Panel Picks – The Greatest Fight in Comic Book History

GO AHEAD TELL ME I’ M WRONG I’LL WAIT. (From The Defenders #7). This book has just been so good thus far & I’m worried it’s gonna decline rapidly once Bendis heads off to the Distinguished Competition (maybe he already has?). Ah well.  Least we get this epic multi-page rampage. How amazing is David Marquez, by the way? Damn.

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Guess Who’s Back? Back Again?

Huzzah! After an endless X-crossover, an energy force with a bad attitude is merging once again with a human host to create a Cyclops man-thong destroying dark god; indeed, it looks like the Marvel U. will once more graced with the Dark Phoenix. May she also eat overlong annual “events”, the rotten bastards who have cancelled both NextWave AND the current iteration of The Defenders, whoever dreamed up Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe, all extraneous X-books, Wolverine’s ever shifting backstory and Peter Parker’s annoying new sidekick.
It's Dark Phoenix, bitch

Whomever transmogrifies into the Dark Phoenix this go round, I’m pretty sure this will be their theme song:

(image via Comics Beat)

After the jump, a one panel summation of why NextWave was/is completely amazing.

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Haul Thoughts: Ozymandias, Gambit, Defenders and Archer & Armstrong

Before Watchmen – Ozymandias 02 – At what looks like the 25% mark for this entire Before Watchmen event, Ozymandias seems to be the best book of the bunch. The gorgeous artwork from Jae Lee certainly doesn’t hurt; check out the scene below for the proof. Time fer some action
As Ozy’s backstory continues to be explained, the issue ends with Adrian’s first encounter with The Comedian. The Comedian, who to this day bothers me. I know he’s supposed to represent a real world, grim n’ gritty war hero and that’s fine. But the unexplainable costume (no consistency as to when he’s in it and when he’s not) and the gigantic plot hole regarding his identity (why do some people seem to know who he is, whether in or out of costume while others have no idea?). Also, he’s just machine-gunning criminals? If this is supposed to be “super heroes in the real world” I would think the authorities would have problems with that. And quicker than you can say “glowing blue dong” yes, I know, Dr. Manhattan etc etc. I didn’t see it WAS the real world, just more real-world-esque than say a DC or Marvel. SO. Back to where we were…at this juncture I’d say, in order of “is it worth reading or not” I’d say that it goes Ozymandias, Silk Spectre, The Comedian, The Minutemen, Nite-Owl.

Gambit 01 – Even more embarrassing than buying this book is admitting that I liked it. It’s less super-hero-y (or as Gambit himself says, less “tights & fights”) and more chaotic-good, criminal/thief oriented. Which I’m all for; if I want spandex and face punching I’ll read AvX. I can see this having an fairly solid initial run of 6-8 issues before it falls off the rails completely & then it’s just playing cards, trench coats & mon ami’s from then on out. But I’ll read a few issues of Gambit breaking into the Long Island homes of super-villain artifact hoarders, like so: What do you see

Archer & Armstrong 01 -BOOM Valiant nails it again. Where are they getting these people from? These books are so good. This might actually be the best book of the four released during the “Summer of Valiant” ramp-up. There was a sly call-out to Gilead, The Eternal Warrior (one of Armstrong’s equally-immortal brothers); who was the third? I can’t remember; was his name the Eternal Enemy or something? After opening with some biblical-annihilation shenanigans, the book picks up at the creation museum (?!) where Archer was raised, which features Darwin the Chimp, star of the “Junk Science Follies”. It turns out that Archer is a brain-washed religious extremist & martial artist of the highest caliber. Good combination. Moving ahead, Archer is NYC bound, where he nails what Manhattan is all about: DEFINITELY true Then like any young man who finds himself in NYC for the first time, he ends up at Hogs & Heifers in the Meatpacking District (first bar I went to in NYC too) where he quickly meets Armstrong, the poet-bouncer. Archer thinks that Armstrong is the Anti-Christ and promises to kill him but in short order finds both of them taken prisoner. The mystical device Archer used to find Armstrong is taken and the book ends on an interesting twist. I’m definitely down for a martial arts buddy comic and you should be too.

Defenders 09 – Right, so this came out last week and while I was writing this post I just saw that Defenders just got cancelled. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO(deep breath)OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. So upsetting; they better finish this arc off. It’s a bit of a moot point now, but you should really go seek out this book & it’s back issues. It’s funny, clever, weird, the arts great, the writing is super strong, what more could you want? The Silver Surfer has Aspberger’s, She-Hulk has a big ass sword, Namor is a dick, Iron Fist is Iron Fist…and the most intriguing thing about this book is the little phrases and slugs that accompany almost every page. Sometime it’s a blurb for another book, other times it’s oddly dire prophecy like “The Universe Will Break” or “Everyone You Love, Dies”. By itself, whatever. But knowing, somehow, all of these weird phrases and tid-bits are going to (hopefully) tie-in and then pay-off is awesome. I would say I can’t wait for that to happen but I doubt it will now and if it does, it’ll probably be rushed. Drag. Defend@!

Haul Thoughts : Ultimate Drop, Valiant Pick Up

**SPOILERS BELOW BE WARNED***

The Walking Dead 100 -Oh you’re in some shit now!  Wow.  Barn burner of an issue.Very much a change in the status quo of this series.  For too long (the past year at least) the story has been in a bit of a holding pattern.  There’s been forward momentum, yes, but nothing like this episodes (with apologies to Mao) great leap forward.  Began is a BAD DUDE, on par with if not actually surpassing The Governor. SPOILERS: Lucille, on the other hand…oof.  Negan’s threats regarding Carl are equally chilling: “Anyone moves at all..cut the boy’s other eye out and feed it to the girl.” Brrrrrr.  Then when Rick acts up, Negan threatens to have his men run a train on Carl.  END SPOILERS. A bad, bad dude. This is what a landmark issue should feel like.

Batman 11 – Finally the conclusion to Court of Owls.  This arc really petered out, didn’t it?  ‘Cause it was SUPER bad ass to start with, but with the ridiculous turn it took last month with the SPOILERS reveal of Bruce Wayne’s (ugh) long lost brother END SPOILERS I’m really on the cusp of not caring.  Luckily the return of the Joker arc is right around the corner, which promises to be stupendous.  Some things (ed. note: Only SOME  things?) really stood out for their sheer ridiculousness this issue, including the flying Owl & Batman sequence where a) Bruce gets thrown into/through a giant skyscraper window.  DUDE THAT WOULD KILL YOU. But then b) the Owl can fly up into an oncoming jet’s flight path?  Isn’t that like, 20,0000 feet in the air?  Then c) when Bruce gets chucked into a jet engine and somehow he’s able to hold onto the lip of the engine and not go all Fargo on us?  Trained to the peak of human skills is one thing, defeating physics is quite another. You know who I felt bad for after this issue? The almost completely built but now completely destroyed Wayne Tower.  Oh, and me, for having to read Bruce & Dick’s ridiculous heart-to-heart to end the issue. Bring on the Joker!

Batman and Robin 11 – The more I read this series the more I really, really like Damian as a character.  His curent quest to best all of the past Robins in single combat is just perfect: funny, dynamic, interesting, they draw on past history & continuity as well as really showcasing Damian as a character.  An aside: since we’re speaking about continuity (and I think I brought this up before when The Killing Joke was mentioned) how & where does A Death in the Family come in to play in the New 52 universe?  I honestly thought it was a clean slate, yet they keep referring to pre-52 landmark events. Is this ever going to be explained?  What’s still considered canon & what got jettisoned? Aggravating.  Anyway, Damian is a bratty little know-it-all 10 year old who will kill you in the blink of an eye; that’s a character that could’ve gotten so cliche so fast and yet Peter Tomasi is doing an awesome job with him. The rest of the book was ok; the most intersting aspect is the cut-rate rogues gallery that’s assembled to attack Gotham who’ve all in someway been seriously f’d up by Batman, including the guy with a permanent boot tread on his face (named Bootface, natch) and the other guy with a batarang stuck in his skull.  Interesting to see the after effects of a Batman thrashing.  The hands down cheesiest part of this (or really, any recent issue of anything) was Bruce yelling “LEAVE MY CITY ALONE!”.  Keep this was just being yelled out on the street and not to anyone in particular.  It just struck a very odd chord.

Bloodshot 1 – I still have the Valiant-era Bloodshot #5 (the issue where Ninjak shows up for the first time (non-costume); I bought it at a sports memorabilia store that dabbled in comics and hadn’t yet discovered that particular issue was the hottest book going in comics, so I was able to get it for cover price.) somewhere.  Anyway.  Great cover, incredibly smart opening page explaining exactly what nanobots do and how they affect teh human body as well as some nightmare “Grey Goo” scenarios (read your Kurzweil, folks).  What I liked: the concept of hackable people.  Bloodshot’s ingenious infiltration method.  The overall feel and look of the book.  Hints of Bloodshot’s past and who/what he was/is.  What I didn’t like: where’s the explanation for the dead white skin?  Probably coming later.  Also, why is KRESSSSHHH  the sound effect every comic ever uses for when someone breaks through a plate of glass? PROMISING.

Chew Secret Agent Poyo 1 – Don’t f with this chicken!  Funniest moment may have been the look on Hitler’s face as he was directed towards the room labelled “Butt Torture” and followed by a demon with a pineapple in his hand (this was happening in Hell, btw). Grossest was probably the bonus gallery in the back, especialy the pinup featuring an eyeball with a pencil jammed into it & another eyeball with pushpins and needles poked into it.  EYE SHIT IS GROSS QUIT IT YOU GUYS. If you like Chew (you do) , if you like clever jokes (duh that’s why you’re reading this) and most importantly you like good comics that don’t take themselves too seriously this is a PICKUP.

Dancer 3 – Cat & mouse sniper espionage games with Europe with your Irish girlfriend as bait.  I could see this as a movie.  C’mon, they made Red (the movie was shit, also). I bet at least one person picked this up thinking it was a spin off from Omaha, The Cat Dancer.

Defenders 8 – This book has just been…is this one of the best books that Marvel is putting out right now and probably no one is buying? Most definitely yes to the first part and probably for the second part. This has the same vibe that Nextwave had and that is one of my favorite series ever.  High points of this issue: flaying car in the shape of a cat face? Absurd, but they are in Wakanda.  Silver Surfer with the funniest line about the origin of bones in the entire history of the Silver Surfer.  Then some deeply weird stuff to close out the issue, including the revelation there are things out in the Marvel U. called DEATH CELESTIALS and they are coming to break the Universe. How cool is that?

Harbinger 2 – Peter Stancheck Comes Alive! Woe to everyone else on the planet. If I had to list a Top Ten of favorite on going series, all three Valiant titles (this, Bloodshot and X-O Manowar) would all be on it. Can’t they crank these out faster?

Ultimate Comics X-Men 14 – I’m done. For reals this time.  I just can’t take these half-assed cliffhangers that I just know will not pay off in any sort of meaningful manner.  If I’m going to start cutting back, I think it’s going to be with Marvel’s Ultimate line.

Wolverine & The X-Men 13 – Less whimsy, more punching.  As previously stated, not exactly what I want out of this title.  But I’m really digging Nick Bradshaws art, as I think it does tremendous justice to not only the characters but fits the story very well.  The intro page was a very clever Watchmen dig.  Reading this book made me realize that all of these characters are just terrible at problem solving. ARGUE ARGUE ARGUE….now what? oh right, PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH.  You have magic powers, alien technology and super-powers, yet you still resort to fisticuffs like this is some 1880’s public house and your honor was just impugned? I realize that you have to keep cranking these books out but just like the realization that everyone’s costumes, for the most part, are simply awful, I know realize that 20 pages of punching is not as appealing as it once was. I am sad? Oh right, SPOILER Gladiator died? END SPOILER.   Warbirds backstory was pretty cool, I’ll give the that.

This Week’s Comics Haul – 100 Issues Strong…and Growing

Large pickup this week (but when isn’t it) but a real dearth of time.  Reviews soon! What did you get this week?

Batman 11


Batman and Robin 11


Before Watchmen – Minutemen 2


Bloodshot 1 – most anticipated book of the week (tie)


Chew Secret Agent Poyo 1


Dancer 3


Defenders 8


Harbinger 2


The Massive 2


The Walking Dead 100 – Most anticipated book of the week (tie)


Ultimate Comics X-Men 14


Wolverine and the X-Men 13