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Comics…Deconstructed

Is Countdown Working for You?

Tepid reviews, lackluster fan interest, and a meandering plot have made a lot of folks just plain meh about DC’s supposed-to-be landmark Countdown series.  I had high hopes. I mean, when Darkseid showed up in the first few pages of the very first issue, my adrenaline started pumping. Now, I’m about 8 issues behind, and I’m not terribly interested in catching up.  What about you?  What’s your view of Countdown?

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August 24, 2007 Posted by | Batman, comic books, Comics, DC Comics | Leave a comment

Why You SHOULDN’T Read Watchmen First

As a corollary to Peat Muppet’s scathing indictment of Alan Moore, read this excerpt from an interview with critic Douglas Wolk, whose Reading Comics seems to be a must read:

Wolk: I was talking with some friends recently about the common mistake of recommending Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen, as great as it is, as a starting point for superhero comics–as one of them put it, that’s like recommending The Seventh Seal as someone’s first movie! For pure, unencumbered superhero joycore, I love Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All Star Superman–if you’ve heard of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, you know everything you need to know to enjoy it, and it deepens with repeated reading. Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos’s cruelly witty Alias,
about a self-loathing ex-superheroine-turned-P.I., has lots of Easter eggs for the continuity-obsessed, but it probably works even better as a stand-alone story. And if you’re at all into Victorian literature and/or want to sample Moore’s work, the two volumes of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
(drawn by Kevin O’Neill) are hugely fun on their own, and also illustrate by analogy the way a lot of the best superhero comics and other pulp art work: providing metaphors to illuminate the central concerns of their moment.

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August 17, 2007 Posted by | comic books, Comics, Commentary, Graphic Novels, Watchmen | Leave a comment

I’ll Watch the Watchmen. Will You?

After a MASSIVELY long time, it seems the fabled Watchmen movie is finally going to be a reality.  Comic fandom now holds its collective breath in hopes that the film doesn’t completely blow.  The cast looks promising, considering that the producers didn’t pander the thing to every starlet and mega-star-wannabe on the block.  I’m most hyped about Jackie Earle Haley playing Rorschach. Based on his performance in Little Children, this is a man born to play the role.  The Watchmen website is spare, but it does contain the new poster (released at ComiCon) with art by Dave Gibbons.  Have a look-see:

poster

August 2, 2007 Posted by | comic books, Comics, Graphic Novels, Movies, Watchmen | 1 Comment

The Lightning Saga: WTF????

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No spoilers here. Promise.  I hate when comics fanboys assume that everyone reads the latest issues the moment they arrive.  Some of us actually take a while to get caught up on certain story arcs, or just wait for a month’s worth of books to arrive in the mail (right Peat Muppet?).  In any case, this was not intended to be a rant about spoilers, but instead a rant about the recent JLA/JSA/Legion crossover event The Lighting Saga.  I think my title for this post expresses my view on this particular storyline.

Was it just me, or was this story almost impenetrable? Sometimes I thought there was too much going on, but other times there didn’t seem to be much of a story at all.  The ONLY redeeming factor was the Geoff Johns JSA issues, and even they served only to interrupt the ongoing story he’s been creating there over the past few months.

And what about the ending (again, no spoilers…)???  Is this what was supposed to happen, a happy/unhappy accident or just plain out bad writing (or all three, for that matter)?  It seems too early for a massive crossover in two books which are just getting their footing again.  Wait a year or more before trying this again, guys.

Overall Rating (out of 10):  5 (JLA Issues), 6 (JSA Issues)

July 23, 2007 Posted by | comic books, Comics, Reviews | 1 Comment

Once…Twice…Three Times Amazing

IGN recently posted the following article regarding the upcoming changes in the various Marvel Spider-man titles.  All of the disparate titles are going to coalesce under the Amazing Spider-man header, creating a thrice-monthly published comic book.  Unfortunately, J. Michael Straczynski is bowing out of Spidey’s universe, opening the door for several new writers and artists.  IGN has posted some of the artwork below, but it’s anyone’s guess who one of the new artists is going to be.  Leave your speculations here or at IGN (or both) and tell us what you think about the new incarnation of the Spider-titles.

 

Spider-Man – Brand New Day: Mystery Artist Debut

IGN Exclusive – Day One: Introducing one of the creators behind Marvel’s thrice-monthly Amazing Spider-Man direction.

by Richard George

July 20, 2007 – One month ago, at Wizard World Philadelphia 2007, Marvel Comics revealed big changes were in store for Spider-Man. For months fans had heard about the epic storyline entitled “One More Day.” Drawn by Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada and scribed by J. Michael Straczynski, the four-issue arc was supposed to change Spidey’s life forever. “One More Day” would also be Straczynski’s last story; the writer has been working on Amazing Spider-Man for over six years.

But the news revealed in Philly was regarding what would come after this major storyline. Sensational and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man would be cancelled. Amazing would step in their places, shipping three times a month, creating a unified approach to the superhero drama.

However Marvel stopped there. It didn’t announce the creative teams behind this new endeavor. Rumors ran rampant, particularly with the teaser image that was released (see our related story below to view that image). But fans wouldn’t have to wait long. San Diego Comic-Con 2007 would reveal all.

But we at IGN Comics have never been the patient type. We’ve managed to secure the first interior art from the “Brand New Day” initiative (the marketing slogan attached to the new, thrice-monthly direction). Starting today, and spread throughout the next week, we’ll be unveiling pieces from one particular artist’s finished interior work. Here’s the slight catch: We can’t specifically say who it is.

 

Astute comic book aficionados are probably going to figure it out – if not today, then certainly as we reveal some more. We encourage the speculation, and if you think you know who it is, feel free to comment in our feedback thread below. More importantly, maybe determining who this is will let you see other trends with Marvel talent, and maybe you can narrow the potential talent pool even more. Regrettably, IGN knows the entire creative team, but we can’t say. But we’re doing the best we can – and wait until you see the final piece, which will be unveiled Saturday morning. To say it kicks ass isn’t doing it enough justice. And rest assured, when you finally know who’s involved, you’ll understand just how amazing Spider-Man will be.
So stay tuned to IGN all this week as we bring you more from our Mystery Artist as well as some other very cool exclusives. San Diego is right around the corner – and there are going to be some incredible announcements.

 

Think you know who this is? Speculate with other IGN readers by posting your comments below. Your comments are actually linked to our free message boards (which are located here, so swing by some time and chat away!

July 23, 2007 Posted by | comic books, Comics, Commentary, Marvel Comics, Spider-man | Leave a comment

Brubaker + Epting – Cap = Totally Cool

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Ed Brubaker continues to amaze me with his writing on this book. I mean, who else could get away with producing a completely riveting (and complicated) story arc without the title character? There just doesn’t seem to be any lame concept in Captain America’s past that Brubaker cannot infuse with total cool. This issue featured a newly-restored Serpent Society, and again Brubaker took these fairly useless villains and made them ruthless and horrifying.

Steve Epting’s gritty, realistic art hearkens back to even the legendary Steranko, and coupled with the fantastic storytelling there are really few negatives I can find.

I was a latecomer to this newest Cap series, but I’m glad I’ve finally caught up.

Overall Rating (out of 10): 9

July 22, 2007 Posted by | Captain America, comic books, Comics, Marvel Comics, Reviews | 1 Comment

All-Flash: When Just One Flash Won’t Do

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There’s nothing quite like the return of an old friend – and by this, I mean Mark Waid as much as I mean Wally West.  It’s clear from the very start of All-Flash that this is the character Mark Waid was born to write.  There’s a fluidity of language here that is missing in so much of his other work (though that “other work” ain’t shabby either). 

If there are any quibbles about the book, it’s that the art (handled by a cadre of very talented artists) is inconsistent. That’s not to say that it’s poor – rather that one artist’s idea of what a character looks like might be radically different from another’s.  This lends the issue a disjointed visual element, which fortunately Waid makes up for with a superb script and an excellent revenge against the man (boy?) ultimately responsible for Bart’s death.

Overall Rating (out of 10): 8

July 22, 2007 Posted by | comic books, Comics, Commentary, Reviews | Leave a comment

What’s Your Pull List?

By complete happenstance, I discovered an amazing and really enjoyable website last night – particularly for comic book fans.  The site – www.pulllist.com – is a DIGG-like site where users rate, review and comment on each week’s comics as they are released.  The site has a relatively tiny user base at the moment, and it needs a bit more visual polish, but overall I’m impressed at what one person has been able to accomplish in a short amount of time.  Please do yourself a favor and visit the site, and check the RSS feed in the right-hand column of this page to see my most recent “pulls”.

July 21, 2007 Posted by | comic books, Comics, Graphic Novels | Leave a comment