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Bought/Thought 12/10 (SPOILERS)

Dread, it breaks my heart that you spend so much time and money on ****** comics, but neglect gems like Incredible Herc.
 
CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI-13 #8: Unlike BH6, this is easily one of those quality comics I wouldn't mind paying an extra buck to keep around (although it is still $2.99). The sales figures are not terribly promising; in October it sold 28k, clinging to the Top 100 at #96 and would be among the poorest selling regular ongoing titles if not for RUNAWAYS, GHOST RIDER, SHE-HULK, MS. MARVEL, BLACK PANTHER, IMMORTAL IRON FIST, NEW WARRIORS (which is canned) or SPIDER-GIRL (which is being axed). Of course, the Top 100 was bloated a bit with both FINAL CRISIS and SECRET INVASION shipping, which has been rare. During the last two issues, which had varient covers that usually boost sales, sales have been falling 10-15% per issue. Sales slipped almost 6% even for the last SI tie in issue. While we don't know how many copies are shipping to the UK, where it might be more popular, I have a feeling this book will last until issue #12 for sure, issue #18 if we are lucky, and anything more may be a gift unless sales get stable and can remain within the Top 100. While I railed about Marvel exploiting fans as suckers in another review, many are suckers for letting solid books struggle to survive while supporting all the bloated crossovers. At least I support a little of both.

Rather than offering shock value or poor writing, this chapter continues what Cornell has made work for the series. He treats his characters competantly and explores them when given the chance. Faced with a mutual demonic enemy in Plokta, creator of the Mindless Ones, Blade decides to team up with the mangled Spitfire despite her being a vampire, and even teaches her how to use her vampiric regeneration abilities. Much as Spitfire put out that olive branch by not killing Blade when she had the chance, Blade now has returned the favor by helping her survive. Elsewhere, we learn (or for some, reminded) that the true Ebony Blade is owned by Black Panther in Wakanda, and what Dane is using is some mystical knock-off that duplicates many of the powers, but apparently also the blood-lust. Although I am curious if some of the effect is psychological. Not that Dane is a psycho, but he DID experience the Crusades. It is hard for any soldier to turn off that instinct, especially in the sorts of intense battles superheroes face. Faiza is disturbed and wants Dane to abandon the blade. It makes me seriously wonder if Cornell is aware of the safer Avalon gear from 1997-1998's HEROES FOR HIRE at all, because he's solid with other continuity. Captain Britain, meanwhile, proves to be more resistant to Plokta's magic than believed, although that means anyone hoping for a reunion with Meggan will be disappointed. Captain Midlands, however, isn't, and leads the rest into a trap for the cliffhanger.

As usual, Leonard Kirk's art is amazing and works well with the characters and the story. There also are some other figures in Pete Wisdom's unit who may be more recognizable to people who read Cornell's WISDOM mini last year, all 27 of you. As one who didn't, I didn't feel too lost about it. Considering that Pete Wisdom's unit was made to cover supernatural threats, and the UK has loads of them, having containment units for a Mindless One is fine. I also like that longtime mystical figures like the Mindless Ones finally have an origin to them, and it helped narrow down the threat as VERY severe for the planet. Hey, at least this time New York isn't the center of the universe. I like the little relationships forming between Faiza and Dane, and Spitfire & Blade. And, yeah, the title character is cool, too. Really, I like just about every character here, even Pete Wisdom, who I couldn't stand in the 90's. A solid superhero team book that, of course, is barely holding on in terms of sales. Such is life.

Last, and certainly least...

SECRET INVASION: DARK REIGN #1
Has two event titles in it's name, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Gives Bendis an-other chance to dole out pain, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Maleev's art really is a shame, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Makes Namor look-like Rob-ert Englund, playing Spock, on hero-in, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Makes Nor-Man Osborn look like Ray Steven-son, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Twenty-two pages, one long speech, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Exactly the same speech as Hood in New Avengers, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Doctor Doom has been most lame, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Loki's speech is nine years out of date, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Emma Frost is not even lead-er of the X-Men, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Gives a-way the ending a year too ear-ly, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Credits Hood with the first super-villain alliance, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Why does that song have thirty-two million hits, Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!
Dark DARK REEIIGGNN!

Succumbing to full cold germs, I wanted to do something a little more unique than rant about this book for 5,000 words. I am sure you all hate it. So here is a rant anyway.

The bottom line is this one-shot offers so many things wrong with Bendis. Maybe Emma Frost would have made more sense to come here and be called the Leader of the X-Men about 3-4 years ago, but not now with Cyclops taking more reins of control. Norman Osborn seriously credits the Hood with being the first guy to try to unite the supervillains for a common goal, despite infamously refusing to join the original Sinister Six under Dr. Octopus, or that other teams like the Masters of Evil or Lethal Legion or whatnot have been doing it longer, and more competently?

2008 has been a horrible year for Dr. Doom. He went from the world's most powerful villain to a rented thug. There is no way he should be giving Norman an ounce of time, considering the guy was flying around on a glider throwing Halloween themed grenades only about three years ago. And then he claims a conflict with Norman would be, like, "THE HARDEST BATTLE EVAR!" Please, man, suck it up. Once a monarch, Dr. Doom was defeated by the sissiest superhero in the universe (the Sentry makes Captain Planet look tough) and is little more than Crimson Dynamo at this point, another armored maniac. Bendis can't even be bothered to even SKIM the JMS THOR run and realize they have not been talking in Thou Arts anymore. And I love how Norman treats Hood's brilliant leadership skills of, "gather all villains into a room and have them charge blindly into every fight ever, even the mad scientists or mind controllers, like they are brawlers" as something to imitate. He basically gives the same exact speech that Hood gave, only with less cursing, so it is somehow different.

Much as Bendis is miscast on mainstream superhero books, Maleev really was this issue. Sure, Doom, Hood, and Frost looked fine, although there was that panel of Frost saying "No" that Norman wasn't lying that looked like she was getting ready to suck on his Goblin Broomstick. Namor, Loki, and Norman himself looked ATROCIOUS. Much as Bendis would still have some respect in the community if he stuck to his niche of noir, urban stories, Maleev simply doesn't work outside that genre, and normally there would be no shame in that. Stephen King may be great for horror, but could he write JLA? Should he try? No. The Bendisization of the Marvel Universe has been good for sales, or some lessor titles or launches, but an abomination of character and story quality. Not since M. Night Shamalayan has a writer been so overrated for producing so little, simply on the strength of one or two ever-fading-into-history hits.

And it wouldn't be a Bendis comic without a completely random murder of a C-List character, which is Swordsman, or giving away the climax of the event before another 6-12 months of pretending that the story isn't going there, WWE style, at the finish. About the only thing I liked was Emma being haunted by Kitty's death (since she was psychically connected to her as she died), and that Namor & Doom are still having an alliance, which they have had in the past, at least before Namor remembered that Doom rarely could be trusted not to backstab someone eventually.

The issue is padded with previews you could get for free on the Internet to justify the price increase, and aside for AGENTS OF ATLAS, they all look bad. A shame Caselli had to leave AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE for the glory of drawing the worst named superheroine ever, Yo-Yo, in SECRET WARRIORS. Atop that, the whole premise of DARK REIGN ignores the reality that Marvel desperately wants to capture. It is like President Bush making O.J. Simpson in charge of National Security because he stabbed Osama Bin Laden on TV. There is no humanly way that would ever happen, that people would go for it and support it as if Norman Osborn was Superman, the same people calling Steve Rogers a traitor before he was shot to death. That kind of bleak stuff is just as unrealistic as talking gorillas, just far more pretentious.

The idea of an event for 2009 revolving around Dr. Doom might be interesting if Bendis didn't write it, but he will. So it will be garbage of the highest order. At $4 an issue, **** this. **** New Avengers and **** being curious about the rest of the MU that always springs from Bendis' *** hole and has to answer to it or adjust to it. I'm ****ing done. It is high time to cut some fat in my collection, and Bendis' stuff at this point is a cancerous tumor filled with muscus and bile about a mile wide by this stage. The shame of it was he used to be good, and can be when he goes with his strengths, but Marvel has yes-man'd him into writing things he has no clue how to grasp, and Bendis' quality has been on autopilot for about five years. Success has ruined him. I've about had it with watching the sinking ship.


Awesome!
 
Dread, it breaks my heart that you spend so much time and money on ****** comics, but neglect gems like Incredible Herc.

I actually am trying to catch up on INCREDIBLE HERC, that was why in some posts I have complained about Marvel trying to defeat trade waiters by putting out "mini HC's" of some arcs or runs instead of trades to justify another five bucks to the price. That's damn greedy. They did that with the SI Herc issues just to try to suck an extra $5 out of me.

Between the three trades and the back issues, I need about $65 bucks to catch up. Once I have that much that I can justify to spend at once, I'll do it. It's quite literally next on my list. Money is a bit tight right now, though.


Thanks. :up:
 
If the first trade you're referring to is the WWH tie-ins, you don't need to read those; you can start with Against the World and it reads just fine.
 
If the first trade you're referring to is the WWH tie-ins, you don't need to read those; you can start with Against the World and it reads just fine.

Van Lente didn't even write those tie-ins, so there's really no point to reading them.
 
If the first trade you're referring to is the WWH tie-ins, you don't need to read those; you can start with Against the World and it reads just fine.

I was going to start with WWH: Incredible Herc because that was the most logical point. Plus, I read the Renegades stuff that leads to Herc and Cho hanging out together and all that. That's 3 trades and a few issues. It isn't much but money is tight right now and I don't feel like waiting for Amazon, which would shave off about $20.
 
I was going to start with WWH: Incredible Herc because that was the most logical point. Plus, I read the Renegades stuff that leads to Herc and Cho hanging out together and all that. That's 3 trades and a few issues. It isn't much but money is tight right now and I don't feel like waiting for Amazon, which would shave off about $20.

Seriously, don't bother.
 
The idea of an event for 2009 revolving around Dr. Doom might be interesting if Bendis didn't write it, but he will. So it will be garbage of the highest order. At $4 an issue, **** this. **** New Avengers and **** being curious about the rest of the MU that always springs from Bendis' *** hole and has to answer to it or adjust to it. I'm ****ing done. It is high time to cut some fat in my collection, and Bendis' stuff at this point is a cancerous tumor filled with mucus and bile about a mile wide by this stage. The shame of it was he used to be good, and can be when he goes with his strengths, but Marvel has yes-man'd him into writing things he has no clue how to grasp, and Bendis' quality has been on autopilot for about five years. Success has ruined him. I've about had it with watching the sinking ship.
Holy ****, Dread just got gangsta up in here. Love it!:o Seriously, though, it took you long enough.
 
Holy ****, Dread just got gangsta up in here. Love it!:o Seriously, though, it took you long enough.

The irony is in real life I curse all the time. Miss a bus or lose in an arcade game and I drop more F-bombs than quarters. But I try to scale it back when I type to express myself more.
 
I tend to stick to single player as much as possible myself, but some multiplayer games are too good to pass up. Left 4 Dead in particular is tons of fun, but pretty much unplayable without 3 other people.

Interesting, I hadn't thought of that. Like I said, I think we're gonna have to wait until the story is over to really piece everything together. I'm glad someone else is reading IKG, though. This is exactly the sort of brilliant indie comic that tends to go unnoticed. :up:

Madame Xanadu #6
This isn't an indie comic, being published by Vertigo, but it is probably going unnoticed, which is a shame. Vertigo started out as essentially a mature-readers line of DC comics, i.e. there was no separation between the canon for each, just in the style of the stories and the intended audience. It's veered away from that into full-blown creator-owned fare over the last decade or so, which is totally fine because it gives us stuff like 100 Bullets and Fables, but also left a bit of a void for me personally because it meant we couldn't see anything like Sandman or Animal Man again--things firmly rooted in the DC universe that add to the lore of the DC universe while remaining largely independent of it.

Well, thanks to Madame Xanadu and House of Mystery, that void is filled. This is 100% exactly the sort of comic that started Vertigo's rise to greatness. It operates on the fringe of the DC universe and employs various characters and objects from said universe in exciting new contexts. Already we've seen Madame Xanadu, obviously, and the Phantom Stranger traveling through the ages, finding them each time in some new time period having some new adventure or getting caught up in the events of the time. Wagner has a knack for capturing the zeitgeist of whatever era he places them in, so that the whole atmosphere of the book seems to change with the period. We've also seen (or at least seen allusions to) the Starheart, Merlin, King Arthur, Morgaine Le Fey, and, in this issue, the Helm of Nabu. Just a hint of DC proper in an otherwise self-contained Vertigo series, which I love because it opens the series up a lot and can be fitted into the DC universe neatly or glossed over and ignored, depending on your preference.

The period we currently find Madame Xanadu in is the French Revolution--specifically, in prison for associating with the freshly deposed queen. Deprived of the potions she needs to stop her aging, MX has gotten really old and, sensing death coming near, she summons Death of the Endless to try and buy herself some time. Yes, finally, after Gaiman closed the book on the Endless for the most part, we get to see a fresh new appearance for Death, and Wagner handles her extremely well. She's bubbly and perky and all the incongruous things Gaiman's Death ought to be, and she takes Madame Xanadu's attempt to chance her way to a life extension totally in stride. MX succeeds of course, and Death has herself a good laugh and leaves MX to her devices.

I'm a little unsure of what happened toward the end when MX drinks that potion. I guess it somehow gave her a flash of clairvoyance all the way up to the present, since we see a big splash page with images of Martin Luther King, Jr. and various other historically important people and things. Either way, she seems to know what's coming, and after the Phantom Stranger disappears on her again, she goes into jilted (would-be) lover mode, swearing to disrupt the Phantom Stranger's plans the next time they meet. Could be tacky, but I trust Wagner to make it work. He's done everything else right so far.

Amy Reeder Hadley's art is gorgeous. Really, really beautiful, elegant work that gives you exactly what you need to understand the story clearly and nothing more, but not in a sparse, unfinished way, either. It doesn't feel bloated or overly detailed like a lot of other comic art. It's exactly what it needs to be and it works wonderfully for the series.

This and House of Mystery are making me really glad the Vertigo higher-ups have finally reopened this door to fringe-DCU storytelling.

I feel the same way. I think more people are reading House of Mystery; but, I've been loving Madame Xanadu probably even more. House of Mystery started out great; but, the latest story arc, while still good, finds the secondary stories (the ones that the residents tell) kind of lacking, I thought. Madame Xanadu has just been getting better and better, and this last issue was definitely my favorite. Plus, the art is fantastic!

I also really liked how DC finally did a reprint issue right! Charging $1.50 for a reprint of Watchmen was a nice touch, and it got me thinking that it's something Marvel and DC should do more often. It's a fair price for a reprint. Marvel's Marvel Apes #0, reprinting Amazing Spider-Man the first appearances of The Gibbon and a short tale for $3.99 wasn't bad...I just think for an issue that costs very little to produce, considering they aren't paying anyone to give them new material, shouldn't be used to rip-off their faithful readers.
 
Dark Reign is a great comic if you like the author's designated mouthpiece upchucking exposition all over everything, characterization that manages to be both flat and flamboyantly incorrect, art uglier than Igor Kordey on a meth binge, and... No okay I'll simplify. Dark Reign is a great comic if you like eating ****. If you enjoy the taste of warm **** sliding down your throat then put on that bib and pick up some Dark Reign. Yum-yum.

Iron Fist 20

The first one of this new author's that really felt like the kind of goodness I've come to expect from this series. Danny totally ****s up mysterious chi-stealing jerkass, who even more interestingly turns out to come from some entire conspiracy of mother****ers from this Eighth City of Heaven place.

The other day it occurred to me that Marvel Comics tends to get better the further the **** away from New York City that you get, but then I remembered Danny Rand hangs out there when he's not running around magical undiscovered cities of dragon-mystic kung fu, so I had to take it back.

Captain Britain and the MI 13

So I'm not toooootally sure what went on here but dream-magic arcs are like that, it'll probably make sense when they wrap the whole thing out. Captain Midlands ****ing them over was kind of a shock but not totally, I mean he was kind of a random character to have thrown into the mix out of nowhere.

She Hulk 35

There was probably a plot to this comic? Whatever, just keep drawing Valkyrie in short-shorts.

Ha ha naw I mean it was pretty good, plotwise nothing that hasn't been done before but well executed. I always prefer when they do these arcs and not give the 'political realities necessary compromise blah ****ing blah' side even an inch of an excuse for their ********.
 
Captain Britain and the MI 13

So I'm not toooootally sure what went on here but dream-magic arcs are like that, it'll probably make sense when they wrap the whole thing out. Captain Midlands ****ing them over was kind of a shock but not totally, I mean he was kind of a random character to have thrown into the mix out of nowhere.
Well, there is the fact that they're in Birmingham and his name is Captain Midlands, so not entirely random. I was sad that he betrayed them. I liked him. But, on the other hand, this gives him an easy opening to repent and nobly sacrifice himself to save MI-13 in the last part of the arc.
 
Dread,have you read any of Bendis' other work such as Daredevil,Alias or Powers?

I agree,his Avengers books have been a total misfire,but if you want to keep reading Bendis books that don't suck,I recommend checking those out.
 
Dread: But the entire fate of the Marvel universe doesn't hinge on those books, and I must read everything that Marvel tells me is a big deal because if I don't I'll be completely lost and my life will be devoid of meaning and the universe will implode AAAAAAAAAARRGH!!!

Oh, and I read Jack of Fables, Northlanders, and House of Mystery on my lunch break. They wuz awl gud. Read 'em.
 
I'm in the middle of reading Alias straight and I'm about 5 trades into Powers at the moment.
 
I gotta read Alias someday. Not too interested in Powers or Daredevil.
 
I gotta read Alias someday. Not too interested in Powers or Daredevil.

You've got it reversed. Alias is fine, but at this point, kind of skippable; Bendis' Daredevil, on the other hand, is one of the best comic book runs ever and definitely one of the high points of 21st century Marvel.
 
I've read bits of it and it didn't grab me. Believe me, plenty of people have tried to convince me to read it and I've tried it a few times, but it's not my cup of tea.
 
I ended up dropping his Daredevil, I just couldn't bring myself to care.

And ****ing Echo kept on showing up.
 
Alias was a pretty good comic; the highlight being the Purple Man story.

I recently read all of the Powers comics, both Vol. 1 and 2. While good reading, many times I didn't like the endings to his storyarcs. Then, when both main characters got superpowers, it was a little too much. It took away from one of the best things about the title. I do think it's gotten better; but, new issues come out so infrequently, I easily forget what I read a few months ago.

I liked The Pulse. Of course, I've loved Ultimate Spider-Man at times...but, it does go through its blah fazes at times. Of course, Daredevil was him at his best. It's too bad he left that title; because Brubaker has shown that he could improve on what was already great. Brubaker did what was missing in the Spidey books for so long, a great supporting cast that has a rich history in the Daredevil books. (Bendis has been known to use the same supporting cast; but, for him, it's different. They serve a purpose; then, he lets them go. They are a means to an end.)

The worst of Bendis is Avengers, hands down. It's the best illustration of how Bendis grabs characters from Marvel's past, and then drops them once he's done. When New Avengers started, he hyped up Spider-Woman. He even ran with that for a bit, putting out a pretty good mini-series with Spider-Woman:Origin. But, after a while, it felt like he got bored with her and moved on. With Sentry, he's hot and cold constantly. In the end, he's just ruined what could have been an interesting character. If I never see Sentry again, I wouldn't care.
 
I ended up dropping his Daredevil, I just couldn't bring myself to care.

And ****ing Echo kept on showing up.

I literally think Echo appears in one arc of Bendis' run, and that's the last one. Correct me if I'm wrong, please, but I don't remember where else she shows up. Definitely not in Wake Up, Underboss, Golden Age or Decalogue, I don't remember appearances in Out or anything else...

Alias is phenomenal. I miss it.
 

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