I'm Just Sayin'…#77

Hello comic book heads! It’s a new year for the planet Earth, a new year for comics and a new year for…

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I had to give it a week before I came back atcha – for one reason, I think I spent the vast majority of my Christmas vacation either cannonballing fistfuls of junk food or playing the INSANELY addictive New Super Mario Brothers Wii. I’m not entirely sure, it kind of all blurred together. DAMN, that game is fun!

Next, I had to start preparing for my next performance which will be in two weeks – the show is called ALWAYS BE FUNNY, and it will be taking place on Saturday, January 23rd at the Village Lantern, located on 167 Bleecker Street. Showtime is at 9pm, and besides myself you’ll see comedians Nick Cobb, Z. Myles McDermott, Kendra Cunningham and host J-L Cauvin. First show of the new year, and I’m pretty excited about it – hope to see some of you there!

And while I’m still hammering out a solid ten minutes for the Lantern, I had to figure out what bits of comic book news were out there that I’d like to talk about…

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…well, you can always count on our boy Quesada to toss us something, can you? Back to that in a second.

Marvel apparently has some big ideas in 2010; for one thing, Steve Rogers is back among the living, and is poised to resume his role as Captain America – even though CAPTAIN AMERICA: REBORN hasn’t quite ended yet. I guess they figured we pretty much understood this to be the case even before Cap’s body hit the ground, otherwise they’d have sat on “Who Will Wield the Shield” until REBORN #6 was ready:

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You know, this in itself doesn’t bother me as much as making Steve Rogers’ return into a separate miniseries just to justify another dollar on the cover price. I’ve mentioned before that from a marketing standpoint it’s a smart move, but that was when I thought REBORN was going to run parallel with the CAPTAIN AMERICA monthly, considering they bothered printing a Gene Colan-drawn issue #601. 

Iron Man’s getting a new look, and an overdue one, if you ask me…

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I’m not sure how much I like it – there are a few spots where I’d like to see more red than gold, and vice versa – but I do enjoy looking at Iron Man and seeing a man in a metal suit once again, as opposed to that alien robot “Extremis” look that he’d been sporting for the last few years.

Then there was this…which I can only assume is compensation for being called a “wife-beater” the last coupla years, but…

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…in a world that has a Reed Richards, a Tony Stark, a T’Challa, a Mad Thinker, an Arnim Zola, and of course a Victor Von Doom (I suppose those last three are automatic disqualifications, because hey – they are villains!) living in it, Eternity chooses…Hank Pym? Really? Not to knock the character or anything, but this isn’t Valeria Richards’ idea of a practical joke, is it? “Hey, Daddy – look what I can do with your holographic projector and this kiddie microphone Uncle Ben got me!”

But what I’m getting at is this all seems to imply that Earth’s Mightiest are about to get their act together after being scattered to the wind by the events of “Avengers: Disassembled,” “House of M,” “Civil War” and “Secret Invasion” and it looks like the recently arrived SIEGE #1 will be the story that finally brings the band back together.

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"Seven Years in the Making." You mean all that was PLANNED?

I haven’t gotten a look at it yet myself, but a reputable site like COMICS SHOULD BE GOOD! can always be trusted for a reliable review. Actually, my favorite part of this review was the comments:

“I was absolutely stunned to see Bendis’ first issue of a FOUR-PART mini-series read EXACTLY the same as the first part of his two EIGHT-PART mini-series. F*ck the heck? I mean, yeah, it probably will work when collected, but how do you shrink the size of the story in HALF and STILL come out with the same storytelling approach you used when you had double the pages to work with?” Brian Cronin

“Man, I know Osborn has come up in the world since … well, since being very, very dead, but Asgard has REALLY come down in the Midgard if it’s being invaded by the frickin’ Green Goblin.”buttler

And then you can never go wrong with this guy:

“Really, without his public image and political appointment, [Norman Osborn]’s NOT an A-list threat, and in some ways this story is about an idea Bendis likes: that the position, not the person in it, is at once the problem and the source of power…

Contrast Norman right now to any of the rest of the original Cabal…Strip Doom of the Latverian throne, he’s still a nightmare. Namor has no kingdom, and was still dangerous and big enough that he had a seat. Emma Frost can navigate her own way, switching sides if she chooses. Loki’s a god of deception who can earn his wicked way in any world. Even the Hood was initially backed by Dormammu and is currently Loki’s pawn.

But Norman? Strip him of the institutional position as HAMMER Director, and he’s not a global or even national threat anymore. He can’t do what Doom does all on his own, or what his other co-conspirators do. More than most villains, Norman needs the keys to the kingdom handed to him; he’s certainly never managed to take them by force of will or sheer ability. Bendis has had innumerable characters note that Norman lucked into his position rather than planning his way into it. He’s an opportunist, and the A-List of villainy is about people who are more than just opportunists.” – Omar Karindu.

Whether this story turns out a modern-day epic or not worth the two or three pizzas you could have bought with the same amount of money remains to be seen.  Personally, it would be nice if you could point to “Avengers Disassembled” and now “SIEGE” as the two points wherein between “the Marvel way” by and large was the exception and not the rule, and then once this last event (mercifully noted by Brian Cronin as only four parts long this time) is over, everything can go back to normal. But that would be wishful thinking on my part, and after two years of NO GOOD REASON, I should know better.

Which brings me back to this.

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You can click on any one of these for the original Nexus article where these were contained; I had actually posted a comment on there but for some reason it didn’t take. So instead I’ll just repeat it here:

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You know that episode of THE SIMPSONS where Homer roasts his boss by drawing a face on his backside, thus resulting in a sound beating from Mr. Burns’ security forces?

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And then back at their home, Homer’s got an ice pack to his bruised dome, swearing to “never wiggle my bare butt in public again”?

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And then Lisa says, “I’d like to believe that this time. I really would”?

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Yeah…that’s what this feels like.

So Marvel has proclaimed “2010: the Year of Spider-Man.” Has anybody actually explained what that means? Probably not; that wouldn’t be smart marketing, especially with a fanbase with such a huge, honkin’ wedge driven into it like Spidey’s. Remember this?

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Anybody doubt for a second that whoever designed this little gem of a teaser played the odds that a longtime Spider-Man reader might think the full name “Mary Jane Watson” was hiding under that mask, and was willing to part with five dollars to find out? Anybody doubt for a second that whoever designed this teaser was most likely patted on the back for doing it this way?

So 2010 is supposed to be the Year of Spider-Man, and you the reader are invited to infer whatever you want from that statement. That’s Joe Quesada’s Marvel Universe for you, in a nutshell – whatever he can get you to think is going to happen is probably going to be loads better than what actually happens. Look – there’s a baby! Maybe Baby May is coming back! Look – Peter and Mary Jane are reaching out to each other…wait, is that Mary Jane? Her hair looks kinda brownish. NO, it HAS to be her! It’s Mary Jane, and she’s reaching out for Peter!  Maybe the marriage is coming back! Look – Peter’s kissing some chick with glasses; it’s Carlie Cooper, the Gwen Stacy remix! Maybe Peter’s NOT going to be reunited with Mary Jane after all…

…or maybe, like with THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN* #600, or with “Who Was Ben Reilly?” or with “Red-Headed Stranger,” it’s another ploy to keep their sales numbers up with another head-fake at the end for those readers who want nothing more for the travesty that is NO GOOD REASON to come to an end that at present count is twenty-three months, twenty-nine days, fifty-nine minutes and fifty-nine seconds overdue.

So I dunno. If 2010 is gonna be anybody’s year at Marvel, I’d point you to the shareholders. 2010 is going to kick some ass if you’re a shareholder. But the year of Spider-Man? The year the real Marvel returned after being gone for six years? I’d like to believe that, this time. I really would.

AND NOW, JUST CUZ I FEEL LIKE IT…

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Next time I’m going to delve a little more into a coupla projects that DC has in store for us in the new year – til then, it’s great to see you in Twenty-Ten, I’m Greg Manuel and I’m just sayin’, is all…

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