Everything is not where it used to be, and I have to find a new way to do things. I´ve been watching a bit more Mtv now that I have a vcr again with which I can tape stuff. Not watch stuff - only tape it. The videochannel on the television in the studio doesn´t work so I have to switch channels according to a list I made with all the tv stations and watch it on another vcr. The vcr / harddrive recorder thing we have in the living room is kind of broken which means that you can still watch DVDs and record stuff on the harddrive but it destroys all video tapes. I always said it´s a bad idea to buy two technical devices in one because if one is broken you have to send both to get fixed. Which means that for the time being I can´t watch the hundreds of video tapes that my brother recorded for me with ONE PIECE, AVATAR or that special episode of SLIDERS.
To that end I have now bought the fourth season of SLIDERS on DVD, because I didn´t get it for Christmas like I hoped, but I have no idea when I will have the chance to watch it since my mother is always watching something on tv. I bought the DVDs when I was in Ludwigsburg the last time with a friend but he immediatelly ratted me out to my brother. Well, next time I decide to buy something I just have to make it a top secret mission. You can´t trust anybody. As it is I can´t watch the videos on my brothers vcr because it´s not connected to the television. It seems that it also wrecks the tapes you put into it.
I haven´t had much time to post in the past few days ( aside from some quick posts on my other blog - but they are not as time intensive as the posts here and can be done while I´m doing other stuff ) because we are now constantly watching movies on the big screen. Three weeks before we got it my brother stopped watching movies and it seems he´s making up for it now. So I keep taping stuff and putting it on the big pile to watch later. Oh, one funny thing : my mother tells me to throw away the tapes because I never watch them. Bada - bum. Never knew my mom was a comedian.
Okay, it´s time to do a review of 2008 in comics. It´s not going to be a complete review because quite frankly I missed big parts of it. I went to Spain in April and just got back in November. So I am just now catching up with most series on my pull list and I´m over one year behind on some books. Thanks to the internet I could catch up to a lot of stuff but there are still huge gaps. So there will be stuff from last year on this review.
2008 - the Marvel year
Well, the first thing Marvel brought us was SECRET INVASION another huge event to follow up from CIVIL WAR. Most comic readers said that after a year the effects of CIVIL WAR would be negated but that was obviously an error. The superhero registration act is still in effect, there are still superheroes working in the underground and it seems to be snowballing if the announcements for 2009 are any indication. SECRET INVASION originally spun out of SECRET WAR that awful Bendis mini where every superhero acted so much out of character that it´s a wonder nobody realized they were all skrulls. Or weren´t they ?
While I enjoyed SECRET INVASION as far as I could read it it´s now a convenient way for Marvel to make up for all the continuity errors and every time a writer didn´t get a character right. Wolverine bawling like a baby because Spider - Man bitch slaps him ? Must have been a skrull. She Hulk sleeps with the Juggernaut ? Must have been a skrull. Wolverine not wanting to hop into the sack with She Hulk ? Most definitely a skrull. Brand New Day ? Sorry, it seems that one is going to stick. Suffer dude. But have heart. There will come a time when all this will be negated and the next JMS comes around and makes Spider - Man cool again.
But let´s concentrate on the good stuff from Marvel :
If Greg Pak´s psycho trip PLANET HULK was good for anything ( besides WORLD WAR HULK ) then it´s got to be the new Hulk series by Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuiness. This slambang nonstop action movie shows what the Hulk has always been about : less talk, more smashing. I already said that Marvel needs a Hulk that lays the smack down and is the meanest mother on hte block - in fact I did when I saw the first preview image for the new series.
And so far the series didn´t disappoint. The mystery of the real identity of el toro rojo ( I think it sounds waaay cooler than Rulk ) is still not solved as Doc Samson was obviously a red herring. If you ask me it´s Glenn Talbot. I mean someone with military training who uses guns, knows all the secondary characters and hates Hulk as well as Banner ? That all fits Glenn Talbot.
Additionally Marvel has sweetened the deal by having Arthur Adams and Frank Cho drawing the book now. The only problem with that is : what took them so long ? For years I´ve been writing that they should just get top notch artists on their books....even if they can´t do a full issue. They can put more than one artist on an issue because as long as they´re good nobody will complain. Back in the day Marvel did it all the time and had two or more stories running in one book. Maybe the anthology is making a comeback.
But so far the Hulk rollercoaster has just started.
hulk 1 / hulk 2 / hulk 5
ANNIHILATION wasn´t that bad. Most of the tie - ins were mainly for completists and the really interesting stuff really happened in the main book and another one : Nova. Then came ANNIHILATIN CONQUEST and this time around the tie ins were much better. And the main book.....who could argue with Tom Raney as the perfect artist for this ? But Nova´s still one of the best books connected to this. Solid writing, fantastic art ( some issues were even done by Paul Pelletier before he jumped to GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY ) and a storyline with twists when you least expect them has made Nova still one of the must - reads from Marvel. This one delivers the great space opera as well as quiet character moments. I just hope that my brother will finally put it on his pull list so I can continue to read it.
nova 1 / nova 2 / nova 3 / nova 4 / nova 5 / nova 6 / nova 7 / nova 8 / nova 9 / nova 10 / nova 11 / nova 12 / nova 13 / nova 14 / nova 15
THE IMMORTAL IRON FIST
I know, the title is running longer but I just discovered it this year thanks to the internet. Like Nova I hope to pique my brothers interest especially since I gave him the second trade for Christmas ( he hasn´t read the first trade because it ends with a cliffhanger ). Why is there no IRON FIST movie ? It would be one of the easiest movies to make with little or no specail effects if you take someone like Tommy Yah as the main character. I mean what´s so difficult ? Take three martial arts superstars, cast them as Iron fist, Shang Chi and the Cat, have them go on some kind of tournament - that´s like printing money.
And if you don´t know what story to choose just red the Iron Fist book. I don´t know what makes it so cool : the long legacy of the Iron Fist the series is weaving through the centuries, the Kung Fu action with the signature moves ( I swear it´s like a Hong Kong cinema Kung Fu styles encyclopedia ) or the parallel storytelling. What I do know is that the combination of it all produces one of Marvel´s strongest hitting books. And it´s one of the few titles in which the " different artists in one book " approach really works since each artist seems to be handpicked for the part of the story he illustrates. It also helps that each artist stays in his respective part of the overall story.
If you like big martial arts movies with Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan mixed with a bit of history like Lone Wolf and Cub with a bit of Quentin Tarantino crazyness on top.....well, why the heck aren´t you reading IMMORTAL IRON FIST ?
iron fist 1 / iron fist 2 / iron fist 3 / iron fist 4 / iron fist 5 / iron fist 6 / iron fist 8 / iron fist 9 / iron fist 10 / iron fist 11 / iron fist 12 / iron fist 13 / iron fist 14 / iron fist 15 / iron fist 16 / iron fist 17 / iron fist 18
Okay, it´s not perfect. It could come out on a more regular basis and what the hell is that square piece chainmail supposed to be ? But deadlines and weird costume aside : Thor is back ! Not with a whimper but with a bang ! I had my doubts about this title but that only lasted till Thor gave Iron Man a piece of his mind. Tzhat´s how Thor is supposed to be. Admittedly it´s a different approach than Walter Simonson´s and I still don´t know why Marvel brought Don Blake back. Thor is one of the titles I have followed over the years and there has been good times, bad times and mediocre times. But.....so far it´s rather interesting and I´m giving JMS leeway till he finally reveals the big plan behind it all. And we could really have worse artists than Olivier Coipel.
How his work looks depends to a great part to the inker he gets but on THOR it really matches his art. So far so good.
thor 1 / thor 2 / thor 3 / thor 4 / thor 5 / thor 6 / thor 7 / thor 8
THOR - TRUTH OF HISTORY
I know it´s just a oneshot but everything that involves Alan Davis is instantly on my pull list and the story was really good. Of course not as good as the next one.
One of Marvel´s funniest, grittiest and action packed titles makes you ask : why isn´t it promoted better ? It´s one of the great misteries why someone as good as Alan Davis has not the superstar status at Marvel that he so clearly deserves. I may be a bit late with this title for 2008 but I only read the last three issues Yesterday. I thought I had it on my pull list so I didn´t order the book from Spain. Well as it turned out when I came back, this is one of the books on my pull list that fell between the cracks from the switch from my old comic shop to the new one.
But thanks to Andy´s Comicexpress I have them now. What always amazes me is Alan Davis´fantastic panel layout and how much he can put in five issues. The other thing I always wonder is why he didn´t go creator owned with CLAN DESTINE since it could work as good as it does outside of the Marvel universe. In my opinion Marvel needs Alan Davis more than Alan Davis needs Marvel. I´m not sure what his next project will be but I would love to see him do his own stuff. GEN 13 bootleg showed us how easy it is for his to come up with dozen of characters at the drop of a hat and it´s high time Alan Davis started thinking about the future. Especially since he doesn´t make any progress at the big two.
clan destine 1 / clan destine 2
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
The racoon made me do it ! I swear it´s his fault. I didn´t want to read ANNIHILATION. Or ANNIHILATION CONQUEST. But when I heard that one of the coolest comic characters who has ever graced the pages in the 80s was part of one of the tie´- in books for the latter I just had to read it all. The best of the Annihilation Conquest books was of course the one with Rocket Raccon and if you read one issue of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY you know why Paul Pelletier prefers this book to Nova. It´s the magnificient seven in space with superpowers and Adam Warlock. And the usual band of misfits from the Annihilation books. And the racoon.
Rocket Racoon is just the coolest member of the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY with Groot a close second. I would have prefered the title ROCKET RACOON AND HIS HUMAN HANGER - ONS or GROOT AND BRANCHES but I guess for Marvel it makes more sense to go with a title that readers already know.
guardians of the galaxy 1 / issue 2 / issue 3
And that wraps up the first part of the Marvel review of 2008. Next time : more Civl War fallout, more registration chaos and more skrulls.
New to the blog ? Everything you need to know about TALES FROM THE KRYPTONIAN : top ten posts / more posts of interest
Last but not least here´s the new banner that´s going to be at the end of all finished posts from now on since you must already be tired of the old one.
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing to have.