Two Guys Talking About Comics Reviews: Flashpoint, Ultimate Origins, Secret Six, And more!

Glazer
Welcome to Two Guys Talking Comics Reviews for 8/3/11. We’ll begin with the big issue out…Flashpoint #4.

Grey
I want to open up by saying that Andy Kubert is the best part about this book, and that it’s a crime that he’s used so infrequently

 

Glazer
DC consistently does that, it seems, but yes, Kubert’s art is fantastic here. And the story?  Not fantastic.

 

Grey
Andy isn’t even DC exclusive, Marvel isn’t knocking down his door either.
I liked the story, but this event hasn’t exactly been a haven for great pacing.
The one glaring flaw Johns brought with him from Flash to Flashpoint, pacing.

 

Glazer
I thought both Kubert’s were DC exclusive for awhile, but okay. The story is ridiculously slow. At the end of issue 5, we’re essentially where we were at the end of issue 1… with Flash.

 

Grey
They both signed two year deals back around Infinite Crisis, but both have done Marvel work since then and just sorta work wherever they want.
This was issue 4, but now we’ve got the cliffhanger moment to set up the finale.

 

Glazer
The cliffhanger isn’t much of a cliffhanger. It’s a big fight where Zoom shows up.
I feel like very little has happened in this mini.

 

Grey
The reason I’d compare it to the Age of Apocalypse is that the various other minis have each been telling us unique, and for the most part, good stories.

 

Glazer
Oh and Billy Bastion… alternate universe Billy Bastion got stabbed. Pardon me while I cry.
Age of Apocalypse didn’t have an event mini.

 

Grey
Flashpoint, the event, feels like it could have been an Alpha and Omega
Maybe with two or three issues of The Flash to fill in the gaps that Flashpoint, the title, covers.

 

Glazer
That’d be cool… but they didn’t do that. They chose to make it a mini where, supposedly, stuff would happen since DC, which drew the line at $2.99, charged $3.99 for this.

 

Grey
Honestly, the only problem with this mini is that #1 should be Alpha, #5 should be Omega, and #2-4 should be The Flash #13-15.
If that were the case I think it would have gone over better, hell, if it had been Flashpoint: The Flash #1-3, I think it would have gone over better.
But you’ve got Andy Kubert on art, I guess you can call that much an event.

 

Glazer
If that were the case I wouldn’t have bought half of it and wouldn’t be complaining.
This wasted my money and annoyed me at DC all at the same time.

 

Grey
I’m enjoying it.
That said, I really liked how they held off on using the Marvel Family again for this issue.

 

Glazer
I didn’t care about a bunch of cyphers watching TV, then one dying. Irrelevant much?

 

Grey
If they had their own mini, or appeared elsewhere, they would have lacked the special feeling they got finally appearing for a few pages to be the normalish people.

 

Glazer
They didn’t feel special. They felt cliche.

 

Grey
One thing Flashpoint has lacked is a feeling of impact for the events going on, I mean, the various minis have been doing amazing jobs at that (even the crappy ones), but the core series has just been like “It’s happening” and not making you care.

 

Glazer
They should have killed Barry in issue 2. This was a flop.

 

Grey
So it was nice to see Billy and company be used in a way to sell how seemingly normal people are looking at this world.
I don’t agree with that at all, because, as I said, I’m enjoying the minis.

 

Glazer
Good, but we aren’t reviewing the minis.

 

Grey
Because you refused to read any of them.

 

Glazer
This issue and the main event mini as a whole have sucked.
Which is relevant to the review of this issue how?

 

Grey
Still leaps and bounds better than Fear Itself.

 

Glazer
So it sucks less than the other thing that sucks while still sucking. Good stuff.
Rating?

 

Grey
Well, the minis all tie directly into this juncture of the event. Including Enchantress, that came right out of Secret Seven.
I’m slimming my 8 to a 7.

 

Glazer
I’m giving it a 4 and feeling generous. It’s a below average event mini.
From here we go to the big new release of the week, Greg Rucka’s The Punisher #1.

Glaze
Care to give a quick summary?

 

Grey
We’ve got these two cops who are investigating a mass killing at a wedding, and essentially, one of those cops is working for Frank.

 

Glazer
There’s very little dialogue here, as this is a story told through pictures.
So, what we essentially have is a fairly stock Punisher story, right?

 

Grey
I wouldn’t say stock, stock would be something like Frank goes and kills drug dealers or gang bangers while we get narration about cleaning up scum.

 

Glazer
A fairly average Punisher story then. It’s what you’d expect of Punisher, right?

 

Grey
This was Rucka trying something different, and I mean, it’s not like using cops to tell the story is new, but I like his take.

 

Glazer
I mean, I remember a shit ton of Punisher stories told from a friend, cop or other’s perspective.
It’s not new. It’s a regular Punisher story.
It’s a good one, but not different.

 

Grey
The difference to me is Greg Rucka.

 

Glazer
So, given that PunisherMax exists, and is, by all accounts fantastic, why should I buy this?

 

Grey
There is more to The Punishe than one Jason Aaron written book that isn’t canon.
Greg Rucka has a long history of doing good crime stories, and Punisher is a character who hasn’t found much solid ground to walk on that actually feels like Punisher since the days of Garth Ennis.

 

Glazer
Canon. Ugh. This is billed, and sold as the Marvel Universe Punisher. But outside of one mention of the Owl, there is nothing that makes it so, at all.
So besides the vague idea that these fictional stories matter more, the hook is missing.

 

Grey
I’m more interested in the Marvel Universe Punisher than some ultra violent self contained one….that isn’t written by Ennis.
You’re saying that after one issue, what did you want, Frank vs. Iron Man to seal the deal?

 

Glazer
Aaron’s apparently kept the same voice. I know you don’t like him, but you’re now shitting on a book you didn’t read.

 

Grey
I actually don’t mind Jason Aaron, I just think you overrate him. I’m also not shitting on his book, just stating that I’d much prefer a Punisher title in the Marvel Universe than something self contained.

 

Glazer
If you’re going to SELL Frank in the Marvel Universe, then, yes I want the Marvel universe to feature prominently in it. I paid for an installment of that, and that isn’t what I got.
First issues are intended as a hook to a series. They advertised, then didn’t deliver said hook for this, so I got a solid, if unspectacular Punisher story where nothing is different whether this is in or out of continuity.
And I don’t get everyone hating Punisher in a world where Wolverine is an Avenger.

 

Grey

You really are an impatient bitch, instant gratification or bust.
This did a great job hooking the title for me, but then again, I’m not looking for a super crossover from the word go.
And personally, my favorite Punisher is a bit more urban legend than ‘super hero’.

 

Glazer
Yet it has to be Marvel Universe to count.
Rating?

 

Grey
I like him quiet and in the shadows, the kind of guy who people piss themselves at the thought of.
I’m giving it an 8.5 and a guaranteed spot on my pull list.
It was the best Punisher I’ve read in a while.

 

Glazer
5 out of 10 for an almost perfectly average Punisher book. Maybe 5.5.
From a book that’s starting to a book that’s ending, its Secret Six #36, the final issue.

Grey
What can be said about this title that hasn’t been said before?
It’s the second best book DC publishes, and one reaching an unfortunate end.

 

Glazer
I think it’s the best, and the second week in a row one of my favorites has ended.

 

Grey
This really is the time of the year to wrap books, isn’t it? My favorite book ends next week.

 

Glazer
It was a great issue. The team is betrayed by the most obvious person ever and the heroes kick the crap out of them. But the character moments of everyone nearly turning on one another and standing together was a perfect coda. And Bane gets laid!

 

Grey
“I thank you for the use of your nether regions.”
And Scandal takes two wives!

 

Glazer
Ha! Yes.
I like that she takes two wives and a big deal isn’t made, at all.

 

Grey
Gail did a great job over the years with just conditioning us to accept that the Six do things their way and to love it and live with it.
This was one giant character driven issue of awesome.

 

Glazer
Well, that wraps that one up. Rating? I’m going 9/10.

 

Grey
You’re not being fair, it’s a 10!

 

Glazer
I rarely give tens. The series as a whole is a 10. The final issue was a good coda, but the story seemed to be going into more interesting territory than “team is screwed.” It was great, but not a 10 for me.

 

Grey
It really is the best ending that fans of the series could have hoped for.
And it makes me think that it’s all still canon come the New 52.

 

Glazer
Finally, SHIELD #2 has stuff finally happening in that epic series.

Grey
SHIELD is….the parts are interesting, and range from ok to pretty good, but once you sum up all the parts you wind up with something awesome.
That said, this is one of the better single issues out of the two volumes.

 

Glazer
This is my favorite single issue since issue 1 of volume 1. I love the ideas here.

 

Grey
This is a book made for trade, not because of pacing or anything like that, but it would just read far better all at once.

 

Glazer
I agree totally, but still, when an issue with stuff happening finally ships, it’s great.  I dislike how clearly villainous Newton was, but appreciate DaVinci’s doubt.
I love the tying in of Howard Stark and Nathaniel Richards, and the art on the Night Machine page. Dustin Weaver is a superduperstar.

 

Glazer
Alright, Shield rating?

 

Grey
This issue gets a solid 8, and I’d call it the best issue between the two volumes, though that one shot that came out between the two is the best issue period.
SHIELD as a collected edition is going to be must read for any Marvel fan.

 

Glazer
I’ll give it a 9. It was excellent and memorable. The story is an 8, the art a 10.

 

Grey
I agree with the art, SHIELD has been gorgeous.

 

Glazer
Time for the controversial pick of the week, Ultimate Fallout #4.

Grey
Now, I’m going to open by saying that I’ve yet to read it. I installed a firm policy about spoilers and supporting spoiled books are the death of Spider-Man, and yeah. If I don’t regularly read the book, knowing the twist before the book hits stands just saves me a couple of dollars.
However, after you sum up the issue slash tell me about it, I want to talk Miles Morales.

 

Glazer
Alright there are three major events here – 1 for each of the new Ultimate books (X-Men, Avengers, and Spider-Man). Let’s take them in reverse order

 

Grey
I also want to note that Spencer and Hickman are bringing me back to the Ultimate line, kicking and screaming, but Ultimate X-Men and Ultimates are on my super hype list.

 

Glazer
First, we have Ultimate Spider-Man being half-black, half-latino, and deciding he needs a new costume as, in Bendis style, everyone tells him this one is in bad taste. It’s a cute scene and I dig a new, unpredictable Spidey.

 

Grey
Well, it is in bad taste since Peter was just buried the previous issue (I think?), but you kinda have to debut him in the classic outfit to get the right kind of reaction from readers.

 

Glazer
I agree totally, but it was so Bendis style. I like the unpredictability of a new Spidey. You?

 

Grey
I completely agree, and I’ve been saying it since they revealed him, you go big or you go home in a case like this. A brand new character is far and away the way to go here, and while I probably won’t be reading the new title, I will be keeping a close eye on it from afar.
Hopefully it will break Ultimate Spider-Man away from what it has been, a Russo booking style of the Spider-Man mythos.

 

Glazer
I also like pissing off the Glen Beck types. This is all Michelle Obama’s fault!

 

Grey
That almost made me piss myself.

 

Glazer
It’s so amazingly racist and tasteless that I have no idea how it’s defendable.

 

Grey
Because it’s Fox News.

 

Glazer
Part 2 is the Ultimates set up – we get a ton of Reed’s, supposedly mad, in Future Foundation uniforms trapped away. When they return, well, Hickman knows what he writes well, I suppose.

 

Grey

Wait, what?
I thought Ultimate Reed was evil and dead.

 

Glazer
I don’t know hot to explain better than that.

 

Grey
Is Hickman tying in his FF work with the Council of Reeds?

 

Glazer
Yes. The enemy is insane Ultimate Reed. How this ties in, we’ll see, but since FF is among the top selling books, it’s a good idea to get people to care, no?

 

Grey
Hopefully it means we’ll be seeing Ben or Sue in Ultimates, since I know Johnny is on the X-Men.

 

Glazer
I’d like that. But it intrigued me enough to give me more confidence in the book.

 

Grey
As much as I detest the Ultimate line, I did love that Bendis turned things upside down in the most recent series of minis. Reed being evil is the shot in the arm the Ultimate FF needed.
Because the Ultimate FF was awful.

 

Glazer
Finally, we have the X-Men revelation… the US Government created mutants in Ultimate Marvel.

 

Grey
So the revelation is Ultimate Origin?

Glazer
Ultimate Origin?

 

Grey
You didn’t read it?

 

Glazer
I didn’t read it.

 

Grey
Bendis did it before Ultimatum, he retconned himself a few times, but essentially Mutants are the result of the Canadian Super Soldier Project.
Wolverine was the first, and Magneto’s dad was the one doing it and he freed him.

 

Glazer
Well, it’s in continuity now… and the public is going to find out, Wikileaks style.

 

Grey
And when they killed him in Ultimatum it was right after they told Mags that he’s a science project gone wrong.
The only issue I had with Origins was that Hulk killed Peter Parker’s parents when he was a baby, but like, I remember the early issues of Ult Spidey where Pete knew his parents as a kid.

 

Grey
I actually recommend scoping the trade, I think you’ll like it.

 

Glazer
Nice, I’ll check it out. Either way, the fallout of everyone knowing that is an interesting twist.

 

Glazer
I like that I’m getting actual hooks for the new titles beyond the authors.

 

Grey
I like how you’re selling me books that I was already interested in.

 

Grey
And you’re making me want them more.

 

Glazer
Ha, that’s what this title did. It guaranteed i buy all three books.

 

Grey
It would take a non-Bendis writer to sell me Ult Spidey.
But that’s me.

 

Glazer
A totally new Spidey without the backstory, I’m intrigued.  And I loved the last bit of Ultimate Spidey with Johnny and Bobby living there.

 

Grey
That is what sold me the early issues of Ultimate Comics Spider-Man, but that awful Chameleon arc drove me away.

 

Glazer
I liked it.
I know you can’t rate it, but this is a 9 for me, and my book of the week. Great ideas from the house of ’em.

 

Grey
I didn’t like how despite everyone knowing Peter is Spider-Man, a guy comes and replaces him and makes it look like he’s cheating on Gwen, and Gwen doesn’t forgive him for it. It’s like…bitch, you know he’s most likely being honest!
Folks, Glazer and I may have disagreed with most of this week, but trust him here.

 

Glazer
Women will do that, though.

 

Grey
Psh, don’t get me started on women being crazy today!

 

Grey
I’d also like to tack on, completely unrelated, that the Flashpoint mini “Batman: Knight of Vengeance” is easily one of the best Bat stories I’ve read in years.

Glazer
I dislike Azzarello, but if you don’t, then it’s surely worth a read.

Grey:
I’m pretty much split on him, I liked 100 Bullets, didn’t like his Superman, but this story is just golden, and I want to sum it up real quick before we start T-Bolts.
Essentially, in Flashpoint Batman is Thomas Wayne, Joker is Martha Wayne, and Bruce was killed by Joe Chill. The third issue shows the origin of all of this, and watching them both deal with their grief in different ways was really well handled.
Thomas hunts down and kills Joe Chill, which doesn’t make him feel better.

 

Grey
Martha completely loses her mind to her grief, and after being told that Thomas misses her smile, she carves one into her face.
What makes this issue so fantastic though is that they finally break through to each other, Batman and Joker becoming Thomas and Martha, and Thomas tells her about The Flash, and about how he can change the world to one where they died and Bruce lives, and he wants to help this happen because he wants Bruce to live.
And Martha, as crazy as she is, agrees with him before asking what Bruce made of himself in this other world. Thomas tells her he followed in his foot steps, but upon realizing that Thomas didn’t mean that Bruce became a doctor…that he became the Bat….Martha runs off and falls in the Batcave, dieing.

 

Grey
It’s the tragic nature of the story that sells it, as well as the fact that these are two parents who have been consumed by grief for decades, who can only agree that the world would be a better place if their son was still in it, even if she can’t handle that like father like son.
Wayne men are driven by vengeance.
Phew, I’ve been wanting to expel that at you for days!

 

Glazer
The potential of the series was lost when Martha became Joker. Sure, she went insane… but why specifically Joker? Because that’s Batman’s main villain in the regular DCU. In all the infinite possibilities, that’s what we get. It’s nonsense. Beyond that, it sounds awesome.

 

Grey
The potential for the series was never lost, you just refused to read it. Her becoming the Joker may have been a forced coincidence, but Batman made sense since it was Thomas’s costume that helped inspire Bruce in the early days, and the end result is just fantastic. The Batman/Joker dynamic in the third issue completely sells the entire series.
Now, Thunderbolts #161.


I love T-Bolts, the concept, the team, it’s one of my favorite Marvel properties. That said, I have been completely lost for the last several issues sine Parker started expanding the team.

 

Glazer:
I just hate Fear Itself. It’s fine as part of that, but not as good as it was before.

 

Grey
It doesn’t help matters at all that we knew going into this arc that the T-Bolts weren’t going to be stopping Juggie in the midwest since he was fighting the X-Men in Cali.

 

Glazer
Right, so Parker introduces a new threat here – the whatever they ares that are attacking Chicago.

 

Grey
Random monsters for the sake of random monsters, though I will say that if Parker finds a way to give the T-Bolts back to the Baron, then it will all be worth it.

 

Glazer
I agree. Or at least involve him more. As is, this was weak.

 

Grey
I hate the B team of T-Bolts despite liking a few of the characters.
Parker is trying to get way too much into each issue and it’s making everything feel lukewarm at best.

 

Glazer
I don’t like any and like the concept, but not the execution.

 

Grey
You don’t like Shocker? How does anybody not like Shocker?

 

Glazer
He’s trying to do a lot because he has to give half the issue to Fear Itself crap. I miss Atlas. And Why would I like Shocker?

 

Grey
Yeah, but the pacing with all of this was crappy before FI too, which is why I rag on it. The Satanna stuff, and Man Thing randomly reappearing for no reason, I just don’t get it.
Because Shocker is awesome!
That’s all I got, he’s one of the characters that the 90’s cartoon created nostalgia for me.

 

Glazer
Ha, okay. Rating?

 

Grey
I’m giving it a 4, even the art was sloppy.

 

Glazer
I’ll go 3 and feel fine about it… and we’re done for the week! See you next week!

 

Grey:
Have a good one everybody!

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