With this past summer’s excitement over The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises, combined with its mild anticipation of The Amazing Spider-Man and what has turned out to be its complete and utter apathy over Dredd 3D, it’s easy to forget that there are other comic book movies in the pipeline. Sure, we’ve got Iron Man 3, but let’s not forget that the sequel to 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, titled counterintuitively as The Wolverine for some reason, is supposedly in production.

Sure, it’s easy to forget about the old Canucklehead, given that in his last cinematic outing, he met Will.I.Am and allowed him to live, and spent time fighting the only version of Deadpool, The Merc With The Mouth, that nobody wanted – namely, one with no fucking mouth. But this time around, he’s got a new director – no more weirdness from the guy who played “German Champion” in Kickboxer 5, now we have the dude who played Dr. Gold in The Sweetest Thing! Wait, what? *

Regardless, Marvel certainly doesn’t want people to forget that there’s a new Wolverine movie coming out, so earlier today, they released the first image of Hugh Jackman, wearing the claws and about thirty pounds of hair product:

Share

Prior to picking up Sword of Sorcery #0, I knew nothing about Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld, because when it debuted in 1983, I was a 12-year-old human being with a limited, allowance-based income, and a penis. With comics 60 cents a piece and three bucks to spend on them, I wasn’t gonna drop coin on a books meant to empower the very people giving me boners just by being around and then laughing when I got one. Besides, despite being a geek since it was a word used to describe a filthy hobo who bites the heads off chickens in a freakshow, I have never been a swords and sorcery kind of fan. I grew up on comic books, The Six Million Dollar Man and Star Wars; I had no need or time for some blonde with a sword and magical powers. Not when I had access to Luke Skywalker. Wait, something there’s not quite right…

Anyway, what I’m getting at here is that, for me, Amethyst is a completely new character. And while I recognize that I, a 40-something guy, am not necessarily the target audience for Amethyst, I thought it was okay. It accomplished a lot in 20 pages, introducing the protagonist and doing a decent job humanizing the character and telling us her background, and explaining how what appears to be a reasonably typical teenaged girl might survive in a hostile environment like Gemworld… even including the gang bang scene. Maybe I should’ve been reading this book when I was twelve… but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Share

Have you read this month’s installment of Catwoman, yet? If you haven’t, don’t. There are a lot of other things you can do with that $2.99 instead of buy issue #0, by writer Ann Nocenti, unless you happen to be an obsessive collector of Adriana Melo’s artwork (which is the only bright point of the issue) or the items that carry the stench of failure, like dollar store condoms.

Selina Kyle has suffered mightily in the New 52 reboot at the hands of Judd Winick, suggesting that Barry Ween is his Jagged Little Pill. If Barry Ween was “You Oughta Know”, then Catwoman was Winick parading around naked exhorting “Thank you, silence”. Selina was a broken mess that owed more of her personality and actions to Batman slash fic than Frank Miller or Ed Brubaker. The announcement that Ann Nocenti was taking over the book at issue #0 was greeted with relief in this household. Surely, the woman who created Typhoid Mary for the Daredevil franchise could come up with a stronger, more bad ass take on Catwoman.

Turns out, not so much.

Spoiled déjà vu all over again, after the jump.

Share

God, The Walking Dead has been a king bummer recently. And I know that’s a hell of a thing to say about a book that has shown in its nine-year history that anyone can die at any time for any – or no – reason at all, but its the truth. Over the past couple of years, we’ve gotten used to seeing Rick and the gang moving from being barely-surviving victims, constantly on the edge of being wiped out, to bad motherfuckers who are not only not to be trifled with, but who damn well know it. It’s been like watching Walter White turn into Heisenberg, only with less mouthy teen using “bitch” as a comma, and no Skyler fucking everything up for everybody.

That all went sideways in issue #100, when Negan took Glenn out with a baseball bat and apparently turned Rick into a simpering pansy. So we’ve spent a couple of months watching people grieve, and Rick apparently coming to terms with the fact that he and his people are about to become bitches for Negan and his Saviors, all while his people are generally whipping themselves up into a screeching hate frenzy to do some revenge murder, utterly unaware that Rick has committed to standard divorce terms: he got fucked, and now he has to give up half his shit and smile about it.

And as in any divorce, there comes a day when you have to tell the kids that their lives about about to inexorably turn to shit because Mommy and Daddy can’t get along. And The Walking Dead #102 is that issue, the time when Rick’s people must come to terms with the fact that they are forever doomed to laboring on behalf of aggressors who they can never defeat, and for whom Rick, who has always protected them, has no idea how to overcome.

Kinda.

Share

First of all, no matter how you feel about Daredevil #18, you’ve gotta admit: that is one hell of a cover. If the goal of a comic book cover is to get someone not already predisposed to the book to buy it (and that is the goal of a cover, no matter what the prevailing wisdom of “What can I get for the original art on the collector’s market” might say), then this one by Paolo Rivera  succeeds. If you’re in a comic store and you see this cover and you’re not interested? Just ask the guy at the counter if you can use his bathroom, because clearly you didn’t go into the comic store because you like comics.

Trouble is, you put a cover like that on a comic book, particularly when the cover is hyping that the creative team just won an Eisner Award for making Daredevil the best continuing series of the year, and you are writing a check that the book itself had better Goddamned cash. So does the story, by writer Mark Waid with interior art by Chris Samnee, deliver the goods?

In general, yes it does. This issue continues Waid’s examination of Matt Murdock’s long relationship with, shall we say, “stress-related personality issues.” It was a trait that dominated the character for so long that Waid has been almost required to address – if you’re gonna decide that a character has simply decided to be less intense and crazy, you almost have to put him in a situation where he would once, well, go bugfuck nuts to see if he can stay less intense and crazy. And Waid is doing that, in a methodical and well-built way… with a couple of nitpicks. Because Matt Murdock might have decided to be less apeshit crazy, but I have promised no such thing.

Share

EDITOR’S NOTE: I pledge allegiance to the spoilers of the Ultimate Comics of Marvel…

If it was really that easy, Bart Simpson would have been the President of The United States since 1992.

I have previously mentioned that the Ultimate Comics Divided We Fall storyline feels, to me, a lot like Wildstorm’s World’s End arc from a few years back: a major publisher making their sub-universe story playground look more relevant by turning it into an arbitrarily violent cesspool to drive large-scale storylines that the characters themselves weren’t weighty enough to introduce with any believability. Stories like this are the zombie apocalypse of comics: create some form of MacGuffin that sends society into turmoil, like a Kherubim attack or the rise of The Children of Tomorrow or a probe from Venus, and let the circumstances allow characters to do shit that you would never accept in a remotely realistic world.

The problems with stories like that is that you need to buy into the circumstances that have broken society. That’s easy with something like Night of The Living Dead – if you can buy the concept of space bacteria making the dead walk, the overrun of society by the zombies is an easy next step. But if you want to buy into the chaos at the heart of The Ultimates #15, even if you decide to ignore the Sentinels going apeshit in Arizona and that most of the northern eastern seaboard is under National Guard control (despite barely seeing any signs of even traffic snarls in Ultimate Spider-Man), you need to believe that the entire West Coast has united under the rule of pastiches of what appears to be Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Now, my day job is in a software company, and I can tell you with some authority that there isn’t a serious techie in the world who would cross the street to piss down either of those guys’ throats if their hearts were on fire. If this happened in the real world, California’s computer systems would die like pigs in a chute as all the real programmers emigrated to Arizona, because I guarantee you that the Sentinels run on Linux. But I’m getting off on a tangent here.

Share

Once again, Wednesday has come and gone, and all we have to show for it is a fresh liver nodule, the weak hope that we can survive another 120 or so hours to get the four-disc Blu-Ray of The Avengers (the definitive edition! You know, until next Christmas, when an eight-disc “Mighty” edition will undoubtedly arrive!, Probably with a teaser trailer for Guardians of The Galaxy! And a working repulsor glove!), and terminal, day job-related exhaustion. Well, those things, and a big pile of comic books. And one of those four things means that this…

…is the end of our broadcast day.

But this is actually a decent-looking week. Sure, we’re still in DC’s Zero Month, which has been kinda feast or famine, but this week we have Catwoman #0 (with new writer Ann Nocenti), and Justice League #0, with art by Gary Frank, and showing us the first actual appearance of the New 52 Captain Marvel (known these days as “Shazam,” but those of us older than 30 know better). We’ve also got the conclusion of Bendis’s Spider-Men, a new Mark Waid Daredevil, the continuing aftermath of Glenn’s murder in The Walking Dead, and the coronation of President America in The Ultimates #15!

But you know the drill: before we can review them, we need to wash off the stink of our respective employers, sober up, and then have time to read them. So for at least the next twelve hours…

See you tomorrow, suckers!

Share

Back at the San Diego Comic-Con, Marvel Editor In Chief Axel Alonso and The Ultimates writer Sam Humphries teased a huge event occurring in The Ultimates #15. “This will be one of the biggest comics of the year… siesmic,” Marvel’s Director of Communication Artie Singh said at the time, showing off upcoming covers to The Ultimates while withholding the cover to #15 and further teasing that the covers for #14 and #16 they were showing weren’t the final versions.

Which, at the time, felt like just some nifty hype; the entire panel in which this information was teased was far more hype and far less actual hard information. And I don’t think I can remember an SDCC where someone from one of the Big Two publishers didn’t say something like that, and usually the big reveal winds up being something stupid and ultimately inconsequential, like Wonder Woman buying a pair of pants, or Thor installing a pair of Truk-Nutz on Mjolnir.

Well, The Ultimates #15 will be out in comic stores tomorrow, and Marvel has leaked the big development to The Washington Post. Which means that, as a classic inverted pyramid lead, this article totally sucks, but I needed enough words (assuming “Truk-Nutz” counts as a word) to build in a cushion for the jump, to protect your tender little eyes from the big spoiler…

Share

I haven’t really paid much attention to Frankenstein: Agent Of S.H.A.D.E. since its first issue, which, if I recall correctly, we felt only merited a summarizing in our first podcast as “a mildly entertaining yet inferior Hellboy knockoff.” However, given the combination of a new zero issue – meaning a one-and-done – and the news from San Diego Comic-Con that the title would be taking part in Jeff Lemire’s and Scott Snyder’s Rotworld crossover, it seemed like a good time to jump back in, re-familiarize myself with the character, and see if things have become any different.

However, based on my initial impressions of the first issue of the book, I’m issuing myself a challenge, here: I want to try to get through this entire review commenting on the book on its own merits, without mentioning Hellboy or B.R.P.D. even once.

Flips to page with panel of Frankenstein battling a giant Nazi spider

Ooookay. Strap in; this might be a bumpier ride than I originally thought.

Share

Chris Hardwick may currently have the greatest job on Earth. He gets to rub elbows with Doctor Who and Walking Dead muckity-mucks, run a whole channel of geek oriented programming as part of Nerdist Industries, and now, hang out with the Ben Folds Five and The Jim Henson Company as part of the 30th anniversary of Fraggle Rock. Here’s the scoop from the press release, in which Hardwick describes how this came together and the inherent awesomeness of his job:

In a meeting with Lisa [Henson, CEO, The Jim Henson Company], she casually said, ‘Next year is the 30th anniversary of ‘Fraggle Rock.’ Would you want to do anything with the Fraggles?’ ‘WHAT THE [expletive]?? That’s an OPTION?!’ I loudly replied. I think I scared her a little. I knew Ben [Folds] had a new album releasing in September so I threw his name out. Lisa said ‘that would be amazing’ without hesitation. It was beautifully serendipitous. It seemed like a no-brainer to me, but I still cautiously pitched it to Ben, not really knowing his relationship with the show. I think I just spit words out, ‘YOU. VIDEO. FRAGGLES. ME PAY FOR!’”

This video for the new single “Do It Anyway”, by Ben Folds Five, speaks to my inner child who had to sneak episodes of Fraggle Rock at friends’ houses because my parents refused to get HBO. It also speaks to my inner early twenty-something for whom Ben Folds Five’s Whatever And Ever Amen was the soundtrack to the year I moved out of the house after college. It also makes me question my life choices because, no matter what I might accomplish tomorrow, next month, or next year, it most likely won’t be a video shoot with Fraggles. This. This is how the full on midlife crisis starts.

Check out the video full of awesome win, in which Ben Folds and the Fraggles are joined by Chris Hardwick, Rob Corddry, and Anna Kendrick, after the jump!

Share