Weekly Comic Book Discussion 8/5/2004

Well, crud. One of the boxes being shipped to my local store had a mishap, so I didn’t yet get my copies of Swamp Thing or Exiles.

I compensated by picking up the second Authority TPB (Under New Management) - and I get the sinking feeling I’m going to be buying all of them, plus Stormwatch.

Short list for me this week (and sorry for not commenting last week on my longest list yet, I was at a wedding).

**Ultimate Nightmare ** - interesting. Not a lot at this point to comment on, other than: Who’s the dude with the wings?

Batman 12cent Adventure - not sure if I’m going to be following a 3 month multi-title story on a character I’m not following, but hey, it was 12 cents! (I bought 3 of them.)

DC Presents: Superman - Frankly, I’m now buying anything with “Darwyn Cooke” listed on it. I’m absolutely in love with his artwork. As a bonus, it’s Stan Lee’s first Superman story (he’s not very good actually, is he?).

You’ll have to tell me about Ultimate Nightmare, I’m afraid.

As for Stan “the Man” Lee - he suffers from, I think, outdated sensibilities. He has trouble relating to the modern state of comics.

The highlight of my visit to the comic store this week was a collection the owners had just bought… I got to hold a Giant-Size Man-Thing!

Had to do it. But there were significant issues of the GSMT - including #1, and the first appearance of Howard the Duck.

There was also a Giant-Size X-Men #1 that I got to hold… so sweeeet.


World communications go down, some funky transmission of screaming aliens is being broadcast, and people all over the world are killing themselves. Xavier and Jean Grey are going bonkers, because it’s apparently some sort of mind message that they’re getting 10-fold. Turns out that it’s coming from somewhere in Russia.

Nick Fury gets a team together (website says Cap’n, Black Widow and Sam Wilson(?)) and gives Xavier a call. That’s pretty much where it ends.

Website goes further to say that Xavier, Grey, Wolverine, and Colossus get to play. It’s a 5 parter.

Ah. Thank you. And I think you just answered your own question, in all probability.

Sam Wilson, AKA ‘the Falcon’, is a second-tier Marvel character - sometime Avenger, he functions as an off-and-on ‘sidekick’ of sorts to Captain America in the core Marvel Universe. I wasn’t aware of any Ultimate incarnation of him up till now.

He’d probably be the winged guy.

Ultimate Nightmare: Not a whole lot going on yet. The dude with the wings is Sam Wilson, The Falcon. It could be a good story, but right now it’s a bit confusing. I assume it will all become clearer as it goes along. I guess we’re supposed to be as confused as the characters. Basic story is back in the early 20th century there was an unexplained explosion in a remote area of Russia. According to Ult Night, it was some sort of meteor/warning from outer space (possibly made of Atmospherium…not really, but I just watched Lost Skeleton of Cadavra and wanted to add that)

Ultimate Spider-Man: Bendis seems to have put more into this issue than most others. Not any action, mind you, but a lot more stuff. Overall I’m not thrilled with this arc though and thought the whole Gwen thing was kind of a let down.

Ulitmate X-Men: I like it so far. Ult Gambit seems a little different than his previous appearance, but they do try to explain it a little. Though I think the bit about him losing his Cajun accent is merely Vaughn’s way of saying “I can’t consistantly remember to give Gambit an accent.” I don’t think one card should have as much power as it’s shown to have, but other than that, I like his handling.

OHOTMU 2004: Hulk: haven’t even opened it yet, but if it’s anything like the previous ones, hooray for old style Handbook format. NOT pleased with the fact that Wolverine gets his own Handbook though. He was already in X-Men’s

Is it just me or has Nick Fury made a huge revival in the last year? Maybe I was just missing all his appearances but I always thought of him as a minor background character in the Marvel universe. But in the last few months it seems like he’s been in more comic books than Spiderman. Apparently Betsy Ross is really earning her publicist fees.

Ug. My comic shop got fewer than expected, so I didn’t get one. I’ll try another shop today durring my lunch hour. Fingers crossed.

Guess what 80% of my pull list consists of? I mean, not that I’m a rabit Batman fan or anything, really, he’s just a rich guy with lots of toys, lots of martial arts training, and lots of…

Anyhoo, don’t decide not to follow War Games until you’ve read Detective Comics #797 The second part looks like this story is going to be really intense.

In other comic news, The Ballad of Sleeping Beauty part two is out, and speaking of intense stories. I think I’m going to prowl the comic shops and see if there’s another copy of the freebie first issue around, because mine has some signs of wear, and I’d like a mint copy. I think some Beckett titles are going to be joining my pull list in the not-too-distant future.

The Ultimate Universe version is based on Sam ‘Bad Motherfucker’ Jackson. Every line a dialogue, I mentally add Sam’s voice and cadence. makes for a breezy read, I tell you.

Let’s see… what else did I get this week? Forgot to do the complete list yesterday, thanks to City of Heroes, but some more I remember…

City of Heroes #3 - You know, as comics go, it’s not bad. If I weren’t involved with the game it probably wouldn’t hold my interest enough to buy it, but it has much higher production values than I’d expect from what is, essentially, a freebie.

Justice League Elite #2 - I may be in danger of reversing my decision not to like this series. There’s some great character-stuff with Flash and Green Arrow here, and Major Disaster is a riot. Still seems quite a bit different from the Major Disaster who headed up Justice League Antarctica - but that’s only to be expected.

I’m amazed they aren’t paying royalties to Jackson for using his likeness.

Hello all, newbie to the board here, but long-time (decades) comics fan. I loved reading everyone’s opinions and thoughts. I’ll try not spoil the overall story with my comments.

As the BATMAN: 12-cent ADVENTURE is an inexpensive jumping on point for the non-Bat readers and non-regular Bat readers, I thought the regular Bat-readers had to put up with a LOT of flashback/story capsules to bring everyone up to speed with current events. I thought it was hard as hell trying to decipher some of the Steph/Spoiler “diary notebook” cursive lettering. I agree that there seems to be some foreshadowing here which will make or break the character’s future. I did like the Alfred/Batman banter (though even in sarcastic jest, I don’t think Batman would ever suggest replacing Alfred). I was a little perplexed as to why the Nightwing/Tarantula scene didn’t mesh with the conclusion of the last issue of Nightwing since Devin Grayson wrote BOTH books. The last issue of Nightwing concluded with Dick getting a last second cell phone call from Bats that halts his “wedding.” Here, Alfred calls Nightwing when the two appear to fighting goons in broad daylight. Kinda odd I thought.

This led me to DETECTIVE COMICS #797. For better or worse, we’re having Orpheus shoved down our throat now as a consistent presence in Gotham now. There was Batgirl. There was mob wars. There was chaos. Somewhere Batman made a nice rescue. I was more drawn to the Riddler/Poison Ivy backup story, than I was the main feature. I thought the last panel was offensively cliched with a tv reporter something akin to “Gee folks, I don’t know if even Batman can handle what’s next.” (So come back and buy next weeks comics, natch!) I think it’s enough already with Gotham media saying “Is Batman a myth?” BS. This isn’t the 1989 movie, and you can’t have it BOTH ways from one arc to the next. I can’t believe that all the reporters (tv, radio, print; some who I would think would have held their jobs for decades), in a large metropolitan city as LARGE as Gotham, in the 21st century, are still questioning whether Batman is a myth or not. We can’t always be stuck in “Year One,” okay? I did like the lettering in the caption boxes that was reminiscent of the early '40s Batman stories and something I haven’t seen since the Englehart/Rogers run.

Though I haven’t read all of my stack this week, the book I enjoyed the most so far has been JUSTICE LEAGUE ADVENTURES #34. Granted, the cover really has nothing to do with the story inside. Only Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman are the main characters. A popular DCU villain comes from the future (aged quite a bit) to finish off Bats and Supes, and remants of their origins (a piece of the rocket ship and a shell casing) are key pieces to the story. I think it’d be unfair to say that writer Stuart Moore borrows from Jeph Loeb here, but the comparisons are easy to make if you’re a regular reader of Superman/Batman. **IMO, the last two pages of the story are probably as gripping and touching than ANY other DC (or any other) comic this week, maybe this month. I don’t think this is a bad title and it certainly isn’t a “kiddie book.” This title recently good guest-starred older characters from the DCU like Adam Strange, Kamandi, and the Phantom Stranger.

I may not be a typical comic reader. I’ve been reading Bendis and Millar’s independant series all along but it was only recently I realized they were also writing “mainstream” books for Marvel. So I’ve recently been getting back into some Marvel and DC series after having not read any for several years.

Which means in some cases I’m completely lost. I just picked up the first two issues of the Justice League Elite miniseries and the only characters I recognize are Green Arrow and the Flash. I think I recognize Deathstroke as a Teen Titans villain but I don’t really remember anything about him and he apparently isn’t the same person anyway. Am I suppose to know who these other people are?

Same thing with Outsiders. I recognize Nightwing and Arsenal (although both have changed much since I last saw them). But I have no idea who the other characters are.

I picked up the Batman 12 cents premiere. While I can see there is a lot of exposition people like me need it. I know Dick Grayson had become Nightwing and Jason Todd was killed but I have virtually no idea what the backstory is with Tim and Stephanie other than the bare basics that they were both Robin for a while.

As I said above, I’ve also been picking up some of the Ultimate trade paperbacks which work just fine for me. Because they’re re-doing the origins of well known characters I don’t get lost in references to things I missed that happened five years ago. Is the whole Ultimate revision supposed to replace the standard Marval universe or is it just a really big bunch of “What If” miniseries?

Kasumi, Miss Black (who impersonates Deathstroke), and Coldcast (and insect-girl) are relatively new, relatively minor characters all.

Manitou Raven (Indian mystic) was a recently-introduced character relatively speaking, but has been in the core Justice League for a little while.

Major Disaster used to be a second-tier villain, who joined the core JL after reforming from his life of crime.

Hm. Mostly new characters here, except Jade and Huntress.

It’s an alternate universe, like the What If? stuff in some respects, but they’re not miniseries, they’ll ongoing. It isn’t going to replace the core Marvel Universe though.

And the rest :

Majestic #1 - Wildstorm’s Mr. Majestic, a Superman analogue if ever there was one, stranded in the DCU. I only wish I knew more about him - while Maj has a much harder edge than Superman, and lower tolerance for weakness - the internal thought balloons and the creative uses of his powers reminded me very much of the Early-80’s Superman. Not sure why, but I liked it.
Firestorm #4** - They explain where Ron Raymond is in #6. I’m waiting until then to drop the book.

Birds of Prey #71 - Black canary’s observations on Superman and the revelation of the ‘bad guy’ behind the cult are both entertaining. Nice to see Vixen too.

Blue Monday : Painted Moon #2 - I don’t know why this book amuses me as much as it seems to.

Swamp Thing #6 - Reset Button! Swamp Thing divested of his omnipotence. But in a somewhat plausible way. I suppose that’s the only way one could continue to tell stories about him.

Exiles #50 - Intriguing set-up for what promises to be an interesting arc.

Authority TPB : Earth Inferno and Other Stories - Love this book. Wish I’d read it while it was coming out new.

Majestic is portrayed as being as powerful as Superman, as smart as Reed Richards, and just as arrogant as both of them would be in the “real” world with their strength and smarts, respectively. He is the warlord Majestros, born on the planet Khera thousands of years ago–the same world that gave rise to several characters from the Wildstorm Universe: Zannah (Zealot), Kenesha (Savant), and Lord Emp (Jacob Marlowe).

He first appeared in an early WildC.A.T.s story by Chris Claremont, reprinted in the out-of-print TPB WildC.A.T.s: A Gathering Of Eagles. After that, Majestic and Savant led a new WildC.A.T.s team on Earth after the original team was thought to be dead (although they had really gone to Khera). Alan Moore wrote those stories, reprinted in the Homecoming and Gang War TPBs. One of their recruits was TAO, the Tactically Augmented Organism, who went on to become a major character in the comic Sleeper. (I won’t spoil the fun for you, but there are some awesome twists between Moore’s WildC.A.T.s and Ed Brubaker’s Sleeper.)

Majestic was portrayed as old-fashioned, as he was a superhero on Earth during the 1950s and even served on Team One, the Wildstorm team that predated WildC.A.T.s AND Stormwatch. He often lamented how times had changed during the Alan Moore issues, and disapproved when teammates Savant and TAO started a relationship. In a short story by Moore in WildC.A.T.s #50 (not reprinted in the TPBs, but an important “wrap-up to loose ends”), Majestic invents and assembles a high-tech weapon in a matter of milliseconds during a battle where it is needed, suggesting for the first time he is as smart as he is strong and arrogant.

Joe Casey, the current Wildcats writer, wrote a Mr. Majestic comic for a while, I assume around 1998-2000. I haven’t read it, but I heard some of it is quite good. Casey, who also wrote Superman, was largely responsible for making Majestic more like a Superman figure for the Wildstorm Universe, rather than an uber-powerful jerk like Supreme was before Alan Moore revamped that character. There is a Mister Majestic TPB reprinting the entire Casey series, which I think only ran for 10 issues, and a short story by… Alan Moore!

After that, I have no idea how Majestic ended up in the DCU, so you’re on your own for that!