The Gold Standard: NYCC Wrap Up, A Top Five List, And A Weekly Roundup

In lieu of a proper column or some long winded single minded rant (of which I have stalled on the coming up of), I figured I’d talk about what I liked and didn’t like at NYCC this year, since it just wrapped up the other day. I actually went a few years ago, and wanted to go this year…but getting out of town during football season isn’t easy, even when my team is playing out of town. The hours I get comped to go games have to get made up somewhere, after all. Not going is a disappoint, as it cost me a chance to get some face to face time with some of my best friends in the little sub section if the industry we know and love, and really, actually meet these guys.

One of these days I’ll actually meet my boss…and then ask to crash on his couch!

First up, I want to say how excited I am for the long rumored Scott Snyder and Jim Lee Superman series that looks like it will be popping up just in time for the 75th anniversary and the upcoming movie. I figure DC’s wave five line up for the New 52 will have this as its marquee title. I also expect Lee to pencil maybe eight or nine issues of the first year of the title before moving to another project. This will wind up on my pull list, I mean, Snyder writing Superman. I have to see that.

As I wrote the other day, Agent Phil Coulson is back for the S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, and I really couldn’t be more excited. Coulson was a breath of fresh air in the movies, the rare custom character that you want to see transition over to the source material. His death? Totally moving turning point of The Avengers. At the same time, how many times has Nick Fury died in the comics? Exactly. There’s no chance in the world that Samuel L. Jackson is going to be playing Fury full time on TV, and Cobie Smulders is busy on How I Met Your Mother for at least the rest of this year, so no Maria Hill. Agent Coulson is pretty much a no duh.

Brian Bendis on Guardians of the Galaxy isn’t really news, Marvel has been teasing it for months with their appearance in Avengers Assemble. Adding Iron Man to the roster, however, that feels like Bendis doing shock value. Apparently the company feels that there is no reason for Avengers to not drop in and out of this team as needs be established. Ummm….what good is Iron Man going to do in space? Is he going to remind people how awesome Earth is? I remember when Nova had his ongoing series and came back to Earth early on, and Tony tried to express to him how the Civil War was a bigger deal than the Annihilation Wave because it restructured the way superheroes worked in America. Nova proceeded to verbally bitch slap him by laying down upon him the knowledge of what war actually is, and how their little argument was nothing compared to the world destroying waves of bugs that Annihilus wanted to destroy the universe with.

I expected a new Nova ongoing series by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness. I expected it to be a brand new Nova as well since Rich Rider not being dead is as complicated an explanation as Thanos, Drax, and Starlord….wait. Anyway, new character, not a surprise, Marvel confirmed it ages ago. Now we know his name is Sam, and I’m slightly less sold on this book. I don’t want to critique the man below the belt, but I can’t fully bite my tongue. Jeph Loeb suffered a terrible loss that no father should have to go through, but I’m not sure how many more times I can pick up a book and see him recycle the same basic plots about fathers and sons and how it feels to lose somebody. X-Sanction was absolutely fine when he wasn’t pushing that Cable was son of Cyclops and father of Hope, and all the things a father would go through to protect his child. I’m really hope this book bucks the trend and he doesn’t channel too much of himself and his story into it, because I really miss the old Jeph. He was less preachy.

Secret Avengers by Nick Spencer? Avengers so secret that not even they know their doing stuff? Yeah, I kinda sorta really fucking want this.

I’d rather have Blue Beetle than Threshold. Not to knock Keith Giffen, but for the most part, I don’t care about DC’s cosmic stuff outside of GL. I loved REBELS by Tony Bedard (who writes Blue Beetle), but really, there’s just a big cosmic disconnect that sends me following creators instead of characters, and I don’t have quit the same affinity for Giffen as most do. He was a bit before my time as a hardcore reader, and while I enjoy his work, it takes him writing one of my favorite characters to really make him a must read writer to me. Or J.M. DeMatteis co-writing.

Jim Lee apparently has personal dibs on two Wildstorm properties, Divine Right and WildC.A.T.S. My guess? After he’s done with Man of Steel we’ll see some big Daemonite action and it will all lead to WildC.A.T.S.!

It’s fitting that Dark Knight remains an artists book, with Ethan Van Sciver moving in to replace David Finch. Thankfully they retain a writer, and while I haven’t really checked out any of Greg Hurwitz’s stuff, if he can do scary, Ethan can do scary.

Marvel’s last two books of the year are Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Avenging Spider-Man #15.1. Anytime a company cuts down their new book load to such a small number, expect big things. Last time I remember it happening? DC shipping Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1.

On that note, Superior Spider-Man not featuring Peter Parker as Spider-Man? I remember the last time they relaunched Spider-Man and did that with Mattie Franklin. It was terrible and that book wound up helping to push me away from comics. Now, Dan Slott is no Howard Mackie, and I expect to love the book, but if I want to read a Spider-Man book about someone not Peter Parker I’ll read Ultimate. You guys already took away the marriage, so unless Ben Reilly is returning to be the one true Spider-Man, just let me have Peter.

I love the choice of Paul Pelletier as the new ongoing artist of Aquaman, and I think his style will keep the book seeming visually larger than life. I’ve been a fan of his since he worked with Tony Bedard on Exiles, and I always loved what he did with Cosmic Marvel. He’s going to be perfect with Aquaman.

Booster is going to be back sooner than later! Does this mean Dan Jurgens is finally going to get to do a Time Masters series? Does it mean more Rip Hunter? Does it means we finally learn the identity of the Black Beetle?!

What I read this week:

  • Batman #13
  • Green Lantern Corps #13
  • Grifter #13
  • Legion Lost #13
  • Phantom Stranger #1
  • Suicide Squad #13
  • Superboy #13
  • Team 7 #1
  • Avengers #31
  • AVX Consequence #1
  • Fantastic Four #611
  • Scarlet Spider #10
  • Secret Avengers #32
  • Space Punisher #4
  • Uncanny Avengers #1
  • Wolverine and the X-Men #18
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Nine #14
  • Batman Beyond #13
  • Legends of the Dark Knight #19
  • Smallville Season 11 #19
  • Masters of the Universe #7
  • Ultimate Spider-Man Infinite
  • Batman and Robin #0
  • Arrow #1
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron #5

Top Five Books of the Week:

5. Ultimate Spider-Man Infinite
4. Green Lantern Corps #13
3. Fantastic Four #611
2. Uncanny Avengers #1
1.  Batman #13

What I Watched This Week:

  • Raising Hope
  • Tosh.0
  • Brickleberry
  • South Park
  • Animal Practice
  • 30 Rock
  • SNL Weekend Update Thursday
  • Parks and Rec
  • Thursday Night Football
  • The League
  • Last Resort
  • Shark Tank
  • College Gameday
  • Young Justice (wait, that’s right, no I didn’t….)
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
  • Sunday Afternoon Football
  • Sunday Night Football
  • Cleveland Show
  • The Simpsons
  • Family Guy
  • American Dad!
  • Monday Night Football
  • WWE Raw
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Revolution

The Worst Things I Saw On Shelves:

AVX Consequences was a pile of crap. You’ve got Scott Summers getting beaten up by guards, Captain America in his Ultimate costume, a botched X-Men field trip….what else? Scott Summers is a dirty word, Wolverine faked his way through a eulogy, Magneto is now public enemy number one after being last seen….helping the Avengers. Cable is gone, Hope decides to be normal, Cap is STILL in his Ultimate costume, and Wolverine goes to have an angry drunken conversation with Scott…or kill him, he hasn’t decided. Writing was bad, art was bad, waste of my four bucks.

The Best Things I Saw This Week:

Cardinals, baby! 12 in 12!

Yep, Joker is scary again.

Uncanny Avengers may not be at all for kids, but man, this is the kind of story I want to read. I love John Cassaday when he’s able to just go all out.

How awesome was Arrow? When I went on my rant about why Green Arrow didn’t work a few weeks ago, this is a prime example of how he does! He’s violent, he doesn’t mind killing, and his gimmicked arrows make sense.

I’ll give Bendis some credit, sure, he’s pretty much just hitting as big of a reset button as he can for his time on Avengers, but at least he’s giving some redemption to characters he boned along the way. Wonder Man’s horrible character arc since Heroic Age that made no sense? Gone. Now we might actually get the real Simon Williams back! And getting rid of Wasp? Well, if things go the way they seem to be, we’ll have one of Marvel’s most enduring female characters back in the fold. Where she belongs.

I have shit to give Marvel over the promised and undelivered third AVX Infinite comic, but the Ultimate Spider-Man one makes up for it. I may not watch the cartoon, but that was one of the most enjoyable one and done Spidey stories I’ve read all year. Bravo writer I have never heard of, bravo.

DC has done a great job with their Dark and Edge lines over the last year. The Vertigo and Wildstorm integrations have been perfect. Team 7 has been the perfect mesh of DC and Wildstorm characters and does a great job of reengineering the histories of Canary and Deathstroke. In Slade’s case, there’s no real change save for he was part of a team of operatives before losing his eye instead of just going solo. In Dinah’s case it creates an origin for her that doesn’t depend on her being a legacy character, and playing off her particular skill set as a supreme badass is making her something so much more than a blonde super heroine. Then again, Birds of Prey does that too.

Legion Lost has been steadily improving, but not enough for me to miss it when it’s gone in a few months. Tom DeFalco will get more work, possibly a project with a chance at long term success. Maybe they’ll give him a solo series featuring a young female character and we’ll check back in in about ten years and be shocked that it’s still going strong. I miss Spider-Girl.

I watched two seasons of The League this weekend. It was an awesome weekend.

My Pissed Off Moment of the Week:

No Young Justice until January? Fuck you Cartoon Network, I already put up with this bullshit back in the day of Justice League and Justice League Unlimited, and I was someone who had no qualm going to the internet to find shows that simply were not aired. I’m an old school TV watcher, and while I might live off of a DVR now, that was my upgrade from a VCR. A VCR that I would set to record anything and everything. That means that if a show is on, and I know it’s on, I will find a way to watch it.

When a show is either pulled from the schedule, or simply omitted from it…I can’t do that. When it airs in other markets across the globe (Justice League and JLU) while stumbling around Cartoon Network in America, bouncing from time slot to time slot with months in between episodes, and no warnings of new episodes or reruns of anything; how do I watch it? I’ve heard that it was low ratings that got DC Nation pulled, and I’d honestly say that Cartoon Network is run by idiots who look at Young Justice and think Saturday Morning Cartoon. Can kids watch it? Sure, but considering the amount of violence, death, implied death, and all sort of moral ambiguities and dark themes? I wouldn’t air it before noon on a Saturday. I’d put it on around seven or eight pm. When you’re more likely to draw an older crowd who isn’t going to wake up a seven am to watch cartoons all morning.
I’m not going to flashback to my preferred methods of my early twenties just yet, but if I find out that Young Justice is airing internationally, and that somehow the United States is the market once again getting a DC animated show last…..well, then I might just be tempted to go and do something that I don’t enjoy doing to watch the show that I enjoy.

I mean, unless it all goes up on iTunes, then I’m just getting a season pass.

Top Five Moments of the Week

5. Five years ago? Grifter was still my kind of crazy person. He makes the best entrances, as evidenced in Team 7 #1.

4. It might just be me, but pulling a Spock to avert war with Trigon, and setting Raven up to be trained at the same time….yeah, I’m glad I got Phantom Stranger #1.

3. I hate Wanda and how she’s been given a free crazy pass lately, so seeing her getting stabbed in Uncanny Avengers #1 just made my week. And since I’m not a bad person I’m placing it at three.

2. Doom has humility…but only after botching Godhood. The full story in Fantastic Four #611.

1. The frequency that Cap hands out “Once an Avenger, always an Avenger” to disgraced former members, this should always happen. I mean, I like Simon, but this should be the rest of the teams standard operating procedure for Cap’s forgiveness for former teammates. From Avengers #31.

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The Gold Standard

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