Heroes for Hire #9 - Marvel (2007)

First off, this cover is awful. What is with their faces? Shang-Chi looks like Larry Storch and Tarantula apparently has to pee. Real bad.

In issue 8 Zeb Wells totally changed the characterizations and chemistry that Palmiotti and Gray had established among the team in order to tell the story he wanted to tell. That story was darker than the previous storyline. I have no problem with "darker". What I have a problem with is "uninteresting" and "not fun".

The previous creative team had a Kill Bill vibe going on which I really enjoyed. Issue 8 ended with the Heroes for Hire accepting a mission to the Savage Land to kidnap Moon Boy, the little ape dude who hangs out with Devil Dinosaur. That, my friends, is a recipe for cool, wacky storytelling.

Zeb Wells, however, turns it into a story about how much it would suck to be in a place with lots of man-eating prehistoric animals and throws in a lesson about lonliness or something. I shouldn't be surprised. This is the guy who screwed up The Headmen. Those guys exist to be bizarre and they weird up any comic they appear in. Wells used them to make Shang-Chi go postal because Orca died and nearly kill every bad guy in the room. Most useless death ever. A main character gets killed just so you can have another character freak out. Yeah, that was worth it.

Needless to say, I'm dropping this book.

By the way, here are a bunch of people who totally disagree with me .

I can't go into detail about why I'm dropping the comic without some spoilers so:

My chief problem with this storyline is the radical change in tone. There's enough dark stuff on the comics rack these days and I was really having fun reading something lighter. I would have less of a problem with it if it were written better. The change in tone was achieved by an even more radical change in the characters. Notably Shang-Chi. Wells obviously has some image of Shang-Chi in his head that he wants to let the world know about but I can't figure out what the hell it is. He goes from stoic to freakout in 3.6 seconds and then he refuses to kill bugs.

OK, I can understand the "all life is sacred" thing and I can even allow it to be taken so far as to not step on ants and stuff. However, I can't believe that anyone would sacrifice himself to a sabretooth-thing that is ACTIVELY TRYING TO KILL HIM. There is no way that Shang-Chi has remained alive this long if his survival instinct has been so beaten down by his sense of honor. The only reason the scene went the way it did was so Tarantula could jump in, save Shang-Chi's life and kill every last sabretooth in the room.

That is lazy storytelling. In fact, it's bad storytelling. Causing someone to act out of character just so you can get a scene from point A to point B is one of the worst things you can do.

Tarantula as written by Gray and Palmiotti was kind of a non-character with flimsy, trite motivations. Wells has managed to diminsh her even further by keeping her around just so she and Shang-Chi can enact this worn-out trope:

Oh, Christ! I hate, hate, hate scenes where people are all fighty and disagreeing with each other and then they fuck. That is lame. This is yet another example of lazy writing. It's not as bad as Meltzer's "make the bad guy a rapist" laziness but, come on! There has to be a better way to get these characters together. Oh, I know! Get them trapped in a cave or a fallout shelter.

Next up on stupid things that happen: Huge bugs show up and eat Humbug. Yeah, I don't get it either. The final image we have of the bugs implies that Humbug survives but I'll never know because the next issue won't be in my holdbox.

Wells took what should have been a cool, exciting story and turned it into a tale of primal horror, isolation and loss. If you're into that kind of thing, check it out but I'm done with it.


Thou art no Bard

Joe Muldoon says we should all talk like Shakespeare.

I say thee nay!

Thou shouldst instead seek to echo the words of the Odinson. The God of Thunder. The Mighty Thor!

Like, Omigod! It's Totally Awesome Cover Friday!

I miss First Comics. I especially miss The Badger. It is one of the funniest comics ever published. Every now and then, though, the black humor turned into a chilling look at mental illness and the effects of trauma. The main character was a total wackjob who was a precursor to Morrison's Animal Man in some ways.

Here are three of my favorite covers:


Rhino!!! Buffalo!!! Lasso!!! The three essential elements for successful storytelling. Also, the buffalo's name is Lamont. That's extra value!


I like this one because our hero is being assisted by a pig. The pig's name is Senator. Yes, I remember the names of the animals from an obscure '80s comic. Shut up!


Kicking a nun in the face.

Kicking. A. Nun. In. The. Face.

Best. Cover. Ever.

Her name is Sister Twyster.

Shut up.



Kryptonite discovered in Serbia! ZOMG! Yeah, I know, I'm the 347th person to post about this. Deal.

Cosmic Debris announces One Dark & Deadly Challenge, which runs until May 20, 2007. "...five winners will have their designs featured in the next edition of Emily's comic book, "The Death Issue," which will be available in stores September 2007".

Brian Cronin is looking for a term for the comic-book equivalent of "Mary Sue".


Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8: #2 - Dark Horse (2007)

The new Buffy Season 8 comic is a lot like Runaways #25 in that you pretty much know what you're getting into. Except with Buffy it's even moreso:

Snappy, hip dialogue: Check
Monster Fightin': Check
Teen Angst: Triple Check

Joss Whedon has shown that he can write. That's not in question. Despite a few speedbumps along the way, he wrote the hell out of the Buffy TV series. He could have fallen back on all the old notes from the TV show but he is using the comic to add a lot of stuff to the story that would have been hella expensive on screen. For example, about a trillion slayers.

The first issue was solid and this one held my interest. The pacing is spot on and except for a dream sequence which was more confusing than it was intended to be, the story is fun and feels appropriately Buffy-ish. Most of the characters who didn't show up in the first issue are in the second and I'm glad to see that. I'm not sure that this sort of thing would have worked on TV but it doesn't have to. Whedon recognizes the differences between media and is doing a great job in the comics world. Also, his stuff seems to be on time which is, y'know, a bonus.

The art is good and the only complaint I have is that I wasn't able to recognize all of the characters upon first appearance. For example, Giles (see below) looks reasonably Anthony-Stewart-Head-like but only after I stare at the picture for a while. I know that one of the hardest things to do is draw a real person who actually looks like that person so I'll cut Georges Jeanty some slack. He nails the characters most of the time and he's really good with the action which, for this title, might just be more important.

Runaways #25 - Marvel (2007)

If you're a fan of Joss Whedon's writing (as I am) you'll like this issue. If you're a fan of The Runaways (again, as I am) you'll like it, too. There's nothing Earth-shattering (or even senses-shattering) going on here but Whedon is off to a good, solid start. He gets the characters and their relationships and he gets what makes the various elements of the Marvel Universe work. New York is where all the other heroes and villains are so I'm looking forward to seeing where Whedon goes with this.

The art by Michael Ryan and Rick Ketchum is good and works well with the story but I really got used to Alphona and Yeung so it'll take a couple more issues before this feels like "The Runaways" to me. The new art team captures something about each of the characters I really like, though. I'm glad they're on this job.

I don't have much more to say about this issue without spoiling a couple of small surprises so I'll just close with a sample of the art:


Reply hazy, try again

The internet's Mike Sterling shows us why the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes II mini-series is better than a magic 8-ball.

Scroll down a bit on this post by the lovely and talented Chris Sims to see how he uses the freakin' Batman for much the same purpose.

And, um...Bouncing Boy kinda looks like a billiard ball in this senses-shattering origin tale retold on Again With The Comics.

Yeah, that's all I got. Go see TMNT.


Awesome Cover Non-Friday - Roy Thomas Style!

The Defenders. I love The Defenders. They started off weird and then got even weirder. When you put The Hulk, Dr. Strange, Namor and The Silver Surfer on the same team (excuse me, non-team) you really don't have to try too hard to find the bizarre situations. I mentioned this cover a couple of years ago and I'd put it on this list but it was from Marvel Feature and I'm sticking to actual Defenders covers here.


Unlike many other comic covers (e.g. Fantastic Four) this one depicts the antagonist at ACTUAL SIZE! Also, the text on the cover is not hyperbole even though it's a little inaccurate. He's a big computer-monster dude and all he has to do is say his creator's name to begin DESTROYING THE EARTH!!!! ZOMG!

I hear Microsoft security has to go through the same thing with Steve Ballmer at least once a quarter.


I really like the depictions of the ghosts on this one. The narrow palette and the Gargoyle's creepy-ass face in the corner top it off. Plus, Ten Speed Bike!!!


That's Eternity the Defenders are hanging out with. He's the personification of our universe. This is the scale of story the Defenders often found themselves in. I love, Love, LOVE the lettering on the title. It's reminiscent of Eisner and Steranko.


Sea Monkeys and GRIT

Say No To Crack discusses those wacky comic-book ads. I remember almost all of these.

The Brave and the Bold #3 - DC (2007)

I mentioned in my review of Immortal Iron Fist #4 that my favorite comics are the fun ones. Mark Waid and George Pérez are obviously having a lot of fun writing and drawing this book and it comes through on the page in spades!

The covers are fun. That's a good start. One of my favorite things about the old-school The Brave and the Bold was how each person in the team-up got his or her own logo on the cover. That simple design choice reflected the primary strength of a team-up title: The comparison and contrast between two superheroes. I'm glad to see that this reboot of the series is sticking with that.

More importantly, however, the stories and art are fun. This story started off in Vegas (and low-Earth orbit) and moved on to a casino planet. This issue brings us back to Batman who is in the Texas desert with Blue Beetle. They're up against the Fatal Five and a dude who has a weapon which alters reality to more effectively wipe out its opponents. That's right. The Legion of Super-Heroes' enemies have traveled from the 31st century and it's up to Batman and Blue Beetle to foil their nefarious schemes. Awesome!

Meanwhile, Supergirl is still on the casino planet trying to recruit Lobo.

See what I mean? Fun!

The entire DC Universe is Waid & Pérez's playground and I can't think of a better team to have put all this wacky stuff together. I can't believe this is only issue #3. There's been enough story and cool stuff for twice that many isses.

Immortal Iron Fist #4 - Marvel (2007)

I have no problems with comics that make me think. I appreciate comics which make me sad. But the comics I love are the ones which are fun. The Immortal Iron Fist is fun with a captial "F". I've gone on and on about how much I like this title already so I won't repeat myself (much). I will, however, point out what I like about this issue.

Iron Fist is one of the first comic-book characters I really got into. I picked up an issue of Power Man and Iron Fist back in the '80s and I was hooked. That title was the first one I actively sought out back issues for. Check out some of my favorite covers. I thought the whole kung-fu thing was awesome and I really enjoyed learning about the mythology surrounding the legend of the Iron Fist. This new series by Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction and David Aja expands that mythology and makes it even cooler.

Orson Randall, the dude who became The Iron Fist before Danny Rand, meets up with Danny this issue and they go kick ass together. Danny's like, "Who let the old dude dress up in my clothes?" and Orson's like, "Don't teach yer grandma to suck eggs, boy". I'm paraphrasing. Orson shows Danny what many years of practice can do for one who possesses the power of the Iron Fist and that's all you really need to know.

Lots of Hydra. Lots of action. Lots of great art and writing. Lots of fun. This is what I read comics for.

Click on the pictures below to embiggen them in new windows:


Blogging The Crisis #6

The cover is good for being an extreme close-up of a really ugly dude. I prefer the covers that have a million heroes on them but I can see how they'd want to vary the images a bit. Also, even George Pérez has got to get tired of drawing all those little, tiny people. Wait, who am I kidding? George Pérez never gets tired of drawing that stuff.

The issue starts out with a very cool scene in which the Anti-Monitor (that's the dude on the cover who has been referred to as The Monitor up 'til now but that's too confusing) ramps Psycho Pirate's power up so he can send every single person on the three remaining Earths into advanaced states of suicidal terror. The last five panels on page 2 are particularly well-done. The three worlds are reflected in Psycho Pirate's eyes and you can see the mixture of awe and fear in his face as he realizes what sort of god he's become.

Next, the Monitor's sattelite is attacked by big, pink lightning bolts and a bunch of heroes are trapped inside as it tears itself apart. I mentioned Marv Wolfman's flashes of odd dialogue before but this issue seems to consist of a long string of non-sequiturs. For example:

MARTIAN MANHUNTER: Katana...Winged One -- Do you need my help?

KATANA: I would not turn down your help, J'onn J'onzz!

AZRAEL: Do not worry, Martian -- I will save that outsider.

HARBINGER: The Martian Manhunter is right...The Monitor's ship can't survive.


Right about what, now? How did Harbinger get MM's opinion on the structural integrity of the ship from his request to help a couple of people? I looked very closely and I couldn't find any other words by Martian Manunter so that's what Harbinger must have been responding to. Wacky.

So, Alex Luthor (the young, Pip-The-Troll-looking one) tries to use his ill-defined matter/antimatter status to umm...save every one by er, making some computations and, I don't know, hooking himself up to Cerebro or something. Wolfman is saved from having to explain exactly what the hell Alex is up to because Harbinger shoots him in the back of the head with a big, pink lightning bolt.

What is with the big, pink lightning bolts?

She does this in order to (attempt to) sacrifice herself and destroy the whole ship. BOOOOOM!!!! The explosion takes up the lower half of the page and looks like the death of the Death Star. Oh, and Pariah's martyr-sense must have gone off as Harbinger was deciding to sacrifice herself to save everyone else. That would only make him the second most put-upon person in the room so he had to "teleport to somewhere more perilous". Ass.

I'm not sure how blowing the hell out of the ship everyone was on saved them but it apparently worked because we see all of them later on.

Meanwhile, The Atom (no, the other one. No, the other other one. The one named "Al". That's right) is tending to Wildcat who lost a fight with a building and is all smashed up and lying in bed. It's an emotional scene but the sight of Wildcat's little cat nose and whiskers pushed up on his forehead kind of kills the somber mood.

Yolanda Montez is lurking outside the window, watching Atom and Wildcat. She helpfully translates the Spanish words she thinks into English for any telepaths who are listening in. Seriously, the words are in thought balloons and we're supposed to believe that she thinks things like, "We could have been un gran equipo...a great team, Ted."

Next up, Lex Luthor, the one from Earth-1 back in his green-and-purple armor days, is getting his ass kicked by Superman when Brainiac teleports him into his big ship which looks like Brainiac's head but with tentacles. Man, that robot dude is into some freaky shit.

Then a whole bunch of stuff happens which I'm pretty much gonna gloss over because it all shows how freaked out and pissed off everybody is on the three Earths which are being controlled by Psycho Pirate. Of course, with all the crap that's happening around them, I don't think Psychie had to give them much of a push.

The worst effect of the Piratical emotion manipulation is that the heroes of those Earths believe that the ones who have come in from outside are responsible for the chaos. There's a pretty good scene where Captain Marvel (no, the other one. The one with the red suit and lightning bolt. That's right.) and Supergirl duke it out because he's all mad and stuff.

Before that, there was a crappy scene featuring the Freedom Fighters doing the same thing. Shit, I hate these guys. I can't explain my irrational dislike of the Freedom Fighters but even without that I think they were the wrong choice for this scene. Uncle Sam is a plain-talkin', cornpone kinda guy which makes lines like the following fall flat:

"We got us a menace to fight and if we've got to tear apart those costumed outworlders to do it -- then by golly we will!"

"By golly"?

"We got us"?

Oh, Christ. Seriously. That sort of language doesn't convey the proper negative emotions to me. The fact that Phantom Lady is standing there looking pornier than ever fills me with even more rage. And don't get me started on Doll Man. Argh!

Brainiac picks up some more bad guys. The madness continues. Uncle Sam breaks his hand on Steel's face (haw, haw!). Y'know, the usual. Until Harbinger does something cosmic and brings three more Earths into the (relative) safety zone. She and Alex Luthor end up on a floating rock in space and after they talk for a while, Alex utters the funniest line in the whole series, so far.

"How do we get off this floating rock?

Comedy. Freaking. Gold.

We end the issue with Yolanda Montez putting on a costume and becoming the new, improved Wildcat. Unfortunately, she does it with the following bit of monologue:

"You do not...cannot know how much you mean to me Ted. How much you inspired me. And you cannot know about my powers and what I can do. This is for you, Ted Grant. I'm no longer just Yolanda Montez, reporter. From now on, Ted Grant -- I'M THE NEW WILDCAT!!"

Did she really have to bring up Ted's name three times? OK, we get it. You're having an imaginary talk with Ted. Maybe he's the voice in her head like Firestorm had that scientist guy and she has to keep saying his name or he'll curse her.

The weird dialogue plus the "everyone is pissed off and suicidal" repetitions made this my least favorite issue so far. It had its moments but as a whole it was unsatisfying. However, Supergirl dies next issue so that'll be something to look forward to.

'Til next time, true believers!

Previous Installments: Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5


Insert Link Pun Here

Comic Book Resources posts an interview with Marc Guggenheim. It's a good interview but I disagree with the assertion that Guggenheim has "the most fun name to pronounce in comics". That honor goes to Wade Von Grawbadger. Guggenheim's a close second followed by Dave McCalg.

Added to the sidebar: The Comic Blog Legion and The Savage Critic(s).

Jason Rodriguez is looking for some new people to work with. Are you those people?

Real, live content Real Soon Now. I lost a fight with the weekend and I'm still recovering. Until then, peruse this image of awesomeness straight outta the '80s!


Sweet Christmas! It's Awesome Cover Friday!

In honor of how much I am enjoying Matt Fraction, Ed Brubaker and David Aja's Immortal Iron Fist, this week's awesome covers are all from Power Man and Iron Fist. To be honest, there aren't a lot of standout covers from this series. Most of them feature the title characters either kicking ass or getting their asses kicked and the art was, for the most part, unremarkable. The ones below break from that formula...sort of.


OK, so this one features Luke Cage getting his ass kicked but it's cooler than most of the other covers because it's got El Aguila on it! This cover was the first time I ever saw El Aguila and I thought he was the "bees knees". Later, he repented of his evil ways which elevated him to the status of "cat's pajamas". Those are the terms I used in those days because I am ancient and had to read my sequential entertainment by candlelight. Anyway, I also like the way Danny is leaping out of that window to save his buddy.

Or is he falling? Well, either way it's cool.


This cover has a "Kung-Fu goes to Monte Carlo" vibe that I really like. The composition is perfect and the whole thing looks classy and dangerous.


Holy Crap! If this cover doesn't get your attention your soul is dead.


Physics and Fist-A-Cuffs

I just found out about Fist-A-Cuffs, "Where drawings are voted to the death and the streets run black with ink." Two tag teams of characters fight it out and you get to vote. The deadline for the current round is April 14. Check out some of the contenders:

(click to embiggen)

Also, some smarty-pants physics guy sucks the fun out of comics. Actually his class sounds really cool. My favorite quote: "If I can teach a homicidal maniac like the Green Goblin about forces and motion, I’m making a difference."


Here's another cool cover

The next installment of Blogging the Crisis will be up Thursday or Friday. It turns out I've got a lot to say about it and I'm working on paring it down a bit. In the meantime, here's another Fantastic Four cover I like:

I like covers where they mess with the graphic elements. The narrow palette really works here as does the placement of the characters. Reed's protective pose in the face of EXTREMELY HUGE DUDE is really cool.


Linksville: Population 3

Added to the sidebar: Phoning It In

My research into the "Todd Goldman is an Enormous Douche" situation hipped me to the existence of You Thought We Wouldn't Notice, a blog which blows the whistle on instances of plagiarism.

A few days ago, Comics Should Be Good ran an essay by Stuart Immonen on art, computers and photoreferencing.

And just for the hell of it, here's a cover that didn't make it into one of the earlier Awesome Cover Friday installments but I'm throwing it in here 'cause I like it:

More to the point, I like team-ups which highlight the similarities and differences between the characters. Batman has a lot of crossover with Miracle Man in that they are both (for the most part) regular guys who can do some incredible things.

Also, "Mile High Tombstone".

Mile High Tombstone!

That's the kind of copy that sells a comic book.

Ryan Kelly's Art!

Like Ryan Kelly's art? I sure do. If you'd like to have some of said art make a donation.

Behold! A sample!


Todd Goldman is an enormous douche

Check out this thread from Something Awful entitled Holy cow, Todd (Goliath) Goldman ripped me off!.

It's about this enormous douche named Todd Goldman and how he is blatantly plagiarizing other artists. This LJ post from Roman Dirge collects many of the images.

And now, a comic about plagiarism I totally stole from someone else's site:

Avril Lavigne News!

I was gonna make fun of this but, um...

It sounds like it might be kinda cool:

Avril Lavigne to be an imaginary friend in upcoming manga title

Ahem, anyway...


Again with the Weird Wonder Tales

The Weird Wonder Tales version of Awesome Cover Friday got me cruising around the internet for more information on the series. Ho, boy did I find it! Check out this article by Bob Gay on The Comics Rack. It's a thorough history of the series and he's done a fair amount of research on the artists involved.

I also found this book on Lulu which sounds pretty good. Check out the cover:

Awesome Cover Friday: Weird Wonder Style!

Weird Wonder Tales ran for 22 issues in the 70s. It reprinted stories from the 50s and 60s but Marvel commissioned new covers for the reprints. The stories were all horror or sci/fi but many of the characters and situations found their way into regular Marvel continuity (see #7 below).

These little dudes are simultaneously malevolent and hilarious. I love the image in the upper left-hand corner. Where superhero comics would have little pictures of the main characters' heads this one has a rocketship, a planet and a skull. I'm totally getting that tattooed on my bicep.

The image on this cover is awesome, what with the lurid colors and the high cliff, but the title of the main story makes it one of the best covers ever. Seriously, what is his terrible power? Also, that's her husband?!? When you marry a big, skeletal, death-looking guy you've gotta expect that this sort of thing is going to happen eventually. She should have listened to her girlfriends: "Honey, this cycle of abuse is never going to end. You knew he was evil and undead when you were dating. Dump him."

Comic books are full of exciting, interesting characters who have true depth and are able to transcend their two-dimensional medium to the extent that they seem like real people. The Headmen are none of those things. They are one of the most fucked-up villain teams ever created and I love them! Dr. Arthur Nagan is their leader and the issue below reprints his origin story. The cover tells you all you really need to know.


Of Free Comics and Metal Men

Looks like Metal Men is gonna be a movie. Could be cool but the level of CGI required gives them a rather uphill battle.

Speaking of movies, Grant Morrison will adapt Area 51 for the big screen.

Finally, here's a neat article about a comic shop getting ready for its first Free Comic Book Day.


Blogging The Crisis #5

Here we go! This is crossover mania! This is a filet of crossover on a bed of crossover with a crossover salad on the side!

The cover with its split-screen faces down the center is indicative of the events and theme of this issue. This one contains all the wacky stuff a crossover can do and then some. Let's go:

Issue #4 ended with a multiverse-encompassing darkness and issue #5 begins with the same thing. Big Bad Mystery Guy is talking to Psycho Pirate. Well, he's actually telling Psycho Pirate to shut up for, like, the millionth time. Red Tornado is there, too but we still have no clue why.

Next up we have a scene with no fewer than three "I'm surprised by your arrival" takes. Pariah kneels over the recently corpsified Monitor. Lyla-who-is-no-longer-Harbinger surprises Pariah and freaks out because she killed the Monitor. Then they are both surprised to hear the Monitor's voice but (oh, Snap!) it's just a recorded message on a (small "m") monitor.

Monitor-on-the-monitor says, "Lyla, I totally knew you were gonna kill me and I worked it out so it actually helps the multiverse. So, good on ya". Monitor signs off and Lyla has a Who Can Cry More? contest with Pariah. The bawling doesn't last long, though, because the new, improved, fully-grown Luthor baby appears to provide the remaining exposition.

There's some more stuff concerning Big Bad Guy in the darkness with Psycho Pirate and The Flash which doesn't do much to further the story but that's OK because the next three pages are what other comic pages want to be when they grow up.

Earth-1 has been merged with Earth-2 and everything's gone completely crackerdog! In a single page Pérez and Wolfman show us a couple of dinosaurs, aircraft from every era they could think of (past and future), cavemen, native americans (complete with teepee) and some Mayflower pilgrims on the roof of an apartment building. Also, any panel with Sinestro, Sgt. Rock, and Nuklon in it makes it onto my top-ten list.

But wait! There's more!

The next two pages contain the image most people think of when "Pérez" and "Crisis" are talked about: (click to embiggen)

That's a whole mess o' superheroes. Others have spent entire websites listing said heroes. I'll just say that it looks like the weirdest cocktail party ever. Pérez excels at this stuff. I mean, dang! Look at that! Everybody's distinct and doing something to set them apart from their fellow heroes. The stretchy types are stretching and at least a few of the ground-based ones are probably thinking "Man, I hope that horse doesn't crap on me!"

I want to bring your attention to one detail:

Sorry for the terrible reproduction. It's a shot of old, fat Superman holding Dawnstar. Um, what's going on, there? What were they up to when they got teleported to the Monitor's ship? I'm not pointing any fingers but the last time we saw Superman he was talking about how he probably wouldn't see his wife ever again. Damn, Supes! The bed ain't even cold.

Next we see a few more images of Earths Gone Wild followed by Katana once again relegated to the role of translator for the new, mean Dr. Light.

I've decided that Sgt. Rock improves anything he shows up in. There's a panel at the end of page 10 with Rock and Swamp Thing which makes me very giggly. Rock! Swamp Thing! Oh, man! That is exactly the kind of stuff I was hoping to see.

A bunch of other crap happens to show how screwed up things are including the Green Lantern Corps getting obliterated and Superman punching out a saber-toothed tiger. The tiger fight didn't make it into this post from Chris Sims but the ones that are there will thrill and amaze you.

Anthro's annoying family shows up in Stately Wayne Manor, a dinosaur (or something) gets its ass kicked in Russia and then we finally see what Bad Guy is doing with (or, more to the point to) the Red Tornado. Sort of. He's unleashing all his tornado-ness at once and letting it loose on the combined Earths.

The heroes assemble and stop the storm at which point everyone says, "OK. We're in. We'll help save the worlds". As if all the shit that happened up to that point wasn't enough to convince them.

Finally, the Bad Guy shows up:

Buh? I thought the good guy was the Monitor. OK, Wolfman, I'll roll with it. Whatevs.

That would have made an excellent final page wouldn't it? Yes, yes, it would.

Instead we get the Freedom Fighters on the last page. I hate these guys! I just can't take Doll Man and Uncle Sam seriously. And Phantom Lady's costume is obviously held on by sheer force of will.

That's her superpower, right?

This issue's dialogue and captions were often overlapping and redundant but that was more than made up for by the awesomeness of the space & time-warp effects. The reveal of the (anti?) Monitor was a bit anti-climactic but that's probably because I knew it was coming. Man, that dude sure is ugly.

No talking apes in this issue but there were plenty of cavemen gaping at biplanes so that's a mitigating factor. This was a fun issue which moved the story along nicely and left us with a good setup for whatever is to come next.

Previous Installments: Introduction, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4


Eagle Awards

Here's what Dirk Anger has to say about being nominated for an Eagle Award for "Favorite Comics Villain":



Heroes for Hire #8 - Marvel (2007)

The first six issues of Heroes for Hire were excellent. Palmiotti and Gray took a bunch of cool, sexy characters and made them cooler and sexier. They also wrote fun stories with just the right balance of heavy and light. No, I take that back. There was no balance. It leaned way over to the light side and threw in just enough heaviness to keep the thing from flying apart.

They even worked the Civil War shenanigans into the mix and it didn't crap up the whole title. That's a major achievement right there.

Zeb Wells wrote issue 8 and it's not my cup of kickass. It's got all the elements I like: Misty Knight, Coleen Wing, Shang Chi, a Doombot, and best of all, The Headmen. Unfortunately, these elements were not assembled correctly. It's like Wells was handed a jet engine, four rocket launchers and a 74 Mustang convertible and he turned them into a refrigerator.

Palmiotti and Gray had built up a "Tarantino-meets-Giffen & DeMatteis" thing that I was loving. Issue 8 took things in a darker direction which was an enormous speedbump. The characters had an established chemistry and clear personalities which were pretty much discarded in order to fit them into this ending. All-in-all a disappointing wrap-up to what had been a fun story.

Oh, and I don't like the cover.


I can't believe no one else is reporting this stuff. UPDATED

Art Spiegelman's Maus has been optioned for a live-action movie. No cast members are officially attached yet but Tom Cruise has expressed interest. Michael Bay will direct.

Greg Land discusses his upcoming work on Warren Ellis's next project Ultimate Stilt Man. He calls it his "proudest achievement yet".

Scott McCloud has announced that he will team up with Frank Quitely on a title for IDW. The details are still under wraps but McCloud describes it as "Like The OC but in space! With monkeys!"

Brian Hughes from Again With the Comics digs up information on the cancelled Jimmy Olsen Vertigo project.

Finally! Someone on the internet is talking about Kevin Church. It's about freakin' time.

Chris puts that punk-ass Jerry in his place. V01$+@GG d0th R001!

Michael from The Legion Omnicom gets an amazing scoop: The Season 2 episode lineup for the LSH series!

Sneak Preview of Local #11

Ryan Kelly gives us a sneak preview of issue #11 of Local. Local is my favorite non-superhero comic. It's in my top-ten list of comics of any kind. The writing and art are superb and I'll be sad to see it go with Issue 12.

Here's a sketch of a character known as "The Artist". No foolin' this time.

Back Issue Bonanza!

Greg Burgas from Comics Should Be Good has been doing a series called Into the Back-Issue Box for a while, now. Here's the latest installment in which he scores Thunderbolts #22 by Bagley, Busiek and Hanna.

Also, I picked up the latest installment of Back Issue Magazine. It's a hell of an issue! Oh, I kill me.