Look for the story coming soon on New Jersey Herald's Web site!
Marvel Comics continues its domination of the comic book industry with Siege, an event that includes nearly their entire roster of heroes and villains.
I loved the issue's fast-paced action, and huge payoff for long-time Marvel readers.
There are so many details in here that can't possibly be fathomed by new readers (see my reader guide below) but it is great for all of us that have been following the Avengers for years. It's like watching a TV show religiously: Someone who has watched the past four seasons of The Wire is going to enjoy season 5 a lot more than someone who just turns on the TV and starts watching.
Ultra-bad guy Norman Osborn starts off the issue Civil War-style by blowing up Soldier Field in Chicago. Now, I appreciate Brian Michael Bendis' writing here, but it seems a bit lazy to start the event the exact same way as Civil War. Plus, we don't get any public reaction to a whole stadium of people dying. Does the world care at all? We at least need one panel showing that, I think.
Anyways, from Solider Field we get into Osborn completely breaking down and ignoring the President of the United States by planning a full-scale invasion of Asgard. I got goosebumps when Ares gives a speech to hundreds of super-heroes preparing for the battle.
Once the heroes land in Asgard, the Sentry starts destroying the castles and, in general, kicking ass. I couldn't help but feel like I was on Osborn's side here. It was a real "damn the gods" moment with all these humans going after these gods who showed up on their planet without asking them.
Then, Thor shows up. You get the impression that he is about to destroy Osborn, but the Sentry takes him out. The last time you see Thor, he is getting his royal ass handed to him by the Dark Avengers.
Of course, the real payoff for Marvel fans is shots of Captain America and Iron Man (well, Stark is in a coma...sort of) possibly preparing for battle. The idea of these three teaming up again is the real selling point of Siege.
The art in this issue is just brilliant. Olivier Coipel delivers some of his best stuff, and it is great to see him drawing characters from the series he just left, Thor.
Marvel is just dominating here. The other comic book companies can't seem to catch up with their events. DC Comics' Blackest Night is cool, but it is essentially Marvel Zombies all over again. Image Comics' Image United is surprisingly boring and hard to read with so many artists drawing.
Marvel Comics sure started 2010 off right and I can't wait to see where Siege goes.
This new movie from director Michael Moore looks like his best yet. Capitalism: A Love Story comes out on October 2 and I can't wait. Check out this trailer...It's really funny.
The greatest thing about Noam Chomsky is that even when he talks about huge topics, like the history of propaganda, you understand everything and it flows as smoothly as a novel.
Chomsky, the political activist and professor of linguistics at MIT, is one of the greatest thinkers of the 21st century and this short book is an excellent introduction to his work.
In Media Control, Chomsky explains how a “spectator democracy” controls much of the media and influences the American people.
In a real democracy, according to most definitions, the public has the means to participate in some meaningful way in the management of their own affairs and the means of information are open and free.
The actual practiced form of democracy today says the public must be barred from managing of their own affairs and the means of information must be kept narrowly and rigidly controlled. In Chomsky’s view, a “specialized class” of “responsible men” that believe themselves capable of controlling the dumb mass of people is what we have in the Western world.
The specialized class make all the decisions and run all the political, economic, and ideological systems. They are a small portion of the population. The others, who are not a part of this group, are the big majority of the population.
His problem with the media is not that they are owned by the specialized class (which they are), it’s that they don’t challenge their ideas.
For example, when there was a big uproar in the 1960s as large segments of the population became organized and actively participated in the political arena. So, many newspapers called it a “crisis of democracy.” This is what he says about that:
I find Chomsky’s ideas refreshing and even though I don’t agree with everything he says, at least he has the guts to say what everyone else seems afraid to. His analysis of the success of the Red Scare propaganda is hilarious:
That passage is also a good example of why I like this book so much. Whereas most of his writings are carefully researched and can’t go two sentences without quoting some study or newspaper, in Media Control he just let’s go and goes on a rant.
If you have never read Chomsky, I recommend starting with either this book or his other short one, 9-11. Both are small paperbacks that you can fit in your pocket and don’t cost too much. Even if you don’t agree with his ideas at least you’ll get an idea of what the other side is thinking.
Comic fans are different than most fans.
We don't care if a certain character isn't that great, or if their history is too hard to follow. Once we decide we like a character, we won't ever stop supporting them.
With me, that character is Superboy. That might be strange to people reading my reviews because nowadays I mostly read Marvel and Image comics. And when I'm not reading comics, I tend to read a lot of political stuff.
Superboy, or Conner Kent, is so far away from anything I like, but when I first got into comics, it was this character that hooked me. After Superman was killed by Doomsday, four other Supermen stepped in to take his place. The storyline, The Reign of the Supermen, made me insane for comics.
My favorite Superman, Superboy, was a 15-year-old clone of the last son of Krypton and was a smartass, punk kid. He had (*gasp*) an earing! And a cool leather jacket! This second grader was powerless...
Even after Reign ended, the adventures of Superboy continued. My mom even recalls me discussing plotlines over dinner about the Superboy comic. The series was written by Karl Kesel and drawn brilliantly by Tom Grummett. It was a playful introduction to comics.
Of course, not everyone felt the same way about the character. He was the opposite of Peter Parker - he actually seemed, even if he wasn't written that way, to be the guy that beat you up in high school.
About two years ago, DC Comics killed him off in one of their big crossover events. I was crushed. But, apparently, a lot of other people were too.
Imagine our collective excitement when one of the best writers in comics, Geoff Johns (sorry for dissing you a few posts back), has revived the character through the latest crossover, Final Crisis.
To make things even sweeter, Superboy now has a new series called Adventure Comics that is written by Johns. DC even managed to get an amazing new artist named Francis Manapul to draw it!
The first issue doesn't disappoint. Conner struggles with his dual-linage (a few years ago we found out he was also a clone of Lex Luther) and seems to have a new attitude: humility. Conner just spent the past 1,000 years in a machine to revive him after being killed. He doesn't know where he fits in the world - is he Clark Kent or Lex Luther?
I would support Conner either way the character developed. But, I am thrilled that he seems to be growing up with his fans.
My hopes for the new series:
- Conner will still live in Smallville. The first issue seems to be channeling the TV show back when it was good (seasons 2-5).
- He will go, at least a little bit, to the dark side. A surprise at the end of this first issue points to him trying to be like Lex.
- New characters. Superboy has long suffered from a bad supporting cast. Aside from Lex, Clark, and Ma Kent, I say get rid of all of the others.
- Wonder Girl will be in it. Conner was dating this protege of Wonder Woman before dying. Sort of the same problem as Conner coming off as a jock. I don't think him dating a flying daughter of Zues is very appealing to readers. Plus, the few comics I have seen with her in it involve her crying a lot and being boring. In Adventure Comics #1 he seems to have his eye on a Smallville girl. I hope it sticks.
- That he rejoins the Teen Titans. Back when Superboy got cancelled, the Teen Titans series gave the character a home. I'm not a huge fan of the greater DC universe, so hopefully now that he has his own title, we won't need to deal with all the lame Titans characters.
Mark Millar has done it again.
Millar, the writer of Civil War and Wanted, has returned to the Marvel Ultimate Universe and proven why he is one of the best.
This issue focuses almost entirely on Hawkeye and Captain America and it works beautifully. Normally anything with the name “Avengers” on it has so many characters you need to carry with you a Guide to the Marvel Universe to follow along.
Millar also is one of the best Captain America writers around. His version of Steve Rogers actually acts like an old man in a young person's body. The fact that Rogers was put on ice during WWII and only woke up in the past few years seems to be lost on most writers.
Watching Cap and Hawkeye take out a bunch of A.I.M. agents above the Chicago skyline was like getting to second shot at happiness.
See, a few years ago Millar and artist Brian Hitch put out two of the greatest comic series ever created (forget about Watchmen) called Ultimates 1 and Ultimates 2. Over the 25 issues they put out, the Avengers were re-envisioned as a block-ops squad for the U.S. government. It was beyond awesome.
Then, Jeph Loeb came in. The former actually good writer destroyed everything that Millar and Hitch had did. In Ultimates 3, Loeb’s version of the Avengers were boring, didn’t act anything like they did in 1 and 2, and seemed lamer than their 616 counterparts.
So, now Millar is back and instead of wasting time trying to reverse what Loeb did, he just accepts it and moves on. Hawkeye still has his new costume on, the world is still half destroyed by Magneto, and Nick Fury has just returned from a different universe.
But, things are off and running. This issue introduces the Ultimate Red Skull!
With Fury back, the team working with SHIELD again, and the new twist with the Red Skull, this publication is going to be one of my new favorites.
Not surprising given its tremendous box office success over the past few weeks, Michael Bay not only officially announced that he production of Transformers 3 will be begin shooting in San Francisco, but the “Space God” Dreaming Celestial has been cast in as yet unrevealed role.
A bold move on Bay’s part given the Dreaming Celestial’s crimes against life itself and his lack of acting experience. According to Bay having the Celestial on the project is a huge asset given his knowledge on giant transforming robots and the fact that he does he own stunts. Bay was tight lipped on what role he would play, but given his physical nature, there is much fan speculation that he will be portraying the planet-eating villain Unicron.
No comments yet as to whether or not the current H.A.M.M.E.R. occupation of San Francisco will halt production or an expected release date.
Deadpool aka the Merc with a Mouth aka the Crimson Comedian aka the Regeneratin’ Degenerate. Seems like he’s everywhere these days in the world of comics from a hit ongoing title with a second released this week to an appearance in “Wolverine: Origins” courtesy of Ryan Reynolds with a spinoff in the works. Old Wade Wilson’s come a long way since first appearing in “New Mutants #98”. As Wade fans know, the character draws inspiration from Teen Titans villain Deathstroke (whose real name SLADE Wilson should be an obvious clue).
Like a lot of fans, I was a bit disappointed that Deadpool didn’t appear in his traditional red costume and only hope they plan on keeping it for the spinoff movie. The only question is if they can pull it off on screen or wind up with another Spidey Green Goblin costume fiasco. I’ve recently become aware of the G.I. Joe character Wild Weasel and thought I’d just share another possible visual inspiration. If the filmmakers can get something similar to this, I’d be satisfied enough.
If by some phenomenon you haven’t already discovered that Steve Rogers is coming back (if you have to be told who that is, just stop reading this article right now!) first stop trade waiting and second, fear not, for I come not to praise Steve Rogers but to bury him. Whether or not you want him back, face it, get ready for the return of Steve and embrace change….again….for real….
Practically almost everything that can be said has already, but I’ll still give in my 2¢. Like a lot of fans, I’m not too big about companies killing off characters when they’ve pretty much run out of ideas for the character. Reign of the Supermen comes to mind, a nostalgic favorite of a certain Phil Molnar, or so I’ve heard. But unlike the death of Supermen, the death of Cap meant something for so many reasons. For one thing, if your hero is murdered, it has to be done by a villain with whom he has real history like a Red Skull or Lex Luthor as opposed to some walking Doomsday creation. Plus, killing an American icon as big as Captain America had real resonance with what was going on in the country at the time. The Bush Administration and two wars comes to mind. The long and short of it - reading Captain America #25 really meant something.
As Joe Quesada and other editors at Marvel have already stated, Steve Rogers was always coming back, it was only a matter of how long. It’s just unfortunate that the past few years have had their share of quite a few character resurrections (including Bucky) and this year in particular DC saw both the return of Barry Allen (the original Silver Age Flash) as well as a new Batman and Robin.
What’s been most surprising, since Rogers has been out of uniform, is how the new Bucky Cap has been almost universally embraced by fans. For readers who had been following Ed Brubaker’s run from the beginning, it just felt organic and the natural progression of the character. I think Mark Waid said it best in explaining why Wally West is his favorite Flash in that very few sidekicks actually fulfill the duty of taking over their mentor’s role, and now Bucky can finally be added to that list.
Of course, as some creators have already teased, just because Steve Rogers is coming back, let’s not assume he’s going to going put on the uniform again. I personally prefer Bucky because of the Mark Waid thing and because being Captain America means something as a path to redemption and gives him a purpose in the Marvel Universe. If Steve isn’t Cap, I have no idea what else he could be or do. Perhaps roam the earth like Cain in Kung Fu Nomad style, but it’s been done before. With so many different Captain America characters like the 50’s Cap, Bucky Cap, Rikki Barnes, Patriot, I just hope we don’t wind up with another Reign of the Captains or Battle for the Shield event.
Still, Marvel hasn’t let me down before so I’m eager to see what they have in store.
Captain America #600 has already sold out and will be going back to press for a second printing, according to Comic Book Resources.
The second printing will feature a cover by Butch Guice, a frequent artist on Captain America. The art will actually be taken from an interior shot from the issue (see left). The reprint will come out on July 15th.
Cap #600 was unique in being released on Monday, two days earlier than usual. This required retailers to place special orders, which annoyed Image Comics partner Robert Kirkman (see Image Comics Laughs at Cap #600).
In a press release from Marvel Comics, Vice-President of Sales and Circulation David Gabriel said, "First and foremost, I'd like to thank all those retailers who made this amazing event possible by participating in this special advance release on Monday."
"Despite what might have been the largest overprint we've ever done for a book, copies sold out well before even the early on sale date," he said. "This is a great indicator for the excitement that we’re anticipating for Captain America Reborn. We’d also like to thank the fans and press for getting behind Captain America #600. Trust me, you’re in for a lot of fun and we’re glad to have you along for the ride!”
This summer, for once, it is starting to look like DC Comics might actually edge out Marvel for the best crossover event.
In the upcoming "Blackest Night" characters long dead, and some not that long, will be coming back to life with the use of a Black power ring. Some of the big names are: Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Earth-2 Superman, Dr. Light, Blue Beetle, and Maxwell Lord.
Of course, they won't be their usual selves, but crazed villains trying to take over the universe.
The story comes out of the Green Lantern comics where many other colored rings have already appeared. The traditional Green power ring, which is powered by willpower, has been faced with an onslaught of new enemies, and allies, over the past two years in the form of different rings. They are:
- Yellow (fear)
- Violet (love)
- Red (rage)
- Orange (greed)
- Blue (hope)
- Indigo (compassion)
- Black (death)
All of Johns' hard work in the GL universe will come to fruition this summer as Blackest Night spills over the whole universe.
Check out this preview posted yesterday on DC's official blog, The Source.
One of my favorite comic book writers, Robert Kirkman (I reviewed one of his comics back in August), published this press release on Image Comics' webpage for Invincible #63. What can I say? Marvel sort of deserves it for freaking out over Cap #600 for months.
Invincible has been one of my favorite comics for a couple years now. Ryan Ottley, the artist on the series, is one of the best in comics (in my top 5, for sure).
Check it out:
NEW ISSUE OF INVINCIBLE TO BE SUPER POPULAR AND BELOVED FOR VAGUE, CRYPTIC REASONS!
Something might be happening in INVINCIBLE #63 and whatever it is will quite possibly be rather amazing!
In an unprecedented move, writer Robert Kirkman and illustrator Ryan Ottley have made a cryptic, semi-confident promise that INVINCIBLE #63 might be kind of a big deal for reasons they wouldn't say and plan to back it up with a special Wednesday shipment direct to comic shops!
"All I'm saying is INVINCIBLE #63 reorders should be double or triple over all retailer's orders combined plus fifty thousand," Kirkman stated. "I even heard President Barack Obama might call a press conference to discuss the contents of this very special issue, because there may be something of national interest in there. Also, every newspaper ever could possibly make it a front page story. Who knows?! All I can say for sure is every single human being on the planet, regardless of whether they read comics or even know what they are, will definitely be extremely interested in this issue, maybe even enough to buy a copy!"
INVINCIBLE #63 might even possibly be the biggest comic book event of all time, up there with The Death of Superman, The Death of Captain America, The Entirety of the Early Nineties and Action Comics #1! The only certainty is everyone must place a ridiculously massive order for a non-returnable product they may or may not make a profit on sometime in the near future. Or never. Don't ask - just buy it! You trust us, right?
Added Image Comics Publisher ericstephenson, "There's a chance this could very possibly be an event of undetermined importance, both for comics fans and people of all walks of life, with only the most passing familiarity with comic books, or even books, period. We can't really say what happens in this issue, but trust us, something does happen. And it might even be something interesting. Best not to jinx it, though, so let's just go with, 'Something happens.' It's somewhat likely a number of people we have yet to identify will want one. "
INVINCIBLE #63 (APR090384), a 32-page full color comic book easily worth around $500, but costing only $2.99, will be in stores June 17th, 2009.
Walking into St. Mark's Comics in East Village yesterday, there was only one thing on my mind: The monumental Captain America #600. In the front desk of the store, where the new issues from Wednesday usually go, 12 copies of Cap hung triumphantly. It was only 11:30 a.m. on a warm Manhattan Monday, and the copies of this issue on the shelf had already run out.
Marvel Comics had made the unique move of releasing #600 two days early, instead of the traditional New Comic Wednesday, and I patiently waited with a few other fans for an employee to grab more issues.
Marvel had been hyping this issue for months. Something big was going to happen to Captain America and no one should miss it.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity (probably less than a minute), the employee brought two stacks of Cap. I had the choice between the Alex Ross or the Steve Epting cover. I immediately choose the magnificent Ross painted cover. Then, I thought about it for a while.
It was Epting, and writer Ed Brubaker, who had redefined the character for me and a whole generation of fans. I changed my mind and got the Epting cover; If something really big was going to happen, Epting deserved it.
Only two years ago, deep into Brubaker's run - which saw the return of Cap's partner Bucky and actually made Steve Rogers cool again - Cap was unexpectedly killed in issue 25. I was shocked, fans all over the world were shocked, and even the media had a field day with it.
As time went on, Bucky (also known as The Winter Soldier) would track down several of the people responsible for Roger's death, eventually become Captain America himself, and join the Avengers.
I didn't think it was possible, but Captain America without Rogers, the man who had been wearing the costume for half a century, was actually just as good. Brubaker gave Bucky a girlfriend, continued to grow the character (who for most purposes, he reinvented), and continued to weave the same type of spy-heavy stories that made the first 25 issues of the comic such a success.
Then, Marvel announced last month that #600 would change everything. It would be followed by a series called "Reborn" (see the trailer on TMR's homepage) and #600 would have "the most wicked plot twist since issue 25."
After buying the issue, I went to a coffee shop and read the much-hyped issue.
It was fantastic. Comics don't get much better than this.
The issue was $4.99, a bit high, but had 104 pages! This issue felt more than a trade paperback than a single issue. It had seven parts, which I will break down:
Alex Ross and a few others give us a two page origin of Steve Rogers. It's beautifully drawn but doesn't offer much for long-time readers. Although, it would be good for new readers who are starting with this issue.
Part Two: One Year After
This is the real meat and bones of #600. Ed Brubaker starts with a recap about Cap's life and death. The rest focuses on individual characters in six parts:
In "Sharon Carter's Lament" Cap's former girlfriend does her usual I-regret-that-I-was-brainwashed-and-killed-Steve thing, but then comes the first big reveal: She starts to remember new things about shooting Rogers and she finds out that she shot him with some sort of special gun. She tracks down the SHIELD agent that she gave the gun to (while brainwashed) and finds out it is "not a normal gun." This part ends with Carter saying, "Oh, Thank God. Thank God..."
Next, in "The Other Steve Rogers", we catch up with Bad Cap - the guy that took over for Rogers while he was in ice. It basically is a narrative of his life and path to redemption. Pretty good stuff.
In "The Youth of Today" a long standing plot thread is finally touched on: Rikki Barnes, a female Bucky from a different dimension, meets the Young Avengers' Patriot. Now, this will get a bit complicated. About 10 years ago, Marvel decided to hire a bunch of Image Comics writers and artists to redo some of their biggest characters. The result, "Heroes Reborn" was horrible. It was so bad that I even took a five-year break from reading comics after it. Probably one of my least favorite comic writers, Jeph Loeb, brought this awful concept back last year for "Onslaught Reborn." It was, as expected, complete garbage. But, at the end of the series the Bucky from that universe was stuck in the normal Marvel Universe.
I wanted to vomit when I heard Rikki Barnes would be joining the characters of Cap, but I actually like this short story. She has a cool costume, is kind of fun, and is an all right addition to the cast. We also get to see Patriot (the nephew of the black Captain America) again, which is cool. I'm a huge Young Avengers fan, so I hope she joins that team.
The next part, "Crossbones and Sin", follows the two characters that were in charge of killing Rogers a year ago. It is kind of boring, but you start to get more hints that Rogers isn't really dead. Sin says, "You know what day is is? It's the anniversary...Ha...The don't even know...the fools."
In "The Avengers Dilemma", Bucky works out with the Avengers. Pretty fun stuff. They discuss whether or not to go to a memorial for Cap in Central Park. The next part, "The Red Skull's Delirium", is Red Skull talking about how great he is.
The final part, "The Vigilant", is about the Avengers, and a large crowd, at the Park. Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers make an appearance. The end of this part has the biggest reveal of the whole issue. Sharon Carter runs up to the Avengers and says, "It's Steve...I think we can still save him."
Part Three: In Memorium
This is about a few of Steve's old friends mourning his death.
Part Four: The Persistence of Memorabilia
Probably the one of the best Cap writers of all time, Mark Waid (second only to Brubaker), has a story about people buying Cap memorabilia at an auction. It is a really solid piece that ends with Tony Stark buying Cap's Avengers membership card for two million dollars.
Part Five: My Bulletin Board
Joe Simon, the first editor of Timely Comics in the '40s, tells us the story of Cap's shield. I think, at this point, Marvel is just filling space.
Part Six: Red Skull's Deadly Revenge
Like most comic fans, I'll sit around talking about how great Stan Lee is but when it comes time to read one of his comics I can hardly stand it. This reprinted comic from 1942 is just hard to read - It is really stupid. A different time, a different way of story telling...I guess.
Part Seven: Cover Gallery
600 Cap covers are reprinted. It is really cool to see how the character has changed over the years.
Overall, it was an amazing issue. I wished Bucky would stay Cap for a little longer, but I understand where Marvel is coming from. The movie The First Avenger: Captain America is supposed to be coming out in 2011 so I guess you don't want people running into a comic store after the movie and not have Steve Rogers in the suit.
The comic series "Reborn" about Rogers coming back to life starts on July 1st. Check out the trailer:
In anticipation of Terminator: Salvation coming out, TMR asked visitors what their favorite Terminator movie was and the results were overwhelmingly in favor of T2.
T2 got 71% of the vote, The Terminator got 28%, and Terminator 3 got no votes.
Thanks to everyone that voted and make sure to vote on our new Captain America poll!