East of Gotham


Hello, my name is Ben Morse and I approved this message and this column.
Many of you may know me as a big shot staff writer for Wizard Magazine who rubs elbows with the elite of the comic industry, dines on caviar and snacks on danger. But hopefully at least a few of you recall that it was I
who got this whole Comics Nexus deal going. As such, I make sure to check in on my creation daily and read all the great stuff from the talented folks I was fortunate to bring onboard, the fantastic new writers who have cropped up since I left and Tim Stevens. I¹m delighted to be able to introduce to you all the latest member of the Nexus team, my pal Pulse Glazer. Already an old hand as part of the Inside Pulse family, both over at Pulse Wrestling and in our Games Zone, Not A True Ending.

Now Aaron¹s here with his new weekly column and I was more than happy to give him a little intro, not just so he¹d leave me alone on AIM and let me
finish my feature on the new writer of Justice League of America, but because he¹s a good guy and just so happens to have two of my very
favorite titles, Blue Beetle and Fables on tap for his first column. So, without any further wait, take it away Aaron (and keep your eyes peeled to Wizard Universe for that Justice League thing)!

I’m Pulse Glazer and I write a lot for the Pulse. Over in Wrestling, I write A Modest Response every Friday. In the Games Zone (Note a True Ending), I write The Most Dangerous Gamer every Wednesday. Well, now you can join me a bit earlier in the week, every Tuesday for East of Gotham, my comics column.

Why am I writing so much? Well, the main reason is the driving force between much of my life: I love stories in all formats. I’m a high school English teacher and stories, whether performed, read, or otherwise shared are my passion. As such, I’m not sure why it took me so long to branch out into the Nexus. I’ve been a comic fan off and on for most of my life, save a small period in college where there was no way I could afford them and, with my passion for stories and writing, this would seem a natural fit. After a good bit of procrastinating and some more rambling, here we are.

In this weekly column I’ll be focussing mostly on reviews. Revieiwing single issues mid-storyline is a bit pointless, so I won’t be doing that often. I’ll generally review something early on in a story, give you the basic premise and suggest you jump on the title to catch something special or, alternately, review a story that has concluded or is in trade to see how all the pieces fit together and what made the comic work or left it wanting. Since I usually make it to the comic shop every other week, expect a good deal of trade reviews. If that turns you off to the column, I’m sorry, but I strongly suggest you not sleep on great works just because they’re more than a year or two old.

On to the comics!

Suggested for Pickup

Blue Beetle # 14 – Blue Beetle is a great little book that no one seems to be reading because they are mad Ted Kord died. I was a fan of the old Beetle as well, but that’s no reason to hold a new, good book accountable. The premise of Blue Beetle is a kid who finds an alien scarab which fuses to his spine and gives him superpowered armor. That’s the premise, not what the book is about.

The book itself is about the new Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, growing up and coming to terms with his powers. The powers, as is the norm with such books, serve as a metaphor for Jaime’s growth into an adult. The author, John Rogers, nails the tone completely getting the age and tone just as perfectly as a young Stan Lee once did with Spider-man. It’s such heavy handed praise as to almost be cliche, but I challenge any fan of the early Spidey to pick up this issue and not feel a familiar tingle that has nothing to do with an imagined Spider Sense.

In this issue, Green Lantern tough guy and bravado filled macho man extrordinaire Guy Gardner comes to visit the Blue Beetle to see why his ring reacts the way it does to him. In the process we get some great character work with the supporting cast and everyone is nailed with their own distinct personality immediately, in usually hilarious manner (yes, incase the Spider-man reference didn’t make it clear enough, the book is genuinely funny. This issue, should you not be inclined to pick up the first trade, offers you all the main characters with the basics of their personality and easy background information for the new reader. Try it out, and if you’re a fan of the old Justice League and having trouble accepting Jaime, this issue will go a long way toward helping that by featuring Guy and giving a nice nod to Kord at it’s conclusion. Final Score– A

Fables 60 and 61 – I know this is hardly a hidden gem I’m recommending, but the book has moved slowly enough and featured enough diversions away from the original main cast that I’m certain some impatient readers have given it up. Well, consider this review your call to get back on the Fables bandwagon.

Fables is the story of fable characters who’s homelands were taken over by a being known only as the adversary. Because of this, these fables have taken up residence in a hidden corner of NYC from which they attempt to go about their lives while preparing to one day return home. The early issues, and arguably the series strongest, focus on Snow White, the deputy mayor and Bigby Wolf, the Big Bad Wolf who has atoned and become a likable ruffian and extremely effective sheriff.

The adventures of Bigby and Snow eventually climaxed and many formerly supporting characters claimed the spotlight, notably Boy Blue, Frau Totenkinder, Prince Charming, Flycatcher, and Beauty and the Beast. These stories ranged in quality, usually bottoming out at good, but often seemed to lack direction in comparison to the more focussed earlier tales. Well, the focus has returned.

This issue see’s the beginning of war preparations with the Adversary. With that the case many a main character is set to return and the book is taking direction again, and the direction is fable warfare. Doubtlessly traitors will be revealed, lives will be lost, and characters will rise to prominence. When Fables does big stories, it doesn’t skimp, so this should be epic and filled with well thought out and developed characters. Through the first two issues of this arc it certainly has been, and the call to arms has gone out- we’ll be able to enjoy the return of the series two most beloved characters: Snow and Bigby. If that doesn’t get you to return, wayward Fables fans, nothing will. Give it a try if you dropped it. If you didn’t, and you have any interest in childrens stories or Fables, then you owe it to yourself to check out this series trades, starting with Volume 1: Legends in Exile. I’ll revisit this arc to give it a grade when it’s concluded.

Well, there you have it, the first East of Gotham. Drop me a line and let me know what you think here. Remember, it’s a long walk back to Gotham, so don’t sweat the small stuff.

Glazer is a former senior editor at Pulse Wrestling and editor and reviewer at The Comics Nexus.