Continuous Comic Book Discussion Thread

This is not intended to pre-empt threads on special one-off topics - rather, to consolidate the usual Weekly New Release discussions into one ongoing thread so I don’t keep forgetting to start it.

We got two entries to Blackest Night this week - BN : Titans and Green Lantern.

My favorite cameos of the week were all in Superman, though. In addition to featuring a Legionnaire we haven’t seen in a while, there are some fun relics of the DCU’s robotic history.

I’m finding Superman dull as spit nowadays – actually, that goes for most all of the World Against Superman stuff – so the cameo was about all that held my interest. Rather annoyed to see Mon wearing the “S” on the JLA cover splash.

GL: Blackest Night was amusing for having Carol poking fun at her new costume. BN is a fun romp, but reading it often seems as though events are occurring because that’s when the plot outline says they occur, rather than because they have naturally developed from what is going on. Time to move the plot forward? The Indigos show up and do so. Time for Sinestro’s showdown with his rival? Indigo jumps them there. I fully expect in a few months we’re going to get a new infodump from Indigo that outlines the Quest that has to be completed to end the BN.

It’s sort of like reading a David Eddings book, really.

I think the Indigos are just tuned in to what’s going on - they had a sense of when they needed to act.

I’ve pretty pleased with the Superman titles right now, honestly. Especially World of New Krypton.

New Krypton I like.

The rest, sucks. Lois’ feud with Kara is beyond stupid; Lois is smarter than that. The fact that the world suddenly hates Superman feels like it’s suddenly gone all Marvel U mutant hate. General Lane’s sudden herodom is highly improbable, and as villains go, he’s a caricature that has been done far better, before. And the water shortage in Metropolis is just ridiculous.

Reposted from the other thread:

One thing is bugging the HELL out of me in the current Superman arc (pun not intended)… Not the anti-Krypton thing…not the behaviour of Supergirl and Lois (though the fact that Clark, Chris, and Lana haven’t all tried to talk some sense into them is a minor issue)… No, it’s the ‘water is more precious than gold’ thing.

So, Lane’s men blew up the sewers and therefore there’s no fresh water in Metropolis - ok, I can buy this - perhaps the explosion took out the water mains, too, or the sewage leaked into and polluted the water source, or whatever.

But…with the entire water system physically collapsed, especially given the demonstrated size of the sewers, half of Metropolis should be a sink hole, and most of what’s left should be knee deep in filthy water. This should be an evacuation situation, not ‘let’s go on with life, except grungy and angry’. (Not that the US in the DCU seems to believe in evacuations - see Gotham circa No Man’s Land.)

Putting that aside, let’s look at the water situation itself.

  1. The only problem that seems to be going on is getting fresh water in. Not dealing with the stuff that the sewers were dealing with. What are they doing about the toilet situation?
  2. The water system is the only part of the city’s infrastructure that seems to be disabled. They can get goods and people into and out of the city. Communications are just fine. They should have no problem getting adequate fresh water into the city, and where it’s needed. Donated by people outside, bought by WGBS, or LexCorp, or the Planet, etc. Maybe not adequate to allow regular showers and such, so the city’d still be plenty stinky, sure, but enough to keep drinking water from being an inviting black market for supervillains (even scrubs like Riot and whoever that was with him when Guardian took them out).

As long as they don’t touch on that aspect, I’m enjoying the whole thing, though.

On a different note…the Titans really, really need to stop letting strange animals into the Tower…this is the second time in less than a year, real time, that a monster’s gotten in in the guise of a friendly and cute animal.

/end repost.

Other stuff…

JLA 80 Page Giant was highly uneven (to be expected, of course, since half a dozen people wrote it)…the framing story and the Ollie/Firestorm stories weren’t bad, the Hal/Roy story was interesting, and the Vixen/John and Zatanna/Canary stories were very good, but the Wondie/Steel story was a confusing mess, and the Superman/Dr Light story felt like a complete non sequitur. (Perhaps an origin for the precursor of Samurai from the Super Friends.)

Both Superman and Wonder Woman had mentions of Ryan Choi, which gives me the giggles, because of all the ‘Onoes, Ray’s back, that means Ryan’s never going to be mentioned again!’ silliness I’ve seen lately.

On the Marvel side (my collecting is overwhelmingly DC these days, as I just can’t get into most of the Marvel titles I’ve checked out, and the ones I do like keep getting cancelled), is anybody else still reading Runaways? I’m very near to dropping it, which would reduce me to just two Marvel titles, New Avengers and X-Factor. I absolutely loved Joss Whedon’s writing run on Runaways, as well as the art during his stretch. Then they “cancelled” the title and started it up again with a new issue #1 that picked up right where the previous series left off (Why? What was the point of starting the numbering over?)

The new writer isn’t too bad, and the art itself isn’t bad, but I have one major beef with the new artist, Sara Pichelli: Did she bother to learn the ages of the characters? I’ve always disliked when comic artists draw teenaged characters like adults, with ridiculous musculature (for the guys) or DD breasts (for the girls). Pichelli, however, has gone to the opposite extreme, practically infantilizing the younger characters in this book. The character Molly Hayes has been pretty well-established as being about 12 years old, and she was drawn as such in the previous run of the title. Pichelli, however, is drawing her to look more like an eight-year-old. Likewise, the character of Klara Prast, who is the same age, or only slightly younger than Molly, suddenly looks about six.

As far as Marvel goes, I only read Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy and Incredible Herc these days. I try to stay as far away from anything tainted by Dark Reign as possible.

I’m also considering jumping back on Fantastic Four, now that Millar’s gone.

I stopped after Moore left. I only STARTED reading it with his run, and that was because of the Ramos art - I only continued after Ramos left because Moore was still writing, and the story he’d set up hadn’t finished yet.

Ramos, Young, and Olivetti are the only artists currently in Marvel’s stable who can draw young girls, IMO. (Cable switching between Olivetti and McKelvie for a while was weird…Olivetti would draw Hope as a little girl, then McKelvie would draw her as a teenage boy.)

I forgot to mention the Nico Minoru character. She’s Japanese, but you’d never know it by looking at the current art.

Tore through the first 4 issues of Marvel Zombies Returns… Sadly, nowhere near as good as 1, 3 or 4…but somewhat better than 2. I’m not sure that ‘Earth-Z’ holds together, but the random details referenced later - Kitty not knowing who Spider-Man is 2 year after his death, Rhodey being in the Illuminati after Stark’s death - are fun.

And then, there’s the gross-but-funny details - Zombie-Spidey using his circulatory system in lieu of webbing, Tony stopping one wave of the invasion by getting drunk and vomiting - which are the sort of stuff I read these series for.

Marvel Zombies really intrigued me when it first came out, but it just wasn’t well thought-out. Some of the later projects, though, had a better flow. I liked the one with Machine Man. I know nothing of ‘Return’, though.

These days I’m reading -

DC: Adventure/Legion, Blackest Night (GL and tie-ins), Justice Society, the Jim Starlin space mini-series, and I’ll restart Justice League
Marvel: Deadpool, Ghost Rider, Thor, Nova, Guardians of the Galaxy, the Ultimate line, and I’ll be following Realm of Kings
Independent: PS 238 and Invincible

I’ve cut back a lot simply because I got tired of reading the same stories I read 30 years ago, and in some cases, even more poorly told. Still like the space and cosmic stuff, even when cheesy and poorly told, though, and I’ll always follow the Legion.

I’d recommend against it.

I’m very close to dropping it. Cry For Justice (James Robinson, the new writer, using mostly the same characters) is positively atrocious.

I’m probably going to keep reading just for the lineup - he does Mon-El well, and I’ve wanted Dick and Donna in the League (in Bruce and Diana’s places) forEVER - but I’ll drop it PDQ if it’s not better than CFJ.

Speaking of Justice Society, the upcoming split has me rather worried - I don’t like the apparent lineup of Magog’s team - Damage, Power Girl, Judomaster, and King Chimera, sure. But Stargirl? Cyclone? Citizen Steel? Tommy? Hourman I could see going either way, but those four, no way. And the fight that’s leading to the split is just making both sides of the split look like idiots. Which most of them aren’t. (Magog, ok, yeah, he’s ALWAYS come across as an idiot since meeting Gog, but the rest, not so much.)

That’s 3, written by Fred Van Lente, who also wrote 4.

Leading into explaining Return, explaining the others:

1 (Written by Robert Kirkman) is…well, it’s zombie superheroes.
2 (can’t remember the writer, and don’t have it at hand) is the last surviving humans setting up a new life in Wakanda. Set several decades after 1, and the founding of the new nation.
3 and 4 (both written by Fred van Lente) deal with the zombies invading Earth-616. 3 focuses on Machine Man. 4 focuses on Morbeus and his new Midnight Sons (Him, Jennifer Kale, Jack Russel, and Damon Hellstrom) trying to stop the zombies that have gotten through. It features a subplot with Undeadpool and Simon Garth.

Return is a 5 issue weekly by different teams each week, about the invasion of ‘Earth-Z’ (not the world from 1), featuring a few surviving zombies from 1 and 2. Each concentrates on a different character, each treated as a different era in that character’s regular characterization.

1 (Written by Fred van Lente) focuses on Spider-Man, looking very 70s. Art is by Nick Dragotta, who’s doing a very good aping of Romita sr. Includes a rather disturbing reference to Spider-Man No More.
2 (Written by David Wellington) focuses on Iron Man, at the height of Tony’s alcoholism. Set 1 year after issue 1.
3 (By Jonathan Mayberry) is…well, nominally about Wolverine, but it’s really about Kitty Pryde, while they were training in Japan. 2 years after issue 2.
4 (Seth Graham-Smith) is about Hulk, circa World War Hulk. Doesn’t say how long after issue 3 it is.


Most surprising thing for me this week was the REBELS Annual - I kinda expected to be disappointed, but I really enjoyed the background story on the ‘new’ Starro and some of his generals.

But…but…but…it’s got Mon-El. I need my Legion fix, and half of Adventure isn’t doing it. [/em shakes uncontrollably]

You know, it’s weird, I can’t stand the other stuff that Robinson is doing right now, but am really enjoying New Krypton.

On the other hand, the REBELS Annual which I expected to enjoy, fell flat for me. I’m buying REBELS to see the characters I enjoyed from LEGION. Instead, I’m getting retcon worldbuilding of the newest uber-menace in space, that has to have its cred established by punking the Dominators, Gil’dishpan, Despero, etc., etc., etc. Despite my enjoyment of Vril Dox, it’s no wonder sales would be slipping on this.

On the gripping hand, Batman & Robin continues to be freaky fun. I appreciate that Damian is an annoying character who nonetheless isn’t annoying to read about. Usually we get annoying characters that are also annoying to read about.

Hah…I say this, and the new CFJ comes out a few days later…and…it’s not atrocious.

It’s still not what it should be, but he’s remembered Ollie’s a bleeding heart, and Freddy displayed the Wisdom of Solomon.

Although he did forget that the shape-changing Clayfaces are pretty much impossible to kill.

The splash page at the end, though, is…amusing. Zatanna wearing the costume she wore for all of 1 issue of the Seven Soldiers series, the colorist apparently forgetting that Ronnie’s not Firestorm anymore and the new guy’s black…

Over in the Bat-books, I am so not digging Jason’s new look - the jacket and motorcycle-helmet looking headpiece looked so much better. But the return of red-haired Jason is a cute touch. (Though with the grey streak, he starts looking like Jason Blood or Jim Corrigan…)

Planetary #27 - nice, but underwhelming.

How could it NOT be after the wait for it? Almost exactly 3 years since the last issue.

Still, good ending. Drum’s discussion of the consequences of time travel was…well, it was certainly as scary as he said.

This week, Action Comics again annoyed me with the “World Without Superman” crap, as all of the non-New Krypton books are doing. Watching Lois’ father, Snidely Whiplash, go about his cliche plots is utterly boring. If they’re going to do this sort of thing, I expect over-the-top, cheeseball, scenery-chewing fun – Frank Langella as Skelletor, Tim Curry as Evil, James Earl Jones as Thulsa Doom, or Syndrome. There should be death-traps, and dialoging, and casual minion-killing, and maybe a girlfriend tossed into a refrigerator, or something. Anything to take it out of this dull, by-the-numbers retread of a plot.

Even more annoying is that New Krypton has actually turned General Zod into a nuanced, interesting opponent for Superman – when Zod was actually one of those fun, over-the-top villains in his Terence Stamp version.

Anyway, REBELS is back to interesting with Vril back in focus, although I’d’ve wished they would have followed more on the storyline of Vril hooking up with other LSH ancestors.

Adventure Comics was pretty solid, both stories. Krypto has been freakin’ adorable in this book, too. It’s interesting – I find both stories about the right length in both Detective Comics and Booster Gold, but I think Adventure could benefit by having both stories full-length.

Blackest Night continues to chug along solidly. BN: Bats needed more Damian, but I think this is the first time we’ve seen the Black Lantern rings do something power-ringish (other than rezzing their BL). GL Corps did very well with some callbacks to its own continuity, but did not rely on those callbacks so that new readers would not miss out on anything of the story if they hadn’t read earlier stories. (Lantern Ermey still makes me eyeroll, though)