Review: New Avengers #31

June 18, 2007

Brian Bendis, Leneil Yu
[Marvel Comics]
Rating: 8.2


Truth be told, I knew the big secret reveal at the end of the issue long before it hit stands. In this age of internet message boards, it was almost impossible to miss, actually. Rich Johnston even cleverly spoiled it over in his CBR column, which is usually pretty fair indication that the gossip you’re hearing has some basis in reality. And it jibed well with the foreshadowing Bendis did in his New Illuminati series, so… I did not have the “holy shit! I can’t believe they did that” moment many readers had, but that didn’t prevent me from enjoying the hell out of this issue, a nice changup after a couple months of boredom with the title…

Read the review after the breaky-break–

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All the news from Wizard Philly!!!

June 16, 2007


I’m not covering Wizard Philly live. This makes me sad. But luckily for us, Newsarama and CBR are doing the usual bang-up job covering the event, and I still have opinions.

So here’s some round the clock punditry to match those great panel discussion summaries:

Mark Waid returns to Flash: Sad as I am to see Marc Guggenheim go, this is probably the right call. The reality is the Flash reboot with Bart Allen in the suit just didn’t take with most fans. The reasons are myriad: DC didn’t have the guts or sense to kill Wally West, so there was never a clean changevoer. The first arc of the new series was botched horribly. Aging Bart was a strange creative choice. I could go on, but why?

The bottom line is the guy who most people feel is THE defining writer of this book is coming back to it. Like most fans, I’m pretty pleased with this news. But I think it only increases the chances that we’ll see Barry Allen, NOT Wally West, back in the suit. Its hard to imagine that Waid has any more stories about Wally to tell; the only way he’d likely come back is to take on a NEW challenge.

One thing I’ve found strange is the lack of a fandom drive to bring Wally back. Most talk about Barry, even though really, Wally became a much more interesting character. Any writer that takes on Barry (who could be a bit boring at times) has a lot of work to do, but the fans will be pulling for them. I think this may be a sort of Hal Jordan side effect. For a while there, DC was dedicated to making a generational shift in their titles: Wally West as Flash, Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern, Conner Hawke as Green Arrow… I was a big fan of this direction for DC (the best use of it being Morrison’s JLA), and I’m sad to see it fall by the wayside.

Amazing Spider-Man goes almost-monthly: I liked this news. Instead of 3 Spidey titles, we just get AMAZING 3 times a month. This wil no doubt be a big sales boost to Marvel, too– plenty of fans only bought Amazing (well, or FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD for the anti-Stracynski set) and skipped the other two. That’s no longer an option, which means these folks effectively just added two titles to their weekly pull lists (or I suppose they could just drop Spidey all-together or go with ULTIMATE instead).

To my ears, though, this would’ve been a much bigger and more exciting move if they’d decided to just go weekly, maybe with some scheduled off-weeks to ease the burden. As ballsy as 52 was, it would be even bigger to see a company make one of their existing top titles weekly. If this Spidey move works, look for this to happen on other books, somewhere. Top candidate: X-Men, which has 3 titles now (Uncanny, Astonishing, and Adjectiveless) which see uneven sales currently.

Terry Moore takes over Spider-Man loves Mary Jane: This one warmed my cold heart up. Mary Jane has been one of my favorite books for a long time now, and I was very worried about writer Sean McKeever’s exit. But Terry Moore, of STRANGERS IN PARADISE fame, is far and away the best possible replacement. No word on an artist yet, but I’m hopeful they’ll stick to the manga style, its a huge part of the book’s appeal.

I’d like to take moment to interrupt this self-important pundritry and urge all of you to go out and pick up the digest versions of this book. With all due respect to ULTIMATE, or FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD, this is the BEST Spidey book you can find, and one of the best ever. I pitch it to folks as the SMALLVILLE/BUFFY version of Spider-Man, and people seem to dig that description. Really, just a wonderful book, and the art is gorgeous.

Now, onto some amazing artwork after the break…

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Counting Down: Making Mary Marvel Mean

June 8, 2007

So, Newsarama has another edition of Counting Down with Mike Marts, and there’s a lot of discussion about DC’s move to darken Mary Marvel, one of comics’ most wholesome characters. On Comics should be Good, the legendary Jerry Ordway blogs that this is a pretty ill-advised move in the long run. We want to agree (the man does know the Marvel Family, after all), but this cover to COUNTDOWN #47 was pretty… umm… persuasive…

2007 Harvey Award Nominations

June 4, 2007

The 2007 Harvey Nominations are out, and we’ve got the whole list for you below the break. The awards will be presented on September 8th at the Baltimore Comic-Con.

Some highlights from our picks: Best Writer- Grant Morrison for All Star Superman, Best Cover Artist – J.G. Jones for 52, Best New Series- The Spirit, and Best Single Issue or Story- Pride of Baghdad.

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Friday Afternoon Round-Up: Hulk Squeeze edition

June 1, 2007

CBR has a preview of WORLD WAR HULK: X-MEN, in stores June 27th.

DANIA RAMIREZ (X-MEN, SOPRANOS) is joining the cast of HEROES as Maya– no word on her powers yet, though!

TV Squad’s got more details, via conference call, on the end of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA.

We’ve all got one less day to wait ’til TRANSFORMERS.

Stan Winston is doing the special effects for THE INCREDIBLE HULK.

Newsarama has another weekly interview with editor Mike Marts about COUNTDOWN.

They’ve also got an interview with FLASH writer Marc Guggenheim. Sadly, his other book, BLADE (which we dug) has just been cancelled.

Legend in Japanese horror legend HIDEO NAKATA (RINGU, DARK WATER) will direct INHUMAN, based loosely on a true story.

Its not all repeats: Sci-Fi has new episodes of STARGATE SG-1, STARGATE ATLANTIS, and PAINKILLER JANE tonight, starting at 8pm EST.

The Beat has a look at Marvel’s April sales figures.

Will Flash Die?

May 31, 2007

DC is getting ready for another CRISIS (rumored to be the “FINAL CRISIS”) event, right?

And we all know that in a CRISIS, a FLASH must die…


Well, maybe. After all, INFINITE CRISIS didn’t kill Wally West, really… he just sort of vanished, and DC never bothered to tell us where he went… that, along with a bumpy start to BART ALLEN’S run as FLASH, has a lot of fans clamoring for the return of Wally, or even better, BARRY ALLEN… with a movie in development that will almost certainly feature good ol’ Barry, its not hard to imagine, either.

But it might be a HUGE mistake, too. Marc Guggenheim just took over the writing chores on Flash, and I’ll be damned if he hasn’t turned it into a fun, exciting book again. Some fans are slowly but surely beginning to warm to young Bart.

Yeah, mistakes have been made (like the weird aging thing), and the lack of closure on Wally West’s fate certainly didn’t help matters– but the new team seems to genuinely GET the character, and it would be a shame if they had the rug pulled out from under them, just when they’re starting to get their footing.

So let’s hope there’s a little more to this story, and maybe DC gives this new Flash a little more time to win an audience. Guess we’ll find out eitherway in Flash #13. Maybe.

Cap #27 Preview

May 30, 2007

Feast your eyes on 4 pages from next month’s Captain America #27, courtesy of CBR.

Cap is possibly the best written monthly superhero comic out there right now… and the “Death of a Dream” storyline is going to go down as a classic… its not that we don’t miss Steve Rogers, but this look at one of the best supporting casts in all of comics– Bucky, Sharon Carter, The Falcon– is downright riveting.

You can also peek inside the mind of acclaimed scribe ED BRUBAKER with this very cool mp3 Word Balloon interview. If you’re digging Bru’s Cap, you owe it to yourself to pick up Criminal!

Annihilation: Conquest MySpace Preview

May 29, 2007

First off, I gotta say MySpace has been doing a great job with their new comics section, and it seems like they’re pushing it pretty hard. That great for bringing in new readers and getting books some decent exposure.

Today, they posted a preview of Marvel’s upcoming, highly-anticipated ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST. For my money, and I know I’m not alone here, the first ANNIHILATION epic was THE best crossover of the last few years. Better than CIVIL WAR. Better than INFINITE CRISIS. Better than HOUSE OF M, ONE YEAR LATER, or DECIMATION. The story had a grand sweep to it… you felt like it mattered… the heroes actually performed heroically… and best of all, it re-ignited Marvel’s cosmic characters and gave them momentum not seen since the Infinity Gauntlet days– the greater Marvel Universe is now a much more exciting and dangerous place, ripe for good stories.

ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST may not be as BIG a story as its predecessor, but it could up being just as cool, especially with great characters like Nova, new guy THE WRAITH, and, of course, fucking ROCKET RACCOON (seriously!) on board.