Sunday, September 18, 2011


First off I want to thank Grits Gries and his smaller but getting bigger sidekick Ursa Fanghorn for providing the above interpretation of the new Justice League cover.


Comics, like all art and music, is an ongoing discussion of the form. There are comics that move the conversation forward, comics that hold it in place, and comics that pull it backwards. I would put this, Justice League number 1, in the latter category. A comic that pushes you and the medium in reverse. The cover alone, too ugly to place at the top of this post, gives no message of a bright new era in the DC universe. This is the song of stagnation. Justice League, the flagship book for the revolution, got the most hype for it's costume redesigns which seem to center around higher collars. Yes, higher collars. Jim Lee, out on the golf course, saw a young man wearing a polo shirt with the collar up and thought to himself; "That. That right there. That's 2011. I can already taste the new readers."

The biggest reason I can think of for DC comics to reboot it's whole line is the need for stories that easily translate to movies. They want simple tales of heroes meeting heroes. Powerful beings, not yet friends, beating the shit out of each other, questioning one another's loyalty to the cause and eventually staring up at the moon from a romantic rooftop, shoulder to shoulder, united in the face of some great evil. Hollywood can't mine the ancient and wacky stock of DC's infancy for solid origin stories because they would unearth Batman meeting Krypto the Superdog and today's blood thirsty movie going audience just won't buy it. So instead of creating a separate Ultimate Universe like Marvel did to forward a think tank for big screen enterprises, DC threw everything back into the blender and we get,

Alzheimers. We get narrative Alzheimers. We get DC on track to retrofit every story they ever told. And here I thought computers were making us smarter. But there's no No-Prize in starting from scratch. It's about building bridges from unbelievable situation to unbelievable situation. That's the basis of universe building comics. Back to the comic let's see what happens next to Green Lantern and The Batman,

Ok, fake out, that's not what happens next. That second page is from 2005's All Star Batman. The Frank Miller/Jim Lee atrocity that was so wrong it couldn't even curse-word it's way past the finish line and drowned itself in masochistic bile by issue 10. But it is also an example of another recent Batman meets Green Lantern issue drawn by Jim Lee. The man must wake up thinking he's living in Groundhog day. But I'm psyched that Jim Lee put Jim Lee (as he now runs the DC show) on the new centerpiece title even when the last two projects he has been involved with, All Star Batman and Wildcats, just quit mid or not even mid story. And it's unfair to compare All Star Batman to this new Justice League. Geoff Johns is a finely tuned writing machine with a deep understanding of his characters and he's a world away from the twisted propaganda of Frank Miller. But what both stories have is a new beginning for major characters and a celebrated macho flare. But maybe macho flare is just Batman where ever you find him. And Justice League, instead of having All Star Batman's cast of half naked battered woman, just chose to have no woman at all. Playing it safe. Bringing in new readers?

I was introduced to Geoff John through his writing on Justice Society. It had a cast of characters I didn't really care or know all that much about but Johns made them interesting. Here in Justice League between Batman and Green Lantern are two characters I do care about, and Johns makes them, well, uninteresting. Sure, it is only one issue deep into his run but I can almost see the stick'em note above his desk that says, "dumb it down", next to one that says "Teenagers". When you are dealing with super heroes, dumbing it down brings you(and them) very close to catatonic. Now every comics reader wants the level of storytelling in their favorite books to age with him/her. When I was 16 I wanted to read what I thought was cool, and now 22 years later I still want to read what I think is cool. How can an industry indulge in the needs of one aging customer? What about today's new 16 year old? What I didn't know 22 years ago but I pretend to know now is that good superhero comics have always been written for adults, but with a simplicity of delivery. You don't and you can't write comics for teenagers.

Jim Lee still turns out a solid easy to read product. A little craggier around the edges than he used to be, slightly rushed perhaps to get this book out monthly, but he still draws male buttocks like a true champ. Him and Marc Silvestri, "The Buttock Kings". I was looking forward to Grant Morrison and Lee's run on Wildcats. If it hadn't been abandoned it could have had the push and pull of two different minds creating a mainstream yet stirring series. JL feels like there might be too much agreement between creators. No tension. Nothing new to learn from each other. It's just, "hey man, let's bring in new readers. Yeah dude, let's play it safe."

Oh yeah, one other thing on the costume redesigns, the case of Young Superman's mysterious new armor?

Now DC's mammoth reboot isn't all mediocrity, in fact I would call it a conceptual success as I have bought way more DC titles this September already in 2 weeks than I normally would all month(Though I also bought way less since they announced the reboot than I normally would in the last couple months). But so far, Batgirl, OMAC, Action Comics, to name a few. And there are some titles, specifically the B-E list characters that could be or could become great. Like Swamp Thing, Frankenstein, and specifically Animal Man.

Written by Jeff Lemire with art by Travel Foreman(inks by Travel and Dan Green, and I think inks are a big thing here) Animal Man is off to a great start. And it is pushing the conversation of comics forward. Jeff Lemire wears Buddy Baker aka Animal Man's skin as if it were his own, with delightful details like Buddy taking on the weight of a bumblebee so he won't wake the kids while walking on the squeaky floorboards he has yet to fix, or after stopping an armed depressed man who is holed up in the children's ward of the hospital Buddy just yearns to get home to his family. The reliable internet tells me that when Jeff Lemire talked to Grant Morrison(the mastermind behind most of the Animal Man mythos) about writing Buddy, Morrison replied "Don't fuck with his family". But fucking with Buddy's family seems to be the name of the game. I picked up the first few issues of Lemire's Vertigo book "Sweet Tooth" and though I liked it it did not win me over. It read really really fast, so smooth it slipped right off me, but I think now i'll give Sweet Tooth another chance. Now Lemire is Canadian. I don't in any way want him to leave these new DC titles, but Alpha Flight. Someday, please. Do an Alpha Flight run.

Travel, a strange artist(with a cool name) turns out a striking issue 1 cover, (his Loki mini series covers were also well designed)

but certain interior pages look bare to the point of having to mutter, "oh this is one of those artists who can't draw backgrounds".

It's a weird thing, the figure and the background and whether they intersect or not, but I think it is a thing that artists struggle with. Schooled artists take "figure drawing class" but I don't recall an emphasis on "figure in relation to setting" drawing classes. It makes one wonder if as an artist the relationship between your figure and your background, integration versus separation, mimics your relationship with the world in general. But just when you start thinking Travel wants people to live in a white bubble he hits you with this...

...and you just don't care whether he walks in the yard with bare feet or shoes on. You just dig into it. (And you wonder if Travel is looking at Kentaro Miura's insane endlessly creative Berserk manga from Dark Horse)

God I hope he is. I hope everyone is. All in all, Travel Foreman's layouts are surprising, daring, at times nonsensical, sometimes a failure but most times interesting. His line, or possibly Dan Green's inks, has variety and vitality. I'm excited to see Travel with an ongoing series, evolving, getting stronger and more daring as he goes. For the Animal Man infomaniacs, the character was first seen in 1965 as simply Buddy Baker in issue 180 of Strange Adventures.

Buddy moved into a higher profile position in the 1988 Vertigo Animal Man series by Grant Morrison. I personally came too late for Morrison's run but just on time for some horrifyingly beautiful work by writer Jamie Delano and Artist Steve Pugh. Brian Bolland does this astounding cover. This. Cover. Rules!

If memory serves me this 1993 storyline has Buddy Baker dead and attempting to travel back through an assortment of animal forms and mutations to his original human shape. Meanwhile a crazed Uncle Dudley is assaulting his son, Cliff. Buddy's daughter Maxine is the voice of trust on this next juicy Steve Pugh page, where she tries to set up a rendezvous with Buddy's wife, Ellen.

Animal Man has always had a wealth of creative talents behind it, and has always been a playground for experimentation. Shamefully I haven't read the Morrison run that began the Vertigo title, but I plan too. Oh I plan too. Here's hoping the new title keeps up the enlightened weirdness. We need it.

Now before we move on to more reviews we have a final word on Animal Man and Justice League in this special feature, a visit with guest professional comic book reviewer Anu King! (with bonus appearances by Rahul(spiderman), Lucia, Yesah and Hunter)

Thanks Anu! We'll keep on the lookout for "Amulet". And now, on with the reviews!


And now to the Marvel Universe! In this "annual", Simon Williams, a.k.a. Wonder Man, continues his Brian Bendis scripted spiral downward into hate and revenge, a subplot that wanders into the Avengers titles on occasion. The idea that Wonder Man has turned on the Avengers could be a good one, and about 5 pages into this I thought we had a "The Boys" rip off on our hands set in the Marvel U. And I wish that's what this was. I wish there was one teaspoon of intelligence behind Wonder Man's plot a.k.a. this comic's plot. But no. The Avengers cause violence and therefore Wonder Man will bring violence upon them to teach them a lesson because he is going crazy or something, possibly due to his Ionic energies. By the close of the book the mansion is destroyed yet again and the New Avengers lie unconscious, defeated. Tomorrow they will wake up with a fist induced hang over and nothing consequential will have happened. Wonder Man and his gang of second rate dudes have defeated Wolverine, Luke Cage, Spiderman, The Thing, Ms. Marvel, Doctor Strange, Jessica Jones and Mockingbird and now gaze upwards at Avengers tower where the more powerful Avengers live. The book's a dud. A dull fight scene between dullards, a joke really. Line up for it folks. Gabriele Dell'otto paints a great cover though, but turns in his most lackluster work to date for the interior.

It's some of that "pencil only/digital inks" stuff superhero books have been delivering like the work of artist Ron Garney over in Wolverine and Ultimate Captain America. It all just ends up looking soft, blurry and rushed. Reads kind of like "Sorry, couldn't afford an inker". I know I know, "raw, untamed pencil". Yeah well, you wish. There's enough background on this raw untamed Garney Ultimate Captain America page to at least let you know where they might be.... the muddy jungle. It looks kind of cool small, not so cool bigger if you click on it.

If they really want to do some "pencil only" work these guys should check out CF's Powr Mastrs.

These notes scrawled on the back of a Powr Mastrs page might give some insight into what CF is looking at.

Hey he's looking at Berserk! So should we! again!

and now, on with the reviews!


Let's break from all the manliness for a quick moment and look at Aidan Koch while we are in pencil mode. Having read a few reviews of last year's The Whale I came away with two thoughts. People seem to like her other books better, and people seem convinced she is taking a walk near the beach with her dog. Well, it's not her dog. It's a dog that is visiting her much like the seal is visiting her much like the ghost of the lost loved one "S" is visiting her. It is such a overt and fleeting visitation that the dog is even named "Casper" which translates to "friendly ghost". I thought this small story was wonderful. A floating moment of sadness, unable to drift out to sea.

And now onto the final barely a review!


Gantz is on a bi-monthly schedule now from Dark Horse publishers and I think it, above all others, is the book I look forward to the most. Artist/writer Hiroya Oku provides us with a thrilling sci-fi action drama set in modern day Japan. Ultraviolent, disturbing, grotesque, surprising and genuinely weird this tale is of a group of reincarnated citizens involved in some sort of hunting and fighting game that takes place in public in Tokyo yet is invisible to people uninvolved(though it can still be lethal to them). Chasing aliens, fighting monsters, staying alive, and in many cases getting dismembered or killed permanently is the basic story, all set against the mystery of "who knows about and is controlling this game?". It's an impeccable book. And issue 18 is specifically action packed. No room for the protagonists to ponder their situation or fantasize about magazine models in this one. Some people may be turned off by Gantz's computer generated art or its blood spattered shock or it's gratuitous nudity or it's sometimes jumpy narrative structure or the fact that certain characters basically look like others except their hair is an inch longer but I say it rules and as for the over the topness if it's gonna rain I would rather it pour. This book will have you on the edge of your seat one minute and in tears the next. Gantz!

And just when you think you are starting to sort out what is going on, forget it.....Gantz!

Here's the Tanaka Alien they fight in issue 4. Pretty vicious huh? Gantz!

Alright. That's plenty. Oh yeah so what's the connection between all these books. I mean, Gantz and The Whale and Jim Lee? Well. They're all comics! hahahahahaa!! Hey Animal Man, what do you think of the new Justice League?

Monday, June 20, 2011




It's been a year since I posted. So why now, on the anniversary of my own demise, have I been moved to file a new report? Stirred from infinity, returned from beyond, not unlike so many X-Men we know? Well what brings me crawling back from my critical grave is this most pressing issue to all career comic book readers; why, after 48 years of unbroken numbering, is Uncanny X-Men restarting with a new number one? It's been two weeks of making jokes about DC's hysterical move of renumbering every single title in their line in a desperate attempt to be relevant and new, and suddenly the most classy of all ongoing mainstream titles jumps the fountain of youth bandwagon. There goes it's ability to even stand in the Shadow of 2000AD. Uncanny X-men, surviver of all other renumberings over the years has always been rewardingly consistent(for example Avengers ran 402 issues, then 13 issues, then 84 issues to suddenly be ridiculously reverted back to original numbering for issues #500-503 to then jump to New Avengers 1 and on and on). But with a quick handjob to the masses, a thin ploy to get the numbers back up for a pathetic issue or two before slipping to prior sales, Uncanny pulls a Phoenix. This series was a direct path to the beginning, a bridge to Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, a mangled, tangled, twisted, sometimes pathetic but never ever broken bridge. Is there really any artist or writer in the world who would prefer working on an Uncanny X-Men #1 over a X-Men 94 or even the upcoming now lost Uncanny 550 or 555! Marvel claims that this upcoming "Schism" storyline is so jarring that the title could just not go on as it was, but really, is anything more jarring than what has come before? They insult their own comic. So here is my advice. Publish a nice 4-6 issue Kierron Gillen scripted mini-series and then return to the original number with no gap. That's the key right? Think of it as a Giant Sized X-Men #1 spread over a half a dozen books. No missing 94. No missing 545-549 prior to it's return with 550. We all know the original count is coming back for #600. Marvel could not pass up such a fiscal opportunity. Just remember we fans with our longboxes and clip-on Nightcrawler tails have to file this shit in an orderly fashion. So it brings me no joy to do what must be done and call for an astonishingly uncanny boycott. Friends, enemies, nerds from around the globe. I say this. Boycott the new Uncanny X-Men number one. Read a copy in the store. Buy two copies of 544! Then walk right out that comic book door! Teach these scheming money juggling comicrats who's in charge of their plummeting paper publishing program. Boycott Uncanny X-Men #1!

Sadly, I won't be able to. Because I am a collector. And because I want these comics as frustrating as they are to continue.

After the "X-Men Schism" in the regenerative period to be dubbed "X-Men Regenesis" there will be two titles launching to fill Uncanny X-Men's void. A New Uncanny X-Men scripted by current Uncanny writer Kieron Gillen with art by Carlos Pacheco and internet fan-forum favorite "tracing paper" Greg Land, and Wolverine and the X-Men by Scalped writer Jason Aaron with art by "cartoony" Chris Bachelo. Here's the cover to the "Wolverine and the X-Men" first issue,

I put the question recently to Jason Aaron via my pal AW Dude's twitter , read from the bottom...

He really put me in my place. These guys responded too...

Mahatmazombie is trying to get all Infinite Crisis with Mr. Aaron by crossovering universes. PS. Scalped is getting rebooted starting with a new issue -4, counting backwards for 2 and a half men issues, then returning with a number 11, skipping even numbers from there culminating in a guest appearance by Obama and Charlie Sheen. And you know what, I will continue to buy it cause Scalped is one of the best books out there. Here's the cover of issue 46 by series cover artist Jock.

Scalped is grim, gritty, a modern Native American crime drama with myth at it's edges. It's full of complex characters who make decisions that in general tend toward the worst all in the brutal resource-deprived landscape of the modern day Indian reservation. Somehow, despite the darkness and the odds, the characters have enough life to keep you charmed. To continue with more psuedo-Scalpish dramatic flair; Scalped is vicious, bloody, a grounded affair, anchored so deep in the base of humanity it threatens to pull the boat underwater and drown us all. I am devoted to it.

One more page from Scalped. This book deserves much more than this scant mention. Regular artist R.M. Guera delivers impeccable darkness.

Back in the TwitterVerse(a place not unlike Marvel's recent CancerVerse) we fired a few more tweety questions into the abyss but to no avail, everyone was busy making Weiner jokes I assume.

Weiner jokes.

Twitter seems not to be in a position to support my argument for a stabilized numbering system. Organization is a basic thing, in order to not confuse two items in the same category, you number them. TV does it on a season by season basis, season 1 episodes 1-16, some comic books have adopted a similar method such as Criminal, doing story arcs with a name dividing them into issues. "The Sinners, books 1- 6". Dark Horse's BPRD's on this tip, you have "BPRD, The Dead Remembered" issue 3 of 3 but inside the book they make a point to also put "number 79 in a series" so if you want to sit down and read a run of the actual comics as opposed to the collections you have a chronological guideline. Simple. For Criminal you will have to look at publishing dates to figure out which issue one is the earlier issue one. Look, you have to develop some standard on numbering, and the long running 2000AD model(the newest issue being #1736) works pretty damn fine. But I don't think Marvel is wrestling with experimental numbering solutions, I think they are shopping for dollars.

In this economy, and with paper comic sales slipping even previous to people's declining fortunes, publishers need the dollars. It just makes you wish they would step up and say, "Uncanny X-men is being restarted from 1 because we need some cash." Fuck it. Simple. But even with honest marketing does that really change the bottom line in the long term? I'll use a personal example with Batman and Robin. I've been collecting it, Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely kicked it off, Morrison held on till issue 16, then it's been running "filler" till the Peter Tomasi/Pat Gleason run begins. I was buying each "filler (sorry that sounds very insulting to the creative teams doing the filling)" issue so I could have a complete run, but with it's newly announced "new number one" when the Tomasi run actually starts, I am dropping the book 2 or 3 issues before it's over. DC is losing money off me with a new number 1. About $6. Marvel already launched a new X-Men #1 last year. Anyone who went and saw the critically-acclaimed-but-I-thought-the-trailer-looked-crappy "X-Men First Class" can pick up a low numbered X-Men floppy. So what's the point? Let's look at some sales figures, we'll use Captain America cause he's been jerked around quite a lot...

Captain America 1 November 2004 67,223 copies sold. (Brubaker scripts, this is considered volume 5)
Captain America 7 June 2005 47,151
Captain America 19 June 2006 47,318
Captain America 25 March 2007 290,497(death of Captain America) Top Book that month
Captain America 27 June 2007 99,046
Captain America 39 June 2008 79,348
Captain America 49 April 2009 63,869
Captain America 50 May 2009 66,928
Captain America 600 June 2009 112,244(book reverts to original numbering)
Captain America 607 June 2010 52989
Captain America 617 June 2011 45400

July has this main Cap book becoming "Captain America and Bucky" with 620, while they start a new Captain America! with a new number 1! to coincide with the movie! Looking at these figures, which do not include digital sales and collections, I think we can predict the success of a new series. Captain America 1 will see around 80,000-100,000 books sold, but a year from now it will in the low 40's. Something else other than the little number in the corner has to change. As if new readers will understand how the hell Cap can block bullets with a shield whether it's issue 1 or 621. By issue 7 it will thankfully be as steeped in history as 627 would have been. The figures above prove that to really make a splash you need to keep killing the characters. So kill them. Brand new issue 1 in which the character dies. Over and over. Returns on investments demand it.

Figures are fun, let's look at the Uncanny X-Men.

Uncanny X-Men 346 June 1997 173,453 (top book of the month)
Uncanny X-Men 383 June 2000 120,672 (top book of the month)
Uncanny X-Men 400 Nov 2001 134,206
Uncanny X-Men 487 June 2007 81,430
Uncanny X-Men 499 June 2008 81,069
Uncanny X-Men 500 July 2008 151,923
Uncanny X-Men 512 June 2009 76,254
Uncanny X-Men 525 June 2010 76,068
Uncanny X-Men 536 April 2011 53,502

All these figures are from, who post monthly Diamond Distribution product reports. This doesn't take into account the addition of books such as X-Men Legacy, Astonishing X-Men, recently just "X-Men", various X-mini's. A wealth of Wolverine'ish books. These guys are still selling a lot of X books. But yes, the bottom line is the industry is sagging, and I am assuming it's the long running fans that are keeping things afloat. The same long running fans who were looking forward to such things as an Action Comics #1000, or more importantly, #999! 987.65?

The earliest print run info i can casually find for an X-Men comic is off the Lone Star Comics website, and it is for X-Men 30...

The X-Men face the Warlock (i.e. the Mad Merlin from Thor/Journey into Mystery 96; not Adam Warlock) in "The Warlock Wakes!" Script by Roy Thomas, pencils by Jack Sparling, inks by John Tartaglione. Thor cameo. This issue contains a statement of ownership--average print run 412,086; average paid circulation 255,070. Jack Kirby/Tartaglione cover. Cover price $0.12.

That's the mid 60's! 412086 copies! And no Twitter to get the word out! Next up we have our in-house cartoonist's newest rectangle, then we'll bury our heads in the past for a while.


Wow! Check out the General's choice of word's in panel 7. I'll zoom in for you. Remember "Uncanny" is not added to the title till issue 142 in 1981.

Below is the classic issue 94, the in-numbering bombshell that changed the whole lineup in one swoop. No more jagged a flight path, yet no new plane needed. Well, maybe a new plane is needed after looking at the cover.

All it took was one key out of numbering special, the one and only Giant Sized X-Men 1,

This was the book that brought us Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler, Thunderbird and all these other covers, as if you haven't seen this shit a hundred times...

This new version of Giant Size X-Men 1 just came out. It's s'allrite.

This next one is the first issue cover from the 6 issue series "Deadly Genesis" scripted by Ed Brubaker with art by Trevor Hairsine and it's one of my favorite X-stories. Brubaker was great on this, I'm not sure why his confidence in the face of team books seems to waiver. His ditching of Secret Avengers is a sad moment for us Prince of Orphans fans, though apparantly it does leave room for Warren Ellis to return to toying with the Marvel U.

Here is a page from Deadly Genesis 1, in which Brubaker does his usual mining of history, but this time placing diamonds back in instead of just digging them out. He inserts another team of new X-Men into the timeline just prior to X-Men 94, a team that failed and was massacred on their mission. A tragedy that was unfortunately covered up by Professor X. Brubaker of any writer out there digs into the colloquialisms of his characters and sticks to them. It's believable stuff no matter how unbelievable the context. Track down this six issue series.

That almost brings us up to current X-world business so let's get back to the Now of things. For new stuff I highly recommend Uncanny X-Force. Here's a page from last year's issue one. The artwork by Jerome Opena is quite handsome. Too handsome to last in a Marvel comic?

Opena can't seem to stay on a book for more than half dozen issues(in the mighty Marvel manner) having leaped from Moon Knight to Punisher to here. I don't know what this strategy is. Luckily issues 5-7 were drawn by Esad Ribic and it's powerful work. Writer Rick Remender is channeling some of the best Heavy Metal(the magazine) Sci-Fi vibes for this new X-Force book. It's creepy, gorgeous to look at, and mindbending. And it features a lot of Fantomex, a Grant Morrison creation from his New X-Men run. Fantomex is charming, snide, wears a handsome suit and is pretty good at surviving (and stealing). Thankfully Remender is deepening the mystery on this character where a lesser writer could spoil him fast. All the characters in X-Force have depth to them and are continually grappling with the concept of their morally challenging missions. Here's a Ribic page from X-Force 5, make sure you read the print on there, it's cool.

Ribic is also series cover artist. I love a series with a dedicated cover artist. Well, a good one.

Ribic is off to work in the Ultimate Universe(They haven't given up on that yet?) to kick off a new Ultimates series with Jonathan Hickman. (I think Ribic is better off on X-Force, but Opena is coming back so it's ok.) With Hickman(FF, S.H.I.E.L.D.), Aaron, Jeff Parker(Thunderbolts, Hulk), Matt Fraction(Fear Itself, Iron Man, Thor), Brubaker and Remender Marvel is really delivering a high quality set of comic books each month. If only the numbers of sales reflected this. Here's another current Jason Aaron book, Wolverine. Issue 9, 2011 (not to be confused with Wolverine 9(1989) or Wolverine 9(2004) or Wolverine 9, 2013)

This book is killing it. From the Jae Lee cover to the awesome Daniel Acuna artwork inside and a tight script. Look at this Acuna page. Look At It!

Here's hoping Wolverine sticks to back and forth arcs from Acuna and series starter Renato Guedes. This is a great one two punch of artists.

Damnit, this is going on forever. Speaking of X-Men the recent Age of X story was very entertaining, really good to see artists Clay Mann and Steve Kurth working in tangent, all written by Mike Carey through X-Men Legacy and New Mutants. X-Men Legacy seems to finally have hit it's stride, which it has hit before but usually crumbles in the face of artist change ups. Here's hoping it stays good because Mike Carey can deliver a creative plot and interesting script. Looking forward to this storyline,

It features the return of Korvus, the Berserk(Guts) looking Sh'iar warrior. Oh man, did you check out John Severin's awesome art in Witchfinde........ sheesh. I have to stop.


A page from Uncanny X-Men issue 538, pencilled and inked by Terry and Rachel Dodson in a soft detail-free style that communicates drama well and fits snugly with the humor that giggles up in the book. I'll refrain from commenting on the quality of that humor. They have some nice visual angle shifts in there.

There is a scene in the previously mentioned Wolverine 9 where an assassin shoots through the earth to kill a target on the other side of the planet. I don't like the scene. Beyond absurd and it sets the bar for this assassin just way too high as he can only shrink in stature from there. But still, this minor guffaw aside, I completely trust Jason Aaron to do a fantastic job on Wolverine and The X-Men. Keiron Gillen, the man behind issue 538 of Uncanny X-Men and soon to be behind the very first issue of Uncanny X-Men in nearly 50 years, I don't trust. Of course I'm drooling drunk on words by now so I'm not trustworthy either, but there is something fundamentally flawed in the worldview portrayed in issue 538. Here is a page Gillen scripted for Generation Hope issue 4. This disturbed artist has his scars on the outside.

In Generation Hope issue 4, the X-Men take a mutant under their wing who has slaughtered residents and destroyed a good chunk of Tokyo. My interest was piqued during the first four issues of Generation Hope because the Akira influence was mammoth and you don't see that in X-Men titles very often. Some obvious thematic Akira-ness in the Salvador Espin pencils above. But if the aesthetics of manga's influence have been absorbed by Gillen and his artists, the moral values have been eschewed. Japanese comics walk heavy with a sense of guilt and social responsibility. This character above, Kenji, says on an earlier page, "The critics always said my underlying influences were obvious and somewhat juvenile." A portrait of this X-Men writer?The X-Men and Kenji all walk out of Tokyo after they destroy it and they don't appear to look back. It's all sort of shrugged off.

This juvenile reality is seen again in the cutesy ending to Uncanny 538, where everything is wrapped up clean and tight. Kitty Pryde's "Permanant Phase" is fixed, her and her boyfriend Colossus (who was earlier gutted) sit on a cliff holding hands exactly where the story started. (While you are reminded by the drawing of robots below that "there is still always trouble around the bend!") The "bad guys" who are beaten in this story, the revenge driven Breakworld aliens, are given a derelict section of San Francisco to peacefully live in even after attempting to kill many of the X-Men. It's all......wrong. Especially in an arc where throats have been slit, multiple people have died, been resurrected and blood has been launched in ever direction. It's silly. Weightless. It feels like a child's portrait of reality. Is Kenji from Generation Hope writing these stories? It's nice when a writer shows some semblance of understanding cause and effect. I miss it here.

And then there is editor Nick Lowe(main editor on Generation Hope and Uncanny X-Men). Is he the one who can't figure out how old he or his readers are? Here's his banter on the letters page.

This stuff would feel more at home in the Tiny Titans book, which again is especially weird given the slit throats. Let's quote a little Nick Lowe from some recent letter's columns, we'll keep it well out of context so he sound's especially insane, "HELLO X-HEADS! KRUUN IS KICKING THE X-MEN'S BUTTS AND THAT ALIEN LADY JUST KILLED KITTY! Oh X-Head's My X-Heads. HARDCORE. STOP PREENING YOUR MOUSTACHE! Both stories are the tasty juice. TASTY JUICE!". I seriously fear for a flagship book under this writer/editor team. And perhaps that's my real issue with this renumbering gimmick. It's not the desperation in Marvel's schemes. It's not the aggravation in seeing a simple system of continuity maligned. It's not the fact that I'm there for more than the story of the day but that I'm reading to celebrate and understand the history that lead to the story of the day. Maybe my real problem is that this team of creators isn't ready to be birthing a new Uncanny X-Men issue 1. A book that is very serious indeed.

Ah, comics blog. It's good to be back, see you in a year. hahaha.

We had a colossal Storm roll through Providence RI the other night. Wreaked some serious Havok with it's 75 mph winds. The night sky was white with lightning. Uncanny.