How about that Jeff Lemire fella? On the heels of him becoming the new writer for Justice League Dark, he still continues to produce great content with Animal Man #6 being the next to shine. John Paul Leon though really shined, taking up the bulk of the art to give Travel Foreman a break, bringing a darker vibe to Buddy Baker’s previous stint as an actor. All-around great filler issue before stuff hits the fan in the upcoming issues.
Over in Marvel land, Venom #13 starts the “Circle of Four” story with Venom, Red Hulk, X-23, and Ghost Rider all getting a piece of the action as hell comes to Las Vegas. Fun and nonsensical, you can see Rick Remender having a lot of fun with this series. And Tony Moore’s pencils will wow you.
If you want your fill of Bucky and former KGB spy hunting, look no further than in Winter Soldier #1. This is a return to form for me after Bucky got lost in the shuffle as Captain America when Steve Rogers came back and then was “killed” in Fear Itself. Ed Brubaker shines when he gets to focus on select characters and tell great spy thrillers. Put this one in that category as well.
Music provided by Agnostic Phibes Rhythm and Blood Conspiracy – Wolfman Franz
While I may not do it enough, I’ve made it an effort on CBF to educate the masses on why comic books are as just as good storytelling medium as any other medium on the market. Whether it’s the dominant superhero genre, the all-ages stories, or the independent sleepers – comics probably has the most variety of means and methods for delivering visual storytelling.
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to get new readers to buy into the comic book buying habit with a smaller market, high prices, and superhero books knee deep in continuity. Thus, the following is the beginning of a new series of articles that will dive into various books that are not only fresh starts for new readers, but great chances for current readers to expand their horizons.
Batman is the self-chosen protector of Gotham City, but if you’ve read his adventures long enough, you almost get a sense that he’s also the entire police force. Sure, Commissioner Gordon or Harvey Bullock will come in and give their unit some competence, but otherwise, Batman’s catching the bad guys and leaving the clean-up to the cops.
Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker decided to change that perception in the early 2000′s with Gotham Central. It focuses on a team of Gotham’s detectives, taking on crimes they might be getting in over their heads on, but are still willing to do it for the sake of the city. Think Law & Order, only more freakish, which you’d come to expect with Gotham City.
This unfortunately is one of the series I came in late to after slowly coming back to comics in the mid 2000′s. I’ve only read the first trade and am quickly looking to get the next. But it’s already won me over. The industry spoke highly of its focus on the police and what it was able to do not having the resources that Batman has. It also brought about the controversial, yet ground-breaking story arc that outed Renee Montoya as a lesbian. This was the start of her self-destruction, as she would later leave the force and succumb to alcoholism. It would be several years before she would redeem herself as the new Question that she is today.
What’s great about this is you can market the book to new readers as a cop drama interwoven into the Batman mythology, only you don’t need to know years of Batman history to understand what it’s about. They’re cops, they’re struggling in a city eating itself alive, and they’re determined to get the job done even though they at times believe Batman would be better suited for it. The characterization is just amazing and what more you could expect in the hands of talented writers like Rucka and Brubaker (and let’s bear in mind too that these two were just getting their names out in the comics mainstream, which makes it all the more amazing). Brilliant methods for grounding real-world stories in a world of costumed vigilantes and villains.
It says much about the book when the internet wants this to be the next TV series to replace Smallville. I don’t know if it will get that far, but for now, this will whet your appetite. Give it a shot.
No contest this week – Brightest Day #7 lived up to the promise made by Geoff Johns that we were going to get some answers to help move the story along. Granted, we now have more questions as a result of those answers, but hey – if we got all the answers right away, what would we do for the next 20 issues? Bang up job by Johns, Tomasi, and crew.
Some good honorable mentions are talked about too on the show. I get into Jonah Hex #58 and Gray and Palmiotti’s great take on the Old West bounty hunter, rekindle my love for Captain America in issue #608, and highlight a sleeper in Baltimore : The Plague Ships from Dark Horse. Such a good time for the middle-tier books to shine during a time where the key DC and Marvel books took a break this week.
Enjoy the show!
It takes a couple of reads to really get where Grant Morrison is heading, but in the end, he paints a good picture about not only what happens when Bruce Wayne jumps to different time periods, but what that effect is having on the entire DC universe. Think witch-hunts, Lovecraftian monsters, and the end of time and you got a good Morrison book. Ultimately, I think I just enjoyed Bruce wearing a Puritan hat and everybody calling each other brother.
Enjoy, folks! Here’s a kitty!
So it’s official – Chris Evans puts on the star-spangled costume in 2011, finally helping to get the ball rolling for the new Captain America movie. I’m sure Marvel is pretty ecstatic to finally get some movement going for the last of the Big Three that will comprise the core of the Avengers movie in 2012. The question now remains is will we get the right Captain America movie when it hits theaters.
I’m sure you’re curious now as to what I feel is the right Captain America movie. I don’t think it needs to be too complex – what’s so complicated about a guy picking up a shield and fighting Nazis – but it at least needs to hit these core values:
1) Stick to the WWII time frame – for a lot of introductory superhero movies and shows nowadays, it’s been very difficult to stick to the origin story and come up with something unique and make them stand out. Cap stands out right away because this will be Marvel’s chance to really tell a great WWII superhero story. Does it not sound awesome to see Cap charging with shield in front into a whole Nazi platoon?
Granted, we will eventually need to transition this into the 21st century if we want to know why a WWII veteran is leading a superhero team and somehow can keep his face fresh without botox, but it need not be the core of this origin story.
2) Don’t get a cameo addiction – the one thing you can definitely say that made X-Men 3 and Wolverine stink badly was trying to fit way too many characters into short time frames. While X-Men 3 can be somewhat forgiveable knowing that they wanted to end the trilogy with a cameo bang, that was not forgiveable for what was supposed to be the definitive origin story of one of Marvel’s signature characters. Captain America cannot fall into that trap – this is Cap’s story through and through and the supporting characters need to be key in building that story instead of bringing it down into the eternal abyss. They cannot be just there for the sake of being there.
3) Keep the politics out – IGN Comics made a good point about this in their feature of making the perfect Captain America movie. If we know the character well, it’s that he is loyal to the American Dream, not the government or military. He will fight for them as long as they are true to the Dream as well, but he won’t think twice about turning his back to them if it means the Dream is in jeopardy. The best example of this was in Civil War – he made you feel conflicted when reading the series because while you would think Cap would side with the pro-registration community, he actually does the opposite because he believed that all Americans’ personal liberties and privileges were about to be taken away.
I, like IGN, make this point because it’s no secret that America doesn’t have the greatest reputation with some countries around the world. To make this movie all about how great America’s government is would make people question what this movie is trying to get across to us – is it about making a political statement or about a man fighting for his people and their futures?
4) Bucky WILL actually help the movie – The one thing I’ve loved about the recent Batman movies so far is that Robin has been kept on the sidelines. That’s not to say I don’t like the character – Robin just does not fit with Christopher Nolan’s vision for the franchise. And that works fine with me – this trilogy is all about exploring Batman’s rise to glory and how his city reacts. With Cap, everybody that knows his origin story in the books knows Bucky is key to Cap’s WWII roots and his presumed death is what drives Cap to lead the Avengers upon coming out of his frozen state and assure that he will never leave a partner behind ever again. The best part will be, should we get sequels, that Bucky has more to offer should Marvel go the route of Ed Brubaker’s run on the book so far. I’m personally excited to see that should that be the case.
What are your thoughts? Any potential pitfalls that could derail the flick? Or will we get the definitive Cap story we always wanted?
Mike and I recently wrapped up the decade with our 2-part Wizard Decade Edition podcasts (latest one is here if you want to check it out), but I figured to also provide one focused particularly on 2009 as well. A lot went on this year alone, which explains why this was probably the longest podcast I’ve ever done solo. Some highlights on the podcast:
- DC was the big publisher this year in my eyes with Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns leading the charge on the major story arcs.
- Vertigo continues to innovate with their new Unwritten and Daytripper series
- Marvel’s Dark Reign storyline dominates the year, but hear why I believe it lost its focus as the year went on.
- Image and Dark Horse continue to put out quality work in spite of the domination by the big two publishers
- 2010 will see more excellent books and a more focused direction on both DC and Marvel’s sides.
- I lay down challenges as to supporting independents and why comics should never be considered as just “spandex” books
A happy and safe New Year’s to all and we’ll see you on the other side of 2010!