"Nah, Son. This Is On ALL of Us." COMICS! Sometimes If This Superhero Thing Doesn’t Work Out They Could Always Moonlight As A White Goods Delivery Firm!

Due to popular demand what follows is about a new(ish) series and it’s also mercifully brief! Who says we here at The Savage Critics don’t listen? Well, they’re right. But we thought you’d find the illusion comforting.

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Anyway, this…

MIGHTY AVENGERS #6-7 Artist - Valerio Schiti Writer - Al Ewing Colourist - Frank D'Armata Letterer - VC's Cory Petit Covers - Greg Land, Jay Leisten & Frank D'Armata Marvel Comics, $3.99 each (2014)

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Luke Cage created by George Tuska, John Romita Snr & Archie Goodwin Spectrum (Monica Rambeau) created by John Romita Jnr & Roger Stern Spider Man (Doctor Octopus) created by Steve Ditko & Stan Lee Doctor Octopus (Spider-Man) created by Steve Ditko & Stan Lee Ronin (who isn’t Blade) created by Joe Quesada & Brian Michael Bendis Blade (who isn’t Ronin) created by Gene Colan & Marv Wolfman Blue Marvel created by Kevin Grevioux Power Man (Victor Alvarez) created by Mahmud Asrar & Fred Van Lente White Tiger (Ava Ayala) created by Tom Raney & Christos Gage Falcon created by Gene Colan & Stan Lee She-Hulk created by John Buscema & Stan Lee Iron Fist created by Gil "The Thrill" Kane & Roy Thomas (C) Marvel Characters, Inc.

I’ve been secretly reading Mighty Avengers since the start, so it’s probably time to upset everybody by going on about it. I’ve chosen this particular point to reveal I am reading it because these are the first issues where the series seems to have been drawn by a human being, rather than a bored robot. The art here isn’t great but at least it has a pulse. Previous issues were as visually engaging as the act of watching a toothpaste advert starring Halle Berry reflected in a stainless steel worktop. Valerio Schiti does a good job here; there’s nothing spectacular to speak of but it all gets done and that’s not unappreciated. He does a pleasant William H Macy anyway, and the whole affair sure looked kinda Cassady or McNiven-y. People like that, I hear. I wasn’t squealing and clapping my hands at any of it, but, again, I never felt like it was a product of The Forbin Project at any point. So, this is an Avengers comic but which Avengers comic is Mighty Avengers?

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Mighty Avengers is the one with a bunch of non-Caucasian characters, but not Blade; Blade isn’t in it. There’s Ronin who acts like Blade would if he was in the Ronin suit, but it couldn’t possibly be Blade. Given past performance Ronin will turn out to be Puck’s Mom, despite so far having been clearly drawn as a six foot and then some man. It won’t be Blade though. (It is though; it’s totally Blade.) You all probably remember Ronin from Brian Bendis’ depressingly popular run on some staggeringly, yet characteristically, inept Avengers comics. I mean, how does that whole Ronin thing work then? Do all the Marvel heroes have a key to a locker in Grand Central station where the Ronin costume is stored, and if they feel a bit of mystery coming on they run down and slip it on?  Do they have to have it cleaned before they return it? It looks hot in that thing so sweaty pits might occur. Also maybe in all the excitement of, say, dodging The Rhino, or, more likely this, sitting in a boardroom listening to someone jabber like a wet brain for nine panels, a little trickle of wee-wee might slip out. And some people can skimp on the wiping; I’m mentioning no names, Adam Warlock. So on balance, yeah, they probably do have to have it dry-cleaned afterwards. Does it have a voice changer in it like those Iron Man masks in Toys R Us? Do you like all this street level stuff I’m doing? Yeah, street level; it’s at the level of the street, dawg. Like crisp wrappers, dog ends and dog muck. Basically, street Level is a Bendis-ism for dull. This comic is full of Bendis-isms.But don’t run screaming in the opposite direction just yet because Al Ewing, in an act of sadistically calculated one up-manship, makes them all work. For the first time ever. Which Avengers comic is Mighty Avengers? Mighty Avengers is the functioning version of the Avengers comic Brian Bendis squandered the better part of a decade trying to make work.

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Luckily Al Ewing, not unlike my cat, can write to a somewhat higher standard and so we can now actually see the shape of Bendis’ dreary vision made presentable. Basically it’s TV. Surprise! Whoa, old hoss; it’s not The Wire or even That Basically Decent And Stylishly Shot James Ellroy Rip Off Show With Two Stellar Performances Which Folks Are Inexplicably Touching Themselves Over. It’s more the kind of comedy you catch a bit of when you are just that bit more worn down than usual, and so are later than normal leaving for work. You know; the kind of TV that was on in the evenings but is now on in the mornings because the evening stuff is better now. Jim Belushi’s probably in it. Ray Romano definitely is. This is superhero comics as sit-com cum soap opera stuff.Which is fine, but that’s where most of the emphasis is and this comic, ostensibly, is about people who can throw cars around like bean bags. Anyone who came for the fights’n’tights may feel a little short changed.

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But just a little because it is there; it is all there. Yes, it is all very much and quite definitely there; the soap-opera, the sit-com and, yes, the tights’n’fights. It’s all there. And it’s all done well; I’m not saying it isn’t. I think Astro City hits the mix whole lot better but that’s a high target to aim at, and, fair do’s, Ewing does get close. But, really, I don’t really know who needs all this faux everyday life stuff. Wouldn’t it have been of more use back when children read comics? Prepare ‘em for the future (Read Spider-Man! This Issue: Spider-Man’s Bin Loses Its Lid And The Council Refuse To Replace It! Also, Electro! Read Spider-Man! See How Grown-ups Really Live! Don’t Dream! Don’t Ever Dream!) Now though, apparently, adults read this stuff.  Well, Buster, I’m an adult (physically anyway) and, as well done as it may be, my pulse doesn’t pound when I watch the Blue Marvel carry a fridge down some stairs. The only adults I know who would need to escape into a humdrum fantasy world of normality are convicted felons. Oh! I get it! Well played, Marvel! You finally found an audience more captive than the Direct Market! Hey, convicts, comics!

Look, Mighty Avengers is fine and Al Ewing writes it well. He probably writes it a lot better than I’m giving him credit for as he’s had to set up and develop his team despite the vulgar intrusions of at least two tie-ins. I mean, I don’t think Al Ewing’s in any danger of spraining any writing muscles here but Mighty Avengers is eventful, smooth and entertaining. Mighty Avengers is a GOOD! comic. If you’re fine with the Cosby-fication of Luke Cage you’ll like Mighty Avengers.


I hear the comments are broken. Unless I hear otherwise I’ll just assume I am bloody fantastic and you all totally agreed with me about everything. (Yeah, especially you.) It’s okay, no problem!

I feel like having a bit of a break. Even if you don’t read this stuff I still had to write it. And I’ve written too much lately. I'd just like to read something for fun with no pressure to perform for a bit. So, see you after next week’s Podcast. You know, that thing where Graeme and Jeff talk about - COMICS!!!


Wait, What? Ep. 135: Err Travel

 photo ff9a19c9-84df-4801-b3c1-dc6e69684582_zps10706f49.jpgFrom the entertainingly wrong-headed Secret Society of Super-Villains trade paperback.

I am so bummed I made that reference to the opening of "Don't Believe The Hype" a few weeks back, because now that I've got a trip coming up I could've made a "I've got so much travel on my mind" pun...but now, no, I can't.

Anyway, after the jump, show notes for this late-to-bed, early-to-rise episode of Wait, What?

Yes, well, once again, under the gun, you know how it goes.  Got less than 48 hours to hop on a plane and have easily 48+ hours worth of chores, so:

0:00-4:28: Greetings! And greetings! And greetings! A plan thwarted, and more non-comics talk. 4:28-25:32: Comics--we do remember to discuss them relatively quickly into the process.  We start with DC's attempted homicide of Graeme via Villains Month comp copies.  (If you listen carefully around the 6:34 mark, you can hear the strange corduroyesque whiffle of comics with the 3-D covers being pushed around).  Discussed: Darkseid, Reverse Flash, The Court of Owls, H'el, Cheetah, Lobo, Harley Quinn, The Riddler, and more. 25:32-33:19: Graeme re-read Forever Evil #1, and then read the deluxe edition of JLA: Earth Two; the Black Manta Villains Month issue; and what the fuck is up with Aquaman's villains, generally. 33:19-44:33: Jeff asks Graeme about Infinity since that is a thing he can do.  Graeme moves very quickly from there to Mighty Avengers by Al Ewing and Greg Land--you may be surprised by which member of that team we spend the most time talking about!  Also, for those of you, like Graeme, who were not aware of the Hungarian suicide song Jeff references, you can check it out here. 44:33-48:17: Jeff can't talk about Mighty Avengers by Al Ewing, but he can talk about Mars Attacks Judge Dredd by Al Ewing and John McCrea. 48:17-1:04:28: Also covered from the amazing week of comics that was our week off:  Murder She Writes by John Allison; 2000AD Prog #1850, featuring Damnation Station by Al Ewing and Mark Harrison; what is happening with the Megazine; and the differences between what sells in American comics as opposed to British comics; whether or not a bi-monthly book might work in the  direct market; and more! 1:04:28-1:29:01: Jeff purchased and took delight in the very consistent awfulness of The Secret Society of Super-Villains trade paperback, by Gerry Conway, Pablo Marcos, David Kraft, Bob Rozakis, Rich Buckler, Bob Layton and more.  Hopefully, I have the wherewithal to put up the photos I took of some of these pages because they are pretty amazing. Oh wait, here are a couple that we do indeed reference in our talk:

 photo 6522928B-8837-4386-8EA6-E3016F03BEAB-1614-000001024CB9C765_zps78c7e31a.jpg Darkseid, his dramatic potential fully realized by Pablo Marcos, Ernie Chua, and Vince Colletta;

 photo 740d2889-acd2-4683-b9d7-6047947e0568_zpse1134fac.jpg Face forward, true believers! I think this is a deliberate spoof of Kirby poses; Graeme was thinking Gil Kane (by Rich Buckler and Bob Layton);

 photo a980a79f-01dd-4a8c-a1d9-26e37938d850_zpsa1a416fd.jpg And speaking of True Believers, Funky Flashman is in most of these issues and by the end, the visual reference used is, uh, pretty darn direct (by Rich Buckler and Bob Layton)

Also included: an all-too-brief discussion of Marvel's similarly addled Super-Villain Team-Up (no accompanying visuals, alas). 1:29:01-1:49:32:  One book that both Graeme and I read this week (and--spoiler!--enjoyed) the first issue of Zero by Ales Kot, art by Michael Walsh, colors by Jordie Bellaire.  And Jeff thinks Graeme would really enjoy the "jam" issue of Prophet by Brandon Graham and everybody else.  Leads to a discussion about comic book writers, writers who write visually, and writers who are interested in created uniquely visual works.  How does this lead us back to the discussion of the ads in the Villains Month 3-D books as opposed to the 2-D books?  I'm editing this, and even I don't know. 1:49:32-2:01:04: That does lead us into a discussion of the ads in Batman '66, which are different. The advantage to this is, we get to talk about all the delightful stuff Jeff Parker and assorted artists are doing on Batman 66. Also covered: the Top Shelf sale that was going on while we recorded, and is still going on as this first gets posted. And that leads us to talking about the stuff available digitally for 2000AD, and comparing the prices for day-and-date-DRM'd digital subscription, and the DRM-free direct from the digital store stuff. 2:01:04-end:  Closing comments!  We are very confused about our recording schedule since Jeff will be traveling to New York.  We…think we will be back next week?

Anyway, that's the name of that tune, as Robert Blake used to say back in the days when he was quaint and not utterly terrifying.  You can find the ep. on iTunes and you can find it here.  The choice...is yours!

Wait, What? Ep. 135: Err Travel