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Friday, February 23, 2007

The Week In Ink: 2-21-07

Considering that everyone's going to be busy reading Wednesday night's post for the next few weeks, I'm going to forgo my traditional Kick To The Face this week, and instead share with you something from this week's shipment that brought me an almost untold amount of joy. After all, it's just us pals here, right?

Remember that part in the old Looney Tunes short Robin Hood Daffy, where Daffy Duck's trying to convince Porky Pig that he is in fact Robin Hood, and Porky just sits there howling with laughter for a minute, only pausing for a single tear of joy to roll down his cheek? Yeah, that is exactly what happened to me when I saw the third printing of Anita Blake #1.



Fan-tastic! It's like they're specifically trying to make it easy for me!

Of course, seeing as I've already discussed that little bit of vampire-themed quasi-pornography, it won't be included in tonight's installment of the internet's most two-fisted comics reviews! Here's what I bought...



... And here's what I thought!




Comics

52: Week Forty-Two: As I've mentioned, 52's been on an upswing in quality for the past few weeks, but this is the first time in months that I'd actually consider it to be an excellent comic, and I'm sure that a lot of that has to do with Darick Robertson's fantastic artwork. It fits the the story perfectly, and unlike recent issues, it doesn't seem rushed. As for the story itself, it's essentially the parlor scene of the Ralph Dibny sequence, and while I'm ready for pretty much every storyline to start wrapping up at this point, the plot twists of this one--along with some great visuals, like Ralph blowing the helmet off of his own head with a magical wishing gun--made for an incredibly entertaining wrap-up, and even answered those nagging continuity questions I had about Helmet of Fate. Even with his death, it's a great moment for Ralph Dibny that for the last year, he's been weaving a complex master plan designed to rid the world of a pretty serious threat. Here's hoping the rest of the stories end as well as this one did.


Birds of Prey #103: As much as I've been enjoying Gail Simone's run on this book for the past few years, and as much as I like that she's set up the Spy-Smasher as a great amoral counterpart for Oracle in this story arc, I've got to call shennanigans on the way this issue ended. It's not unusual in comics for the villain to pull out the Aunt May Defense, wherein the hero is threatened not with what the exposure of their identity will do to themselves, but to their withered, ancient parental figures, but when said parental figure is Comissioner Jim Gordon, it doesn't quite work. Admittedly, Barbara Gordon being arrested and tried as a traitor the United States Government wouldn't be a heck of a lot of fun, but, "it would stop his heart?" Really? That guy lived through two plagues, No Man's Land, finding out that his daughter was a global espionage operative, and still does Tai Chi in Robinson Park every morning and runs the police force in the toughest city in the DC Universe; I think he can cope. Of course, that doesn't really have any bearing on Barbara's concern for him, nor does it address the fact that this could just be a ploy to take the Spy-Smasher down from the inside.

Maybe I'm just sick of seeing protagonists give up without a fight this week. (See Below.)


The Brave and the Bold #1: "Mark Waid and George Perez" might not have the same ring to it--or the same promise of glorious insanity and bone-shattering uppercuts--as "Bob Haney and Jim Aparo," but if someone asked me to think up a team for a book centered exclusively on DC Universe team-up stories, I really doubt I could come up with a better team. Perez, of course, has a thirty-year career in comics that speaks for itself, and one of the truly amazing things about him is that he's never falllen off; his art's as good today as it's ever been, or--thanks to inker Bob Wiacek and Tom Smith's coloring--better. As for Mark Waid, well, it's pretty safe to say I'm a fan. He was one of the first creators that I knew by name and followed when I was a kid, thanks to his run on Flash, and despite the fact that I've recently grown disenchanted with Kingdom Come, I can honestly say that he's never written a story that I read and didn't enjoy. So needless to say, I've been looking forward to this one for a while, and it did not disappoint. The story's typical Waid: Fun, exciting, and full of the trappings of the DCU, from throwaway references to the Royal Flush Gang to the artifact the whole story's revolving around.

The only problem--for me, anyway--is that unlike its predecessor, this version of Brave and the Bold isn't going to focus exclusively on Batman team-ups. To be honest, that's perfectly fine, especially considering that we've got Batman and the Blue Beetle taking on the Fatal Five in #3 to look forward to, but the next issue's going to feature Supergirl and Green Lantern. And really, who wants to read that?


Checkmate #11: Aside from the Question, my knowledge of most of the old Charlton Comics heroes is pretty slim, and while I'm enjoying the appearances by his successor in Birds of Prey, everything I really know about Judomaster can be inferred from a look at his name. Still, the fact that Thomas Jagger's turned out to be the son of the original Judomaster is pretty exciting, as it's another reminder that Greg Rucka--along withi frequent co-writers Nunzio Defilippis and Christina Weir--are drawing heavilly on the DCU itself, which, along with this issue's cover homage, reinforces the idea of Checkmate as the new Suicide Squad. Of course, considering that pretty much everybody in the cast of the book is tied to the DC Universe--including my personal favorite, the all-new Madamoiselle Marie--that really shouldn't come as a surprise, and neither should the fact that this is consistently one of DC's best titles.


Civil War #7: And now, the reason we're all here. At this point, everything that I can tell you about the last issue of Civil War has already been said elsewhere, and I've even taken my own shots at it with Wednesday's 30-second recap, but it bears repeating: This has got to be the biggest pile of nothing that I have ever read.

To its credit, the artwork is fantastic. Steve McNiven's a great talent, and with Morry Hollowell's coloring, this has been an absolutely beautiful book from start to finish, even if he did forget that the Vision's a kid these days. The script, however, fails on every conceivable level. The biggest problem, of course, is that after all these months, with a year's worth of delays and promises that it's only late beacuse while the ending was awesome, they wanted to rewrite it to be super-awesome, it ends in the most poorly-written and anticlimactic resolution of Mark Millar's entire career. It's so wildly problematic that I don't even know where to begin, but I'll just start by saying that Captain America's tackled by a group of emergency workers who might as well be carrying a banner reading "THE HEROES OF 9/11" in grand political cartoon fashion, it's actually less tasteful than when the ghosts of the dead firemen show up in last month's issue of Tarot. And if they hadn't jumped on him, are we really supposed to believe that Captain America was about to decapitate Tony Stark--his friend--like he did to the Red Skull? Really?

Not that I could really blame him, considering the way Tony Stark's been characterized through the whole series. It's not enough that he's a facist who thinks it's a good idea to send out a team of serial murderers to kill Spider-Man, but he's become thoroughly unlikeable as a person. The cheap shot at Maria Hill at the end of the series--which would maybe be understandable if they hadn't been on the same side for the whole thing--just seals the deal of making him a total prick, and I honestly can't understand why anybody would want to read about that guy anymore.

And it only gets worse from there. The idea that this whole huge "event" has led to Captain America bursting into tears at the sight of a few wrecked buildings--in a city that's been invaded by Atlantis, trashed by Galactus, had literal Roman Catholic Hell break out, and had mile-long profanity carved into it with orbital laser beamsĀ¹--is only slightly less preposterous than the fact that it leads Captain America, one of two characters who stands as the voice of morality in the Marvel Universe, to quit. I honestly don't mean to go all fan-entitlement on anybody, but Sweet Christmas, Captain America doesn't quit. It's what defines him as a character. And for him to quit specifically in a battle that revolves around freedom is... well, it's crazy.

And that's just the high point, which in itself is predicated on the idea that Black Panther--a master tactician in his own right--thinks it's a good idea to teleport the giant super-hero battle into the middle of downtown Manhattan. And it just keeps getting worse, from the pithy, faux-tough dialogue to the phenomenally trite and poorly-written letter from Reed Richards (who, incidentally, apparently forgot that he's got stretching powers that would protect him from being shot, and that his wife can create force fields), to Spider-Man's nonsensical costume change. The parts that are "good" are only good in the way that all recent Mark Millar stories are good: They're exciting. Who doesn't want to see Namor show up and yell his catchphrase, or watch Hercules bash Cyborg Murderclone Thor's head in? Right on, that's stuff we all like. But it's cheap, and it's easy, and unlike The Ultimates--a book that's entirely based around cheap, easy fun--that's not nearly enough to save it here. Instead, all we're left with is a book that's thoroughly, unapologetically awful.

So, uh, anybody want to buy my run?


Conan #37: I honestly don't have much of a review for this one--you know, since it's been an amazingly solid and well-done title for over three years now--but after spilling four solid paragraphs of bile, there are two things that I'd like to point out here:

a) That cover totally looks like this issue's going to be Conan vs. the Goon, which actually isn't what happens, but the thought alone is awesome enough to make it worth picking up, and...

b) I am fascinated by the idea that there are t-shirts in the Hyborian Age.



Hellblazer #229: True Fact: Mike Carey's run on Hellblazer is one of the most underrated runs in recent memory. In fact, when I jumped off the book, it wasn't beacuse I had any particular dislike for what Denise Mina was doing, but rather because Carey's last issue was the perfect ending. Of course, now that Andy Diggle--whose run on Losers was similarly overlooked--is slated to come on next month, I'm interested again, but to be honest, I was way more excited when I noticed Carey was back for this issue's one-shot story, and I wasn't disappointed. In 22 moody, washed-out pages by John Paul Leon, Carey brings everything you want to see from John Constantine, with a fast-paced supernatural mystery that seems inspired by the annoying "trading sequences" of the Legend of Zelda games than anything else, with Constantine staying one step ahead of everyone as usual until he finally gets annoyed enough to shut everything down. It's fantastic stuff, and it's well worth checking out.


Local #8: In this issue of Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly's always-excellent mini-series, attractive punk-chic Megan learns that she should totally have crazy sex with slackers in dead-end jobs who spent way too much money on Star Wars toys and don't appear to actually be doing anything with their lives. In light of that, I'd like to take this opportunity to declare Brian Wood The Best Writer Ever.


Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #10: With the fact that last month's installment is unquestionably one of the greatest triumphs of mankind, I've gotten used to the idea that Jeff Parker's scripts for this book are going to be a heck of a lot more entertaining than the regular Avengers titles, but the awesome Cameron Stewart cover for this issue alone just seals it. It's a fantastic read, too, as the Avengers hit the Renaissance Faire to stop Morgan Le Fay from stealing souls through evil magic brought about by World of Warcraft, but let's be honest here: Any comic where Spider-Man blows off going on a mission so that he can level up his Wizard and Tony Stark's college major is revealed to be "making battlesuits" pretty much guarantees a good time.


ISB BEST OF THE WEEK




Punisher War Journal #4: One of these days, the super-villains of the Marvel Universe are going to learn to stop hanging out in bars together.

Until then, however, we'll just have to deal with some pretty fantastic stories, like this one. Matt Fraction's been thoroughly knocking them out of the park with everything he touches lately with books like Casanova and The Immortal Iron Fist, and the Punisher's no exception, with this issue focusing around the highly dysfunctional funeral of Stilt-Man. It's a great read, thanks in large part to the great little touches that Fraction works in, but by the time Spider-Man shows up, it suddenly becomes fantastic. Spidey's encounter with a drunken Princess Python and her insistence on referring to him as "Peter Shhpidermun" is funny enough on its own to warrant his appearance, but the fact that the Eel even stops to remark on how classy it is of Spider-Man to stop by and warn them to be careful out there is a wonderful bit of character that's sorely lacking in a lot of titles. And even better, it makes a great counterpoint to the Punisher himself, who functions solely as death with a grim sense of humor in Fraction's stories.

And that's exactly how it should be.

Spider-Man Family #1: Even for something that costs five bucks, this thing is thick. A full-length black costume-related story by Sean McKeever, a ten-page backup written by Fred Van Lente that features the Black Cat getting tied up by Patsy Walker after a round of good-natured wrestling, two full-sized reprints (including one from Untold Tales of Spider-Man), a handful of Chris Giarrusso strips, and a flat-out crazy manga story, and for a kid who's excited about Spider-Man 3 and wants to read about the character, that's a pretty good way to go about it. Me, I was just excited about getting more Spidey stories from Sean McKeever, but the news that he's signed exclusive to DC seems to have nipped that right in the bud (well, after the third issue anyway). Fortunately, there's still Fred Van Lente--whose involvement escaped me until I saw his name on the cover Wednesday morning--and a wealth of talent like Jeff Parker and Dan Slott that would be perfect on the book.

And while we're on the subject of Fred Van Lente, I just had a thought: I would buy every single issue of this thing if, in place of a couple of the reprinted Giarrusso strips, I could find a two-page story by Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, his Action Philosophers collaborator, where Peter Parker explained true scientific facts. Seriously, that should happen.


The Spirit #3: Three issues in, and I can already tell that this is going to be one of those comics that I never have anything fresh or interesting to say, because it's just going to be that good every month. The origin story of the Spirit in this issue is nothing short of masterful, as Darwyn Cooke nails the distinctive voice of every major character in a compelling, excellent read. It's the art, however, that really steals the show: With the intentionally sketchy linework and amazing, clashing pastels of Dave Stewart's coloring, the flashback sequences are just gorgeous, with Cooke and J. Bone outdoing themselves on every page. Simply put, it's a fantastic book, and it's one that everybody--not just comics fans, but everybody--ought to be reading.


Wasteland #7: A tip of the hat to friend of the ISB Dave Lartigue, who got blurbed on the back cover of this month. Of course, when they quoted me a few months ago, I was promised that they'd keep the riff-raff out, but, well, when a guy's right, he's right, and Lartigue hit it right on the head with his quote. The Post-Apocalyptic Western is a genre that's rarely seen anyone do it well, but the sheer amount of meticulous thought that Antony Johnston's put into every aspect of the world he's writing about is apparent on every issue, and it makes for some fantastic comics. Even better, this issue--which is a stand-alone story for all you fence-sitters out there--features the fantastic artwork of Carla Speed McNeil, which I haven't had a good chance to enjoy since either her arc on Queen & Country or Frank Ironwine, and it's always nice to see a reminder of how good she really is. As much as I've liked Christopher Mitten on this series, McNeil's art is clean and fits this issue perfectly, especially in the way the book literally gets darker as the story moves towards its end. It's great stuff, as always.





And that's the week! As always, comments or questions on my blunt, authoritative reviews--such as why it took me two days to get this thing written and I didn't even bother to review Wonder Woman--are always welcome in the comments section or via email. But we can pretty much assume that it's all Civil War's fault.

That kind of vitriol really takes it out of a guy.




1: Before you ask, according to the latest OHOTMU, Marvel Boy is in continuity.

49 Comments:

Blogger LurkerWithout said...

You do know that Carla Speed McNeil has her own indy press book called Finder right? I mean it is after all crazy-awesome in every way...

Sadly I think I might be the only person who finds War Journal a dissapointment. The dialogue is great and the writing is sharp. But its the Punisher killing super-villians. With the mass slaying at the Bar With No Name he might as well change his name to Scourge of the Underworld and then fight USAgent...

2/24/2007 3:49 AM

 
Blogger Mike Haseloff said...

I just happened to get comics today, so I picked up a bunch of new issues -- and MAN!

Spider-man Family TOTALLY blew me away!
It seems like such a throwaway kinda book, but as you point out, it's got a lot of [mid] high points!

And Sandman!

2/24/2007 6:13 AM

 
Blogger antony said...

"as the series moves towards its end. "

Um... do you know something I don't, Chris? ;)

2/24/2007 8:17 AM

 
Blogger Jason said...

Marvel Boy is in the 616? That sucks, I always assumed that it was an orphan Ultimate title. Too bad that Marvel deemed it's follow-up too out there to publish.

Good reviews as always Chris. Although Im amazed you didn't mention the line of the week from Wa Journal:

"Dude, I think she's (Princess Python) like, krumping at him (the Gibbon)!" Any comic that features Princess Python krumping with the Gibbon is overflowing with awesome.

2/24/2007 9:53 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I look forward to seeing "Unquestionably one of the greatest triumphs of mankind" blurbed on the cover of a future digest of MARVEL ADVENTURES AVENGERS.

Re:MARVEL BOY, of COURSE it's continuity. It was followed up on in RUNAWAYA/YOUNG AVENGERS: CIVIL WAR and, word on the street says, is gonna be followed up on some more in Brian Michael Bendis and Brian Reed's kill-fest NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI.

Re: Tony's comment to Maria Hill about coffee, I especially liked that bit since she offered him the job in NEW AVENGERS. And she's still DEPUTY DIRECTOR. You think Condi Rice is like, "Stephen Hadley, there seems to be a smudge on my shoe, would you mind licking it off please?"

2/24/2007 10:05 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worth noting too that he didn't carve those naughty words in with an orbital laser, but on foot, running up the side of buildings, with his ridiculous gun, and without killing a single person.

See, thinking about Marvel Boy stops you thinking about Civil War!

I'm going to go and think about Marvel boy some more.

2/24/2007 10:25 AM

 
Blogger Jason said...

Thinking about Marvel Boy makes everything better. Just as long as I don't think about what Bendis is going to do/with him.

2/24/2007 10:34 AM

 
Blogger lostinube said...

Captain America doesn't quit
Yeah! He just hides out and assumes a new identity! Oh wait. Is he going to jail? I was looking forward to seeing the latest will-be-eventually-passed-on-to-a-supporting-character super-hero ID: The Nomad Captain!
Or perhaps the Punisher will become the new really really gritty Captain America and we'll see Frank and Steve's story in the the three arcs CapFall, CapQuest and CapsEnd.
The new Marvel! The possibilities are endless!
Boy, Civil War 7 ticked me off.

2/24/2007 10:50 AM

 
Anonymous Mark Engblom said...

Yeah, Cap has quit before...but I don't think for the nonsensical reason he did in Civil War #7. A true "Emperor's New Clothes" moment for Mark Millar's P.T. Barnum hucksterism. Maybe the praises of his sycophantic pub mates are keeping that reality from him, but in reality, I think the failure that was Civil War is going to do some damage to the Golden Boy's credibility.

Nice takedown, Chris.

2/24/2007 11:03 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

:( no Iron Fist review? i sad...

2/24/2007 11:24 AM

 
Blogger Carla said...

I could find a two-page story by Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey, his Action Philosophers collaborator, where Peter Parker explained true scientific facts.

I'LL TAKE TWO!!! Quick, someone beat Quesada over the head with this genius!

2/24/2007 11:36 AM

 
Blogger Chris Sims said...

Um... do you know something I don't, Chris? ;)

Story. As the story moves to its end. That is exactly what I typed and it has certainly said that since I posted this last night.

(Cough)

2/24/2007 11:47 AM

 
Anonymous garin said...

Captain America isn't a fanatic. He doesn't believe in victory at any cost. And he sure as shit doesn't let innocent people die so he can avoid going to prison.

When Cap was tackled by the Village People, he realized two things:

1) Working against the registration act is not fighting in the interests of the average person, or for their wishes. The people are tired of getting fucked up and having their houses burnt down over this shit, and almost by definition a hero is a protector of the people.

2) The more the struggle escalates, the more he proves his opponents right: superhumans are dangerous. They may have been winning the fight but they were losing the argument. Continuing to fight was counter-productive, because this wasn't a struggle that was ultimately going to be decided by a show of force.

Anyone who would not stop fighting under those circumstances wouldn't deserve to be called a hero.

If there really do exist people who read Civil War #7 and come away with only "I guess the A does stand for France!" or "OH NO BUILDING DAMAGE" as motivation for Cap's decision, they probably need to stick to writers less subtle than Mark Millar.

Uh, good luck with that.

2/24/2007 11:48 AM

 
Anonymous James Kakalios said...

re: Peter Parker excplaining true science facts...

I am available for consultations. I did write the book on this (The Physics of Superheroes - Who says this isn't the Marvel Age of shameless plugs?). Heck, if I can lend a hand with the Gail Simone on the All New Atom, I can do the same for Spidey.

You do know that scientists are developing a tape that adheres to surfaces employing the same physical mechanism that gecko lizards use? And that to ikkustrate the effectiveness of said "gecko tape", they published a paper in Nature Materials featuring a Spider-Man action figure hanging from a ceiling, supported on one hand with this tape?

Nerds run this planet! And we're not going to take any more shit from the Man!

2/24/2007 12:46 PM

 
Anonymous Cully said...

Wasn't there an issue of Birds of Prey a while back wherein Commissioner Gordon found out about Barbara? I read the threat as more "what would happen to his career if people found out his daughter was a cape" than it would kill him to know... etc.

2/24/2007 12:46 PM

 
Anonymous Dan Duerr said...

garin--

I think the problem that people have with CW 7 is that the plot development doesn't make any sense. What does this final conflict teach Cap that his career hasn't taught him so far? Why now? It just doesn't fit in with the past 40 years of character development.

That being said, the whole "the A on his head does stand for France" comment may be the most obnoxious, and meaningless that I've seen about the issue. It not only misses the point, but it's also historically inaccurate and ignorant.

2/24/2007 12:48 PM

 
Anonymous James Kakalios said...

Ahem. That is "explaining" without the c.

Not much of a speller. As George Kauffman once said, the only rule I know is that there's only one 'z' in is!

2/24/2007 12:49 PM

 
Blogger Dorian said...

Garin--Your implication that people who dislike the ending of Civil War misunderstood it because it is too "subtle" flies in the face of everything else Millar has ever written. Millar doesn't do "subtle." You may have confused him with another Scottish comics writer. Or even Chris Claremont.

Or, hell, even Frank Miller.

2/24/2007 1:53 PM

 
Anonymous Jamie said...

What I particularly liked about this issue of PWJ is that (a) it stands as a direct rebuke to CIVIL GRITTY WAR, INFINITE GRIM FIN-HEADED ARSERAPE etc, and (b) it uses the fucking Punisher - the daddy of teeth-gritted humourless gun-toting nutjobs - to do it.

2/24/2007 2:26 PM

 
Anonymous Matt T. said...

Best part of CW7 was the placing of Hank Pym (I assume that's who that is under the Yellowjacket cowl) with the Rangers. And the Armadillo. Man )f The Year Hank Pym, cowboy superheroes, Firebird and a big honkin' armadillo THAT WALKS LIKE A MAN! In Texas, no less.

A superteam in every state? I can see regional groups, but is there really that much super villainy that there needs to be super guys in Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas? Actually, that might be kind of entertaining, if done right. Fish out of water, sort of thing.

I know I certainly would read a book about the life-and-death struggles, say, Tigra, Defender Of Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Alien invasions in Hot Coffee. Demons attack West Memphis. Super heroes trying to find something to do on a Saturday night in Tupelo that doesn't involve high-powered handheld spotlights and hunting rifles.

2/24/2007 3:12 PM

 
Blogger Mallet said...

Who doesn't want to see Namor showing up yelling his catch phrase?

Hitler, thats who!

And guess which green skinned, goose steeper, was afraid after he showed up?

Might as well slap her in a brown suit and give Tony Stark an even stupider mustache.

And now that I think about, when you have Captain America, The Human Torch (albeit not the original), Namor, and Bucky Barnes working against you, how can you ever claim to be a good guy?

2/24/2007 3:48 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Considering that Millar also wrote the A stands for France line, and in a scene where Cap used it to explain he ain't never giving up, then using it to make fun of Millar's CW script sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

2/24/2007 4:39 PM

 
Anonymous Dan Duerr said...

anon--

I felt the same way about the comment when Millar used it in The Ultimates. If people are using it as a subtle dig at Millar's confused characterization, that seems fine to me (not that my opinion matters more than anyone else's). However, I'd been reading it in the oh-so-subtle France bashing context in which it was originally used. Apologies if I misinterpreted that one (though I'd still argue that the line was a low-point of The Ultimates).

2/24/2007 5:33 PM

 
Anonymous garin said...

dan duerr-
I would say what is different about this time is that Cap bears some very real responsibility for the harm caused, and the people most in danger of being hurt are not the people he is fighting for.

If the Avengers fight a giant monster that's attacking midtown and there are civilian casualties, it is the monster's fault. There would have been even more if they hadn't intervened. When Cap's crew break their friends out of prison and then move the fight to New York, wrecking several city blocks and endangering thousands of lives, that's a direct consequence of his actions, and he bears some of the responsibility for that.

Those are people put in harm's way who were not previously in danger, and they're put in harm's way in the interests of people unlike them, in a cause they don't believe in. It's a fairly standard trope in superhero comics for the hero to look after an ungrateful public even if they think he's a menace. In the CW battle, the heroes are looking after their own interests at the [i]expense[/i] of the citizens. Blowing up a world that hates and fears them.


dorian-
I know, which is why I said good luck finding a writer less subtle than Millar. That's what baffles me about the reaction to this scene- it was a subtle as a sledgehammer, yet many people still didn't seem to get it.

Note: I'm not saying that if you (anyone in particular) didn't like CW7 you must not have understood it. I'm referring to a specific set of criticisms I keep seeing around the net.

2/24/2007 6:08 PM

 
Anonymous Haerandir said...

I haven't been reading CW, because I value my few remaining brain cells, so I can't comment on specifics. However, based on the discussion I've seen here, I'm afraid the "Cap quits because he realizes he's fighting against the interests of The People" argument still doesn't hold water. The fact remains, and no amount of Millar hand-waving will get around this, that any law that requires individual citizens to register or face imprisonment is a gross violation of civil liberties. Even the non-powered citizens of the US have an interest in protecting their rights. After all, they might get run over by a radioactive bus tomorrow. I'm not saying it couldn't happen, but it's not something anyone who cares about the underlying principles of the American political system would welcome. Cap is definitely on the side of the angels in this fight.

If innocents are being hurt in the process of fighting an unjust law, that's certainly a valid reason to change your tactics. It's not a reason to give up. Chris' comments about the Black Panther seem to be cogent, in this case. Is it remotely possible that the plot has been artificially manipulated in order to set up a pre-ordained outcome? I'm shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

Honestly, I agree that it doesn't make sense for the government to have sat back and done nothing for 70 years while paranormal vigilantes ran amok across the face of the US and the rest of the world. For gaming purposes, I've been (haphazardly) working on a background for a supers universe where the majority of super-crimefighters are employed by one government or another - just like, you know, cops in the real world. If Marvel wants to alter the ground rules of their fictional universe, that's certainly their prerogative, but if there was ever a time where a big ol' DC-style reboot would have been a better solution, this is that time.

2/24/2007 7:37 PM

 
Anonymous Ben Exposition said...

Millar's Civil War has accomplished just a thing: It has fucked up the Marvel Universe;topto bottom; for the forseeable future. Nice job!

2/24/2007 10:05 PM

 
Blogger Strange Tales said...

This is the best comics website EVER!!!

2/24/2007 10:08 PM

 
Blogger Chance said...

I'm going to forgo my traditional Kick To The Face this week

You dirty rat bastard.

2/24/2007 10:45 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Garin-
The problem with your reading of CW is that while it makes sense on a surface level, (Cap doesn't want to hurt civilians) it contradicts an aspect of Cpa's character that I think is oft overlooked: He is a soldier. That is to say, while he wouldn't intentionally harm civilians (and indeed would do almost anything to avoid it) he should be able to look at civilian deaths as collateral damage, I mean I can see Spiderman doing the whole "it's hurting people" speel but Cap in the end should be one of those people willing to push through the pain that acting immoral on a small scale (throwing off the firemen) in order to save the country on a large scale (keeping us from becoming a fascist state).

So anyway, I guess the next question I have have is, who takes out Stark? My money's on Nick Fury (after WWH forces a draft and turns some heros against Stark) and I think he'll do it by blowing up Stark Industires stuff first to bankrupt Tony.


OT: Where do I go to Major in Battlesuits becuase I'm willing to take out loans to do so.

2/24/2007 11:07 PM

 
Anonymous tenefis said...

I honestly don't mean to go all fan-entitlement on anybody, but Sweet Christmas, Captain America doesn't quit. It's what defines him as a character. And for him to quit specifically in a battle that revolves around freedom is... well, it's crazy.

As awesome as you are, I must disagree. Captain America's defining quality is that he always does the responsible thing. Remember the Avengers Annual where the Avengers and West Coast Avengers started out playing baseball and ended up arrested by Freedom Force? Cap escaped, but surrendered after verifying that the arrest orders were legit - because he believes that the system will eventually work and justice will prevail. What does get me about CW, if you want to look at it "realistically", is how easily the general population seems to go along with Iron Man's fascism. If the writers are planning ahead for general sentiment to reverse itself and turn against Iron Man (shades of the real world after 9/11?) then I have to say, that would be one of the more impressive storylines that comics has seen.

2/25/2007 1:39 AM

 
Anonymous Patrick said...

I really enjoyed the "Tim on a date" issue of Robin that came out this week. I thought it was really sweet, and I like that Beechen worked in a supervillain fight despite himself.

...

That's it.

2/25/2007 2:17 AM

 
Anonymous kate said...

...it was a subtle as a sledgehammer, yet many people still didn't seem to get it.

Garin-- while I understand your point, I really quite sincerely disagree. I got what Millar was trying to do, it's just he really failed to /do/ it.

I know that he and the other writers of this had what they thought of as very sound, logical arguments behind what the Pro-Registration characters were doing. I didn't find them compelling. That's cool.

And that last moment with Cap-- I know comics are often blatant emotional manipulation, and I generally allow them to just go on in and manipulate me. That's part of the fun of it.

And I know that that moment was supposed to make me feel, with Cap, that people were scared, and the Act was truly needed because it was What The People Wanted-- the problem was, it didn't make me feel that way. It just didn't.

I know what they wanted. (I read Newsarama, after all. And lots of other sites. They've been telling me how this comic series should make me feel for months now.) But after the thrown together all-highlight, no-cohesion comic that was Civil War in general and Civil War #7 in particular, the moment just didn't work. I wish it had, because I like comics, but it just didn't.

And all that is /aside/ from the whole political aspect of it, which frankly I don't want to get into here because I would just go off on a "they who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither" rant that really, no one needs right now.

So basically, yeah! My money's on Nick Fury coming back in about 6-7 months.

Also, Chris, how was She-Hulk? Just kinda there?

2/25/2007 2:42 AM

 
Anonymous garin said...

anon
Since he was thawed out, Cap's characterization has always been more complex than "He's a soldier", and I think it can be misleading to infer things about his personality from the fact he served. He's morally opposed to killing his enemies, for instance, which is an unusual mindset for a professional soldier. We'll have to disagree in that I can't conceive of Captain America writing off civilians as "collateral damage"- in fact I think he'd object to even the euphemism itself.

He would have thrown off the firemen if necessary, but people actually died in that fight (although it wasn't hammered home in the book itself.) Even the risk of people dying, which should have been apparent to him from the scale of the destruction, would cause him to reconsider his course of action.

kate
If you feel that you did get it, then my little rant wasn't aimed at you. It sounds like the story just didn't connect with you, which is fine. I certainly don't think people are obligated to like it!

What rattled my cage is constantly seeing on messageboards and blogs complaints that Cap surrendered because "he's a coward" or "for no reason", contrary to what's presented pretty plainly on the page. Those are the type of complaints which seem to indicate that someone didn't "get it".

I will say that I don't agree with your view on how you were supposed to feel at the climax. I don't think it's necessary to share Cap's realization that the registration act is inevitable, only to accept that as what Cap himself believes.

2/25/2007 3:57 AM

 
Anonymous daj said...

garin

Seriously, first thing here: I'm glad you liked CW, and I don't for a second want to take that away from you. I don't suppose anybody here does (with the possible exception of Chris himself, insofar as he's clearly sustained by the roiling powers of darkness).

That said, Civil War as a whole gives me hives, and the last issue would be among the worst of the lot even if its only failing was its inability to make me appreciate the earlier bits more in hindsight.

As it is, though: even if I take everything you write about that final battle as a given - and, actually, I do, insofar I'm pretty sure that's how Millar conceived it - then we have a Cap whose primary sin isn't giving up the fight, but being so out-of-control aggressive that he let innocent people get hurt in the first place so he could put the beat on Tony, instead of leading the escapees on an orderly retreat. Yeah, that kind of thing can happen in heavy fighting, but there's precisely no Marvel character I want to see it from less than Captain America. If anybody should be about professionalism under fire, it's this guy.

For that matter, I tend to think he's the guy who should've been standing in front of Congress arguing his point from day one. And that, as per tenefis's example, he should've turned himself in in front of about ten thousand TV cameras three seconds after the law was passed with the express declaration that he wasn't going to comply, and that he'd defend his position in the appropriate venues. He should've been the guy who staked his freedom and reputation on the prospect that the system, imperfect as it is, would work if only he did his honest best to help it along.

Now, those are only my preferences, and, yeah, they're completely subjective. Millar and Quesada and Marvel as a whole are under no obligation to meet them - and if they did right by your version of Cap, more power to all involved. Seriously.

But for me this has been disappointing on too damn many levels to count this early on a Sunday morning. The biggest continuity lynchpin in the Marvel U. since the original Secret Wars seems to establish that Cap, and Tony, and Reed and, y'know, Clor shouldn't, for one reason or another, be trusted with power.

And possibly not with pets, or with plants that need close attention.

So, yeah, for my own part, I'm kinda unhappy here. And my interest in anything Marvel puts out that doesn't involve either (1) Mike Carey or (2) Nova flying really fast into inanimate objects has taken a little bit of a hit.

If it's different for you, then, hey, enjoy the ride!

Meanwhile: so, how `bout that Ralph Dibny?

2/25/2007 8:09 AM

 
Blogger Meagen said...

...I think the guy on the Anita Blake cover is hot. There, I said it.

2/25/2007 9:20 AM

 
Blogger Chance said...

What does get me about CW, if you want to look at it "realistically", is how easily the general population seems to go along with Iron Man's fascism.

What does get me about the real world, if you want to look at it "realistically", is how easily the general population seems to go along with George W. Bush's fascism.

2/25/2007 10:09 AM

 
Blogger Chris Sims said...

This week's issue of Robin was absolutely fantastic. The only reason I didn't review it is because I tend to do nothing but heap (well-deserved) praise on Adan Beechen and Freddie Williams month in and month out. That, and I couldn't think of anything to say other than to yell at all the people who think Beechen doesn't write excellent characterization and tell them to read that issue. It's fantastic.

As for She-Hulk, it was good, but pretty much a run of the mill issue for Dan Slott and Rick Burchett. Of course, in this context, "run of the mill" involves a green woman in a bikini teaming up with Wolverine and fighting the Wendigo while people argue about their magic powers on the perimeter. So take that as you will.

2/25/2007 12:51 PM

 
Anonymous tenefis said...

What does get me about the real world, if you want to look at it "realistically", is how easily the general population seems to go along with George W. Bush's fascism.

In that case, Millar must be one of the great Swiftian satirists of our time ;)

2/25/2007 2:05 PM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Kate that what Millar had intended and what was put on the page were different (Tom Brevoort even posted the outline on Newsarama, apparently underlying the fuck up...?)

She-Hulk did have a nice look at the "fast ball special," and how it must involve Wolverine getting felt up by Colossus (which she observes while feeling him up)

2/25/2007 5:14 PM

 
Anonymous Buck Ripsnort said...

IMHO, the fact that we're still arguing about CW just means Millar et al fucked it up. The Pro-Reg forces went from having a very sane argument to, well, deputizing psychotic villains and gulaging the "good guys". If the Anti-Reg forces had shown any irresponsibility in this series, (weakening their position) or if the Pro-Reg hadn't been relentlessly portrayed as stormtroopers, Millar might have made the ending work. As it was, it didn't.

2/25/2007 6:10 PM

 
Blogger Solario said...

I'm completely uninterested in Civil War as a whole (though I'm glad it's been instrumental in getting Matt Fraction more work,) but I really wish Cap would stop with the fucking crying. It's not even a manly indian tear, it's blubbering.

2/25/2007 6:51 PM

 
Blogger Chris Sims said...

I was set on letting the above review stand as my final thought on the matter, but the thought just occurred to me:

Cap ostensibly surrenders and goes into custody because he realizes that with the huge battle in New York, he's become exactly what the registration act was designed to defeat: An out of control brawling super-hero. And he realizes this because he looks around and sees all the destruction, the burning, smashed up buildings and such.

Admittedly, that's better than I made it out to be, but in all honesty, shouldn't it be Iron Man who comes to this conclusion? I mean, look at it: One of those teams has Hawkingbird, Daredevil, the Falcon, and Solo. The other team has Wonder Man, the Sentry, a clone of Thor, and two people with Gamma-Powered super-strength. I think we can all agree that our second option here is the one that's going to be knocking down buildings.

It's a stupid nitpick, but it's one that I thought was worth mentioning.

2/25/2007 10:07 PM

 
Blogger Caleb said...

Chris,

Yeah, I actually would have liked to see those buildings GETTING damaged. I imagine do to the hurry to finish, the fight scenes lacked a lot of fighting, but who was really doing the damage here? How was Daredevil knocking holes in buildings, by getting thrown through them by the Sentry?

And isn't the Battle of Manhattan just another example of why all superheroes are bad? After Registration, after giving one superhero a superhero army, all that it's lead to is superheroes fighting in public and endangering folks Stamford-style.

2/26/2007 1:16 AM

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's not forget to mention the International implications of said superhero army. I don't think any foreign nation is going to want superheroes running around considering their ties to the US Government.

Mr. President, please remove your 'superheroes' from my airspace before I fire my nukes at you.

2/26/2007 2:19 AM

 
Anonymous Mace Vanquish said...

I'm on the "#7 makes sense, in a stupid way" side. Though the idea of Cap's inevitable jailbreak will be very hard to screw up.
Punisher as Cap is either the best or worst idea I've heard as of 2007, I assumed Hank was just interoducing the Rangers rather than joining them (seeing as he's one of the supervisors of this Initative thing), and I hope they release a list of the teams for every state, so I can write angry letters asking why South Carolina got... I don't know, Orka, a reformed Big Wheel, the first 616 appearance of Johnny Ohm, and a loggerhead turtle wearing a domino mask.
Also, I would buy three copies of a book if it featured Peter Parker giving a lecture about quantum redshift while somehow creating a visual aid involving webs.

P.S.- Thanks to Mallet and his use of allegory, every time I see Maria Hill I will think of Girl Hitler from The Venture Brothers.

2/26/2007 6:59 PM

 
Anonymous Bakaninja said...

Hey Chris,

I don't know if you see old comments, but I was wondering if you saw Mark Millar's "post-game show" interview. I was also wondering if it made you angry. Really angry.

http://www.newsarama.com/marvelnew/CivilWar/millar_final.html

2/28/2007 5:05 PM

 
Anonymous Bakaninja said...

Err, let me try some HTML tags with that.

Voila!

2/28/2007 5:06 PM

 
Blogger Chris Sims said...

I hope they release a list of the teams for every state, so I can write angry letters asking why South Carolina got... I don't know, Orka, a reformed Big Wheel, the first 616 appearance of Johnny Ohm, and a loggerhead turtle wearing a domino mask.

Is that who we're getting? I was hoping for at least Skids.

3/01/2007 9:30 PM

 
Anonymous scaryblackdeath said...

From Millar's post-CW interview:
"How can you call yourself Captain America when you're out of step with public opinion?"

There. Right there.
This guy doesn't have a CLUE what the characters he's writing for are all about.

If Cap was honestly "realizing" that he should've been fighting this with passive, legal resistance (something he should've/WOULD'VE thought of in, oh, #1!), that's what he would have SAID.

Not one of the issues brought up by CW were actually resolved. Rather, Millar put both hands on his ego and started jerking off. It's all over the interviews he gives in Newsarama; he's his own biggest fan.

3/02/2007 9:33 PM

 

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