Sunday, February 04, 2007

Test Your Comic Knowledge for 2/4

Here's a twenty-question comic book trivia quiz!

Have fun!

Tonight's the Night
The following 20 sentences describe either characters or comic books that begin with the word Night. Name them all.

1. Superman took this identity to fight crime in Kandor.
2. Had long relationship with his stewardess stepsister…which no one seemed to have a problem with, oddly enough.
3. This former Charlton heroine was a member of the Suicide Squad.
4. A group of people invented by Jack Kirby during his Captain America run who D-Man eventually ended up hanging out with.
5. A Gotham police sergeant who hated vigilantes, but was brainwashed into becoming one himself!
6. A mid-90s Marvel slight parody of Spawn who ended up being popular enough to get his own maxi-series in the 90s.
7. A wild west hero who travelled from town to town in his "Fix-It" wagon.
8. An Ultraverse hero, he even had his own TV show!
9. This Doctor Strange villain even got his own miniseries from Marvel in the 90s!
10. In Elfquest, she was a huntress, and lifemate to Redlance.
11. A team led by Baron Winters.
12. A team consisting of Frank Drake, Hannibal King and Blade.
13. She was married to Rokk Krinn.
14. Member of the Cadre.
15. One of the original comics from Marvel’s New Universe line; written by Archie Goodwin.
16. A Marvel UK character, very similar to the Phantom, who fought criminals in the 30s and 40s.
17. This comic showed us the adventures of Linda Carter, R.N.
18. Former leader of the New Warriors.
19. A member of the Imperial Guard, she was the Shadow Lass equivalent.
20. An original member of the Team Titans who made his debut in the Armageddon 2001 New Titans Annual.

Good luck!

And have fun!

Cross Posted Super Bowl Predictions from the Original Line-Up of the Mighty Avengers

Because I feel like it

the Incredible Hulk: I put my money on the Colts, so that’s who I’m rootin’ for, ’cause all I care about is gettin’ mine. I swear, if that brat Rick Jones interupts this game I’ll snap him in half. Oh, crap, it’s four o’clock, time for my personality to change! Stupid Stan and Jack!

Savage Hulk: Hulk like Bears! Puny Banner probably likes the Colts because they are a finesse team! Hulk Smash Banner like Bears Smash Colts! Oh no, Hulk to excited from smack talk, or perhaps Hulk came in to contact with sunlight, Hulk not sure, turning back to Banner…

Dr. Bruce Banner: Oh God, what have I done? My clothes are torn, my apartment is a mess, and I’m wearing a giant foam finger and a beer helmet; did Hulk invite a bunch of guys over to watch the Super Bowl? Because I don’t care for football! It makes me angry. And… hell, you already know the rest. I wanted to watch the Discovery Channel all day!

Iron Man: I pick whichever team has an absurdly elaborate plan for victory. Like me. I do that kind of thing. You might even call me the kind of guy who could start a civil war; if you were really unsubtle. Jeph Loeb does that every time I see him. So, anyway, since Tony Dungy seems like the kind of guy who would take samples of Peyton Manning’s DNA and unleash a psychotic clone of him if the chips were down, I’ll go with the Colts.

Thor: Verily, it shall be a tremendous contest of athletic achievement on yon field of battle, not unlike the sort of contests the Odin Son engaged in with the Frost Giants in days of yore. Lovie Smith doth remind me somewhat of most exalted Odin himself, and Brian Urlacher is a spitting image of the God of Thunder in his younger days, so I shalt choose the Bears! Because the Colts are pussies, just like those Frost Giants.

Captain America: Football sure has changed since the ’40s. What happened to the leather helmets? What is this forward pass I’ve heard so much about? Also, I wonder if Rick Jones could get me a beer? I could sure go for a beer. Mm, beer! Bucky used to get me a beer. God do I miss Bucky. I long to see him again. I wonder if that could in any way be construed as strange?*

Rick Jones: Jeepers, why is Cap looking at me like that? It sure is strange!

Ant Man: I predict that I will hit the Wasp at least five times if I lose money on the Colts!

Wasp: God I hope the Colts win. Stupid Jim Shooter!

*Greg Burgas chimed in at the new, better blog with this in response to Captain America's prediction: Captain America would surely be familiar with Sammy Baugh, one of the great quarterbacks and proponents of the forward pass, as well as Sid Luckman, another great thrower, whose Chicago Bears used the T-formation and threw a lot in the 1940 Championship Game, in which they defeated Baugh’s Washington team 73-0. Perhaps Steve Rogers attended the game!

See kids, history scholars can make even silly Avengers parodies boring and pedantic! Thanks, Greg. Anyway, I blame the Scarlet Witch for that continuity error because, hell, everything else is her fault, isn't it?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Last Ten Entries on the New Comics Should Be Good site!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Moving Day!

Well, as I mentioned to you last week, the end was nigh then, and it is upon us now.

This web site is done, leading to our NEW website...Comics Should Be Good!


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss?

Basically, this whole site is moving to Comic Book Resources for Comic Book Resources Presents...Comics Should Be Good!

Same bloggy goodness, new, prettier looking site (and since it is Wordpress, it is also easier for you folks to navigate and for us to use!).

So change those bookmarks! becomes

Check it out!

What I bought - 24 May 2006

This was a strange week. Pretty good stuff, yet enough to make me angry. So you know our tour will be fun! This week's mini-theme is: Greg goes all patriotic and makes George Bush proud while condemning comics for their ham-fisted social commentary!

Batman #653 by James Robinson, Don Kramer, and Wayne Faucher
$2.99, DC

This is the first issue of "Face the Face" that disappointed me. It's not that it was bad, necessarily, it's that for the first time in this mini-series-within-a-series, the plot ground to a halt so that Robinson could indulge in some "writing for the trade," or to put it less charitably, "padding." The entire issue is Harvey talking to his reflection, which is Two-Face. We learn how he came to be Gotham City's protector and why Batman chose him and how bad Harvey feels now that Batman is back and how angry Harvey is that he's being accused of murder and how Two-Face wants back in. Oh, the revelations! But you know what? It's dull. That's why I don't like it. Oh, and it's nothing we haven't seen before.

I have no problem with an issue of someone struggling with their inner demons and containing no action (there are one or two action scenes, but they're flashbacks and are pretty static). But it's freakin' Harvey Dent. We've seen him struggle with these inner demons all too often, and we know he's always - always - going to lose. Two-Face will always win. And although the struggle could be interesting, it's the same thing all the time. Blah blah blah Harvey can't control himself blah blah blah he still has the freakin' coin blah blah blah. If this were a few scenes in the context of an issue where other stuff happens, that's fine. The fact that it takes up the entire issue is bad.

And this points out a problem with some comics (and other forms of entertainment, too - I don't want to single out comics): we can figure out everything we learn about what happened to Harvey by what has already happened in the first five issues of this story. We don't need a literal story telling us all this stuff. We are smart enough to deduce all this crap.

And (yes, I know) I'm sick of Batman and his attitude. "His city." Who the hell needs his approval to take care of Gotham while he goes on his little vacation with Clark and Diana? It's probably because I have always liked the Huntress and I'm sick of Batman (and, by proxy, DC) treating her so horribly. Just let her retire quietly if you don't like her so much - stop writing stories with her in them!

All right, I'm done. I'm still on board with Robinson, because this is an interesting story, but this was a disappointing chapter in it.

Catwoman #55 by Will Pfeifer, David Lopez, and Alvaro Lopez
$2.99, DC

The Film Freak is about to get film footage of two Catwomans. Yes, I said Catwomans. Anyway, that's pretty much all that happens. And who cares? Is there a law that says there must be one Catwoman?

That's kind of a mean assessment of the issue, since as usual, it's not a horrible issue, but it is definitely a treading-water issue. Holly watches Ted Grant beat the crap out of some thieves, Selina has a conversation with Slam Bradley, Selina decides to go out in her Catwoman outfit (which leads to the very funny panel where she can't zip up her suit - kudos to Pfeifer and Lopez for remembering that women who have just had babies don't always get their washboard stomachs back right away), and a guy with a camera gets footage of Selina and Holly chatting. Again, so what? I'm curious where Pfeifer is going with the story of the Film Freak, because he could make some interesting points about our society and how everything is filmed, but the fact that there are two Catwomans isn't really a bombshell. Is it? I suppose if you want to kill Selina and you're trying to kill Holly it is, but other than that, who cares?

Every month this book teeters on the edge. I'm still with it for now. Pfeifer, I think, is better than this.

Checkmate #2 by Greg Rucka and Jesus Saiz
$2.99, DC

I fear for Checkmate. It's certainly not the best book around, and its large cast is tough to follow occasionally, but it's a very interesting book that will suffer from Rucka's penchant for finding geopolitical maneuverings fascinating. This is another issue this week with no action, but unlike Batman and Daredevil, things happen that advance the plot and give us a good sense of the characters. We need that, because of the big cast and the fact that a lot of these people have never been A-listers, so their personalities aren't as clearly defined as the big guns of DC. There is, of course, the requisite stuff that could have been cut to make the book a bit tighter, but it's still pretty gripping, and the fact that it's a U.N. chartered group makes it much more interesting than if Checkmate was operating under the auspices of the United States. I'll get to Squadron Supreme and my objections to it, believe me! In this book, not everyone is American, and we do get a bit of a different perspective on things. The dynamic within each group and between the two sides of Checkmate - the white and black side - is where this book will thrive or die - anyone can write a big, bad action book, and let's face it - Kobra is a joke. But the tension within the group and how the public face of Checkmate, represented by goody-goody Alan Scott, will interact with the covert operation side, represented by Sasha Bordeaux, who has become a lot more bloodthirsty since Bruce Wayne let her rot in prison, is what will make the book better than your usual cloak-and-dagger stuff. This is a very interesting book, and I'm on board for now.

Bermejo's drawing of Fire on the cover freaks me out. Look at her midsection!!!!

Daredevil #85 by Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, and Stefano Gaudiano
$2.99, Marvel

I want to make this perfectly clear: I enjoy this book. I think it is an interesting story, and I am looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

But that doesn't mean I love it. That doesn't mean I think it's the best work on DD since (let's all shout it) Saint Francis. It has a lot of room for improvement. Okay?

I think why certain comics bug me is because of what others on our fantabulous blog have called "event" comics. These writers know how to write, and they know the characters well. Therefore Brubaker can put nice little touches in his stories (I'm using Brubaker as an example because we're talking about Daredevil here, but he's not the only one) that make us all appreciate the story and make us think "That's cool," without really telling us anything. I ranted about this with Robinson in Batman, and it's evident here, too. There is a ton that is cool in this book, and Brubaker obviously has a good grasp on Matt and Fisk's characters, as well as ancillary people like Urich and Jameson (their exchange is the best in the book), but that doesn't change the fact that this story (written, of course, for the trade) drags like molasses. I mean, it's basically Matt finding out that Fisk had nothing to do with killing Foggy. And Frank Castle wants to be in prison with them because he knows a riot is coming. And Dakota North hasn't found anything out but has drawn the attention of some unsavory types. That's it. That's three, four pages tops of story. Sigh.

I've said this for all of Brubaker's issues so far - I'm on board for the first arc, and we'll see how it all shakes down. I wonder if people who thought Bendis could draw things out interminably are surprised that Brubaker can draw things out even more! Yes, the book has gotten slower. I didn't think that was possible.

Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E. #5 by Warren Ellis, Stuart Immonen, and Wade von Grawbadger
$2.99, Marvel

See, here's another example of a writer knowing how to make us think something is cool when it might not be. This is still a fun comic, but I'm thinking more and more that it's just empty calories, and frankly, I need to cut those out of my diet and my comic book buying. Lots of this made me laugh, like the Celestial telling Machine Man he's a loser (and doing the sign on his forehead), and the koalas of death (including the agent who says, "Throwing little koala bears out of an airplane just doesn't seem right," and Monica's flashback to her days with the Avengers (although when did Captain America become such a sexist pig?), and Tabitha's flashback to her days with X-Force, but in the end, it was a largely unsatisfying meal. It just bugged me. Ellis' wacky mind is working overtime here, and it's all well and good, but this remains a Twinkie. Or a Devil Dog. And we don't need a steady diet of those, do we?

Oh, and Warren? A War Garden? It was clever in StormWatch, vaguely annoying when you used the same idea in Strange Killings: The Body Orchard, and by now it's just weird seeing you plagiarize yourself. Get a new schtick, please!

She-Hulk #8 by Dan Slott and Paul Smith
$2.99, Marvel

Boy, these Civil War covers are awful. Just awful.

Okay, Jen Walters and She-Hulk. I know Jen enjoys being She-Hulk more, but I don't think it's been established since she stopped being "savage" that they are two completely different personalities. So why does Jennifer feel differently about registering superheroes than She-Hulk does? That's just dumb, and even though John points out the staggering stupidity of it, we don't get an explanation. Grrr. Another stupid thing that crossovers do - shoehorn crap into regular books and characters that make no sense.

So anyway, Jen tries to defend Rage and Justice from a web site that is publishing the names of the New Warriors online. She yells at Iron Man, she finds out it's a fellow New Warrior doing the outing, and John asks her to marry him. It's okay, I guess, but since I'm not reading the crossover, it's pretty dull. And, as usual with a lot of books during a crossover, nothing much happens. Marvel and DC save that for the big books. Smith's art is always nice to see, but it's bizarre that once Bobillo left the book, Slott's stories got a lot less fun. I know this is tying into a deadly serious crossover, but the Starfox-as-rapist story was no fun either. The quirkiness of Bobillo's art was part of this book's charm, but the fact that there's a different artist doesn't mean Slott should get all serious on us! Let us hope that the whole "I married a werewolf" story puts a bit of the zip back in the title. We don't need hand-wringing about heroes' secret identities in this book, we need defendants who travel back in time and shoot themselves. Now that's good stuff.

Squadron Supreme #3 by J. Michael Straczynski, Gary Frank, and Jon Sibal
$2.99, Marvel

Oh, JMS, what have you done? First, five pages into this issue, we get this:

Rape as character development. Well, we've certainly never seen that before. Good job!

But that's a relatively minor complaint, even though it's still lazy storytelling. No, what bothers me most about this issue is the political aspect. Oh boy, strap yourself in!

I have never made it a secret that I am not only liberal, but I have a ton of issues with the United States. However, as I've mentioned before, it bugs me when comic book writers so blatantly criticize the U.S., simply because comic books aren't really the place for geopolitical discussions. Yes, Rucka does it in Checkmate, but he keeps it relatively simple, and it works. However, JMS wants to criticize the U.S. for its African policies, but it's not as simple as he makes it out to be. The African woman says, "This ... is your fault to begin with." See, "fault" is a funny word. Is the United States at fault for carving up Africa to begin with back in the 19th century, when the Europeans created territories based not on tribal boundaries but on where the rivers were? Is the U.S. at fault for apartheid, which was set up by the descendants of British and Dutch settlers? Is the U.S. at fault for the racist policies against white farmers that the Zimbabwean government is practicing? To simply label the United States the villain for the tragedy that Africa has become ignores centuries of warfare that the U.S. had absolutely nothing to do with, and it's silly for JMS to criticize something that is so ridiculously complex. Anyone remember the Arab slave traders of the Zanzibar coast? No? They weren't very nice to the natives. In this issue, Uganda is specifically mentioned. M'Butu is probably analogous to Idi Amin, but after he fled the country, the U.S. didn't take him in - Saudi Arabia did (he died there in 2003). It's very nice to blame the U.S. for all of Africa's problems, and successive governments here certainly deserve some of the blame, but to say it's all our fault bugs the hell out of me, because it denies the responsibility of several other parties - including the Africans themselves - for the craphole the continent has become. It's nice that these superpowered Africans go and rip M'Butu apart on their own, but the idiocy is already out in the open. The U.S., of course, does not understand anything beyond our borders and thinks they can throw money at a problem and fix it (well, we don't think that within our borders, but we think it helps outside our borders). We have given millions of dollars of aid to Africa, and although it certainly doesn't fix the problems, to say we're simply going around propping up dictators bugs me. Shut up, JMS. This book is far too simplistic for your political agenda. If you want to write a dense book criticizing American meddling in Africa, be my guest - I may be the first to buy it, because African history is fascinating. But in this book? Shut up. Please.

Emil Burbank is pretty stinkin' cool, though. I'm just saying.

X-Factor #7 by Peter David and Ariel Olivetti
$2.99, Marvel

The first of two books this week that point out the idiocy of comic book characters dying is X-Factor, and it's the better one, simply because the plot does not hang on that. This is rapidly moving into the category that all the books I really like eventually move into, and that's the place where I simply can't discuss them, because it gets boring praising them all the time. There are two stories at work here - Jamie goes to Singularity Investigations and learns disturbing things about Damian Tryp, the big boss. Those two things - the fact that the company is named "Singularity" and the boss is named "Damian" - make me very wary about this company and its future dealing with X-Factor. But that could just be me. Damian Tryp is evil and Madrox knows it, and we're set up for a throwdown! Meanwhile, Scott Summers shows up to tell Theresa that Banshee is dead. When did that happen? I don't really care all that much, because my reaction to it is much like Theresa's - she's convinced that her father is either not dead or will return from the dead soon enough. It's a bizarre bit of metatextual commentary by David, and although we've seen it before from Marvel characters - especially the mutants - it's still refreshing to see it exposed so clearly. It bothers me because we, as readers, know that Banshee may be dead now, but he'll be back. So therefore we read this issue somewhat bemused, because we're not quite sure how we're supposed to react to the news. Just like Theresa. So it's a weird little issue. But still a good one in a very good series. Next up: Civil War! Sigh. Stupid, stupid Civil War. Gaaaaahhhh!!!!!

Olivetti's art is pretty, by the way. He's a good artist. Perhaps he'll be the new regular guy.

X-Statix Presents: Deadgirl #5 (of 5) by Peter Milligan, Nick Dragotta, and Mike Allred
$2.99, Marvel

Milligan is really having problems with endings, these days, isn't he? I sat down and read the whole thing, and it's kind of a mess of neat little ideas, plots that kind of go nowhere, and wildly ineffectual villains. This is basically a five-issue mini-series that tells us that characters come back from the dead when they're popular. Really, Peter? Thanks for the heads up. We could never have figured that out.

It's a shame, because the art is very nice, and the characters are very nicely done and Milligan gives us a good sense of heaven and hell in a very non-traditional way. So we get weird areas of hell, and the Hotel of Self-Loathing, and we get nice conversations between Guy and Edie, and between Dr. Strange and Deadgirl. But it's a strange-feeling mini-series - it feels hollow and empty. Sound and fury, you know, signifying nothing. I want it to be better, but it's not. It's certainly not worthless, and the art and the characters almost make it worth it, but in the end, I'm stuck with just a bunch of weird images in my mind and not a lot else. It's a shame.

The American Way #4 (of 8) by John Ridley, Georges Jeanty, Karl Story with Ray Snyder
$2.99, DC/Wildstorm

You know, I read the first page of this book, and I have something to say. In 1962 it had been fifteen years since Jackie Robinson famously broke the color barrier in major league baseball. Pro football had integrated even earlier, but it didn't have the iconic stature of baseball. In 1954 Willie Mays made the most famous catch in World Series history. I know there was plenty of racism in the country in the 1960s (as there is today), but would all these people on the first page who are angry about the existence of a black superhero really care? There had been black cultural icons for a long time, and although Robinson certainly wasn't embraced by everyone (and, of course, a decade after 1962 Henry Aaron received death threats because he was black), I can't believe the opinion of the country would be so lop-sided against a black superhero. It just seems like Ridley is going for the easy idea here, and that's disappointing. Of course, I didn't read the issue, so I could be way off base here. I liked the first two issues of this book and look forward to sitting down and reading the whole thing, but I hope it's a little more subtle than the first page of this issue. That's all.

The Black Coat: A Call To Arms #2 (of 4) by Adam Cogan and Francesco Francavilla
$2.99, Ape Entertainment

The always-interesting Mark Fossen pointed out The Black Coat #1, although my boss claims credit as well, so I apologize, Guy. I still haven't gotten the first issue, but this is a cool-looking book. It's set in 1775 and features a freakin' Revolutionary War pirate. Come on, people! The first issue should be easy to find, especially if you go to the web site. Support Revolutionary War pirates!

¹ Since this is my first post at the new digs, I'll 'splain. I read the first issue of a mini-series and if it piques my interest, I'll buy it but not read it until it's done. My feeble brain can't keep up with what's going on month after month, so I read it all at once! This has been a public service announcement.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Comic Book Urban Legends Minutiae

Two fairly quick points...

1. Recently, I've been hearing some doubt on the veracity of the Steve Ditko cutting board story (Urban Legends Revealed #17). Now, I am all for getting to the truth of the matter, so if someone can verify that Greg Theakston just flat-out lied for whatever reason, then I will gladly change the status from true to false. Heck, I'd enjoy doing it, as it'd give me an easy entry for a future Urban Legends Revealed...hehe. So, please, if someone can give me something that trumps an "on the record" first hand account (and that includes someone showing me that Theakston was lying), I will gladly use it.

2. Someone asked me about this the other day, and I figured it was interesting enough to pose it to y'all. Would you like me to feature "Undetermined" Urban Legends as well? I think literally about half of Snopes' Urban Legend features end up as "Undetermined." So would you like me to do more of those types of Urban Legends? I have plenty of "undetermined" ones lying around that I do not think I have enough to make a good faith claim of true or false, so if people would like me to use them, I don't have any real problem with using them. Personally, I think it sorta defeats the purpose of the feature, but I guess I can see how it might be useful if someone responds to the "undetermined" ones with proof one way or the other. So, since I don't have a strong feeling either way, I'm opening it up to you folks.

Read More

Reviews for the 5/24 Comic Book Week

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

"Name That JJJ Artist!" ANSWERS are up!!

The answers to the "Name That JJJ Artist!" game are up, including who made the most correct guesses - including the top person, with an astounding EIGHTEEN out of twenty-nine correct! Check the answers out here.

The best Batman artist ever?????

My latest Comics You Should Own column features Detective Comics #583-594 and #601-614, Alan Grant and John Wagner writing (and Grant alone from #601 onward) with Norm Breyfogle on pencils. Breyfogle, as I've mentioned before, doesn't get the credit he deserves, but he just might be the best Batman artist ever. He's definitely in the top 5. Go read and dare to challenge that statement!

Answers to the Free Swag Contest!

It's the moment you've all been waiting for - the identification of the 25 panels/pages that I asked you to, well, identify. The winner will be revealed at the end of the post. Of course, I should have disqualified everyone because nobody wished me a Happy Birthday in their e-mails! I had a good cry about it, though, and I'm fine now! If you'll forgive me, I'll talk a bit about each panel. Just because, you know, I can.

Number One: Detective Comics #804 by David Lapham (w) and Ramon Bachs (a). This is the final page of this issue, and I love it because Batman thinks that he has finally found men he can feel good about hitting. Go, Bats! "City of Crime," Lapham's 12-issue run on Detective (#801-808, 811-814) is brilliant, if a bit grim and gritty. But it's still flingin'-flangin' excellent.

Number Two: Goddess #8 by Garth Ennis (w) and Phil Winslade (a). I just bought this a few weeks ago and haven't actually read it yet. But I knew if Ennis was writing it, there would be some cool-ass scenes. And I was right!

Number Three: Spider-Man/Human Torch #3 by Dan Slott (w) and Ty Templeton (a). Everyone kept saying how fun this book is, so I bought it. And it is fun! This is, of course, the Spider-Mobile issue. Remember when Slott wrote Spider-Mobile stories and not Avenger-rapist stories? Good times.

Number Four: Dr. Fate #24 by J.M. DeMatteis (w) and Shawn McManus (a). I just mentioned this a few weeks ago when I talked about DeMatteis' masterpiece. It's the first panel of the last issue of the book, and Raina is going to hear all about the fate of Eric and Linda Strauss and Kent and Inza Nelson. I thought most of you would easily recognize McManus' art!

Number Five: Green Arrow: The Longbow Hunters #1 by Mike Grell (w & a). Yes, this mini-series gave us the torture of Black Canary, which is very sucky, but for the most part, it's a very interesting take on Oliver. And I thought it was cool that he moved from a fake town to Seattle. Apparently Kevin Smith didn't think it was.

Number Six: JLI Annual #2 by J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen (w) and Bill Willingham (a). Willingham hardly does art anymore (we'll see how long he lasts on Shadowpact), so I thought I'd throw in a panel where he does draw something. This is the issue where Rumaan Harjarvti (or however the hell you spell it) hires the Joker to kill the Justice League, and he fails miserably. Right after this Batman shows up, sees that the Joker is sitting in a tank while the rest of the League stands around in their bathing suits (it's a picnic at Scott Free's house!) and just keeps driving. Comedy gold. I miss the old Justice League.

Number Seven: Deep Sleeper #4 by Phil Hester (w) and Mike Huddleston (a). I wrote about this last year, because it's awesome. Truly awesome. Go buy it now. NOW!

Number Eight: Lazarus Churchyard by Warren Ellis (w) and D'Israeli (a). I have mentioned this scene before in conjunction with some of the crap Ellis writes today. It doesn't have an issue number because it was serialized in a magazine and then collected in a trade, but this is the final page in the book, as Lazarus talks about all the people who have died on him. Very touching work from Ellis.

Number Nine: Miracleman #14 by Alan Moore (w) and Jon Totleben (a). Somebody said this was Swamp Thing, which was not a bad guess, because it's the same talent. This is right after Kid Miracleman "gets out" and goes on his rampage, and even more than the scenes in London in the next issue, this is a portrait of pure evil. When Johnny says, "They'd say I was going soft, wouldn't they?" you should get chills. I know I do.

Number Ten: Fantastic Four #349 by Walt Simonson (w) and Art Adams (a). Wolverine! Hulk! Spider-Man! Ghost Rider! Issues #347-349 of the venerable comics magazine (the world's most commercial, as issue #348 proclaimed) brought together these four as the new team when the Skrulls captured the real group. Lots of goofy fun, and Frank Castle makes a hilarious cameo. Yes, the Punisher is funny. These are wildly excellent issues.

Number Eleven: Animal Man #19 by Grant Morrison (w) and Chas Truog (a). Do I really need to say anymore? This still blows my mind every time I read the damned thing, even though I know it's coming.

Number Twelve: Amazing Spider-Man #299 by David Michelinie (w) and Todd McFarlane (a). Some people said this was issue #300. But it ain't. This is the end of issue #299, when we see Venom for the first time. I'm sorry, but this is just a cool scene. This was only McFarlane's second issue, and it was before his art started getting really contorted and weird.

Number Thirteen: Uncanny X-Men #205 by Chris Claremont (w) and Barry Windsor-Smith (a). More than a few people said this was Windsor-Smith's run on Marvel Comics Presents, but it's X-Men, sorry! This is that excellent issue with Wolverine and Katie Power (?!) in Central Park and Logan rips apart the same guys he ripped apart way back during the Dark Phoenix saga (and would rip apart again in the Outback). He likes ripping those dudes apart, doesn't he? And then, of course, he refuses to kill Lady Deathstrike. Awesome.

Number Fourteen: Dreadstar #60 by Peter David (w) and Angel Medina (a). Angel Medina's work on Incredible Hulk was, well, awful, but his art on Dreadstar was excellent. Weird. And check it out - even in the future women wear 1980s-style shoulder pads!

Number Fifteen: Hellblazer #27 by Neil Gaiman (w) and Dave McKean (a). "Hold Me" is a wonderful story of homelessness and loss and it shows John in a nice light for a change. He doesn't do anything bastard-y in this issue. I know, how can we deal with it?

Number Sixteen: Grendel #12 by Matt Wagner (w) and Arnold and Jacob Pander (a). Christine Spar's final showdown with Argent. It's a wonderfully rendered fight, and in this panel they both die. These first 12 issues of the regular series are simply brilliant and stunning to look at, with the Pander Bros. doing a very nice job.

Number Seventeen: Suicide Squad #37 by John Ostrander and Kim Yale (w) and John K. Snyder II and Geof Isherwood (a). Both Snyder and Isherwood are credited with "breakdowns," so if you answered either you got credit. Just so you know. As for the page, for a long time, Ostrander had a running gag in SS about a member of the team who was throwing pies at various people. Everyone thought it was Captain Boomerang until he got pied. That turned out to be a clever feint, because it really was Boomerang. Amanda Waller was not in a good mood when she found out, and she dropped Digger off on a desert island. Classic. What a great series.

Number Eighteen: Noble Causes (first series) #1 by Jay Faerber (w) and Patrick Gleason (a). Race Noble marries Liz and goes on a honeymoon. On the last page, a laser comes from the sky and obliterates him. What a great cliff-hanger! Unfortunately, in later issues Faerber decided that exploring Race and Liz's married life would be pretty interesting, so he created an alternate universe Race and now we're never supposed to mention that the "real" Race is dead. But we have proof, Mr. Faerber! It's still a great series. Why aren't you buying it????

Number Nineteen: Scars #6 by Warren Ellis (w) and Jacen Burrows (a). Scars is one of those Ellis books for Avatar, and it's a horribly disturbing experience. John Cain, the cop, has confronted a child-killer, but he has no evidence. That's not about to stop him from getting justice. A sad and gripping read.

Number Twenty: Namor #31 by John Byrne (w) and Jae Lee (a). Was this Lee's first mainstream comic work? Byrne drew the first two years and then just wrote, and Lee did some wild work on this book. Namor loses his memory and battles all sorts of bad guys, including Victor there.

Number Twenty-One: Atomika #2 by Andrew Dabb (w) and Sal Abbinanti (a). I've been telling you how good this book is! Freaky stuff from Abbinanti. Interesting story from Dabb. What's not to like?

Number Twenty-Two: Elektra: Assassin #8 by Frank Miller (w) and Bill Sienkiewicz (a). I'm shocked that everyone didn't recognize Sienkiewicz! For shame! This is Miller doing his completely over-the-top wackiness long before All-Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder, and this is better. But that's just my opinion.

Number Twenty-Three: Gødland #6 by Joe Casey (w) and Tom Scioli (a). Another book you should be buying! Discordia hears the verdict at her trial, and her head explodes! Wha-huh? And, of course, Friedrich Nickelhead then puts Basil Cronus' head on her body. And yes, that is a very strange sentence. But that's just the goodness that is Gødland!

Number Twenty-Four: New Mutants #60 by Louise Simonson (w) and Bret Blevins (a). The death of Doug Ramsey, a huge waste of a great character (and no, his melding with Warlock doesn't count as a resurrection). He saves Rahne by throwing himself in front of a bullet! It's a good scene and a decent comic, but it's still a waste of a great character. And yet Gambit is still alive. There's no justice.

Number Twenty-Five: Doom Patrol #63 by Grant Morrison (w) and Richard Case (a). I have claimed this is the best run by anyone in comic book history, and issue #63 just might be one of the top ten issues in comic book history. Jane leaves the "real world" behind and rejoins Cliff and Rebis on Danny the World. Beautiful, simply beautiful. I get choked up just thinking about it.

A few interesting points: only one person got the panel from Goddess, which was the most poorly identified exactly. A few people did guess that it was Garth Ennis, though - I guess a pole of stone in the groin easily identifies him! Absolutely no one got the Suicide Squad one completely correct - no one got the issue number, and a few people said Luke McDonnell did the art. That surprised me. The other one no one got exactly right was the panel from Dreadstar - only one person knew it was Dreadstar and who wrote and drew it, but he got the wrong issue number. Of all the artists, I figured McManus, McFarlane, Windsor-Smith, and Sienkiewicz would be the most recognizable, and I was right - for the most part. I thought Scars would be the most obscure, but more than a few people got it. Good job keeping up on your Avatar books! I got ten entries, and on 9 of them, Grell's Green Arrow was correctly identified completely (name of the book, issue number, writer, and artist), followed by the Spider-Man/Human Torch panel, the Fantastic Four panel, and the Animal Man panel, each with 8 correct exact answers. I was a bit surprised that Green Arrow was so easily identified, but not that the others were - the Slott/Templeton book is recent, the FF is pretty famous, I think, and Buddy talking to the audience might be in the top ten of most famous in history.

Your winner, with 53 points out of 75, is Mike Loughlin. Mike shows up here often and makes interesting comments, and he is apparently a big nerd. Good job, Mike! He was the only one who knew the Goddess panel, one of the few who recognized Lazarus Churchyard and Scars, and he was one of only two people who correctly identified the Namor panel. He's eclectic! Thanks for all your entries, people, and I'm sure I'll have another one in the near future.

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More Reviews for the 5/17 Comic Book Week

Green Arrow #62 (DC)

Talent #1 (Boom!)

Sorry for a slightly sparse reviewing week. DC and Marvel cover snarking took a lot of time...hehe.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Just a reminder

You have until the end of today to enter my contest! All the details are here. I have gotten a bunch of entries, but there's always room for more! I will reveal the winner and the answers tomorrow.

Just in case you forgot to enter. Please go about your business.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Comic Book Dictionary - Formatitis

Formatitis is when a comic book story suffers from being forced to commit to a specific format.

Notable examples of Formatitis include:

A. Stories written for serialized anthologies (the short length and constant need to recap can rob the story of some impact)

B. Stories written for "the trade" (when a 3-part story has to be stretched to 6 issues. A notable example is the Geoff Johns issue of Avengers that was rejected, as Johns was told to split the story into two issues - both issues seemed a bit sparse).

C. Stories written for longer story pages without deserving the longer story pages (leads to a lot of padding)

D. Stories written for short story length that deserve more (story ends up feeling as though an opportunity was missed).

Any other examples of formatitis that you folks can think of?

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