Monday, December 22, 2008

Thunderbolts: Dark Reign.

There's really good interview with Andy Diggle about the new direction of the Thunderbolts book. Having recently read the entire Thunderbolts series, it's not surprising that the book is getting rebooted with a new roster, it seemed to happen once every two years during the life of the series. The idea behind the series kind of lends itself to happening, but it also makes it for a tough read all the way through, because it has been rebooted or re-rostered about 20 times already. With that being said, I like the way the last couple of issues have gone (even though you can see the storyline coming from a mile away) and the new roster/story looks pretty interesting.

One thing that I can't wait for, which is mentioned in the interview, is the Deadpool crossover. Yeah, that is going to be pretty awesome, because the two characters that I love the way they've been written lately are Norman Osborn and Wade Wilson. So it will be pretty interesting to see them in a cross-over together (although they probably won't be together in the same panel, well, maybe at the end Wade will finally get to Norman) and you throw in the bunch of misfits that make up the Thunderbolts, and I think it will be a pretty entertaining couple of issues.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hulk Vs. Update 12/10/08

Marvel released a new trailer for the Hulk Vs. DVD and it's pretty impressive. Sabretooth, Deadpool and Omega Red make appearances.

The Wolverine part looks like it has a pretty decent story to it, whereas the Thor part looks like it's going to be 45 minutes of the Hulk and Thor kicking the crap out of each other. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, but I am drawn to the Wolverine story more and more each time they reveal more of the story.

I highly suggest viewing the trailer, it's starting to look very promising.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Speaking of an Identity Crisis...

I've mentioned a time or two on here that I'm much much much more of a Marvel fan than a DC fan. I think my main gripe is I have no clue who the main characters are. When I was collecting comics in the '90s, everyone was shaking things up with their storylines and characters. But even now, 10+ years later, I still have no clue who the Flash's alter-ego is. I haven't checked Wikipedia yet, but I think it's Wally West. If it's not him, it's Barry Allen. Other possible candidates are the kid that was Impulse and for some reason, the name Jay Garrick is popping into my head. Let's find out.

Okay, it turns out the most recent Flash was Bart Allen / Impulse, but he's dead so it was then Wally West. But at Comic Con this year, they announced that Barry Allen is coming back in the lead role as The Flash. Huh? How is a casual fan supposed to keep up with that?

The current Green Lantern could be Hal Jordan or Kyle Rayner, but Alan Scott, Guy Gardner, John Stewart and Jade have also been GL. Batman was replaced by Azrael for a bit, Superman died and was replaced by four different people claiming to be him. There have been five Robins, and six characters named Nightwing.

I was thinking about the same situation in terms of Marvel Comics. I think Thor has probably had the most alter-egos but he's still Thor. Those are just his human form. There were two Spider-Mans, two Captain Americas...and I'm struggling to think of more. How many Wolverines, Hulks and Iron Mans have there been? Just one of each, to the best of my knowledge.

My other minor complaint against DC is their use of fictional cities like Metropolis and Gotham City. When I heard the X-Men set up shop in San Francisco, I know where that is. I'm still not sure where Keystone City is.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dark Reign Update 12.9.08

Because the cat is out of the bag, it's full-on "Dark Reign Mode" over at right now. They released a whole bunch of articles on the upcoming event. I'm just going to list them here:

Mega Preview - Almost 40 comic books coming out in the next two or three months that are tie-ins. I am glad that Deadpool will continue to be involved, people really need to go out and buy that book.

Dark Reign-Makers: Jeff Parker - An interview with Jeff Parker about Agents of Atlas, which I think ties in the Marvel Apes series into the Marvel Universe.

Dark Reign Trailer.

My Cup O Joe: The Secret Invasion/Dark Reign Edition.

Dark Reign-Makers: Brian Michael Bendis. An interview with the guy responsible for this mess.

Here's an interview with Danny Way about Deadpool and Wolverine's involvement in the whole Dark Reign crossover.

Monday, December 8, 2008

X-Men Origins: Wolverine Photos.

They had some problems with the pictures last week, but Marvel released an article with new pictures of the Wolverine movie. It is starting to look pretty decent.

There are only two problems I see so far, but they already see to have built-in solutions.

1. Gambit it in the movie. BUT, apparently, he's not in it for very long.
2. Ryan Reynolds is Deadpool. BUT, he'll probably be wearing a mask for most of his appearances in the movie, so at least there's that to look forward to. He will probably get some facetime when he's brought to the Weapon X facility though. I really wish they could have offered the role to another actor.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Secret Invasion: Review.

Secret Invasion #8 came out yesterday, and that finally wrapped up an eight or nine month massive cross-over. Other people have talked about it, but I thought I'd chip in with my two cents about the series. There are spoilers ahoy, but just in-case, here's a friendly reminder:



I thought Secret Invasion started out pretty strong; it's a great idea, and the more the plot kept unraveling and you started to see how far back this thing went, the better it got. It did kind of start to lag a little in the middle; a lot of the minor cross-over books went back to their regularly scheduled programming, but then Secret Invasion #7 came out and I started to get really excited again.

Then Secret Invasion #8 hit the stands. Man, what a let-down. I read another person's view on the series, and I think there was a good point in there, that the series really ended in the seventh issue, this last one was just tying up loose ends. I personally thought it had a deus ex machina ending, and it felt very rushed, it felt like they had too many things going on at the same time. I thought issue seven was very good; it was well paced, there was lots of action, and the reveals and story in general was great. Issue Eight just fell on it's face in my opinion.

Another annoying thing it the repeating going on in other issues of the cross-over. This happened to me twice during the series; I read a cross-over issue right before the issue of Secret Invasion, and there were specific parts that were exactly the same. It happened in a Thunderbolts issue where Bullseye takes out a giant Skrull, and then it happened last night when I read New Avengers #47. Luke Cage and Jessica Jones' baby got stolen by Skrull-Jarvis and they spent two to three pages where they fly back to their apartment and freak out. Then I started reading Secret Invasion #8, and near the end, there's two pages with almost the same exact panels, and it had the exact same dialogue. It's just annoying to pay $6.98 to have the same exact thing happen in two different books. I understand there should be a little overlap, but there should be a reference to it, not two to three pages of the exact same thing happening twice when the characters have the exact same dialogue line-for-line.

And the ending, what the hell Bendis? (WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD) Thor kills a giant Wasp (Janet Pym) who is infected with a virus that is killing everyone, Iron Man shows up in some old armor, Norman Osbourne kills the Skrull Queen, then most of them fly into outer space to destroy Skrull spaceships, and Iron Man finds all of the heroes that were replaced as Skrulls in one of the spaceships and brings it back to New York. I think this all happens in like 5-7 pages, which is why I brought up the fact that it felt rushed. The heroes coming back really annoys the hell out of me. Really, there were no risks taken with the series. The Wasp was the only one that died, and they tried to make it a big deal because she was one of the "founding members" of the Avengers, but seriously, who really cares about her death? I sure don't. I thought that "killing" Henry Pym was a pretty bold move, but it turns out that he's alive now. I'm not arguing the details as to why they're still alive, I actually think it holds water, I'm arguing the reasoning and the choice to keep them alive.

The reason all of those Heroes are still alive is because the process that the Skrulls used to impersonate them depended them being alive, because it somehow accessed their memories, which couldn't be replicated if they were dead. Ok, I get it, and you kind of earned it in a way (a couple of crossover issues hinted at it), but I'm going to say this again; there were no risks taken. I would have liked to have seen some of those characters die. It's the same thing I've been complaining about for years; the constant return to the status quo. It's annoying. And Janet's death isn't risky, and it doesn't impact very much, they really weren't doing much with her character anyway.

One part that I thought was a good thing, but that also pissed me off, was Tony Stark getting his comeuppance. Basically, he totally screwed up and because of his involvement in Civil War, he has no friends. S.H.I.E.L.D. is mothballed by the President, which was more about damage control and getting Tony out of power than about anything else. What's disturbing, however, is his replacement. You could see it coming from a mile away, but Norman Osbourne in charge now. He's heading up the "Thunderbolts Initiative" and that's what leads into the "Dark Reign" crossover. More on that later. The thing that really pisses me off though, is that it's basically a giant middle finger to anyone who collected any Marvel comic from 2006-2007, because it basically negates EVERYTHING that happened as a result of the Civil War Crossover. Personally, I would really prefer if they would just cool it with the giant crossovers that are obviously all written to be packaged into a trade at a later day. We've gone from House of M, to Civil War, to World War Hulk, to Secret Invasion, and now we've got Dark Reign. Enough already.

Anyways, back to the point about Tony Stark, he's pretty much decimated at the end of this whole thing. Stark Tech is basically dead technology now, no one is going to touch it because the Skrulls hacked it and inserted a virus. Since he insisted that S.H.I.E.L.D. he's basically screwed now because they're not a functioning entity anymore. And I guess Osborn has taken over StarkTech and has absorbed it into Oscorp. There is a panel at the end of the issue where he is pretty much catatonic. I think that the most interesting story to come out of this whole thing is going to be Tony's story and how he deals with his situation. He basically has nothing. Thor came as close as he could to telling him to lose his number. It could be pretty funny if he turns into a Moon Knight kind of a character, where he's reduced to an unauthorized, street-level crime-fighter.

So the ending revolves around the next giant cross-over, Dark Reign. There are major spoilers ahead, but it's not like I'm the first to talk about this. Basically, Norman Osborne is in control now. He assembles a kind of "Dark Illuminati" consisting of; himself, Dr.Doom, Namor, Loki, The Hood and Emma Frost. Ok, so, I get the rest; and I kind of understand Namor's role, even though he was in the original Illuminati, but I totally don't understand Emma Frost's role. Several people have stated that "she's not evil", but why is she there? From what I've read, it's supposed to "mirror" the original Illuminati, and they're not supposed to be evil per se, but when, Dr. Doom, Norman Osborn, Loki and the Hood are involved, I question anyone else's involvement.

They're supposed to form the Dark Avengers, who are supposed to go after the New Avengers. I personally hope that Tony Stark joins the New Avengers in hiding and he has to start all over again. I guess the more I start thinking about it, the less upset I become. I remember being really disgusted with the end of the series, but now, looking forward, it's kind of a means to an end.

One last thing that really annoyed me was Wolverine's involvement in this whole thing. He's supposed to be in San Francisco, but he's also in New York with the New Avengers, then he goes to the Savage Land with everyone, and then he's on the front line with the rest of the Super Heroes, but if I remember correctly, he's also in San Fran with the X-Men for their part in the cross-over. You can only use the he's best at what he does line so many times before you start to call B.S.

Overall, I would give Secret Invasion an average grade. There was a whole lot of hype and it lived up to it for awhile, but I was really turned off by the ending. AND, a lot of the cross-over issues were MUCH better than the actual series issues. Like there were issues of Hercules that were pretty amazing, and the first three issues of Deadpool were integral to the ending and weren't even branded as Secret Invasion cross-overs; then a lot of these story lines were pretty much dropped and it was back to normal programming. I don't think they co-ordinated this one as well as they have done in the past and a lot of series were over with their cross-over involvement before the regular series was half-way done. I am on the fence about Dark Reign. I am thinking about adding the Dark Avengers and the Dark Reign limited series if they have one, but I'm not going to go out and get issues of Ms. Marvel or most of the branded mini-series (I can't tell you how disappointed I was in Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four; I read someone describe it as a bait-and-switch and they are 100% correct; half of the team [Reed and Susan] aren't even in the book).

As I said, I would give the series a passing grade, I would try and pick it up in the trades if you missed it, it's probably easier to find and read that way, instead of hunting down all of those issues; and again, the cross-over issues are hit-and-miss; when they hit, they're really good, but when they miss, they can be pretty terrible.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Thanks to the library, I finished up reading Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis recently. Both were better than I expected. As I've said here, I'm not much of a DC fan but got drawn into both stories even though I didn't know who some characters at all.

Identity Crisis doesn't really tie in to the whole Crisis multi-verse storylines DC is known for. Identity is a tight murder mystery story written by novelist Brad Meltzer. The identity of the killer and their motivation was a little bit of a letdown, but I did enjoy the story. I especially liked how it focused more on characters like Green Arrow and Zatanna, and the villain Doctor Light, who comes off looking like a threat. Rags Morales does a great job on pencilling the series, too.

Infinite Crisis deals with the multiple Earth storyline, and Earth Two's Superman, Superboy, Alex Luthor and Lois Lane wanting to make their Earth the true one. They consider Earth Two to be a more perfect world, as Earth One's Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman have all had their own individual meltdowns and struggles lately. JLA Watchtower has been destroyed and the entire DC Universe seems to be coming apart at the seems. Villains are uniting and all out chaos erupts. There are so many characters in this series it's hard to keep track of them all, especially to a casual DC fan like myself. Still, you can't help but get excited when the entire Green Lantern Corps races into space, Firestorm is taking care of business, and other characters are dying every few pages.

Infinite was a really thought out, well paced series. Since I'm always behind on comics, I'll have to wait until the trades come out for Final Crisis and/or the One Year Later storylines, but this series got me excited about the DCU.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Watchmen Watch: 11/26/08

I found a Watchmen Poster Gallery over on Things From Another Blog. I guess it originally came from a blog on MTV's website of all places. Interesting.

What's also interesting is that they decided to run the type the opposite way than the original. Not a lot of people have noticed that. I really don't know why they decided to do that, because I don't think it reads any better than the original.

From what I've seen so far, the Watchmen movie looks pretty awesome. They were having some legal issues a couple of months ago that could have blocked the release, but I guess those are resolved because the trailer is on Apple's site.

Things From Another World is also having a sale on the Watchmen Paperback. $9.99 is a good price. If I didn't already have a copy (which I will review at some point) I'd buy it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Q&A: Chris Yost.

Pretty good article with Chris Yost about X-Force and the upcoming Kingbreaker series.

Right off the bat, he brings up a very good point and an interesting problem in comics, especially with most of Marvel's titles. Every villain nowadays seems to lean towards the middle of the good/bad spectrum. We've seen most, if not every villain team up with a Superhero at some point for some reason, and in some cases (he brought up Juggernaut and Sabretooth as examples), villains actually join a super-hero or mutant team. In fact, that's basically the entire premise of the Thunderbolts comic. I believe I've written about this before, but I think it's the fact that a lot of these characters are viewed as "properties" and that a lot of them are approaching 50 years old, so there's not a whole lot of new ground to cover. Especially with the bad guys, there's only some many times they can break out of jail; you have to do something new. Ergo, "the grey". So, it's good to see that someone is conscious about this and someone is finally writing a character that is totally, 100% evil. And he's also writing about Havok, so I'm in.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Deadpool #5, Preview.

Alright, so Marvel posted a preview of Deadpool #5, which comes out on December 17th. Personally, I love the new Deadpool series, it's off to a great start and I think it's in great hands with Daniel Way at the helm. I have a couple of issues of Cable & Deadpool (I was a little late to the party on that one) and I've gotta say, I think Marvel did the right thing by splitting up that twosome into their own separate series. I've also gotta say that I'm pretty close to dropping Cable because it's SO boring. It's basically the exact opposite of the Deadpool series, which is funny, entertaining, clever, and just an enjoyable read every month. Nothing really happens in that Cable book. Man, is that a boring book.

Deadpool is rapidly becoming one of my favorite "B-Level" characters; the short-list goes something like, Moon Knight, Deadpool and Deathlok. I read on an interview with Axel Alonso on Myspace Comics (he took Joe Quesada's place this week) that he's been wanting to do a Deathlok story for a long time, and he also said that they're going to do that next year, and I couldn't be more excited. Pretty awesome.

Anyways, here's the art for Deadpool #5:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

X-Men News 11/19/08

Over on Marvel's site, you can watch two new Wolverine and the X-Men clips. The second one is a short behind the scenes with the vocal actors, and I'm pretty sure I've seen the first one. If you haven't checked it out, head over there, I personally can't wait until it starts in January.

There's another article called Archrivals: X-Men vs Marauders. It features one of the very first X-Men comics I ever bought; X-Men #211. I loved the Mutant Massacre story, which was the first appearance of the Marauders; it's pretty much one of Chris Claremont's last good storyarcs and it's what got me interested in the X-Men. The back-to-back issues where Wolverine fights Sabertooth (#212 & 213) blew me away when I was a kid and think I read my copies probably 938 times.

There's also a First Look at X-Men: Kingbreaker. As I said yesterday, I'm going to pick this book up because it involves Havok, and I think he's one of the most underutilized X-Men. He had a good run as the leader of X-Factor in the mid-to-late 90s, but he really hasn't been used too much lately.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Return of Darkhawk.

This was posted on Mavel's site last week and I have been busy at work so I never got around to posting it, but Chris will be happy to see that Darkhawk is back and he's getting his own series in February! Sure, it's only a two-issue limited series, but that's a lot more pub than he normally gets.

I am actually looking forward to this whole "War of Kings" storyline. I don't think I'm going to go crazy and get all of the issues, but I will definitely check out the X-Men books (X-Men: Kingbreaker) because I am a pretty big Havok fan. I don't think he gets a whole lot of attention and he hasn't been involved in anything for the last two years because of the events that transpired at the end of the The Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire storyline. So it will be good to see him back. Of course I will also be reading Guardians of the Galaxy, and I am pretty excited that they are involved, even though they're reforming the team.

Marvel has a War of Kings Hub site that you can check out here if you're interested.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Amalgam Comics

I recently re-read the DC vs. Marvel mini-series from 1996. While the mini-series itself is kind of cheesy and forgettable, the one thing I really loved about this crossover is when the universes combined to form the Amalgam universe. I had a faint recollection of that and then got excited when I found six Amalgam issues.

In the Amalgam universe, one character from Marvel was combined with one character from DC to create a new character. Batman and Wolverine are mashed up to create Dark Claw, the Justice League and the X-Men become the JLX and The Flash, The Demon and Ghost Rider are all combined to make Speed Demon.

They published issue #1's, complete with them fighting villains, some origin stories and best of all, little asterisk notes referring to comics that never existed. The Amalgam comics are just pure fun - you could tell the writers really got to be creative with it. They were just one shot issues so you just had 22 pages to tell a good story.

I think I only own about half of the Amalgam comics so hopefully I can find some complete sets on eBay for cheap. I must have started losing interest in comics a while later, because they did a second crossover (of which I only have 3 out of 4 issues) and then a second run of Amalgam one shots a year later. I don't recall any of them. I'm most intrigued by Iron Lantern, though. Sounds badass.

It kind of got me thinking, though...since Marvel is producing its own films now, and DC / Warner Brothers are pretty much the same thing - how awesome would a movie crossover be? I'm sure it would never happen, and they still have SO many stories they can tell individually before they run out of ideas. But how awesome would it be to see a JLA / Avengers movie?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Daredevil - Director's Cut

Had a chance to watch the Director's Cut of Daredevil the other day. I wasn't a huge fan of the movie in its original form, though it was certainly better than other Marvel movies like Ghost Rider. I remember thinking the theatrical release wasn't gritty enough for the Daredevil character, but that's been fixed with this version that's a half hour longer and got the grit. They take out some of the romance elements and add more depth to Kingpin and Foggy Nelson. I was never interested in buying this movie, but for the Director's Cut, it's going on my Christmas list.

For fans of Daredevil, apparently they're thinking of doing a reboot of the Daredevil franchise with Jason Statham taking over the role. That's good since I think Affleck was pretty unconvincing and stoic in his performance, and he's been quoted as saying that playing a superhero in a costume was a source of humiliation for him. Whatever, ass.

I just hope they do something different for the costume in the sequel. I guess you have to do it in leather, but something about it always looked silly.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Guardians of the Galaxy: The New Guard.

There's an article over on Marvel's website about the future of the Guardians of the Galaxy. I will continue to read it, because it will most likely be good, but I am pretty disappointed at the direction it's going in. This is worst part:

"Drax, Quasar, Warlock and Gamora have all quit to pursue their own agendas and Starlord is M.I.A."

Those were pretty much my favorite characters. Especially Drax and Starlord. So, I'm pretty bummed about that.

I do like how the redid the cover to emulate the first issue. And it looks like Groot is going to be involved, so that will be interesting. I also really like Rocket Raccoon, so it's cool that he's staying on and leading the team. I hope at some point they get the old team back together though.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I finally finished reading all 1,300+ pages of Bone: The One Volume Edition which collects all 55 issues of Jeff Smith's independent comic Bone. It took a while to get through after numerous attempts to read it over the last 2 years. 55 issues is a lot of anything. Overall, Bone is good but falls short of being great.

I got a very Lord of the Rings feel from the book - at its root, there's a quest involved and a power they must stop. At the end of the LoTR movies, I felt like saying, "Huh." The quest in the movies didn't seem to be an impossible task with consequences, it just took a while to do. Bone is quite entertaining along the way, though. I was surprised by how funny the book is - quite a few pages and panels had me laughing, but the tone gets more serious as it goes on.

The story revolves around three Bone cousins who get run out of their home, Boneville. They end up in the Valley and entangled in a plot involving dragons, a princess, an ancient cult and a bad dude named the Lord of the Locusts that's trying to come back to destroy everything. All of Smith's characters are lovable, from the Bone cousins, Thorn, Lucius to minor characters like Ted the Bug. Yes, a small talking bug.

It's available as the black and white One Volume edition for about $40 (or cheaper used on Amazon) and it's also being reprinted in color as a children's book series, if you want to see some more shading and background elements. I guess I was expecting a little more out of Bone, but it's far from being disappointing. Entertaining and quite funny is more than you get out of most books these days.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

King Radical.

If you're not reading The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, you're really missing out. Because a new character was introduced yesterday. King Radical: The Most Radical Man in the Radical Land. Sure, the idea may have been ripped off from a Burger King commercial, but I for one am excited learn more about King Radical and I cannot wait to see Dr. McNinja throw down with him. I will expect nothing less than the awesomeness. I mean, the first panel he appears in, he's jumping a motorcycle over some crocodiles (or are they alligators? I don't know). How radical is that? The answer is, totally BADICAL. Yeah, that's right, I'm bringing back badical. Deal with it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Marvel's 70th Anniversary.

Marvel released an article about their 70th Anniversary. I'm sure there will be 534 more articles up before the end of the year and then five times that number during the year, so you can keep up with all of the 9267 different variants they're going to run.

I do like the logo though. I love the floating heads, I wish they'd bring them back.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

Marvel announced on their site yesterday that they have an Avengers animated series currently in production. It will hit the public in 2011. They've got a full plate of upcoming animated shows, including the Iron Man show and Wolverine and the X-Men. This one looks like it's really geared toward kids with the style of animation, so if I remember to watch it in 2011, I'll probably sample a couple of episodes before I make a decision.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The End League.

So, about two months ago, I wrote about Knights of the Old Republic and how I had bought a run off of eBay. Well, the guy I bought it from decided to throw in a bonus issue of The End League. I finally got around to reading last week, and I'm now hooked on that series as well.

What's really interesting about the series is that it's basically the opposite of what every super-hero comic is about. Normally, the Good Guys always beat the Bad Guys and the status quo is always maintained. Well, in this series, the Good Guys have lost. What's left is The End League, and they're still trying to save the day, even when the odds are massively stacked against them.

What's also pretty cool about it is that the main character was actually mainly responsible for the way that things are. He's the big guy at the bottom of this post; Astonishman. He was tricked into triggering "The Green Event" by his archenemy, "Dead" Lexington. The Green Event ended up giving superpowers to every one person out of ten thousand. Astonishman put together a group of super-heroes called the Squadron of Righteousness to help save the planet as well as fight villains that chose to use their new powers for evil. Twelve years before the current story, most of the world's super-villains banded together and killed a majority of Squad, and those who survived went into hiding and reformed as The End League.

So it's a pretty cool concept. It kind of reminds me of Star Wars and how most of the original trilogy was about people just surviving and trying to fight back against an evil empire. It's also similar to what I liked about The Umbrella Academy in that there is a large gap in the story, so they hint at certain events that have happened and they go back and tell certain parts of the history. It also has a lot of Super-Hero archetypes that have been turned on their heads. For example, Astonishman is obviously Superman, and he caused the whole situation. He deals with a lot of guilt. There is also a Captain America type character, who also has to deal with the guilt of killing his side-kick while he was possessed by his arch-nemesis. So it's interesting how these characters would have to deal with things if they made a mistake and ended up on the losing side of things instead of always on the winning side.

Most of the story is about the team trying to survive. The world has been divided up by the major villains into territories, and they are all now slums. So the team basically focuses on surviving, and their one standing mission is to find Thor's hammer. Turns out that Thor went missing during The Green Event and is presumed dead; his hammer, which is the only thing that can turn this whole situation around, is also missing.

One kind of shocking aspect of the series (WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER) is that they kill off the main character in the second issue. That's right, Astonishman is killed by reanimated Thor and the hammer is taken by someone who has yet to be revealed. I think that was a pretty bold move by the creators, but it works because, again, this is not your normal comic book. And Astonishman will be back, well, at least in the flashbacks. So there's that to look forward to.

There's an interesting page at the end of the first issue. It's written by the writer, Rick Remender, and it basically explains the series, how it came to be, and how long it took to get off the ground. There's an interesting paragraph in there about how hard it is to develop a series about Super-Heroes outside of Marvel or DC. It took them five years from the initial idea to the first issue. (Here's a different interview with the creative team with plenty of preview art)

So, to wrap this up, I really like this series, and I'm pretty impressed with what Dark Horse has been doing lately. They're really going out of their way to break away from what they were doing for decades (licensing existing properties) and they're really taking some risks. I highly recommend The End League, the only downside is that it will probably take some work to find back-issues, a lot of shops are just now adjusting orders to demand. I had to buy issue #2 off of Things From Another World, and they still have plenty of back issues so I recommend them as a back-up if your local shop is out. Dark Horse is also releasing a trade in December, which I think collects the first four or five issues and it is moderately priced. Go out there and buy it already, I promise you, it's a very entertaining book.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

X-Force: Vanished.

There's a REALLY COOL article on Marvel's site about the next X-Force story arc. The last panel of X-Force #7 kind of set it up, and it involves The Vanisher and a new strain of the Legacy Virus. It's also hinted at that he kind of joins the team, but in a very adversarial way. There are also some hints at the larger story and that the first story arc and this new arc will come together to an overall story. I love the series and can't wait for each issue to come out, so it was a pretty exciting read for me. I think it's an interesting choice to bring back The Vanisher, but it's also cool because he's been forgotten for so long. I'm totally excited, too bad I've gotta wait three weeks.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Deadpool #3.

I love the new Deadpool book. Here's a first look at Deadpool #3:

Thursday, September 25, 2008


There's a very interesting article over on Apple's site about Dark Horse's production department. As a graphic designer, I think this is pretty cool and I was rather shocked to hear that they started producing their stuff on computers as far back as 1989. If I only lived in Milwaukee...

I'm actually going to have a couple of upcoming posts about Dark Horse. I really like what they're doing and lately I've been picking up a couple of their titles. They're putting out some good stuff.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Young X-Men in Turmoil.

I've said this more than once; I love the Young X-Men book. It's one of my top five reads. So I was thrilled when couple of days ago, Marvel published an interview with the creative team behind the series. It also has some preview art. They don't give away too much in the interview, but it's still a good read. I can't wait for the next couple of issues to hit the stands.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

X-Force #7 Preview.

First look at X-Force #7. I love this series. It's in my top five.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dark Reign.

Interesting article over on Marvel's site about the next direction that the Marvel U is headed towards.

There are some interesting quotes in that article, I highly suggest reading it. They say they're going to build on the previous two major crossovers (Civil War and the Secret Invasion) and what it's going to be like to live in the aftermath of those two events. It's interesting to note that Dark Reign was one of the main reasons that Bendis got his original pitch for Secret Invasion approved, so that's a good sign that they go hand in hand with each other. I guess it's supposed to effect the entire Marvel U, but it's supposed to focus on the Avengers titles. I've been buying most of them lately because they're actually pretty good. This time, I'll probably just stick to the titles I'm buying; there's a section in that article where it says you can do that and not really miss a whole lot.

The last couple of major events have been pretty good, so given their track record, this one should shape up to be a good one as well.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Umbrella Academy.

So, I've got a secret to reveal today; I recently bought The Umbrella Academy Trade about a week ago. And it's really, really, really, really good. I've actually read it twice and I really want to read it a third time, but I might lend it to someone instead.

I had heard good things about it, but I had massive reservations about it because of who was involved in the project. If you don't know, it's written by Gerard Way, and if you don't know who he is, well, you should really get out of the house more often. He is the lead singer of My Chemical Romance. I hate his band, but I love his comic. It's been a very pleasant surprise and I actually can't wait until the next series comes out. It's THAT good.

As I said, a lot of people are saying good things about it, but then I heard him talking about it on the radio. Then, while I was reading Knights of the Old Republic, I saw an ad for the series (see the picture off to the right further down). The ad prominently features "Spaceboy" and it peaked my interest because I noticed that Space has the body of a gorilla. If you've got gorillas, or even half-gorillas involved in your comic, I'm in.

Turns out, there are zombie robots, talking chimpanzees, and space travel in the first story arc, which are four out of my top five favorite things to look for in a comic book (Ninjas are the fifth thing. And I count Zombies and Robots as two separate entries on the list). The plot device is pretty simple, but effective, and I found myself starting to think about all of the possibilities that the series has. It's pretty limitless. But in a good way.

A little backstory (don't read the following if you don't want any spoilers); twenty years ago, there was an event where 43 births occurred to women that showed no previous signs of being pregnant.

A well known Olympian and Nobel Prize Winner (and upon re-reading it, also an alien), Sir Reginald Hargreeves, aka; The Monocle, set out to adopt as many of the children as possible. He succeeded in adopting seven of them and formed the Umbrella Academy to raise them. It turns out that they all have super powers and he grooms them into a super team.

The cool thing about the plot device is that there is a mix of flashbacks and the current time line (twenty+ years after "the event"). There's also a member of the Academy that can time travel and has been missing for about 10-15 years, so you have that thrown in the mix too. I really like how it was set up with a short history of the group, then it included their first adventure, and then it flashed to the present. The team hasn't been together for a very long time, some of them have drastically changed, and one of them is dead. Like a family would, they all interact with each other differently. The writing is really quite real. They end up gathering for the first time in several years for the death of their father, and every member of the team has a different opinion of their adopted alien father.

The gaps really draw you in because they way it's presented, you REALLY want to know what the hell happened to the team. And that's what I like about it. There's a whole lot of back-story that needs to be addressed. They give that to you, but of course they don't give it to you all at once. So they have to fill in that twenty year gap, and then there's the time travel story that has to be told (one line I liked was when when someone asked the time traveling kid about what happened or what he had to do to get back to the present time, he answered, "Well, I guess I should start with the Kennedy assassination..." and then of course something happened and they didn't get to it. Don't think I haven't forgotten about that though. I WANT TO KNOW!), so with all of that, there's a lot of possibilities and a lot of different ways that the series could go.

It's also refreshing that it's a brand new mythology. I think Invincible has succeeded in part due to this because there are brand new characters in a brand new universe. They're not established properties with a whole lot of back story where, as a writer, you're going to offend huge chunks of your readership if you try and do something different. I think a lot of the big publishers and writers who work with the big publishers get locked into doing certain things with established characters because that's how things have been done with that character for 40-50 years. Case in point, look what happened with Spider-Man and the "Brand New Day" story that completely shook things up; there was big time backlash from the readers, even though the Spider-Man franchise was extremely stale at that point. Again, I think the reason why Invincible and The Umbrella Academy are so good is because no one or nothing is really safe, and if it's done the right way, you're left hungering for back story. Lately, they've tried, but I really don't get the same feeling when I read Wolverine stories, I know he's going to survive, and if he "dies" (which kind of happened a couple of story arcs ago in the regular Wolvie series) you know he's really not dead permanently. I mean, especially in the Marvel Universe, everyone's "Marvel Dead" until there's a definitive answer to the question, and even after that, they can still come back, (i.e. - Colossus). I have part of a post written about that very subject, at some point I'll get around to publishing it.

I guess what I'm trying to say it that I think when you start something from scratch, there's a certain level of freshness involved that gets people excited. And that's what is going on with The Umbrella Academy. It's a very interesting move for Dark Horse, because they've pretty much made their living off of licensed properties for the last 15-20 years, so this is a very radical departure for them. It seems to have paid off, and I hope they make more decisions like this.

I also think that it's success partially comes from the fact that Gerard Way is who he is, but I think even more than that, it's successful because he's a new voice. One of the reasons I think I really like it is because it's not just "this writer" with "that artist" starting a run on an "established super-hero series". It's a first time writer and a relatively new artist. So it's just totally new. And totally good.

Anyways, the next installment of The Umbrella Academy is set for a November 26th release, and I cannot wait. I highly recommend picking up the trade to get started though, you WILL NOT be disappointed.