Weekly Comic Book Discussion 8/12/2004

Sorry it’s late. I’m sick. Bleh.

Will post my stuff later.

All I picked up from this week was Identity Crisis #3. Very interesting, but I’ll leave it to the vets to comment further.

The other items I picked up were Superman/Batman #7 and JLA: Elites #1.

Light week for me. One comic and one mag.

MK Spider-Man #5: Ya know, I pretty disappointed with this series. Millar is not the right man to be writing Spider-Man. It seems like he just wants to see how many bad guys he can throw at SM for no good reason. I do admire his use of recent continuity at, least, regarding the fellow at the airport. But it just reminds me of what I mess about Marvel Comics inthe past 5 years or so: tight continuity. If a world shattering event occurs in one series (Asgard hovers over NYC, Kang conquers the world, etc) it should at least be mentioned in passing in other series. Same holds true especially for single characters with mult books. We will see no mention of Aunt May being kidnapped (yet again) in the other books. If it happened over the course of 3-4 days, sure don’t bother, but this seems like it’s been going on for a while…there should be ramifications in other titles.
Ok, I’m off my rant now. And on to another…

ToyFare: I only bring this up because I have to bemoan the decision to stop putting Big Shots in the price guide. A) They were my second favorite part of the magazine, but mainly B) Recently, TF would run Blank Shots on the Wizard website and give readers a chance to submit their own captions, the winner being published in a month or so. Well, the month they decide to stop printing them in the mag is the month yours truly won! Gaaaaaah!!! If you can find it on the site, it was one with Martian Manhunter and He-Man. Sigh.

WARNING! This post contains mild spoilers for Identity Crisis #3.
IDENTITY CRISIS #3 continues to blow me away, maybe moreso since me being a fan of the old '70s DCU stories. I love how Neltzer is taking pre-Crisis events (this time, an old JLA encounter with the Secret Society of Super-Villains) and fitting them into the context of a current story. I was a little taken aback as to just how virtually how powerful Deathstroke is continually depicted. I liked using Green Arrow’s POV during the opening pages & showing Deathstroke yet another use for an arrow. (Coincidentally, I had the old JLA issues handy where they fought the Secrety Society of Super-Villains; the past event depicted in this issue. It was a three-parter from JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #s 166-168. The only difference was Wonder Woman’s role in the story was replaced now by Black Canary due to the '80s retcon.) Naturally, the more sinister events revealed in IC#3, didn’t happen in the original books. Eerily, there’s an in-house ad in JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #168 for FLASH #275, the issue where Iris is killed by Professor Zoom, both issues are cover dated the same (Sept. 1979) And where’s Batman? Hmmm. Would it follow if he’s DCU’s resident detective, that our mystery villain got him somehow out of the way early?

I was pretty bummed that BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT #183 and NIGHTWING #96 brought polybagging back to comics. Both issues contained a trailer/game disc for the Sky Captain movie. (I couldn’t seem to get mine to work properly. All I got was still shots of the film with different crop cuts.) The pacing of the story seems a little slow for my taste and I’m already lost on who’s who among the various Gotham mobs. Devin Grayson gives up the usual well-done Dick introspection bits and Tarantula has followed Nightwing to Gotham. Surprise, surprise.

I give my “Best Cover of the Week” award to DC COMICS PRESENTS FLASH that was done by Alex Ross. IMO this has been the best of the “tribute” issues to Julius Schwartz so far, which probably is the closest to the mark of the series original intention.

The second best cover goes to JSA #64 with Sandman (no, the OTHER one) blowing sleeping sand in my face. Shades of Brian Bolland with the Evan Van Sciver cover. Shades of the All-Star Squadron and Infinity, Inc. with Jerry Ordway doing the interior art.

I agree with Max’s continuity point on MK: SPIDER-MAN #5, which to me came off as a typical “Peter Parker having multiple personal problems” issue. However, I loved Frank Cho’s artwork and when you got MJ and Black Cat in the book, there’s four BIG things going for you right there! Take note, Liberty Meadows/Frank Cho fans.

The pop-art-ish covers continue on CAPTAIN AMERICA #30. I’ve had more interest in the title since Diamondback has returned and the speculation whether she’s gonna backstab Cap or not. All the fun Gruenwald-type stuff appears to be back now and though it may have been done before, there’s a fresh take on it and I find it appealing.

gotta save the rest until after Wizard World Con

Ethan Van Sciver. - Ordinarily, I’d let this slide, but he’s been a favorite of mine since someone first recommend his Cyber-Frog to me. :wink:

GI JOE Reloaded #6 - Excellent use of the Baroness. What more do you need?

Spectacular Spider-Man #18 - Got this because it ties into the Avengers breakdown, and I’ve always been fascinated by the aspects of Peter’s career that focused on him as part of a team. Yeah. Unfortunately, aside from a Captain America cameo, not much crossover going on here. Humberto Ramos does good work though on pencils.

X-Force #1 - Yes, I’m a sucker. Yes, I have the entire frigging run of the last X-Force series. Sigh. Just kinda wanted to catch up on things with Cable, Domino, Shatterstar - not a bad book, but nothing special so far.

Action Comics #818 - Art Adams does such good work. He’s just got the cover honors though. Ivan Reis takes the interior - and does a pretty good job. I like the notion of this temporarily vulnerable Superman. As long as it’s temporary.

JLA #103 - Pain of the Gods. What a good story arc title. Because you could torture a few Olympians with the dribblings of Chuck Austen’s mind.

Legion #37 - I really really like this story arc. I didn’t know Timberwolf had that power though.

Alpha Flight #6 - Whee! An old-school anticlimax. Fits a humor book, kinda. Glad to see that we’ll be sticking with the team of misfits for a while, though, without sacrificing the previous team.

**Teen Titans #14 **- Wow. We’re getting Beast Boy backstory. Beast Boy! Too cool.

JSA #64 - Hm. Nice to see Brute and Glob. Would’ve liked to have seen a cameo from the Endless here, though. Very nice use of Cave Carson.

Bite Club #5 - Ahhhh, the nouveau-Corleone finally comes into his role.

Invincible #14 - Still the best superhero book around, I think. Good blend of drama and comedy.

Powers #3 - Jeez. They’re cranking these out fast. Quality hasn’t suffered though.

Fables #28 - I loved this book. After the chaos of the big Fabletown war last issue, we’re thrown into a Flashback that reveals some of the backstory of our favorite constable.

**Knights of the Dinner Table #94 - Quite lovely. Glad to see the story arc wrapping up…
Identity Crisis #3
- An intriguing look behind the scenes at some past tales of the JLA. A knock-down drag-out fight with the world’s deadliest assassin. Didn’t quite buy the interference with Kyle’s ring, but apart from that… excellent issue.

I kind of get the impression that the Batman is doing some behind-the-scenes detective work. The explanation given for him not being at Sue’s funeral was that he was in the Batcave running tests. Robin has been a fairly conspicuous presence in the series. Also, Superman and Wonderwoman, who are the other two biggest mainstays in the DC Universe, have had little more than cameo appearances. Given the fact that Batman is self-admittedly deep down inside, not a good person, I have a feeling that he might not necessarily disapprove of the Zatannabotomies of selected villians, thus his presence wouldn’t create a lot of dramatic friction. However, given the fact that he is so frequently mentioned, especially in Ollie’s narration, I’d be willing to bet that he will be playing a larger role in the later issues.
And speaking of Robin… (I’m going to spoilerbox this in case someone has been following the Batman titles and missed an issue or three) [spoiler]

What the hell is Tim Drake doing being Robin in this series? Given that this story is running more or less concurrently with the storyline in the Batman titles that had Tim hanging up the cape and tights because his father couldn’t deal with him being Robin to the extent of his threatening Bruce Wayne at gunpoint to persuade him to fire his youthful sidekick, and Tim turning in his cape and tights the same day… hello, continuity?

If they had used Stephanie as Robin, at least a reader could mentally sandwich her presence in between the time she took over the role and the time Batman canned her ass.

I’m generally not a stickler for continuity in comic books because with the fact that the timelines in the stories seem to be about a month to a decade, and the fact that there is so much crossover between storylines, at some point, continuity is going to go out the window. Also, I can understand why they would want to have the interaction between Tim and Jack Drake with the father worrying about his son risking his life on a nightly basis in light of Sue’s (and now Jean’s) murder, but having the two stories running almost simultaneously is creating a congnitive disconnect that is making it a bit difficult for me to enjoy what is truly an excellent story. [/spoiler] I am a little disturbed by Green Arrow’s complicity in the mind-tweaking of Dr. Light, et al, though. I just got done reading Quiver, and I’ve long been aware of Oliver’s intensely liberal leanings. It strikes me as being a bit out of character for him to be in favor of having someone having, erm, psychiatric care forced upon them against their will, even if they do suffer from raging ASSPD. If it had been some governmental body doing the same, he surely would have been screaming something about fascism.

Okay, now I’m confused. In the panels that show Deathstroke being manhandled by everyone once they’ve taken him down, Dr. Light has a flashback of himself being taken down - that’s where he utters “You stole my mind!” (or something).

Batman’s in that flashback, is he not?

He is indeed. OK, now for the weird part.

I’m sitting here with I.C. 2 & 3, side by side and…

The flashback panel and the panel that shows the original seven conspirators bringing Dr. Light down are, in fact, the same panel. Except that the flashback panel has been slightly cropped, colored with sepia tones, and* Batman has been drawn into it*.

The plot thickens.

On reread, I realize that Ollie was one of the conspirators who was originally against the Zatannabotomy of Dr. Light, so I retract my previous statement.

Who did Batman replace in the picture? Could it have been a mistake?

No mistake, and he didn’t replace anyone.

This was not a new drawing. It was definitely the original panel from part two, recolored, and with Batman drawn in. If you really look, he seems a bit awkwardly placed, and isn’t actively holding onto Dr. Light. He looks squeezed into the picture.

He was drawn into the panel in a bit of mostly empty space between Black Canary and Dr. Light.

By any chance did any of you pick up Dark Horse’s “The Hire” this week? I can’t quite decide whether the idea of a miniseries based on BMW short films is brilliant or mad, but the words “written and illustrated by Matt Wagner” definitely caught my eye.

My one purchase, which arrived today from Amazon.com , was the Less Than Heroes TPB by David Yurkovich. You can read all about it on his website for Sleeping Giant Comics:


Yurkovich draws black-and-white comics in a quirky style that I can’t really compare to anyone else. His writing, however, is hilarious. He writes irreverent superhero tales full of humor and surrealism, that I can mostly compare to Ben Edlund’s classic 12-issue run on The Tick, or the superhero “sitcom” of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’ Justice League International. I’d highly recommend his work to any fans of the above.

Yurkovich’s heroes (Cosmopolitan, Meridian, Recoil, and Mr. Malevolence) are lazy, ineffectual, and obsessed with snack foods. Seriously. Food plays a large role in the Less Than Heroes TPB (collecting his original miniseries Threshold), and later works in the same “shared universe,” such as Death By Chocolate and The Broccoli Agenda. This is What You Want, but you’re probably reading Teen Titans instead.

If it helps any, one of the Julie Schwartz comics, the Phantom Quarterback one, is significant originally because it has the introduction of Steve Lombard, quarterback and general pain in the neck to Clark Kent for years. Also, the story inside had a phantom quarterback.

I think the implication is: The heroes who dicked around withother people’s memories have, in turn, had their own memories dicked with. Bruce and Clark may be complicit somehow.
Is anybody but me reading Challengers of the Unknown? Is the coincidental release of Manchurian Candidate a good or bad thing for Chaykin here?

Oh, and in the category of “My God, what was he thinking?” I picked up the deluxe edition of JLA/Avengers this week. Expensive, but lovely.

I seriously doubt that Big Blue would go along with anything like messin’ wit’ people’s heads in the way the conspirators did. Bruce, on the other hand, even if he wasn’t actually voting in favor, would likely not disapprove.

Originally, we were shown seven conspirators, six evenly divided on the issue of mindfucking Dr. Light, with Barry Allen casting the tiebreaking vote.

My current theory is that Bruce was on the satellite that night, but when it got down to it, refused to take a stand on the issue. So the vote would have been four to three, with one abstaining. Which actually would have been a good political move- Batman is part of the DCU’s holy trinity, and it would probably have been a very bad thing for someone who is part of the de facto leadership of the JLA to give his vote in favor of what might be considered an immoral act. It would have amounted to JLA sanction, and the JLA just doesn’t do that sort of thing. OTOH, being a vengeful sort of guy, on a personal level, he would probably think it was a good idea.

So, he would have refused to vote, but agreed to keep quiet about the conspiracy, in return for which, the others would agree that he was not on the satellite that night. So, when Ollie told Wally the story, he omitted the detail of Batman’s presence, in large part because even if he was an abstaining voter, his silence would have amounted to consent.

Anyhoo, that’s my wildass theory. If anyone has a better one, and I’m sure someone does, have at it.

Something else happened that night(s), and they had Bats wipe *their * memories of that something as well. (How, I have no idea. Maybe the power ring?)

Dunno. I suppose it’s possible, but it seems unlikely. Unless he persuaded Zatanna to make everyone else forget he was there, possibly including himself, but who would make Z forget he was there? And would all six of them sit still for that?

Anyhoo, I do think it’s highly significant that three issues into the series, we haven’t seen Batman yet, except in a flashback to a scene that, to all appearances, he wasn’t originally a part of.

Does Identity Crisis #3 have its own thread yet? It might need it. I’ve been mentally cataloging other potential targets for the killer. Dinah Lance, maybe?

As my nearest comic book shop has now closed down I now get my comics delivered monthly, so I won’t get Identity Crisis 3 or the beginning of war games until the beginning of September :frowning:

I wish I could join in as I really enjoyed IC 1 & 2.

Maybe I should start a monthly comic book thread?