Ultimate Marvel News & Views

This edition of Ultimate Marvel News & Views dedicated to Tim Sheridan’s birthday and Jamie Hatton & Danielle O’Brien’s anniversary

When we last left our heroes, Tim had mysteriously disappeared and Ben, Jamie & Mathan had set out to find him”¦

Ben: Tim, where’d you go man?

Tim: To get a Scotch”¦

Oh”¦right”¦we probably should have thought of that”¦

Jamie: You didn’t really need to go anywhere, my blood is actually 90% alcoholic, all you needed was needle and a straw”¦

“¦

“¦news now!


Bendis Busts Out and Even the NY Times is Not Safe

Apparently not content with seeing his work published in every comic book published by Marvel, Brian Bendis has gone in search of finding a new outlet for his words and pictures, and found it in The New York Times.

Witness the utter destruction of the New York Times Business section at Newsarama

It is not great secret on this site that nearly every time Bendis puts pen to paper for Marvel, 2 things happen. Jesse Baker rages and I get all giddy with nerd-like enthusiasm. It is kind of like death and taxes in that way.

However, much as I love his superhero work, there will always be a special place in my library for Fortune and Glory and Total Sell Out, works where Bendis is just offering you glimpses into his own life, whether it be pitching a movie based on his comics or attempting to do a “proper” comic book adaptation of Indiana Jones. His work for the Times falls under this category of writing (plus, he draws too!) and I dug it for that reason alone. As it happens, it is also a pretty good look at some of the inner workings of comics and a chance of Bendis to hawk his and others’ goods. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.


Alex Ross Wants to Steal Jamie’s Girlfriend

Sony today announced that, beginning today, it will offer the paintings by Alex Ross that appeared in the open credits of Spider-Man 2. The pictures summarized the major points of the first film in Ross’ own style, and, following in the footprints of other Ross art auctions, the proceeds from the sale of the pieces will benefit a charity – the United Cancer Front Women’s Cancer Research Program at UCLA.

Go to Newsarama for the pretty pictures, stay for the worthwhile cause.

Did you see Spider-Man 2? Remember at the beginning of the film you sat there and were just awestruck at those beautiful paintings done during the title cards? Yes, well unless you’ve been sitting under a rock since1989, you would have considered that those might have been done by Alex ‘wants
to steal my girlfriend’ Ross.

Well, they were. And he does. Now he, with Sony Pictures, are taking those beautiful renderings and putting them up for auction. So if you have a spare $6,000 to spare (which happens to be the lowest OPENING bid) then saddle on over to http://www.sonypictures/auction and give some money to Cancer Research. It’s a great cause, and anyone who pays attention to me and my Fantastic Cohorts here on MnV know just how much we like to support good causes… right?

Dani: Jamie, it is our 2 year anniversary. If you loved me you’d buy me one.

Apparently it’s been decided then. I don’t love you.

Jamie, if Alex Ross wanted your girlfriend, she’d be his. What have you got to offer that he does not? Honestly, I don’t know why Alex Ross doesn’t want your girlfriend, but you should say a prayer of thanks before your Rob Liefeld altar every night that he doesn’t.

And hey, did either of you give money to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation last week in honor of the man’s birthday? I thought as much”¦money grubbing whores”¦

Hey, I was all over that charity. And that’s why Mr. Reeves sends me free Christmas cards every year. It’s like he’s my personal pen pal.

By the by, any chance either of you two wanna loan me some cash to buy one of these? I’d only need, I don’t know, a few thou? I’ll even let you see it”¦once”¦from behind 3 foot bulletproof glass.


David Finch: Avengers Disassembled’s Young (not that anybody is holding that against him)

“As one of the oldest of Marvel’s “Young Guns,” David Finch is living the life he’d imagined years ago when he thought a career in comics would be cool.

But, the thing is, we’re not talking about L’il Davie, playing with crayons while he watched cartoons, or any other prodigy-style story. For the ten-year vet of the industry, Finch didn’t really decide what he wanted to be when he grew up until he grew up.”

Newsarama interviewed Finch before Wednesday, so there’s not too many rabid Hawkeye fans until further down in the response thread

Very cool interview, a little different that your usual “promote the comic and get out” gig as we actually get to see a little bit of what made Finch the artist he is today, I dig that. I’d also love to see him on Blade or The Hulk, characters he says he’d like to draw (he’s got that gruesome, bloody style that would work great for either character).

I liked Finc’s work on Ultimate X-Men a lot more than I’m enjoying his current stuff on Avengers. Is that because I really haven’t liked Avengers Disassembled so far? It’s certainly a possibility, but I like to think I’m able to separate my story from my art when it comes to critiquing. I don’t blame Finch for little things like getting the costumes wrong for Firestar and Justice (maybe they just went back to their old costumes, who knows), but there has seemed to be a sharp drop in quality from Avengers #500 to this week’s #502. It seems like he’s rushing more and not making as much of an effort to make the characters look realistic, which was one of his bigger strengths. Has the publicity of Avengers Disassembled and Young Guns got to Finc’s head? Is he getting lazy? I don’t know, but he’s capable of better, so hopefully New Avengers will get him jazzed up to put out his best stuff again.

I’d have to disagree Ben. I think, as great as his stuff looked in Ultimate X-Men, he has improved upon it for the Avengers. I’d agree it is rushed at points, but I could point out moments in Ultimate where I felt the same. Overall, I think Finch is getting better and better with each assignment. Hopefully the trend will continue and New Avengers will blow me away.


USA Today, That Bastion of Journalistic Excellence, Brings Us the Fantastic First

The Fantastic Four comes forth.

Jessica Alba is a housewife-turned-superhero in Fantastic Four. She’ll team up with The Shield’s Michael Chiklis, Ioan Gruffudd and newcomer Chris Evans.

Take the Fantasticar (*giggle* What a ludicrous name for a vehicle. Thank Mr. Ellis for revealing the silliness that is comics) on over to USA Today and help make journalism majors everywhere cringe and shake their heads.

The uniforms look good, Thing looks dodgy, but Kirby-esque dodgy, so that’s not necessarily a bad thing. First looks photos are notoriously unreliable (the first X-Men photos, anybody?) so there is much that can change in the next few months. This gives us an idea, but it is hardly indicative of the exact way this movie will play on the screen.

Now that that is out of the way, can we talk about the article here? Man”¦just man. I use puns in my own column from time to time, but I would like to think they are self aware and vaguely witty. Or, if not that, so over the top that you get that I really do not care for the punning brand of humor at all. But here”¦ugh. A pun in the opening paragraph (I believe that is some sort of informal newspaper rule: When writing about comics, be sure to pun in the opening line so everyone knows how not seriously we take comics) and a pretty lousy one at that. And the title of this article”¦could it be any less inspired? I brainstormed for a while and I think even that opening pun would have made for a better headline.

And finally, don’t we call “housewives” homemakers now, as kind of a respectful thing? Shouldn’t the most often read newspaper in the country has gotten that memo?

I’d like to comment on something here, but I’ve having horrible flashbacks to four in the morning on Fridays back when Tim and I were the Editors-In-Chief of our college newspaper and he’d go off on insane rants on journalistic integrity only to then collapse into a chair silent and motionless for an hour, then arise and go into manic work mode, answering any question you asked him with “I will burn you with my eyes.”

Ahh, good times. I remember them well.

And for further Marvel movie news, look to the bottom of the page, isn’t that right Mathan.

Yup.

I thought so.

Boy, this joke will never get old.

You’ve got that right Mathan.


Newsflash: Nightcrawler Still Loves Pirates

Marvel has provided Newsarama with an 11 page preview of October’s Uncanny X-Men #450, featuring the return of X-23, and the mutant’s first meeting with the X-Men.

Marvel’s solicitation for the issue reads:

“The Cruelest Cut” Parts 1 & 2 (of 2)

Wolverine’s 30th Anniversary Celebration starts off with a bang as the X-Men investigate some mysterious murders in New York City. All the victims seem to have been cut to pieces by blades — Adamantium blades! But if Wolverine didn’t murder these people”¦then who did?!

Get the sneak peek courtesy of our friends at Newsarama

Girl in peril? Check.

Dramatic love triangle? Check.
Note from Claremont to Whedon to stop writing Kitty Pryde? Check.

Claremont inventing new ‘Girls In Peril’ because Whedon won’t give up
Kitty Pryde? Check.

Shameless Wolverine rip-off? Check.

Art that deserves better than to be on a Claremont title? Check.

Alan Davis’ art is so damned nice. It sincerely is. If you’ve been following my reviews at all, then you realize though”¦

Claremont, in my opinion, is done. Read that dialogue “You get your jazz killin’ mutants?” It’s seriously unnecessarily old. Claremont may be the grandaddy of X-Drama, and I will be completely honest that this preview seemed to read much smoother than most of his last five years of X-Work, but he’s invented, and sustained the invention of so many X-Shootoffs does anyone even know what it means that Nightcrawler is the Operating Supervisor of the XSE because Storm is hanging with Wolvie?

I love the X-Men”¦

Dani note: he has X-Men Legends on pause right now as he writes this. He’s obsessing over getting Gambit on his team. But I can’t complain cause he’s using Jubilee on his team because he loves me.

Yep, won’t buy her an Alex Ross.. I don’t love her. Add Jubilee to my video game team.. it’s love again. Don’t you understand why it’s been two years with her?

I love X-Men. They are my home team. They are what I devoured. Hell, it was Claremont that I was devouring back then. Now, Claremont’s vision of all things ‘X’ has been left in the cold because he hasn’t grown up. But man”¦love that Alan Davis art.

I’ve been devouring those old stories Jamie mentioned courtesy of Essential X-Men the last few months, so I know where he’s coming from. No, Claremont is not what he once was, but X-Treme X-Men was getting really good towards the end before he was forced to switch casts”¦give the man a bit longer he’s earned that.

And yes, pretty pretty art.

I feel like we have given Claremont several second chances. His stint in the 90’s for example. X-Treme X-Men for another. Excalibur for a third. But then I remember he did Sovereign Seven and all is forgiven.

Okay, that is a joke. Not a good one, but it’s what you get. Anyway, I think it is inevitable that every 2-4 years Claremont will be rehired on an X title. There is nothing to be done, there is no stopping him. Every time Marvel realizes that it is being innovative again and gets scared, there will come Claremont to set it right.

Well, I enjoyed X-Treme X-Men”¦and I thought you didn’t read X-Men anyways, Tim?


Wells & Young Give New Warriors an Extreme Makeover

“In a Q&A at wizarduniverse.com, writer Zeb Wells confirmed his involvement in the long-rumored New Warriors project for Marvel.

When asked what he had coming up after Spider-Man Doctor Octopus: Year One, Wells said:

‘A New Warriors project with Skottie Young got the green light. The premise is that the New Warriors have trouble getting work, and they hook up with a TV show, like “Extreme Home Makeover,” and when people around the country get menaced by a Z-grade villain, the Warriors zip off in their van and save the day.'”

Well, I just gave you the entire news clipping, but still head to Newsarama and see from the response thread that I’m not the only person who still cares about the New Warriors

Dani pop up fact: Did you know that Zeb Wells was the winner 2 years in a row (and maybe more, I don’t know) of the Wizard “Make a Video” contest? The winning video, a very funny short video about a reality tv series staring certain super-heros that have to become a boy band, was played during the Wizard Fan Awards at the Chicago con and afterwards quite a few people wanted to meet him.

Did you know there is some company that is selling vintage swords from Highlander, Xena, Hercules & Conan? Man, I know either Tim, Stevens or Sheridan variant would love to get their hands on one of those bad boys and tear up Newington”¦the things you learn if you stay up and watch Velocity on SpikeTV”¦

Here’s a conversations between me and SPECIAL GUEST STAR (and birthday boy!) Tim Sheridan about this subject:

Dragon882 [10:15 PM]: I do refer to you and Tim buying swords and tearing up Newington this week
XOdusTWS [10:15 PM]: nice
XOdusTWS [10:15 PM]: we’ll probably get to that on thursday
Dragon882 [10:16 PM]: I was watching SpikeTV late Saturday night and saw an ad for a place where you could buy swords they used in Highland, Xena and Conan and thought of you guys
XOdusTWS [10:16 PM]: hahaha
XOdusTWS [10:16 PM]: I know what you’re talking about
Dragon882 [10:17 PM]: You’ve seen that commercial?
XOdusTWS [10:17 PM]: yes
XOdusTWS [10:17 PM]: it’s absurd

New Warriors. If you’ve read anything I’ve ever written on this title, you know it was one of the books that shaped my love for comics. Fabian Nicieza and his artistic collaborators did groundbreaking work on the original series. I wrote more on my feelings in an edition of The Watchtower a few months ago. As far as this latest news, I’ll quote my comments from last week’s Roundtable:

“I’m torn.

I love the Warriors and am happy to see them back in any form; also, Wells is a decent writer.

But that premise just sounds way too gimmicky when New Warriors has always been a title about the characters. This smacks of when they tried to revamp Thunderbolts with zero success.

In a perfect world Fabian would be back on the book, but I’ve spent about a decade waiting for that perfect world, so I’m not holding my breath. We could do worse, so I’ll give it a shot.

I’m terrified for Skottie Young on art though; I really wish the Todd Nauck rumors had been true.”

So that’s how I feel”¦perhaps my cohorts have something to contribute.

I am all for revamps of titles taking different approaches with the characters, but”¦I just could not be less interested in the concept behind this new New Warriors series. I think it is great that Marvel is resurrecting the property; I hope it works out wonderfully for them. However, short of a stunning debut issue that changes everything I once believed to be true, I just don’t find myself picking this guy up. Change is great, but the change still needs to interest me.

In Ben’s world, Fabian writes EVERYTHING!

And what an X-Force-rific world that would be.

Not true”¦he just writes New Warriors, X-Force and Cable/Deadpool”¦the rest of the titles are evenly divided between Geoff Johns, Mark Waid, Brad Meltzer, Judd Winick, Kurt Busiek and Marv Wolfman gets the occasional vanity project (and we lock Winick in a closet any time he uses demons as the villains).


Mr. Marvel: Not as tasty as Mr. Coffee, but Way More Interesting

Since his induction into the Editor in chief position at Marvel, Joe Quesada had reinvigorated the formally stagnant and bankrupt company by introducing new publishing lines, new creators, and approved of radical changes to the core Marvel characters that will be etched in the fan based conscious for many years. Some say that the changes that he had initiated has heralded a new “Marvel Age” that has the same amount of synergy that Stan Lee brought to the company when he first introduced the Marvel Universe to the world over forty years ago. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Quesada at the tenth annual Canadian National Expo in Toronto Ontario Canada, where he was signing autographs and held a couple of seminar sessions for the premiere publishing giant. Even though I did not personally have a one on one chat with Joe, I submitted some questions to him via E-Mail and this is the final result of the interview.

See Quesada talk lots about the past, none about the future at Comixtreme

Ahh, the ongoing frustration of the Quesada interview that is filled with words, but ultimately tells so little. I will grant you that this one is a lot more in depth than the one from last week and, in that way, superior. However, it covers ground that has been covered in several interviews before this. As Quesada himself puts it at one point, this is ancient history, can we move on already?


Jamie Loves Chick Books”¦Mystique is No Exception

It seems as if almost every member of the X-Men family of characters has a monthly comics series. Ok, not really, but a good number of them do including the shape-shifting spy Mystique. Series writer Sean McKeever has a five-part story beginning in October. Quiet features Mystique’s search for Shortpack, her quest to figure out how to assassinate Professor Xavier, and the revelation of the mysterious Quiet Man’s identity. However, before all that begins, this week’s issue 19 is a one-short jumping on point for the series. Artist Manuel Garcia, a fan of Mystique in her many incarnations, is excited to be a part of the creative team and took some time to answer a few PULSE questions about his work on the series.

Relax and let Manuel Garcia take the wheel at The Pulse

Mystique is a cooooool book, and Manuel Garcia seems to know it. The look of his new pages is very sleek, and with the exception of some heavy inking, it seems that his issues might stand out as being some of the best.

Now, as a whole, Mystique is one of those quiet books nobody realizes is awesome until it’s gone. Brian K. Vaughn (Ultimate X-Men, Runaways) had it and, seriously, everything Vaughn touches turns to gold – much like Bendis five or so years ago. Then he passed it on to Sean McKeever (Mary Jane, Waiting Place) who I must say, I was a bit sketchy on him taking a book that is the Marvel equivalent of Alias. He has come through though, as well as deciding to clear up some of Vaughn’s sub-plots along the way.


Rob Liefeld Has Compromising Pictures of Fabian Nicieza Somewhere”¦I Choose to Believe This For It Keeps Me Sane

“Visiting the past is tough – especially when so many people have such powerful memories of their favorite characters and situations. Rob Liefeld and Fabian Nicieza are taking most of the classic fan favorites from the 1991 series X-Force and reintroducing (some) to a whole new comics audience in a six-part limited series. Two issues have his shelves so far. We talked with Rob Liefeld about the series and now have caught up with his collaborator Fabian Nicieza.”

Why, Fabe, Why? It’s at The Pulse

Fabian is always an entertaining interview”¦but please, if you’re going to read one of his titles, make it Cable/Deadpool or the upcoming New Thunderbolts, not X-Force”¦it’s a horrible misrepresentation of the talents of one of the most underrated writers around.

I truly believe that Fabe is doing X-Force because he loves the characters; he worked on them much longer than Liefeld and has a certain loyalty to them. My only hope is that Liefeld loses interest in this like he does most things and Marvel brings in Greg Capullo or Tony Daniel to finish it off with Fabe as writer.

Sadly, Liefeld ain’t leaving”¦why should he”¦he drew half this book
already. And I do understand your love of Fabian, because in the past he’s put together some great writing, but where this current X-Force book came from.. I have NO idea.

The writing is stilted and feels like it came right out of something I would be laughing at from the early 90’s.

This is all well and good, but who here remembers Heroes Reborn. Boy, oh boy, did that rock.

Alright, I feel kind of bad about that joke”¦sorry.


Bru-ing Up a Little Cap Action

Never let it be said that there’s no sport in writing a comic book. Especially if you’re coming on to a relaunch of a series starring a popular character, and the buzz of speculation has already begun in a big way.

That is, if you’re Ed Brubaker, and everyone is wondering about what you’re going to do with Captain America. For Brubaker, half the fun so far is watching people guess and speculate about what’s coming up.

Quick hint – it’s not what you think, or even what you may have been led to believe.

See that, above, that’s some punning done right! And, for that reason alone, you should go to Newsarama

I have to say that I appreciate Brubake’s approach to solicitations. I agree with the sentiment, that they should encourage someone to buy the issue without giving away so much that nothing contained within will be a surprise. However, I think there may be a happy medium between almost misleading solicitations and those that give away key plot points. For example, any and all of the Warlock solicitations. They are, in a word, genius.

The interview, overall, is quite excellent. I appreciate Brubake’s take on Cap. I always felt that Cap is a trained soldier but also “gets” that there is a difference between “superhero” situations and “soldier” situations and reacts to each accordingly. There may be some crossover between the two worlds and Cap is ready for that as well. Brubaker does not come right out and echo these thoughts, but a lot of what he says jives with my vision of Cap. And really, everything in comics should jive with my vision.

I’m with you on Brubake’s views on solicit copy; right on, brother. I was impressed with Brubake’s enthusiasm when he was announced as new Cap writer back in San Diego. He falls in the Tony Bedard category of “guys I heard great things about but never read any of their books;” hopefully he will not also fall into the “guys I never read before they came to Marvel and now feel fortunate to have not done so” category that Bedard now resides in.


James Hatton’s Down N’ Dirty Rumor Section
(rumors courtesy of Lying In The Gutters)

-Marvel has the rights to Miracleman/Marvelman via Neil Gaiman and will be reprinting his old series soon

I guess if this piece of news is going to go ANYWHERE, it would go here. It seems that the whole legal ownership of Marvelman/Miracleman properties
have finally worked out that whole ‘Who Owns Marvelman’ fiasco that has been going on for umpteen years. Does Moore, Gaiman, Eclipse, Bizarro, or Marvel actually own Marvelman? Bowen’s making a statue, and it seems Marvel is back on track with publishing the original series. So, it doesn’t matter who gets paid out of the whole thing – we finally get to see it again.

It wouldn’t shock me, given that Gaiman’s contract with Marvel has lots of little curves in, that this was one of those quietly decisive factor as to him doing 1602 and his rumored Thor story. Once again, Neil proves that he’s better than all of us.

For the record, I still don’t think the “shocking last page cameo” of Avengers #503 will be Marvelman.

-Ultimates v.2 will ship with half colored issues, half black and white

Furthering the story concerning Marvel changing processes and outsourcing more, they are testing out a non-colored book with Ultimates Volume 2.
The issue one, to not only generate some buzz, but to try out sales on such a thing – will be printed 50/50 colored and non-colored.

Yep, half of the ones your local store will get will have NO internal coloring. Which means Brian Hitch will be able to say he did two issues in a month! Heh, a little joke there… Anyway, Rich over at Lying In The Gutters seems to address my one huge concern, and that is the idea that it’s going to leave retailers with a stack of black and white books. If that’s the case, it’s going to cause some turbulence with Marvel’s already
nonexistent relationship with retail stores.


Ben’s Hollywood Roundup
(not much new to report, but it’s all courtesy of CBR)

-Marvel opens audition process for voice actors for Ultimates DVD to fans

There was some talk during our conference call to plan this column last week (yes, we have conference calls”¦surprised? Jealous? In love?) there was some talk of myself, Jamie and Tim auditioning our voices for the parts of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America respectively. Yes, I am willing to completely trample any sense of integrity you’d think I might have as far as my constant Ultimates bashing for a fleeting taste of animated fame.

On a related note, I predict not a single fan gets cast for this.

-Patrick Stewart: “‘X-Men 3’ will go into production next June 2005 in Vancouver, however nobody knows which cast members will return since there is no script and director.”

This is starting to freak me out. I was ready for X3 the minute I stepped out of the theater the first time I saw X2, but when it finally does come to pass, will I even recognize it? Mathan, hold me, I’m frightened”¦


OPINIONS ON THE WORK OF PEOPLE FAR MORE TALENTED THAN TIM


ASTONISHING X-MEN #5
A friend of mine had been a huge X-Men fan for years but stopped reading over the last couple years because he found Morrison’s work to be too unrecognizable and Claremont to be played out. Now he’s reading Astonishing X-Men and saying this is the best X-Men comic he has ever read.

And he’s not alone.

Reading Astonishing X-Men is like having Buffy back for an eighth season but with characters that only would have guest starred in my wildest dreams and an unlimited special effects budget. You can’t pigeonhole Whedon as a writer because, just like on his television shows, he can write comedy as seamlessly as he can write drama and action. I care more about Peter and Kitty now than I think I would have if I had been old enough to read in the early 80s (and not just because it’s more or less Buffy-Angel from Buffy season 3 redux). Colossus’ “Rage. I”¦am made of”¦RAGE!” gets my early vote for line of the year.

And how ‘bout that John Cassady?

Great book.

This book has the distinction of being the only mainstream X book that I have EVER bought. And I am so glad that it is. Originally, I had stayed away saying, “Joss Whedon or not, it is just another X-book.” With the return of Colossus, (who I have always liked despite not being an X fan) I gave in and took a look. I am proud to say that I have overcome with mutanticism. Yeah for me.

Yep, we are all in accordance – Joss Whedon writes the best X-Men.


AVENGERS #502
I have nothing left to say about this awful comic that I didn’t already say last week in The Roundtable. Instead, I’ll use this space to respond to some points our friend and former special guest star Tim Sheridan made in his review of the book:

“But back to this issue. Making no bones about it, the cover screams that “ONE OF THESE AVENGERS WILL DIE!” And hey, it’s one of those Avengers who no one really cares about. Now I know I’ll get mail saying, “I liked them, they were all great.” So maybe I overstate things with “no one”. Very few people like them. If people did like those characters, people like Wasp and Hawkeye would have had their own series like the popular Avengers do.”

So because Hawkeye and Wasp don’t have solo books they’re useless characters? Some characters are just made for team books, and without them, said books would not exist. People don’t just want to see a bunch of guys with their own titles sitting around talking, because ultimately the writer of the team book does not have final say on these characters; people want to see lasting change and meaningful relationships”¦you’re not going to see that between Superman and Wonder Woman or Captain America and She-Hulk.

Here’s a quick partial list of books off the top of my head that would not exist or have achieved success if Tim’s bizarre “nobody cares about them unless they have their own titles” theory: Uncanny X-Men, New Teen Titans, Justice League International, JSA, Ultimate X-Men, The Ultimates, Exiles, Teen Titans, Outsiders, Legion of Super-Heroes”¦

And isn’t everybody complaining about how too many X-Men characters are getting their own titles?

“People are talking about the Avengers again, and let’s face it, that hasn’t happened in a very long time. Last time people got this jazzed about the Avengers was back when it was relaunched with Busiek and Perez on board. And that was great. But since then, it’s been a nice little comic book, but with little buzz.”

Actually, when Kurt Busiek was writing and George Perez was drawing, Avengers was the number one book in the industry; people may be “talking” about Bendis’ Avengers, but it sure as heck isn’t the number one book in the industry, and I’ll be so bold as to predict it never will be. Busiek & Perez didn’t need big cover blurbs proclaiming “this issue an Avenger DIES!” they did just fine on great art and writing.

Alex Lucard put all this far more eloquently than I in The Daily Pulse.

I’ll add my two cents here, because that is what I am paid to do. And paid huge.

Anyways, I do not think the “no one cares” argument necessarily holds water, but I would point out that this has generated a whole lot more noise on Hawkeye than I have seen in sometime. I own the one shot from early in Busiek’s run and I think I am one of eight or nine. I think that is what causes the problem. Hawkeye is cared about, just not as a solo character. In the context of Avengers or Thunderbolts we (the fans) support him extensively. However, put him on his own and we (again, the fans) cannot seem to run away quick enough. Thus, the “no one cares” phenomenon. It is not true, but it is easy, in that context to see why people think it is.

As far as the Busiek/Perez run, I would point out that it opened large but slowly drifted down from there. Bendis might have not made it #1 but it is moving more units that it has in years. It is a win/win situation for Marvel, sales and free press through controversy. I guarantee they are nothing but happy about this.


BLACK WIDOW #1
I’ve reviewed this for the site, but let me drop another more props for Sienkiewicz on art. He is great and it is great to have him back on a monthly book.

I’m definately going to be giving this story a few issues to develop, and until I’ve yay or nay on it, the art got me too.


EXCALIBUR #5
This was the best issue of Excalibur so far. That is saying very little. If there’s one thing Claremont has really lost over the years, it’s his ability to create compelling new characters. I can’t remember the names of a single character created in this series so far. Just draw upon the thousands of X-characters not being used, many of whom Claremont created, rather than giving us these faceless newbies.

Wicked & Freakshow seem to be new, and I kind of dig Wicked’s whole connection with the destruction of Genosha, but past that – sooner or later I’ll drop this title. I’m probably lying.


MARVEL KNIGHTS 4 #10
Aguirre-Sacasa is putting together a decent story here. It’s interesting to think that what we’re reading with this is what would have been the F4 story after Waid left. I give him credit for taking on the Fantastic Four after the Doom storyline, whether you like the story or not.


MYSTIQUE #19
McKeever does a nice one here and fills us in on everything up to date. It’s a perfect jump on point for a new reader, or if you need to play catch up. And yes. I like books with chicks in them. Can’t we just drop the issue.

Shut up Mathan. You’re right.. that joke DOESN’T get old!


NIGHTCRAWLER #1
Again with the Aguirre-Sacasa. This time he’s been given the fuzzy blue elf, and it’s not a bad read. It leaps thousands of feet above every other book that is about a solo X-character, with the exception of Madrox.

As long as he remains true to the essence of the character that he’s been touting on about, I’m going to give it a full arc to make my decision.


ROGUE #3
File Rob Rodi under that category I mentioned earlier when talking about Tony Bedard as far as guys who I heard a lot of hype about and can’t figure out where it comes from.

Much like Jubilee, I think this also gets put into the category of “Hey! Put me on a book I can care about.”


RUNAWAYS #18
Touching, pitch perfect epilogue to my favorite series of the past year. Volume 2 cannot come quick enough, but this takes some of sting out of the waiting. Find the individual issues or pick it up in trade and rediscover why you first loved comics.


ULTIMATE ELEKTRA #2
Yeah for the villain that shows up at the end of this issue. Boo for this issue being so “eh.”


ULTIMATE FANTASTIC FOUR #11
Ultimate Fantastic Four (or UFF to the real fans) has one standout moment an issue. Is that enough to keep me buying? I have my doubts.

Add to it, the last page of this book seems tagged on. Ellis has shocked me with how ‘eh’ this book is. Maybe the UFF are not ready for the big time.


UNCANNY X-MEN #449
I miss Alan Davis.


VENOM #18
An excerpt from the conference call last week:

Ben: Anybody read Venom last week?

Jamie: Venom?

Ben: Spider-Man’s enemy”¦

Tim: The guy with the black and white suit and the tongue and the teeth”¦

Jamie: He has a book?

‘Nuff said.


VENOM VS CARNAGE #3
Anybody remember Maximum Carnage? No, not the comic storyline, the Super Nintendo game”¦that thing rocked but it was so frustrating because it was ridiculously long and you couldn’t save”¦anybody selling an old copy?


WEAPON X #28
Final issue of a book I never read but almost always flipped through”¦I feel some remorse, but my wallet is glad the temptation is gone.

Trust me, besides the Mr. Sinister/Schindler’s List crossover.. you really aren’t missing much. And no, I’m not kidding.


So that’s it”¦we did it.

Now that that is out of the way, can you finally get around to changing me back from the monster I am to the man I once was?

Umm”¦yeah”¦I don’t think so.

But why?

Mostly”¦I don’t wanna. Plus, Ben slipped me a fiver not to.

Five bucks?

And an issue of NFL Superpro!

Hey, guys, what are you talking about?

Oh, not much Mathan, just how Tim has no intention of making Jamie human again.

Wait, if that’s Mathan then—

—who’s been here, invisible, the entire time?

TO BE CONTINUED”¦?

Peace out from Ben, Tim, Jamie and invisible Mathan (?)

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