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Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Week In Ink: 4-25-07

Hello again, folks, and welcome to what may well be the last post you read on this blog.

Originally, my plan was to just go ahead and leave my introduction at that, but at the risk of scaring away what little readership I've managed to build over the past couple of years--or get anyone concerned about my whereabouts--I'll explain a little: After tonight's post, I'm taking a few days off to recharge, and while the ISB as you know it may never return, I'll be back Next Thursday night with a surprise that will crack the comics blogger internet in half. Or the parts that revolve exclusively around the eternal conflict of Man vs. Bear, anyway.

Change is in the air, friends. Of course...

...some things will never change.

Yes, come rain or shine, hell or high water, success or utter oblivion, it's Thursday night, and that means it's time for another round of the Internet's Most Final Comics Reviews! Here's what I snagged at the shop yesterday...

...And here's what I thought about it!


52: Week 51: I actually ended up enjoying 52 #50 quite a bit, but after the unmitigated disaster that hit the shelves alongside it last week, I've been getting the feeling that two weeks from the finish line, 52 has officially run out of steam. It could just be my disappointment with World War III creeping over, but this week's installment just felt like a bunch of stuff that toed the line between being sorta-neat and sorta-awful.

The high point, of course, was Animal Man coming back home to Ellen, and the low point was the reveal of Mr. Mind's amazingly goofy new look (which pretty much ignores the fact that being a weird little worm with a radio around his neck is 90% of what people actually like about the guy), and everything in the middle just sort of lays there like a stack of bad pancakes. I mean really: Robin's line about the reason for his new costume was a nice touch, but where exactly does he get off lecturing the Ravager about not knowing who Terra and Young Frankenstein were when he's the guy who hasn't mentioned them once in the stories that take place one week later and who seems to be perfectly content to let their killer wander around trying to think up a new magic word?

Which, for the record, is "Snausages."

Amazons Attack! #1: I'll be honest with you guys: Besides the obvious, I have no idea what is going on in this comic. Admittedly, there's a footnote in there specifically for folks like me that advises us to check out recent issues of Wonder Woman for the backstory, but since doing that would involve, y'know, actually reading recent issues of Wonder Woman, I think I'm just going to go ahead and pass on that little offer.

Anyway, from what I gather just from this one, Hippolyta's the latest beneficiary of a the completely unnecessary return from the dead, and for some reason, she is very, very angry at Abraham Lincoln. Other than that, I got nothin'. I don't know why she's back, but considering that she's an ancient magical Amazon queen who fought Nazis and then got killed during an intergalactic war in outer spaaaaace, I think it's safe to say that there aren't a whole heck of a lot of explanations that could make less sense then what we're already working with. Me, I'm just reading it because I'm hoping to pick up some tips in my own war with the sinister gynocracy. Vive Le Resistance!

Blue Beetle #14: Last month, I made the offhand comment that over the past year, Blue Beetle's managed to bounce back from a rocky start to become a fun, solid, character-driven title that I look forward to reading every time it comes out, and I was pretty surprised to find that a lot of you guys out there agreed with me. Not that I should've been: John Rogers and Rafael Albuquerque have really hit their stride over the past few months, and are doing a better job putting a fresh spin on the reluctant teen hero than I've seen in a long while, and this issue shows exactly why. Heck, it even makes me actually sorta like Guy Gardner, and I didn't even like that guy during JLI.

Of course, the fact that he and the Beetle team up to fight a transgendered Nazi gorilla at the South Pole doesn't really hurt matters, but the point stands: If you've often found yourself lamenting the precarious state of solid DC Universe titles like Manhunter and Catwoman, then this is one you should definitely be checking out.


Catwoman #66: For those of you who were wondering why I picked up Amazons Attack! given my comments on the current state of Wonder Woman, look no further. I've been singing the praises of Will Pfeifer's work alongside David Lopez on this title almost every month since the OYL jump, and with good reason: This comic is nothing but fun.

Admittedly, this particular issue's probably more suited to my tastes than anything to come out since Nextwave ended, what with the fact that the major plot point of the issue is a fight scene where Holly picks up a chair and drops the hardest hit since New Jack on Blitzkrieg, a new villain who blows things up and dresses like a photo-negative version of the St. Pauli Girl, but while my love of a well-constructed fight scene is pretty well-known, it goes a little further than that.

Even with the rest of the great stuff that happens in this issue, those three pages where Holly throws down on Blitzkrieg stand as one of the best, most satisfying fight scenes DC's had in a long while, and they're a reminder that solid fights with some actual emotional content don't involve characters casually punching people's hearts out or ripping their arms off.

They involve pretty girls hitting each other with furniture, and damn it, there's a difference.

Firestorm: The Nuclear Man #35: One of the most frustrating things to deal with for a comic book reader is when a series meets its untimely end not just while it's on an upswing, but when the axe falls right in the middle of a story, and that's exactly what we've got here. I mean, it's bad enough for a series to end with Martin Stein lost to the clutches of Darksied--although what the almighty Lord of Apokalips could possibly want with a third-rate physicist who couldn't even get a job outside of the fast food industry in 1988 is well beyond me--but when the last page is Firestorm charging through a Boom Tube swearing vengeance, with no clue as to if and when this story's actually going to finish?

It hurts, Dwayne McDuffie. It hurts my heart.

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #29: I'm generally pretty favorable towards Tony Bedard given what I've read of his work on Exiles and some of the latter-era CrossGen stuff, but man, this is the first issue of Legion of Super-Heroes that I've read in two years that I consider to be completely skippable, and that includes the entire twelve-volume set of Archives.

I'm not even saying it's Bedard's fault; from all appearances it looks like he was handed the bum job of scripting the issue that "explains" everything--including the relatively limited and generally pretty pointless return of the multiverse--and ties into 52, and to his credit, he handles it better than most. The problem, I think, is that I just re-read the shockingly underrated INVASION! mini-series a couple of months ago where the same themes with the Dominators were done in the mildly magnificent Mantlo manner, and when coupled with the fact that this issue ends with virtually the same shot as the last, it all feels warmed-over and repetitive. Here's hoping this won't be the issue that sets the tone for the rest of Bedard's run.

X-Men: First Class #8: I can't really speak for anyone else on this, but back when First Class started, I honestly didn't expect anything out of it, but here we are eight months later, and I've come to think of this book as a great kind of success story for everyone involved. Admittedly, it might not be that hard to get people to read something that has the word "X-Men" right there in the title, but with every issue, Jeff Parker and Roger Cruz have gone beyond just doing an all-ages book about the original X-Men into a title that's closer in tone to the classic Untold Tales of Spider-Man, leading to a giant-sized special next month and an ongoing series after that.

That, my friends, is the power of putting talking monkeys in your comic.


Agents of Atlas HC: As my recent eBaying will attest, I'm trying to avoid buying stuff in trade that I already have the issues for, but with this thing, I'm making an exception. And it's not just because Jeff Parker and Leonard Kirk did one of the best Marvel mini-series of the year in a story that taps into an often-ignored segment of the company's history, although that's a big part of it. The love that Parker has for these characters is almost tangible when you read through it, and the fact that he seems to have spent the months since working them into any other place he can--like the upcoming Marvel Adventures Avengers Special with Kirk or Gorilla Man's appearance in X-Men: First Class above--comes as no surprise when you see how much he manages to do with them in the six issues that ostensibly just serve to get the team back together. All that's nice, don't get me wrong, but it's nothing I didn't already get out of the issues.

No, this thing does one better, and includes, along with a bunch of other bonus features, the seldom-reprinted first apperances of all these characters from the Golden Age and the What If story that has them teamed up as the '50s Avengers, which practically doubles the size of the book. The main story alone would almost be worth shelling out $24.99 for, but with that stuff thrown in? It's a no-brainer, and if you haven't read it already, it's less than seventeen bucks on Amazon, and well worth it.

Degrassi Extra Credit v.3: At this point, I realize that the amount of people who care about my affection for Canada's finest high school melodrama can be summed up as, well, me and any teenage girls who stumble across my blog while trying to find kickass MySpace layouts, but some things have to be said. So if you guys could allow me to just put this out there for J. Torres:

I'd just like to say thank you for using Spinner's sister Kendra, who, if memory serves, showed up for one episode, became Toby's girlfriend, and then vanished into the aether, never to be heard from again. I always wondered what the heck happened to her.

And that's the week. As always, if you have any questions or comments about something I read, passed up, didn't mention, or you just want to talk about how Black Panther riding the Silver Surfer's board through space in a battle to save a giant floating head is pretty much everything we all love about Marvel Comics, feel free to leave a comment.

Until next week, though, it looks like this is...


...or is it?

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's hope not. I've gotten really used to reading the ISB every day, would terribly miss my daily man-punches-bear action.

4/27/2007 3:37 AM

Blogger thekelvingreen said...

When and where did the Black Panther/Silver Surfer/floating head thing happen?

Does the Atlas HC contain the Avengers Forever issues they were in too? No big loss if not, as I have them already, and Atlas was fantastic anyway. Best Avengers story in years, and why Parker hasn't been given the reins of the main titles (or at least Mighty), I don't know. Stupid Marvel.

4/27/2007 4:03 AM

Blogger Fiendenstein said...

My life will be a bit emptier without the ISB every day. I'm in Australia so it gets updated in the afternoon, like elevenses...only at 4pm.

Hurry back

4/27/2007 4:16 AM

Blogger Randall said...

Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo (Pause for line break)ooooooooooo!

4/27/2007 4:32 AM

Blogger Steven Hardina said...

Woah, Chris. Don't do anything rash, man!

On the other hand... I think the odds on your mysterious plan hitting us like Nick Fury busting through a wall on a rocket-cycle with guns blazing are pretty dang high.

4/27/2007 4:56 AM

Blogger S Bates said...

Does the Atlas HC contain the Avengers Forever issues they were in too?


And didn't Avengers Forever establish that the Agents of Atlas 50s Avengers happened in an alternate timeline and that this timeline was wiped out by Immortus? In which case, the 50s Avengers never happened.

Not that it matters.

What does matter is that the ISB is ending!?! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! (Damn, Randall beat me to it)

Say it aint so? I ask, nay demand, that you continue posting awesome entries and pictures of superpeople kicking other superpeople in the face. I pay for this service, you know!

(Well, when I say pay I don't mean with actual money or anything like that. In fact, I don't actually spend anything at all on this blog except time. But time is money, people!)

4/27/2007 5:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bah, I call shenanigans. This obviously a cheap gimmick to drive up sales.

Seriously though Chris, I hope whatever news that comes back to us next Thursday is good news. A possible writing gig? A re-launch of an all-new all-action ISB?

4/27/2007 5:23 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...



















4/27/2007 5:44 AM

Blogger Olav The Hairy said...

Say it aint so, Chris.

Heartbreak hotel is on the horizon and closing fast.

4/27/2007 6:02 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't be a hero, Sims.

Come back to us you Maverick Renegade of a Loose Cannon.

4/27/2007 8:21 AM

Blogger Jeff said...


Seriously, reading the ISB is the best part of the day and informs all of my wife and I's comic book purchasing decisions.

4/27/2007 8:37 AM

Blogger Lowell Francis said...


Last we saw Chris he was kicking a bear in the face through a Boom Tube???

4/27/2007 8:37 AM

Blogger googum said...

Fie, Chris: You can't quit anymore than Peter Parker could. I picture you leaving your...blogging costume, I guess...in a garbage can and walking away sadly.

For about ten feet. You'll be back. You're responsible for all of this now!

(Congratulations though: I suspect you're leading up to good news. Hopefully.)

4/27/2007 9:19 AM

Blogger Jeff Rients said...

Waitaminute! Weren't we promised a ROM Week not that long ago?

4/27/2007 9:32 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Long time, first time here, Chris. Add my voice to the chorus hoping, nay, PRAYING that this is not the end! Can't wait for next Thursday.

4/27/2007 9:41 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, if you can manage to return by bursting out of your own grave, on a flaming motorcycle...

...That would be cool.

But we'll be glad to see you back, no matter what.

4/27/2007 9:54 AM

Blogger Alex said...

Kelvin, that's this week's episode of Fantastic Four. Which is okay but not really worth getting all excited about.

Chris, FUCK YOU WHERE IS MY ROM WEEK! Maybe next Thursday's surprise is that you're changing the name to Chris's Invincible All Rom All The Time Blog. Seriously, that would be fine.

4/27/2007 9:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A tear has dropped on to my keyboard.

Chris, you have made me so sad.

I visit the ISB more frequently than I check my e-mail.

4/27/2007 10:01 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Chris finally gets his own domain name! :) Or Rom week starts. One of those things.

4/27/2007 10:23 AM

Blogger Daniel Fernandez said...

Don't let Campbell win Chris...

4/27/2007 11:41 AM

Blogger SilverPantsBlue said...

In an effort to fortify the lines while the toughest soldier is away, I vow to update my inferior product of a blog (usually updated 2-3 times a week, two confirmed readers) daily until your return!

This I swear!

4/27/2007 11:52 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry all - I know a simple way to get Chris to continue this blog....

Drum roll, please....


annnnnnd, scene!

4/27/2007 12:02 PM

Blogger Rob S. said...

Oh please let the new blog be cheez-flavored.

Oh please let the new blog be cheez-flavored.

Oh please let the new blog be cheez-flavored...

4/27/2007 12:27 PM

Blogger Chicken Little said...

Chris, the last time you had a suprise for us you hit us in the head with the metaphorical car battery that is the ISB audio podcast.
Dare I hope that we'll be seeing some sort of video presentation of the ISB....something with plenty of kicks to the face?

4/27/2007 12:40 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you stop blogging i'll just have to kill myself. If this is some garishly late april fools pranke, its definitely not funny!

4/27/2007 1:08 PM

Blogger PMMDJ said...

Citizens demand more ISB!

4/27/2007 2:19 PM

Blogger Mike Noga said...

You went and got yerself a job writing for Wizard didn't you? And now you got know time for the little people! Listen i love comics and I have no friends(Hmmm) so reading your Blog is like talking to friends about comics. Don't take that away,man. Or go out in a blaze of glory, maybe publishing pictures of a nude Lucy Lawless and Lynda Carter spanking each other while cigar smoking monkeys with TOmmy Guns watch. Either way works for me. But don't quit dude!

4/27/2007 2:50 PM

Blogger Mike Noga said...

besides bub, if you quit then Dave Campbell wins!

4/27/2007 2:55 PM

Blogger greed said...

It's a sad day when one of the better comics blogs comes to an abrupt end. Hope to see your work again in all of its face kicking glory.

4/27/2007 3:42 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled across this blog a few weeks ago and have been checking back every day as it's had me in stiches.

Last night I read through some of the more popular posts from the past and went to bed smiling.

This is great work and it'll be a shame if it disappears just after I've found it :(

4/27/2007 5:05 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

Enjoy your recharge time Chris-but don't leave us forever. Pretty Please?
BTW-Can I send or scan you in the Court Tv promo?
Let me know.

4/27/2007 6:20 PM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

As nice as it is to feel wanted, you guys do realize that I'm not gone right? I mean, it says right in the post that I'll be back next Thursday with The Big Secret.

After that, though... who knows? Heh heh heh.

4/27/2007 6:41 PM

Blogger Jeff said...

Chris, stop playing with our emotions. Are we not Danny Rand fans? If he kicks us, do we not bleed? Profusely? From the nose?

Sweet Crhistmas, the tension! Could this be...the end?

The LIVING end?

4/27/2007 7:35 PM

Blogger Lorne said...

I think it's fairly obvious what the surprise is going to be:

He's been hired by Marvel to star in the upcoming stage adapatation of Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter.

And best of all? It's a one man show!

4/27/2007 10:21 PM

Blogger hiroshi ryan said...

Please don't let this be the end.

Also, I love degrassi and I'm not a teenage girl. I am, however, Canadian so I'm slightly girlish.

4/27/2007 11:22 PM

Blogger Frank said...

Be honest: You're the new Captain America, aren't you? It's either that or Laurell K. Hamilton's busted into town looking for trouble and you've skedaddled until she leaves.

4/28/2007 12:26 AM

Blogger Chris Sims said...

I am thoroughly insulted that you think I'd back down from an all-out brawl with Laurell K. Hamilton.

I mean, not that I have a particular desire to fight her or anything, but it's the Sims pride at stake!

4/28/2007 1:12 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't take Laurell K. Hamilton lightly, Chris.

I hear she shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.

4/28/2007 1:31 AM

Blogger thekelvingreen said...

nimbus, AF established that the Atlas agents were Avengers in an alternate timeline, but leaves open the possibility that they existed in 616 continuity (take that Brevoort!), only not as the "Avengers". Thus Hank/Jan/Hulk/Thor/Tony get to be the first ever Avengers team, but the Atlas agents remain in continuity.

I hope the hiatus doesn't mean that you're moving to CBR, like Comics Should Be Good did. Their page formatting is nigh-unreadable now and clogs up my PC's memory.

4/28/2007 7:14 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did Darkseid's parademons morph into the Anti-Monitor's shadow demons?

BTW Chris, I decided to get The Professor's Daughter after reading your review and got it this week. You were right: it's AMAZINGLY good.

4/28/2007 12:06 PM

Blogger Xev said...

I just found this place and I love it. You can't leave.

I'm going to add a link here on my blog so I can always sneak back over and bask in the Super-Blog.

4/29/2007 12:00 AM

Blogger rachelle said...

This blog is the gold standard of comic blogs. Please don't leave us.

Also, Catwoman is an awesome comic.

4/29/2007 2:50 PM

Blogger Ro said...

Wow what a cool blog.

Will definitely have to visit again.

4/29/2007 3:34 PM

Blogger J. Charles Brister said...

The most vocal proponent of the awesome suddenly leaving us?


or, at least i hope so.

And I'll have to agree with all the ATLAS love here. That whole book was great. And Parker seriously needs a regular in-actual-continuity writing gig.

4/29/2007 5:24 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey there Mr Sims, I look forward to whatever this new ISB direction will be. Doubtless it will shatter my senses.

I've gotten used to enjoying your writing each day, and have massive respect for how you manage to keep it up (hint: images). Onwards, to the future!

4/29/2007 11:11 PM

Blogger kish said...

i hope it's not!!! i just started reading it dude!

4/30/2007 3:01 AM

Blogger Unknown said...

Will Thursday ever come?!
We are now freaking out.

Chris, I know (read as: hope-to-god) you plan to be back and all... but I just want to join the chorus of praise here. You work ridiculously hard at this and don't get paid for it. You make me laugh. A lot. Beverage often comes out of my nose and my roomates raise their eyebrows at me. Thanks for all you do.

4/30/2007 5:54 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sims will RISE from the dead and be reborn!

Like Phoenix in X-Men.
(Well... like the 1st time she came back - which was "teh awesome", not every other damn time she pulls that shit.)

Anyway, rest, recharge, rejuvenate...
(and not like Capt. Mar-Vell!
You pull crap like THAT and the stink will overpower everything.)


4/30/2007 12:26 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope you're back and better than ever come Thursday. Been reading the ISB for a few months now and it's always been a joy.

You better be kicking a shark while smoking a cigar underwater in the meantime.

4/30/2007 11:56 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

darrryyylll...er..that is, simmmssssssssss, simmmmmsssss

we love you.

"febjk" my validate word, and the noise i made when you announced your suspicious hiatus.

5/01/2007 5:59 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this blog comes back with multiple glow-in-the-dark hologrammed covers, each blog post a new number one and Rob Liefeld at the helm ... well, let's just say that kicks to the face won't be limited to comics blogs and Batman anymore.

5/01/2007 8:57 AM

Blogger none said...

holy snaps! it has been at least 15 years since the last time i read a comic, but your succinct and oh-so-sweet description of that girl-on-girl fight scene in catwoman #66 caught my attention.

i might just have to get a new hobby...

5/01/2007 11:40 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

My life has just become a little sadder. Hate to see it go, but good luck chris!

5/01/2007 1:59 PM

Blogger Erin said...

I have a great deal of respect for anyone with a healthy love of Degrassi. I wasn't aware that there was a comic until now. I'll have to add that to my list.

5/01/2007 6:04 PM

Blogger Unknown said...

I might have to agree with what frank said about 15 comments up. You are the new Captain America, aren't you?

About Wonder Woman, Heinberg's 5 issues of the new series was chaotic and okay but nothing great; since Picoult took over, it's gotten a lot funnier. But it hasn't really touched the surface about Hippolyta. Circe is somehow involved (I heard she was dead but she's been WW's villain in this entire new series so bringing her back from the dead must be the crossover with the Amazons title). Give the newer ones a chance and hopefully it will continue to get better.

Looking forward to whatever awesomeness you are about to spring on us, your adoring fans.

5/02/2007 7:06 AM

Blogger Lance C. said...

its my first time coming by here, and its sad to see that you're going off already. do keep your readers posted about your latest locations, ya? =)


5/02/2007 11:10 AM

Blogger GringoDownSouth said...

You better not leave! We won't let you! I'm a big fan of your blog, it's all about the quality content, keep it up! I want to add you to my blogroll at http://www.gringodownsouth.blogspot.com/ I know it's waaay different than your blog but check it out and let me know what you think, then add me too.

5/02/2007 10:53 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was reading Degrassi Extra Credit # 3 today. I was pretty happy to see Kendra there. ^_^

2/25/2008 5:54 PM

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