more of the dark and more Avengers
When CIVIL WAR was announced it seemed that it was just a run - of - the - mill - crossover like dozens before. Well, this year the fallout from the event that changed the landscape of the Marvel universe seems to continue with DARK AVENGERS.
Well, I thought NEW SECRET DEFENDERS.....ahem, I mean " Bendis NEW AVENGERS " and MIGHTY AVENGERS were dark enough. Obviously Marvel doesn´t share my opinion so there is a new title. Like that´s what we really need. Another title. And more of the grom and gritty. I guess it´s true that it gets a whole lot worse before it gets better.
Okay, let´s not get too hasty in comdemming the title. It´s got Mike Deodato Jr. on pencils which means I finally know where he went off to after his THUNDERBOLTS issues. I can´t say much about the story because I don´t read too much previews and now that Marvel also has stopped providing MILE HIGH COMICS with preview pages ( because Marvel can´t give stuff away for free even if it multiplies their sales ) I can´t get it there neither. As it´s a new book it has the 3.99 price tag and I really love Mike Deodato......but not that much.
What´s more since this is going to be one of the " hot " titles the first trade will probably be out one month after issue six. So I´m not sure if I should put it on the pull list. Another thing I find weird is the variant cover for issue 3. I mean the regular cover is a full frontal boobity shot of Morgaine LeFay while the variant is.....Hawkeye ?
Okay, am I the only one hearing Cartman´s voice in my head ?
" Hawkeye or boobies ? "
" Hawkeye or boobies ? "
" Hawkeye on one side boobies on the other Side . Hmm, decisions, decisions. "
I think somebody should explain the concept of variant covers to Marvel. Or maybe not.
And since we haven´t had enough of secret invasions, secret illuminatis and behind - the - scenes movers and shakers with all the stuff involved with the Osborn Supremacy :
Doctor Doom! Emma Frost! The Hood! Namor the Sub-Mariner! Loki! They're the members of Norman Osborn's secret Cabal of villainy, united in common cause as they move to change the very landscape of the Marvel Universe! Now, in five all-new stories, learn how each member of this sinister syndicate intends to capitalize on the situation-and perhaps how they intend to deal with each other should it prove necessary!
Another 3.99 book that sounds like AVENGERS ILLUMINATI - only without Jim Cheung´s awesome pencils. Not that the stories were anything but boring and 90 percent pure WTF ? So now we really need more of that ? And am I the only one who´s slightly creeped out by female Loki ? Foki ? What ? I don´t know. Yes, Loki was always described as a kind of hermaphrodite in the original folk tales and having characteristics of both sexes. But it´s one thing to read about it in a book and another to see something like this in the comic continuity. I guess I´m just too used to see Loki as a guy in the pages of Marvel comics. This book is definitely a candidate for first taking a look at it when I see it in the comic shop.
more superheroes become superheroines
But wait.....there´s still more WTF to come. Foki ( Floki ? ) is nothing compared to....ta da da daaaa.....the NEW BLACK PANTHER ! Now with 100 percent more boobies !
As a comic reader who is reading comics for more than 20 years now I can tell you there´s a simple sign for when a comic publisher is at the end of the creative rope. And that´s when they introduce female versions of their comic characters. And I don´t mean books like SUPERGIRL, BATGIRL, SPIDER - GIRL or SHE - HULK. No, comic companies have always done female counterparts of their male heroes with sometimes mild success and - in a few cases - with really spectacular results.
No, what I mean is the " Oh no, Superman ( or the Punisher or any other comic character ) is suddenly a girl ! Who is she and where did she come from ? " Can you get more unoriginal ? I remember back when Rob Liefeld ( can´t believe I really mentioned that name on my blog ) was doing a month where all male heroes were suddenly chicks. Man, what a total gimmick ! Everybody was getting on his case. And now Marvel´s doing it.
The Black Panther is back.....and she´s badder than ever. Who is she ? Who cares ? Can somebody explain to me what was wrong with the Black Panther we had ? Okay, the sales might not have been as good lately. Which could have something to do with the fact that the art mostly......sucked. No, really. I have been reading the book since the relaunch because my brother has it on his pull list and apart from the issues by Scott Eaton there hasn´t been good art since John Romita Jr. left after ISSUE 6.
It´s always the same : comic publishers start a new title with a lot of hype, superstar artists and lots of expectations. Then after six months - I mean the first trade - the hype is gone taking with it the star artist, the high sales position and everybody is scratching their heads why fans leave the book in drones. You just can´t sell a title on their reputation of past glories alone. You have to put out a quality product if you want a permanent connection with the reader.
more totally different and all - new superheroines
Speaking of superheroes being suddenly superheroines this brings us to superheroines suddenly being totally different superheroines. Which brings us to one of the recurring topics on this blog : SHE - HULK. Why can´t they just let it die ? I think we all have accepted that Marvel.....well, basically they just don´t know what to do with the title. Other than completely destroying it. Finally Peter David had a good idea although you have to ask yourself why the idea of an " all girls team " is always the last thing he comes up with.
That was the case with SUPERGIRL where it got cancelled before he could implement it ( which basically happens when writers think they need 50 issues of buildup before they can share their really good ideas ) and in SHE - HULK he only got it in in the last issues before cancellation. I mean it was also in the restarted HULK book so obviously Marvel knows that it´s something that attracts readers.
If you have seen the variant cover by Arthur Adams you know on which AVENGERS story from the 70s this is based but I have to ask myself : Really, Marvel ? You need 40 years to come back to that ? You only JUST NOW realize that you should do a follow up ?
For years I have prophesied the end of the SHE - HULK title because Marvel doesn´t know how to do it. Is it really so hard ? I mean the last issues of HULK have shown that you CAN have good artists like Frank Cho and Arthur Adams working on a book without forcing them to do 22 pages a month. I think the basic idea is that Marvel is unclear on it´s target audience with this book. I guess they are not unaware that the title is mostly read by males even if they have clearly no intention to cater to that audience since neither the stories are what guys like to read nor the art is geared towards them - aside from the issues done by Paul Pelletier.
On the other hand I don´t think it´s really targeted at girls.
I mean where are the horses ? If you really want to be successful in capturing the female audience you have to include horses. Sounds like a cliche but if you look at successful comics in catering to this audience you can see that it´s true. It may be a coincidence and not intended for that purpose alone like in NEW MUTANTS but it works. And where are the horses ? In HULK. Yes, the Valkyrie appeared in the pages of SHE - HULK but not her flying horse.
Now it could be that the artist can´t draw horses but than he shouldn´t be on a comic book for girls. Unless it´s not a comic for girls. But then for who is it ? Anyway, seeing as Marvel has clearly no idea who their readers are and what they might like - add to that the sudden realization that they never really tapped into the potential of Thundra - their idea for a restart on SHE - HULK seems kind of desperate.
In the spirit of the old MARVEL TWO IN ONE they just mash SHE - HULK and THUNDRA together and I really don´t want to speculate with which new name the internet community will come up for her. Shundra ? Thulka ? Sunk ? I know that it has something to do with the RAMPAGING HULK special which is all of a sudden required reading.
Way to kill two comics with one atomic bomb.
Speaking about relaunches brings us to EXILES 1. Yes, after cancelling the first EXILES series with issue 100 ( we don´t want those three digit issue numbers ) and restarting the whole book as NEW EXILES under the pen of Chris Claremont they have just cancelled it again. Only to bring it back again in the hopes that it will stick the third time around. Now I haven´t read THAT many issues of the EXILES franchise - only the first issues that were covered in the MONSTER from PANINI where they basically fumbled all the FUCK YEAH !- moments and the run where Paul Pelletier did the artwork. I have already sold the issues from that period that were not done by Paul Pelletier since I have to start selectioning the parts of my huge comic collection I intend to keep.
And I have to say compared with the rest the final five issues that were written by Chris Claremont show a huge decline in quality. I really don´t want to say that Chris Claremont is only rewriting his old UNCANNY X - MEN scripts again and again. But how many times can you bring THE TERROR from the CAPTAIN BRITAIN books and EXCALIBUR back ? And always with the Psylocke. I know she´s his favorite character and every time somebody kills her he brings her right back. I like her too. But we all know the drill : Psylocke comes back, Psylocke goes to another dimension, Psylocke has to go up against that dimension´s Slaymaster and we all have to re - read the whole Psylocke / Slaymaster soap opera all over again. Really, it´s not even funny anymore.
So now Marvel tries it again.
This time without Chris Claremont and without good artists like Paul Pelletier or Tom Grummet. Or it may be just to raise the cover price to 3.99 since Marvel seems to have the policy only to raise the prices for new books ( at least at the moment ). But - they brought Blink back. And that´s what really counts. Maybe I´m totally off and Jeff Parker writes really good stories and Salvador Espin has made a huge jump in his artistic evolution - we´ll have to wait and see for that.
Wow, this and the last part have really turned out quite negative. But at first sight it seems there is not much good that has been announced for this year. I´ll have to continue the review of 2008 to post some postitve content. Or maybe there will be something cool in the third part. Anyway, as always a more uplifting picture to end this post : pantsless Namor. In the spirit of FREE WILLY the avenging son let´s his little submariner roam free. More power to him.
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