Happy birthday to my favorite Who companion. She’s 23 today. Congrats to the casting department of Doctor Who for managing to hit so many of my fetishes with this one. I’m quite smitten.
Guys, this week was a killer. Probably the most major comic release date in a while. You have no idea how many people have been coming in asking about Batman Incorporated over the last few weeks. That final panel in Batman & Robin sold people in a way that I can’t really describe and I for one am thrilled that so many people are realizing how awesome Grant Morrison’s take on the Dark Knight truly is. The man knows what he’s doing. In Morrison we trust.
AVENGERS #7 3.99
BATMAN #704 2.99
BATMAN INCORPORATED #1 3.99
BATMAN THE RETURN #1 4.99
DEADPOOLMAX #2 (MR) 3.99
GREEN LANTERN #59 (BRIGHTEST DAY) 2.99
OSBORN #1 BIG (OF 4) 3.99
POWER GIRL #18 2.99
SIXTH GUN #6 3.99
SPIDER-GIRL #1 BIG 3.99
SUPERGIRL #58 2.99
SUPERIOR #2 (OF 6) (MR) 2.99
SUPERMAN #705 2.99
THUNDERBOLTS #150 4.99
X-23 #3 2.99
X-MEN #5 3.99
Now after a good long day of writing about prostitution in the middle ages for a history paper, I can tell you about how awesome a few of these books are.
The weakest of the new Batman releases is the core title, which sadly seems like a middle of the road affair by Tony Daniel when compared to the amazing work done by Morrison and Finch in the other books released this week. Not to say that the book is horrible, it’s better than it has been recently, especially Daniel’s art which looks less rushed than I’m used to, but unfortunately the entirety of the book seems rather pedestrian when placed alongside the nearly pitch-perfect Batman Incorporated title. I think my main gripe with this title comes from the fact that it reads like a throwaway title from the late nineties or early two-thousands in it’s pacing, its art, and its choice of villainry.
The book suffers from feeling all too familiar to stories we already read but with minor tweaks. Unfortunately, the books that this seems derivitive of aren’t the best parts of Batman lore. I think that the book could stand to take a few more risks rather than settle into a comfort zone that’s so blatantly par for the course.
Then again, when Tony Daniel takes risks we get Catgirl, a character that I almost want to like out of the sheer absurdity of her existence. But then again, my tastes differ in certain areas from the general public so I won’t take a stand on that character until she’s had the chance to mature under another team of writers.
This book is everything you should want in a Batman title. Morrison manages to find the right balance of tone between the ridiculous, the macabre, the adventurous, and the outright fun. The book essentially turns into a globetrotting Bruce and Selina super-happy-fun action hour where Batman and Catwoman fly to Japan to begin preparations for that branch of the Batman Inc. plan to be put into motion but are sidetracked by a murder mystery and a cult of ninja assassins. There’s even some tentacle rape hentai jokes that seem all too appropriate coming from the mind of Grant Morrison.
The artwork on display here is robust and amazing. They really could not have found a better fit. Paquette’s Selina is as sexy as she’s ever been and the subtle touches he uses to portray Batman are astounding. It’s one of the best looking Batman books in a long time, rivaled only by Finch’s work in The Return which I’ll be discussing shortly.
If you pass on this one you will regret it later. This one is a home run in every sense of the damn word. Buy this book now!
I was wary of this particular title. That apprehension faded after the first few pages where Grant Morrison gives us what equates to graphic poetry, telling the story from the perspective of the bat that crashed into Bruce’s life when he needed to find his avatar. David Finch’s artwork guided the narrative with masterful flow and tone, showing off some of his most brilliantly stylized work to date.
That the art is this good is not surprising, given the subject matter and how much Finch loves to work with shadows and the darkness, but the complexities of the narrative were surprising considering that this is essentially the jumping-on point for new readers and Morrison made no attempt to censor his sensibilities and gave us intricate mysterious plot threads as well as hyper-neo-noir technological action adventure with jetpacks and robotics intertwined with some nitty gritty fight scenes.
If you’re planning on reading any of this week’s bat titles I highly recommend that you start off with this one as it outlines the new status quo for Batman quite handily and works to assure us that the people working on every title are going to be working as a cohesive unit to tell what seems like a hell of a story and if this one-shot is any indication, they’ll be bringing their a-game every step of the way.
From Marvel we get the newly minted 616 version of Spider-Girl, formerly Arana, in her first solo title. The whole Young Allies thing didn’t seem to work out so well so I’m pensive about this title, but hopefully they’ll let it go long enough to deter fans from yelling at them for cancelling what amounts to their only major female-driven solo title. (Scarlet doesn’t count, guys.)
It’s off to a good start. Establishing the cast of characters and letting the new readers get to know Arana in case they haven’t followed her from her humble beginnings in the revamped Amazing Fantasy from a few years back. The storytelling style is sound and concise, but from someone like Tobin who has a pretty firm grasp on narrative technique this isn’t really a surprise. The plotline seems familiar, as most superhero books are bound to borrow from each other a bit, but the expression, through a “twitter”-esque thought balloon parade seems fresh enough to distinguish it from other similar go-arounds.
I’m hoping it will stick around long enough to take off, because the character really is an interesting one. I especially liked her when she was in Ms. Marvel, another title that I sorely miss.
And now I go back to writing about whores. I guess this is what Frank Miller feels like all the time. A-ZING!!!!
Trailer embedded below. Here’s the deal. A lot of this looks good. The cinematography and the tone reminds me of the Star Trek reboot. What I am not liking is that they’ve essentially turned Hal into every other Ryan Reynolds role ever and the CGI on his suit looks about five years out-dated. Oh, and Blake Lively still can’t act.
I really want this movie to succeed. I want more DC movies that aren’t Batman. Seriously, Marvel is running out of characters to turn into films and somehow DC still hasn’t managed to do some of their biggest properties. Where the hell are Flash and Wonder Woman? Those seem like properties you could sell fairly easily, but what do I know, right? Anyhow, I’m hoping they tighten up the CGI and give us something worth getting a franchise out of. It’s obvious that DC is trying to turn this one into their Iron Man, which probably explains why they tweaked the Jordan character to me more jokey, so let’s hope that it’s at least on par in quality.
On a side note, Sinestro and Kilowog look awesome.
Thor : The Mighty Avenger cancelled by the people at Marvel who are actively trying to make me angrier with each and every passing month…
In a move that makes me seeth with anger in a way that cannot be descibed using the words available to me in the English language, Marvel has decided, in their infinite motherf#$%ing wisdom to cancel one of my favorite running titles; Thor – The Mighty Avenger. An all-ages book with some of the most brilliant work Marvel has put out in the last few years that for some reason hasn’t been given a chance to live on, especially considering they haven’t taken into account what the trade sales might look like considering that the collection doesn’t drop until December.
This is starting to look like an exact duplicate of my rant about Marvel cancelling SWORD earlier this year, so I’m just going to leave it at this before my hands start to shake and my typing skills greatly deteriorate.
On the third day of the convention my mission was simply to buy the things that were on my shopping list. I had a chunk of Jimmy Palmiotti’s Jonah Hex series I needed to fill in, as well as some Hellboy trades and I wanted to get a damned copy of the first issue of Conan the Barbarian at a reasonable price. I was able to pick one up for around $70.00, the going price for one in that condition being close to $120.00 so I was content. I managed to snag one of the Hellboy trades and most of the Hexes. With the money I had left over I decided to support our friends over at RED 5 COMICS and buy one of each of their trades. I’m planning on tearing through Atomic Robo sometime within the next few days.
After scouring the convention for the items on my shopping list I picked up the few remaining commissions I had not collected on and said goodbye to the professionals I’d annoyed throughout the weekend. Stopped to get my requisite picture with the Suicide Girls who I try to say hello to at every convention because as a photographer I keep hoping one of them will request my services. They directed me this time to their application site, so I might give that a go.
Now I’m back in Houston and looking to recharge by going back to work. At the comic shop. I think I might need a hobby away from my hobby.
Day two of the convention was a little more madcap than the first. That’s to be expected. The people who can’t get off work for Friday show up on Saturday and then all hell breaks loose when more people than is healthy try to cram themselves into an enclosed area of limited space. Everyone was in high spirits and things went as they usually do at conventions. I was unable once again to hit any of the panels as I opted to go have lunch with a friend from high school who happened to be in town and the panel I had planned on attending was full by the time I returned.
I chose to use my day then to pester the living hell out of Matt Sturges, who held the distinction of writing one of my favorite issues of a comic ever when he wrote the JSA All-Stars issue where Power Girl beat the living piss out of Magog. It was like he heard my prayers and then wrote a script pandering to my whims. We spent some time talking about how amazing Blue Beetle is as a character, with no distinction made as to which iteration of the Beetle we were really talking about. We just agree that any time there is a Beetle who is Blue, the guy is full of win. We then chatted a little bit about his good friend Chris Roberson, who you’ll recall just got tapped to write Superman in place of J. Michael Stracynski. Unfortunately Chris didn’t make a timely appearance at the con, but Matt passed on the info that Chris was already two scripts into the series, which bodes well for the title running without delays for the next few months.
The rest of the day was spent buying commissions from folks in artists alley to keep Rob Guillory’s company in the gallery when I get home. I snagged a Green Arrow head sketch from the always awesome Mike Grell as well as Sgt. Rock from Billy Tucci, who has more energy than anyone at a convention has any right to have. I tried not to spend any money on actual comics at this point in the hopes that I could clean up with some extra discounts on Sunday. I’d spent a good chunk of my walkin’ around money on the aforementioned commissions anyhow and would have to hit an ATM before I started scrounging through the longboxes.
Here’s a picture of that completed Sgt. Rock commission, as displayed by Billy Tucci.
Greetings from Austin, Texas where I’m having just a huge blast at the Wizard World Austin Comic Convention. Our first day here has been productive, as I’ve procured commissions from Mike Grell as well as Chew artist Rob Guillory. We ran into our good friends over at Angel Comics pretty early and if you’re in town for the convention be sure to drop by their booth and mention that you read about them on this blog. I try to give the guys as much publicity as I can muster because they do some great work and hopefully they’ll all be big names sometime in the future.
Met up with and got signatures from Mike McKone, Michael Golden and Greg Horn. All of whom are great guys who do great work. If you’re not enjoying McKone’s work on Avengers Academy you’re just plain wrong. Or not reading the book, either way you make me sad. Golden signed the first issue of Micronauts for me, which will be hung with care beside the original art page from a later issue of that series drawn by Gil Kane. I was happy that Greg Horn made it to the convention today as he was twittering quite ferociously yesterday about travel issues at the airport he was flying out of that included a plane on fire. Not his, mind you, but still a flaming plane.
Managed to snag a decent copy of Conan The Barbarian # 1 for about 1/2 of guide price for myself and then decided to retire for the day because there weren’t any panels I was particularly interested in, although I will probably get into one or two tomorrow if I can possibly manage it. I know I’m meeting up with a friend for lunch so it’ll be a task to juggle the scheduling.
According to the official DCU newsblog, JMS will be taking his leave from the Superman and Wonder Woman monthly titles citing a need to prioritize the release of the next Earth One graphic novel as well as his recent healthy issues as the reasons for his early departure. Those concerned about whether or not the current storylines will be left dangling will be happy to hear that oncoming Superman writer Chris Roberson (of iZombie and Cinderella fame) as well as new Wonder Woman scribe Phil Hester will both be working off of Stracynski’s plot outlines. Those of you hoping that the storylines would be abandoned are out of luck. I would argue that the premeses behind the current direction of both books were sound and interesting, simply not being taken in the right direction due to Stracynski’s understanding of the characters being deeply flawed.
I’m sure some overzealous fanboys will be quick to theorize that this has something to do with the critical reaction to the series but the truth is JMS got mainstream exposure for the title, so whether or not the faithful drank his kool-aid was not a concern of the people publishing the books. He isn’t being forced off because of his failures, if anything it seems like they want to replicate the amazing success of Earth One as soon as possible considering the buzz on the first installment seems to be mostly positive.
The thing to take away from this is that both new writers for Superman and Wonder Woman are ASTOUNDING talents who I personally cannot wait to see tackle the characters. Especially Phil Hester. I have a sketch of Green Arrow he drew for me hanging framed in my office. He’s awesome. You should share my enthusiasm. I have enough to go around.
Last night I was able to attend a signing/q&a session with prolific writer Greg Rucka at Houston bookstore Murder by the Book. If you live in the Houston area and are into any sort of crime fiction you would be a total idiot not to check out their store as it is just a fine establishment. I recommend it with every fiber of my being.
Anyhow, Mr. Rucka was appearing last night to discuss his latest novel, an entry into the Queen & Country series which he launched at Oni Press with a series of comics that evolved into a series of novels. It’s one of the few instances where a comic character gets a novel and it doesn’t seem trite. I see novels about Superman and while I understand the appeal, at the same time it feels odd. Like a turkey riding a horse. Terrible analogy, but it stays.
Mr. Rucka started off by giving an explanation of what the series was all about and a little bit about how he likes to work as a writer, which for me was basically like porn because as someone who’s desperately trying to find an ending to his novel Mr. Rucka’s explanations gave me a nudge in the right direction. Coming from someone who has been writing for the better part of two decades, even the simplest explanations of process can be illuminating.
The Q&A was fun and informative, with a healthy dose of questions posed about both his prose work as well as his dealings in the comic industry, which I found refreshing in their candor. Mr. Rucka obviously has no reason to hold back now that he’s almost exclusively writing novels or his own independent creator-owned books for Oni Press. He reiterated what a lot of people have been saying that so long as comic customers keep purchasing the event-driven books that the product will remain to continue in that vein.
I had the chance to chime in with some questions, mainly since he’s written so many characters of his own creation if there were any characters that he found more difficult to write than others, to which he replied that he didn’t like to write Spider-Man, mainly due to his consistently whiny nature, a problem that Rucka says most Marvel characters share. He went on to explain that he loves the DC characters because of their simplistic elegance, going on to echo my sentiments about Superman that his stories are necessary in order to provide a beacon in a darker world. His enthusiasm for the DC characters really showed through, which makes his departure from the upcoming Batwoman series so disheartening, although he did confide in me that he has seen some of JH Williams’ artwork for the series and that we will be blown away.
He signed a stack of my books, including a copy of his first issue on Detective which I also was able to get signed by Williams a few months back and a copy of the first trade of Gotham Central which has a signature from Michael Lark. Both of these are now lovingly displayed in my office.
I hope he comes back to town as he made a verbal agreement to go out for drinks with myself and a few of my cohorts who attended the event. Unfortunately the man had been up since three in the morning and wasn’t prepared for a night of attempting to drink with Texas folk.
We here at Comics Con Queso want to wish a very happy birthday to friend of the site; sexy uber-nerd pornstar Annie Cruz. Annie loves Batman about as much as it is humanly possible and is better at video games than I am. We couldn’t make it out to California to tell her in person, so we’re using the wonders of the internet to give her this tribute.
Happy Birthday Annie!
You’ll notice I tried to put up photos that emphasized equal parts sexy and nerdy. I feel like that was appropriate. And now here’s a special bonus video of superhero Annie:
For More Annie you can find her on twitter @AnnieFuckinCruz and her official website is Annie-Cruz.com
Yesterday the news broke that Martin Sheen would be stepping up to the plate and playing Uncle Ben in the relaunched Spider-Man film series. This was quickly followed up by the news that Sally Field could be playing Aunt May. (Which makes me dream of Burt Reynolds playing J. Jonah Jameson)
All of this leads me to believe that this reboot might be striving to have a respectable pedigree in the hopes of making people forget the previous incarnation. Certainly Andrew Garfield is on the rise following his role in The Social Network, and Emma Stone seems to be the new it-girl when it comes to the young female talent circle. Director Marc Webb is well-liked following his impressive outing with 500 Days of Summer. All of this seems to be congealing into a production that mirrors, say, Captain America where the cast is almost universally liked and has a competent team helming the ship. The only hurdle the movie will have now is getting people to ignore the last three films. I’m already ignoring number three, so we’re off to a good start I suppose.
And as the cold weather breezes into Houston about a month later than it should have, we get the first new books of November. It’s an interesting haul of titles filled with debuts and final touches. This is all very poetic and whatnot, but the truth is I’m hopped up on leftover Halloween candy and could make a bowel movement seem melodic.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #647 4.99
AVENGERS ACADEMY #6 2.99
BATMAN AND ROBIN #16 3.99
BOYS #48 (MR) 3.99
BUFFY VAMPIRE SLAYER #38 2.99
BULLSEYE PERFECT GAME #1 (OF 2) 3.99
CAPTAIN AMERICA MAN OUT OF TIME #1 (OF 5) 3.99
GENERATION HOPE #1 3.99
JONAH HEX #61 2.99
PUNISHER IN BLOOD #1 (OF 5) 3.99
SCARLET #3 (MR) 3.95
SECRET SIX #27 2.99
SUPERBOY #1 2.99
WOLVERINE #3 3.99
WOMEN OF MARVEL #1 3.99
YOUNG ALLIES #6 2.99
I’ve bolded the issues I will review. Which is redundant, as the reviews will now begin and you will be able to see what I have reviewed.
Here it is. The conclusion of Grant Morrison’s run on Batman & Robin before he jumps onto the new “Batman Inc.” title which should be one hell of a ride given the setup he provides for us in this issue. Morrison has been the architect of the Batman universe now for about as long as I’ve been working in comic book retail. Close to five years or so. He’s not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. It seems like he’s moving into the third act of his overall story with Batman Inc. The fact that his overarching story has an act-structure ties into the melodrama he’s crafted. His Batman reads like a sci-fi/action opera and it’s evident that he’s put a great deal of effort in making sure the parts all come together.
The biggest achievement that he can lay claim to in regards to his Batman ouvre is his ability to shake things up in ways that other writers have teased for the short term but never committed to in any real way. Plot twists that Morrison uses as the long-term theme of his story seem like ideas that other writers would love to pursue but only for six issues or less. Morrison seems to think that shaking things up and doing so in a way that shifts the paradigm of how Batman operates on a level that is not easily reversible is the key to telling a good story. I won’t argue that it’s made for some of the most compelling reading for quite some time.
What I really appreciate about Morrison on the Bat books is that in a few years time we’ll be able to view him as one of the better Batman showrunners in the history of the character. There aren’t many creators who leave such a lasting mark on the character that fans can easily identify. Most of the time you get the requisite Denny O’Neil or Frank Miller. Morrison is going to be the next name on the immediate go-to list when all is said and done.
Bullseye is a character who can be used to absolute perfection or to an end that simply does not work. There’s not a whole lot of middle ground when it comes to the character. He’s been front and center for so many great and memorable moments and then again he’s been wasted or misused by writers who simply want to use him in a way that doesn’t really make sense.
Here we get a story where there’s very little actual Bullseye. The story is all second-hand, but it gives us an insight into how the character operates that we don’t really see. That part that deals with how and why he picks his targets. The montage showing some of his more unique and violent kills is a perfect example of why Bullseye sometimes doesn’t work out in the hands of an unskilled writer. He’s the perfect killer. He knows he’s the perfect killer. He’s got the same problem Superman does in the sense that he’s so above and beyond the range of his peers that he can come off as boring in his superiority.
The biggest downfall of this book is that lack of Bullseye. The second hand narrative structure is interesting but ultimately unless they give us something a little more substantial it’s basically not even like reading a comic at all but reading a comic about someone who read a comic about what Bullseye did for a year. That sounds stupid, but it gives off a little of that vibe.
It’s a Captain America miniseries written by Mark Waid. I’m not going to pass that up. Seriously, I don’t care that it’s essentially a retread and that no matter how they take the story it’s essentially inconsequential because it’s one of a hundred takes on the same story because it’s such a great part of the Captain America mythos that’s being retold.
The stuff set in World War Two is pretty good. We get some fun banter between Bucky and Cap amongst some soldiers who don’t know who they are and we get some fun, if cliched, introspective moments where the two discuss what they would like to do when the war is over and the fighting is done. Of course all of this happens mere moments before Bucky gets caught in the explosion that “kills” him and Cap winds up frozen in the ice.
What really works in this issue is the dichotomy between that old world and the new one that Cap wakes up to. You really can feel how directionless and confused Steve is when confronted with a world that has grown leaps in bounds in technology and regressed equally in its brutality. The dangers of being a hero in such a world become readily apparent and the ending of the book packs quite a punch.
I think this one could be one that people regret not picking up if they let it slip under their radar because it is an excellent read. However, Marvel needs to learn that these arbitrary books aren’t going to get the same readership they would at a lower price point. $3.99 is a warning siren to a lot of consumers nowadays, even if the book is worth the cash, as this one seems to be.
They’ve been building to this one for a while. I need to begin by saying that I would have been just as happy had this been the central running plot of Uncanny X-Men or Legacy. Or hell, run it through both titles as a crossover. It would have worked just as well. This has the smell of a cash grab by throwing it out as an independant mini-series. It’s like if Marvel had done the Inferno followup they’re doing in New Mutants as a mini-series and let the ongoing title move along as if nothing happened. I think the logistics of this miniseries are flawed, and I needed to get that out of the way up front.
As to the book itself, it’s hard to tell what direction it will take. Whether the fifth “light” will be the villain for the whole of the series or if there is something more is not readily apparent. The book seems to indicate as much, but to what end they are going with the character in question is unknown.
If you haven’t been reading X-Men, this book is not very new-user friendly. All the characters have been introduced over in Uncanny, which backs up my assertion that it should have been continued there. So if you need the background, pick up the last few months of Uncanny after the end of Second Coming. That should fill in some gaps for you.
I’m hoping there’s a bigger endgame here than I’m seeing at the moment. To justify its existence, the miniseries better have one hell of a closer.
All you whiney fanboys can quit your bitching, Frank Castle is back in non-monster form to do what he’s done for the last thirty or so years. It’s still got the same gritty flair that Remender brought to the title under the Franken-Castle banner but in an easily digestible, familiar package so that frightened fans don’t feel offended by change.
The first issue feels like a classic Punisher riff, it builds upon years and years of 616 Punisher lore, with Microchip and the long feud with Jigsaw coming back into play. It feels a bit more natural than the early parts of the last volume did, as Punisher shouldn’t be anywhere near storylines that have anything to do with alien invasions. He’s at his best when the capes don’t make an appearance.
This could be the beginning of a great new chapter for the character, if Remender’s past work is any indication of what he can do with Frank now. He certainly kicked the show off with an impressive debut, so it’s his ballgame to lose. Let’s just hope he doesn’t get too inventive, or people will get frightened and claim that he’s “ruined the character again” and run to the hills like stampeding fear-cattle.
Jeff Lemire is in a position to be a hot item. Sweet Tooth is an amazing book and he’s got that good buzz to his credit as well as being hailed by just about everyone as the next big thing. With Superboy he has the chance to really let loose and show the world what he can do with the mainstream DCU characters. Superboy isn’t a sacred cow. He has a following but he has room to be molded into something more concrete. The building blocks are there, Lemire just needs to move them around.
He certainly doesn’t waste any time with this issue, utilizing a familiar old Superman villain to write some great action scenes that are drawn out spectacularly by artist Pier Gallo whose work has a very classic feel to it, which fits the Smallville setting wonderfully.
Where Lemire also garners some good will is the manner in which he sets up the supporting cast. This is the first issue, and for many new readers this is their first exposure to the character, but the interactions with the Smallville community are written in the same manner that they would be had the title been running for five years. The familiarity works. Lemire doesn’t get overly expository with everyone in the first issue. He knows that the time will come to fill people in when the moment is appropriate. He gives just enough to let the story work itself out organically and the book is better for it.
I think this one could end up being a long-running fan favorite. Let’s just hope Lemire stays on the title for a long enough time to truly leave his mark on the character, because judging from the first issue it could be quite an interesting and fun take on a character who until this point has basically been defined by his association with the Titans, his relationship to Wonder Girl or his overly violent death.
And them’s the reviews. Hope you enjoyed my ramblings. Now I’m going to finish this bowl of leftover candy and watch old episodes of the Simpsons while I work on a poetry paper for my creative writing class.
By now you’ve probably read every single last report on Superman : Earth One that the media machine can spit at you. It’s been getting major press since before it’s launch last week from all over the place including CNN, USA Today, and other reputable news sources that I don’t pay attention to. The focus has mainly been on the depiction of Clark Kent as a young hipster with a hoodie. It’s such a dramatic change in direction, isn’t it?
The truth of the matter is that a lot of people are going to be torn on this book. Some are hating on it because of the liberties it takes with the mythos. Others for the fact that this Clark doesn’t seem much like the Clark we’ve come to know in the past seventy years of his publishing history. The thing is, it has no bearing on the regular title. It’s a standalone universe. The way I see it, the people complaining about it are the same people who lost their marbles over the changes that Bendis made when writing Ultimate Spider-Man way back when that first started up. But it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have any bearing on that. This is an expiriment in updating the origin of Superman for a modern audience using what the writer believes are modern sensibilities. I won’t comment on whether or not he has a grasp on what modern audiences want, because the nationwide sellouts of the book indicate that he has a fairly decent idea, regardless of the quality of the book he produced. I don’t think a wide majority of Superman fans picked up the book, as they’ve been fairly vocal about how horrible his run on the regular in-continuity title has been thus far. It seems to me that the majority of the people picking up this title are the uninitiated, who will have no qualms with the changes because they will only have the slightest inclination that anything has changed. Remember that for a chunk of the population, Smallville is the default incarnation of the Superman character. Smallville.
The book isn’t that bad. It really is just Ultimate Superman. The only problem being that in the format which it has been published, you’re not really getting a whole lot of story for the price. I feel like the book ran maybe four issues worth of content but they charged me for six. That having been said, I think a premium has been placed on the book for the high profile creative team. JMS has had his name in the news alot lately due to his work on Wonder Woman as well as the regular Superman title and Shane Davis is a damned fine penciller, so DC is probably just trying to get their money’s worth. The price certainly didn’t seem to affect the buying public as they snatched it up in droves. But it is worth noting that the story is a brisk one. Thankfully the book stands on its own in such a way that you don’t need to buy a second volume to complete the story. I would have felt a bit miffed if I’d paid the price I did and didn’t even get a full story out of it.
As for the story, it’s familiar to those who have read anything remotely related to Superman before ( it felt a little bit too much like Birthright in some places for me), it also diverges from the regular path a little bit simply by virtue of being set in modern times. Clark Kent pursuing an active career in print journalism seems a bit anachronistic and so they play with it a little bit and Clark’s entry into the field isn’t the same as it was in his previous incarnations. None of that really matters, the key players are there and the dynamic still works. Although the Jimmy/Clark dynamic might be interesting to watch this time around considering that Jimmy seems to be less the bumbling loser that he is often portrayed as.
I will give the team props for not utilizing the old guard of Superman villains for this go-around. If there’s one thing a lot of people agree on its that the old villains are getting stale. There are numerous petitions to keep Lex Luthor out of the next Superman movie because people are tired of the same old shtick. Here we get a villain who helps reinforced the thematic elements of Superman’s arrival. The fear of the foreign is on full display and I think that will be the underlying thematic element of this particular version of Superman. It’s certainly a timely and relevant metaphor. The only question is whether or not Stracynski can keep it subtle enough not to be overbearing.
On the whole, it’s an interesting effort. Not as fun as the early Ultimate universe was, but definitely a popular expiriment nonetheless.
Overall Score : 7/10 Stars
On Sunday evening I, along with every-fucking-body in the world, watched the AMC premiere of The Walking Dead. The small screen adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s comic hit was everything you would expect out of a TV show helmed by Frank Darabont. It’s like Boardwalk Empire over at HBO. Did anyone expect a show masterminded by Martin mothereffing Scorcese to not knock it out of the park? The same principle applies to The Walking Dead, as it’s a masterful translation, with the finely tuned raw grit that made The Mist so gutwrenching back on display here. The man has a well developed sense of what makes horror scenarios so intense. The zombies themselves here, which are really some top of the line practical effects by the way, aren’t what’s scary. It’s the sense of overwhelming change. The sense of loss. The sense of distrust between the survivors. Darabont slathers on that sort of attention to detail and gives us an unrelenting drama.
The show itself is obviously amazing, but the turnout for the show is what is truly spectacular. It garnered the highest ratings for a cable premiere this year and it’s the best debut AMC has ever had. Don Draper can go suck a veiny zombie dong because The Walking Dead is a certified hit. In the weeks leading up to the event I figured that the comic nerds of the world would tune in, but I wasn’t sure it would find a mainstream audience, what with the fact that the previews that AMC was running for the show didn’t really show off much beyond it being a generic zombie apocalypse drama. But it looks like we’ll be getting a long healthy run for the series and I’m hoping that it will make it long enough to get to the prison arc. If the conclusion to that particular story doesn’t make for some of the best TV on record I’ll eat my hat.
And for those of you wondering, the reason I used the above image is because I wanted to see if anyone noticed the corgi in a lobster costume someone photoshopped in.