I'm Just Sayin'…#72

Columns, Features, Top Story

Okay everybody, we’re back and attempting to return to a regular schedule here at…

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Before I get into some comic talk, I wanna let those of you in the greater NYC area know that I will be performing at the Jeffrey Lawrence & Friends HALLOWEEN VARIETY SHOW. There’s gonna be sketch, improv, musical comedy acts all on top of standup, so it should be a fun night!

The show date is Friday, October 30th, located at the Broadway Comedy Club on 318 West 53rd Street. Showtime’s at 10pm; I’ll have more information for ya the next two weeks, but for now, let’s get to the comic book stuff!

UNCANNY X-MEN #516 is out this week, and I personally found a lot of promise in this preview:

Uncanny X-Men 516 Preview01

Uncanny X-Men 516 Preview02

I’d been waiting for this. Fraction gave Magneto back his powers, and had been further concretizing Cyclops as the Leader of the X-Men, with a capital “L.” I knew once they met again, this could and very likely would be very different from previous encounters. Magneto asking to speak with Scott, and not Professor X is just the start of something very interesting, if you ask me…

…even if it is Greg Land drawing it.

“Revenge of the Red Hood” continues to be a very satisfying read for me, as two new Dynamic Duos had a bit of a feeling out process in BATMAN & ROBIN #5:

Batman and Robin #5 Cvr

…and even as I share this sequence with you, I can assure you…

Batman and Robin #5 01

Batman and Robin #5 02

Batman and Robin #5 03

Batman and Robin #5 04

…I’m hardly spoiling a thing. Because as bitchin’ as that sequence was, that former Robin face-off  barely scratches the surface of all that’s contained in this issue. The role that the media plays in this run, in particular the Red Hood/Scarlet story, should be a very interesting one – to be honest, I never pegged Gotham City as a place where you would have morning television newschat. I don’t know why that never occurred to me…

Batman and Robin #5 05

…but I have to give Grant Morrison credit for the ways he’s been playing with our perception of Gotham City, just by way of eliminating Bruce Wayne’s perspective from the equation. Plus hey, that’s one way to pique my interest in this “Gravedigger” person.

I also checked out DAREDEVIL #501 last week, and I think I may check in periodically, but I don’t know if I’ll be buying this run on a regular basis. I’m not sure what it was, but I just wasn’t feeling this first issue. Which in itself is something, because in the last couple of years, I’ve grown so accustomed to having a sharp reaction one way or the other with comics, that it’s actually a pleasant surprise to find myself able to just go: “eh, I’ll come back later.”

Am I the only person who misses those days when you could just wait until the story interested you again? Not necessarily, “I’ll be back when that hack writer/artist has been replaced!” or, “I’ll be back when they put an end that God-awful direction they’re taking the character!” Just, “I’ll check in later and see if it grabs me.” Because I don’t disagree with the idea of putting Matt Murdock in charge of the Hand…I’m just not intrigued enough to keep buying right now.

Daredevil 501 - DDIzoScene01

I’m not entirely sure why that is,though. Maybe it’s the artwork – has a feel to it that reminds me a little too much of Gene Colan meets Alex Maleev – two Daredevil artists that I never really cared for. Plus I’m very nitpicky about how Daredevil is drawn; I like it when artists more or less follow the John Romita, Jr./Lee Weeks model, with the slender, lanky build, the short boots and gloves, and the near-boxy “DD” insignia on the chest. I really dug some Michael Lark, and even David Aja would’ve been great, but Roberto De La Torre? Nothing personal, but…eh.

Daredevil 501 - DDIzoScene02

Also – I’m not sure what I make of these scenes between Master Izo and Daredevil, where Izo seems to be constantly warning DD about taking on his new role. I’m sure it’s all well and good for anybody who hadn’t been reading the comic in a while and are getting in on this story at the ground floor, but it’s a little confusing for anybody who read “Return of the King”

Daredevil 501 - DDIzoScene03

…because isn’t this exactly what Master Izo talked Daredevil INTO doing???

Am I wrong? Wasn’t this scene in DAREDEVIL #500?

Izo and Daredevil - DD 500

I don’t mean to spoil anything, but look – you run that risk whenever you click on this column. But I’m sayin’ – anybody who has read issue #500 is going to look at the scenes in issue #501 and anticipate a swerve of some kind in this story, not only because of what happened in the previous issue, but also because in each of those sequences where Izo is talking to Daredevil, warning him about the dangers of “embracing the Hand,” agents of that infamous ninja death cult are laying in wait in the shadows. That’s the only reason I can think of that Master Izo would spend the whole issue wringing his hands, fretting over Matt Murdock’s soul; Izo and Matt are acting, and Izo’s fate at the end of the issue isn’t as it seems. Otherwise…that’s a bit of a sloppy start.

There was another part of this story that really annoyed me, but that I can’t even blame on Andy Diggle. It has more to do with the overarcing editorial direction of the Marvel Universe at large, which bled its way into Daredevil’s story. I’m referring to what I can only describe as the continued “Luthorfication” of Norman Osborn. Check out this recap page from DD #501, which refers to the events of DARK REIGN: THE LIST: DAREDEVIL…

Daredevil 501 Recap

So not only is Norman Osborn now the head of a superhuman policing agency, but he’s got shady real estate dealings, too? And he’s got connections with shady judges and crooked cops? Just what isn’t he involved in now?

It was already stretching the limits of credibility for me, when every single bad thing that happened to Peter Parker became somehow connected to his gourd-slinging, green-gliding arch nemesis, but at least it was confined to the overall Spider-Man vs. Green Goblin corner of the Marvel Universe. So as you can imagine, I’m really having a hard time watching Norman Osborn become this all-powerful thorn in every Marvel superhero’s side, especially while playing a role that would’ve been better suited for somebody like Thunderbolt Ross or Baron Zemo.

I mean, really – is it getting on anybody else’s nerves, watching this guy…

Norman Osborn

…being forcibly morphed into this guy…

Luthor Byrne

…whose portrayal, many have argued, was little more than a second-rate imitation of this guy…


…or is it just me?

I mean, there aren’t that many new readers coming in – surely this seems a little familiar to people out there! Much like what’s going on in THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN* comic book heads, make no mistake: we have been here before!

Sheesh – I’d be glad that this is all apparently coming to an end soon, if it weren’t for the fact that Bendis is writing it. Seriously, dude; wish I cared. Actually, that’s not entirely true – I wish Ed Brubaker, JMS and Matt Fraction were more involved; Frankly, I trust them to be able to write an effective and authentically portrayed Captain America, Thor and Iron Man, respectively, before I trust Bendis to do so.

NEWSARAMA.com has been reporting on the upcoming SIEGE event quite a bit how funny would it be to find out that everything since AVENGERS #500 has been nothing but a massive stall so that Bendis could learn how to write a superhero story? Anybody know if he took that time to learn a few more tricks in the dialogue department, while he was at it? Man, did I get sick of him on that front…






Heh…and those aren’t even all of them – click on any one of those images to see the others!

Til next week everybody – I’m Greg Manuel and I’m just sayin’, is all…