Scott Snyder spent a lot of his time at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con hyping his Death of The Family storyline as one of the definitive Joker storylines of all time… and at the time, it sounded like an awful lot of hype. Here’s what I wrote about his comments at the time:

“It really is our Killing Joke… this is an explanation of what makes The Joker special as a villain.”

“He will rape and kill… and do everything to break you,” Snyder said. “[We wrote The Joker] the most fucking twisted we possibly could.”

All of which sounded promising, but let’s face reality: there ain’t a comic writer alive lucky enough to get to write the main Batman title, with The Joker as the villain no less, who ever said, “The Joker? Fuck that guy. He’s no K.G. Beast, I’ll tell you what. So yeah; I fucking phoned it in… what’s that? Yeah, it’s spelled L-O-B-D-E-L-L…”

So the hype kinda slid off my back at the time, but now it’s three months later, and Batman #13, the first issue of the Death of The Family crossover, is out in comic stores. And sure, there’s been a lot of excitement over the story, and yeah, the owner of my local comic store, where they know me by name and ask me not to ask the paying clientele if they want a dose of my “Joker Venom and / or Happy Juice,” told me, “That’s the way The Joker should be written,” when he handed my my copy… but it’s all just hype still right? That’s the question I asked myself when I opened the book an hour ago, and…

Son of a bitch. Now that’s The Joker.

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Apparently Marvel realized that their one-word teaser, “Savage,” was about as inscrutable and murky as Crystal Pepsi, so they figured they might as well make things official.

Frank Cho will be writing and drawing the Marvel Now new series Savage Wolverine. Not to be confused with The Savage Hawkman from DC Comics; that book was about an angry guy with metal claws who liked liquor, but he could also fly, making it totally different.

Cho, best known in the superhero comic book world for his artwork on New Avengers and Mighty Avengers, and his writing / drawing of Shanna The She-Devil (not counting the giant vagina he drew on the cover of Avengers Vs. X-Men #0), is widely-known as a cheesecake guy, and therefore is totally the most obvious choice to write and draw a short, hairy, foulmouthed drunkard (Look, Ma! I’m in a comic!).

What made you wanna take the gig, Frank?

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Let’s get the obvious out of the way up front and confirm that no, Legends of The Dark Knight #1 is by no means required reading. A printed collection of digital-first shorts that DC has been publishing online first since June, these stories take place outside of current DC continuity – sometimes apparently taking place outside of any known DC continuity – and if it weren’t for the involvement of some A-List talent, would appear to be nothing more than DC looking for ways to monetize their backlog of emergency backup stories, some dating back to God knows when – one of these stories clearly takes place back in the Grant Morrison’s / Joe Kelly JLA of the late 90s / early 2000s… although with the setting on the JLA satellite, it might take place in 1978 for all I know.

So do you need to read this book? Hell no; as I said: this feels like DC using their old inventory to scrape four more bucks out of you this week. However, do you want to read this book? Well, if you’re interested in seeing how both some top-shelf and up-and-coming talent view Batman, with absolutely no continuity or ongoing story constraints? It actually is kind of interesting… if somewhat problematic. After all, this appears to be a playground for doing Batman stories, and sometimes on playgrounds, people fall down. And sometimes people are offered free candy and a van ride, but my personal life is none of your Goddamned business, and besides: I’m getting off point here.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: In a world where costumed heroes soar through the sky and masked vigilantes prowl the night, someone’s got to make sure the “spoilers” don’t get out of line. And someone will.

I’ve read The Boys #71 a few times now, and I keep going back and forth on how I feel about it. Because it’s operating on a couple of different levels, and one of them is on the character level. At this point, we’ve spent six or seven years with Wee Hughie and Butcher, and what with this being the second-to-last issue, writer Garth Ennis needs to wrap up the relationship between those two guys, which has gone through older brother / younger brother, to stern mentor / insecure student, to mortal enemies. And this issue accomplishes that, in the standard Garth Ennis fashion of violence and manly bonding. Which is always interesting to read, if it doesn’t bear a lot of resemblance to any male friendship I’ve ever been in; I find we tend to resolve our differences with hard liquor , repeat viewings of Caddyshack and the copious application of the word “homo.”

However, on another level, when Ennis debuted The Boys back in 2006, he promised that the series would “out Preacher Preacher.” And now as we wind into the final couple of issues, it’s becoming apparent that The Boys is certainly following the narrative structure of Preacher‘s conclusion, with two close friends battling each other to a standstill, before coming to a final reconciliation, concluding with the apparent death of the “bad guy,” who started out as the “good guy’s” closest friend. With all of it happening in the shadow of an American national monument, with the relationship between the “good guy” and his estranged girlfriend unresolved and hanging in the balance. From a structural standpoint, the main difference between the second-to-last issue of Preacher and the second-to-last issue of The Boys is that Cassidy committed suicide by sunlight and Butcher did it via rank, threatening douchebaggery.

Maybe they should’ve just watched Caddyshack.

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You know you’ve wondered about the possibility – what if Star Wars and Mexican wrestling had a wacky, spandex and leather wearing baby. Admit it.

What? Just me?

Well, wonder no more. With the advent of Jason Chalker’s La Guerra De Los Luchadores, a show print he created for Art Wars: Intergalactic Art Show, you too can see what would have happened if, as he put it:

I wonder what it would have been like if Star Wars was originally a low-budget Mexican luchador movie?

Check out the awesomeness, after the jump.

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If you caught the United States Presidential Debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama last Wednesday, you heard Romney say that he loved Big Bird, but the first thing he’d do as President would be to defund PBS… effectively firing the poor bastard, leaving him homeless and wandering the streets like any down-on-his-luck wino, muttering to his imaginary friend.

Well, the comment led to “Big Bird” becoming a trending topic on Twitter, a slew of Big Bird parody accounts on Twitter… and the odd response from the comics community.

Such as this little masterpiece by pulp comic artist Francesco Francavilla. Which. Is. Awesome. Check it out.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: No more spoilers. Actually, a lot more spoilers.

Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 is a hard book to review because it endeavors to do a whole lot of things all at once. First, it needs to resolve the fact that Dark Phoenix is running around in the body of a petulant dink, and it generally accomplishes that. Second, considering the story was about two linchpins of the Marvel Universe, they had to, pretty much for the first time since the series started by showing Cyclops acting like he was one bad night away from handing the X-Men Nikes, track suits and tainted Kool-Aid, introduce some ambiguity as to who the good guys and the bad guys were, and it accomplishes that damn well.

However, one of the things it needed, and tried, to do, was rehabilitate the Scarlet Witch after the events of Avengers: Disassembled in 2004, when she single-handedly wiped out pretty much all the mutants in the 616. It also needed, given the commitment by Marvel editorial to integrate the X-Men back into the more mainstream, non-mutant based books, to make sure that there were actually X-Men around to add to the Avengers books. And it certainly accomplishes both of those things, but it does it in a strangely unsatisfying way, a way that feels like the decision was made that many of the main events of the past seven or eight years of Marvel stories simply don’t matter. It is the final nail in the events of Disassembled – Hawkeye’s alive again, the Vision’s back, and now the mutants are all returning – and it feels like someone at Marvel, be it Axel Alonso or Joe Quesada or Brian Michael Bendis or Ike Perlmutter, dusted off their hands and said, “There! Now we’re back to 1999!”

We make a lot of jokes here at Crisis On Infinite Midlives about how vehemently Marvel protests that they don’t reboot, but make no mistake: Avengers Vs. X-Men #12 is a reboot. The only question is: it is a good one?

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Marvel has released a new one-word Marvel Now teaser… kinda. And, well, so much for that Miracleman theory.

There’s still no specific word as to what Marvel’s “Superior” tease from a couple weeks back means, but thanks to Marvel releasing a new version of the image to USA Today, we at least have a creative team attached… which you can see after the jump.

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So last night, J. J. Abrams was on Conan. And he announced that principal photography on the next Star Trek movie, Star Trek Into Darkness, was wrapping up in anticipation of its May 17, 2013 release date… and that he’d brought a clip of the flick to show. So the first footage from a movie that I am personally really looking forward to (sure, the real Trekkers complained that Abrams’s 2009 Star Trek was a little too much like Star Wars, but so what? Star Wars is fucking cool) debuted last night…

The problem is that “footage” is probably too strong a word, as it implies there was more than one foot. In fact, the clip was exactly three frames long. And considering standard film runs at 24 frames per second, well, you get the idea.

But this is a Web site focused on geek culture, so this is technically news, so the video clip (sorry about the opening advertisement; the clip is from the Conan Web site, and those guys would monetize sunlight if they could get it behind a paywall) appears after the jump… along with a screen grab of one of those three frames. I sat here for probably five minutes, pressing “pause” and “rewind” to get a clear image for you… and have spent the ten minutes since questioning the poor choices I have made in life that brought me to this place, where I am doing these things.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: He is Daredevil, The Man Without Fear! Of Spoilers!

One of the main reasons cited for the runaway success of Mark Waid’s run on Daredevil (Eisner awards for Best Writer, Best Continuing Series and Best Single Issue tend to be indicative that You Done Good) is that Waid depicts Murdock as a more positive character than he has been since Frank Miller revamped him in the 80s. Waid successfully broke from the years-long general formula for a good Daredevil story, which was to throw some terrible hardship at Murdock and watch him go nuts for a while.

That, however is Mark Waid. Daredevil: End of Days is written by Brian Michael Bendis, who wrote Daredevil from 2001 to 2006, and who put Daredevil through trials like revealing his secret identity, accusing him of murder, and having him marry a woman who goes violently insane and requires commitment… and not the good kind where people throw you a party and give you salad spinners, but rather the kind where the jackets tie in the back and the big blue pills don’t give you a boner.

So will Bendis’s take on this supposed final Daredevil story embrace the Waid’s more positive take on the character? Sure! Provided you get a warm fuzzy feeling over seeing the title character murdered in the street in broad daylight on page four! But that’s okay, because this Daredevil comic book isn’t really about Daredevil!

Depressed and confused? Don’t worry; stick with me and we’ll work through this. And it is generally a comic book worth working through.

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