she substituted "Eye" for "I", I really wanted to smack him on the forehead.


Nova #3 by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness

I've gushed over the last two issues of this comic, but this one hit me as a little bland. The action was dynamic, and the art is some of the best stuff McGuinness has done, but I feel like - despite the training montages - the characters didn't develop at all in this issue.

It all seems like a setup to introduce the Chitauri into the mainstream Marvel Universe. They're all packed into their weird worm-ships, pouring out of what the Rifftrax guys called The Sky Anus, just like in the Avengers movie!

Now, as a little background, the Chitauri were supposed to be the Skrulls of the "Ultimate" universe. Then they got put into the movie as the army of Thanos, who we already know is the subject of the next Big Crossover Event, so he can't be far behind.

I hope that this book doesn't turn into just another event tie-in thing, because I was really enjoying getting to know this new character, and I'm not ready for the story's focus to shift yet.

Hello, Sky Anus.

Savage Wolverine #4 by Frank Cho

Okay, my opinions on this book keep changing. I said last issue that I felt that Amadeus Cho was disrupting the story, but now I really like his role in the story. Shut up.

Still a really fun comic. Bombs! Man-Things! Snazzy Outfits! Shanna the She-Devil! Worth checking out.

"Gorillas Sell Comics" is one of the oldest rules there is.

Supergirl #19 by Mike Johnson and Mahmud Asrar

I have absolutely no idea what was happening in this comic, but I can say with absolute certainty that the entire point was to get Power Girl out of her new costume and back into her classic breast-window costume. The cosplayers will be well pleased.


Superior Spider-Man #8 by Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos

This issue had a lot packed into it. Spidey gets his ass beat by the Avengers, gets his brain tested extensively by them, talks his way around the Black Widow, has a fight with Cardiac, has a change of heart and teams up with Cardiac to save a little girl's life, finally finds out that there's a ghost of Peter Parker living inside his mind, and hatches a plan to deal with it.

It's all quite good, and I love Ramos' art, and I love the new developments in Cardiac's character. All in all this has become a very good comic, and I get really angry when people refuse to read it for reasons they can't adequately explain.

Yup, that's just about how I'd write a fight between Cap and Spidey.

Thunderbolts #8 by Daniel Way and Phil Noto

In this issue of Thunderbolts, our superheroes kill a bunch of Muslims.


Wonder Woman #19 by Brian Azzarello, Goran Sudzuka, and Tony Akins

I haven't been following this comic, but it seems like it's normally pretty good. I've heard nice things about it, and it seems to focus heavily on Greek Mythology, and the writing and art are both solid.

However, this issue took a Nü52 turn that REALLY pissed me off. Obviously from the cover, the story features Orion, who is apparently hanging out with the Greeks for the moment? But it would seem that the Nü52 take on Orion - The Dog of War, Bravest of the New Gods, Fiercest Warrior of the Fourth World, Savior of New Genesis, Bastard Son of Darkseid - into... kind of a smarmy fratboy asshole? He sexually harasses Wonder Woman, and she squeezes his balls to somehow punish him (which is a panel that's already ALL OVER the internet, because guys seem to think it's empowering to women), and then Wonder Woman's friends all see his true, Apokalyptian face, and they all giggle at him while he whines and sulks.

On the surface, the idea of the New Gods and the Old Gods clashing should make for AMAZING comics. But instead it just left me with that same old "Fuck the Nü52" feeling.

Why do people always have to fuck with Jack Kirby's stuff, man?

Orion doesn't wink at people, and NOBODY calls ANYBODY "Legs" anymore, you fucking morons.