Wednesday, November 2, 2011

New Ways To Die Parts 1 and 2

Well, there's kinda been a sort of content drain lately, so I decided to delve back into the time history forgot. And by that, I mean like, 3 years ago. More specifically, right in the middle of Brand New Day, with the storyline nobody wanted to see. Or if they did, they have problems.

Comic Review: Amazing Spider-Man #568 & #569

This storyline is infamous for reasons that will become clear later, but really, all you need to know is this takes place before the American Son storyline. Meaning, really, that was a step up from this. American Son was an improvement. Just think about that for a second.

The comic starts with a recap of everything that's ever happened to Spider-Man. Well, okay, a three page recap of his basic origin, because apparently they thought this would be a great place to bring people into Spider-Man comics. Then this happens.

She blows up a campaign van of Bill Hollister, father of Lily Hollister, and mayoral candidate. So really, she blows up her dad's van. Oh! Wait! We're not supposed to know that yet! We're still supposed to think Menace is a dude. So Spider-Man shows up, they fight, and she blows up a wall. From the collapsing building, Spider-Man sees a bunch of what look like Chinese immigrants pour out, so he does the only logical thing a superhero can do and snaps some pictures.

He decides to sell the pictures to Front Line, the newspaper everyone who used to work at the Daily Bugle works at because it became the DB (and later got a bailout). I guess the writers realized they made a mistake in changing the Daily Bugle, so they just wrote in Front Line so Pete could still have the same job. So he sells the pictures, which apparently connect Randall Crowne, another mayoral candidate, with illegal sweatshops. Oh god, I really hope this isn't about politics, please please don't be about politi--

Son of a bitch.

So yeah, that's Norman Osborn, apparently really interested in New York politics for some reason. See, at this point, Norman was head of the Thunderbolts, a team of "heroes" who were actually just horrible monsters that had really really good plubicity. We cut to them killing cardboard cutouts of heroes, until Osborn shows up and tells them they're going to New York.

Then we cut to Dexter Bennett, being subtle as ever.

Good thing the writing is so subtle. So he sends Betty Brant out to investigate Martin Li, another supporter of Hollister, as well as the founder of a chain of homeless shelters. Can homeless shelters have chains? I guess it's the McDonalds of hobos. Oh, also people with terminal disease are getting better after being in the shelters.

Speaking of which!

Yeah, apparently that's Eddie Brock, who's now Hobo man. It seems Matt Murdock took on Eddie's case, proving in court it was the symbiote's fault he killed people. Martin Li puts his hands on Eddie's shoulder, which makes bullshit happen in his bloodstream, that nobody notices.

Peter shows up at his apartment building, where he's assaulted by the SWAT team, and brought into his own apartment, where the Thunderbolts wait for him.

We begin part 2 with Norman asking Peter how to find Spider-Man. After no responce, Norman laughs at the concept of a warrant and rips up Peter's shit. Then they leave without gaining anything. I'm not quite sure what the point of that was. At that point Peter's roommate Vin shows up.

So after that we cut back to the homeless shelter, where Eddie Brock is happy to say he's cured of cancer! Yaaay! Martin Li takes him into his office, where he shows Eddie the gameboard of Go he has, where he's been playing against somebody, but he doesn't know who. (HINT: IT'S MR. NEGATIVE MARTIN LI IS MR. NEGATIVE THEY'RE THE SAME GUY HE'S EVIL)

Anyway, Randall Crowne gives Osborn an award for whatever, and everyone loves him. Seriously, at this point, I would say New Yorkers don't just have a bad memory. They have antrograde amnesia. Osborn killed people! He was put in jail! HE DRESSED UP AS A GREEN DUDE AND RODE AROUND ON A ROCKET AND BLEW SHIT UP. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE.


I'll admit he basically did the same thing during Dark Reign, but at least then he had the decency to disguise the horrible villains as superheroes! At least he tried!

...So, uh, after that Osborn goes to visit Harry at his coffee shop. Osborn hates it because, I dunno, he must be a Starbucks kinda guy. Harry gets sad and leaves. Osborn then gets back to the Thunderbolt base to find Spider-Man. Spidey decides to fix that by breaking into their base. Of course! Hiding right under their nose!

Or, uh, I don't know. Threatening a government official? I mean, yeah, he's evil, but he's head of a government task force. Ah well, fight the power Spidey!

At that point, Venom, being completely batshit insane, somehow senses a previous host at the homeless shelter. I don't remember him having that power, but whatever. Spidey, remembering that Aunt May is volunteering at that shelter, rushes to save the day. Before that though, Gargan finds Brock, and plans to kill him? I think?

You know, as this comes to a close, it wasn't the best intro, but I don't know why I thought this was so bad before. I mean, what could happen on the last page-- NO WAIT NO I DIDN'T MEAN THAT

God dammit.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

(New) Venom #7

Now, I probably haven't mentioned Spider-Island yet, have I? It's the current big thing happening across the Spider-books, along with the Avengers and Cloak & Dagger. The premise is that the Jackal, one of Spidey's old villains, made these bedbugs which spread a disease which gives you Spider powers. Long story short, eventually it turns you into a giant spider, and they're all under the control of another previous Spider-Man villain, The Queen. This time, we follow something other than the main story.

Comic Review: Venom #7

In previous Venom issues, he fought one of the Jackal's minions called Spider-King, a gigantic humanoid Spider, mutated from (SPOILER ALERT) Captain America. After taking him down, Flash disguised himself as the Spider-King to infiltrate The Queen's ranks.

Where our comic begins, a man who's daughter has been infected by the Spider-Virus finds a nasty surprize in her bedroom.

He takes her to Our Lady of Saints church, where we see someone familiar. Well, okay, probably not all that familiar.

That's our good friend Anti-Venom, who comes pre-packaged with all kinds of fun problems in whatever comic he's in. We don't stay with him long though, we cut to a clone of Miles Warren, the civilian identity of the Jackal, walking through the chaotic streets back to the secret lab. He reports back to the rest of the Miles Warrens, because Jackal cloned himself a bunch of times to have lab assistants. Well, if you can't get something done right...

He's there to report to Queeny that Anti-Venom's all healing people. She sends Spider-King to go kill him, so Venom reports back to base that someone's curing people of the Spider-Virus. They report back to Reed Richards at the lab, who says he's gonna need Anti-Venom, so they should go get him.

As Flash swings towards Our Lady of Saints, he gets a call from Betty Brant, about his dying father. Flash's dad is in the hospital due to liver failure, likely on his deathbed, and Betty wants Flash to try and make amends before it's too late. Flash is a little bitter.

Flash arrives at the church, where I'm sure he'll explain to Anti-Venom that he can do the most good by going to the lab, and it'll be juuuuuust fii--

So we get the cliche of superhero books, where both heroes have problems with communication, so rather than realize they're both on the same side and just work together, they fight. I don't understand why every superhero has the compulsion to throw punches first and ask questions never. I mean, yeah, eventually most of them end up working together, but nothing ever happens without the fight first. I mean, this probably stems from the fact that all comic fans want people to fight, and things would get kinda boring if everyone just talked it out, but still, it's getting a little old.

It's worse with Venom because I think there could actually be an interesting dialogue between Venom and Anti-Venom in this case, but too bad.

Anyway, Anti-Venom calls Venom a demon, they fight, and then the symbiote tries to take over Brock again. And-- Wait, what? It works?!


Oh nevermind it's back on Flash now.

The odd part about this scene is that even though I would normally be thrilled to have Brock back as Venom, you can see Brock is so completely terrified by that concept, as he tries desperately to rip the symbiote off while it covers him, I actually feel kinda bad for him. I mean, I never liked Anti-Venom as a character, but the art really drives it home how much he doesn't want to be with the symbiote ever again.

So Brock passes out and Flash delivers him to the lab, where Reed is confused by the random fighting that happened for little to no reason. Flash finally shows up at his dad's bedside.

So, uh, that ended on a down note.

So that's our Venom Spider-Island crossover! I mean, it wasn't bad, but considering most of the issue was based on a giant fight that didn't need to happen, and the dialogue boiled down to:





I mean, nobody really gained anything in that exchange, just like when he fought Spider-Man. Talking is not Flash's strong suit. It seems like the whole point of this series is Flash losing his shit whenever anything happens, and then somehow he wins sometimes. Not the most nuanced writing. Of course, the parts concerning his civilian life, particularly that with his father, are actually pretty well written. Flash is bitter and angry, and you're usually on his side. Trying to control myself, this is the W Defender.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Batman #1

Well, the DC reboots are coming out, and I told myself I wouldn't buy anything. But then... I saw Batman. I mean, how can I resist Batman? Plus, I heard they were keeping old continuity, so how could I go wrong?! Well, this. This is how.

Comic Review: Batman #1

Now the comic starts in probably the most cliched way Batman can, and that is in the middle of a breakout in Arkham Asylum that Batman is beating down. Of course, there's some villains I don't really recognize.

So they throw Batman through a wall, and a weird team-up occurs.

As you can see from that panel, some villains have gone through the usual redesign that follows a reboot like this. Joker is much more Heath Ledger-y, they made Two-Face look like half his face melted off, and the Riddler has a stupid question mark mohawk. Artists must have a penchant for making the Riddler look entirely dumb.

So we cut to the Gotham PD rooftop where Batman explains to Gordon the source of the attempted breakout, a guard getting a cut, all done before. I guess they just want to give a sense of what normalcy is for Batman, but to me this is just coming off as overdone.

Back at the Batcave, Bruce broods a bit, before the Joker pops up! Psych, it was just Dick the whole time with a mask on.

So Batman and his old Robins all head to some presentation thing Bruce is setting up. You know, the ones that happen every time where he says how he's going to fix Gotham with some building project, or charity, or something. What's it this time?

Okay, a building project. Anyway, after his little show, a man named Lincoln March, a mayoral candidate starts talking to Bruce. Then we see the talent this artist has for designing characters.

What I'm saying is, there's very little that differentiates him from Bruce, but maybe that's the point. No doubt he'll become evil by the end of this storyline, and end up as some sort of dark mirror for Bruce. You know, like Hush.

Bruce spies Gordon talking on the phone, catching a phrase or two like, "How many stab wounds? God." So Bruce excuses himself from the party.

Batman shows up behind Harvey Bullock at the crime scene, who leads him to the murder victim, who's been stabbed a shit ton of times with throwing knives in everywhere but major arteries. Harvey lets Batman take one because, hell, why not? Batman also takes a skin sample from underneath the victims fingernails. You know, now that I mention it, shouldn't the police be doing that kind of work? Why is nobody else there?

"Hey, someone just reported a murder downtown. Should I go grab CSI or...?"

"Nah, let Batman take care of it."

Anyway, Batman smells something, so he uses Harvey's cigar to light up a message put on the wall, that says, "Bruce Wayne will DIE tomorrow." Harvey starts talking about Bruce, and at the same time, the DNA results come back. (Which, in real life, would not be nearly that quick, but who's counting?"

So that was the new Batman #1. Personally, I didn't really like it. It felt bland and overdone. Of course, I'm hardly unbiased here. You all know my thoughts about the Reboot, so you probably know I was out to dislike this comic. I mean, there's nothing really wrong with it, it just didn't do anything crazy. Is that really so bad? I mean, this is the first comic, the one you're supposed to start with. Maybe I think it's overdone because it's supposed to give a sense of the norm to new readers. I just hope this doesn't lead to all the writers retreading what's already been done to make up for what was erased. I'll have to see what the next issues are like before I make a final judgment on this series. Still a bit apprehensive, this is the W Defender.

Friday, September 16, 2011

All-New Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1

Hey everybody! Now, I'm sure you all remember the whole Death Of Spider-Man thing right? Yeah. So he died. After that we got Ultimate Fallout, which was everyone being sad because he died, but one issue, #4, showed what press releases revealed as the new Ultimate Spider-Man. All you saw was his face in that issue, but newspapers and the like covered it like crazy, all talking about Miles Morales, the African American/Hispanic Spider-Man. Finally his debut issue's come out, so it's time for:

Comic Review: All-New Ultimate Comics Spider-Man #1

Our comic begins, apparently, eleven months ago, in what seems to be Norman Osborn's lab. Not the explody one, I mean a new functioning one. Somehow. I'm not really sure when this is set. Anyway, he's talking to his new scientist, Dr. Markus, about the myth of Arachne, and blah blah first spider. And so he explains that it was he who created Spider-Man, but they didn't keep adequate logs so they can't reproduce it. Wait, so Norman knows who Spider-Man is, but he's not on the run from the law because he killed people as a giant green fire guy? When did he set up another lab? Nobody wants to answer these questions. Norman lets Markus know what happens if you break the NDA.

While Dr. Markus is distracted, one of the test spiders escapes. I WONDER WHAT COULD POSSIBLY HAPPEN. Next they show a front page of the Daily Bugle, likely as a recap, which says that Norman Osborn has been revealed as a giant monster who is now in SHEILD custody. So I guess we're to assume this is before he went all crazy and died killing Peter Parker? That'll probably never be adequately explained.

We cut to a shot of an old, decrepit Osborn Industries building, and then someone scaling the wall. So, I guess they jumped ahead a bit? No idea when this takes place in relation to the last Ultimate Spider-Man title. But yeah, the burgler is revealed to be blue-Deadpool.

As he's stealing stuff, the escaped spider climbs up his leg and into the bag. No biting, apparently. He just wanted a ride. The guy leaves.

We then cut to Brooklyn, and some random people I don't care abo-- Wait, these are the protagonists? Awww.

So they go to the lottery and, of course, Miles is picked. Who expected anything else.

Anyway, Miles decides to go visit his Uncle Aaron. Uh oh. I don't expect good things for his future. Anyway, the uncle decides to go get popsicles, leaving Miles with his suspiciously familiar bag. (THE UNCLE IS BLUE DEADPOOL.) A spider crawls out of said bag, and shows all of us that Miles is not the brightest kid.

The spider bites him, which affects him a bit faster than it did Peter.

When Miles wakes up, his dad gets there, thinking that his uncle did something. As they argue, Miles flees. After his dad passes right by him, Miles notices something weird.

Now, I didn't like the fact Peter had to die in the first place, so anything that comes after wouldn't really sit well with me. I don't really have any idea when this is set in the Ultimate Universe, where before everything was pretty coherent as to time. Then they felt the need to shoehorn the same origin story for this new guy, even though it's incredibly unlikely and is completely unnecessary. Plus, he's like, 13. If I wanted a hero that young I'd be reading Power Pack. Oh, and apparently his Spider-powers include a camouflage that also somehow affects his clothes. No doubt they'll be giving him organic webs, because they can't come up with a reason to give him mechanical ones. I don't have high hopes for the series, in storyline or in popularity. Everyone's going to get it because it's got the new Spider-Man(!) but once people actually read the damn thing and the quality doesn't match up at all to the old Ultimate Spider-Man, they'll stop buying and Marvel won't know what to do.

I feel a bit betrayed by Bendis, but honestly I'd wager he was forced to write this by the higher ups, namely Quesada, my nemesis. I really hope the whole thing wasn't his idea, because I don't know if I can believe Bendis would do that to me. The art's... not bad, but they kept using the weird newsprint dots for the background when, really, in comics these day, you can just use a solid color and it's fine. That might just be the style of the colorist, and not the penciler, but I'm not sure.

Also: note, this and the rest of the Ultimate comics are coming out with new #1's at the same time all the new DC reboots are coming out. I would say, "Well played, Marvel." except it's really not all that well played. Just kinda copycat. At any rate, that was your new #1, and this is the W Defender.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Avengers Vs. New Ultimates #4

Along with the Ultimate Spider-Man portion of the Death of Spider-Man story, they've started another series, Avengers vs. New Ultimates, written by Mark Millar, who wrote the original Ultimates and Ultimates 2, before Jeph Loeb took over in Ultimates 3. The New Ultimates are pretty much the same as the old Ultimates, meaning Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and Giant Man. The Avengers are Fury's team that he formed shortly after Ultimatum, when Captain America went rogue for a short period of time.

Comic Review: Avengers Vs. New Ultimates #4

In the previous issues, the Ultimates found a horribly mutated attempt at a Chinese super soldier, along with intel that said it was Fury who sold the super soldier secrets to the Chinese. They proceeded to try to find him, while Fury brought the old gang back together, with members like War Machine, Blade, and the Punisher. Inevitably, they have a battle which is brought to New York, and makes up the giant explosions on the bridge that Spider-Man saw. Last issue, the Punisher had his sights on Captain America, but Spider-Man jumped in the way, being shot himself. This issue opens with Spider-Man laying on the ground.

He's not very observant, is he?

Nick Fury is then shot, as SHIELD men rappel down, and point their guns at the Punisher, who gets all crazy.

Captain America proceeds to carry Spider-Man, while praising him in a direct contradiction of their conversation in Ultimate Spider-Man. Of course, I guess Spider-Man saving his life gave Cap a new perspective. Nick Fury, even though he's on the ground and is all bleeding, smiles, because his reinforments have arrived, meaning War Machine, who smashes into the bridge and breaks it into a million tiny pieces. Spider-Man manages to cling to the side and pull himself back up, while everyone else falls in the water below.

Meanwhile, in Manhattan, we see Blade punch the hell out of Black Widow, and afterwards he is chased by Giant Man. Because the traffic there is murder, he has some trouble catching him, so Iron Man just kinda rams into him.

Carol Danvers, after regaining consciousness, finds Black Widow next to her. Don't worry, now that she's back in the game, she'll get everything under contr--

Uh. Guess that's the end of that.

At the White House, Dr. Gregory Stark, Tony Stark's brother discusses the reasons Fury would betray the country, citing his need for power. Since Carol Danvers is currently, ahem, out of commission, the president names Dr. Stark as head of SHIELD, so he heads to the Helicarrier.

Back at Tony Stark's pad, he's barfing in the toilet, and he comments a lifetime of alcohol abuse made oral chemotherapy easier, since he's already used to vomiting every morning. Cap helps him up, and they talk with Black Widow and Thor in the living room. Stark mentions to Thor that he remembers the arrangment they made.

Yes! Finally! For those who don't know, Thor used to talk like a normal guy, but suddenly, in Ultimates 3, for no reason, Thor started talking Shakespearean like his mainstream counterpart, and this continued into Ultimatum. This was entirely Jeph Loeb's doing, who really has no idea how to write for the Ultimate Universe. This is why I love Mark Millar: He both fixed the problem and highlighted it by having the other characters in the series recognize that it was stupid so they fixed it.

Anyway, they get to the topic of Nick Fury, and how it's still surprizing that he was selling out state secrets for the past 15 years, but Black Widow doesn't believe it, and is sure that someone's setting him up.

On cue, we cut to the Helicarrier, where Fury and Dr. Stark are talking about the Helicarrier's design, when Fury drops this bombshell.

Gregory reveals that he's the one who's been sending out the super-soldier secrets, but he's actually been sending them to the pro-government rebels. How devious. Turns out this was all so Greg could become leader of SHIELD, as part of this weird sibling rivalry thing Tony and Gregory have. As a final act, Ol' Greg orders his men to kill Fury.

Mark Millar, what can I say about you? This comic is actiony, but more than that it's hilarious! Millar really tends to bring dark comedy into places it probably shouldn't be, but I'm either glad or sickened by it. Seeing as the Ultimates are his creation, he writes them best. Or at least, better than Jeph Loeb, that goddamn piece of- anyway, I enjoyed reading, so if nothing else, this whole Death of Spider-Man thing is good for some ol' Millar action. This is the W Defender, and this ends Millar Time.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Green Lantern Review

Yes, I saw Green Lantern. My thoughts? Not very good. (Also, major spoilers ahead)

The entire first half of this movie is exposition, wherein we are introduced to the Green Lantern Corps, Hal Jordan, Carol Ferris, Hector Hammond (Hereafter referred to as Dr. Forehead), Hector Hammond's dad, Sinestro, Hal's family that gets a cameo, and some other people I immediately forgot.

The main problem this film had was it couldn't focus at all. It can't decide whether Hector Hammond is a major character, if Hal's character arc matters, if they should focus on the giant space battles or the small stuff on Earth, or a million other things. I honestly couldn't care less when Hal decided to quit the Corps almost immediately after being inducted, because I wanted to care about the Green Lantern Corps  and the giant space thing they were supposed to fight. But rather than care about that, we got to see Hal fly around and try to get laid. A lot of the time, the writing was just sloppy. For example, when Hal is inducted into the Corps, Sinestro feels that Hal cannot replace his old friend Abin Sur. How do they communicate this? Sinestro tells Hal that he can't replace his old friend Abin Sur. When Hal has to stop being scared and overcome his fear? Carol tells him to stop being scared and overcome his fear.

The problem with focus is furthered with the villains, Dr. Forehead and Parallax. Forehead has as little introduction as possible before becoming a villain of sorts, while Parallax is kind of explained in the opening crawl, and a tiny bit more during the 40 minutes of exposition. All the parts with Dr. Forehead seem too diminuitive when compared with the potential giant space battles, but Parallax just seems too much like the big scary monster. Parallax's first line in the movie is to some things he kills, and is as follows: "Are you afraid? Good." Hammond spends 80% of his time either screaming or laying down, while Parallax spends all of his time trying to look scary.

With Hal, they throw in random parts of backstory that hardly matter, like a flashback of his dad exploding in a plane (which is unintentionally hilarious), and one of his relatives mentioning a motorcycle accident he had. His personality is annoying at best. They try to shoehorn in some sort of parallel between Hal and Hammond, but it really doesn't make any sense.

Carol Ferris is Hal's love interest, but any scene with them together is just hackeyed and grating to watch. It is mentioned once or twice that Hammond was in love with her, or something, and it doesn't really go anywhere.

A lot of things don't go anywhere, or are just barely developed, like Sinestro, who should've been an interesting character, and is quite obviously going to be a villain next movie, but he barely has any screentime and his motives make no sense. He makes a yellow ring that uses the power of fear, to fight a being of pure fear. Yeah.

A big problem with the movie was the designs and CGI. As you know, Ryan Reynold's costume was all CGI, and it was glaringly obvious. His little mask and whitened eyes stood out like eyesores every time they were on-screen. They were such bad CGI that they made his face look CGI. His regular, normal face. Abin Sur looks very very familiar.

Pictured: Abin Sur.

Parallax, who is supposed to be the abstract concept of fear, is instead Megamind with tentacles.

I'm being serious here.

Dr. Forehead started out as a normal guy, but then his forehead mutated, somehow giving him chin-fat, and he started wheezing for the rest of the movie. I understand that they were trying to make him repulsive, but they went so far that I wanted any scene with him in it to quickly be over, because every time he was on-screen I felt like I needed a shower.

What doesn't make sense is that during the whole movie, it talks about overcoming fear, so you would think that just by overcoming their fear, the Green Lanterns would defeat Parallax. But no, instead Parallax is beaten by being punched into the sun. See, the only thing to fear isn't fear itself, but a giant scary monster. Which you can then kill forever by punching into the sun. Despite the fact that it's made of fear.

The director desperately wanted to show a parallel between Forehead and Hal, by showing Hal trying to figure out how to work the lantern between cuts of Dr. Forehead inexplicably becoming mutated from bits of Parallax he touched. This goes so far as to have, in the middle of a fight scene, a part where Hal and Forehead fall down next to each other (and continue to lie there for a considerable time) and Forehead says, and I quote, "How did we end up so different?" trying to pummel the audience over the head with the symbolism.

As far as the fight scenes went, some of them weren't so bad. The power ring effects weren't bad most of the time, and it was about the only time the obvious CGI was fitting. Of course, the closest he comes to actually fighting is having a little will-battle with Dr. Forehead or when he's drilling through MegaTentacle.

Overall, it was disappointing, disjointed, and stunted. So much went on that had no resolution or conclusion, and what was concluded felt rushed and not well thought out. The effects never looked terribly good, the characters never had any development or many if any likeable moments, and the movie had more exposition than it had resolution. I wouldn't suggest seeing it, unless you must see what they've done to our characters. In Brightest Day, in Blackest Night, this is the W Defender.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Spider-Man: Edge of Time

Well, a new Spider-Man game has been announced, which means I'm going to go crazy about it for a while, until it's released and then my Xbox breaks and I never play it. This one's called Spider-Man: Edge of Time. They recently released the E3 trailer and I have a few comments.

First of all, Anti-Venom?!? 

I hate Anti-Venom. That's another rant for another day, but seriously, he's aggrivating. And now he's in this game. I don't really see the point. I think they originally wanted Venom in the game, but then were told that Venom's now Flash Thompson and that Venom wouldn't work, and somebody said, "Wait, why can't we use whoever Eddie Brock is now?" Well for one thing, it's obvious they just re-skinned a Venom model, because he's all big and buff whereas Anti-Venom is lanky and stringy. They used the voice from the Spectacular Spider-Man, which honestly I didn't like all that much. Hopefully he's not that big of a villain though.

For Spider-Man, it sounds like his voice is done by Josh Keaton, who did the voices for Ultimate Spider-Man in Shattered Dimensions and in Spectacular Spider-Man. I heartily approve. From the debut trailer, it sounded like Spider-Man 2099 was voiced by the same actor as in Shattered Dimensions, which is fine with me.

As far as story is concerned, it looks all time-breaky, just like Shattered Dimensions was all parallel universe breaky.

Just from the trailer, I'm kinda excited, but cautiously so. More updates as details progress.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

DC: Killer of Continuity

What the freaking hell. You may have heard recently that DC Comics is rebooting all of its titles, starting them off at #1. All of them. I figured something would happen after Flashpoint (the newest crossover crisis thingy) had ended, and I really should've suspected it was something like this.

I just hate it so much when they do this. I mean, for one thing, they just rebooted Wonder Woman! Why would they do it again?! Comic publishers never seem to know what fans want. They either give us the same stories again and again without changing anything, hoping the nostalgia will sell itself, or ignore everything that came before in reboots and stories for "today's audience."

One example of this failing is with one comic in particular: Spider-Man: Chapter One. This was a sales ploy by Marvel to bring new readers to Spider-Man, by retelling his early stories in a way that would replace the old Stan Lee and Steve Ditko stories. Sure, it gained a few new readers, but anyone who had read Spider-Man before that point despised it. It finished its run, but now no mention of it is ever made. Shortly after it finished, they decided to try something a bit different, that actually worked: Ultimate Spider-Man. Putting it in an alternate universe solved a lot of problems in that you didn't mess with any of the previous continuity, and Ultimate Spider-Man turned out to be a huge success.

I think the main problem I have with replacing or deleting old continuity in a bid to gain new readers is the fact that for those who have been reading comics, it makes it seem like all those comics they bought and read were completely pointless. Sure, if it was something stupid like the Clone Saga, people are glad it never existed, but in a case like this, DC is deleting some beloved stories and characters. I say this taking into account that I was very close to becoming DC-only when Amazing Spider-Man hit its lowest point, and DC was busting out their crossover epic, Blackest Night. It just seems insulting that to gain new readers, they'll forsake the old readers who faithfully bought and collected these issues. It's telling the old faithful readers, "Oh, that stuff you bought and read? It's wrong. You didn't even need to get that stuff. What matters is this new stuff, right here. Buy all of it.”

Once again, I have an excuse to explain why I hate One More Day. It said, “Oh, all those loving moments between Peter and Mary Jane, the shaky, strong, and tender parts of their long marriage? Those are meaningless. Now buy these stories about Peter as a swinging bachelor.”

And the problem is, to deal with this sort of backlash, a lot of publishers will start making nostalgia-fodder stories, which do little to improve the state of their comics. Most readers have read or know what happens in the old stuff, so there’s no reason to do it again. They don’t want the same stories retread, they just want the publishers and writers to acknowledge that they happened.

In short: This sort of thing is just insulting to old readers, and really, has it ever really helped new readers? The only ones who seem to care are the old readers who are upset. At least now I know there’s no point in buying DC Comics until September, so I won’t waste my money.


They've released the full page of redesigns for the new Justice League. I am less than impressed.

So we have new designs for Wonder Woman and Batman, who were JUST REDESIGNED. Flash looks like a cross between Barry Allen and Wally West, but primarily Allen, which I don't like because I miss Wally West. They got rid of Superman's red underpants, which serve the very important purpose of making the inevitable crotch-bulge less noticeable. Green Lantern seems to have a gatling gun for a dick.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Death of Spider-Man (Ultimate) Part 1

Ultimate Spider-Man. I used to love this series. It was the first comic I seriously followed, and one of the only ones of which I've read every issue. Brian Michael Bendis still writes to this day, but the original artist, Mark Bagley, was replaced with Stuart Immonen in issue #111. I considered this a slight drop in art quality, but that's only because Bagley is my all-time favorite Spider-Man artist, so no big deal. Then, around issue #133, the Ultimate comics crossover Ultimatum happened, leading to a rebranding of the series as Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man and restarting the numbers. The art was taken over by David Lafuente, giving us comics like the last one I reviewed, Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #13. Although Bendis remained the writer, I noticed there had been problems. He seemed to forget how to write female characters, instead making their entire personalities revolve around how much they want to date Peter. If Gwen Stacy were in this comic, you would see. Anyway, let's begin.

Ultimate Spider-Man #156

Now, you'll see on the cover there, the banner "Death of Spider-Man" looking all ominous at the top. This is the newest Ultimate crossover which will end in, I assume, Spider-Man dying. I can't see much of a point to this, seeing that Spider-Man is the only popular Ultimate title, and killing it off would just be bad business. Of course, I guess they need to start these crossovers to get people to buy the comics before they quit in disgust. The other title incorporated into this event is Avengers Vs. New Ultimates, which may only be good in that Mark Millar, the writer of the Ultimates 1 and 2 as well as Kick-Ass, is writing it. You can usually trust Millar.

So, our comic begins with the title, Death of Spider-Man, again. Guess they really want to hammer that in. I imagine next issue will just forgo the cover art and replace it with the words, "Spider-Man Is Going To Die!"

So anyway, we see our good friend, Carol Danvers, the current director of SHIELD. She is talking to Norman Osborn, who is both alive and naked.

He should, by all means, be dead, considering he was shot in the head by Danvers after he killed his own son, Harry. Are we gonna get an explanation for this? No?

Uh, okay. We then cut to Peter and Mary Jane, who are dating again. There really wasn't any reason for them to be not dating, except maybe that Bendis decided to change things without a good reason for doing so. They more or less bring up that fact when Peter says he can't think of a reason why they broke up. Way to write yourself out of that jam, Bendis. Anyway, Peter tells her about how J. Jonah Jameson, after figuring out Peter's secret identity, and then surviving being shot in the head, decided not to out Spider-Man, and instead give Peter a job wherein he could go fight crime whenever. How convenient.

Their conversation is interrupted, however, when Peter's phone starts ringing. He doesn't pick it up, though there's a very creepy reason he should.

The uh, guy outside is Steve Rogers, Captain America. Previously, the Ultimates agreed to train Spider-Man, so he stops being such a liability. I'm pretty sure that was the plan before, when Nick Fury was in charge, but with Danvers as the head honcho I guess it needed to be reconsidered. Cap tells Peter to meet him at a cemetary in 15 minutes.

We cut to SHIELD Headquarters where Norman Osborn is being held. A psychiatrist is talking to him. Osborn apparently doesn't take therapy well, because he decides to explode everything,

He turns, again, into his Green Goblin form, which in Ultimate is a giant green fire demon. He breaks out the rest of the Ultimate Six, most of whom we haven't seen in over 100 issues.

They smash out of the detention center, and Electro helicopters them out.

Spider-Man arrives at the cemetery, and Captain America is waiting for him. Cap lectures him about death, and how Spider-Man doesn't seem to care enough about not-dying. This speech seems really unnecessary. I mean, Ultimate Spider-Man isn't the most responsible of heroes, but he's not stupid. He takes serious situations seriously, he just makes jokes so he doesn't get too scared to do anything. Anyway, Cap's chastising is interrupted by a call by Danvers, about the security breach at the Triskelion, and that Fury's team has gone renegade and is attacking the city. Captain America leaves, telling Spider-Man he can't come.

Back with the Norman Osborn Fun Times Gang, they've crashed the helicopter, and went into some building through the window.

They see the news covering the fight between the New Ultimates and the Avengers on a bridge, and Norman takes it the wrong way.

Well, actually, if you take "God" to mean the creator of that universe, Brian Michael Bendis, it makes perfect sense. This is just happening because Bendis wants it to. Maybe when Osborn died he broke the 4th Wall and saw through the panels or something. We see Spider-Man on the scene, and he can only watch the giant explosions coming from the bridge. He gets a disturbing call from Mary Jane.

And that's the end. Now, it all seems very climactic, but why is it happening? Osborn was brought back to life with nary an explanation or even tiny excuse. It's just, "Hey, you're alive again."
"Yep, guess I am."

I love the fact that Bagley is back to drawing this, but the writing just doesn't match up. Spider-Man's not going to die now, just like he didn't die during Ultimatum when they teased us with the fact that he went missing. It's so obviously a ploy to get more readers with a storyline that honestly, wasn't foreshadowed at all and has very little impetus to begin with.

Then there's how Bendis stuck MJ and Peter back together, as if he wanted to hastily bring the status quo back to the good old days when Bagley was drawing. I didn't think it was possible, but I think after all these years of writing Ultimate Spider-Man, he's just running out of ideas. I'll have to read the rest of this storyline to make sure, but if my fears are correct, this will just be trite and predictable.