Friday, November 07, 2008

Solicitations - part 4

Somehow I'm in a cartoon mood lately because after finishing the LEGION OF SUPERHEROES cartoon I just found some links where you can watch the new SPECTACULAR SPIDER - MAN cartoon which is what I basically did while the whole day while trying to save something on a disc.

Well, that didn't work out so now I have decided to post something while I try again. I'm going to do a post about the new Spider - Man cartoon in a few days but today it's back to my solicitation commentary. Hopefully I can wrap it up with this chapter.

I just want to say that I really like the new Spider - Man cartoon. I know there are some changes ( there always are ) and while I'll probably never see a cartoon or movie version in which Peter Parker is the Steve Ditko weakling of original I'm just happy that Peter's not a muscular He - Man like in the 80s cartoon.

Now on with the solicitations :


I have read far more issues of the title than I thought when I first heard of the project. Because even though I'm a fan of Darwyn Cooke after his brilliant NEW FRONTIER I wasn't so sure if we really need another attempt at reviving Will Eisner's classic. There was a series before this that tried and failed and quite frankly there were only two good issues in the series : the first one which was drawn by the incomparable Dave Gibbons and another one where ASTRO CITY's Brent Anderson did the artwork.

So while I didn't expect that Darwyn Cooke would totally rock on this title I had planned to stay as long as he was on the book. I thought that after that I would be off the title. Well, due to top notch artists like Eduardo Risso and Paul Smith I'm still reading the title. I even had some issues shipped to Spain because it's one of the titles I haven't on my pull list. Mostly because there is the occasional guest artist I don't like that much. And because I'm not exactly sure which issues I do have. In Germany that's easy because I just have to look in my comic box but here in Spain I have to rely exclusively on my memory. But I still can't recommend the book high enough. If you are a fan of the original series you will find many of the things that made THE SPIRIT great in this title. And if you are new to it this is the perfect starting place. Who knows you might even enjoy it that much that you want to try out the original version.

What I especially like about the book is that it's just fun. Even though there are dark stories and gruesome murders it's lighthearted entertainment with moments reminiscent of great movie classics with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall - especially in the spy stories. In today's market with books trying to out - creep and out - realist each other with flying heads, zombies and whatnot it's just nice to read a comic that's fun.


I'm not sure if this is based on a cartoon show or not. I'm probably just going to buy this one because I don't like the artwork that much but I just have to find out why every one is dressed as Batman. This reminds me of the comics I read as a kid where they tried to come up with such unbelievable situations that you just had to buy the issue. Yes, some of the stories were not as great as the cover made you believe but I just love the idea of totally going out on a limb and try to tell the craziest story you can come up with.


Looks like there's a real Superwoman in town to kick Supergirl's scrawny ass. Which is probably not going to happen. If I know my new Supergirl title this is just another cheap ploy in a long line of cheap ploys to sell us this new bulemic Supergirl light. They already tried this twice : first by having her beat up Power Girl with the lame excuse that she weakens Power Girl's powers and then by comparing her to a version of the original Supergirl who turned out evil. Which was kind of weird because not three issues ago Supergirl herself ( the new one ) had been evil. You may have noticed that I said " by comparing her to a version of the original Supergirl " because they wrote her just too boring and nice so she was more a parody than the one and only original - accept no substitites - golden oldie Supergirl.

Well, I'm not giving up hope that someone finally puts the new Supergirl out of her misery but I fear that even though this new Superwoman may kick her butt New Supergirl will win in the end. As it is I'm just glad it's on my brother's pull list so I don't have to spend money on this.


I'm just happy that DC finally did something with their Tangent Universe. It's not as if I bought every issue but I have the FLASH issues ( mainly because the art was done by Gary Frank and Paul Pelletier ) and some others and my brother also bought some of the books. So I read a good part of the story and even if it's not the most revolutionary ELSEWORLDS series it offers a nice parallel universe. The whole idea of just taking the names of DC characters and totally make up everything else sounds weird but it really works.

I have read the first six issues so far and what brings out the difference of these versions is having them act side by side with their regular DC universe namesakes.


I want this book, dammit ! I'm trying to get some issues but so far I have had no luck. My regular comic shop doesn't seem to carry the title because every time I looked for it they had none. And since I ordered the books I had shipped to Spain mostly from them I haven't read a single issue. Last time I ordered from a different comic shop in Germany who not only is cheaper but they have all the issues. The only problem was that I couldn't order any in my last order because that would have exceeded my limit. So I have to wait till I get back to Germany to finally get my hands on the issues. Like I said I haven't read a single issue but if it's just half as good as Balthazar's PATRICK THE WOLF BOY it's worth every cent.

And with that we have now officially crossed over to Marvel territory.


When Paul Jenkins first did the Sentry book it was kind of mean spirited because of the whole thing with it being Marvel's first superhero before Superman but which got lost because the files fell behind a cabinet in the Marvel offices sounded kind of weird. An when it came out that it was just Jenkins' sick kind of April's fool to pull the wool over the coomic readers with that stunt for many it didn't matter how good the book was. And the first series was really good but the resolution to the second book was even worse than the resolution in the first series.

I'm going to spoil a bit but that's okay because it will just prevent you from reading bad comics or expecting too much going into these things. Because the series themselves are rather good and in the second series we even get John Romita Jr on art. But it was kind of disappointing to read the first one and the big climax was - what ? That his nemesis is his evil personality and he got his powers from drinking some elixir from a bottle instead of some typical experiment ? Man, that would have mattered if his continuity had been real like Superman's.

Which is basically what the character is - the Marvel version ( or at least the Paul Jenkins version ) of Superman. Not like Alan Moore's Supreme where he just told Superman stories but with a different character. I wonder why don't other comic artists do the same instead of going to the big two ? Anyway, instead of it being a Superman clone they did a whole different background in which he sits in this clocktower with his mechanical servant telling him which disasters are about to happen and which to prevent. And of course the whole evil nemesis thing and the " stronger than a million suns " works pretty well. As well as him constantly throwing things into the sun. Which sounds kind of stupid but if I had his powers I would throw every one who pisses me off into the sun too.

Anyway, for these kind of payoffs to work you have to have a charcter for whose continuity this would create a huge impact. But with a character that was retroactively implanted into Marvel continuity - who cares ? In real time this guy is only around a few months. And the second big reveal was that the elixir would have worked on everyone ? Well, that would have been a big reveal if the reader would believe it would only work for him. But since that was never established or stressed in the comic it did't really work.

Now aside from the original source material's suck factor this book might actually be good. From the looks they are going for a retro feel kind of stories that just use the blank space in Sentry history to tell stories. The art looks kins of " Darwyn - Cook - ish " but I have to take a look at this at the comic shop and see for myself. And of course to find out why the solicitation cover has this big white space on top. Either the book is shorter than the other Marvel books or they need the space for the logo. Or they have something there that's supposed to be secret. Or they just use this space for ads - which is why I put the " this space for rent " there.


Well, so far I haven't read anything in this whole BLAND NEW DAY fiasko that I haven't read a dozen times in the old comics. There may be million fans out there who are praising the new direction for returning the original Spider - Man of their youth but that's mostly because they don't really compare them. If they did they would find out they already read all those stories - only in a more condensed format and with better art.

So - I guess after rehashing old plot devices they return to old villains. Not that this could get any worse. The only postive was the NEW WAYS TO DIE storyline that had art by John Romita Jr. and which offered something new - Norman Osborn putting the pressure on Peter Parker because he's got the New Thunderbolts and the United States government on his side. That was new. But for the rest ? Well, we still got our KRAVEN'S LAST HUNT and other stories featuring the real Spider - Man to read. Because what we can't read anymore in the forseeable future is :


Oh my god ! They killed Spider - Girl ! Those bastards !

Yes, they really did it. After years of trying to get rid of the pesky title that reminded all the other spiderbooks how good the original series was Quesada finally squashed it. More than 11 years the fans managed to keep the title alive but it seems what Quesada wants - Quesada gets. And what he wants right now is to bury the MC2 universe once and for all with issue 30. They canceled the title. They uncanceled the title. They canceled it again. And when all this didn't work they relaunched it after issue 100 to finally get rid of it. All of which didn't work. Well, it seems this one is going to stick.

I think it's sad because so far I have enjoyed most of the MC2 universe and I was thrilled with each new mini that tied in to the whole parallel world. I even got the AMERICAN DREAMER series - which I'm going to write about on this blog just to rub Quesada's nose in it. Man, I don't know why I'm so cranky today. Okay. I do know. Both times it's got something to do with the spiderfranchise and both times it's because of Joe Quesada. So it's not my fault. It wasn't enough to ruin the main spiderbooks now he has to destroy the only spiderbook that was any good. Probably to force us to read his mutilation of Spider - Man.

Anyway, I'm just happy that I could read the book for as long as it lasted and I want to thank every one who worked on it. I also want to thank all the Spidergirlies out there for fighting so hard for it. In the end it didn't last or like series writer Tom DeFalco wrote : " To those who predicted that Spider-Girl would never last, you were right. (You were off by a little over 11 years, but you were right.) "

And on that bitter note I'm going to end this part. I hate to do that but it's already very late and I don't want to have all the negative things in one post. So we'll return for more Marvel and more - even if it's only minor - things that piss me off in part five.

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