I'm Just Sayin'…#69

This week’s edition of…

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…feels like it’s a month old now, compared to Monday’s bombshell, which didn’t so much crack anything in half but brought the comic book world to a screeching halt. It’s crazy in 2009, it really is – while Superman moves one step further out of corporate control, the entire Marvel Universe seems to be moving in the opposite direction. Topsy? Turvy. Turvy? Topsy. Have you fellas met?

As such, I feel as though I have to say something about it here as well. I mean, if ever there were a topic in today’s comic book related news that was tailor-made for KNEE-JERK REACTION THEATRE, it’s this one:

Marvel_Disney

And MY KNEE-JERK REACTION: Uhhh…

I literally do not know what this is going to mean for Marvel Comics. A lot of people have high hopes for what this’ll do for Marvel’s films, but I don’t care about that. Nor do I care about their merchandising goals, or their television projects. For me it is about the comics first and foremost. And I have no idea what to expect in the coming years when Stan gets replaced by Walt. Or is it Mickey? I got nothin’, folks.

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And while something deep down inside of me feels a little leery about this deal, that little feeling that this could spell the end of the Marvel Universe as we know it, and has me wondering if this is why THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN and so many other Marvel animated series have found their way onto DISNEY XD, I have to concede that the Marvel Universe could just as easily proceed as it has without the added guidance of that big three-fingered glove, and like Quesada tweeted, all will go on, business as usual. At the same time, I think you can agree that we as Marvel fans have had to deal with a lot already that would make us skeptical about any other major changes that come ’round that mountain, be they out of left field, or highly telegraphed…

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…and in just whose interest such major changes are.

So I dunno, comic book heads. If this bit of news has you feeling a little uneasy, just remember that nothing has happened yet, and we really oughta wait and see. Plus, if you picture the Beagle Boys in HYDRA jumpsuits, it might take the edge off. Sure amused me quite a bit, I can tell ya that much…

– WE NOW RETURN TO OUR ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED COLUMN –  

I’m gonna dive right into my last few purchases of late, starting with my favorite new character of recent memory; Greg Burgas drops the knowledge on ATOMIC ROBO & THE SHADOW FROM BEYOND TIME #4 a lot better than I possibly could, but I figure the least I can do is offer up a visual aid…

Carl Sagan FTW! - Atomic Robo & the Shadow From Beyond Time #4

I barely know a thing about Carl Sagan, and this is just plain saturated in awesome! Actually, you know what? Not even this seems enough, so I’m just gonna [BEGIN DIGRESSION] Everybody reading this, I am BEGGING you to support this character and buy any comic you see him in! Even if it’s Free Comic Book Day – give the cashier a dollar ANYWAY – Atomic Robo deserves it, and so does your local shop for carrying his comic! He deserves Eisners! He deserves to be on T-shirts! He deserves to be on lunch boxes! He deserves to be in crossovers! I’m talking like an Americanized version of THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, fighting Nazi saboteurs alongside Doc Savage, Kent Allard, Kit Walker, Cliff Secord and Britt Reid! And they’re led by an elderly Jim West! I’m talking a Cartoon Network Special with Dexter, Boy Genius! (quick – while they’re still airing cartoons!) I’m talking a six-issue miniseries with Deadpool, where half the story is nothing but Atomic Robo and Deadpool trapped in a cave trading “Yo Mama” jokes! If you’ve been reading Red 5’s star attraction you know I’m not lying when I say you’d buy it all, and you know it! Okay…[/END DIGRESSION]

Next, we come to BATMAN and ROBIN #3, which could be indicative of a steady climb in quality – I wasn’t terribly moved by Part 1, Part 2 was a blast and Part 3 was even better; it had some really killer moments, including Dick Grayson finally showing some comfort under the cowl…

Dick Grayson FEELING the role! - Batman & Robin #3

…that Wayne Unflappability in the face of imminent danger…

Damien Wayne, don't EVER change! - Batman & Robin #3

And of course Professor Pyg’s true coming out party as a supervillain Gotham City can be proud of!

Professor Pyg Drops it Like it's HOT - Batman & Robin #3a

Professor Pyg Drops it Like it's HOT - Batman & Robin #3b

Your eyes do not deceive you, comic book heads. You just saw a Batman villain…

Professor Pyg Drops it Like it's HOT - Batman & Robin #3b-2

…drop it like it’s hot.

Professor Pyg Drops it Like it's HOT - Batman & Robin #3c

And yeah, Damien does put it best…

Professor Pyg Drops it Like it's HOT - Batman & Robin #3d

…although I’m not exactly sure what he’s talking about, though – Pyg’s dance, or the Lady Gaga that Pyg was most likely dancing to.

I don’t doubt for a second that when he wrote that sequence, Grant Morrison was more than happy to let you the reader plug in whatever you think the “sexy disco hot” music was that the Professor clicked on during his twisted little display. I couldn’t help but imagine Lady Gaga when I read that scene myself, and that’s mainly because for me, there’s no avoiding her. We’re only allowed to listen to Top 40 Pop stations at work, so yeah…that’s me tied to that chair with a growing ball of molten violence brewing in my gut. And if you don’t think it’s that big of a deal, being forced to listen to a Lady Gaga track every twenty minutes, consider this: five days out of the week, my ears itch and it burns when I hear.

Izo Burn! - Daredevil #500

Heh…yeah, I kinda liked that one myself there, Izo. Coupla things worth noting about DAREDEVIL #500, let alone the super fine sign-off story courtesy of the Bru, but…

Well-Placed Advertising! - Daredevil #500

…it’s conclusion actually left me curious enough to pick up this DARK REIGN: THE LIST miniseries…which is a feat in itself when you ignore the notion that I’m also curious enough to pick up a miniseries being drawn by Billy Tan!

Aside from that and a very nice short story courtesy of Ann Nocenti and David Aja (wouldn’t be a bad idea to have those two on deck for a run…or even for more DD-related backups! Just sayin’!), there’s also my favorite piece from the pin-up gallery, drawn by Rafael Grampa – mainly because I’m a big fan of when artists use elements of Matt Murdock’s relationship with his father to influence Daredevil’s look:

Daredevil by Rafael Grampa

Quoting Rafael Grampa: Warren Simons, Daredevil editor and good friend, invited me to do this Daredevil pin-up, for the special edition of DAREDEVIL # 500. I love the character and choose the yellow suit to make my homage. Matt Murdock is a boxer’s son and because of that my DAREDEVIL is almost a mix of super hero, boxer and wrestler fighter. I always thought that the radar graphics for the character could be more organic and fluid that the “electronic” graphics that I usually see.

Quoting Greg Manuel: GREAT piece, Rafe. Also: I think I’d like working for Warren Simons.

It occurs to me that DARK REIGN: THE LIST: DAREDEVIL could’ve easily been told in DAREDEVIL #501, but it remains a smart marketing strategy to tie in what would be an otherwise-insignificant miniseries into the main story of a character’s ongoing comic. Seems to me like one way to ensure that at least some Daredevil fans will be buying two comics with him in it. But can that work for everybody? I don’t know about anybody else, but I skipped CAPTAIN AMERICA #601 once I realized the story I’m interested in moved over to CAPTAIN AMERICA: REBORN. Speaking of which, this scene from Part 2 struck me as a little curious…

Big Brain Burn - Captain America Reborn 02-01

Dude…since when is Mr. Fantastic that much of a dick to a fellow scientist? He doesn’t even act like that towards Doctor Doom – and Doom tries to kill him on a regular basis! And it seems especially cold of Reed, considering Hank Pym is supposed to’ve been held captive by Skrulls since Stan-knows-how long…what up with that? (I hope the switch happened at least somewhere after ULTRON UNLIMITED, myself. Did anybody happen to nail down when Hank Pym was Skrull-switched? Just curious!)

But my favorite moment is this scene…

I KNEW it would be important! - Captain America Reborn 02-02

YES, YES and again, YES! Remember that? From CAPTAIN AMERICA #26…

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…foreshadowed as early as CAPTAIN AMERICA #2, when Steve was called in to examine the Red Skull’s body…

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…where Sharon Carter said this?

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WHOO-HOOO! Excuse my sheer excitement, but I knew it! I knew this was coming, and I knew it was going to be cool! I’m not gonna second-guess, and I’m not gonna try and figure out what you’re going to do next; I am perfectly happy to sit back and let you tell me what you’ve got going on here. I just know it’s gonna be good. So all I got to say is bring it, Bru-baby! Bring it!!!

*Ahem* Okay…I’m okay now.

I had planned on only buying the UNCANNY X-MEN parts to UTOPIA, if only so that I could avoid having anything directly spawned from DARK REIGN in my collection – but DARK AVENGERS #8 got me to lift that embargo just this once…

Cyclops FT to the MFing W! - Dark Avengers #8

Ahhh, the renaissance of Scott “Slim” Summers – established in 2004. And may it last into perpetuity.

Next up: FANTASTIC FOUR # 570…

Cover - Fan4 Cvr

I knew they’d ditch that faux gossip-mag title once a new team came on board!

So Jonathan Hickman, Dale Eaglesham and Paul Mounts have been called in to nurse Marvel’s First Family back to health from their collective case of Millaria…

Izo Burn! - Daredevil #500

…heh. Okay, I’ll stop that now. Anyway, overall it was a nice start, but not without a few missteps…

CRINGE line - Fan4 570

…such as the first time any member of the comicdom’s premier super hero family referred to themselves as “our super hero family.” That was a little cringe-y. But then I remember, it can always be worse…

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…case in point.

I’m also not a fan of the short-sleeved look on these guys.

Short Sleeves...Not a Fan - Fan4 570

Can’t a new creative team come in without making arbitrary changes to a title character’s uniform to mark their arrival? Also: aren’t we supposed to think of the FF uniforms not so much as costumes, but jumpsuits? Short sleeves on jumpsuits look dumb, is what I want to get at here. But again, these are minor quibbles compared to the content proper, and I gotta say I’m diggin’ the Johnny/Ben subplot:

The ThingTorch Subplot...AM a Fan (a) - Fan4 570

The ThingTorch Subplot...AM a Fan (b) - Fan4 570

…and ditto the Reed plot that promises to be the focus of this first story:

Nice Cliffhanger - Fan4 570

This notion of Reed conferring with alternate versions of himself has been touched on before – see THE FANTASTIC FOUR, Vol. 3 #’s 57-59 circa 2002 – but not as the main plot to a story, to my knowledge. So I’m already thinking this is a huge step up from the last year or so. To sum up: I’m glad to be buying this comic once again, and I’m definitely looking forward to what Hickman and company have in store for us!

And now, we come to this week’s CHI-TOWN SHOUT-OUT, and this one goes out to Adam “GigaToast” Hicks!

"A Deadpool pic I did during the first day of [Wizard World Chicago] so people could see what a color commission would look like if they bought one."

Adam is an artist based out of Indiana that I ran into at Artist Alley over at Wizard World Chicago/Chicago ComiCon. I recognized his artwork immediately, because of his presence at the website www.deviantART.com – in my search for potential collaborators over the years, I came across his artwork and have added several of his pieces to my favorites gallery, including such lovelies as this’un!

Does_whatever_a_spider_can____by_Gigatoast

I was surprised to see so many DevArt mainstays come out to Chicago, and it was an added treat to meet so many people in person, whose art I’ve enjoyed online. Clicking on his name or either picture will take you to his page; feel free to peruse, and contact him for commissions. He’s also planning on being at the Mid-Ohio-Con this coming October, so those of you comic book heads in the region, if you like his work online and plan on being there yourself, by all means hit him up!

Aaaaand with that we are done with this session and next time I will be back with more news-related topics of discussion, commentary, speculation and snark. Til then one and all, I’m Greg Manuelnow also known as…*

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…and I’m just sayin’, is all!

*Special Shout-out to Delta House over at the Spider-Man CrawlSpace Message Boards – staunch opponents to NO GOOD REASON since 2008! HOLLA!

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