Editor’s Note: But you’re not fooling me, ’cause I can see, the way you shake and spoiler.

I have never read Ghost before – when it debuted in the 90s, I was busy being a snob, snorting at every comic with a twin set of boobs and guns as a rotten Image knockoff, and buying only Preacher, Shade: The Changing Man and Transmetropolitan – so it turns out that I was at a distinct disadvantage when I opened the first issue of the Ghost miniseries, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and drawn by Phil Noto. Who would’ve known that being dropped into the middle of an ongoing story – even though it’s labelled with a “#1” on the cover – would make it difficult to know who’s who and what the hell is going on?

So you should be aware coming into Ghost #1 that if you haven’t read any Ghost stories (ha!) before, you’re likely to be somewhat confused. I’m sure there are a ton of comic readers who know who Ghost is, and why she doesn’t seem to know who she is after 19 years of publishing history, and who these two dingbats she’s traveling with are and what this box they’re talking about is, why Ghost seems to be shoveling donuts down her maw every few minutes, who the spaz with the taste for needles and ball gags is, and whether or not the Mayor Bobby guy we meet mid-issue is the same guy with, shall we say, a skin problem, at the end of the issue.

I, however, am not one of them, so I was forced to dive in and swim. So the question about this book, for me, was: would I be able to overcome my ignorance about these characters and their backstory, and figure out just what the hell was going on?

Well, kinda.

When I was but a lad, back in the dark and mystical age modern man knows only as the mysterious “Me Decade“, when collars were wide, all toys were choking hazards, and “flame retardant” was but a French phrase for, “If your moronic child lights a match, his polyester pants will go up like Nagasaki,” a four-year war took place in New England. It was a brutal, nonsensical conflict that pitted not only brother against brother but universe against universe. It featured bloody battles such as Superheroes versus Shogun Warriors. Imperial Stormtroopers against Micronauts. Cylon Centurions battling The Six Million Dollar Man. And one time, the entire Rebel Alliance X-Wing fleet versus Barbie, when General Debbie Stinkypants from the Nation State of Three Doors Down refused to respect hostilities and maintain neutrality, leading not only to Barbie’s summary decapitation under the accepted Rules of Engagement, to a brutal and crippling outbreak of incurable cooties to all combatants.

This war, known only as the Battle Of Every Action Figure In My Toy Box Against Every Action Figure In Every Other Neighborhood Kid’s Toy Box, waged continuously from about 1975 until Janine Wilson started sprouting boobs and my fellow combatants and I started focusing on diplomacy and foreign affairs. But in the intervening years, I have learned that this war was waged in every neighborhood in America during that time. It is a war that left many scars – for me, the worst was when Janine said, “Why would I care what an Acroyear is? Anyway, you smell like an armpit. C’mon Debbie; let’s go listen to the Flashdance soundtrack again and moon over older, Junior High School boys!” – but at least my war is over. For some poor bastards, the fighting has never stopped, leaving them broken, unable to maintain standard, acceptable gainful employment, and looking for the enemy around every corner.

Brian Michael Bendis is one of those shattered warriors, still fighting battles in a long-forgotten war. His latest conflict? The Avengers Vs. The Micronauts. He’s put the action figures on the battlefield in Avengers #32, and while it’s too early to tell if it will be good, the fact that he’s fighting the battle is exciting to someone who served on the same army in the 70s (I was with the 77th Awesome Division out of Massachusetts. Motto: “No, you wet the bed!”).

Not the end of us, although the dearth of content on our part over the past several days might make it seem so. It’s like Ferris Bueller said: life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while… particularly at the work that’s been stockpiling at your day job… you could miss it. “It” being your paycheck, if you get my drift.

But you do need to slow down once in a while, and this evening seemed to be as good an excuse as any, what with it being Wednesday. Wednesday means new comics, and it further means that this…

…means the end of our broadcast day.

And looking at that take, you can see why we say it’s the end: we’ve got a lot of final issues here. We’ve got Ed Brubaker’s last Captain America, Jonathan Hickman’s last FF, Matt Fraction’s final Invincible Iron Man, and one of Brian Michael Bendis’s Avengers. With that said, there’s a new first issue of Ghost by Kelly Sue DeConnick, the start of Greg Rucka’s Punisher: War Zone, and a ton of other cool stuff!

But before we can review them, we need to read them. So until then…

See you tomorrow, suckers!

So I heard a weird and crazy rumor that that spastic behind the awesome 80s classic film script for Lethal Weapon, the underrated scripts to the 90s movies The Last Boy Scout and The Long Kiss Goodnight, and the director behind the vastly underrated 2000s movie Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang was maybe gonna do a superhero movie. A rumor to which I put the normal weight one who has drunk a half-quart of whiskey would normally put.

And then I woke up with a crippling headache, and the following further evidence that one with a legally binding addiction should never comment on movie rumors:

With God as my witness, I will never understand what possessed writer Peter David and artist Leonard Kirk to open an issue of purely talking head non-action with a giant splash page, complete with Kirby Krackle, of Jamie Madrox heroically calling Havok a fuckup douchebag. It is a big, overblown, bombastic start to an issue that focuses itself on human moments rather than action – even if some of those moments are particularly heated – and on running far more than action.

This issue is all about running. Most of the primary characters of X-Factor’s current incarnation are in the process of trying to run in this book, be it trying to run toward something or away from something. The book eschews basic action in favor of characterization, but that characterization shows characters in real pain, trying to find a way to alleviate the pain of the aftermaths of the X-Factor Breaking Points event that this issue concludes, as well as the Avengers Vs. X-Men event, and it shows it a way that is almost more satisfying than seeing Cyclops clapped in irons and abused and denigrated by all comers… and if you know how I feel about that sanctimonious ruby-lensed hipster shaded douchenozzle, you’d realize what high praise it is indeed to call X-Factor #245 as satisfying as seeing Cyclops beaten, chewed and fucked by prison gangs.

Even if the issue does open with an image that implies that the most important thing in the book is Madrox’s hippocampus apparently violently exploding from the back of his head.

There are a variety of ways to read Ultimate Comics Iron Man #1, some of them cynical, others of them pleasant and forgiving.

The cynical side of me says that this comic book, in the most mercenary manner, throws aside a decade of continuity behind the Ultimate Universe Iron Man in favor of mimicking the depiction of Tony Stark by Robert Downey Jr. in the Marvel Studios movies, in effect putting itself aside in favor of a mass marketed version of the character designed to attract the maximum number of mouth-breathing summer entertainment seekers who don’t have air conditioning at home.
However, the hopeful and forgiving side of me says that the Ultimate Universe version of Tony Stark was originally depicted, in his first two miniseries written by Orson Scott Card, as a blue-skinned wuss who was mostly brain (literally; if I remember right, he sat on his cerebellum and pissed out of his medulla oblongata), with stupid organic armor and, if Card wrote what he knows, special magical underpants. In short, while it is weird to have positive feelings toward a comic book that so quickly and willingly throws away its own identity in favor of a popular movie depiction, the fact is that the old Ultimate Iron Man sucked hard, and Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man was fucking awesome.

So what we got here is one damn strange book. One that feels like a cynical tack toward the widely popular while disgarding its own history… except its own history was mostly the sucky wankings of a controversial writer (not of comics) with some kind of spastic agenda who wrote the character as a snotty naked blue kid who sometimes liked to pretend he was a robot… which is arguably a bad story choice for a character written as having a brain situated in a way where getting a giant-robot-fetish-related atomic wedgie would give him a partial lobotomy.

All of which is a long way to go to describe what’s going on in a comic book stuck between a rock star and a polygamist’s place… but the overriding question is: despite what it is, is it any good?

It’s hard out here for a pimp member of the walking dead. You just want to eat brains and the damn prey just wants to scream and run away, or so the cast of “The Walking Dead – The Musical” would like us to believe. Just before they spontaneously burst into an extended session of tap dancing. Terrifying, terrifying tap dancing.

Dig the song? You can download it here.

via The Mary Sue

The other day we linked to the at-the-time breaking story that a Federal Judge in California had ruled that, in a nutshell, DC Comics does not owe any ownership of the character Superman to the estate of the character’s co-creator Joe Shuster, who before the decision looked to be able to claim half the character’s copyright in October, 2013, giving DC and parent company Warner Bros. the right to exploit the character in any way they see fit (cue synth-heavy porno music).

The short version of the story is that, between DC’s1975 lump-sum and pension payments to Shuster and co-creator Jerry Siegel, combined with a separate 1992 settlement DC made with Shuster’s sister for another lump sum and a $25,000 annual pension (EDITOR’S NOTE: between issues, trades and convention travel, I about that much per year on my comic book habit), the judge ruled that the creators’ estates have gotten all that they are owed from DC Comics. Proving once again that, the next time you have what you think is a million-dollar idea, you should find a lawyer who thinks you should hold out for something closer to that million before you sign anything… and if you’ve already signed, you should listen very carefully to the other guys’ lawyer to hear if they say anything along the lines of “fuck off money.”

Shuster’s estate will probably appeal – it’s not like there’s a lucrative future in throwing up their hands and going after that sweet, sweet Funnyman cash – but this ruling has a couple of immediate circumstances, even beyond the effect of making Diane Nelson cackle with relief…

The first being that it greases the skids for Warner Bros. to start serious work on a Justice League movie. Which is now expected in the summer of 2015.

I am not going to recommend that you read The Walking Dead #103 as an individual issue for two reasons. The first being that this issue is all setup for seeing the gang’s nemesis, Negan, eventually take his rotten barbed wire-wrapped baseball bat, Lucille, somewhere south of Tainthattan (and that is, by the way, my official prediction as to what happens to the greasy bastard).

The second reason is that, since this is all setup for that inevitable, yet eventual, beatdown, it is an issue designed to make us hate Negan even more than we already did for killing Glenn. Which means that we spend 22 pages here watching Negan be a colossal asshole and get away with it. Which will make Negan’s inevitable defeat all the sweeter, but seen on its own, as an individual issue?

God damn, what a bummer.

We apologize for a dearth of content today, but here at the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Home Office, we have spent the day recovering from an evening of whiskey and observation of the finest that the American political engine has to offer… meaning we got hammered and watched the second Presidential debate. Or more accurately, we asked the immortal American question best articulated by the imminent thinker, poet and prophet, Dr. Peter Venkman: “You know, I’m a voter… aren’t you supposed to lie to me and kiss my butt?”

Either way, that shit’s over until next week (and besides: it’s not like anything newsworthy happened in the world of comics today, right?) Because today is Wednesday, and that means new comics, which means that this…

…means the end of our broadcast day.

Now, last week was an interesting week, in that there were a couple of A-List debuts in Batman #13’s start to the Death of The Family event, and the first Marvel Now title, Uncanny Avengers #1. This week is looking a little less eventful, but there’s still some damn good stuff. Like a new The Walking Dead, the second issue of Avengers Vs. X-Men: Consequences (which at face value is a rotten post-event money sucker, but having flipped through the first half, might turn out to be our sleeper of the week), one of the final issues of Brian Michael Bendis’s New Avengers, the new Mark Waid Daredevil, and a pile of other interesting looking stuff.

But before we can review them, we need to find the wherewithal to set aside our binders full of women and actually read them. So until you can tell us whether or not the President of The United States actually said the word “terrorism” on a particular day at a particular time…

…see you tomorrow, suckers!