The Week In Ink: January 14, 2009

Hey Black Adam! What’s it called when somebody hits you with their foot?



Eh, close enough.

After all, who has time for correct spelling when it’s time for another round of the Internet’s Most Grammatically Forgiving Comics Reviews! Here’s what I picked up this week when I wasn’t on the phone telling people we were out of Spider-Man



…and here’s what I thought of ’em!



Amazing Spider-Man #583: For those of you haven’t bothered to read the sidebar, I work at a comic book store, and while I don’t usually get into the details of my day job here on the ISB (mostly because Mike Sterling already has that market cornered), I gotta say: This thing here was a clusterfuck.

Here’s what happened: Back when it was solicited, there was no mention of the Barack Obama content, and while the fact that there was an Obama cover was mentioned on the Final Order Cutoff, it came during the hectic Christmas/New Year’s period where there were three weeks worth of FOC instead of one. There’s certainly a chance that I might’ve missed something, but to be honest, I found out that there was actually going to be Obama content in the issue at the same time as everyone else, which was about six picoseconds before the phone started ringing from people who wanted to get their hands on a L@@K VALUABLE COLLECTIBLE RARE ITEM!!!

Needless to say, we didn’t have enough to go around, and although there’s a second printing, signs are that we’re going to be running pretty low on those too. There’s a third printing on the way, but it has to be ordered before the second printing hits shelves. From the standpoint of a retailer, the whole thing is nuts, and looks like a diabolical plot to jack up sales on the (possibly overordered) second and third printings while cheesing off the general public by teasing them with the underorderd first print that was gone in seconds.

As a reader, though, I’ve got to say that it worked out a lot better than I thought it would. I’d assumed that the back-up was a rush job that was knocked out to meet an Inauguration Day deadline so they could most effectively capitalize on the zeitgeist, and while it certainly might be, it’s at least an entertaining one. Admittedly, it’s entertaining in a Spidey Super Stories sort of way, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that “Barasket Oballma” didn’t get a chuckle out of me. The art too was better than I thought: I like Todd Nauck a hell of a lot (as both an artist and a writer), but he’s not really the guy you go to when you want photo-realism, and so it can come off as a little jarring when you put Nauck’s “fist bump” panel next to the Phil Jiminez cover. Taken as a whole, though, it’s not bad at all.

As to the main story, well, it’s by Mark Waid and Barry Kitson with a John Romita Sr. cover, and there’s really nothing more to say about it.

So yeah: The book itself was a good idea that was done pretty well, but as far as getting into people’s hands? What a headache.


Captain Britain and MI-13 #9: I’ve mentioned before that Paul Cornell’s Wisdom, which led into the current series, had something just a little bit off about it. It’s one of those books thatsounds like it’d be awesome–Kitty Pryde’s ex-boyfriend fights an army of interdimensional Jack-the-Rippers! The secret origin of Killraven! Shang Chi guest-stars!–but in practice, it didn’t quite live up to its potential.

With Captain Britain, however, Cornell seems to have really hit his stride, and along with Leonard Kirk (of the original Agents of Atlas mini-series), he’s turning in something that’s quickly and quietly become one of Marvel’s best titles. It’s still got the high concept elements that I loved from the mini-seres–Mindless Ones rampaging through Birmingham!–but done in a way that’s even better than it sounds.

But again, I’ve said all that before. I’m just bringing it up now because this is a comic book that ends with DRACULA IN HIS CASTLE ON THE MOON–last seen in the pages of Dr. McNinja: Punch Dracula–saying “prepare phase one of the assault. And get me Doctor Doom,” and that is one hundred percent rad. If you’re not already reading it, you need to be.


Final Crisis #6: Quick warning: This is a review, and as such, it’ll have some spoilers if you haven’t read the comic yet, so keep that in mind. Anyway:

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone at this point, but man, I thought this issue was great.

I can understand that it’s not for everyone, because so many huge swaths of the book–like the inclusion of the Miracle Machine, a Macguffin from the Silver Age Legion, or the way Morrison’s set up the Question as the inspiration for OMAC’s faceless Global Peace Agency, or the fight to the finish between Tawky Tawny and Kalibak that only Andrew and I have been demanding–are specifically geared to what I want to read. I still maintain that it’s not as complicated as a lot of people are making it out to be, but I’ve gotta say: You’re probably going to get a lot more enjoyment out of it if you’re someone who loves the Legion of Super-Heroes, Jack Kirby’s ’70s DC work and DC third-stringers.

And as the last four years of the ISB will show, that is exactly what I am.

Of course, the big deal with this issue is what goes down with Batman, and I gotta say: Batman breaking his one rule and sacrificing his life in order to save the universe by out-drawing the Omega Effect and shooting Darkseid with a time bullet? That shit is off the hook, son! Of course, the standard boilerplate about death in comics being about as lasting as a fruit fly applies–especially with the fact that the Omega Effect can bring people back to life as well as killing them–but still, a pretty cool scene.

Almost as cool as, you know, the first time Batman and Darkseid fought to the death in a comic written by Grant Morrison.


GI Joe #1: Everyone’s favorite daring, highly-trained Special Missions Force relaunches this week under writer Chuck Dixon–or as the Action Age’s Chad Bowers put it, “GI Joe written by comics’ greatest Republican!”–and I gotta say, I’m a little disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, I generally find Dixon to be a perfectly serviceable writer (if not a spectacular one), and I imagine that GI Joe plays to the guy’s strengths, and I’ve got to admit: While bringing a mysterious high-tech object found in the middle of a bunch of dead bodies to your top-secret headquarters and letting your best soldiers poke at it with sticks might not be standard operating procedure for the military, it’s definitely in keeping with the Joes. And to be fair, I do like that he’s re-establishing a love triangle between Snake Eyes, Duke and Scarlett, but there’s a pretty glaring omission in this thing:

No Cobra Commander.

No Baroness.

And most importantly, no Destro.

Step it up, IDW: I need some wrist rockets in my comics.





Invincible #58: Normally, the comic that I pick as the best of the week has something out of the ordinary going on with it to push it over the top, but this one doesn’t. It’s just a really good comic book, and the fact that that’s not out of the ordinary ought to give you an idea of just how good Invincible is.

Which isn’t to say that it’s perfect. I’ve had my problems with the book in the past–including a distaste for the gory fight scenes that was apparently notable enough to get me namechecked in the letter column–but by and large, they come from the frustration of seeing a misstep from a book that gets it so right so often. And it does get it right, and this issue’s a perfect example of how.

In this month’s letter column, Kirkman talks about how this issue was structured on a sixteen-panel grid, and while that’s not something that I really noticed until it was pointed out–seeing as layout’s often best when it doesn’t call attention to itself–it’s a format that lends itself very well to the book’s strengths. After all, this is a book that has one of the best supporting casts in comics today, and with that much space to fill, he’s able to devote time to nine different subplots without shortchanging anyone, while still moving things along with a great teaser at the end. Structurally speaking, it’s like Kirkman figured out the best aspects of what I find so appealing about Bronze Age Marvel books, stripped out everything else, and then used it as the foundation to build one of the most enjoyable super-hero comics ever made, and then gave it to Ryan Ottley, whose art is pretty much perfect.

So yeah, nothing all that out of the ordinary, as long as you don’t consider being one of the best comics on the stands something to write home about.


Punisher War Zone #5: Okay, bear with me here, because what I’m about to say might sound crazy. You know how this story’s based around Ma Gnucci supposedly returning from Hell and regaining control of the Mafia so that she can get her revenge on the Punisher? Right, well, wouldn’t it be totally awesome if instead of the whole thing being a plot by the new Elite to mess with the Punisher’s head, that actually was what was going on, and you had a story where there were demon mobsters rampaging through New York, and the only way to stop them was for the Punisher to regain those crazy angel powers he had for like five minutes back in 1998?

Okay, well, maybe not awesome, but come on: Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon come back for their last Punisher story, and it’s about Angel Punisher? That would be hilarious.



And that’s the week! As always, if you have any questions on something I read this week, or if you just want to talk about the Actual For Real This Time Final Issue of Manhunter and its strange-but-good everything-works-out-okay ending, feel free to leave a comment below.

Seriously, though: Garth Ennis Angel Punisher. It’d be great.

62 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: January 14, 2009

  1. I love that everyone’s going nuts over the Obama issue of spidey, while over in Final Crisis Batman dies on-panel and no one says a damn thing.

  2. Soooooo help a brutha out here; how does Batman go from an exploding helicopter to poppin’ a cap in Darkseid? Does FC 6 (2nd print) come with a tab of El Cid to make it a bit more convoluted? Que Pasa?

  3. You know, until you mentioned it, I didn’t even notice that Dracula was on the moon. Sloppy, sloppy reader.

    Still, you’ve got to think that he’s pretty happy with arrangement–now that the Inhumans have left, you know property values have shot way up.

  4. If you remove the last K from “Kukk”, you get the swedish equivalent for the word “dick”.

    True story.

  5. Loved Invincible #58 (as every issue), but I’m a little worried about #60… But who knows, maybe Kirkman can write a Spawn or a Witchblade I care about (although he hasn’t been capable of doing it with Astounding Wolf-Man).

    Also, FC #6? AMAZING.

  6. Got to say, FC #6 left me cold. Yeah, there were plenty of cool scenes and a few good speeches, but there was nothing holding them together. I realize I’m getting older and understand these joke books less and less, but really – what the hell was going on? There’s a difference between awesome ideas and legible execution, and good old Grant neglected that fine point.

  7. There’s a difference between awesome ideas and legible execution

    That’s the thing I’ve often felt with Grant Morrison. He has some awesome, mindbending ideas, some great speeches, but his storytelling (or lack of) sometimes lets him down. He doesn’t cleanly and explicitly tell the story and seems to inadequately explain what’s going on at times. Sure, you can work it out on rereading the comic or series, but by then the damage is done.

    I love that everyone’s going nuts over the Obama issue of spidey, while over in Final Crisis Batman dies on-panel and no one says a damn thing.

    Captain America dies and everyone goes mad over it. Batman ‘dies’ and it’s overshadowed by a pretty picture of the next US President. Another win for Marvel! It’s like they planned it. ;)

    And it sounds like I really should be reading Captain Britain and MI:13.

  8. Soooooo help a brutha out here; how does Batman go from an exploding helicopter to poppin’ a cap in Darkseid?

    He survived the helicopter explosion and subsequent plunge into the river…well, because he’s Batman. In Batman #683 we see him afterward, dismissing Hurt’s rantings and responding to a call from the Justice League about Orion’s murder. He examines the bullet, pockets it, and heads off to what Alfred says people call “Batman’s last case”, although Alfred himself doesn’t believe Bats is dead.

    It’s actually cooler than I made it sound just there.

  9. “Still, you’ve got to think that he’s pretty happy with arrangement–now that the Inhumans have left, you know property values have shot way up.”

    You’d think so but Uatu keeps two rusted out cars up on blocks in front of his place.

  10. Well, one, nobody is fooled for even a second into thinking Batman’s actually dead, hence the lack of outcry. Seriously, folks. ‘Dark Knight’ made over $500 million. When the next Bat-movie rolls around, Warner Bros. is going to crack the whip, remind DC who’s the owner and who’s the bitch in their relationship, and Bruce Wayne will make a miraculous recovery. Assuming he doesn’t come back even sooner than that. Bringing back Barry Allen and killing off Bruce Wayne in the same damn mini-series is just raising the white flag on getting people to care about death in comics.

    And two…honestly, Chris, I really do feel like ‘Final Crisis’ was written just for you. I mean, literally, specifically, Grant Morrison read this blog and wrote that comic just for you. And don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that’s great…for you. But the people who aren’t you? We’re not digging it so much. :)

    (But don’t worry, Mr. Morrison! I still loved ‘Doom Patrol’! Come read my blog, too, and convince DC to publish a huge epic mini-series that brings back Hank Hall as Hawk and has him team up with a rejuvenated Barbara Gordon as Batgirl to fight Solaris, the Living Sun!)

  11. Oooh oooh! Can I say he wrote it for me, too? Because I loved the crap out of the book. Or is just for Chris? :(

    I think Batman will be coming back for Blackest Night. Maybe leading the Black Lantern Corps, which I will admit, is kind of cool. And this coming from someone that thinks GL turned into power rangers…

  12. The whole Obama in Spidey is B.S. As someone whose longest pal is also his retailer, I sincerely feel for anyone who works in an LCS. The phone ringing ever five to ten minutes so someone who couldn’t care less about comic books asking you, “Y’all got that Spider-Man special collector’s edition cartoon with O-Bamma?” has got to be maddening. If one more person who has never spoken to me at the office asks me if I can get them the Spider-Man and Obama comic book, I’m gonna lose my shit. Just when I think we’re getting past speculation garbage… Marvel pulls me back in. THUMBS DOWN, JOEY Q… THUMBS DOWN.

  13. Just to say that I’ve loved every issue of Captain Britain and the MI-13 so far but I think that the Wisdom series that preceded it was even better. Anyway, don’t let it be cancelled. Buy the book!!

  14. Bringing back Barry Allen and killing off Bruce Wayne in the same damn mini-series is just raising the white flag on getting people to care about death in comics.

    Bringing back Bucky and killing off Steve Rogers in the same damn series obviously wasn’t quite enough. :)

  15. You know… I really didn’t like FC 6. I mean, Batman gets killed by the 2nd most important Superman villain? It’s like, well, Superman gets offed by Two-Face. When Two-Face shot him. With regular bullets.

    How does the master of prep work, the ace of stealth, the man who draws boxes around boxes around the Joker… walk into Darksei’ds thrown room, announce his presence, casually load the gun, TELL Darkseid what he is going to do, and then shoot Darkseid after basically telling Darkseid “you really should kill me soon…”

    It’s… well, retarded. And I realize Batman won’t stay dead. Truth be told, I expect Superman to punch reality until Batman feels better next issue, but it was really stupid. And very un-Batman.

  16. I think the weird thing about Obama showing up in Spider-Man is that the rest of the Marvel Universe government at the moment is still so palpably George-Bushish. Does it make sense for Norman Osborne to be a respected public servant under an Obama administration?

  17. Is it too late to start an Internet rumor that Marvel had a Spider-Man/John McCain team-up prepared in case he won which will never be released and consigned to the Secret Marvel Vaults? It’s too bad because the Sarah Palin giving MJ fashion tips sequence was an instant classic.

  18. Yeah, I’m pretty certain Batman will be back within… let’s say six months. You just don’t kill off the star of a movie that made just shy of a BILLION dollars worldwide. That doesn’t sound good for business at all.

  19. Dr. Ink: Batman survived the helicopter crash; and we knew this from since first page of RIP (The one with Bats yelling “You’re wrong! Batman and Robin will never die!”, a scene which happens six months after the helicopter crash; and chronologically, at the start of Final Crisis, judging by the red skies). Besides, in Batman 681, Dr. Hurt tells Batman that the next time he wears the Bat-suit, it will be last; that next time being FC.

  20. Timothy Burke: Apparently, Obama’s unease with Osborne will be a story line in Thunderbolts.

  21. Jeff #16:

    I thought the point was that if Batman has to die, it’s going to be while shooting THE baddest MotherF***er in the DCU pointblank with a God Bullet. And not blinking.

    I think the thing about Morrison that leaves people cold is that he tries (and often succeeds) in creating spectacle in unspectacular moments, which, in my mind, is what has made this series so unique and appealing to a lot of readers. So it’s OK (sort of) that Batman’s death isn’t this hugely spectacular, Knightfall-esque saga but two single pages and not a lot of dialogue.

    I might be more upset about the minimalism of this death of my favorite superhero if he hadn’t just emerged from a laboratory filled with beings possessing all of Batman’s memories AND DNA.

  22. Wasn’t there already a lot of talking about Batman’s death when the final issue of R.I.P. came out? And look how that turned out.

    People are probably just thinking, “Oh Batman’s dead? Sure he is, like that last time, right?”

  23. So, have you not been reading “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade”? Cause it’s darn fun, and the best use of Supergirl since the Peter David series. It’d be my book of the week, if it hadn’t come out the same week as “Fables” and “Sonic the Hedgehog”.

  24. Dracula was on THE MOON? How did I miss that??!

    Poor Meggan.

    But him saying “get Doom on the phone.” was FANFRICKINTASTIC.

  25. No thoughts on the finale for Manhunter?

    Just what I said in the post: I think it was a strange choice to cut to fifteen years (or whatever) in the future, but it was a nice way for Andreyko to establish that for his characters, Everything Works Out Okay. Well, except for Chase and Dylan.

    How was Solomon Kane?

    I’m really liking it. He’s stabbing the hell out of some heathens.

    So, have you not been reading “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade”?

    Ah rats, I forgot to grab one for myself this week. Though to be honest, I read the first issue and felt a little underwhelmed.

    Dracula was on THE MOON? How did I miss that??!

    I missed it too the first time I read it. It wasn’t until I was flipping through again that I got to that last page and was like “holy crap, that is EARTH in the background! DRACULA ON THE MOON!”

  26. “The fight to the finish between Tawky Tawny and Kalibak” – you’re terrifying me, here. Please tell me DC isn’t short a talking tiger…

  27. When did Morrison have Batman and Darkseid fight to the death before, and why is this the first I’m hearing about it?

  28. “You’d think so but Uatu keeps two rusted out cars up on blocks in front of his place.”

    Yeah, but they’re cars designed by Kirby, so that’s a win.

  29. You people seem to missing the raddest part of Batman’s last stand: you can’t clone Batman to make an evil army of Batmen because Batman is unstoppable at the cellular level. His contingency plan for “cloned by evil Gods” is that his clones will be Batmen, who shall will themselves dead. That’s science, holmes.

  30. What I really need to know about Final Crisis #6 – did it have Kamandi, the Last Boy, on the last page as promised?

  31. “It’s actually cooler than I made it sound just there.”

    Nah, you pretty much trumped the cool level, actually.


    It wasn’t “The Omega Effect”… It was “The Omega Sanction”…. That’s the one that comdemns you to an eternity of reliving your life with it worse each time. Morrison’s “fate worse than death” promised for Batman, and the final nail in the coffin of “comic book death meets Batman”: He’s not supposed to be any more dead than he was at the end of RIP. He’s in an alternate universe that Mister Miracle escaped from before.

    Darkseid essentially said “You kill me, I send you back to relive the last couple years of your comic– DRAW!!!”

  32. Capt Supercool;
    isn’t it possible that it’s actually Tim as Bats and Damian as Robin in that money shot? Mke people believe that Bats is still around? Thus the six month time shift?
    Just a thought.
    I guess I should pick up Bats 683 and read the ending (the first part made me dizzy…)

  33. The sad thing is that FC6 disappointed me as a Legion fan, because Morrison, who famously said he was going to treat every Batman story as “true” for RIP, decided not to do the same for the LSH. Since that seemed to be the “pre-Crisis” Johns Brainiac 5, not only should Superman be aware of what the Miracle Machine is, but the thing was destroyed around 1980. (I also wasn’t thrilled to realize that DC’s scheduling was even more off the rails than I’d thought–this was supposed to take place after Superman Beyond 2 and the last issue of Legion of Three Worlds, right? Neither of which have even seen solicitations yet…)

  34. “He’s not supposed to be any more dead than he was at the end of RIP.”

    Well, to be fair, in FC, there’s a freaking burnt out HUSK of Batman being lugged around, whereas in FC, Batman like jumped in the ocean or something and was fine… OR WAS HE…. he was.

    Sure, he’ll be back. But I really like the idea of him leading the army of the dead first in Blackest Night.

    FC6 may have been a geekfest, but as a story, there are just too many story threads that don’t seem to connect up to each other soon enough, padded out by lots of, frankly, sort of dumb fight scenes where minor characters battle boring zombie-like Anti-Life drones.

    And whatever happened to the whole big cosmic murder mystery thing? Darkseid done it? Was that a mystery? And now Metron is promising big stuff to come, a big new evil… which is apparently just going to come out of nowhere.

  35. Why is Peter referring to those women as cougars? Aren’t cougars like middle-aged women who go after younger guys?

    I mean, I know it’s supposed to be a reference to the famous MJ line, but given the slang term, it takes on an odd context.

  36. Oh and wait a minute: why is zombie Green Lantern asking Black Canary to submit “or we’ll gut the brats!”? Why do they have to ask when they have magic zombie hats they can just put on everyone and be done with it?

  37. What? No mention of Superbat?
    “I have the greatest power of all, Mister Miracle. I am so rich I can do anything.”


  38. Dr Ink!:
    Nah, it’s Bruce, acording to Bats 682-683, which tell what happened to Batman while he was plugged to that machine in FC.

  39. My “he’s not dead” comment was becuase the Omega Sanction DOESN’T KILL YOU. The fact that we saw “Batman’s” corpse makes no sense whatsoever.

    Bad: There was some seriously bad writing afoot in FC#6. There’s no other explanation.

  40. Also, wasn’t there something going on about eight or nine months ago, where someone asked Grant Morrison in interviews whether it was true that he was going to be killing off Batman in ‘Final Crisis’, and he was all, “No, that’s just BS Internet rumor, someone heard something about another idea I had years ago and they were repeating it like it was true.”

    And then it turned out to be true.

    I understand that he doesn’t want to respond to that with a “Yep! Sure am!”…but calling another person a liar for telling the truth before you want it to be told is kind of a dick move, no matter how you look at it.

  41. The Omega Beams are the same thing that the Omega Sanction? One is consecuence of the other? How it works?

    If the Omega Sanction is trapping someone in futile versions of its own life (a la Seven Soldiers: Mr Miracle) then Batman already survived that in Last Rites. Maybe Morrison is using his old “vaccine” metaphor from the Filth.

    Steve: Yeah, that’s right! The Omega beams always desintegrate their target, leaving no body. Maybe the corpse is one of the dead Bat-Clones that the Lump was making?

  42. Anyone notice a lack of response from the major shilling comic sites? Usually on the same day there’d be an interview with Morrison or Didio on the subject, but it’s silence. I’m taking that as a sign that Bats isn’t dead, or at least is coming back next issue.

  43. Captain Supercool:

    EXACTLY. The Omega Beams/Omega Effect erases you from existence… People even forget you existed. The Sanction sends you to that “Life Trap” universe (Omega Dimension, maybe?). Whatever Darkseid fired turned Batman extra crispy?

    No. Maybe Supes did recover a clone body… It makes the most sense, next to bad writing for the sakes of a “Supergirl is dead!” moment.

    The fact that Superman didn’t use the Mircle Machine to save Bats, nor did he shed manly tears for his death, makes for some serious Superdickery.

  44. Reconsider with I Kill Giants.

    To be honest, I have heard very good things about it, and I suppose there’s the possibility that Joe Kelly’s only really awful when he’s writing stuff for Marvel and DC, but man. That guy’s burned me pretty hard in the past.

  45. I Kill Giants wasn’t “awesome” in any way, but it was very nice. I’d say see if your store has any back issues and flip thru a couple to see if you’ll like it…

  46. Nice to see an Invincible review again. I know you don’t normally get to it because, well, it’s consistently good. Same reason we don’t see Usagi Yojimbo reviews, I guess, because the review would just end up being “It is a new issue of Usagi Yojimbo, which is always a thing to celebrate”.

    Out of curiosity, what are the titles like UY that you read but never bother reviewing because they’re consistently good and you run out of things to say about them?

  47. “Almost as cool as, you know, the first time Batman and Darkseid fought to the death in a comic written by Grant Morrison.”

    Do you mean in JLA: Rock of Ages? Because it was cool then too.

  48. You think things got prickly with the regular Obama variants, wait until the 4th printing Marvel Zombies “Zombama” variant hits the stands!

    And I would like to add that I am enjoying FINAL CRISIS a hell of a lot more than I did SECRET INVASION! Each issue of FC just gets better while each issue of SI got exponentially worse.