Ultimate Marvel News & Views

Ben Morse here”¦sorry if you came here looking for Iain Burnside’s unique brand of wit, but the man is on vacation (or something), so we here at the Nexus decided what better time than to try Marvel’s ever-popular Ultimate process on our News & Views column!

That’s right, slicker screens, younger, hipper attitudes, and Jamie Hatton has a goatee!

That’s me! Like Shaggy, but less stoned… at least right now. *ahem* We here at The Nexus do not condone illegal drug use of any kind.

We don’t? Oh crap! Looks like that smack was a wasted investment. I swear, every time I, Tim Stevens, think I’ve found like-minded individuals, something like this happens.

Of course little did we realize that it would take four mortal men to fill the role of one Iain”¦well, really only three, I’m just here because I’m Scottish.

Given the number of people needed, it was only natural that myself, Tim Stevens, Jamie and Mathan were the go to guys”¦oh, what’s that”¦where’s Mathan? Oh he’s here, he’s just”¦well”¦invisible. Right, I suppose we should explain”¦

See, Tim’s always had this fascination with space”¦something from when he was a kid and his parents used to make him go stand outside at night for hours at a time (don’t ask). Anyhow, he thought actually going into space would be a great way to get girls, and me and Jamie agreed that even though the three of us already had girlfriends, we should totally go into space and find an alien chick for Mathan. So we stole a spaceship from Canada and we were off”¦unfortunately, Jamie was the only one who knew how to pilot a rocket”¦

This is true”¦after hours of looking for the keys, off into space we went. Now, when I was taking ‘Rocket Piloting’ 101, nobody ever taught me about Cosmic Rays, so how shocked was I when we were bombarded by them and given powers beyond those of mortal men. I generally have been blaming Tim for the whole thing – nowadays I’m covered in a thick lined orange rock coating. My girlfriend Dani seems to like it.

The fact that she’s blind helped a lot…truth be told, it helped a lot before too…(NOTE: Dani is not actually blind, she could just do better…I kid, I kid).

Tim”¦change the topic. Quickly.


Anyway, the long and short of it is this: Ben’s the brash hothead (hence the fire thing”¦I guess), Jamie’s the muscle (wait”¦wha?), Mathan’s the walking commentary on the oppression of women in the superhero genre as well as 1960’s America (think about it”¦the funny will come), and I’m the brains. Seriously”¦I’m like a friggin’ genius. Oh and Tim Sheridan’ll probably drop in which makes him”¦Wyatt Wingfoot, I expect.

So what powers do I have besides stretching and the ability to award myself startlingly arrogant sounding nicknames unironically?

I’m 99% sure ‘unironically’ not a real word, “brains””¦

Same power as my three cohorts on this crazy mission: the power to illuminate the Marvel world in a way you’ve never expected. So strap yourselves in, everybody, and prepare to have the doors blown off the room that is your consciousness. My name is Un Gajje and when Ben, Jamie, Mathan, and I sub for Marvel News and Views, we play for keeps. Get on board or get the hell out of the way, cause we ain’t (yeah, I said ain’t) get no time for crybabies. Isn’t that right Mathan?

Yeah, I thought you’d say that.

And now the news”¦bitches.

Marvel’s Young Guns Media Blitz; Emilio Estevez & Lou Diamond Philips Sadly Nowhere To Be Found

Marvel released a whole bunch o’ stuff to various sites this week really pushing their Young Guns 2004 initiative. Here’s a small sampling:

“They’re the six that Marvel is banking on. Six artists with different styles, backgrounds, and experience labeled by the publisher as its “Young Guns ‘04″ (yes, the ’04 is important, and we’ll get to that in a minute.

In no particular order, the Young Guns are Adi Granov, Steve McNiven, Jim Cheung, Trevor Hairsine, David Finch, and Olivier Coipel. Six artists that, according to Editor in Chief Joe Quesada have that x-factor”¦something that can’t be nailed down or even necessarily defined with words, but something that’s recognizable by both editors and fans.

For Quesada and Publisher Dan Buckley, the idea to group the artists together into a “class” was driven by the recognition that they were seeing something special in regards to artists coming through Marvel’s doors looking for work.”

Hard”¦to”¦resist”¦gun”¦puns”¦go to Newsarama, fast!

Two quotes from Quesada that I want to comment on to start things off:

“And there are only so many pages that a Bryan Hitch, Jim Lee, or Michael Turner can put out that can get a lot of marketing done, because retailers and readers have a certain amount of confidence in what they do,” Quesada continued. “So we need to get the word out that there are other guys out there who are doing extraordinary work who people should be more aware of.”

This is the aspect of the Young Guns promotion I support the most. Regardless of how I feel about the individual artists (and I’ll get to that) all are hard working guys with unique styles; none are clones of more generic styles (well, Hairsine shows more than a little bit of Hitch, but again, more later). The hard working part is the key; Marvel is taking six relatively moderate stars and putting their full marketing power behind them because they feel they’ve earned it. Imagine if a guy like Mark Bagley had gotten this kind of attention; it wouldn’t have taken him decades of beautiful and consistent art on high profile books to be recognized as one of the best in the industry. I understand that the fans will always have the last word in deciding who is going to be popular and who won’t be as far as creators go, as it should be, but I really like that Marvel is going to try and sway that choice towards guys they feel really deserve it. One of my biggest if not my biggest pet peeves in comics is against a guy like Bryan Hitch, who can’t come anywhere close to delivering even a bi-monthly comic but gets a reputation as one of comics’ “big guns” because people like his style (“people” being not me); because he’s popular, Marvel uses kid gloves with him, letting him take his time, while guys like Bagley or Todd Nauck, talented artists who have cult followings, but, more importantly, never miss a deadline, have to toil for years to be guaranteed work. All of the Young Guns (with the possible exception of Coipel) are true professionals who meet their deadlines and they’re all quite talented; good on Marvel for giving them the promotion they deserve and trying to build superstars rather than rely solely on the fickle fanbase, a nice reward for guys who have earned it. Also nice to see that they’re going to try and make it an annual thing, but only if they feel it’s warranted.

“”¦Olivier who did quite a lot of work but on a very low profile title for another publisher”¦”

Huh? Ok, Legion may not always have gotten the press it deserved, but low profile? It was a fairly big launch when it debuted with Coipel on art. Granted it should have been collected in more trades, but a big reason for why that never happened is that DC didn’t want to promote Coipel, who had already jumped to Marvel at that point”¦because Marvel had noticed him on Legion”¦doesn’t that kind of tell you it wasn’t a low profile book? Nit picking”¦

Not to be argumentative here, but that Legion thing is a rumor, never proven fact. Nit picking as well, no doubt, but then that is what I am here for. That and to eat tasty tasty pie. Mmm, I love me some pie.

As ever Tim, you are the conscience I thought I had successfully killed long ago through years of unyielding sarcasm. Curse you.

“Although most people may just know of Adi Granov through his stunning painted digital cover artwork, the man’s about to flex his sequential art muscle as one of Marvel’s Young Guns. He’s working with Warren Ellis on the new Iron Man series beginning in November. Their first story is a six-parter called The Extremis. Granov couldn’t reveal too many details about what’s coming up in the story, but we do have – among other things – his take on the characters, information on how he came to be a Young Gun, and his thoughts on working with Ellis.”

If Adi Granov were actually a gun, I think he’d be like a Transformer that became a gun, like Megatron; if you made it past what I just wrote, check out more on Iron Man’s YG at The Pulse

I don’t know much about Granov and I’ve never read Iron Man, nor do I plan to, but both the samples and the quotes from this interviews really impressed me. Granov seems very committed to getting in the head of the character he’s working and to working with his writer but not just letting him do all the work. And those samples”¦wow. I don’t know how much output and at what frequency Granov can realistically do, but he’s clearly the ideal Iron Man artist and might be a neat guy to see on a Alex Ross-esque all universe epic project somewhere down the road.

Now then, my thoughts on each of the other Guns:

-Steve McNiven-I like this guy a lot; very talented and a Fantastic Four project seems to be the perfect starting point for him. I’ll be interested to see what they do with him down the line; I see him and David Finch as actually being very comparable in style, but Finch can do stuff a bit bigger and more epic whereas McNiven does better with the more intimate stuff and making things look realistic. I love his renditions of The Thing and The Invisible Woman in particular.

-Jim Cheung-I’m more familiar with him from his early X-Force stuff than the stuff he’s done for CrossGen; he was decent but nothing special in the old days, so I’m very anxious to see how much he’s improved to warrant as high profile a book as Young Avengers.

-Trevor Hairsine-Eh, I’m not a huge fan; I don’t like Hitch and Hairsine just seems like Hitch but a bit more sloppy and rushed. On the other hand, he doesn’t seem to have the deadline problems”¦yet. Honestly, if somebody can tell me why this guy is considered such a stud, I’m curious to hear it.

-David Finch-He runs very hot and cold with me. One month I’ll be blown away, the next I’ll think he tried to do too much work too quickly. But he impresses me more often than he doesn’t. He is able to draw a lot; a lot of characters, a lot of action, just a lot. I’m glad he’s getting the push; he deserves it.

-Olivier Coipel-Loved him on The Legion, don’t think he’s come anywhere near matching his work since then. Already got a big promotion from Marvel when he came on Avengers and it did squat. His first fill-in issue for Alan Davis on Uncanny X-Men was ok, but nothing special. To me, the Young Gun with the most to prove (and also the one that has the most problems with deadlines).

You know, I could draw if I wanted to. Seriously, I could. My Fishheads vs. Darkhawk book would move 1 million copies, easy. People would be funding their kids’ college education with issue #1. Thing is, I don’t want to. But I could, just for the record. My stick figures are mondo caliente.

Shouldn’t that be mucho caliente?

Much Like the Terminator”¦He’s Baaack”¦and He May Be Governor of California Some Day

“His personal website’s been live for a few days with promises of more, and now, Newsarama has learned a little more about former Marvel President Bill Jemas’ new endeavor, 360ep.

Contrary to assumptions and rumors floating around the Internet, 360ep will not be a new comic book publisher, although there may be comics in its future. 360ep is an entertainment property management company. The company will offer representation to intellectual property holders who are looking to license their property to different media and consumer product lines, as well as manufacturers and producers who are looking to license characters and trademarks in order to produce products and/or entertainment vehicles featuring said characters and marks.”

You can’t stop the power of Jemas”¦frankly, you can’t even hope to contain him. Check out the full story at Newsarama

Former Marvel President Bill Jemas is going to wedge his cog into the entertainment machine by matching up people who have come up with viable commercial properties into various forms of media (including, but not only, comic books). They will, so it seems, be working as liaisons between ‘idea people’ and ‘go to people’. Not being a business kind of guy, I can only say that this venture sounds interesting. If it means that more viable creators are going to get out there, then I wish them the best of luck. The smartest ideas in the world are the ones where people find a concept that nobody has ever tried, and didn’t even realize they needed until it was right in front of them. This sounds like it might be one of those cases.

In his prime at Marvel, I absolutely hated Bill Jemas and his arrogant prick persona and was as happy as anybody when he got his comeuppance. That being said, cut past the attitude and the man is a genius, if he can just keep his own ego from getting in the way. The only reason he “failed” at Marvel is because he started thinking he was bigger than the characters, bigger than the creators, bigger than the company, and worst, bigger than the fans. Ignore that and he’s an incredibly shrewd, smart, creative guy who has a very solid know how of how to make businesses run. If he can stick to business in this new venture, I predict it will skyrocket.

Hey, Jemas is back. Thank goodness. The comic world was getting a bit boring. Nice to have him back to stir things up. And maybe, Marville II? Well, Virginia, we can certainly hope.

Home is Where the Hulk Is

“And six years after he wrote his final Hulk issue (#467), he’s back. At his webblog, Peter David has announced that he’s the new hulk writer starting with issue #77, which will be the first installment of the previously announced six issue miniseries, Tempest Fugit.”

Don’t hold that rage in. Express it dangerously and excessively over at Newsarama

This we can file under the “And this is a surprise to who?” file. Pretty much from the moment this mini was announced people were predicting that David would be returning to the monthly Hulk title following Bruce Jones’s departure and so it has come to pass. Some 3 months later, sure, but here it is.

And what does it all mean? Hard to say, beyond Marvel has most likely to decided that the conspiracy angle did not work out as well as they had hoped. Bringing David back to the title means a return to superhero Hulk, which is a thrill for many if not most.

For me, it is harder to say. Peter David’s Hulk is undoubtedly the consummate run on the title. As Lee/Kirby’s run on FF and Mille’s run on Daredevil, it is the gold standar all who come after will be measured against. That said, it ended six years ago and David’s last issue of Hulk was so well done and such a perfect send off that it is almost sad to write a coda to it. Also, I liked the idea behind the direction of Jones’s run. I felt the execution was listless and complicated for complicated’s sake (see X-Files after season 5), but I liked the idea of taking Hulk in a new direction. It is natural for a company to retreat from such an approach when it didn’t work out as they hoped, but I miss that risk-taking Marvel of three years ago.

On the other hand, to use Mille’s Daredevil run as an example again, when he returned to the title to do Born Again, it surpassed even his initial run on the book. So, we could be in store for one hell of a story here. Either way, it is worth a look and if that’s true, then Marvel’s initial goal in bringing David back has been achieved. Get fans excited about the book again. It’s pretty obvious we all are.

I know a lot of people miss the “risk-taking Marvel” as Tim calls it, but they are, in some cases, simply giving fans what they want, and that seems to be the case here.

Robert Kirkman Gives Newsarama Five Reasons Why Folks Should Pre-order Marvel Team-Up”¦We Totally Would Have Given Him Ten For Half the Price

“And now, we yield the floor to the gentleman from Marvel, Image, and just about everywhere else: Robert Kirkman, who’d like to offer some gentle persuasion on why you should be pre-ordering Marvel Team-Up #1 (as well as all of your monthly comics) as soon as you get done reading this.

Nice guy that he is, Kirkman also let a few pages of colored art from issue #1 out of his vise-like grip for some visual aid. Without further ado, here’s the writer guy.”

Well that teaser certainly didn’t tell you what the reasons were”¦go see for yourself at Newsarama

Well, Kirkman has me sold on this series like Tim Stevens on muscle-enhancing drugs.

Ahh, the sweet forbidden rush of Steriods. I know it well.

Kirkman writes this article from the perspective of a hardcore comic book fan who knows everything about every character and has gotten that lucky break of getting handed a book where he can play with ALL his favorite toys; in my humble opinion, that’s the mold that all of today’s best writers, (Kurt Busiek, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns) are cut from. This is going to be a fun title that is going to explore the entire Marvel Universe, something that you just don’t see enough. And WHOA, how bout that Scott Kolins art, baby! THIS is the guy I remember from The Flash, not the imposter who has been doing Avengers for the last year”¦amazing stuff. Even if NOVA THE HUMAN ROCKET was not going to be in issue#2, I’d still buy this.

Hold the phone”¦it’s Special Guest Star TIM SHERIDAN!!!

There is nothing that is going to make me pick up team up, regardless of how many reasons the writer has come up with. Team up books reek of nothing happening, because what would really be happening to the character is happening over in their actual solo book. Starting a book with the team up of Spiderman and Wolverine is also incredibly unoriginal. Brian Bendis tried his Ultimate Team up book, and that even got boring after a few issues. I’m sure this book is fun and light hearted, but what it boils down to is that it all seems like it’ll be forgetable. Kirkman is a talented writer, and Kolins a great artist, but I hate to see them both working on this. Was anyone at all asking for a team up book? Anyone?

*raises hand* I love team-up books. They’re a great chance for characters that don’t have their own titles to get exposure and also to see the interactions between characters that would otherwise never met. The original Marvel Team-Up, Brave & The Bold, DC Comics Presents and others have put out some of the best stories I’ve ever read. Sure, the ramifications of these stories might not be earth shattering, but does that really matter? Can’t a well-written, fun story be enough?

Spider-Man 2 Has Come and Gone, but the Doc Ock Tie-in Projects Keep Coming”¦Wait, This One Is Good

“If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that you know who Spider-Man is. Since his inception, the character has crawled its way not only across comics, but into television, toys, and most recently – and spectacularly – movies. If he wasn’t a household name before, he is now. His origin is firmly engrained in the hearts and minds of even the most casual comics fan, and thanks to Sam Raimi and the crew of Spider-Man 1 & 2, the story has infected a whole new audience. But what about the flip side of Peter Parker? What about his foes?

Although the origin of the Green Goblin has been thoroughly covered in the pages of various Marvel titles over the years, the primary nemesis from Spider-man 2, Doctor Octopus, has a rather enigmatic history. But this year, the House of Ideas has pulled back the curtain to let the readers find out what makes Otto Octavius what he is.

Writer Zeb Wells, along with artist Kaare Andrews, were chosen to tell this unique story in the mini-series Spider-Man / Doctor Octopus: Year One (issue #3 is out this week). Newsarama’s already spoken with Zeb Wells about his take on this miniseries as the series began, but now we have the opportunity to speak with Kaare Andrews not only about this eye-popping miniseries, but also his other passion, film-making.”

Two a’s back to back in one first name?! You must read this interview at Newsarama

A very complete story of the tale of Kaare Andrews, the artist of Spiderman/Doc Ock: Year One of which issue #3 just came out. If you haven’t been checking out this series, it’s definitely something to grab when it hits the TPB market. It is a completely encompassing idea of where Doc Ock came from in the nuclear age. He talks about his work on he Spidey titles (Spider-Clan) and creating some of the creepiest Doc Ock imagery ever. Honestly, I feel that Andrews has a long career in comics ahead of him, and I can’t wait to see some of the other creepy imagery that he’s going to give to us.

Kaare Andrews is certainly one of a kind, you can’t deny that. His Incredible Hulk covers were some of the most inspired I’ve ever seen and among the only times I was a proponent of the whole cover having nothing to do with the inside contents thing. One thing he doesn’t mention is his brief Ultimate X-Men run, probably if only because while his art was good, it was soooo completely and bizarrely out of place. Seriously, it was as if the X-Men had been dropped into the Teen Titans cartoon and then somebody broke into Tim’s crack stash and injected it all into my head at once”¦um, and I didn’t die for some reason.

Look, It’s a Cap-ital Preview

“Marvel Comics has provided THE PULSE with a three-page inked preview of the upcoming November debuting Captain America # 1. The new series is written by Ed Brubaker and features art by Steve Epting.”

You know you missed him, so check out the Red Skull at The Pulse. After all it has been like what, 10 minutes since he appeared in a Captain America comic.

The art looks great, but where are Brubake’s words? I need words to feast my tunnel visioned writer mind on.

Also, I suck at writing about art (thank god I work for a comic site, eh?) so I leave that to the other members of my merry band of marauders.

Man has Epting improved since his Avengers days. His style has become far more detailed and moody, much less sloppy and haphazard. The pages here seem to indicate a darker turn for the title, but as Tim said, hard to really judge without the words. I’ll throw my name into the hat of those annoyed with yet another #1 issue, but ultimately, it makes no difference as long as the book is good. And you can NEVER have enough Red Skull.

I would love to see this Cap book do well. I love the art so far, and it’s got a great team bdhind it. Sure, we’ve seen Red Skull vs cap many many many times. Oh like, this month! But I have faith in Brubaker to twist things just enough to make it an interesting story. Last time I was this excited about a Captain America book was when Mark Waid started his run years ago. He’s a tricky character to write and make new and interesting. I hope it works this time.

I Feel Like I Could Have Made a Good Broadway Joke About Nightcrawler Here if Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa Wasn’t Already Known For Writing 4″¦

“Comic’s favorite fuzzy blue elf, Kurt Wagner a.k.a. Nightcrawler is starring in a new monthly series from Marvel Comics, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Darick Robertson. Although Aguirre-Sacasa didn’t follow Nightcrawler since his earliest days of reading comics, the writer was a quick study on the world of Kurt. He’s hoping his story is open to all readers and let’s those who know the character and those new to the series check it out “without bringing too many preconceived notions about the character.”

BAMF over to The Pulse

I’m an X-Fiend. I’ll admit it. I’m the guy who buys everyone of these god damned titles for at least an arc. So, I will be there for the Nightcrawler book, even though the last few solo X-books have sucked rocks. This one might surprise, especially since Aguirre-Sacasa seems to have an understanding that Nightcrawler has been beaten to hell in continuity. He is going to do his best to get the most sincere and secure version of the blue fuzzy elf. I, honestly, have no faith in the staying power of the title, but that doesn’t mean it won’t succeed. I wish it luck, especially since Aguirre-Sacasa has already gotten smacked around after the whole Mark Waid leaving Fantastic Four fiasco.

I’m discovering a new love for Nightcrawler reading the old 1980s Claremont stories in Essential X-Men. Aguirre-Sacasa demonstrates a great work ethic in this interview and I’m impressed and glad he took the time to sit down and really track the history of the character. If every writer did that, people wouldn’t be so up in arms about the last year of Avengers. I’ll definitely give the first issue a shot.

For Those of You Silly Enough to Think #503 Was The End Comes”¦Finale

“With spoilers already floating around the internet for this week’s Avengers #502, “Avengers Disassembled” is moving at full speed ahead, changing the team (and some Avengers) forever. But what about the end? Sure, the current volume of Avengers ends with Octobe’s Avengers #503, but what’s this Avengers Finale shipping in November, then?”

Behold! Gorgeous art work at Newsarama

There is not much to go on here, beyond that, like the Ultimate Spider-Man Special and the next issue of Daredevil, there sure is going to be some nice looking art. The pages of Avengers saluting their fallen heroes is also very nice, not just because of the Perez art (though it does not hurt), but also because that does, in fact, display a little bit of the heart Bendis refers to in the article. Also, you can play “Spot the Avenger” to fuel further speculation about who is the traitor and who else might not make it out of “Chaos” alive.

Yep, pretty art”¦yep, no sign of Wanda”¦move along”¦

Sounds like a nice idea. A good way to get some former Avengers artists to do something one more time”¦.or something like that. Moreover, it’s a way for Marvel to get a few more bucks from us completists. I’m betting there won’t be a whole lot of story here that we really need. But I’m also betting it’ll be a lot of fun. Bendis’ stories are generally action heavy towards the end, so perhaps an action-less character based epilogue is not a bad idea at all.

Marvel Movie News Roundup BONANZA

(All this stuff came from either CBR or ComiX-Fan, just so we don’t have to keep linking”¦)

-Tom Cruise is starting to look doubtful for an Iron Man movie due to his packed schedule

That’s a shame, I really think he’d be great for the part, but then there’s a lot of folks I think could pull off Tony Stark”¦Jude Law, George Clooney, even Johnny Depp”¦basically anybody who mix up a touch of class with a touch of fun. There are much harder roles to cast (come to think of it, I’d much rather see Clooney than Cruise).

If they made this movie five years ago, Timothy Dalton would have been ideal. These days”¦I think Clooney is a damn good choice, actually. And then I remember Batman and Robin. And after the vomiting I think”¦maybe someone else would be a better choice. Clooney is still one of the coolest buys on the planet though. Just for the record.

-Ryan Reynolds really really wants to play Deadpool, but thinks it would have to be R-rated

Well”¦duh. I’d like to see this movie, I know Jamie would LOVE to see this movie”¦

I would do horrible things to people you love to see this movie. Albeit, I’m a huge fan of Bruce Campbell as Wade. It’s a complete fanboy reaction to such a thing, but he’s got that perfect sarcastic voice. My stance overall is at least somebody gives a damn enough to go out of his way to SAY that he wants to play Deadpool.

-“Entertainment Tonight” correspondent Maria Menounos will play a “nurse who is romanced by Johnny Storm” in Fantastic Four

The only exposure I have to her is from Maxim’s Hot 100 special on SpikeTV, from which I gleaned she is A) smoking hot and B) possesses spunk and at least marginal talent”¦works for me.

What a vague gesture as to the character she’s playing! So now I’m going to have to separate my brain into ‘staring at Jessica Alba’ and ‘staring at nurse-girl'”¦ great!

Wasn’t this the role Jamie auditioned for?

-Before the X-Men/X2 team bolted for Superman, their script for X3 called for Emma Frost to be played by Sigourney Weaver

Hahahahaha”¦are you serious?

*shudder* The bad General Hospital actress who played her in the Generation X made-for-tv movie was bad enough. Give me someone who is library sexy for Emma. Someone who comes across as both sexy and sly. Jolie is a little too obvious, what about Rachael Weisz”¦

Come on now”¦except for the wild age disparity between she and Marsden, she’d be a hell of choice. The lady has crazy acting chops, my friend, crazy chops.

Not denying the chops, hombre, but yes, the age disparity would just be too much”¦not just between her and Marsden (NOT Marsters), but between her and everybody”¦she could be Patrick Stewart’s mom.

-Steven Spielberg and Tom Cruise’s War of The Worlds is going to open a week before Fantastic Four

Yikes? I’ve said for awhile that FF is Marvel’s make or break movie; their last chance to score big on something other than X-Men or Spider-Man (because everything from here on out has to go the Blade route and just be damn good, because there’s nothing else left, aside from maybe Captain America, that will get by on name recognition alone). Will this have a big effect? I doubt it”¦maybe if it was the same weekend, but I don’t see why people who really want to see War of the Worlds wouldn’t just see it the first week it’s out.

I would echo that sentiment. Same week=one hell of a fight (War of the Worlds would win, by the by. Cruise/Spielberg? Ain’t nobody derailing that train the first weekend). A weekend later though, unless FF drops the ball huge, they should be just fine.

-Marvel is letting fans send in audition tapes for parts in the animated DVD Avengers release; unused tapes may be put in as extras

Are you serious? Whoa. I could be Hawkeye!! Then again, it’s the Ultimates version, so I guess they’re probably just looking for five or six people who sound exactly the same”¦come to think of it, if Millar is writing it they could just cast one person for every interchangeable part.

Wow”¦real subtle with your distaste there Ben. Rrrrrreeeeeeaaaaaallllll subtle. I for one think it is about time Marvel put a quality animated adaptation into the world. Not sure if this will be it, but I’m willing to give it a look.

Real men know not of this subtlety of which you speak. As far as quality Marvel animation, I really enjoyed the X-Men and Spider-Man cartoons of the 90’s, but they were indeed quite some time ago.

A Cup of Non-Convention Joe

“Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada is one of the busiest men in comics. Besides working as EiC, he also is drawing comics, writing comics, and helping bring several new creators into the Marvel fold. THE PULSE sent him some questions about the end of NYX, the delays in Daredevil: Father, the new Young Guns, and the strangest thing to happen to Quesada during a con season, among other things. Although he couldn’t answer everything – not many will reveal all company secrets – we got enough details to keep even the newest of Marvel Zombies happy.”

See Joe try to keep those zombies happy (good luck!) at The Pulse

ARRGH! How frustrating. While Quesada does tell a great story (this time concerning a one hit wonder metal singer) there is little to nothing about upcoming projects or the direction of the company in this thing. It is great that the Pulse got him for a sit down, but if the sit down ultimately just rehashes what we all already know then”¦well, that is a bit redundant, right?

Far more frustrating to me is his attitude on his late books. Saying he’s Editor-In-Chief and then brushing it off is no good”¦if you commit to doing a book, make sure you’ve got enough work done ahead of time if you think you may run into time commitments. How hard would it have been to hold off the release of DD: Father a few months until Quesada had more work in the can? Ditto on the Kevin Smith debacles. They’re finally learning their lesson with the second volume of Ultimates, but because it took so long, readers of that book now must wait even longer to read what happens next. I don’t care how good the story idea is, how “worth the wait” it is, don’t make promises you can’t deliver on, simple as that. In years past I’d point to DC and Kevin Smit’s run on Green Arrow as a sterling example of how to do this the right way, but they’re currently making the same mistakes with Superman/Batman.

I’d like to cut Quesada some slack, but I really just can’t. I totally understand his stance that he has a lot of work at EiC to do, and that’s fine. He should have the wherewithal to know he’s not going to get books that he writes and/or draws himself out on time. He is delaying DD: Father #2 so he has more time to get #3 done with. He knew he was going to have these problems with timing, so why not just delay the whole series until a majority of it was done? It’s nice to know he is still thinking about the books he is committed to doing, but it would be nicer to actually have him do the books. If I sound like I’m being harsh, I apologize (though only slightly). I love the work he does, but he should know better.

Jamie Is Lying In The Gutters”¦But Only Figuratively”¦This Week

(We gots a whole buncha rumors from Lying In The Gutters; enjoy)

“After his run on “Ultimate Fantastic Four,” Stuart Immomen will be drawing “Ultimate X-Men.” Brian K Vaughan will continue to write the series.”

I’m not sure whether Immomen’s style will be suited for my current favorite Ultimate title. He works with Fantastic Four because he’s drawing up Warren Ellis’ crazy science fiction creations. Vaughan hasn’t shown to be very tech-oriented, but I do enjoy Immomen’s very sleek look, and given how he’s drawn Van Damme’s world compared to Richard’s world, he very well might have the ability to fit something into our wonderful land of ‘X’.

Honestly, as long as Brian Vaughan is writing this title, it could be done in crayola and spittle, and I’ll be happy.

I’m with you as far being on board as long as Vaughan is, he’s made a book that was fading fast incredible, but I wish the carousel of artists would just end. They made big deals of both Peterson and Andy Kubert coming on board when they knew how finite their runs would be; if they’re committed to other projects, that’s fine, let’s have fun with them while they’re available, but in both these cases I feel as though Marvel led fans to believe these guys would be sticking around for awhile.

“Kerry Washington has been cast to play Alicia Masters in the upcoming “Fantastic Four” movie. She’s already worked a week on the movie and can be seen in the background in this Hollywood North Report photo.”

First off, I hope that’s not the final ‘mode’ of the Thing, and some intermediate stage he’s in. He looks”¦slimy. I’m going to pray for the best that this is just the simple beginning of the CGI masterpiece that is going to be The Thing.

Now onto Kerry Washington, aside from ‘Save The Last Dance’, she has been in quite a few projects that I’ve never heard of, which doesn’t mean she’s not good – I just have no frame of reference. I must say I’m completely amazed at the cast selections. I’m not saying that a character that is white in comics can’t be black in a movie (Michael Clarke Duncan was the right choice for Kingpin – the script wasn’t right for Daredevil), it’s just interesting that they have a black woman as Alicia Masters and Jessica Alba who has a Spanish lineage. I hope this is more an issue of BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB and not a case of OH! THEY’LL DO IT.

“One observation of the current state of the comics industry is that the better selling titles are selling a lot better… regularly topping 200,000. However at the other end, even from the bigger publishers, sales are dropping off a cliff. DC has had real problems launching any new project which isn’t an instant top tenner, without any ties to existing lines or imprints… and even then it’s not a sure thing. And with Marvel launching five number ones in one week, they’ve been relatively poorly ordered… and looking at in-store sales, may be slipping down the charts even then. Even books like “Hulk/Thing,” “Bullseye” and “Gambit” are under performing what one might have expected and the Marvel Age tag on “Jubilee” seems to have been an instant death.”

No, the fact that these books are being churned out and not cared about is what is the instant death. Jubilee could have easily been an amazing read, but for some reason Kirkman decided to crap on a sandwich and call it a book. I LOVE Kirkman, but this book was so far beneath the 15 year old female market they were shooting for that it bordered on offensive.

Look at Madrox and District X, both distinctively smart takes on questionable properties. Nobody expected Jamie Madrox or Bishop to be able to hold a book, but District X HAS and Madrox WILL. What is the difference between ‘Gambit’ and ‘Madrox’ – one is trying to be a cohesively smart book, and the other one is Gambit. Not to go on a Jesse Baker-esque rant here, but the more Marvel continues to pump out these flash in the pan, should be Mini-Series (if that) books, then the few wonderful kids who have started picking up comics again are going to start putting them down again.

I have to say, “What is the difference between ‘Gambit’ and ‘Madrox’ – one is trying to be a cohesively smart book, and the other one is Gambit,” is the best dissecting of an issue I have seen in quite some time.

The problem here is so multi-layered it is tough to say where it begins and ends. Essentially, retailers are unwilling to risk anything but just above pull list levels of ordering new books. Casual fans and those less casual who still didn’t ask for the title to be pulled more than likely miss out on issue #1 and we all know that it is all down hill after that. Retailer sees that demand for the title remains the same or decreases, makes note of it, and continues to order new series in a similar way. Meanwhile, Marvel (and DC as well) often offers no incentive for a retailer to place higher orders on a new book and only prints to order so even if buyer interest is sparked, the retailer has no way of ordering more copies for those that missed out. Those that missed out say, “Eh, I’ll just wait for the trade then,” and”¦well, you get the idea. Round and round we go.

However, the whole quality thing I am certain would help as well.

“On the Comic Book Industry Alliance forum, retailer Cliff Biggers of Dr No’s Comics, Games And More made a comment, which he expanded for Lying In The Gutters. He told me;

“So far today no one has bought this week’s Marvel dud, ‘Warlock.’ Everyone who likes the character has flipped through the book and decided not to get it. Three customers who had expressed an interest for pull-and-hold have passed on it… and one customer who prepaid for it said that he didn’t want to take it home, even though he had already bought it. ‘It’s not worth the eighth of an inch it’ll take up in my comic box,’ he said. It’s the same problem that we saw with Silver Surfer; Marvel has taken a character with a long-defined cosmic feel, then they’ve ‘reinvented’ it as a concept that has virtually no appeal to those who were fans of the original character. And this has happened frequently enough that my Marvel customers are wary of any Marvel relaunches, and I’m seeing horrible sales on new series that should perform quite well–books like ‘Gambit,’ ‘Elektra’ and ‘Jubilee’ are selling less than mid-line books from IDW, Devil’s Due, or Dreamwave.”

That’s because companies like IDW are not shoving any old cog into any old machine in the hopes that it will churn out something good. They are taking the time to review properties and (I’m sure) scripts and concepts. Marvel has been more than disappointing this fall, specifically in reference to the X-Titles. I’m starting to believe if it isn’t attached to Bendis or Vaughan, with few exceptions, I can just ignore it.


Surprisingly better than the first arc. Hopefully they’ll start to find their voices because Gail Simone”¦Nicieza just ain’t when it comes to Wade.

The most underrated book on the market right now, this title is a gem and #7 was the best issue yet. It was funny, it had action, it was smart, the art was brilliant, the dialogue was witty but believable”¦awesome. And I never read Agent X but loved Nicieza’s X-Force, so as far as I’m concerned this is how Deadpool talks, period.

The closest thing Bendis is going to come to a filler story in his run. It’s great development on the continuing relationship with Natasha, with one of the best punchlines I could think of… hell, I would of slept with her.

I thought it was Bendis you wanted to sleep with? In other words”¦I don’t think Jesse Baker enjoyed this issue.

If you didn’t already know from well, everything I’ve ever written about Daredevil, I love this title. This issue was no exception. The only thing that didn’t work for me was Matt’s internal monologue about the lack of punching he is getting to do. First, Bendis already used that joke and second, it just goes on for SO long. A misfired punchline aside, this was a great read. Natasha, with only a few moments, shows how and why she is so formidable in the Marvel U. And her last line to Matt”¦truly excellent. Ladies should say stuff like that all the time. ALL. THE. TIME.

This title is one of my favorites. Bendis seems like he’s closer to the end of his run than the beginning, but it’s still such a great book. The art and story mesh perfectly. This was a nice issue with some good resolution.

Jamie, I know for a fact you read this”¦stop running away just because we’re going to be making fun of you for reading Mary Jane is a second”¦

Yes, I read Emma Frost. Yes, I know I’m going to get made fun of
because of the Mary Jane thing. Yes it’s a fun book. No it’s not earth shattering”¦I’m going to go back into the corner now before this whole Mary Jane thing starts up.

One of the weaker issues of Waid’s run, must say. The new characters he introduces to the series just seem uninspired (thought the living math equation was at least cool in theory)”¦I’m pretty sure this exact same idea for surviving aliens from planets Galactus has destroyed has been used at least three times, I know for sure it was at least used during Ron Marz’ 90’s run on Silver Surfer. The reasoning behind why the aliens need Sue is just”¦contrived. The first issue of this storyline was very strong, but this issue kinda fell flat; this could just be because I have very high expectations for this title.

Not to pimp myself inappropriately, but I have already reviewed this for the site. To just tease you a little bit though, I’ll say this: I love Waid’s FF, but”¦

Interested now, aren’t you? Yeah, I know you are.

Oh, you are so bad”¦

I think I am bored by this. Waid and Ringo started things out so strongly that it’s tough for them to maintain that high level month in and out. And because this is part of disassembled, it seems like parts of the story are just filling time til they get out of the crossover. Overall though, still a fun book.

People are calling this Marvel’s attempt at a JSA book. People are missing the point.

In other news, look for my interview with the writer of Invaders, coming next Friday. And prepare to have your life as you know it irreversibly altered.

Have you been taking self promotion classes from Daron or something?

This issue, Iron Man dons a magic amulet, does battle with a hippo, sings show tunes, and does it all while hitting on a 25 year old endocrinologi…ok, so I didn’t read this issue. But Tim Sheridan did and his review shall soon be available on this very site. So check it out…or die trying.

Remember how District X was the most recent sleeper hit of the X-Books. Guess what: it now sits right next to Madrox, because this book has got great writing and decent art. Sadly, nothing like that ever survives in the X Universe… just add Wolverine in an issue to boost the numbers.

I skimmed through this book and loved it”¦but it didn’t have a Wolverine guest appearance, so I figured it wasn’t worth it. Aw hell, I’ll probably pick it up next week.

I honestly never thought a single issue of any comic book could change my views on life, the universe and why we’re here”¦and because I didn’t buy Man Thing #3, now I may never know.

I made a joke over the phone, when we were figuring out who would review each book, assigning this one to Jamie since I figured there was no way such a macho tough guy would read Mary Jane, but then he enthusiastically screamed “ok!” like a friggin’ schoolgirl”¦and then promptly claimed he only skimmed through his girlfriend Danielle’s copy following five second of uncomfortable silence.

(From “Danielle”) I really liked it. It’s my favorite book right now, and the kind of book that you would give to a teenage girl to get into comics. It captures high school incredibly well, with the added bonus of Spider-Man!

With each issue this book gets stronger. It’s never going to change the universe, but it’s becoming a fun diversionary book.

You know, Tim.. you kind of look like the Viruvian Man.

I was going to say, “Yeah, that’s what your Mom said,” but instead, I think I’ll use the more classic, “You kind of look like the Viruvian Man”¦YEAH!”

JMS does no wrong. Never has.. never will.

Could this be another book I have reviewed for the site? Damn straight it is!

Am I the only person that liked this book? Everyone I talk to was disappointed by it. It was a little slow, but the art makes up for that. This’ll read better when the whole story is done.

So”¦anybody read Wolverine? Well, he’ll never make it”¦






X-MEN #161
I can only reason that Chuck Austen already knew he was on his way out the door by the time he put pen to paper here. Xorn’s brother?! Annie leaves for no reason?! Yeah, the guy can write some pretty awful stuff, but usually it at least feels like he’s put time into it; so many parts of this issue reeked of “I’m gone in four issues and need to clear out every single thing I did to the book over the last couple years.” I really hope the last page isn’t legit, as it would undo the best contribution Austen has made to the X-Men mythology. Beyond that, I have no idea what Sabretooth is doing in this issue (it seems to run contrary both to the characte’s mission statement and recent continuity) and Salvador Larocca’s art is more beautiful than the abstract concept of time if it could expressed in picture form.

Well guys, it’s been a long, arduous journey, but we did it, and more importantly, we did it…together.

And that leaves us with a very important message”¦Tim, care to cue
up the music.

When three men, one invisible woman, a guest star, and my girlfriend all group together and show a vested interest in this vast medium that we call comics… a cast such as this can pump out a column that not only is longer than most John Grisham novels, not only looks like a gay pride parade has left a trail of rainbow vomit in it’s wake, not only get every single obligatory joke about me being drunk, or Ben and Tim not supporting your 1st Amendment rights enough, but we STILL can do all of this.. AND! put it out ‘on time’. Much love Iain.

So unless anyone wants to chime in, I think that’s a wrap. I’m James Hatton, with Ben Morse, Tim Stevens, Tim Sheridan, Danielle OBrien, and the Invisible Mathan saying”¦

Whoa”¦hold on Jamie”¦that was beautiful, but”¦where’s Tim? Mathan, do you know?

Well, you know what that means”¦we’re going to have to find him”¦RIGHT HERE NEXT WEEK!!!

Ben, Tim, Jamie and Mathan (who is in the front”¦but invisible) say SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!

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