Friday, May 27, 2011

Fear Itself: Round Three (3)!

Nick Spencer wrote both of the Fear Itself issues released this week! I like Nick Spencer! He's nominated for an Eisner for Best Writer this year, and Morning Glories is a weird, interesting read. Let's see how he treats the cruel bitch that is Fear Itself:
  • Secret Avengers #13 - Ok! This one really had me going. A reeeeeal page turner. How do you like this premise: As hordes of god-knows-what kind of Nazi robots are descending upon Washington D.C. (thanks, Fear), the gutless elected officials to the U.S. House of Representatives have fled the capitol! EXCEPT! One man has stayed behind; it seems in his hurry to skirt fiery death-by-Nazi, the Speaker of the House forgot to adjourn the session! House Rep. Leonard Gary (D-Ms.) realizes this means he can now, all by his lonesome, call motions to order! Or even vote on legislation! While doom is threatening to knock the whole place down any second! I was really enjoying this issue until it devolved into a sappy Mr. Smith Goes to Washington knock off. But I think the idea of this is so good that it should have been stretched out over a bunch of issues. But alas, what we have instead is two full pages of the Gettysburg Address (I'm serious) while the Lincoln monument come-to-life smashes Nazi bots. So close.
  • Iron Man 2.0 #5 - War Machine plus Iron Fist?!? Whaaa?!? Here's a secret about me: I looove Iron Fist. For my money, Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction's Immortal Iron Fist is one of the most kick ass comics of the past several moons. I Jump at any IIF appearance in any other title and, for the most part, am disappointed. But this was pretty cool! War Machine is dealing with the D.C. crisis (see above, kind of) when The Prince of Orphans is summoned away to seal the Eighth Kingdom. If that last sentence made no sense, you need to read the above mentioned Iron Fist series POST HASTE and report back. AT ANY RATE: Sweet issue, good tie-in to Fear Itself.
Third Session Report: Thanks, Nick Spencer! A light, but enjoyable week!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Vampirella and the Scarlet Legion #1

Vampirella is the key to everything!  The old ones are coming!  Is she the only one that can stop them?!  Nope, the Scarlet Legion ( a ruthless brand of vampire hunters) will step in to help her save the world.  The only question is, will they see her as friend...or foe?

I can't wait to see what happens!

5 out of 5 crucifix shaped wooden stakes.

I am totally lying.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fear Itself: Round Two

(Cover to Herc #3, w - Pak, Van Lente / a - Edwards)

The Fear Train just keeps on a rollin'. This week's batch of comics are as follows:

  • Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt - Read Liz's excellent post (below) for a pretty good summary of what's wrong with this single issue. I guess it's possible that I am too far out of the Initiative loop to really "get" this comic, so I don't want to be too harsh. Except to say (or reiterate from Liz and Christian) that Thor Girl is incredibly fucking stupid. Thor Girl? Everything else aside, you can't think of a better name than "Thor Girl?" I find this character offensive to Thor, fans of Thor, fans of comic books, and all women, everywhere.
  • Herc #3: Herc so Silly! I had no idea. Brooklyn's got The Fear and Herc's on the case, promising to let evildoers "taste his steel." It seems like more than a few of these tie-in titles feature main characters fighting slightly more crime than usual due to the serpent god's Fear Juice. Starting to feel like a cop out; I am increasingly disinterested.
  • Avengers #13 - I completely agree with Christian (see below) and his take on the Bendis dialogue thing. Pretty snappy and what-not, but a little jarring. Entertaining, but distracting. But Bendis has to make word balloons: he can't not. Watching Avengers flirt with each other, though, is...not good? I don't know. I am indifferent to this book.
  • Invincible Iron Man #504 - Unread, as of this writing. Dammit.
Second Session Report: When I was reading, I didn't think I minded these comics. But when I look over these bullet points I'm not seeing a lot of positivity. This is troubling: am I becoming inured to crossover bullshit? Have to keep on eye on this.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fear Itself.......With A Little Help From It's Friends

Dudes! An event is happening in marvel comics right now! have you heard of it? It's called "fear itself" and it'll make your wallet piss itself in fear all right. nick summed up my feelings on crossovers pretty well in his previous post so i wont rehash it again, but i am going to attempt to read all the comics that cross over into the event. here is my my brief initial reactions to all the Fear Itself issues i have read.

Fear Itself: book of the skull - the red skulls daughter is super evil, deformed, and is the new red skull!She busts into an old ww2 era bunker of her pops to uncover something terrible! esoteric Nazi occult stuff? rad!

Fear itself #1 - Tony stark wants to help the Asgardian rebuild their home of Asgard and Odin is all like "pfft,i believe we'll be bouncing out to the cosmos instead"........things start getting all fear-y across the ancient god is awakened and pissed off.a sense of dread pervades through the marvel universe.......this could be cool.....i DO like Matt fraction.

Fear Itself: Homefront - here's a batch of four short stories: Speedball is volunteering incognito for the families of victims of the school bus explosion that started off civil war (yeah i know,like 5 years ago we're still talking about it)there are two other short stories in here that i don't even remember anything about which maybe doesn't say anything good about my memory or those stories.BUT it also features an agents of atlas multi part story that is awesome and jimmy woo kicks mega ass in.

Journey into Mystery #622 - this title used to be Thor and was about it's called Journey into Mystery and is about Loki, who has be de aged into a child.its super rad,mythical and Loki as a child allows for such great innocent mischief and misguided intent.if you dug the Thor movie check out Journey into Mystery.the asgardian aspects of it are the whip.

Invincible Iron Man #503 - this is the conclusion to an ongoing story about doctor octopus trying to best tony stark in a battle of intellects.pretty cool stuff and i love the fraction iron man, but it was barely involved in fear itself except for tony witnessing some ominous comets crashing to earth.what are they? well that is all explained in ....

Fear itself #2 - Those comets are crazy ass hammers sent by the previously mentioned awakened and infuriated elder god.....who is a Norse deity that rules with FEAR and is the oldest asgardian! These hammers are sent to people who will become this gods army of fear on earth.all them get hammers like anti Thor's or some such shite....i dunno,this is going to goofy town already.Sin goes on the offense and a ton of stuff gets blown up,so that was exciting.

Fear Itself Spiderman #1 - HOLY CRAP! new york is collectively losing their minds to paranoia and .......FEAR.riots are breaking out,chaos is all around, and spidey has gotta deal with it.color me unimpressed.all of the world is freaking out which is actually pretty scary if ya think about it,and spidey is hilarious as usual.

Journey into Mystery #623 - Loki is tryin to figure a way out of this fear itself mess, which means defying his father and getting into mischief!classic Loki.ill keep reading this book long after fear itself if this awesomeness keeps up.this book has the two things I'm real crazy about in comics right now:imagination and exploration.thinking of crazy awesome uncharted ideas and then delving into unexplored territory.solid stuff.mystic as all get out too!

Fear itself: Homefront #2 - speedball is still a well meaning douche and the whole town of Stamford turns against him as the fear spreads,more forgettable back up features and Agents of atlas/jimmy woo kickin ass in a castle.these dudes should just kept doing agents of atlas.

Fear Itself: youth in revolt - Liz's review says it all.meh-tacular.

Herc #3 - ya know, Ive never read Herc before so I'm just popping for fear itself.they did a great job of getting me up to speed right away! Hercules is depowered,works in a diner in Brooklyn,and has a ton of mystical artifacts that help him whoop booty.OK go!.....Herc fights everybody! a street gang/cult of the war god "Ares"! escaped prisoners from the raft! quasi deities!....which was all pretty silly and only tangentially involved with fear one point Herc did have me cracking up tho.Herc is doing a public appearance and listening to citizens complaints which range from a meth lab next door to a neighbors terrier barking all night.Herc's solution to all problems? they will "meet his steel" ha!

Invincible Iron Man #504 - all the citizens of Paris have been turned to stone! oh noes! iron man is gonna check it out and throws down with one of the hammer wielding "worthy" (heralds of the evil asgardian) who is made of stone! hmmm?
the banter between tony and pepper continues to be phenomenal and realistic but I'm a little Luke warm on this ish.....and i super dig Matt fractions writing.i hope this book stays great throughout the deluge that is fear itself.i dunno.

Avengers #13 - this takes place before/during the events of fear itself #1 and covers tony starks plan to rebuild Asgard from a more intimate and avengers based perspective.the avengers and the asgardians have a raging party to celebrate! it looks fun as hell,volstagg drops hints that he wants to be an avenger,luke cage slams mead like "whoa",and hawkeye flirts with spider woman.the dialogue is classic whip crack Bendis,but much like his his writing on Mighty Avengers,it does not seem to fit the characters and super heroic hulk eats a bunch of raw eggs! hilarious! this issue ends with spider-man saying "and, like that,the avengers were never going to be the same joke."
its like spidey gets the whole joke about crossovers and how they "change everything" and is cluing us in. thanks spidey.i guess.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #1

W - Sean McKeever
A - Mike Norton

I'm familiar with 'The Crossover' and do what I can to avoid it when it's around.  However, having read none of the Fear Itself comics, so far, I was goaded into reading this one.

It has all of the qualities I'm looking for in a comic to randomly review:
  • It's a #1
  • It's a mini-series
  • It's a Marvel comic
I find that I can pick up most Marvel #1's or one-shots and read/review them without needing to go  back.  I don't care about the characters or have a pressing need to follow up on the story, which gives these books a certain disposability.

I guess you can probably tell from my tone that I didn't really dig it.  I enjoyed the little intro blurb on the first page.  The art has just a smack of 90's Image and, maybe it's just me, but I don't think anyone wants to revisit that.  I couldn't really feel the 'flow' of the story.  I understood what was happening, but the pacing was weird and the events seemed a little disjointed.  Don't misunderstand me, there wasn't anything glaringly bad about this comic book, but it was definitely not my cup of tea, or even on the same street as my alley.

As a (mostly) non-superhero comic reader I am always on the lookout for a book that will pique my interest in the genre - a book that will CHANGE EVERYTHING!  This comic book was not the one.

p.s.  Thor Girl?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Superman: Brainiac

written by: Geoff Johns
art by: Gary Frank

Superman vs Brainiac again! for the first time!? Yeah,so apparently the hundreds of times Supes has tussled with Brainiac were not the real super intellect that is Brainiac!? those dudes were just probes sent to gather information about Superman for brainiacs "collection" of curios......which includes a great number of miniaturized and bottled cities,one of which looks shockingly familiar to the man of steel! (cue dramatic music) DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN! When my man Supes kicks a ton of brainiac droid @$$,Brainiac is roused from his techno slumber and is pretty furious about it and expresses himself with his fists! At one point Brainy initiates attack attempt #242 against Superman.Thats a lot of combat data to have stored and memorized.Supes doesn't know whats comin but Brainiac is bringing it.look out kryptonian!
Seriously,this was a "Super" cool story.Its totally self contained,so you just swoop into the story and get ready for a blast.Brainiac is super smart and is like the ultimate collector/snob......dude wants to eliminate all of earth because now they know about krypton,a place "only he should know of and wont share".Brainiac is like the extraterrestrial version of that "friend" you have who is real into music but is all "yeah,[fill in the blank]is my favorite band right now,but you've probably never heard of em". Like an E.T. that wont share his reeses pieces and gets violent at the mere suggestion of it.
Like superheroes? like sci-fi? So does writer Geoff Johns! (check out his Green Lantern mythos,its an awesome space opera....with an intergalactic police force,like Starfleet or something!) Check this out!

- DO NOT GET SUPERMAN PISSED OFF! Brainiac pushes some of Clarks buttons and the response is........terrifying.

- Superman's adopted dad, Pa Kent is a real great father.He's supes dad y'all,he learned Supes on how to be human!

- Gary Frank is an awesome penciler.Great action scenes that bust through the panel in amazing detail.

- i really wish all the artists that draw Supergirl would finish drawing her shirt.The current shirt exposes her entire stomach.Midriff baring shirts are exceedingly stupid,particularly on a flagship female character in fiction,let alone in the real's time to hang it up.

4 probes destroyed out of 5 probes sent

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Another Marvel Crossover Event

Fear Itself

Crossover Events. The ugly reality of comic book publishing. Beneath the shining veneer of color and unbridled imagination lies, hidden away, the cruelly mistreated, abused child that makes all of it possible. I hate them...but I love them.

And why wouldn't you? Crossover events promise to "change everything!" Just when you've had your fill of the crime-fighting status-quo, along comes a massive monster/war/rift in time-space. Things will get horribly grim, a few heroes will be killed, and at the last minute (issue) the series' central character will somehow save EVERYTHING. It's a sound formula, right?

But as we all know, the formula's the problem. Not only the predictability of the story lines, but the arbitrariness of Changing Everything every year, just in time for summer. The transparency of crossover events as horrible, word-balooned greed can't help but wear on even the most faithful reader.

I've gone through a pattern for the past few years:
1. Start the series
2. Enjoy the first few issues
3. Miss a random, under printed issue
4. Lose track of the plot
5. Realize that company X hates me and loves only my money
6. Try to jump back in since, hey, I already went this far
7. Realize I have no fucking idea what's happening in this comic or any comic related to it
8. Give up, defeated.
9. Vow "Never Again."

So, all that being said, here' s my comprehensive-ish, multi-part Mega Blog covering all of Marvel's latest clusterfuck, Fear Itself. I hearby and officially invite all of my fellow Wereadcomics bloggers, whom I know are each reading various parts of this series themselves, to join me in a debate of the merits and "meh"-rits of this event in their own postings. Feel free to disagree or even call me names.

So Here We Go! In the order that I read 'em!

  • Fear Itself: The Book of the Skull: Really cool! The Red Skull's daughter is up to something! Awesome WWII Captain America flashbacks! Fear Itself is going to be so cool!
  • Fear Itself #1: Man, Matt Fraction can make anything cool, maybe. Asgard, and all of its godly citizens, have been stuck on earth. In middle America. Odin demands they flee the planet (has had enough of Oklahoma) in anticipation of some encroaching evil. But Thor loves earth chicks, so there is conflict. A good start! Let's go!
  • Fear Itself: Home Front #1: A serial compilation of stories apparently not good enough to merit their own title. Not too bad, especially the Speedball story that opens the issue. As a peripheral title, Home Front seems relatively harmless, if not actually good.
  • Journey Into Mystery #622: Okay, this is awesome. A good reason to read crossovers, apparently, is to check out titles that you otherwise would have completely ignored. Thor looks to be prominently featured in Fear Itself, and Loki is never far behind his big bro. In JiM, we join Loki after he's been turned into a child without his adult memories as punishment for past trickery. Will he reform? Will he get back to his old shenanigans? I need to know!
  • Fear Itself: Sin's Past: MISSED IT! DAMMIT!
  • Invincible Iron Man #503: This only seemed sort of related to Fear Itself issues previously released, except for the end. Not a bad Iron Man session, though. I didn't really know what was happening, but good nonetheless. That Matt Fraction, I tell ya.
  • Fear Itself Spiderman #1: Spiderman is getting the fear! All of Manhattan is getting the Fear! This was the first issue in the Event so far that gives you a sense of what's at stake: being pretty freaked out about stuff. Kind of nebulously freaked out and nervous. I don't know. The more I think about it, this kind of sucked.
  • Journey Into Mystery #623: Rebuilding momentum! Even better than the last JiM! Asgardian tom-foolery at its finest! I think I will read Journey into Mystery from now on!
  • Fear Itself #2: Ok. The shine is coming off this puppy. First issue that was actually disappointing . The God of Fear is assembling "The Worthy" by shooting hammers down to their locations, giving them vaguely enhanced, maybe Thor-like powers. The lineup of hammer-ers is pretty lame and the whole issue felt kind of disjointed. Crossover-itis might be setting in.
First Session Status Report: Enthusiasm waning, but I'm still in! Bring on the Fear!