Posts Tagged ‘Spider-man’

PODCAST #2 (PART 2)

“The one where Ian tells Jose he DETESTS FART JOKES in his Spider-man comics.”

NOVEMBER 19, 2010

Inveterate Media Junkies PODCAST #2 PART 2

We hope you have as much fun listening as we did making this podcast!

Insideman Ian MacMillan and Jose Melendez examine the sour taste in their mouths after hearing of J. Michael Straczynski’s BIG CAREER SHIFT… As he dumps NOT ONE but TWO MORE high-profile comic book titles (Superman & Wonder Woman) to focus on Original Graphic Novels after the SOLD OUT SUCCESS of the Superman Earth One Hardcover.

Then, proving that two GROWN MEN can still talk about their FAVORITE superhero to the point of obsession, Jose and Ian take a long and winding road through Dan Slott’s first “solo” story effort in Amazing Spider-Man #648... Stopping here, there and everywhere pointing out there LIKES & DISLIKES. But what is the OVERALL VERDICT? Did the Boys like it? Well, that would be telling!

BE SURE TO LISTEN TO THIS PODCAST BEFORE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #649 HITS STORES NEXT WEDNESDAY!

If you click on the “Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast #2 Part 2″ link (in light blue) above, you will be taken to a SEPARATE PAGE where you can listen to a Quicktime version of the podcast.

You can download and/or just listen to this LATEST PODCAST on the DEDICATED IMJ PODCAST PAGE at Podbean.com… Where you can also listen and/or download ALL of the PREVIOUS PODCASTS from the Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast Vaults!

www.imjunkies.podbean.com

And look for the Enhanced Video versions at the

Inveterate Media Junkies YouTube Channel

hopefully this weekend!

PODCAST #2 (PART 1)

“The one where Jose tells Ian he’s Number 1, then treats him like Number 2.”

NOVEMBER 16, 2010

Inveterate Media Junkies PODCAST #2 PART 1

We hope you have as much fun listening as we did making this podcast!

Jose Melendez and Insideman Ian MacMillan discuss the MASSIVE RECEPTION to the 1st Podcast, the SURPRISE APPEARANCE of ENHANCED You Tube Videos, take a HARD LOOK at the crappy COMIC SALES FIGURES for October, stir up trouble about some IDIOCY concerning J. Michael Stracynski’s move to writing ORIGINAL GRAPHIC NOVELS ONLY and then take a BIG WHACK at the NEW TITLES that Marvel sadly deemed “good enough” to appear in their FALL “SNEAK PEEKS” issue.

Jose then puts to rest ALL YOUR QUESTIONS about why there are so many Iron Man, Captain America and Thor mini-series in the shops right now…  And warns you that you are staring at the TIP OF THE ICEBERG.

MISS THIS SHOW AT YOUR WALLET’S PERIL!

If you click on the “Inveterate Media Junkies Podcast #2 Part 1″ link (in light blue) above, you will be taken to a SEPARATE PAGE where you can listen to a Quicktime version of the podcast.

If you use a PC and do NOT have Quicktime– you can download it quickly and easily here:

http://www.apple.com/quicktime/

For the few folks who are still having trouble playing the PODCAST LINK — click the link below (or paste the address into your browser) to go to our BRAND NEW PODCAST HOST… Podbean.com!

There you can download and/or just listen to this LATEST PODCAST on the DEDICATED IMJ PODCAST PAGE… And you can also listen and/or download ALL of the PREVIOUS PODCASTS from the Inveterate Media Junkies Vaults!

www.imjunkies.podbean.com

PART 2 of the IMJ Podcast #2 will be posted next!

And look for the Enhanced Video versions at the

Inveterate Media Junkies YouTube Channel

hopefully this weekend!

A lot of what is about to happen in the Spider-man books is all rumor and conjecture. As Dan Slott takes over as the sole writer of Amazing Spider-man with issue #648, there seems to be at least ONE costume change (if not THREE) and some “gadgets” (whatever in the hell that means) that will eventually be added to the mix.

Here’s the cover image for Amazing Spider-man #650:

PISS IN MY EYES WOULD STING LESS

As Spidey Patrols, A Nation Pukes

There is no word on how long this Tron-like* abomination will stick around or when and if the “gadgets” will appear or disappear.

Either way, it just seems more like a return to the horribly absurd 90’s.

Anybody that’s been collecting for a few years knows that costume changes always sell big– especially when they occur in Spider-man comics. But this one is, well, crap. It feels like a cross between Spider-Man 2099 and the laugh inducing Electric Blue Superman.

Pffft!

Awww Christ! The agony!

And before anybody goes all bug-nut crazy on me– this post is not a slam against Slott. It’s more of a collective sigh that Marvel is going in this direction. Slott’s talented and seems like a nice man. But I thought that all that Brand New Day and O.M.I.T. bullshit was supposed to take the character back to his roots. You know, “We want Spidey to be the way he used to be.”

None of that seems to be working out.

It’s a shame too– I really thought given the way Slott was geeking out over the opportunity to be Spidey’s main caretaker that we were going to see some solid stories that didn’t rely on smoke and mirrors. Is Marvel really afraid that Spider-man– or any comic for that matter– will not sell just on solid storytelling… So much so that they are back to relying on costume changes and gadgets?

I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS

(In all fairness, I first saw Jose Melendez at the CCW*TV Blog compare the new Spider-man costume to Tron outfits. )

HARD TO SWALLOW… EVEN HARDER TO DIGEST

Good enough to be a Regular-Sized Comic... But apparently NOT "good enough" to stay that size forever.

LET’S JUST JUMP RIGHT IN, SHALL WE?

How would you like to order a Marvel Trade Paperback only to have it arrive and be 1/3 to 1/2 smaller than you anticipated? My guess is you wouldn’t like it. At all.

Happens to me all the time… And I am sick and fucking tired of buying trades that end up being digest sized books. Worst of all? Marvel sorta seems to being doing all this on the sly…. So don’t feel bad if– like me– you end up buying

See the simplistic art? This SCREAMS younger reader.

lots of books you don’t want because Marvel often buries the specs on their smaller format collections in a mountain of hype. Is it intentional? I have to believe it is– at least partially– since their other digest collections– like Marvel Adventures and their Runaways series–  are clearly marked as being digest sized.

You might think that’s the only reason I harbor such a dislike for these tiny books. You’d be very wrong. I have many reasons… The 2 most basic being 1) As mentioned,  I feel their sizes are often misrepresented in the Marvel Previews descriptions and 2) I don’t believe the smaller publication size is worth the FULL DOLLAR price tags Marvel charges.

How can a digest sized book seriously carry the same price tag as a larger, regular-sized trade paperback? Does Marvel really expect us to believe the smaller size doesn’t save them significant money? Cause it does– both in lower amounts of the paper and inks needed to produce the books and lower shipping costs incurred sending the products to their final retail destinations.

Before I vent any further, I want to state that I understand the bulk of the Marvel’s digest books are meant to be aimed at a younger, more GENERAL audience. I have zero problems with that. After all, you’re reading opinions from a person who proudly collects– (and actually reads!)– all of James Kochalka‘s Johnny Boo: The Best Little Ghost in the World books… And these books are aimed at kindergarten kids!

NO COMIC SNOBS HERE

I’ve always believed that general audience books can be extremely entertaining… And I certainly don’t need to read about ass rape and female decapitation every time I pick up a comic to feel like I’ve fully lived my life as a discerning comics connoisseur.

Johnny Boo is for kids and it is a BIG BOOK with HARD COVERS! How can this be Marvel? Kids only read small, flimsy books... Right?

I understand that someone at Marvel assumes their general audience releases need to be made smaller– for smaller hands. But here’s the problem with that frickin’ assumption: Most of the concepts and plots in the “general audience” Marvel comic books are much more complicated than, let’s say, the plots found in Andy Runton‘s excellent Owly series… or  Kochalka’s aforementioned Johnny Boo. And the crazy thing about Boo? Those books are hardcovers printed in a larger size format than the Marvel digests… For kids in kindergarten! Where’s the logic in that, Marvel?

Doesn't LOOK like a kids' book either

Here’s just some of the plot for Black Widow and the Marvel Girls– transcribed word for word from the back cover of the recent Marvel digest release: “While removing a rogue weapons dealer from an impregnable safe house, the Black Widow remembers her escape from the brutal KGB training ground known as the Red Room…” Cone on, does that sound like the plot of a “kiddie” book? It is my firm belief that any child that can understand that story has to be old enough to hold a larger book.

How do I know this? Well to start, I wasn’t spit out of Hell’s foul embrace like an ignorant Hellboy. (At least I don’t think I was.) I grew up reading comics after I basically taught myself how to read… Conquering the thick Charlotte’s Web novel by the time I was five. If I could hold a book like that, I also held a comic book or a comic trade paperback (they were called “Annuals” back then) with ease. I have no doubt that I would have found these miniature comics just as irritating back then as I do today.

OKAY, SO I’M A “SIZE-IST”

The other reason I can’t stand these little buggers– besides the misrepresentation, over-priced volumes and too small sizes?

Easy to read my ass! And this was one of the MORE STEALTHY, LESS VERBOSE pages

The artwork reprinted in these collections was originally rendered in a STANDARD SIZE– meant to fit in a “regular-size” comic book. The art is not drawn for Manga-size books (the format these Marvel digests most clearly ape)– where the artists tailor their work and storytelling techniques to favor the smaller format. These are regular comic pages reduced to fit into a pitifully small area. You can’t really enjoy the art… As the pages were never drawn in consideration of the digest format.

What thought– other than greed could Marvel be using as they take all these great stories (that were once printed regular comic size) and reduce them to digest size? Are they that desperate to shave their margins on these books? I would have loved to read the collections for Spider-Man Secret Wars, Iron Man: Armor Wars or Dr. Doom and Masters of Evil in “normal” trade paperbacks. Not so interested now that the publishers have insisted on squeezing these stories into books one might easily find stuck in a McDonald’s Happy Meal box one day. I’m exaggerating, of course… But not by much.

Plus, why are almost all of Marvel’s recent female-centric books being almost surreptitiously released in this shitty format as well?  Why am I paying regular sized trade prices for small books featuring these popular women as lead characters? Here are just a few of the titles (and prices) of some of the female led books I won’t be reading: Black Widow and the Marvel Girls ($14.99 USD), Models, Inc ($14.99 USD) and Nomad, Girl without a World ($14.99 USD). Only Marvel Divas (and monthly titles like Ms. Marvel) seemed to have escaped this sad reduction binge.

I have a WHOLE STACK of digest sized trades that I unwittingly purchased at

Tim Gunn-- obviously pissed to be regulated to such a small format

one time or another. Now I have decided NOT to read them because of their cramped art and pitifully tiny word balloons… And that just sucks.

Since I am finding it increasingly hard to determine what any Marvel book is actually going to look like until it arrives in the comic book stores– I have specifically requested that my retailer let me know if any of the books I have ordered suddenly turn up digest sized. I hate to ask– to burden them with yet another one of my  idiosyncracies… But I really, really, DON’T want any more of these Marvel monstrosities entering my home ever again. Since I receive my books via mail order, I cannot look at them and reject them due to their small size… So I must rely on the fine folks at the comic shop to do it for me.

I really don’t enjoy feeling poorly fucked by Marvel when I open my box filled with comics. I want to feel joyful (or at least happy)– especially since I seem to spend over $200 on books every week. That’s a lotta moola to pay out– only to feel jerked around.

I’ve been wanting to type the following sentence ever since I started writing this Blog: I may want to read like a child but I don’t want to be treated like a child.

Hey Marvel… Be up front with me. Don’t distract from the sizes of your trades with razzle-dazzle bullshit or miraculously forget to mention your trade trim sizes in a lot of your product descriptions. The majority of your readers are not children. I know you know this… So even though a book’s content may skew a little younger– please stop printing them in digest size.

At the very least, print them in both large and small formats (like the Runaways series) so your customers can pick the format they want to purchase. I certainly wouldn’t mind paying a couple of dollars more for a larger book… And we all know that a “couple of dollars more” would actually be a big premium for us to pay just to receive slightly larger book.

At the end of the day, I would like to think that somebody– ANYBODY– at Marvel would give a shit about this… But the haphazard, bone-headed way they arbitrarily choose their Trade Paperback printing sizes would say otherwise. Just more crap from the former House of Ideas.

Bring it on, Wes!

This is NOT a true story!

Did I ever tell you that after all those one night stands, Peter Parker has the Herpes?

A likely candidate... But no

I know, right? Logically, if he was gonna get it from anybody– it most assuredly would’ve been the Black Cat. But NO – the culprit’s gonna be Mary Jane Watson Parker.

Yep. MJ’s gonna give Peter the Herpes. At least that’s what Dan Slott just told me Joey Q called up and demanded he write the other day. Seems that people are STILL hung up about there being no real marriage between Pete and Mary Jane. They’re apparently missing MJ more than ever– even after the O.M.I.T. storyline– so Joey Q wants to sully her rep as much as possible so people will stop loving her… So he’s decided to go the STD route– as if that’s really something to be ashamed of to begin with (cause it isn’t). Yet JQ’s undeterred. He told Slott, “Unlike Peter and Mary Jane’s marriage– herpes is forever!”

Slott also told me that if the “herpes angle” doesn’t work, JQ has insisted he write another new story arc that reveals MJ is now pregnant with twins after having three-way sex with Harry & Norman Osborn. The way Joey Q sees it this third time– when Peter doesn’t show for the wedding, Mary Jane’s Aunt insists they throw the reception anyway. MJ understandably gets tipsy at the party, Normie takes advantage– and forces Harry to join in so he can “learn how to act like a man.”

The twins will be dizygotic (non-fraternal). One will be Norman’s and the other baby will belong to Harry.

Holy Shit!

Slott then said that if none of these “carefully crafted” moves successfully destroys Mary Jane’s fan base, JQ has devised one last fail-safe plan that will rewrite the O.M.I.T. storyline one FINAL time. Now, instead of MJ whispering heretofore unheard of demands (designed to protect Peter) into Mephisto’s ear– she will now offer to become the devil’s wife.

The Bride of Mephisto storyline will take place under the collective O.S.H.I.T. Banner* and will drag out across 24 $5.99 one-shots– All of which will be released in a single month (and collected into a Deluxe Over-Sized Omnibus Hardcover retailing for $174.99 less than 45 days later.)

As has become Marvel’s usual practice, most of these one-shots will be primarily filled with previously printed material from several Amazing Spider-Man comics– all released some 20 to 30 years ago. These “classic flashback” segments (as JQ has fondly dubbed them) will not have much– if anything– to do with the current O.S.H.I.T. storyline. Of course the writers, penciliers and inkers (no colorists or letterers) of these earlier works will be compensated at the standard rate of 4 cents per every 10,000 copies sold.

Just another day at the Poon-Tang Corral for new SEXUALLY IRRESPONSIBLE Peter Parker

About six months after the O.S.H.I.T. storyline concludes, Slott will reveal that the radioactive spider venom still cursing in Peter’s blood had caused a false positive on the herpes test. Therefore, Peter never truly had the sexually transmitted disease. It will also be intimated that the same irradiated venom keeps Parker perpetually safe from all STDs– so he can resume banging different women every night.

Meanwhile, MJ will continue to blow the hideously malformed Mephisto in Hell… And she will rarely, if ever, be mentioned in the Marvel Universe again.

*O.S.H.I.T. first coined by DEEMAR, artist in residence at the CCW*TV Blog

A funny from Comic Book Resources

HOW ARE THESE DIFFERENT?

What's to compare? Aren't these 2 books just different children of the SAME medium?

Recently, I came across an article entitled MANGA VS COMICSI know. I know... What’s weird– there are a ton of articles just like this out there… All comparing Manga to American Comic Books.

Truth be told, I am not in agreement with most of their content. First off, let’s make this clear– Manga MEANS Comic, okay? Second, why are people bothering to compare these?

Most people in the CCW Nation know me as Mike F. I’m a proudly confessed Manga, Video Game and Comic Book fanatic… And clearly, I have passionate thoughts on these subjects.

Here are statements made from one of the articles mentioned above (I have added a few of my own thoughts as well):

“American comics are all capes.”

WRONG.

“American comics are all about prolonging a dead franchise.”

WRONG.

Everyone knows American comics are all about retconning. (Unless you’re Geoff Johns, of course… But that’s completely different post.)

ANIME LEADS TO MANGA

I watched anime for years– never once venturing into comics. Turned out to be a good thing too. I wouldn’t have had the first clue where to start.

My first ever experience with comics was with a Manga book. And like many people– like the articles I so strongly disagree with now… At the time, I just assumed that American comics were only about superheroes.

A challenging tale that highlights the difference between lust and true love

The first manga I ever read was Chobits– by the 4 female mangakas CLAMP. I loved this unique story about a robotic female (called a persocom) named Chii whose vagina holds her on/off switch. The internal chip is located there so if someone makes love to her– the chip inside turns her off and wipes her memories.

When Hideki– the horniest of horn dogs (the subject of his vast porn collection is a focus in the first few volumes)– discovers a completely wiped Chii in the trash, he can’t believe his good luck and takes her home… Eventually falling in love.

But he doesn’t want to risk the possibility of Chii losing her memories again… So he resigns himself to never having sex with the woman he loves for the rest of his life. It’s a charming story about virginity… And the line between common lust and pure love.

The female artists of CLAMP created a challenging premise that moved me and really made me think. I’d never been exposed to a story like this before. The panel placement, the clever jokes, the stunning artwork. Chobits became an instant favorite of mine and spawned my love for comics. Wanting to experience more, I searched extensively until I found other great Manga titles like Gunsmith Cats and Battle Angel Alita.

And then, again, I was content to stay exactly where I was. Years and years would pass before I would come across an American comic book that would change me forever. That book was WE3–  a small masterpiece written by oft-praised Scottish comic messiah Grant Morrison.

As good as it gets

When I first saw this book on Amazon, I thought, “Hmmm… What in the world could this be about?”

What a joy it was to read– watching 3 captured animals used by the government attempt to escape back home. I literally shouted “Yes!” at the end of the first issue– when WE1 says: “We go home, home now.” Completely arrested by the spirit of the comic’s overall story,  I became hooked on Morrison’s other comics work. This eventually led to my reading Green Lantern, Batman and Superman.

Not too long after that,  I began reading Marvel comics too. By then, I was well into all type of comic book genres.

Which leads me back to my original question: WHY ARE PEOPLE SO INTENT ON COMPARING MANGA TO COMIC BOOKS?

Yes, Marvel and DC comics can get lost in their prolonged continuity and yes, Manga can get ridiculous with its “cute” or KAWAII random sense of humor… But why compare two things that are basically the same? Vertigo, Image– even Marvel’s Icon imprint– publish plenty of non-superhero related comics from such great writers as Brian Vaughn and Ed Brubaker… But no one is foolish enough to say those books aren’t comics.

The current Akira Reprint Series

Japanese comic legend Katshuiro Otomo (creator of AKIRA) has stated he found inspiration in some DC comics… And felt delighted when given the chance to write a short 8-page Batman story in the BATMAN: Black and White limited series.

Even more frustrating: The people commenting on this article all wrote things that proved they were as ignorant as the article’s authors.

My roommate is from Japan and was a comic reader back in the day. She confirmed the similarities for me. She even felt it foolish to compare Manga and American comics– as they are, again, the same thing.

As you can tell, I love the comics of America and Japan. Even France, the UK and other countries have some great titles.

But I feel no need to compare these two genres because really– it’s just wasting my time. Time better spent reading great books like 20th Century Boys or Daredevil and not noticing any difference.

Mike F is a citizen of the CCW*TV Nation– a regular poster on the CCW*TV Companion Blog. He reads comics because he wants to and obviously couldn’t care less if a comic was in color or black and white. While normally we would say a Guest Columnist’s views are exclusively his or her own… We totally agree with everything he’s written.

JOEY Q ON THE T

What's your BEEF with Spidey, JQ? Did somebody beat you with a rolled up copy of Spider-man Annual #21?

This Logo is Almost as SPOOKY as Norman Osborn’s Haircut!

WHAT? A COMPANY-WIDE COMIC CROSS-OVER THAT DOESN’T SUCK?

“I’m coming, Elizabeth!”

Marvel’s Shadowland Comic Book Cross-over has just begun and trusted critics are already divided on whether the whole shebang sucks balls or is OK… So I thought this might be a great time to talk about a company-wide Comic Cross-over that actually DID work– even if the event did occur LAST YEAR!

I went into Dark Reign like I have every other Marvel or DC cross-over in the past 7 years… With a big sigh and lots of regret. Regret for spending all the money I did on all those useless Trades & Hardcovers (see Marvel’s Secret Invasion or DC’s Final Crisis)… And regret for spending all that time reading them too– especially when I could have been doing something better like fixing the internet… or surfing for Batman Porn.

But here’s another luxury of “Waiting for the Hardcovers or Trade Paperbacks”: Like any other empty entertainment non-event, fans can usually tell very quickly whether they think something sucks or not (see Shadowland again). So if I have 20 trades sitting in front of me that cover a wide range of overblown hyped suckitude… I can quickly read through the books– rather than have to wait months for the story to play out in floppy release.

The point of this post is Marvel’s Dark Reign did NOT suck! Really it didn’t. I don’t know if this was just a fluke (one good company cross-over in 8 years sorta proves it is) or worked because of careful planning– but someone at Marvel really stepped up to the plate by hiring some heavy hitters to write a lot of the ancillary supporting titles that surrounded the main books.

And no, I’m not talking about iffy writers” like Brian Bendis or Mark Millar or Jeph Loeb… I am talking about good writers like: Paul Cornell, Jeff Parker, Greg Pak and even Fred Van Lente. The art was so-so in some of these titles but at least the rough stuff was an unusual cut above a lot of the crap that passes for pencils and inks in some of these “throwaway”– barely  related– crossover books.

I haven’t even finished reading all the trades and hardcovers yet and I have come across so many that rocked (and since I am almost a year behind the new comic releases already)… I figured now was as good a time as any to throw in some compact reviews:

Biggest surprise so far: the Dark Reign: The Underside GN.

Lots of Great Stories for a Good Price!

The “Lethal Legion” story by Frank Tieri was surprisingly fun. Art was rough. (SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD) But the “Zodiac” story, written by Joe Casey with art by Nathan Fox, is killer stuff. First off, Fox’s art looks like something you’d see in a cool indie book– it is almost the antithesis of the Marvel “style”… And that’s a good thing. That Fox was given this assignment is both nice & unexpected. Secondly, it was a great– but brutal– story. Contains several PRIME EXAMPLES of Marvel’s lack of continuity though: The Human Torch gets beaten so badly by Zodiac, he requires multiple stitches to his face… Yet is completely healed by the end of the story? Huh?

Forgetting  Johnny Storm’s ridiculously rapid healing abilities… Were his horrible facial lacerations even mentioned in any other Dark Reign book? (Again, I’ve not read them all yet, so I don’t know. Yes somehow I doubt it.) You think SOMEBODY would’ve said something about Johnny’s over-the-top assault– especially since Zodiac razed an entire hospital attempting to kill Johnny, Sue and Ben! As much as I hate unbelievable shit like this that pulls me screaming out of a story– I’m gonna let it slide because the Zodiac tale was so very smartly done otherwise.

But Marvel… Seriously! The normally handsome Mr. Storm had what looked like over 70 stitches in his face at one point… But he was back to his old self in a week?

MORE SURPRISINGLY GOOD DARK REIGN READS

Gene Simmons called and wants his TONGUE back!

Dark Reign: Sinister Spider-Man written by Brian Reed with art by Chris Bachalo. I’m not a huge fan of the overtly cartoon style that permeates Bachalo’s work now… But Brian Reed has written a GREAT script for Chris’ current style. The book plays like a wacky Hollywood slapstick comedy. Brian’s absurd caricatures meld perfectly with Bachalo’s wacky art –making for a very entertaining read. The cover of issue #5 (used on the back cover of the trade) is a drawing of a HUGE Venom/Spider-Man munching on the Empire State Building (with a big fat belly). This piece was almost worth the price of the whole book by itself.

When Dark Reign: The Hood surfaced at the top of my read pile,  I thought, “Never liked the Hood that much. This might be OK. Maybe.” Then I realized the script was written by near-genius JEFF PARKER and my whole attitude shifted.

The Hood-- raining bullets down on his enemies... Get it?

This is the BEST Hood story written SO FAR, BY FAR. And Kyle Hotz art (he was the artist on the first Hood HC) was great too. Nice to see Kyle working on a book in the “real” Marvel U again (instead of Marvel MAX titles like Man-Thing… Although those were fun too.)

In all seriousness, Marvel Comics & Brian K. Vaughn  owe a GREAT DEBT to Jeff Parker… Because Parker took a cardboard character and made the Hood a THREE dimensional, believable PERSON (NOT just a villain) for the very first time (at least for me).

Dark Reign: Young Avengers written by Paul Cornell. Hands down, also the BEST Young Avengers book since the original stuff (which I believe gets an Ultimate Collection reprinting from Marvel this week- 7/14/10). Paul hits all the right high and lows with this script– with good art from Mark Brooks. I did, however, want to shoot the colorists for some really outrageous 80′s-style over-shading (their use of the brown/maroon palette was gravely serious sometimes).  But I quickly got over it because of the depth embedded in Cornell’s snappy tale. Marvel was acting really shortsighted when they allowed Cornell to slip through the cracks and sign an exclusive contract with DC Comics.

Which brings me to the SECOND MOST SURPRISING book in the lot: Dark Reign: Skull Kill Krew.

Bon Appetit, Green Jeans

I honestly do NOT know what possessed me to buy this. I remember reading the original Grant Morrison / Mark Millar trade years ago. “Reading” is a term used loosely here because I had to put the earlier book down and STOP READING it halfway through… The Morrison/Millar concoction was  that much of a joyless experience for me.

So when this title hit the top of the stack I thought, “Here’s the book that stops the insanity of me actually liking these Dark Reign ancillary books.”

Boy, was I WRONG! I mean, what the hell? I was CERTAIN I wasn’t going to like this book and now I was sitting here REALLY LIKING this book. MILD SPOILER WARNING: The whole absurdity revolving around the Skrull Cows was hilarious. But the book was so much more than that. It actually justified the existence of the Skrull Kill Krew– which I never believed would happen.  You could tell that Adam Felber was having a great time writing the thing… And it is HE that should be writing a NORMAN OSBORN comic… Nobody else. Felber’s portrayal of Osborn was mean, funny and heartless simultaneously in virtually EVERY panel… Think a GREAT portrayal of the Joker WITHOUT the makeup. The art by Mark Robinson and Rob Disalvo was the only thing I questioned. NOT because it sucked — because it didn’t. But the artists’ styles are VERY different… So to have 3 issues drawn by one artist– then an issue drawn by  another penciler– then back to the first guy… was all a little jarring. But that was a MINOR problem– as Felber took Morrison and Millar to SCHOOL with his writing on this series.

How fucking weird. Marvel “cross-over titles” that DIDN’T suck. I have been pleasantly surprised and would recommend ALL these books– if for very different reasons.

Unfortunately, it looks like there are a couple more on the pile that could still screw this hot streak up. Now I wish I had read Dark Reign: Skrull Kill Krew LAST… As Dark Reign: War Machine Volume 2 is next and it looks determined to slap all the joy outta me.

We’ll see…