Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Fear, Continued (Part 2 of Fear)

Man. I had a copy of Journey Into Mystery in my pile this week that I was just SAVORING. I had it on the very bottom of the stack, waiting like an elegant digestif: it would end my Fear Itself session on a high note and my entire review would be better as a result. But when I cracked it open I realized it was last month's issue. There was no new Journey Into Mystery. I fabricated a new issue out of childish, baseless desire.


So here's my continued review of a backlog of Fear Itself issues. I hope that my bitterness doesn't bleed through too heavily.
  • Invincible Iron Man #504-505 - Xmas said recently (and I paraphrase): "the best crossover writers are the ones that write whatever the fuck they want whilst the 'event' is just happening. " I agree with him (though not with his lifestyle or the choices he's made). When Fear Itself is just a context, a sort of background thing to other, better stories, this whole series becomes pretty damn sweet. And while most Fear Itself books don't seem to be heeding to this guideline (and are suffering accordingly), Matt Fraction, the event's architect, really hits the nail on the head in his flagship Invincible Iron Man series. These were a great couple of issues. The Grey Gargoyle, in his turn as the coolest hammer-wielder thus far, is turning the citizens of Paris to stone. When Iron Man shows up to shut that shit down, he realizes (mid-melee) that all of the rubble he crashes and is punched peoples!!! This is pretty weird and gross for the I-Man, as you can imagine, and you get a real sense of all this FEAR that everyone's been talking so much about. I liked!
  • Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #1 - Man...Howard the Duck...what the damn...huh? Forget it.
  • Fear Itself: Deadpool #1 - Funny! Deadpool is funny sometimes! He's just such a scamp, you know? Always getting into some type of mischief. This adventure finds our protagonist scamming a suburban couple before tricking a hard-luck villain named "The Walrus" into thinking he's found one of the Serpent's Hammers. But who is that other inner-thought dialogue box? The white one? I didn't get that. If someone could explain that to me, that would be great.*
  • Secret Avengers #14 - Nick Spencer's back again, obeying what I will henceforth refer to as the "Xmas Event-uality," using the larger "Fear" stuff to execute an almost stand-alone story. I didn't get into this one as much as the last issue (with Congress and The Beast and what-not), but it was a pretty fun ride. Points for good use of Odin and Valkyrie, demerits for having the two main characters being all kissy face in the middle of a giant Nazi robot fight. Like Secret Avengers #13, this one was just so close to great.
  • Thunderbolts #159 - I was a third of the way through this giant sized, special issue of Thunderbolts when I realized I had no idea what was going on. I was enjoying it, I think, but I was pretty much totally lost. I leave a review of this issue to a certain co-blogger who knows better, who might have something substantive to contribute. He knows who he is.
  • Fear Itself: Black Widow - I am not an expert in terrorists. I will be the first to admit this. But do terrorists refer to "terror" as often as they do in FI: Black Widow? Don't they usually employ terror incidentally, in service of some greater cause? The goal being X, with the "terrorists" wiling to employ violent means to achieve X, with terror being a bi-product or ends towards X? Am I splitting hairs? Isn't this just a comic book? Yeah ok, but this issue was still stupid. A group of bad guys, looking to capitalize on the craziness happening in France, are in the middle of doing some "terror." Do they want money? Prestige? I don't know and neither do they. For a better example of Cullen Bunn's writing, please see Sixth Gun, which is fantastic. And then let's all pretend that this didn't happen.
I'm all caught up! Hopefully the next thing I review won't have anything to do with Fear Itself! Until Next Time!

* Before I even finished writing, I was informed that the other dialogue box is...also Deadpool. Because he's, like, crazy. So it's his inner dialogue, apparently. Maybe you knew that, but there we go.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Flashpoint #1

W - Geoff Johns
A - Andy Kubert

So, you're probably like "Whaaaaaat?  Wait, Liz is reviewing Flashpoint?  Liz, that has nothing nice to say about core Marvel and DC titles?  Why do you guys keep letting her review these books?!"

Calm your worried mind.  I'm going to read the five issue, main series of Flashpoint.  Guess what?!  I thought issue #1 was pretty dope.  Somebody is seriously f*%$ing around with Barry Allen!  One second, everything is normal.  He's got Iris, love of his life.  He's got super powers, he's the Flash, duh.  And then in the next moment, after waking from a little cat nap everything is BONKERS!  Nothing makes sense!  His mom comes to meet him for birthday dinner, whaaaat?!  His beautiful Iris is clearly involved with someone else.  Wonder Woman and Aquaman are the bad guys?!  Batman is super mean!  What the hell?  Little by little, the pieces start to come together and bring some sense to what's going on. can't all be peaches and cream.  I'm not terribly fond of the art.  It reminds me of Michael Turner, no disrespect.  Yep, I liked it and am actually looking forward to issue #2.  Stay tuned!

4 out of 5 whacked out realities.

All Nighter

W/A - David Hahn

Setting: A 24 hour diner type place that reminds me of my many years as a Denny's waitress. I want to hate it, but I don't. I like it. The comic, I like the comic. I hated being a Denny's waitress.

The main character of the story is a girl named Kit. She doesn't like her boyfriend, but can't seem to break up with him. He's always trying to 'figure something out', which usually involves B&E. She has a couple of lightly introduced roommates and is looking for a third. I'm not entirely sure where the story is going from here. It could be some kind of life changing crime drama, or it could be a spirited coming of age saga. Either way, the storytelling is sensible and I look forward to continuing with this series (despite my food service flashbacks).

4 smoke breaks out of 5 tables.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One, Two, Three, Four...Fear! (1 of 2)

Woah! Guess it's been a minute. Almost as if I was staring at an increasingly large pile of Fear Itself books and simply could not summon the will to go on. But is that what Red Skull's daughter would do? Hell no. She would read that pile of comics, comb her skull, and then get out there and face the world. She'd also probably drive to Marvel's headquarters in New York and do something terrible in broad daylight to the people responsible for these comics. I won't do that, but I will throw my unsolicited opinions out into the internet ether:
  • Iron Man 2.0 #6: Am I that easy to please? Can Nick Spencer just put a bunch of Immortal Weapons in front of me, throw the words "Eighth City" around a few times, and watch me grin like an idiot?Apparently, yes.
  • Fear Itself: Youth In Revolt #2 - Really? More Thor Girl? This issue finds our "heroes" turning themselves into the authorities and occasionally punching. Also included: some disposable, irrelevant dude deciding that he just can't handle the pressures of leadership. How many whining superheroes that no one gives a shit about can you fit into one comic? Youth In Revolt dares to find out.
  • Fear Itself: Homefront #3 - Remember Speedball? C'mon, sure you do. Without Speedball, we wouldn't have had that Civil War! Remember that Civil War? No? Well, Marvel definitely does. Speedball is front and center in Homefront, trying just so hard to make amends for all those people he horribly killed on accident that one time. Also, to be interesting. Johnny Woo continues his pretty cool bout with sanity in the title's second act, plus some other things happen. I find Homefront to completely benign-- neither offensive nor good. Which is saying something for this crossover. And it definately reads much smoother than a lot of other Fear Itself books, which is saying a lot more.
  • Avengers #14 - This comic book is like...if Brian Michael Bendis got Eternal-Sunshine'd and lost all previous memory of the comics he's written, how to write comics, etc. THEN some editor shows him Powers and is like, "write like THIS guy." So this weird, de-Bendis'd Bendis shits out a Brian Michael Bendis impression and it's called "Avengers." But Please Note: I believe in and love BMB. When the word balloon faucet turns off and things settle down a bit, I think he's as good as anyone writing comics right now. Even this issue has its moments (Ben Grimm totally drops a building on the Red Hulk: awesome). But overall the whole reality show confessional thing feels a little like Jerking Off. In a weird way.
More? Oh, yes, many more. To be continued!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Samurai's Blood #1

Written by Owen Wiseman
Art by Nam Kim and Sakti Yuwono

Have you read Lone Wolf and Cub? There's only one right answer to that question.

Owen Wiseman has. Plus a bunch of other shit, probably. Like books and stuff what ain't got pictures. Maybe that's unfair; not every samurai book HAS to be compared to Lone Wolf and Cub. But if you're going for a historically accurate, super-dramatic period piece set in Edo-era Japan against the cartoonishly exaggerated backdrop of what we refer to, hundreds of years after the fact, as "samurai honor," then guess what? That shit's a little like Lone Wolf. Tough sake, kemo sabe.

Samurai's Blood, however, accomplishes the goals that it aims for, I think. At least in the first issue. The point of bringing up LWaC is only to say that it's pretty tough to have anything new to add to this genre. But this title's doing its best. The Sanjo clan is being wiped out in a massive power grab and the only branch spared is that of the youngest member, who's been hiding in the mountains, fiercely training his son and a young retainer.

So much samurai. This book oozes samurai. Almost...too much. But the art isn't bad. My one complaint is that, so far, the tone is so deadly serious. Like EVERY PAGE is THE MOST IMPORTANT PAGE. That's kind of a half-assed critique, so I wouldn't put too much stock in it. But still.

Four out of Five Retainers, Dying w/Their Swords Pointed Towards the Enemy in the Service of Some Rich Guy

Friday, June 10, 2011

Four Itself: Round Fear

True Story: I was at the comic shop last week when this kid, maybe ten years old, says to his dad, "What the heck is this?" He's holding up a copy of Fear Itself #3

"That," Dad says, "is Fear Itself, I think."

Whaizzat? Whaizzat about?" the kid asks.

"I don't know, son," Dad replies. "I think they're just giving hammers to a bunch of jerks." The kid looked at the comic for another moment before tossing it back on the shelf. It landed sideways.

I've been trying, but I can't think of a better way to sum up this crossover event.
  • Fear Itself #3: A few more hammers are given away, and Captain America is ready to Kick some Ass. As the core series, Fear Itself is getting harder to read as a stand alone book, since outside events in outside series are becoming more and more integral to what's going on. There was a surprise Hammer awarding in this issue, but the biggest difference between characters before and after receiving the wrath-of-the-serpent is that they are required to use exclamation points after everything they say. Big 'ol shocker ending that left me unmoved, unshocked. Bleh.
  • Journey Into Mystery #624: I'm going to go ahead and make this official: the best reason to read Fear Itself and its many children is so that you can read Journey Into Mystery in the proper context. This book is so dope. Kieron Gillen has definitely made my list of Writers To Watch. There's been so much crap happening with Asgard, Thor, Loki, and the Marvel/Norse-iverse in the last year; but somehow Gillen makes the reader feel totally at ease with all of it (having read barely any of the pertinent material) while providing a HEL of an entertaining comic. Loki is awesome. Volstagg is awesome. The hel-wolf is SUPER awesome. Read this, please.
  • Fear Itself: The Deep: This was fucking terrible. I'm serious. In a sea of mediocre, work-for-hire bullshit, The Deep stands alone. Deeply shitty. Deep up a butt hole. The script for this book should be sank Deep, Deep below the waves, erased from the minds and memories of men. It's about Namor and the ocean, or something. I don't know. I want to forget. And it's by the guy that did Sixth Gun, a very cool book from Oni Press. I don't know what happened. This is what the Serpent God is doing to us, apparently.
Fourth Session Report: Is there more? How much more? Did I even read all of the books that came out last week? There was MORE?!? Truly, this is the essence of...apprehension. Itself.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

x - men first class.......?

.....was awesome! and kick ass was horrid. there i said it.

although.... i was appalled that the men behind the curtain of "x-men: first class" attempted to present January Jones as being alluring or attractive. ugh.