The Week In Ink: April 21, 2010

If there’s one thing I like more than a super-hero kicking someone in the mouth, it’s an Asgardian Goddess kicking a techno-virus-infected host body in the mouth…



…in space.

Yes, it turns out my tastes are becoming increasingly specific, and yet I feel compelled to share them with you in another round of the Internet’s Most Fetishistic Comics Reviews!

Here are my thoughts on this week’s titles!



Nova #36: You know, it’s been my experience as a comics reader that when an issue ends with “Never The End!”, what they really mean is “Oh yeah, this is totally the end.”

Such is the case with this week’s Nova, which–along with its sister book in the Grand Abnett & Lanning Cosmic Saga–sure does read like a last issue. I’ve heard, but not been able to confirm with a cursory round of googling–that the book’s going on hiatus during the Thanos Imperative, but as we all learned from the sad, limbo-bound fate of The Immortal Iron Fist, going on hiatus while another mini-series goes on is no guarantee that you’ll be coming back. And with Nova being revealed to have a slot in the upcoming Secret Avengers the stars don’t really point to a continuation of his spacebound adventures.

It’s not that I think Nova’s going away–he seems to be a character on the rise that Marvel’s willing to put in the spotlight, as evidenced by his prominence in Paul Tobin’s Free Comic Book Day story and the aforementioned role in Secret Avengers–but based on sheer storytelling logistics, it’s awfully hard to have him be Secretly Avenging when he’s also bopping around space helping out the Kymellians or the Badoon or whatever. But then, it should be hard for the Punisher to be both a Frankenstein’s Monster and a senior-citizen vigilante mass murderer at the same time too, and they manage okay, and space warps mean an easy commute. So maybe I’m wrong.

If I’m not, though, and a rebranding is imminent, it’s a real shame. This issue–and the last three years of Nova, plus the time before that in Annihilation have been unfailingly fantastic. Heck, they’re the books that made me like Cosmic Marvel more than Cosmic DC, and that’s saying something. They’re just full of fun stuff, and it makes for something highly enjoyable. But clearly, I’m not the only one saying that–maybe it’s just the company I keep, but I’ve rarely seen anyone have anything but glowing praise for Abnett, Lanning, and their various cosmic co-conspirators (by the way: Cosmic Co-Conspirators? Call me, Marvel), so I can’t imagine that the shakeup would put the lid on the entirety of Marvel’s space stuff.

Which, I suppose, isn’t really much of a review of this issue, so: It’s got evil twins, alternate dimensions, and Cthulhu being zapped with space lasers. IT’S GREAT!


Sif #1: Kelly Sue DeConnick is one of the nicest creators I’ve ever met. Of course, the vast majority of creators I’ve met have been nice–that’s one of the amazing things about the comics industry, especially given the level of access that fans have to the people who make the books–but as you can tell by her quote in the sidebar, she’s just remarkably friendly and fun to talk to. Which is great, because there’s nothing I like better than when good people make good comics.

And this is a good one. ISB readers are probably aware that I consider Walt Simonson’s Thor to be the finest comic ever crafted by the hands of men, and DeConnick’s portrayal of Sif as a steadfast but prone-to-flip-out warrior falls right along those lines. It’s exciting, with a great little one-off plot that lends itself well to the self-contained nature of a one-shot, but still makes me want to see the inevitable conflict between Loki and the Asgardians almost as much as Gillen and McKelvie did last week. It’s solidly entertaining stuff, and if Marvel was looking to add another myth-inspired book to their ranks, they could do a lot worse than to drag Asgard away from Oklahoma and center it directly above the Fraction/DeConnick household (with occasional visits to England for more of Gillen’s Beta Ray Bill and Loki).

Plus, she finally wraps up a plot point about the awkwardness of Beta Ray Bill’s new relationship. But then again, I imagine it’s always awkward when your ex-boyfriend is a space-horse.


The Tick #3: I’ve been a pretty vocal booster of Benito Cereno and Les McClaine’s new Tick series (called, appropriately enough, Tick: New Series) since the first issue hit in November, and while it’s something you should all be reading, it’s worth noting that this issue features something I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before: Cereno actually apologizes to the readers.

Lord knows I’d never do anything like that–I’m pretty reading this issue was the first time I’ve ever actually realized apologizing to readers was something you could actually do–but Cereno is far less of a jerk adversarial than I am. Regardless, his apology has to do with the fact that all three issues thus far have involved a new character he created for the series, Scarf Ace, the knitting bandit. See, he doesn’t want to be the guy who creates a pet character and then uses her all the time, as we’ve all seen elsewhere.

And to that, I say this: Pish-tosh, Benito! If anything, the public demands more Scarf Ace, the Sensational Character Find of November 2009! I say we get her into an ongoing series immediately, but why stop there? Scarf Ace Team-Up! Scarf Ace: Thief with a Thread! Scarf Ace Corps, featuring Lady Scarf Ace, who is twice as much lady as the original Scarf Ace (who is only one time a lady)! Seriously, Benito. Have your people call me. We’ll make this happen.


Ultimate Avengers #6: This issue was the subject of this week’s 30-second recap, but as some people didn’t quite get the message, I’ll clarify:

Take a look at the two scenes I posted, written by the same person nine years apart.

They are the same scene. Guy with reality warping powers makes female heroine relive past trauma. I mean really.



And that’s the week! As always, if there’s anything you’d like to discuss, like the perfect represenation of the High Concept in this week’s Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki, feel free to leave a comment below. Or, to hear me prattle on about Hercules: Fall of an Avenger #2, tune in to next Monday’s War Rocket Ajax!

26 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: April 21, 2010

  1. Millar manages to do the “force female character to relive trauma” thing, the “appalling acts of violence as dark comedy” thing, and the “agents of The Establishment straight up murder people For The Greater Good And Thus Become What They Fear Most” thing ALL IN ONE COMIC. That’s gotta be a record.

  2. Got to disagree about those being the same scenes, sure they’re similar, but the Authority one is actually very twisted and great way to characterize a villain. He didn’t make the Engineer relive anything, he created that problem by going back and molesting her.

    It was quite possibly one of the worst things he could do. At all. Ever. And it only happened to her because she stood in the old Doctor’s way. With the Red Skull she’d’ve gone through this event anyway cause it already happened. He’s just dredging it up. It’s really not that evil in the grand scheme of evilness.

    It is a small distinction but the small bits are the craft.

  3. “But then again, I imagine it’s always awkward when your ex-boyfriend is a space-horse.”

    Just ask Supergirl.

  4. Man, you got an angry MIllar fan calling you out for your hate and you didn’t even bring up “Kick-Ass”. I think I liked GoG more than Nova this month though, if only for the “Groot is ow.” line…

  5. After the considerable amount of effort it took me to create a misshapen lime in Art Academy for the DS, I can’t help but be thoroughly impressed with the work that Sean Murphy’s doing on Joe The Barbarian. The two page spread near the midpoint of #4 this week blew me away.

  6. Wow, that Authority scene is quite possibly the single most disturbing thing I’ve ever read. And I’ve read PREACHER and THE BOYS. Seriously…guh.

  7. I wonder if Millar will go through the same arc as Miller did…

    Phase One: Mega-Successful Comic-Book creator.
    Phase Two: Successful Breakthrough Into Mainstream Movies.
    Phase Three: Guest Appearance on Spike TV Awards.
    Phase Four: Gets To Write & Direct Own Comic-Book Movie.
    Phase Five: Comic-Book Movie is a Disaster.
    Phase Six: Retreat Back To Comics.

  8. I know this makes me THAT guy, but did you read Who Won’t Wield The Shield? I only ask because it seems so thoroughly up your alley (in that it was awesome and Fraction and Aaron were involved).

  9. So if Lady Scarf Ace is two times a lady, what will the Scarf Ace that’s three times a lady be called?

    I vote for Scarf Ace-23, the female clone of Scarf Ace who was raised by Hydra to have more killer instinct and less humanity than the original Scarf Ace but then they lost control of her and OMG she has scarves on her feet!!!!

  10. It took me three times reading Scarf Ace–aloud–before I realized it was a pun…maybe I should stop announcing these things on the internet.

  11. Seungmina: your sacrifice helped me figure it out, if it makes you feel any better : /

    Although I do like to picture *anyone* reading “Scarf Ace” aloud, without knowing it’s a pun. That is cool.

  12. So what’d you think of Guardians.

    Also preview for next Ultimate Avengers mini was simply Leinil Yu drawing Punishing shooting people for 5 pages, then braining a guy with a rifle when he ran out of bullets. Should at least be fun.

  13. I get it. The Authority was about a bunch of superheroes who decided to stop %&^#ing around and get proactive. Under Warren Ellis’ guidance, I actually found it interesting and readable. Millar was okay, but as time passes, it’s the Ellis run that holds my attention.

    I dislike Millar’s writing intensely, but his initial run on Ultimates was actually….good. He basically took all those early Stan Lee Avengers’ issues and had fun with the dynamic of the big three. People also tend to forget that the Avengers bickered all the time in their first appearances, so having them be jerks in the Ultimate version wasn’t bad.

    I dropped this current iteration like a bad habit after the first two issues. I just don’t like the whole “creepy and amoral for the sake of being creepy and amoral” bit. I will say that Cap using little kids as human shields was probably the last straw (as inspired as it was).

    I guess I’m lame. I mean, I clearly don’t mind dark heroes (Batman, for one, of course), but …gah, I don’t know.

  14. Comic book readers tend to forget a lot of things.

    I mean, the first run on the Ultimates? You remember, where they covered up the whole Hulk/Bruce Banner thing? The Ultimates were pretty dark and amoral for the sake of being dark and amoral from the word go. And creepy, too, since Pym dressed up as Captain America to have sex with Valkyrie before she got her powers and after Captain America beat the shit out of him.

  15. Hmmm . . . if I could make baZOING bucks writing Hollywood trash or chump change writing trashy comic books — and yeah, dork & grotty comics are trash — which would I pick?

    And I was hoping you’d look at World War Hulks, just because I want SOMEONE to explain wtf is going on there.

  16. Andrew, to be fair, the whole Defenders bit is where Millar started to lose me.

    At some point his books go from just being about amoral characters, to being hostile towards the reader.

  17. Not defending Millar by any means, but in the case of the Authority clip, what the “reality-warping guy” did was to CREATE the past trauma. He CHANGED the Engineer’s history to include the molestation where none had been before. Kind of like Kevin Smith did with the rape of Black Cat?

  18. So, on another subject entirely, how awesome has Doomwar been?

    Here’s a hint: Really damn awesome. This week’s issue was overpriced on a per-page level (six recap pages in a $3.99 book? Really, Marvel?), but it is one of the best Doom stories I’ve read in years.

  19. Not defending Millar by any means, but in the case of the Authority clip, what the “reality-warping guy” did was to CREATE the past trauma. He CHANGED the Engineer’s history to include the molestation where none had been before.

    Oh really? Thanks, because I haven’t actually READ any of the comics I talk about, so IT’S NOT LIKE I KNOW THESE THINGS YOU CRE–


    What I mean to say is that that’s a semantic difference; the scenes both serve the same dramatic effect and are delivered by almost identical sneering, omnipotent, reasonably motivation-less bad guys.

  20. Making fun of Millar, Sims? Really? It’s like you aren’t even trying anymore.

    What’s next, lambasting Liefeld for poor anatomy?

  21. Making fun of Millar, Sims? Really? It’s like you aren’t even trying anymore.

    I haven’t been trying since February. It’s all downhill (and Eisner nominations) from here.

  22. To take a shot at another target (which is largely what happened in the comic in question), Bendis’ latest issue of Ultimate Spider-Man has panels of Spider-Girl, Spider-Man’s female clone with a boy’s memories, taking mutiple facial shots at some female opponents. I know that’s basically Spiderman’s MO, but this webbing is… a lot less thread-like and a lot more gooey than usual.
    …Has anyone else read this? This is just me, isn’t it?

  23. “Oh really? Thanks, because I haven’t actually READ any of the comics I talk about, so IT’S NOT LIKE I KNOW THESE THINGS YOU CRE–”


    I’m glad you cleared that up about your considering that difference mere semantics. My world officially makes sense again.