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Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Week In Ink: 4-18-2007

As some of you may have noticed, the ISB just became Blogger's thousand-and-third Blog of Note, and between that and the spike in hits from last week's discussion of Chuck Norris Action Jeans, I figure there might be some new readers out there wondering just who the heck I am.

So before I get on with the post tonight, I'd like to take a moment to drink up all the Hennesey you got on your shelf, so just let me introduce myself: My name is Chris Sims, and I read a lot of comics. New ones, old ones, good ones, bad ones, I read 'em all. And then I make fun of review them here using my unstoppable blogging powers.

I post every day, so content varies from exhaustive histories of comics that really don't warrant that much attention to a crossword puzzle, a podcast, stick-figure recaps of major storylines done in crayon, and the occasional look at how the work of R. Kelly would be different if it had been written by William Shakespeare. Other than that, I'm also a freelance comedy writer and believe that Sonny Chiba was sent from Heaven to show us the way to a more awesome world.

Anyway, it's Thursday night, and for those of you who don't already know what's coming, that means that it's time once again for the Internet's Snappiest Comics Reviews, which usually lead off with something like this:

"Hey Batman! What are the odds that I'll ever stop using the phrase 'Mind-Shattering' in my post titles?"

And now that you've seen Batman kicking someone in the face, you've pretty much seen everything I have to offer.

But enough with the explanation! I've got reviews to get on with, and we're burnin' daylight! So here's this week's haul...

And here's what I wanted to talk about!

Birds of Prey #105: I think the record will show that I've enjoyed Gail Simone's work on a number of occaisions, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pretty stoked about the news that Sean McKeever was coming on as the new writer once she leaves. Admittedly, my hopes for a shift in tone along the lines of McKeever's previous work--and a subsequent retitling of the book as Big Barda Loves Scott Free--might be a little unrealistic, but I think he'll do well with it. Of course, that's not to say that, with the exception of "The Hero Hunters," Simone hasn't done a pretty bang-up job on the series for the past few years, because she has, and this week's issue is just another example of how fun and solid her work can be, even if it does feel a little bit like it should be an issue of Secret Six (Guest Starring the Birds of Prey).

And speaking of, that's a team that just gets crazier every time it shows up. And by crazy... I mean crazy awesome.


The Brave and the Bold #3: You know, I'm not quite sure why Batman suddenly ditched Blue Beetle so that he could go fight the Penguin with Cal Ripken in the middle of this thing, but I'll be damned if the rest of it didn't make for some highly enjoyable comics.

And that, my friends, is a joke that will not work once this thing's out in trade. Anyway, I'm not sure whether I should mention this and put my status as a hardcore fan of Legion craziness, but I really don't like the Fatal Five. Well, that's not strictly true: I like the Emerald Empress a lot, and Validus, well, he's a giant super-strong "man-child" whose completely visible brain can shoot lightning and who is always flipping out! How can you not like that? The rest of 'em, though--and I'm looking at you here, "Persuader"--I could pretty much do without for the entirety of my comics reading career.

That's really beside the point, though, which is this: Huge, half goofy, half almost-unbearably exciting stories that blow through every corner of the DC Universe are exactly what Mark Waid and George Perez do best, and this one's been three solid issues of them at the top of their game. It's fast-paced, energetic, and incredibly fun stuff, with a last page that honestly had me cracking up at the sheer joy of it. Simply put, it's excellent, and I don't think it's a stretch to say that it's well on its way to becoming the best DC Universe comic on the shelves.

Conan #39: Conan is one of the rare books that's managed to maintain a consistent, high level of quality not just for the past three years, but even through the change of writer from Kurt Busiek to Tim Truman, so it's often pretty difficult for me to think up something new to say about it. Really, once you've reviewed one issue, you've reviewed them all: "Conan acts like a badass, kills a bunch of dudes, and it's really, really good."

This one, however, sticks out a little, as it's Tim Truman's first use of Janissa the Widowmaker, who might actually be the only genuinely controversial character left in comics. After all, the letter columns for Conan are still filled with people debating the propriety of her origin, which happened twenty-seven issues ago. Me, I like her a lot as a character, if for no other reason than she provides an excellent contrast to Conan, and that's what's brought to the forefront here with a classically-styled sword-and-sorcery adventure that sees them assaulting an ancient temple from opposite sides, each unaware of the other's presence until the end. Janissa's great in this one, too, all finesse and trickery while Conan, equally true to form, gets through with brute strength and some of the hardest lines since Public Enemy. It's self-contained, amazingly entertaining, and if you've somehow managed to get this far without reading it, it makes a great place to start.

Hellblazer #231: As much as I loved the last issue of Hellblazer--the first part of Andy Diggle's debut storyline--I really had no idea how he was going to stretch it into a second part. It ends, after all, with Our Anti-Hero calling up the spirits of a hitman's victims just when the poor guy thought he had Constantine beat, and if that's not the most Hellblazer-ish ending a guy can ask for, I don't know what is. I get the feeling that this one, though, is where Diggle's setting the tone for his run, with a story that's equal parts Constantine loathing himself for the bastard that he's become and reveling in it as he swaggers around five steps ahead of everyone else.

I've said before that as far as I'm concerned, this is a book that could've ended when Mike Carey left and been perfect, but it's stories like this one that make me glad it didn't.

Invincible #40: We can all agree that I like violence, right? I mean, in this very post, you can find a picture of someone getting kicked in the face, so I think that's a pretty safe bet. And what's more, I like super-heroes committing violent acts against villans, and--assuming we're still counting Batroc Ze Leapair as a villain instead of the Savior of Mankind that we all know he is--I like it when villains beat up super-heroes, too.

But Sweet Christmas could we maybe take a break here? Invincible's one of my favorite comics, bar none, but this issue's big fight between the Guardians of the Globe and the Lizard League--which I'd originally hoped would be a sinister-but-fun pastiche of COBRA, HYDRA and the Serpent Society--is just ridiculous, especially when you consider that Dupli-Kate alone is graphically murdered nine times, and that's not counting her various dismembered bodies laying around the floor. I realize that shocking and disturbing are the goals here, but if there's one thing I've learned from DC over the past few years, it's that on its own, excessive graphic violence is utterly meaningless, and the whole sequence just comes off as cheap and poorly done. To make matters worse, the other subplots running through the issue don't suffer from that at all, which just strengthens the contrast. It's not a book that I'm going to rush out and drop--one bad issue out of forty isn't a bad track record, after all--but it's a pretty huge disappointment from a book that I usually look forward to, and I'm hoping it's not the start of a downward trend for Invincible.

The Legion of Super-Heroes in the 31st Century #1: My earlier discussion of the Fatal Five aside, I like the Legion a heck of a lot. Not enough to go back to buying Brad Meltzer's nigh-atrocious Justice League of America or anything--I mean, I'm not crazy--but a series by two creators that I really like based on a cartoon that I've never seen? I'll give that a shot at the drop of a hat. Besides, until Chynna Clugston starts returning my calls, this is probably the closest I'm going to get to my proposed collaboration, The Many Loves of Triplicate Girl.

Manhunter #30: So, to sum up: Manhunter (which is totally awesome) has been uncancelled again. Suck it, Spider-Girl.

Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #12: Page 16, Panel 3:

EGO, THE LOVING PLANET (To Earth): I see your situation, baby. I know you got a shorty... I'm cool with that.

Jeff Parker, you are a delight.

Nightwing Annual #2: Despite the fact that I've never, you know, written fan-fiction about the guy, there was a time in my life when Nightwing was probably my favorite comic. Embarrassing, I know, but believe me: That time ended well before Devin Grayson showed up and decided it'd be a good idea to kill major supporting characters off-panel and began the downward spiral that made it one of the worst books on the stands. Still, I'll always have some shred of nostalgia for the character and the way that the Chuck Dixon run provided a fun string of adventures starring a younger, more fallible Batman, a void that's now being filled very well by Adam Beechen and Freddie Williams in the pages of Robin.

So that's what got me curious about this one, and it turned out to be a solid read. Of course, that's not really a surprise: Marc Andreyko regularly knocks it out of the park when it comes to solid, character-driven stories rooted firmly in the DCU over in the woefully underappreciated Manhunter, and his work here lives up to it very well, with a great retrospective on Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson's relationship, and one of Barbara's best lines in years.

To put it bluntly, this is everything that World War III should've been: If you're not going to explain the "One Year Later" changes in 52--which, if you'll remember, was the original point of that series--then take some time and do them right and do them well instead of cramming them into a stupid, pointless fight that doesn't make any sense to begin with. But we'll get to that in a second.

The Spirit #5: Kevin pretty much covered the major plot point of this one already, but to be honest? I just wanted to post that fantastic cover, and take a breather before I got to...

World War III, Parts 1-4: I don't usually do a Worst of the Week in my comics reviews, but, well, you're looking at the comic that made me want to start. Last night I referred to it as an "incompetent clusterfuck," and that might actually be a little too positive, because This comic is a failure on every possible level.

Even without getting into the story, it's actually difficult to purchase. It's a four-part series that shipped all on one day with covers that have the exact same layout with minor changes. Honestly, did nobody forsee that there might be a problem with this? I mean, I worked the register of a comic book store last night, and there were several people who came up with just one issue, thinking they were just variant covers. Eventually, we just started bagging them up as sets for the people who wanted to get all of them, but it's a problem that could've been solved easily just by making it an Eighty Page Giant. Of course, nobody's going to buy an 80-Page Giant for ten bucks, so there goes that.

Not that anyone should buy this thing anyway: It's awful, and given that the actual fight with Black Adam happens in its entirity in the pages of 52 (which is where WWIII allegedly "begins"), it's thoroughly unnnecessary. It reads like it was written on someone's lunch hour who was given the vague instructions to explain all the changes from the OYL jump, but didn't bother to actually read the books to see what was going on in them. They're explained so poorly that I'd honestly rather they weren't explained at all. And to make matters worse, all these huge, major changes happen two weeks before the OYL books start, which means they could've been called "Two Weeks Later" with the same effect!

Example: I really liked Kurt Busiek's take on Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis when it hit the One Year Later issues, but cripes, man: Atlantis fell into shambles because Aquaman was gone for two weeks? You're telling me that guy lost his mind and became the mysterious Dweller in the Deep in the span of less one day? Really?

And that's not even getting into another good-natured round of Black Adam punching teenagers' hearts out--which, again, nobody seems overly concerned about two weeks later. It's utterly irredeemable, and suffice to say that if you haven't been suckered in yet, avoid it like the freakin' plague.

And that's the week, but as always, leaving questions or comments about something I read (or that you read and just want to chat about) should not be avoided like the plague. Instead, avoid it like delicious muffins.

Which is to say, don't.

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Blogger R.Nav said...

Yea. I want my ten bucks back.

4/20/2007 2:37 AM

Blogger Brett said...

Woot! I didn't put WWIII on my pull list this week! I win the internet!

4/20/2007 2:50 AM

Blogger Rob S. said...

Man, WWIII was seven kinds of crap.

4/20/2007 3:17 AM

Blogger LurkerWithout said...

Would it be wrong to gloat at all the people who wasted money on WWIII rather than buying the Annihilation vol 2 and Batman and the Mad Monk trades? Doesn't matter, 'cause I'm going to do it anyways...


4/20/2007 4:54 AM

Blogger Meras said...

nice blog :)

4/20/2007 5:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WWIII was like getting bitten at the end of a hummer... and I don't mean the 4x4. I seriously can't wait to get off work tonight so I can review it myself.

Why is Manhunter wearing pants again? Shazam? Ok... if you say so, DC.

4/20/2007 5:42 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I didn't buy the "WWIII" books, but I did flip through the one with Aquaman in it. And while I am happy to finally figure out how Orin became the Dweller, I agree that it doesn't make a lot of sense, timeline-wise. Although I will say that Atlantis (Posiedonis) was messed up during "Infinite Crisis" when Spectre blew it up, so it was already heading downhill.

4/20/2007 7:48 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

An Beastie Boys AND a Digi reference in the same two month period?

I love you.

4/20/2007 8:40 AM

Blogger Walter said...

While I might not be too much of a comics reader...I do enjoy your blog. Seriously, you are a QFG. (Quite Funny Guy) Keep blogging, and keep up the QFGness.

4/20/2007 9:31 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the warning on WW3. Picking up this week's books tonight and you saved me good money for back issues or some hot dogs.

4/20/2007 9:38 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Man, I'm just glad I don't pick up my comics until Saturday.

Have to see if they have Rock of Ages or the real World War 3 book there instead. ;)

4/20/2007 9:41 AM

Blogger Dweeze said...

WWIII read like a two-column Excel spreadsheet, where the first column was “Character” and the second column was “Poorly explained reason why the character changed”

4/20/2007 10:05 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought WWIII because I thought it would give me some answers on what happened in OYL.

I bought all of Infinite Crisis, Identity Crisis, all of 52 so far, and will probably buy all WWIII garbage too.

Then my collection of how DC went into the toilet will be complete.

WWIII is so bad I wanted to barf on DC headquarters.

4/20/2007 10:21 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, sure.
NOW you start with the MUFFIN-LOVE.




4/20/2007 10:56 AM

Blogger SilverPantsBlue said...

Having preordered WWIII I'm pretty much stuck with it now. Might as well make the most of it! I was intentding on making my next blog post about Ion being one of the more recent ways DC is begging me to give up on them, but that might have to change now.

4/20/2007 10:58 AM

Blogger McTrent said...

The. Humpty. Dance.

Black Adam can come disembowel me now... there is nothing that I could ever read on the internets that will be better than that.

Chris wins.

4/20/2007 11:00 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good call on the Nightwing annual - that's exactly how all the OYL changes should've been handled. DC could have published a whole line of annuals (just like the good ol' days!) explaining everything. And had they done this a bit earlier, when people were still interested in OYL, those annuals would have sold pretty well.

Honestly, I don't feel as burned by WWIII as most people seem to be. It's pretty bad, but really - can't we just ignore it? It didn't tell us anything we couldn't already infer, and the actual fight against Black Adam (though I'm still confused by how this was a "world war") was covered in a single issue of 52.

And maybe my anger toward WWIII was tempered a bit by the fact that DC released Manhunter, Birds of Prey, The Spirit, Brave & the Bold, and The Flash (it's good now, I swear!) all in the same week. Oh, and I'm apparently one of the few people down with the JLA/JSA crossover, so that was a bonus too.

4/20/2007 11:00 AM

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4/20/2007 11:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't be bothered looking through back issues right this second...

Didn't Ralph and the helmet of fate go and claim some kind of magical chain link from the dweller several issues ago in 52?

Was that a different dweller of the depths?


4/20/2007 11:25 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

WWIII turns out to be one of the few times I seriously question my "don't read solicitations" policy. In an effort to avoid spoilers and retain a sense of surprise, the four WWIII books were certainly a surprise....but not the PLEASANT kind.

After slogging through it, it gives a few more clues as to why one of 52's architects, Greg Rucka, may have been cracking off so many disparaging comments about DC of late. The "behind the curtain" detail that really hits me is how thematically disjointed this whole thing became, frantically wrapping up all of the disjoined One Year Later directions that now appear to have never been mapped out from Day One.

Add that to Dan Didio's infuriating "confession" in this week's "DC Nation" ("Whoops! Looks like we fooled you all! Ha ha!"), and it hasn't been a good week for the DC PR machine.

Luckily, Brave and the Bold #3 went a long way toward dissipating the WWIII stench. Definitely the book Mark Waid was born to write...I haven't felt this much enthusiasm from the guy in some time...and Perez's stuff is looking better than ever...if that's even possible. (I credit Wiacek's inking for some of that).

4/20/2007 11:28 AM

Blogger Jacob T. Levy said...

How schizophrenic-- B&B, Manhunter, and Nightwing Annual in one column, WW3 in the other, with JLA being the complicated "I should think this is fun but don't" mess it's always been under Meltzer.

The missing year suffered serious compression from both sides this week. The Bat-family cruise didn't begin until weeks or months after the climax of IC #7, because Nightwing needed rehab. J'onn's brain damage, Aquaman's face damage, Donna's stint as Wonder Woman, the JSA's apparent loss of spirit, Jason's stint as Nightwing, Supergirl and Kara's trip to Kandor, etc etc all began within *two weeks* of OYL. *Really* not the impression conveyed at the beginning of OYL, even before we get into all the yeahbuhwhu? actual continuity problems created by the compression.

I will say that I'm glad Ostrander was given the task of getting J'onn from point A to point B-- and that point B was all but explicitly described as brain damage, since any other explanation of point B would have been pretty much incompatible with the character Ostrander used to write.

4/20/2007 12:18 PM

Blogger Inspector Mchammered of the Lard said...

Janissa the Widowmaker rules. The others are just pretenders!

4/20/2007 12:20 PM

Blogger Evan Waters said...

I'm surprised I haven't seen more chat about Ego the Playin' Planet. Spidey's hilarious broadcast to Earth was so brilliant.

4/20/2007 12:42 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Didn't Ralph and the helmet of fate go and claim some kind of magical chain link from the dweller several issues ago in 52?

Oh snap, you're right. Is nobody paying attention over there? Honestly.

4/20/2007 1:04 PM

Blogger KB said...

reposting to fix a typo

Clearly, DC should stay away from hasty explanations of mysterious events until they can get a real writer with a good idea to come up with something great. There was no reason for this book just as there was no reason to have that "Superboy punching reality" explanation back during Infinite Crisis...

I'm beginning to lose confidence that 52 will end in a satisfactory way or that Countdown will be any good...

4/20/2007 1:21 PM

Blogger Caleb said...

Yeah, Aquaman started going nutty, watery, and growing his hair out and wrapping himself in a robe weeks ago in 52. I don't mind continuity porn--I actually like it--but only if it's actual continuity porn.

The Nightwing rehab delay actually makes some sense, seeing how Batman also spent a few weeks training Harvey Dent after IC. So I guess it was really only 50 weeks without a Batman, but whatever.

A bunch of annuals dealing with the changes--one written by the right writers and that were very good--would have been a better fix than WWIII II. I think OYL was fine, but only if the writers knew what the changes were, why they happened and figured on letting us in on it at some point (as some have). Otherwise, it's just random change for random change's sake.

4/20/2007 1:59 PM

Blogger Kid Golden Arm said...

Where the heck is the review on Justice Society???

I mean Karate Kid versus Batman!!!

Come on Chris, I was looking forward to your review on it!

4/20/2007 2:37 PM

Blogger Kid Golden Arm said...

Ooops, I mean JLA#8.

4/20/2007 2:39 PM

Blogger FireworksFactory said...

If I may ask Chris, why the hate for Spider-Girl? I always found it the be an entertaining, old school Marvel comic.

4/20/2007 3:07 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Big Barda loves Scott Free would be the single greatest comic in existence. Now I really, really, want a Mister Miracle based teen romance comic.

4/20/2007 3:44 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

Justice League #8 may have Karate Kid vs. Batman, but it's also a really, really shitty comic book.

There. Reviewed, for your convenience.

4/20/2007 3:46 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What? You don't like Mano of the Fatal Five? How dare you! Look at him man.. He's an alien from another freaking planet who has a hand that can DISINTIGRATE A PLANET! Not only that, but, I can assume as a total coincidence since they speak Interlac in the future, his name just HAPPENS to mean 'hand' in Spanish (or maybe the fact that he is an 'illegal' alien led the writers to assume that his name should be Spanish).

This is a man that can eat an onion and limburger sandwich while sitting in a cigar bar filled with gamers after a three-day convention and would still complain about getting too much fresh air! The air in his helmet is so dirty that you CAN'T SEE HIS FACE THROUGH THE THREE INCHES BETWEEN THE GLASS AND HIS NOSE!

He is too tough for cancer.. This man breathes in the equivalent of three cartons of cigarettes a day. He blew up his home planet just for the heck of it. Lobo is a pussy in comparison.

Dude.. Mano is the next toughest thing to Chuck Norris out there.

4/20/2007 4:05 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danicus: seconded.
I would buy the fuck out of a comic called Big Barda Loves Scott Free.

Especially if Chris wrote it.

4/20/2007 4:07 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

I actually don't like Mano because he can blow up a planet with his hand. I mean, really, all he has to do is touch you, and you're dead, blown to bits by antimatter, no save. It's more than a little crazy, and not in the good Bizarro-Computo way. There's no reason whatsoever for him to not just go: "Oh, the Legion's here? Okay, I'm killing the entire Earth, kaboom!" every time he shows up.

He does have an awesome helmet, though.

4/20/2007 4:15 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, you should totally watch Legion of Super-Heroes. It's got boxing rabbits, super-heroes vs. Mother Nature, super-olympics, Luthor with a conspicously missing Y gene, Matter-Eater Lad, and what is hands down the most awesome version of Starfinger ever. Plus, during commercials you can watch Ninja Turtles: Fast Forward, the othershow starring present-day "teens" in the future, now with dinosaur mailmen and a villain who downloads martial arts into his brain! Morrison-ey!

4/20/2007 4:18 PM

Blogger Jacob T. Levy said...

The Persuader has a similar problem to Mano. In any gven fight, the options are a) they act like incompetent schmucks or b) they kill people. Yes, the Five are Fatal, I get it. But these two have powers that either kill or fail. Since there's a limit to how many Legionnaires are going to get killed (the limit isn't zero, but still) they basically act like incompetent schmucks all the time.

Yes, to get around it they have the Persuader do nonsensical crap like cutting through gravity or the timestream, but those are almost never the best things for him to do to win the fights he's in. They're just a different way of spelling "incompetent schmuck." "Instead of cutting Shadow Lass in half, I will cut the bonds of gravity, sending her zooming into space where she will explo... oh, crap, forgot about her transuit."

By contrast, Validus can beat the hell out off everyone, and fry most people's brains, in ways that are dramatically effective without killing them. And Tharok and the Empress have a lot of versatility. But Tharok has to pretend to be a mastermind while coming up with plans that will inevitably be foiled by Mano and/or the Persuader acting like incompetent schmucks, which in turn makes him look like an incompetent schmuck. Hence, Validus and the Empress are the only two who remain cool after multiple appearances...

4/20/2007 5:07 PM

Blogger knitphomaniac said...

I adore your blog, and am glad I came across it :) Your Invincible Shopping List has inspired me to create my own, and for that, I thank you. :)

4/20/2007 5:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eh. I never really understood what was so great about Manhunter.

And yeah what the other guy said, why the hate for Spider-Girl?

4/20/2007 5:36 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be embarassed, Chris! Dixon's Nightwing was great. And the annual was the closest DC has gotten to that version of Nightwing in years.

Unfotunately, DC still seems determined to portray the future leader of the JLA as a hopeless man-whore, and now we have the revelation that Babs is so emotionally needy that she's willing to forget a misguided-to-the-point-of-cruel sympathy-diddle. The bad taste in my mouth hit me as I re-read how the issue told the history of their relationship: a date she doesn't know is a date that he doesn't pay for, followed by a little face-to-the-breast/boner-to-the-leg action, then a textbook hormone-fueled love confession he thinks she doesn't hear whereupon he ditches her because of her connection (which was always tenuous) to Bruce, his sexcapades with an alien libido-goddess...all leading up to him finally getting in the sack with his lifelong shag-obsession--despite being engaged to another woman--at her most emotionally-vulnerable and physically-exploitable moment. Did Dick lose a bet to Roy Harper, or did someone at DC just decide to let someone else take over for Ollie and Dinah?

Also, while I understand the desire to avoid Johns-esque continuity minutae, Dick and Babs have a continuity that is well-established, high-profile, and relatively straightforward. And one of the bedrocks of that continuity, in practically every incarnation save the Schumaker films, is that Babs is older than Dick--anywhere from 3 to 10 years difference. It's always been that he had a boyish crush on her that she rejected because he was too young, only to be reciprocated once he returns from the Titans as an adult. But this issue specifically has them as the same age, meaning that she didn't reciprocate the relationship for years because she just wasn't that interested in him, and that it wasn't until he started offering sex to other women that she turned. Man who treats women as sex objects, meet woman who wants to be a sex object! Glad to see you guys knew the difference between the real Bruce Wayne father-figure and the fake one!

4/20/2007 6:03 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

And let's not forget that "Persuader" is the stupidest name in comics history. Yes, even worse than Terra Man.

As for Spider-Girl, well, that's simple: I've read it, and, well, it's not very good. It's competent, but that's about where it stops and I really cannot fathom the amount of hardcore devotion that it inspires in its readership.

Also, while I'm not saying this applies to the readership of the ISB--which is made up entirely of svelte, well-informed geniuses, I'm sure--every single Spider-Girl fan I've personally met has been a freakin' loon. I remember one guy coming up to me at the store and yelling about how it was a tragedy that Spider-Girl was getting canceled because Marvel hadn't even gotten the sales figures from the fifth trade. And it was like, really? Five years of poor sales and four trades already out that didn't sell that well, and you think that's the one that's going to turn it all around?

On the one hand, I can admire their vocal devotion and their willingness to promote the comic themselves if they have to (we've gotten fan-made posters advertising storylines at the store before), but I wish they were doing it for a comic that was, y'know, any good.

4/20/2007 6:25 PM

Blogger webrunner said...

I was kind of hoping there'd be a beetle/emerald eye reaction panel or two, since the eye is a lantern ring according to 52...

4/20/2007 8:08 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A week when an Anita Blake issue comes out, and something *else* gets Worst of the Week?

Truly, we live in the End Times.

4/20/2007 8:14 PM

Blogger Matt said...

The worst line exchange this week (as opposed to comic, amply covered here), had to go to JLA and the two page spread of the JLA and JSA chatting it up.

Dr. Mid-Nite: "I must say, Dinah, leadership suits you." (Is she the leader? Did that happen? Well, whatever.)
Black Canary: "Not for sale, Pieter. Don't bother."

What the bright blue johnny fuck?

I never thought I might long for the current Avengers series.

4/20/2007 8:38 PM

Blogger snell said...

Given that OYL is essentially week 53, i.e. 3 weeks after WWIII, it might have been nice SOMETIME to have heard dialogue snippets like:
"Gee, Wonder Woman, where were you while Pisa was destroyed?"

"Hey, anybody remember that World War a couple of weeks back? Wild, huh?"

Or a guilty Clark Kent opining, "Not having my powers left me unable to help anyone in the global devestation we just experienced"

Not to mention Bruce Wayne, saying something akin to "What do you mean there was a Batwoman operating in my city? And Intergang was infiltrating Gotham? And there's a new Question hanging around my town?"

The only explanation is either a)a mass amnesia field of some type or b)some stupid reset button from Booster Gold's ludicrous time jumping. Oh, I forgot c) a steeming pile of fetid camel dung.

Bonus translation of this week's DC Nation: "The 'talented writers' refused to write the story we wanted, and by then all the issues were solicited so we couldn't pull the plug. So we just waited to the very end and cranked out some crap to kinda sorta explain stuff. Man, are we lousy editors, or what?"

4/20/2007 9:25 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I forgot to get 52 #50, so I'm probably missing something, but I just don't buy the premise of WW3. Black Adam, all by his lonesome, causes a worldwide disaster that the assembled herodom--sans Batman, Nightwing, Robin, Wonder Woman, Superman, Hal Jordan, and a few others--is helpless to stop? Really? Unless I forgot a power-up, Black Adam is roughly equivalent to Captain Marvel or Superman, right? So yeah, I can understand wiping the floor with the Teen Titans and beating J'onn one-on-one, I can even grudgingly buy that he can beat the assembled JSA to serve the plot. But the JSA, Teen Titans, J'onn, Donna Troy, Firestorm, two Plastic Men, and two Green frickin' Lanterns? Any two, maybe three of those people should be sufficient! J'onn, Guy, and Ollie, crisis over, let's go for some Oreo milkshakes!

And as much as I appreciate putting J'onn in the forefront, all it did was highlight how clueless DC was with him post-IC. The leaders of DC's heroes all take a yearlong vacation and the JLA disbands, so of course the Great Co-ordinator of the DCU decides to take up statue-building and catching up on Desperate Housewives! And then when things get a little too unignorable, of course he tries stopping an at-least-equal opponent by himself! Of course someone who has witnessed the exinction of his race and spent time in the heads of the practically every villain in the universe would freak out from a botched mind-meld and spend a few weeks in the stratosphere pondering human nature as the world descends toward war! And of course he tries doing the exact same thing! as soon as he can rejoin the fight! Yes, clearly the problem with him was his costume and the shape of his head. And this is with Ostrander around!

The weird thing is, DC had almost this exact same story almost exactly a year ago in the Infinite Crisis Villains United Special, which Gail Simone handled to perfection. Disaster, disaster, Oracle assesses the threat, J'onn co-ordinates the response, JSA and original Titans in charge at the scene, and then J'onn leaps in. Not only is it how the JLA-less DCU should work, it's how we expect it to work. WW3 fails because, rather than breaking down that system, the writers simply ignore it: Oracle simply doesn't show up, J'onn does the opposite of what he's supposed to, the JSA just sort of mill around for a few hours while the Teen Titans get massacred, and, hey, why don't we let Beast Boy lead the heroes against an enraged quasi-Superman? Imagine that strategy against Mageddon.

4/20/2007 9:26 PM

Blogger Michael Rocketship said...

I just read a foolish friends issues of WWIII.

Very poor. I'm not entirely sure I get the point. DC had me convinced they knew what they were doing for at least 48 weeks.

Sure, I was slightly concerned that a lot of the OYL storylines I actually cared about weren't close to being explained but I'd enjoyed 52 up till now so I had faith. WWIII has utterly destroyed that.

I can easily accept that 52 wasn't providing enough information about certain things. Each issue being set over a week has led to things being rushed and various chronolgy problems. Luthor hiding in Luthorcorp tower till the story finally got round to him being arrested for one. Isn't he a genius.

I accepted that though, and I thought it was a good idea to expand some stuff from 52 for that every reason.

WWIII isn't that comic though. Lazy things like forgetting the dwelleer had already been used in 52 is bad enough but...

I'm sure I'm not the only one who noticed the plot inaccuracies and continuity inconsistencies.

My main problem is It's really badly written. Never mind anything else.

If you're going to suggest something is a major event... you can at least write it like it has some kind of significance.


Like many people have suggested, why was there no allusions to all the allegedly worldbeninding shit that's just gone down in any of the OYL stuff?

How quickly DC superheroes forget.

I'm depressed that noone at DC seems to think we care about this sort of thing but moreso that they don't seem to care.

On the plus side I've ordered the trade of Morrisons JLA on the strength of Chris bigging it up.

Seriously, you've made it sound like the most badass thing of both the JLA and Morrisons career.

4/20/2007 11:01 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re-reading WWIII.1 over again, really makes you appreciate exciting, self-contained comics.

It's a forgotten art.

Every week a new Meltzer JLA comes out, I'm just going to go back and read Morrison/Porter or Giffen/DeMatties/Maguire's Bwa-ha-ha league.

4/20/2007 11:54 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

hey Chris-did your store get any of the Court Tv promo comics? If you didn't I'll scan and email it to you because There.Are.No.Words.

4/21/2007 12:51 AM

Blogger ninjapeps said...

why exactly didn't Wonder Woman bother showing up in the fight against Black Adam? Superman was de-powered. Batman wouldn't have added anything. what was Diana doing that she couldn't be bothered to cut her vacation a little short? was Nanda Parbat that relaxing?

the only thing I liked about WWIII was the shot of Captain Marvel hurling magic lightning at Black Adam.

4/21/2007 9:28 AM

Blogger FireworksFactory said...

As for Spider-Girl, well, that's simple: I've read it, and, well, it's not very good.

Oh well, different strokes I guess. You're probably the only person I've ever met who doesn't like it it. Then again I'm the only person I know who doesn't like Manhunter. Ooh, a dark superhero/lawyer! Yeah I read it, when it was called Daredevil.

I guess it's just because I've always liked Tom Defalco's writing (he wrote some of my all time favorite Spider-Man stories), and it gives off a cool, old school Marvel feel without any of that decompression crap. It manages to be fun for all ages without insulting older reader's intelligence.

But as I said, different strokes.

4/21/2007 5:07 PM

Blogger Andy said...

Invincible rocked! The series was founded on the gruesome annihilation of the "Justice League" team, I like how it breaks up the tone of the book with big dangerous action scenes.

4/21/2007 11:17 PM

Blogger thekelvingreen said...

Having now read the Invincible Massacre Special, I can see what you mean about it being OTT, but I'm going to give Kirkman the benefit of the doubt, as usually when he does this, it's set-up for something meaningful. If it turns out he was just being a nasty sicko, then yeah, let's lynch the dastard!

4/22/2007 9:01 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

hey Chris-did your store get any of the Court Tv promo comics?

We got some, but I think we gave 'em away before I managed to snag one.

Invincible rocked! The series was founded on the gruesome annihilation of the "Justice League" team, I like how it breaks up the tone of the book with big dangerous action scenes.

Yeah, but unless my memory's playing tricks on me--and let's face it, I'm too lazy to get up and check the hardcover on the shelf over there--even the part with the Guardians of the Globe wasn't as graphic and over-the-top as this issue, and I think it was more meaningful that way. Like I said, the rest of the issue was fine, it was just that stuff that gave me pause.

Having now read the Invincible Massacre Special, I can see what you mean about it being OTT, but I'm going to give Kirkman the benefit of the doubt, as usually when he does this, it's set-up for something meaningful.

Except, y'know, Freedom Ring in Marvel Team-Up. But yeah, it's not the kind of book that I'm just going to drop based on one misstep, and heck, Rex Splode had wires and crap running through his wrist, so he may well have been an LMD or something.

4/22/2007 2:24 PM

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4/22/2007 5:03 PM

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