Wednesday, July 30, 2014

NB of the Week


Image Comic Edition

Remember when Image Comics stood for something new and different? Image became so big because they had amazing art. But around that art was a company willing to give you something that you weren't getting from the the Big Guns. They were dark and gritty and flashy and new and in your face. WildCATS was unlike any super-team that you were getting. Spawn was the anti-hero we all wanted. Years later, Image wasn't doing so well. Spawn and Savage Dragon were still somehow going but none of us knew why. WildCATS was cancelled and relaunched a few times and we didn't care. Top Cow had come and brought us The Darkness and Withchbade but even those lost all their vigor.
And then things became different again.
DC and Marvel have both made the transition into dark and gritty heroes. They have and the funds and means to promote and sell it all. What they don't have is the will to be different. Talk all they want, it's about sales and numbers each day. They tell some amazing stories, they really do, but they typically tell them safely. From that shadow came Different. Image Comics has opened the doors and is letting creators spread their talent wings. Different. Some of the industry's biggest names are joining Image to tell new and fresh stories that they call tell all on their own and not have to worry so much about the sales. Robert Kirkman helped start this new wave with Invincible and Walking Dead and has currently released a new book called Outcast whose first issue was ordered more than either book. Rick Remender and Jonathan Hickman both worked on Image books before becoming huge with Marvel. Now Hickman has titles like The Manhattan Projects, East of West and Secret. Remender has Deadly Class, Black Science and his newest one, Low, out today, may be one of the strongest fist issues I've read of his and from most others. And if you haven't been reading my blog, you are one of the few people who don't know just how brilliant Brian K. Vaughan's Saga is.
Marvel and DC offer a lot of titles. Some are great and some are just there. But if you're looking for better, if you're looking for Different, Image Comics is a place you should really look into.

Friday, July 25, 2014

(Extra Late)NB of the Week

(I thought I did this Wednesday but I was apparently wrong)

Original Sin - Thor & Loki: the Tenth Realm #2
Written by Jason Aaron & Al Ewing
Drawn by Lee Garbett & Simone Bianchi

Original Sin has seen the death of the Watcher and with that murder, Uatu's eyes have unlocked secrets around the Marvel Universe. One of two minis that are tied directly into the main mini is Thor & Loki. After bringing Angela over from Image's Spawn, we finally get told her she's connected: she is the half-sister of Thor, daughter of Odin and belongs to the lost Tenth Realm of Heven where she was raised with Angels. As the Wingless One, Angela had become their greatest warrior until Age of Ultron ripped her from her home, stranding her on Midgard. Thor and Loki have traveled to Heven looking for their sister but all they found were really pissed off Angels. As Thor beats the beauties, Loki slips away to speak to their queen. But as they begin their little chess match of words, Angela returns to Heven. Facing Thor, unknowing of their connection, Angela is ready to throw down.
I'm not very familiar with Al Ewing's writing. I've read some Mighty Avengers and it wasn't the best but no means would I say it was terrible. Jason Aaron on the other hand, is amazing (as anybody who has heard me speak of God of Thunder knows). Put the two together on a series that involves Thor and Loki finding their lost sister and you have my interest. Making this issue even better is that it turns out that Al Ewing wrote this issue, which outta the two has actually been the better one. Maybe Mighty hasn't hit me that hard but I'm definitely willing to take more chances with his name attached to 'em. No matter what writer you want to read here, you're going to get a solid story with great art. Plus it's Thor and Angela.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

NB of the Week

Pestilence, Famine, War, Death
And All They Have Done
Pale in Comparison
To the Destruction of the Run


Ultimate FF # 4
Marvel is ending both versions of the Fantastic Four titles but it's a crying shame because Ult FF has been pretty damn good. When we last say Doom, his skull was being crushed by the Thing's bare hand. We don't get answers to how he's still alive quite yet but we do find that Doom claims is was only his associate that Grimm killed. Before Ben can get more answers, we're lead into a room where a dimensional traveler is waiting to talk to them: Miles Morhames, The Ultimate Spider-Ham! And he's here to save the Universe.

Original Sin #6
Few answers are given as we reach closer to the end of our murder mystery. Midas reveals they need to head back to space, which is where the rest of the Avengers have also figured out they need to be. Old Fury begins to tell his selected team that one of them will need to replace him as the Man On The Wall but they want answers and begin to turn on him just as the other Avengers arrive. But he's not going with a fight, especially after what the Watcher's eyes have shown him. Yes, plural. Looks like Old Fury pulled the trigger on Uatu.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #36
Splinter and Leo continue to disagree as Leo questions his father's choice to strike at Shredder and finish him for good. As they talk, we are introduced to the new Rat King. He is from a distant past where people fought to rule over all. Now the time has come for people like him to do just that once more. Further more, we're shown that his sister is none other that Kitsune. And for a last page jerker, we're shown that Shredder and Krang have just met. The Turtles just can't catch a break.

Savage Wolverine #21
Logan is fighting in France during WWI when he leads a group of men (one of which is a mutant with telepathy) on a raid to take out communications. As he comes across the dirty work, he finds himself face-to-face with a man he's been dreaming about...
And that's about it. Not a bad issue but quite underwhelming. Hopefully it builds into something greater

All-New X-Factor #11
Memento Mori has Gambit and is willing to make a trade for his daughter. He's also willing to kill in order to get what he wants. As fighting breaks out. Mori's (ex?)wife decides it's time to step in. She is able to approach him and she tells him that she is to blame. She dabbled in magic and he got the power she wanted for herself and it's up to her to take it back. In a flash and an explosion ("It feels like the entire world around us is cooking. A massive flash of light and energy unleashed, but in absolute and total silence.") we are left with Factor gathering around a little girl who now has nobody left in her life.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

(Late) NB of the Week


Daredevil #5
Written by Mark Waid
Drawn by Chris Samnee

Once revealing himself as Daredevil, Matt Murdock has moved back to San Francisco  to try and start new. However, Foggy (suffering from cancer) is said to have died, even though we the readers have seen him and know it to be a ruse. This is the how and why of that.
As Pym is shrunken down and trying to fight the cancer from within Foggy, Matt tries to convince him that faking his death will be the best thing to do. Villains are now out to get him and with knowing his identity, they'll go after those closest to him in order to achieve it. With his ailing condition, Matt believes it'll be best to ask forgiveness later and let Foggy fight his battle without all that trouble. During this speech, a new and improved Leapfrog attacks, in a new and improved frog-mobile (not sure what it's actually called so that's what it is). It captures Foggy and get Matt to give chase only to be stopped in the middle of the city. After apprehending the new Leap, Matt figures out the frog-mobile is set to blow, taking all around with it. Matt decides this is the time. Foggy wants to go out a hero and here it is. Foggy leaps into the machine and jets himself about the city before the whole thing explodes. Lucky for Foggy, Pym was still there and was able to shrink him out to safety. Foggy has died a hero. With the last page, we are given Foggy's thoughts on Matt:
"And that is what it's like to live in the orbit of Matt Murdock. He will confound you. He will frustrate you. He will make your choices for you, he will manipulate you without consulting you, and you will want to punch him in his self-assured face at least once an hour. He will make you wonder every single day why you ever put up with him, because the Devil is full of tricks.
But he will care about you in a way that no one else ever could. When it comes down to it., I guess I don't really need the world to know I exist. I'm just glad he does."
First off, I have absolutely no problem with a dark and gritty story if it's well told. I understand kids look up to characters like Spider-Man and Superman but the nature of what their stories involve should mean that some dark things happen to them and those around them. I get that. But thank God for Mark Waid proving that it doesn't have to be. Blood and violence and boobs and cursing are great and fun but not necessary to stay relevant. Waid continues to tell stories that are filled with character and heart and it forces you to remember why you should find inspiration in these "funny books." I care about Matt Murdock. I care about Foggy Nelson. Caring is one of the hardest things to get out of reading (in my opinion) and Waid does it month in and in spades.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Boobs of the Day

Jennifer Lopez
I was stocking some product the other day at work when I saw that Miss Lopez somehow had another album out. While I may not think she is the most talented singer around (or actress for that matter), I can't help but look at this cover and remember why people enjoy her.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

(Late) NB of the Week


Miles Morales: the Ultimate Spider-Man #3
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Drawn by David Marquez

The Ultimate Universe seems to be slowly going downhill. Odd way to start this but it's true. In the UU, dead supposedly means dead. That includes a lot of main and big names. Wolverine, Captain America (maybe), Cyclops, Xavier, Magneto (a whole lot of X-Men, actually). And Peter Parker. Or so we thought. Among all the down that has been happening in these titles, Brian Michael Bendis has stayed consistent and great with Spider-Man. After the death of Pete, young Miles Morales picked up the mantle, having been given powers by another spider from Oscorp (it may sound cheesy and repetitive but it all fit extremely well). Since then he has been trying to find his place in this hero filled world and trying to balance his family with it (his uncle was the cause for his powers and a big villain and his mother was killed indirectly by Venom). So what does this new title bring in? The return of Norman Osborn for starts. Which isn't too much a surprise since after he killed Pete, he grinned for us all, hinting at the inevitable return but this is Miles first time with him. But what about Pete? Well, that's the tricky part. Peter Parker is apparently still alive and wants his web shooters back. After a little tussle, Peter gets what he wants, leaving Miles completely confused. And now Osborn has his sights set on the new Spider-Men.
Truthfully, not much happened in this issue but Bendis has done such an amazing job setting up these characters that it doesn't hurt at all. Every issue is a positive and I can't wait to read where it's going. Could this be the real Peter Parker? How would Aunt May and Gwen react to this? What's Miles going to do now that the original Spider-Man is back? And if it's not Peter, I really hope Miles brings some ass-kicking because that's a low blow. Over a decade of Bendis on this title and each issue still feels as fresh and new as the first time. This is probably what Madonna was really singing about in Like A Virgin.