The Week In Ink: July 1, 2009

Only slightly less well-known than the Wild Agents of Marvel (or W.A.M.) was the House of Ideas’ most obscure official fan-club, an oddly specific group started by Artie Simek in 1964: Friends Of Ol’ Marvel’s Pants…



…or FOOMP.

And that’s tonight’s history lesson. But now we move onto more recent history, as we take another round of the Internet’s most Long-Lasting, Semi-Permanent Comics Reviews!

Here’s what I picked up this week…



…and this is the last part of the intro that nobody reads! Suckers.






Batman and Robin #2: The second issue of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s new Batman series dropped this week, and surprising absolutely nobody, it was totally awesome.

The standard disclaimers apply here, of course: I am, as the kids say, “totally in the tank for Morrison.” Then again, that probably has a lot to do with the fact that the guy routinely turns in amazing comics that I absolutely love, and this one’s no exception, as he’s in top form here. The whole thing’s fantastic, from the great action of an evil super-circus troupe attacking police headquarters to the throwaway continuity nods, but the best bit comes in Alfred’s conversation with Dick.

Instead of laying on some melodramatic line about “the mantle of the bat” or whatever, Morrison offers up the idea of Dick–and that’s the second time I’ve typed “Nightwing” and had to go back and erase it–playing the role of Batman, which is not only a great way to distinguish his character from Bruce Wayne (and further reaffirm the contrast of having a lighthearted Batman and a super-serious, anger-driven Robin), but a great acknowledgment of what we all already know. Dick’s not Batman. He’s just Batman right now, and in that one scene, Morrison not only addresses the characters’ concerns, but all but tells the readers “Hey, we all know how this is eventually going to go, but for now, let’s have some fun with it.”

And speaking of fun, Quitely is killin’ it on the art. I mentioned last month that while his layouts were dynamic (see this issue’s double-page spread of jagged panels during the big fights) had the seemed to be cutting down on the distinctive cutaway-style shots that he used in All Star Superman (and especially We3), but the more I look at his art in this issue, the more complex it gets. The level of detail is incredible, to the point where I’m noticing new stuff (Nightw–Dick jumping over the desk using two fingers, the separate sound-effect smoke trails for the rocket launcher) even on the fourth time reading through it. It’s just gorgeous.

The only thing I don’t like about this issue is the last panel on the penultimate page, where the scene suddenly cuts from Robin at the evil circus to some of Pyg’s doll-people suicide bombing a different part of Gotham City, which seems like an abrupt jump to a scene that didn’t previously appear in this issue. But for that being the only flaw I can see, I’m willing to look past it and to the scene where Batman fights kung fu acrobat triplets.


Captain America Reborn #1: The much ballyhooed return of Captain America starts here, and again, it’s not really going to surprise anyone that it’s good. Not just because Ed Brubaker is a fantastic writer–which he is–but because it plays to one of the greatest strengths, which is to take the most ludicrous aspects of comics and play them straight enough that they seem perfectly normal.

In this case–and this is a spoiler, so if you haven’t read the issue yet, I suggest you do that before you read any more, you know, reviews–it turns out that Cap was shot with time bullets. Which, considering that it was all orchestrated by an immortal Nazi who lives in a businessman’s imagination and a guy with a face where his chest should be a and a camcorder where his face should be, doesn’t really seem that strange after all. Point being, as loopy as it sounds on paper, Brubaker pulls it off with his usual excellence and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all pulls out.

The art side of things, though, was a bit of a letdown. I like Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice both quite a bit, but this issue seemed rushed in a lot of parts. There are some great pages, but then you’ll suddenly get something like the odd, emaciated Sharon Carter on page twelve that’s only made more noticable by the fact that it comes right after a pair of very-Bryan-Hitch close-ups. I suppose the tradeoff for getting rushed art by Hitch is that there’s a chance this book’ll come out on time, but between that and getting yet another redesign for Golden Age Cap (and no, I don’t know why it bugs me so much, but it does), I think I would’ve really preferred it if we’d gotten Steve Epting to draw it instead. I mean, I like Epting enough that I’d prefer most stuff if he drew it, but the same part of me that wanted Steve Dillon to come back to close out Garth Ennis’s run on Punisher wants the symmetry of the team that “killed” Steve Rogers (with time bullets!) to come back for his resurrection.

Beyond that, though, it’s solid stuff. But if you’ve been reading Cap for the past four and a half years, that’s probably not much of a surprise.


Fantastic Four: Giant-Size Adventures #1: I honestly don’t have much of a review here, because if you want fun, lighthearted Fantastic Four stories, you’re probably already aware of Paul Tobin’s work, and if that’s not what you want, then there’s a good chance you’re reading the wrong blog. Anyway, all I really want to say here is that Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s Go-Go Hydra Girls (as pictured above in the shopping list) are probably the best anything ever.

And that’s real.


Justice League: Cry For Justice #1: I’m not going to lie to you, folks: As much as I was looking forward to this one, it is not very good.

Then again, I’ve had my doubts about this one since those preview pages first cropped up last month, because man, there’s nothing that makes me want to read a comic more than five pages of people standing around being petulant to each other. Seriously, that’s what they put in to sell the book. Five long pages of Hal Jordan standing around whining, and then closed it with “THE BATTLE CONTINUES!” Like Rachelle said, “I don’t want this battle to continue. If I were in the room with these superheroes I would want to leave.”

If that were just the lead-in to an otherwise exciting issue (or a reaction to a strong hook in an introductory sequence) that’d be one thing, but no. The whole issue’s like that, and it combines the worst parts of the Brad Meltzer relaunch with the worst parts of James Robinson’s dialogue. And really, I like James Robinson’s work. I’ve been re-reading Starman lately, and not only was it one of the high points of an era that included Mark Waid’s Flash, Morrison’s JLA and Ennis and McCrea’s Hitman, most of it still holds up really well today. But it is a talky book, and that carries over here, where everyone sticks to Robinson’s slightly stilted “Compared to you, I’m Chris Isaak” speech patterns.

And to make matters worse, these just don’t seem like characters I really want to read about. I mentioned before that Green Lantern comes off as petulant, and that’s even without anyone reminding him that the last time he wanted to be more proactive and crack down on the bad guys, he ended up killing like 3000 people and blaming it on a giant yellow space-bug. And I don’t really need to see the Atom torturing a suspect by stomping around their head, which is, you know, exactly how his ex-wife killed someone.

I hate to be the guy who pulls out old continuity to show how people are acting “out of character” (NOTE: This is a lie. I love doing that. It’s why I have a blog, for cripe’s sake.), but Robinson’s not only a guy who built his career on referencing the past and making it capital-I Important again, he’s a guy who puts flashbacks to a recent Major Event on page three. And even if you get past those guys, there’s the scene with Mikaal Tomas. I mean, I’m glad to see him back, and I’m excited to see what he does here, and I get that he’s upset, but you know who could use some of that justice that he’s yelling for on page 16? The guy whose car he just blew up on page 15. It’s like Robinson’s going out of his way to cast these guys as pretentious, unlikeable jerks who throw temper tantrums instead of actually doing anything, and that’s not really a comic I want to read.

Even if there’s a talking gorilla out for revenge. And believe me, it takes a lot to get me to turn against a book with that in it.


Uncanny X-Men #513: So Matt Fraction totally just did a story featuring an appearance by ADAM X THE X-TREME. Seriously. This is a thing that happened.

And you know what? I’m just gonna come right out and say it: This is the single best comic that ADAM X THE X-TREME has ever been in. I know, I know: I’m like a lightning rod for controversy, but damn it, I’m prepared to stand by that statement. I know there are some of you who are going to point to X-Force #30, and I understand that it says on the cover that things have never been deadlier, but as visceral and heart-rending as ADAM X THE X-TREME‘s duel to the death with Shatterstar was, it can finally lay down its burden. A new champion has been crowned.


Betty and Veronica Double Digest #172: Pop Quiz! Is this the “new look” version of Veronica’s mother, Hermione Lodge, or Pete White from The Venture Bros.?






And that’s the week. As always, any questions can be left in the comments section below, as well as comments about the fun 100-Page Super Spectacular format for this week’s Savage Dragon, or how this month’s issue of Buffy was the best of the recent ones (which is still sort of like being the healthiest meal at the State Fair), or how the latest Classic GI Joe trade just makes me confused.

I mean, the reprint quality gets bad and then gets good again three pages later. How the heck does THAT work?

62 thoughts on “The Week In Ink: July 1, 2009

  1. My favorite Batman and Robin art bit was when Damian was thrown into the wall, the cracks spelled out SMASH.

    Let’s hope Quitely does for sound effects in DC what Incredible Hercules did for them in Marvel.

  2. Quietly’s art on batman and Robin really impressed me, because I don’t know how he does it, but he makes Dick look like just some guy in a suit, while still being Batman enough to fool the untrained eye. You’re getting character nods through how the costume is drawn, which is something he dabbled in a bit with All Star Superman, but it really comes through here.

    Alos Chris, I thought for sure just the appearance of Congorilla would be enough to sway you on Cry for Justice. Although I’m really hoping for some more action next issue, it seems like this was all setup, which is great for the trade, terrible for the floppies.

  3. With Reborn I laughed out when I read, “Listen: Captain America has become unstuck in time.”

    Brubaker has turned Steve Rogers into Billy Pilgrim. It’s perfect.

  4. You know, I don’t mind Robinson’s “Compared to you, I’m Chris Isaak” dialogue after re-reading Starman lately, because in earlier issues of that you get some really weird dialogue rhythm that’s more like “Compared to you, I’m Chris Isaak”. It’s gotten much better since then, and these days it doesn’t even stand out to me because the rhythm isn’t so jarring.

    One thing I will say in its favor, though, is that in those early issues with the really weird emphasis choices it pulls me out just enough to make me stop and think of the what the character’s actual voice might be. By the second or third arc I get some really decent mental voice-acting going on! Just an odd little thing that actually adds to my enjoyment of that series.

  5. “…and this is the last part of the intro that nobody reads! Suckers.”

    How can you say that!?! You’re intros have the sheer awesomeness of kick/s on a face.

    I love Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover! I kind of wish that they’ll get an ongoing series, besides their mini comics.

  6. What’s with your increasingly dismissive Buffy reviews, Sims? This issue had goatmen being clubbed with femurs and Giles and Faith making Holocaust jokes.

    I mean, you’re not quite saying the recent issues have been bad or anything, but the brief comments like this week’s and the “meh-in-mediocre” seem caustic for no good reason, and without offering legitimate criticism of what has been overall a very good series.

    I know many were frustrated by the lack of forward momentum with the last arc, but hey, that’s over now. Story moving forward. And, come on, there was motley crew of Scottish demons in kilts with a tank. Points for that.

  7. But it is a talky book, and that carries over here, where everyone sticks to Robinson’s slightly stilted “Compared to you, I’m Chris Isaak” speech patterns.

    In fairness to Robinson, I think that while he clearly did a bad, bad thing, it’s possible that he was trying to let you down, easy. While we can’t do a thing to stop him, please, think of tomorrow and don’t be forever blue.

  8. I just want to say that I used to read comic book dialogue properly, with the indicated accents and pauses where the “…”s and “–“s and commas are and imagining the characters’ voices and all that. Then I read Starman and reading that way made my head hurt so I dropped the habit. True story. Not to say I didn’t like the book – there’s a reason I read through to the end in spite of that.

    Also, does anyone else feel that Mark Waid is not quite as good at coming up with alternate “indie” superhero universes as Kurt Busiek and Robert Kirkman? There’s something weird and off about his characters, their names, powers and dynamics. Maybe it’s just because of the darker tone to the story he’s telling, maybe it’s deliberate, but none of the superhero/villain characters in Irredeemable jump out at me. I guess he works better in existing universes, and that’s cool.

  9. So, was Firebreather v1 any good? I’ve been tossing up whether to pick up the trades, now that they’re both in print.

  10. Time bullets!

    *slaps self in forehead*

    Of course! It’s so obvious now.

  11. Adam X? Adam X. Adam X?

    Sentry, my good man, I will gladly pay you a crisp $10 to throw Mr. X-Treme into the Sun. I will also throw in a chocolate malt should you decide to toss Shatterstar into the Sun as well.

  12. Re: Reborn. Borrowing from Slaughter House 5 will generate a great deal of good will on my part. And if it doesn’t work out, they can borrow Vonnegut’s other time trope and have everyone do the exact same thing a year from now.
    Additionally, I really enjoyed the issue of Exiles. Between the team banter and the plot twists, it felt like a return to the best of the Winnick days. (Warning: associations regarding the phrase “best of Winnick” may vary from person to person.)

  13. So we have the banner at the top of the Batman&Robin book saying “Batman: Reborn” and the Captain America Reborn book has Cap not dead but sent adrift in time – just like Batman. Plus, wasn’t Orion killed by a time bullet?

    Are Marvel and DC blatantly reusing each others ideas?

  14. I knew that Cry For Justice thing was going to be worthless when DC said it was IMPORTANT but didn’t bother telling you what the story was actually about.

  15. If it was Pete White, it wouldn’t be a ring and a tree he’s thinking about, it’d be the mother from Growing Pains.

  16. Not to mention that we had Dick taking over Batman following Bucky taking over Captain America…and of course, before that people were comparing the strange similarities of the Winter Soldier and Red Hood storylines.

    You gotta admit, I’m not calling ripoff on anybody here, but it’s odd to have so many similarities occuring back and forth between Batman and Captain America – two cross-company heroes who’ve been associated more than once – in a similar succession. Oh well, I just hope this doesn’t mean that DC will be in a hurry to bring Bruce Wayne back.

  17. I too am wondering what’s up with you and the Buffy comic. It seems to be a small, inoffensive creature what never hurt no one. (Unlike the nearly unreadable Angel: After the Fall, in which Charisma Carpenter was depicted as a junkie zombie.)

    My main beef with Buffy regards the “Season Eight” concept, which suggests something similar to the year-long story arcs of the TV show. Twenty-six issues in, I’ve have no sense of how far we are into the arc. It’s not just that the comics don’t require everything to wrap up by the May sweeps, but that so far the series has lacked a major turning point (Angel/Faith going bad, the revelation of the First, etc.) that signals the second half of the “season.”

  18. I have to disagree on Reborn; I feel Brubaker got ‘inspired’ for this script while napping during this season of LOST.

  19. @Max Power I have to agree the bit where Damian crashed into a wall and the cracks spelled out SMASH was genius.

    I really did enjoy the B&R issue. I love the dialog between Alfred and Dick. The line where Dick said that he can’t stand the cape because it is throwing of his timing was hilarious.

    Reborn just didn’t do it for me. I wanted to see Bucky Cap for a longer period of time. I guess the movie coming out next year screwed that over.

  20. I gotta say, I’m a little disappointed in your review of Batman and Robin #2…

    …by which I mean I’m disappointed that you didn’t mention the Quad-Bat. That’s the kind of image that I expect whole posts about.

  21. @David Thiel: I’d say the public perception of Vampires Good/Slayers Bad thing, along with the appearance by Riley Finn would be the mid-season thing…

    The best part of the 150th Savage Dragon? The reprinting of Dragon’s origin so I can toss the Image Anniversary hardcover in the trade-in box…

  22. As Mojo noted, Bru seems to be riffing on Vonnegut’s SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE and its protagonist Billy Pilgrim being unstuck in time. He said as much on the CBR forums, actually. That’s sure as heck not an idea original to LOST.

  23. ” “Listen: Captain America has become unstuck in time.””

    Never mind Kurt Vonnegut: that’s very nearly a direct quote from Babylon 5!

    Did the person saying this line look like a cross between Wolverine and Liberace?!

    Is Captain America the beginning of the story? Is Sharon Carter the middle of the story? Is Bucky Barnes the END of the story, that creates the next, grest, story [sic]?


    *my head asplode*


  24. Oh come on! Only one person mentions the Savage Dragon as a side note? It’s been my favorite comic for 17 years, I have all 150 issues and I still think #150 is my favorite issue since the first. Nothing will ever top the Sin City style the book started out with, and that brutal back alley battle of dual chainsaws versus rat-man.

    Anyway, bringing back the only true Nemesis the Dragon ever had after a 128 issue absence is making me freak out like rarely before. I know it’s not like Erik Larsen to let any new character survive for more than one or two issues, but it looks like he went through a lot of trouble to bring this guy back, removed his only weakness and made the secret identity a cool new mystery.

    Not to mention, brutal kitchen murder. It must be seen to be believed. Man, Larsen is not afraid to put anything in there. And if you remember Heavy Flo, you know I’m right.

  25. Generally I LOVE James Robinson. Starman – brilliant, fantastic, emotional.
    And his Superman work is getting there. There’s just something about the way he writes and treats his characters and the world of superheroes that I love (check out the latest issue of Superman where Mon-El takes a world tour and runs into, I think the son or grandson of Enemy Ace who is now some hard-boiled pulpy detective. I think Robinson made this up and it’s brilliant!)
    But I could not pick Cry for Justice up.
    You see, Robinson aside, we’ve been here before over the past eight years or so.
    Anyone remember JLA Elite by Joe Kelly?
    How about a little something called Identity Crisis where the JLA learned just how wrong things can go when they start to get a little too proactive.
    Look, I’m the first one to say that I don’t necessarily WANT my comics to revert to the Silver Age style. I like sophisticated writing, etc.
    BUT sometimes the publishers confuse sophisticated with “let’s make The Atom use his power to torture people” and that’s where they lose me.
    I don’t WANT to read a book that tries for the umpteenth time to explain WHY superheroes operate the way they do.
    And this totally bodes ill for Robinson’s upcoming run on JLA, only because as much as I WANT to read it, I’m afraid instead of a really well written, exciting JLA book it’s going to turn into the ongoing examination of “proactive vs. reactive” and I’ll read, I don’t know, TIME Magazine for that.

  26. It looks like comic books is definitely a matter of personal taste. As much as Chris seemed to dislike JUSTICE LEAGUE: A CRY FOR JUSTICE, this other Chris (that being me), really loved it.

    It’s been a while since I sat down and enjoyed a JL book. The current run is horrible. Boring stories, numb characterization, everything that made Meltzer’s run great (yeah, I loved his 12-issue run) got lost, and finally I see a series about the League I’m excited about.

    I definitely think it’s a matter of personal taste, here.

  27. “Harmonic Divergence” was the mid-point, as it comes literally at the middle, and changed the game. The run is 40 issues.

    Also, I’d bet real American money that Ethan Rayne is Twilight. I mean, he’s already appeared, his death easily could have been a fake out to remove suspicion, and the other major foes are Harmony, Amy, and Warren, who are basically Buffy, Willow, and Xander if they were psychopaths. Why not have Psycho Giles as the Ringleader? And he did have four years to cultivate a relationship with the military.

    Amen on Angel: ATF. The writer should be lynched. Way to undo all the excellent Angel Season 5 character work, and with a crappy stable of rotating artists.

  28. The BUFFY comic is still good, but it’s not quite living up to its potential- and I blame the metaplot. It seems sort of unfocused, and it suffers the problem that the last TV season did (to an extent- I thought Season 7 was good, mind you.) Basically, the more elaborate the Slayer Army stuff becomes, the less you can draw analogies to real everyday life, where the show’s big appeal at first was “Battling demons as a metaphor for growing up.”

    I think the comic’s better off when it’s not about the metaplot per se- the best issues and arcs have been more character focused, and/or about Mecha-Dawn.

  29. I have to ask not just about Agents of Atlas because I know what you think of it but in paticular the intro page in each issue to let everyone know what is going on, and I just can’t get enough of these things (they didn’t tell us if the Scrabble game was finished :(

  30. @Matthew Craig: That may well be a near direct quote from Babylon 5, but the Babylon 5 quote was lifted from Slaughterhouse 5.

  31. I thought the postscripts on Cry for Justice was the highlight. I love reading about how comics are made, even when the result is so-so. I too bemoaned the car Mikaal mercilessly destroyed. And why did the Atom segment take place in the Western amusement park from the Simpsons? “That’s my prostitute!”

  32. Alos Chris, I thought for sure just the appearance of Congorilla would be enough to sway you on Cry for Justice.

    It would be, if Congorilla hadn’t been replaced by the Weeping Gorilla from Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol. [EDIT: Actually from Alan Moore’s Promethea, not DP. I get confused sometimes when I don’t take my pills.]

    Actually, strike that: Weeping Gorilla in the Justice League would be awesome.

    What’s with your increasingly dismissive Buffy reviews, Sims?

    It has not been very good lately.

    If I’ve been caustic, that’s because my negative reviews generally are, not because I have any special hatred for the book. I will say though that the head of steam it had when it started–and built on up through the quite enjoyable Wolves at the Gate–has almost entirely dissipated, in large part thanks to that really-just-awful Fray story. Since then, it’s just been mediocre at best, with the occasional sidestep (and I’m looking at you here, Jeph Loeb issue) into full-blown horrible.

    Even this issue, which isn’t bad–and really does have quite a few nice set pieces, even if it does read more like a really fun D&D game than anything else–is flawed. There’s good stuff in it, but the whole thing with the submarine is just another empty high spot. It works fine the first few times, but eventually it just turns into “Wouldn’t it be cool if they had a submarine?”

    Then again, that’s how most Action Age books are written. Moving on!

    So, was Firebreather v1 any good? I’ve been tossing up whether to pick up the trades, now that they’re both in print.

    Firebreather is FANTASTIC. I’ve loved the series since it came out, and the best thing I can say about it is that if you like Invincible, or even books like Impulse, it’s very much in the same vein. Hester’s one of the few guys who’s actually just as good at writing as he is at drawing, and Andy Kuhn does a phenomenal job illustrating it. I highly recommend jumping on the new printing of v.1, and then checking out the highly enjoyable–if often delayed–ongoing series.

    I really enjoyed the issue of Exiles.

    You and me both, bruv. It says a lot about a comic when even the fill-in artist is awesome.

    I mean, he’s already appeared, his death easily could have been a fake out to remove suspicion, and the other major foes are Harmony, Amy, and Warren, who are basically Buffy, Willow, and Xander if they were psychopaths. Why not have Psycho Giles as the Ringleader?

    If that’s not how it’s going, then you oughtta be writing this series.

  33. “I’m willing to look past it and to the scene where Batman fights kung fu acrobat triplets.”

    How could you leave out the most awesome part? They’re SIAMESE Triplets joined at the fucking shoulders.

  34. It has not been very good lately.

    If I’ve been caustic, that’s because my negative reviews generally are, not because I have any special hatred for the book. I will say though that the head of steam it had when it started–and built on up through the quite enjoyable Wolves at the Gate–has almost entirely dissipated, in large part thanks to that really-just-awful Fray story. Since then, it’s just been mediocre at best, with the occasional sidestep (and I’m looking at you here, Jeph Loeb issue) into full-blown horrible.

    There’s no defending the Jeph Loeb issue. I would say it’s the only huge misstep in the series. The Fray arc is troublesome and frustrating because it’s really only the middle part of a story. Whedon raises issues and storyline that have not, but will be, resolved. He didn’t do a time travel story for the sake of doing a time travel story… Buffy finds out her army doesn’t make the history books, and Willow is doomed to be consumed by her dark side. There’s amazing foreshadowing, and Retreat #1 only reinforces that this will be dealt with.

    You loved the conclusion of “Batman RIP,” but I hated it. However, in re-reading it recently, I realize it is only the middle chapter in Morrison’s larger story (in the same way Time of Your Life is), and appreciate it regardless of the fifty threads still loose at the end. Batman #666 is a huge out-of-context foreshadowing dump. Why does Morrison get a pass you won’t grant Whedon?

    Also, Xander’s subplot in “Time of Your Life” is as moving, funny, and entertaining as anything that happened in “Wolves at the Gates.” And story aside… Moline’s art kicks ass, just as much as his recent BPRD one-shot. (What did you think of that, by the way?)

    And to the fellow who said it’s no longer about metaphors… this story is about a woman taking the power away from a male hierarchy to form an army, and the world reacts by vilifying her. If anything, Whedon’s feminist agenda has only become pronounced, while making it an even crazier fantasy world.

    The submarine is just a prop to get the Slayer Army from Scotland to Oz’s Tibetan Retreat in the space of a panel. Don’t read too much into it. And if Batman gets a flying batmobile, I think it’s okay if Buffy gets a stolen submarine.

    And, yes, I didn’t want to start throwing stones because I love the hell out of your site, but Action Age is just throwing fifty weird ideas on a page, to varifying degrees of success. But to dismiss Buffy for that same reason is incorrect, because for the fifty weird ideas, 47 of them fit organically into the story, and I think three being there for fun is an acceptable ratio.

  35. “it turns out that Cap was shot with time bullets. ”

    So the guy at the end of Final Crisis was Cap not Batman?

    They why was he painting bats?

    Was it a reference to JLA/Avengers?

  36. I think Chris is moving on from the Buffy books because he’s talked about them, at length, over several months, and now maybe he wants to devote more time and space to new and/or awesome things.

    It doesn’t seem that crazy to me.

  37. Or Chris doesn’t know how to respond to a positive perspective on them after he’s already mind up his mind that they suck now.

  38. Firebreather is good, but I just wish it would actually come out.

    Also Chris, how are you liking Irredeemable so far?

  39. No Astro City?

    I was left a little cold by Cry For Justice, but I’m trusting in Robinson’s work. I’m thinking maybe Hal, Ray, Bill and Mikkal are possessed by something, hence all the “JUSTICE!!!111!1!!” talk and tap-dancing on brains. Also, Ryan Choi is still the active Atom. That has to count for something, doesn’t it?

  40. Or Chris doesn’t know how to respond to a positive perspective on them after he’s already mind up his mind that they suck now.

    Actually, I just didn’t feel like restating what I’d already said in the comment above, but since you insist, I’ll rise to the obvious “well I guess you just don’t know!” reverse psychology gambit. After all, I already did respond; I am glad you’re enjoying it. It’s not like I gave my standard reasons for not enjoying something or said it was a terrible comic that you were stupid for enjoying. I mean, I’m still reading it.

    So then.

    To address your point about the Fray story, whether or not it was integral to the ongoing plot is completely irrelevant in whether or not I liked it, as I thought it was remarkably poorly written. I’ve written about my distaste for faux-future slang before, and even when it was used by Jim Shooter in his recent Legion of Super-Heroes run (which I otherwise enjoyed), I thought it was extremely obnoxious, “Batwitch” notwithstanding. With Whedon, it just adds another layer to his already cutesy dialogue that grates on my nerves to an extreme that even Adam X would be proud of.

    Beyond that, “Time of Your Life” was just boring, and involved a bunch of characters that I don’t care about and didn’t like the first time around, when I read Fray before wrapping it up to give to my pal Brandon as a Christmas present, because I am a bad friend. It didn’t hold my interest, and beyond the fact that Buffy met and fought Evil Future Willow–which could’ve been accomplished in half the issues that the story took–I don’t remember a thing about it, except that yes, Karl Moline’s art was very good, as it usually is.

    Is it relevant to the ongoing plot? Sure. But that doesn’t mean it has to be good. There’s plenty of stuff that’s “important”–even in relation to things I do like–that I think is just godawful. “Time of Your Life” would be one of those.

    As to your next point…

    You loved the conclusion of “Batman RIP,” but I hated it.

    …you are wrong. But that’s cool, bro. We can still be pals.

    Next, you bring up the idea that I don’t give Joss Whedon a “pass” that I give to Grant Morrison for Batman #666. Putting aside the fact that Whedon didn’t write the current issue, which drags us back into a discussion of “Time of Your Life,” the comparison sort of falls apart on the fact that your example of an “out of context foreshadowing dump” was something that I actually liked.

    At the time, I said…

    It’s nothing short of fun comics, with some great bits of dialogue and–just to push it over the top–a gorilla with a submachine gun. Throw in some art by Andy Kubert, and you’ve got something where the only big problem is that there’s just not enough of it, and as far as flaws go, that’s not a bad one to have.

    Morrison doesn’t get passes, he just tends to write comics that I like. I don’t care for Kill Your Boyfriend, there are big patches of The Invisibles that I find dense, and while I loved almost all of Final Crisis, I thought #3 was pretty rough and said so (in the same post where I review an issue of “Time of Your Life,” just to bring things full circle).

    If there is a “pass” given, it’s because individual issues are part of a larger book, and while “Time of Your Life” is part of a series-long arc, it’s certainly presented as a complete story, as evidenced by the fact that one can go to a bookstore and purchase the Time of Your Life Trade Paperback. It has a beginning, middle and end unto itself. Yes, it is a chapter, but it’s a chapter that’s done and can be judged on its own merits, and I do not care for it.

    As for “Whedon’s feminist agenda,” that’s probably a subject we’re not going to see eye-to-eye on. Don’t get me wrong, I do not dislike Joss Whedon as a writer. Well, as a writer of prose, anyway, his songs do absolutely nothing for me, but that’s not the point. I like Buffy for five out of its seven seasons, I thought Firefly was great, and Astonishing X-Men is a load of fun, and I think that the woman who wrote on her LiveJournal that Whedon probably rapes his wife or whatever is as kooky as the next guy. That said, as much as Buffy specifically is a female power fantasy, there’s a lot of aspects that strike me as very, very problematic, not the least of which is his continuing reliance on wrapping it in cheap titillation (Willow’s super-powerful magic spells that can only be performed by getting naked and having hot lesbian sex being an example that I’ve mentioned on the ISB before). But again, that’s a separate topic and one that I we obviously see differently, so there’s no point in discussing it here.

    And even after all this, there’s the original point which is that my review is “dismissive,” which is true, which leads you to the conclusion that I’m of the opinion that the issue “sucks,” which is false. I liked this one. I said in the post that it was the best one of the recent crop, albeit with a qualifier that I don’t like the recent issues, which is true. 23 was enjoyable, but 24 and 25 did nothing for me other than kill 15 minutes. I just don’t like aspects of it, which have been previously explained.

    I never said that the submarine was anything more than a prop, and in fact, that’s the problem. I take issue with the fact that it’s a prop that’s used as the punchline of a joke that’s becoming increasingly tiresome as the series wears on.

    If you think it’s okay for Buffy to have a submarine, then hey, that’s fine. You don’t have to justify yourself to me. I mean, I’m not the guy in your comments section demanding that you make an accounting of yourself and accusing you of not knowing how to respond to an argument.

    And yes, I do make my mind up about things after I read them. I don’t know why I wouldn’t. That’s how opinions are formed.

    I’ve formed mine, and it’s obvious that you’ve formed yours. If they don’t meet, then hey, that’s fine, it’s what keeps this crazy world of ours going around, and now that I’ve written over a thousand words explaining mine that nobody–least of all me–will actually care about, I am well and truly done with discussing it.

  41. Well I think that Buffy girl should hurry up and PUT A RING ON IT AM I RIGHT SINNNGGGGLLLE LAAAAAADIIIEEEEESSSS?!?!?

    Artie Simek can feel me, can’t you, boo?

  42. It would be, if Congorilla hadn’t been replaced by the Weeping Gorilla from Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol.

    Weeping Gorilla was in Alan Moore’s Promethea, not Morrison’s Doom Patrol.

  43. I do think that the Buffy comic has been lacking a bit, but I will say that being problematic and/or titilating and being feminist are not mutually exclusive. I think the “Whedon’s work isn’t feminist at all” position is as much an extreme as the opposite. (Feminism and existentialism may just inherently mix weird- triumphant empowerment alternates with “well, there are no happy endings and we’re all gonna die anyway…”)

    The crazy stuff- submarines and such- I don’t mind. But something about the Slayers always being on defense now- that is, defending themselves and their group, and being viewed negatively by the world just to pile it on a bit- doesn’t sit right with me. It’s the same as when superhero comics have the superheroes being personally targeted so often that there’s no time for them to seek out crimes being perpetuated against other people.

  44. Having to write rebuttals in the comments that are almost longer than the original post must be one of the reasons Chris loves doing weekly reviews so much!

  45. Wait a second, am I to assume that the latest Betty and Veronica digest does not feature a prop submarine? That Hermione Lodge is not commandeering the X-2 around Riverdale? That in the current futuristic “Archie Marries Veronica” arc, Archie doesn’t have to ultimately kill Dark Jughead, who in the past is creating a time portal by having the sex? Disappointing, Archie Comics.

  46. Appreciate the point by point response, and I think I will gracefully agree to disagree with you, and say thanks for taking the time to have this discussion with me.

    I really do love your site. I bought “Age of Sentry #2” based solely on your recommendation, and was thrilled as a kitten on Christmas when I found a copy of that Flash/dinosaur comic at my LCS that you did a piece on.

    For the record, I do love Batman RIP… now. First read isn’t always the same as the most recent, all I’m sayin’.

  47. Cry For Justice reminded me of Keenan Ivory Wayans yelling “message!” Just replace it with “justice” and the issue becomes much more entertaining.

    Yeah, I left that stinker on the shelf.

  48. It’s not just that the comics don’t require everything to wrap up by the May sweeps, but that so far the series has lacked a major turning point (Angel/Faith going bad, the revelation of the First, etc.) that signals the second half of the “season.”

    I’d say the “slayers become public enemy No 1” thing was a pretty major turning point.

  49. If Justice League: Cry For Justice #1 been released in February 1976 it would be heralded as another great release from Conway’s Corner (right up there with Secret Society of Super-Villains, Metal Men, All-Star Comics, and Freedom Fighters).

  50. So, sidestepping all that Buffy on the floor; I enjoy a good joke at Adam X’s expense as much as the next guy, but are you going to be buying Dark Avengers to follow the crossover, or just Uncanny? Because I dropped Uncanny for the duration of the crossover because I didn’t want to buy DA (and pay $4 for Uncanny, even though I’ve liked Fraction’s run a lot so far).

  51. And, er, I want to know what your thoughts are, especially since you only seem to like Bendis when Hickman’s writing his comics.

  52. Guys.

    James Robinson is terrible.

    Well, the last year has been… ennnh. Not terrible, but fairly dull. (

    However, I point you to Starman and Leave It To Chance, and argue that James Robinson has been great.