"A painting in a museum hears more ridiculous opinions than anything else in the world." -- Edmond de Goncourt.
Let's prove Edmond de Goncourt wrong, everybody! HYAH!
DEADPOOL: WADE WILSON'S WAR #3 of 4 by Duane Swierczynski, Jason Pearson, Dexter Vines, Paul Mounts, VC's Clayton Cowles, Sebastian Girner, Axel Alonso, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, Alan Fine, and also Dan Carr is the Executive Director of Publishing Technology, and Where Would We Be Without Publishing Technology, Really: This is another issue in the middle of a limited series, so I can only guess what I think is happening here. Here's my guess: a guy in a baseball cap is telling a story to a government agent about Deadpool telling a story to Congress about an adventure he never had with a group of characters named Team X. Am I... Am I close...? Having read one of Duane Swiercynski's novels before, I remember his novel having that kind of untrustworthy, shifting point-of-view. There's not a lot of color cues distinguishing the scene-- Paul Mounts doesn't do that Soderbergh Traffic thing of color-coding the different layers of reality. Has that become hacky in recent years? (Well, wait-- maybe it's slightly there-- reality layer #3 is sometimes a little more orange, #2 a little more green, #1... maybe brown...? Maybe?)
It doesn't matter-- the plot here's just an excuse for action; violence; some large breasts. You know: I personally like this kind of thing, in the proper time and place. One guy gets his brains blown out in the first couple pages-- I liked that part. I've tuned into issues of artist Jason Pearson's creator-owned work, the BODY BAGS comics, that have had far less story than this, and never had any qualm. This Deadpool thing isn't quite as nihilistic or blood-soaked as any random page of BODY BAGS, but it's only published under the Marvel Knights imprint and not the Marvel Max imprint, which means... means something, I think. Something to someone...?
There's this page near the end, though. It's this page of a comparatively "dramatic" scene of Neena (is that the old Domino character?) silently debating whether or not to kill some dude. I really liked what Pearson, Vines and Mounts did on that page, which is really too bad. I hate when there's a page like that, one of those that make you stop and go, "Imagine if that page were telling a story worth reading, instead!" That is the worst.
Do the mainstream companies do prestige limited series with any regularity? WATCHMEN, DARK KNIGHT RETURNS, DARK KNIGHT STRIKES BACK, MARVELS, KINGDOM COME, NEW FRONTIER, OMEGA THE UNKNOWN-- I don't even like KINGDOM COME at all, but... The big fancypants limited series, instead of this fly-by-night Deadpool shit. The Marvel/DC equivalent of the Oscar pic-- how often does that happen? There was that Brubaker limited series-- what was that, about the old characters? Or there was some Chris Weston comic about old characters? Or... was there another comic about old characters I'm forgetting? I don't even know-- I really don't. Maybe those happen all the time, and I don't pay attention. There's that SHIELD thing...? Anytime I hear about news coming out of San Diego or Wondercon or wherever, I always expect to hear "We've got this incredibly special project-- see you at the Eisner awards, bitches" ... And instead, all I ever end up hearing about-- "We stole a guy from our competitor to write one of our books instead. There's a new person writing Hulk because the last person writing the Hulk stopped writing the Hulk. ZOMG!"
Oh, there were those Neal Gaiman series, but... I only read some his ETERNALS revamp... which actually probably constituted a good explanation why those series don't happen more often, come to think of it. Still, if a big chunk of their audience is shifting to buying books in bookstores, you think there'd be more of those projects, "let's make a special book that people have to have, people who go into bookstores, and drink iced coffee" projects. Instead, both companies doubled-down on the poorly plotted crossovers. Or it seems that way. Is it that way? Maybe it's not that way, and I haven't been paying attention. I don't know. I guess what I'm asking is: What are comic books like? Are they nice? Do they still make Cherry Poptarts? How much is this comic going to be worth? Do you collect them?
DOOMWAR #6 OF 6 by Jonathan Maberry, Scott Eaton, Robert Campanella, Jaime Mendoza, David Meikis, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, VC's Joe Caramagna, "Romita, Janson & White" (not sure which Romita-- guessing Jr.), Sebastian Girner, Axel Alonso, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, Alan Fine, and David Gabriel, SVP of Publishing, Sales & Circulation: You know what's making a big difference for me? Marvel comics come with these recap pages-- some people write them in the voice of one of the characters (Darkstar and Avengers the Origin). I don't think that's a very good idea-- I was in a much better position with DOOMWAR because the Recap page just presented a big lump of exposition that caught me up on the key points. It didn't hit everything, but I could get the Big Picture, at least. It's less creative, but maybe more effective...
So: this is another comic with Deadpool in it. How did that character get so popular? I was reading New Mutants when that character was introduced-- here's the thing: Rob Liefeld had 4 new characters just about every issue. Just from memory, there was Cable, the MILF (Mutant Liberation Front That I'd Like to Fuck), Stryfe, Gideon and the X-Ternals, Shatterstar, Domino, and Madame Bovary. They were all bad-asses with knives-- how did just one of them get popular? Is that character's success more a tribute to Joe Kelly? That... is not a sentence I ever expected to type. How long did Lobo last, though? Maybe... 5-6 years? I don't remember Lobo lasting very long. I would guess it's that cycle of "Oh, I love superheros. Oh wait, I'm old enough to realize superheros are stupid-- great, here is a character that lets me laugh at them." And then either "Why am I reading this at all?" or "Oh wait, now I'm old enough not to care that they're stupid." Maybe every generation gets that character...? So, really, if you look at Deadpool and you're my age, does it feel like you just saw the numbers turn over on the odometer? Damn, Deadpool reminds me of my own mortality, you guys...
So, this comic-- it's a comic about an African country heroically destroying its mineral resources in order to remove any interest a Western intruder might have in them. Doctor Doom has festooned himself with vibranium, so Wakanda blows up the vibranium. Which-- it seems like the book's built on a valid argument that mineral wealth has been a disaster for African countries. One paper on the Internet: "This paper finds that after controlling for initial income, a state’s dependence on mineral exports in 1970 is robustly associated with worsened conditions for the poor in the late 1990s." Robustly associated. Oh, also: the comic ends with the new Black Panther repudiating the Bush Doctrine, and asserting that countries don't have the right to depose despots pre-emptively in "illegal wars."
So, that's fun...? 10 Medical workers were just found slain in Afghanistan. Or did you read about how terrorists blew up a Japanese oil tanker in the Straits of Hormuz...? They drove another boat filled with homemade explosives into it. Mudslides killed 125 people in Kashmir on Friday. Did you read Robert Fisk's article on the lynching in Ketermaya? Robert Fisk-- always worth reading. I wonder what-- I wonder what the Mighty Thor's position is on how Lebanon's police forces have operated. Has The Mighty Thor issued a position paper yet?
Did I miss a comic about Wakanda's AIDS epidemic? That... See, maybe this makes me a ghoul, but I think would be a pretty fucking funny comic book, but at the same time, it's ENTIRELY possible someone's already written that comic. I wouldn't be too surprised if that was a comic that existed. But I guess they had to do something-- the whole 1960's thing the Black Panther character was built on is an African King of a country built on its mineral wealth. I guess even kids can't believe that anymore. Maybe they should do that with all the characters. "The Fantastic Four didn't get their powers from going into space-- our country has no viable space program anymore. They got it from cosmically-tainted meat-- the Fantastic Four are living victims of our failure to adequately regulate our meat industry." Wait: that comics fucking already exists-- great, I just invented SKRULL KILL KREW. Fucking fantastic...
Now, I'm all sad. The next comic is GORILLA MAN -- the cover has "Crackin' Craniums in the Congo" on it. Did you know that fighting in the Congo in the last month has uprooted 90,000 civilians? I really hope that the Gorilla-Man isn't murdered by the Allied Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda. Fingers crossed, you guys.
GORILLA-MAN #2 OF 3 by JEFF PARKER, GIANCARLO CARACUZZO, JIM CHARALAMPIDIS, ED DUKESHIRE, LEONARD KIRK, DAVE MCCAIG, IRENE Y. LEE, MICHAEL HORWITZ, NATHAN COSBY, MARK PANICCIA, JOE QUESADA, DAN BUCKLEY, ALAN FINE, AND JERRY MATHERS AS THE BEAVER: I'd read a couple of Jeff Parker's AGENTS OF ATLAS comics-- two of the most recent series; Comics Alliance had done a nice article that had gotten me interested. They were pleasant-- Elizabeth Breitweiser did a damn terrific job on the colors, I thought; she's great.
This is a spin-off from those, I guess-- this is good for what it is. Parker's been working that Steve Canyon / Johnny Hazard territory of comics for-- was Interman about 10-11 years ago now? He seems comfortable with that material-- Gorilla Man spends most of the comic as a man, running hither-dither, having old-fashioned jungle adventures. Good-looking book. Lambiek provides background for Giancarlo Caracuzzo-- veteran artist from Italy. So many great comic artists coming out of Italy right now... It makes sense, though. I remember being in Italy in high school-- Latin class trip; comics were everywhere. Magazine racks were stuffed with comics and porn, and there were beautiful women everywhere. It was like getting a golden ticket to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, for teenage me. Oh, also: historically important stuff. There was some of that. But-- it's nice to think it could be as simple as, "Italian artists grow up with pretty comics and so they make pretty comics." It's nice to believe the world works like that. Maybe that's not true and it has something to do with how Italy subsidizes its art schools or some shit, but I think I'd prefer my illusions.
This kind of thing isn't catching on with the fans, though? I want to say they just cancelled those ATLAS titles. That "international man of action" character-- there hasn't been a big one of those since... Well, I guess Indiana Jones dominates that character type, even though he came later. Tough shadow to be in-- remember that scene early on in Raiders of the Lost Ark when Marion is angry at Indiana Jones for having had sex with her when she was underage. And he's still one of the greatest movie heroes of all time! That's how great Indiana Jones has-- he beats a statutory rape charge with the audience. There isn't a jury that wouldn't acquit after he says "It's not the years-- it's the mileage." Though that "international man of action" character-- well, it's not a character I'm altogether comfortable with. That character's all about the uber-competent American abroad, which... World history would not necessarily be on that character's side, especially not in the last few decades or so. (I want to say the jungle pulps got popular post--WWII since the end of the war did away with the Nazi villain Secret Empire type stories, but what do I know? I'm not Jess Nevins over here-- I can only wish.)
But anyways, who cares about world history when we could be looking at Frank Robbins drawings?
HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD #3 by Jim McCann, David Lopez, Alvaro lopez, Nathan Fairbairn, VC's Cory Petit, Paul Renaud, Rachel Pinnelas, Bill Rosemann, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, Alan Fine, and The Nation's Hopes and Dreams That Go With Them: Oh, dude.
This comic is about a group of characters who apparently hate one another. None of these characters seem to want to hang out with another; I can't blame them-- I don't want to hang out with them either. They spend the entire 22 pages screaming at each other, until the end when Hawkeye says "I love you, Mockingbird." Is that sarcasm? I'm not sure. Every other line out of Mockingbird's mouth is "If you don't like it, Hawkeye, you can leave." Leave! LEAVE! TAKE ME WITH YOU, HAWKEYE!!
The rest of the comic is a videogame. The good guys work their way through the level-- at first they fight robots, but then the robots level-up. Level 2 robots need to be chopped in half! There's a boss fight, but it's the kind the heroes lose so that the later boss fight is more dramatic. I suppose the MODERN WARFARE videogame series is to action entertainment what the MATRIX used to be; that which must be ripped off. I hear "hostiles incoming" or-- actual dialogue: "Cover our flank. Flashrounds, no frags! Careful of friendly fire!", and I get the itch to play the No Russian level, again. (Well, No Russian's not great, actually, but I think that level where you're running through the upper-class suburbs was pretty sweet...)
This entire comic hinges on a plot from WEST COAST AVENGERS, circa ... Well, I was in junior high or high school. This was definitely before I could drive-- I don't think Jim Lee had even broken in at Marvel yet...? Maybe he was doing Punisher. But they keep bringing the plot of this comic up, over and over.
It's sad. It's sad that's how people write comics. It really doesn't have to be that way. I'm a big nerd who watches Doctor Who-- that show has been going for decades and decades, but when you watch the new episode with the Master-- it's not like the Master stops and starts talking about, "Remember when we were on Castrovalva together, Doctor? I was having a freaky friends-with-benefit thing with a Dalek. Let me introduce you to my half-Dalek love-baby." Some people haven't seen that one episode Douglas Adams wrote where the Doctor and Romana go to Paris and meet John Cleese-- but they aren't punished for that. Those creators don't have enough time to punish fans-- they're busy writing new stories. Granted, that Daleks in World War 2 episode was pretty crap, but... Comics like these, though-- the creators seem so without hope, that there are any new stories left to be written.
But if the audience rewards them for it, the game is the game...
The West Coast Avengers are called the WCA now. Deal with that.
HERCULES: TWILIGHT GOD #3 of 4-- A MARVEL COMICS LIMITED SERIES by Bob Layton, Ron Lim, Deep G, Dave Sharpe, Charles Beckerman, Mark Paniccia, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, Alan Fine: First, Deep G-- can you do me a favor and introduce me to Grandmaster B? Thanks a million!
At first I was all upset about the recap page. Here's the text from the recap page: "Hercules: Concussed! Skyppi: Hospitalized! Galactus: Black-holified! Alien Silver Surfer: P.O'd! Ursus: Granulated! Hercules: Enraged! Silver Surfer: Decapitated! Universe: Still Doomed!"
That got me kind of upset because: What was the point of the recap page? Why not just put a giant photo of Bill Clinton going to a REO Speedwagon concert? That would have been more helpful to me in my life than this recap page.
Man, I wish I could travel back in time, and buy some pot from that guy...
Anyways, then I read the comic. I don't know you would go about recapping this comic. It's... a comedy...? Galactus has gotten so "fat" that he's imploding, and this implosion is threatening the lives of these space opera characters, including Hercules for some reason. There's old-timey comic book jokes, like a two-three page gag parody on Superman's origins. One of the gags is space aliens demanding no-bid contracts to save other aliens from Galactus. Uhm.
So... Yeah. I just don't want to be mean to this comic. It'd be like pissing on Mr. Saturday Night's face.
Do I understand how or why this was published by Marvel? Me, personally, I have... I have questions. I'm not sure what audience this was designed to service, exactly. But... They must be out there because this got published. I guess Marvel wanted to work with veterans like Bob Layton and Ron Lim...? That's nice. That's a nice thing to do-- god knows that Marvel's reaping rewards from Bob Layton's Iron Man comics right now.
Uhmmm... so yeah. This one will just makes me not feel good about myself, if I keep going.
HIT-MONKEY #2 of 3 by Daniel Way, Dalibor Talijic, Jose Villarubia, VC's Joe Sabino, Sebastian Girner, Axel Alonso, Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, and Alan Fine, but if you want to advertise in Marvel comics contact Ron Stern, VP of Business Development:
This was about a monkey that kills people.
... This was seriously about a monkey that kills people. Not a talking monkey, or a comic book monkey. Just a regular old monkey.
This was about a monkey that kills people.
... I'm done. I think I'm done.