2011 Weekly Comic Buys n' Reads

Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

January 12th, 2011, 6:02 pm #1

It's a new year for what's becoming a dwindling hobby for me. I think I'm down to about 8 monthly titles and I bought maybe 10 back issues all of last year. If it wasn't for the two core Avengers titles and Larry Hama's GI Joe, I'd probably be out of comics.

Here's what I believe I'm reserving in my "hold box" as January begins:
-Avengers
-New Avengers
-Batman
-Batman and Robin
-Thunderbolts
-GI Joe (IDW)
-Brave and the Bold (if it ever comes out again...or is it canceled?)
-Hawkeye & Mockingbird (same as B&B)

Then I also signed up for a direct mail subscription of "Amazing Spider-Man", again.

Been catching up on all the "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" cartoons via YouTube and what not. This possessed me to take my "Avengers Masterworks" into the shitter with me, yesterday. For the first time in about 20 years, I read the original "Avengers #1".

Damn...it may have been the worst Avengers story ever published. The main plot revolves around Loki trying to create a menace big enough so that Don Blake will turn into Thor. Instead of, say, dropping a safe on someone in Blake's hospital, Loki decides to frame the Hulk for a trainwreck-- way out in the "Southwest".

That sorta' works, since Rick Jones knows that the Hulk's misunderstood. He tries to contact the Fantastic Four for help, but instead Loki messes with the radio waves and it gets picked up by Blake, Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp.

So everyone arrives in "the Southwest" (depicted as possibly San Antonio on a shitty map) and begins fighting the Hulk. But in the meantime, Hulk's joined a circus, convincing them that he's a super-strong robot. Riiiiight.

Thor disappears to Asgard to tussle with Loki. So the majority of the book is Iron Man, Ant-Man and the Wasp chasing the Hulk. In the end, they manage to trap Loki in a lead-lined vault and decide to work together.

The art's awful and not much thought was put into it. The story sets out to establish an alternative to the FF and it's just as mish-mashed as the cast. Wasp seems infatuated with Thor and some of the Hulk's antics defy even comic book physics (for instance, he's in mid-air, but suddenly stops and propels himself self even HARDER into the sky). But it's interesting to note that Loki is trapped on the "Island of Silence"... just as he was in the new cartoon series. Although here he can actually TALK on the "Island of Silence".

This story is only noteworthy for its historical significance. Bad plot, bad characters and bad action make it a true bomb. It's amazing that the Avengers went on to become such a cornerstone of Marvel after such an awful start. If issue 4 hadn't brought Captain America, it's possible the book might not have lasted.

In short, if you're jones-ing for some old Avengers yarns, you're better off tracking down the new cartoons. They have some goofy slam/bang Short Attention Span antics, but they touch on all the key points of the Avengers and even enhance them in some places.

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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

January 14th, 2011, 11:44 pm #2

Batman & Robin #20
Finishing off the Una Nemo/Absence story. It's full of SHOCKING swerves and misdirections...that don't really "flow". Absence wasn't carrying around bodyparts (and Vicki Vale isn't seen), she was carrying dog food and cardboard. She then uses gas to knock out the Dynamic Duo and tie them to a deathtrap reminiscent of the 1960's show. But...the deathtrap is made out of paper mache'. Absence then "shoots" herself in the head and disappears to remain at-large. All along, she had her underlings run around and execute the guys who robbed her on the yacht.

While I admire the attempt to create a new villain, it's not clear exactly what her MO is. That's what most Batman villains have-- a quirky MO. Was her's misdirection? That doesn't really tie into her whole "What is Missing" mantra from the first part. Getting noticed? Well, that seemed to be the theme in parts 1&2, but it was shot away this month. Shooting people in the head... or, rather getting someone else to do that? That's the only thing I can guess, but I don't think that was the writer's intent.

I hope "The Absence" remains absent and we never see her again. Let's move along to the next story.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

January 26th, 2011, 11:10 pm #3

Looked over last year's thread, where I mentioned the 2010 Marvel Calendar. I received this year's version a few weeks ago and they added on my suggestions from last year-- the calendar features release dates for their upcoming movies (Thor and Captain America), plus convention dates. That's a nice touch.

If you haven't seen the cover, here it is:



I only post it because I have NO idea who that Dracula-looking dude in front of the Hulk is. Didn't the X-men actually bring back "Dracula" in 2010? Is that who it is?
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

January 26th, 2011, 11:25 pm #4

Uncanny X-men (vol 1) #254
Circa 1989 when the X-men were considered "dead". Thus, Bansheee and Forge went on a mission to find them. This story is weird, as it involves the Reavers assaulting Muir Island, where they're confronted with a group that, nowadays, is known as the "Muir Island X-men". It's basically Moira MacTaggart in a leather mini-skirt, Banshee, Nightcrawler's hotsy-totsy ex Amanda Sefton, Polaris in her weird hulked-up mode, Sunder from the Morlocks and three worthless supporting (human) characters with GUNS. The cover promotes them as a "New Team" of X-men...and you have to wonder if that's a joke.

The humans do nothing, Sefton gets captured by the Reavers three flunkies (Cole, Reese and Macon) and Sunder is killed by the 3 core Reavers: Skullbuster, Bonebreaker and Pretty Boy. Sunder was a strange case, since rumors had persisted that he would join the X-men after the whole "Mutant Massacre" thing (about three years before this story). Here, he's finally seen in an X-men uniform on the cover... then DIES from a random gunshot in the story. Towards the end, Freedom Force (Mystique's former Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in their government jobs) is ordered to help out on the Island.

This whole thing could be seen an set-up for 1991's "Muir Island Saga" which saw the X-men and X-Factor officially merge into the franchise they were in the 90's (as seen in the FOX cartoon). Basically, Weird Shit was going on in Muir Island as Moira was possessed by Malice, along with some other stuff. Polaris was eventually returned to normal, and I always felt that Sunder's eventual spot was taken over by Guido, aka "Strong Guy".

The art in this thing is haphazard. It was when the X-men were coming out twice a month, so it's apparent that artist Marc Silvestri was working quickly since his "art" looks VERY sketchy. It's a bad book...only worth a darn to the X-men factophiles and completionists.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

January 28th, 2011, 4:52 pm #5

Batman #706
Not enough stuff was going on, so they've now added Reaper to the mix. Plus Catwoman and Catgirl. C'mon, let's get Black Mask, Penguin, Firefly, Mad Hatter and a Mother Box in there!

Oh, and forget about any motive for the Riddler's sudden appearance. After being such a focal point for the past few issues, Peacock is seen in one or three panels. There's even a visit to Arkham sandwiched in. At the end, it appears we're finally set for a Batman vs. Sensei throwdown to end this pot of shitty thrown-together stew.
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The Swigg Lebowski
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Joined: December 11th, 2004, 9:07 pm

January 29th, 2011, 1:43 am #6

So what's this whole Batman, Incorporated junk?
Scrooge McSuck wrote:I'm too hefty for my slacks. The zippers off it's tracks. I've stretched it to the maa-a-a-a-x.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

January 30th, 2011, 5:28 pm #7

The Swigg Lebowski,Jan 28 2011 wrote: So what's this whole Batman, Incorporated junk?
I'm still only reading "Batman" and "Batman & Robin"...and it really hasn't been brought up there. But from reading "Return of Bruce Wayne" and its follow-story in "Batman & Robin", this is what I gather:

Upon returning from the dead, Bruce Wayne held a public press conference, where he explained that Batman has always had his backing and support, in secret. Now, it's official and Joe Public in the DCU knows that Bruce Wayne works with Batman. Bruce mentioned that this will be a "new era in crimefighting", now that Batman is more closely tied with Wayne Enterprises/Tech/Foundation. Important to note that the illusion is still there that Bruce Wayne and Batman are two separate people.

There are now two Batmen-- Bruce and Dick Grayson, each with slightly different costumes. They keep mentioning that Bruce is the overseas Batman, but Dick is basically still working the Gotham beat.
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The Swigg Lebowski
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Joined: December 11th, 2004, 9:07 pm

January 30th, 2011, 10:17 pm #8

Wow, that's shitty. Totally ruins Batman for me.
Scrooge McSuck wrote:I'm too hefty for my slacks. The zippers off it's tracks. I've stretched it to the maa-a-a-a-x.
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Erick Von Erich
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Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

January 30th, 2011, 11:39 pm #9

I'm fan of the "urban boogie man" 90's concept of Batman, so I agree it's a little weird now. I think they're kinda' angling for an Iron Man/Tony Stark kind of thing. But things seem status quo in the two books I follow-- just BatDick fighting bad guys.

Having two full-time Batmen might be new, but the concept of Bruce Wayne being tied to Batman isn't. Pre-80'-Crisis, it wasn't all that weird for Bruce to mention that "I can get a hold of Batmen for you" at times. It's also the same line he fed to the Outsiders when he moved them to Wayne Manor. He simply told them: "yes, that Bruce Wayne's house. He let me work here. We have an arrangement".


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The Swigg Lebowski
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Joined: December 11th, 2004, 9:07 pm

January 31st, 2011, 12:22 am #10

See, I kind of figured that when Marvel "killed" Cap, and DC "killed" Bruce Wayne, that this would happen. Marvel had a plan to move Steve Rogers on and place him in a totally different position that still feels natural. DC brings Bruce back and he's still Batman while Dick is still Batman, and it will be completely insane to try to explain to anyone who hasn't kept up with comics in forever.

"Well now Batman is still Batman, but Robin is Batman too" Oy vey.

Why not have Bruce take the opportunity to not be Batman and start doing things as Bruce Wayne to bring down crime and poverty through the system while Dick works to stop crime outside the system? Bruce could start rejuvenating Crime Alley by redeveloping it while Batman makes sure that the streets stay safe at night. Wayne Enterprises could make large donations of money or tech to the police department to help it better keep track of crime.

I really hate how they've butchered Batman in the big picture
Scrooge McSuck wrote:I'm too hefty for my slacks. The zippers off it's tracks. I've stretched it to the maa-a-a-a-x.
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