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Monday, April 4, 2011

Marvel Comics launches new Captain America series by Ed Brubaker and Steve McNiven

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Just got word from Marvel Comics that the company is launching a brand-new Captain America series in July — written by Ed Brubaker with art by Steve McNiven — starring (slight SPOILER ALERT) Steve Rogers as Cap.

I'm not at all surprised by the move, as Marvel really needed to get Steve back in the suit in time for the Captain America movie, which comes out this summer. Still, I am disappointed because I actually like Bucky Barnes in the Cap role. (Maybe there'll be two Caps?) And the solicitation for the first issue of the new series left me under-whelmed:

Steve Rogers is back as Captain America but when a mysterious figure from his past returns with the Sentinel of Liberty in his crosshairs, deadly secrets will surface—and send shockwaves through the lives of everyone Steve holds dear.

Does every Brubaker superhero comic book have the same plot? How many folks from the past have to return to plague today's heroes with deadly secrets? And let me guess, issue three or four will be an all-flashback story that takes place during WWII?

Come on Brubaker — give me something new.

OK, bitching session is over. Check out some covers for the upcoming comic:

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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SPOILER ALERT: I know who 'dies' in Fantastic Four 587

Posted By on Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 9:28 AM

I was all excited to pick up the latest issue (587) of the Fantastic Four today — because, if you read comics at all, in this issue one of the members bites the dust.

Of course the cynic in me knows that "death" in the world of comic books is a temporary thing and whoever dies will just be resurrected in a few years. That said, I've been enjoying writer Jonathan Hickman's story line in FF since he took over the scripting chores, so I was pretty sure that at the very least, the comic would be an entertaining read. And then, I get this press release from Marvel Comics that totally spoils the whole damned issue. So who dies? You really wanna know? OK, well scroll down the page (or click on the link) and I'll tell you ...

Continue reading »

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Friday, June 25, 2010

Artist Adam Hughes Runs into Charlotte tonight

Posted By on Fri, Jun 25, 2010 at 9:20 AM

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Geek alert: Superstar artist Adam Hughes is paying a visit to Charlotte this weekend. He's swinging through town to sign copies of his new art book Cover Run, which collects some of the incredible covers he's drawn for DC Comics over the years.

The actual signing event is Saturday at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find, but he'll be at the shop tonight for a pre-signing reception. Visit the Heroes website for all the details.

In the meantime — since I've been a fan of Hughes since his days on the Justice League — here are a few of my favorite Hughes-crafted pieces. (Yeah, he likes drawing women.):

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Quickie comic review: Bram Stoker's Death Ship: The Last Voyage of the Demeter No. 1

Posted By on Tue, May 18, 2010 at 7:27 PM

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Bram Stoker's Death Ship: The Last Voyage of the Demeter No. 1

Published by IDW. Written by Gary Gerani. Art by Stuart Sayger.

The Deal: IDW presents the untold tale of the Demeter, the ship that was last seen in Bram Stoker's horror classic Dracula; if you remember, the Demeter was the cargo ship that unknowingly transported Count Dracula across the ocean to England. Well, this is the story of the crew that got sucked dry by the legendary vampire. (Get that mind out of the gutter!)

The Verdict: The story was fairly interesting, but the art — which looked way too washed out and was rife with storytelling problems (Those wordless panels just don't work for every artist, ya know.) — made it difficult to enjoy this comic.

Reviewed materials provided by Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Quickie comic review: Booster Gold No. 32

Posted By on Mon, May 17, 2010 at 6:32 PM

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Booster Gold No. 32

Written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis. Pencils by Chris Batista. Inks by Rich Perrotta.

The Deal: The writing team of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis — known for their acclaimed Justice League run — has taken over the creative reins of Booster Gold. And they seem to be taking the comic in a new direction — one that ties into the bi-weekly comics Brightest Day and Justice League: Generation Lost.

The Verdict: A few months ago, I put Booster Gold on my list of "Comics I Hate," so I was obviously skeptical when it came time to read this re-launch issue. Well, I'm happy (and shocked) to report that not only was this comic entertaining as hell, it was also one of the best comics that Giffen and DeMatteis have turned out in years. The issue contained everything you might have loved about those great old issues of Justice League International: humor, action, tragedy, great dialogue and great characterization. They even managed to pen an interesting time travel story (which I typically hate). On the art-side of things, Chris Batista also banged some of his best pencils ever, showcasing some exciting action sequences and some incredible moments of raw emtion. I can honestly say that I'm amazed by how good the comic was.

Reviewed materials provided by Heroes Aren't Hard to Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Last week's best comic: iZombie No. 1

Posted By on Tue, May 11, 2010 at 2:17 PM

The best comic book released last week, hands down, was Vertigo's brand-new horror/comedy iZombie No. 1. I wrote about it in my regular weekly column — check out the full review.

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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Free Comic Book Day must-haves

Posted By on Tue, Apr 27, 2010 at 7:55 PM

This week is a big one for comic fans. Not only are books coming out on Wednesday like normal, but a bunch of titles are also hitting shops this Saturday (May 1) as part of the annual comic-centric "holiday" of sorts — Free Comic Book Day.

Here in Charlotte, the folks at Heroes Aren't Hard to Find are, again, bringing in a bunch of artists to do sketches and sign stuff; the folks at the shop are also hosting a cool art show (featured on the cover of this week's Creative Loafing).

Now, when it comes to the actual comics being given away this year, I'll be picking up everything. I mean, they are FREE. Still, there are a few books I'm more excited about than others. Here's my list of FCBD must-haves:

Doctor Solar/Magnus: Consider this issue (with two stories) the opening salvo of legendary writer Jim Shooter's new superhero line at Dark Horse Comics. It's been a hot minute since Dark Horse published a line of superhero books, and the company has smartly paired Shooter with some of characters he has real history with.

Fractured Fables: From Jim Valentino's Shadowline imprint at Image comes a comic that seems like real all-ages fun.

Mouse Guard/Fraggle Rock: Again, this issue is meant to get readers excited about the new Fraggle Rock series and the acclaimed comic Mouse Guard. I'm curious.

War of the Supermen No. 0: I'm interested to see how this story line starts up. If it's good, I'll buy the upcoming issues.

DC Kids Mega-Sampler: This was a fun read at last year's FCBD, so I'm in for 2010.

Bongo: Free-For-All: Gotta love the Simpsons!

Artifacts: First Look: I don't read a lot of Top Cow comics, but — damn — what have I got to lose?

Oni Press Free-For-All!: Should be good stuff.

G.I. Joe #155 ½: I haven't been too excited over most of the modern day revamps of G.I. Joe, but this one seems fun. It's written by longtime Joe scribe Larry Hama and picks up the continuity of the Marvel series that ended a looooong time ago. And No. 155 ½ is a herald for a new series over at IDW.

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Monday, April 26, 2010

What's really wrong with James Robinson's Justice League of America

Posted By on Mon, Apr 26, 2010 at 6:11 PM

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Just read an interview on Newsarama with writer James Robinson about his current stint on the Justice League of America.

In case you haven't read his run yet, it is absolutely dreadful, and it features the WORST JLA lineup (the Dick Grayson version of Batman, Donna Troy, the "disco" Starman and Congorilla ... that's it!) since the Detroit iteration back in the day.

Anyway, I was reading the interview and Robinson said something that really struck to the heart of the problem with the title:

"One of the things about this book is it's always going to feel like it's right in the heart of the DC Universe."

That's an erroneous way to approach the book and is one the reasons why the teams roster changes so much. By trying to tie it so much to current DC continuity — which is always shifting and moving — then the book is sort of handcuffed by the whims of dozens of different creators on a bunch of divergent comics. So if Superman is in outer space for a story arc in his own book, then he's missing from the JLA for just as longer ... maybe longer. (The worst example of this was during Dwayne McDuffie's run not too long ago.)

And make no mistake, the JLA is DC's "Big Seven" — Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and The Flash — and any change to that lineup is merely an aberration that can't last long.

Now, I'm not saying the JLA should totally avoid continuity. I'm just saying that the team's adventures work best when they take place between story line's on the individual members' own books — not during.

That's my take.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

J. Michael Straczynski's (bad) ideas for his upcoming run on Wonder Woman

Posted By on Thu, Apr 15, 2010 at 3:18 PM

I just read a post on Newsarama.com about the new direction on Wonder Woman (starting with issue 601), as directed by the new creative team of J. Michael Straczynski and artist Don Kramer — and honestly, I'm worried. Here's a quote from JMS himself about his upcoming run:

"Our story puts Diana, alone, against almost impossible odds in a situation that begins with the destruction of Paradise Island and nearly everything she holds dear,” added JMS. “Pursued, hunted, with the events that led to this a mystery, and her future uncertain, Diana must go into the depths of her soul, and the darkest places in the world, to try and rescue the people, and the world, she cares for. Something, or someone, has flipped a switch so that the world she lives in is not the world that was...and she's the only hope of restoring that world."

Sounds like a really bad idea. I mean, how many times does Paradise Island need to be destroyed? This seems to happen all the time. Does anyone even remember what made the place cool in the first place?

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That "destructive" train of thought makes me think about everything that's wrong with DC these days; every creative team is so anxious to tear everything down, kill people, etc. What Wonder Woman really needs is great stories and great art. That's it.

Speaking of art, Don Kramer is talented, but I don't really think he's the right guy for Wonder Woman. If DC is really committed to getting WW to icon status again, I think they need to get a big-name artist on the book.

I hope JMS and Kramer both prove me wrong, but I doubt it. That's my two-cents.

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Comic book review: X-Force No. 25

Posted By on Thu, Apr 8, 2010 at 12:46 PM

Published by Marvel Comics. Written by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost. Art by Clayton Crain.

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In the latest issue of Marvel’s X-Force (No. 25), writers Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost seem to be wrapping up a bunch of dangling plot lines, putting to close much of what they started rolling in the first issue of the series. And all that has me reflecting on how much I’ve enjoyed this iteration of the team.

Now I know there are many folks out there who consider this a mindless action book — or just clump it with millions of other X-books out there. But, I contend that, so far, X-Force has proved to be one of Marvel’s most entertaining mutant comics.

Sure, the title is filled with action. And blood. Lots of blood. After all, this team has been “sanctioned” by Cyclops to do what no other X-crew has been able to do: kill bad guys with extreme prejudice. And while Kyle and Yost don’t explore the legal ramifications of hacking folks to death on a monthly basis, they do examine the emotional consequences of murder — especially with members like Warpath, Wolfsbane, and X-23.

For the last two years, we’ve seen how Warpath and Woflsbane have been transformed and mentally tortured by the act — even when it’s been a necessity — of killing “evil” people. And we’ve seen X-23, on the other hand, NOT be affected by her homicidal tendencies … and Wolverine’s concern over her cold bloodlust.

By the end of this month’s edition, much of the team is gone — kicked out or, having come to terms with their actions, choosing to leave on their on accord. I’m interested to see where the series goes now — after its inevitable tie-in with the X-Men’s newest gargantuan crossover “Second Coming.” Hopefully it’ll be as good as what’s been published to date.

This review is also set to appear on the Heroes Aren't Hard to Find blog this week. I write reviews for that site — and those reviews never really appear on this blog, so check it out to read more of my stuff (I know you just looooovvve my work).

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