Friday, July 23, 2010

News from San Diego ComicCon 2010.

While I am still in the middle of my relocation I have been trying to keep on top of the news related to this hobby of mine - and the various characters that warm my heart's cockles.

Here's what news is new from the SDCC (San Diego ComiCon) as found on the CBR site [HERE]:


(and the ILLUMINATI):

"Illuminati will show up in Avengers #7," Bendis said, "they will be outed to the world for doing something even worse than they did last time."

Instead of trying to redeem what could have been an interesting secret society of super-heroes, instead they are continued to be portrayed as bumbling, incompetents and guilty of screwing up prety much everything they set their hand to.

Truthfully, when first revealed several years back, I kinda liked the concept of the Illuminati... a little.
I took offense at their portrayal from their first appearance, but only because they were being used to set up several massive blunders (Planet/ World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, perhaps parts of the Beyonder's SECRET WARS II stuff..., etc...), but the basic kernel of the idea really popped for me.

Instead of a cool, conspiracy-oriented bunch of stories of mystery and intrigue, we'll continue to get the 6 STOOGES (Yes. "6 Stooges"... even the 3 Stooges weren't just the 3 Stooges. There were Larry, Moe, Curly, Shemp, Ted Healy, Joe Besser, Curly Joe DeRita, Emil Sitka...).

Why can't I have nice things?

No word what will happen to DR. STRANGE (or DR. VOODOO) after this mess currently going on in NEW AVENGERS.



In keeping with his promise of wanting to work with ROM SPACEKNIGHT (as first blogged back in April of 2009 - HERE), Brian Michael Bendis seems to be following through.

When asked about the character, Bendis said "you will see [Rom] Space Knight show up in a future Avengers story."

Unfortunately, but necessary due to legalities, that will mean a redesign of ROM's armor (unless they have him appear in human form, as he has in the past), they won't be able to actually call him by name (ROM), and BENDIS - while seemingly into the character, will undoubtedly have "Space Knight" speaking in a pattern unrecognizable to ROM and fans of the character.

For all of us who have wanted to see a return of ROM, this will most likely fall into the category of: "Beware what you wish for... you just might get it."

Still, if they can find a way to make it work, there is a hint that ROM will be featured in the next AVENGERS title.

Lanning asked, "Who would be interested in a 'Cosmic Avengers' book?" Lots of applause.

Will there still be an ongoing cosmic title after "Thanos Imperative?" "Stay tuned," McCann said.

So... with the DIRE WRAITHS still running around (as seen in recent issues of FANTASTIC FOUR and DARKSTAR and the WINTER GUARD), having ROM resurface was inevitable.

I'm staying tuned.


(And Marvel HORROR):

Will more horror characters come back? Several: "Yes."

"Satana will be showing up in the upcoming 'Women of Marvel' digital miniseries," Horwitz said.

I know Son of Satan (Damien Hellstrom) is featuring pretty largely recently (New Avengers being the most recent starring profile), and he and his sister SATANA will both be getting BOWEN mini-busts soon as well.

With her appearances here and there over the past few years, SATANA is ready for a return.

As for MAN-THING, no mention that I could find, but he's been doing well thus far in THUNDERBOLTS, so... if that's all he gets lately, it's all good.

(Although, the looooong-awaited Man-Thing graphic novel, written by former Man-Thing scribe; Steve Gerber - penned before his death, and illustrated by Kevin Nowlan - has been hinted at a release in the near future. Whether it remains in graphic novel format or is broken into a mini-series is anyone's guess.)



Marvel has announced a STRANGE TALES II, follow-up anthology mini-series, since the previous one (with all independent / underground comic creators) proved itself to be a hit.

While DOC was featured in the previous series', aside from the usage of his original comic's title, there's no telling if he will appear in this next foray.

But for MORE info on this series, with specific creators and plans mentioned, check out the story being updated on CBR [HERE].


That's all for now.

If I see anything else interesting, I'll try to pop it on here.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Don't FEAR The Ferry Man-Thing!
- or -
Have THUNDERBOLT - Will Travel.


Marvel's THUNDERBOLTS has long been a dynamic comic with a slightly different angle than most traditional super-hero fare.
It being a team comprised mostly of villains:

  • Those trying to dupe the world into thinking that they are doing the work of heroes in order to reap rewards and further their own evil desires.

  • Those who were villains, but are now seeking redemption.

In this latest incarnation, written by Jeff Parker, the Thunderbolts meld both types of teams into one: villains who are incarcerated and are being forced to do the work of heroes as a part of their sentencing.

As I mentioned a few months back [HERE] Marvel has been, for the past year or so, prepping the MAN-THING for bigger things

Jeff Parker has set his unique vision upon the Man-Thing and has him / it stand hunch side by side with heroes and (former?) villains in this new incarnation of the ragtag team of misfits, outcasts and ne'er-do-well's.

issue 144 cover by Marko Djurdjevic

So, how does Man-Thing fit in with a group led by Luke Cage that consists of:
Juggernaut, Ghost, Moonstone, Songbird, and Crossbones?

Only in the most awesome way possible:

Your cabbie's name is MANNY.


Man-Thing is being used as the team's mode of TRANSPORT!

Utilizing an ability that has not been seen much since the 1997 HEROES RETURN era, Man-Thing is able to tap directly into the Nexus of All Realities in order to summon mystical gateways between one place and any other - seemingly anywhere, since the Nexus bridges time, space and realities.

The first instance of this ability being shown so overtly was back in GENERATION X # 25 (which led directly to DAYDREAMERS 3-part mini-series and then the HEROES REBORN: The RETURN 4-part miniseries).

Written by Scott Lobdell with art by Chris Bachalo, I wonder whose idea it was to have Man-Thing be able to teleport in that manner? Was it Lobdell or possibly J.M. DeMatteis, who was the writer of the DAYDREAMERS mini which this issue set up?

Either way, it answered a common problem of having the Man-Thing get around from Point-A to Point-B without having to fall into garbage trucks or be captured and transported by mercenary groups.

As long as he could return to the swamps that empowered him with vitality, Man-Thing now had a much broader range of activity than just the Florida Everglades and surrounding environs.

Now, I hear you asking;
"But the Man-Thing isn't a criminal! Why is he on a team of convicts?"

Ah! Excellent question. You're paying attention.
As a part of the dubious "Registration Act" that set the whole Marvel "CIVIL WAR" into being, any super-powered entity who did not register with the US government's Initiative Program (ostensibly as a Weapon of Mass Destruction) was subject to arrest and imprisonment.

Believe it or not, the Initiative was sent to get the Man-Thing to register (which as a near mindless monster wasn't likely to happen).

This, as I mentioned in a previous post on the Man-Thing [once again - HERE] was back in Marvel Comics Presents v2 # 12.

MCP v2 # 12
Jai Nitz (writer), Ben Stenbeck (artist)

which was then followed-up in Dark Avengers #10, where Ares and the other Dark Avengers captured Man-Thing for Norman Osborn and held him/it as a prisoner.

written by Brian Bendis, art by Mike Deodato

So, that brings us up to speed. Right?


You're now wondering that if Man-Thing needs to be in contact with the swamp in order to survive, just how did he live while in Government captivity?

Well... luckily, with the ouster of Norman Osborn at the end of the "DARK REIGN" and subsequent "SIEGE", kinder and gentler souls were put in charge of things (and Man-Things).

Hank "Ant-Man/ Giant-Man/ Goliath/ YellowJacket/ Wasp" Pym (aka the "Scientist Supreme") saw fit to do what he could to make good use of the misshapen muck monster - one who could theoretically be seen as an otherwise life-threatening hazard, and also give him/it a small piece of "home".

Wait for it...

Oh, how AWESOME is that?

I almost died when I saw how beautifully artist Kevin Walker and colorist Frank Martin bring a life, energy and "personality" to the Man-Thing!
Still, I do hope that writer Jeff Parker avoids bestowing much cognitive thought to Manny (as he did in the X-Men First Class series - as I wrote about [HERE]).

Pym suggests that Man-Thing might have some cognizance... but it is different from ours, so that might be Parker's way out, thus allowing him to bestow some more presence-of-mind to Manny than his usual empathic nature and garbled, quickly-forgotten thoughts and remembrances.

Only time will tell.

While being the living protector and guardian of the Nexus of All Realities is no small job description, breathing some new life and purpose into Man-Thing is a fantastic thing to THIS muck-head fan.

Still, I take some issue with the belief that the government would even be able to destroy the Man-Thing if they wanted to.

The reasoning that Man-Thing is in prison also because he has been linked to several deaths, is an interesting one. Almost like placing a dangerous animal in a zoo after they mauled a hiker or something, it is "humane" treatment and serves to give extra purpose to a life that might otherwise be sacrificed in the name of "justice".

But, utilizing the Man-Thing as "the Quinjet" is just plain nifty, and one reason why comics are so damn cool.
Luke Cage is right, as "Scientist Supreme", Hank Pym doesn't think anywhere NEAR the box.

Awww.... they're friends now.
I absolutely LOVE the deep, penetrating, backlit eye-ball glowing effect by Walker and Martin.
It masks any possible "thoughts" than might be going on inside Man-Things "mind", all the while imbuing a sense of danger and extra-sensory-perception to the near-mindless muck-heap.

But that was only the FIRST introductory issue (# 144). The next issue (#145) sees the "team" on its first mission.

issue 145 cover by Marko Djurdjevic

Before the mission gets started the entire team heads down to Man-Thing's sanctuary to catch a ride.
Oh, creative team, I you so much.

It is truly fabulous that Man-Thing creeps out even the toughest, most hardened criminal.
(But since "Whatever knows fear BURNS at the touch of the Man-Thing", I sense a LOT of "burning" to be going on in future issues. Yay!)

Pym's interface allows for a smooth Manny-powered transport.

The art team of Walker and Martin make the trip complete with a nice visual mix of the mystical (glowing red swirlies) with the technological (Star Trek "transporter"-like fade-out).

Keeping him in character, Jeff Parker shows that with nothing triggering his empathic alarms, Man-Thing is a neutral force in the ensuing battle with escaping trolls (much to Songbird's dismay).

Don't blame the Man-Thing. He's a lover not a fighter.

With Man-Thing on board for the foreseeable future (at least confirmed through issues 148 - 149 which will be a "Shadowland" crossover), and with an excellent creative team, THUNDERBOLTS, like a fine cream, has risen to the very TOP of the heap.

It is the new "destination" comic that I have to read first - and Man-Thing is the one collecting my fare.

"Tamam Shud!"


This review post was originally written (75% of it anyway) well over a month ago, but not wrapped up until now. As many readers know, I'm in the middle of a relocation, and I've fallen waaay behind on my intended [and sometimes already-in-progress] posts. I apologize for the delays. Please stick with me.
This blog will continue with what time I can spare.

Thank you.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Occult Operative of LIBERTY


Today is JULY the 4th, which - here in AMERICA, is the day we celebrate our "Freedom" and "Independence".
We Americans no longer suffer under the yoke of any who would hold sway over us.
No one and nothing rules us or our life path!
That's right. Our lives are completely and totally our own.

In order to participate with the spirit of the day as well as keeping the RED, WHITE and BLUE motif of the day, I present to you the recent production of:

Occult Operative of LIBERTY!

This totally free-minded mash-up of Doctor Strange and Captain America was written by Matt Fraction, with art by Brendan McCarthy, letters by Todd Klein and colors by special friend of the blog (and myself) - fellow Dr. Strange uber-fan; Howard Hallis!

Created as a 6-page story in the recent "Captain America : Who WON'T Wield the Shield" one-shot, DOCTOR AMERICA is a "DITKIRBANKO" (Ditko, Kirby, Steranko - natch!) bit of weirdness that touches base with the psychedelia of the 1960's/1970's era comics, op-art and politics (with too many Nixon references to shake a subpoena at).

More a demonically-tinted, mystically "satanic", Captain America origin tale than anything really "Dr Strange" related (except for some trappings) - it is still enough of a tribute to Doc and the "strangeness" of those early silver age comics for my inclusion here on the blog.

Flawed, yet totally entertaining, this story is a small, but awesome part of the
"Captain America : Who WON'T Wield the Shield" comic.

Truthfully, the comic itself - while possessing some truly fantastic parts, is flawed and filled with that detestable kind of mock self-deprecating humor that only the most guilty offender uses to try and hide their own deeply-seated self-loathing.

Using the old Marvel "mascot", FORBUSH-MAN, as a sort of "Winter Soldier" stand-in, the comic pokes fun at Marvel, several characters and creators as well as Marvel's publishing practices in toto - all the while providing just enough goodness to ensure that we come back for more.

In short, it seems aimed to try and make readers want to hate Marvel all the while knowing that they have us right where they want us - on the hook.

In short... not "Free" or "Independent" at all.

But, there are some really good points to the comic, and it does feature some color artwork by a friend, plus it features a pretty wild "Doctor Strange"-esque "Captain America"-like story, which is like some crazy-assed fireworks for your brain, so... go get it anyway!
(Note: This comic came out in Late April 2010, so my review is waaaay late, but I'm sure you can find it easily enough.)

Hey, maybe you can download it soon onto your iPhone, iPad, iPod, or computer with one of the 100,000,000 apps that are available.
Then, you can feel free to write about it on YOUR blog, tell your friends on Facebook, tweet it on Twitter and text your friends and family showing that you are indeed free... of everything... except for mass media and electronic devices and networking and ... comics.