A few weeks of comics all in one shot:

A few weeks of comics all in one shot:

  • Marvel Comics:
    • Avengers 52 (May 2002) & 53 (Jun 2002) – The Kang the Conqueror storyline thunders onward to it’s conclusion in issue 54. In a lot of ways I’m really looking forward to it ending, and in a lot of ways I’m not. A friend of mine was asking about team comic books the other week and I really had to recommend against him picking up the Avengers for several particular reasons. 1) Right now is a really bad time to start since it’s so close to the end of a really long and involved storyline. 2) While it would provide a good introduction to a lot of the characters, there is not a core team right now which is what usually gives the book some sort of… coherency. And not one, two, or three love stories going on right now, but far too many to count really. It’s kind of bizarre. 3) Right now they are playing fast and loose with almost 4 decades of continuity and it’s all kind of piling up into a really big rat’s nest. So, I’ve been avoiding saying whether these are any good to read, and I have to say, I’m not really sure. The payoff had better be good, and having read a lot of Busiek, I don’t think he’s going to disappoint.
    • Captain America Vol 4, No 1 (Jun 2002) – Well, it was readable. I’m going to give it another 3 or 4 issues and see how it does, but as it stands it sounds like someone heard the “Come to Jesus” crap that Rumsfeld has been spewing for the past while and picked it up and ran with it. I don’t think I’ve seen so much jingoistic poo in my life. Ick.
    • Citizen V and the V-Battalion 3 (of 4) (Jun 2002) – I really like this story. I can’t figure out why. Like the rest of the Marvel books, nothing in here seems to have any effect on anything else in the Marvel Universe anymore, but it’s actually pretty good. After I picked up The Authority recently, there are a LOT of parallels that can be drawn. This isn’t quite as good, but it’s still worth reading. Besides that, the end is in sight and FlagSmasher gets a present!
    • Fantastic Four 54 (June 2002) – YAY! The god-damned storyline from hell is finally over! Was there any real resolution? No. Was the story put together well? No. Was the art worth the effort of plowing through such horrible dialog? Not by a long shot. Should you read this book? Maybe next issue, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I’m giving it 1 more issue and if it doesn’t getting any better, I’m closing the box on my Fantastic Four and keeping my good memories and just going to forget the past year. Ick.
    • Iron Man 53 (May 2002) & 54 (June 2002) – Mike Grell is really hitting his stride with old Tinhead. There’s a storyline here that is interesting to read, and reasonably well drawn, even if Tony Stark once again looks like he’s barely 20. (LET THEM AGE, DAMN YOU!!) It’s the beginning of a new Mandarin dynasty, but does this look like there might just be a twist? We shall see. Good.
    • Marvel Knights 2 (Jun 2002) – I like the art pretty well, and the story is fairly interesting. I won’t get too far onto my continuity soap box, because I think you already know what I’m going to say. Definitely worth a read, if for no other reason the interaction between Daredevil and The Punisher, as mediated by the original Black Widow.
    • Taskmaster 3 (of 4) (Jun 2002) – I really like this series. A good anti-hero is just what I’ve been wanting lately, and this is filling that hole in spades. The manga influenced art is a little over the top, but what exactly did I expect? Worth reading.
    • Thunderbolts 63 (June 2002) – Things are coming together again. Hawkeye is finally going to be back in action, and that can only be good.
    • Icons: Tigra 2 (of 4) (June 2002) – I like it. It’s a lot like the Tigra of old, and it works.
  • MAX Comics
    • Black Widow Vol 3, No 1 (June 2002) – It’s a new Russian Widow, and it seems like an interesting story so far. I was a bit annoyed that they didn’t just keep with Natasha, who’s been playing the role just fine for the past 40 years, but this seems to work.
    • Howard the Duck No 4 (June 2002) – It had to happen sooner or later, but one of the better send ups of the Vertigo line of comics happens here, and is worth the read if you happen to read that other line of adult oriented comics.
  • DC Comics
    • The Power Company 3 (June 2002) – Busiek shows off that his pacing is worth the wait. The team is coming together finally, but hasn’t quite gotten there yet. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this series.
  • Dork Storm Press
    • Dork Tower 17 (March/April 2002) – The fun continues, and in good form. John Kovalic is probably the best humor comics writer in the business right now, and it shows.
    • PvP 5 (Mar 2002) – Want to read a really, really, really good Matrix parody? Want to see a cameo by Scott McCloud? You want to read this comic. Really you do.
  • Image Comics
    • Powers 19 – Wow. Wow, Wow, Wow, Wow. The secret origin of FG-3! Another death! Walker on his knees! This is just amazing stuff.
  • Vertigo Comics
    • Transmetropolitan 55 (Jun 2002) – Some better action sequences than I think I’ve seen in this book. Works well, but I really kind of wish there was just a bit more plot to bring the story along.

In this world there are storytellers.

In this world there are storytellers.

People who utter strings of words from there minds that might be otherwise impossible, but when those particular people utter those words, there is the barest hint that it might just be true.

I’ve never been gifted enough to be a true storyteller, but I know some of the tricks. Believe what you are saying just long enough for someone to notice. Attempting to support the story with facts or evidence is not nearly as effective as being able to to support it with hearsay and coincidence. Never tell someone something that they are not prepared to hear.

It appears that J Michael Strazynski is a storyteller, and one of fairly high caliber too. Babylon 5 could have been a fluke. Some of the stories in Murder She Wrote that he worked on could have been as well. Today I read the first of the collected Rising Stars books, and I have no doubts that he is very, very, very good.

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Scott Rosenberg fairly clearly states some comment…

Scott Rosenberg fairly clearly states some comments that I’m hearing echo’d all around the industry tese days in his recent column on Salon. I don’t necessarily agree with his final conclusions, but I don’t think that anyone really has any illusions about how successful Microsoft is going to be with their new official push for better security, or, in MS SpinSpeak, “Trustworthy Computing”.

Whatever.

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Alias #8 – Max – Okay, let’s get this down now:

Alias #8 – Max – Okay, let’s get this down now: Rick Jones is a complete headcase. Do NOT start with this issue! That is all.

Deadline #1 (of 4) – Marvel – A very good “regular people who have to deal with superheros” story so far. I’m really looking forward to the next couple of issues. The art inside may look really familiar to some of you old Sandman fans. It’s moving fast enough to keep my attention, and the dialog, what there is of it, is very well done. Good stuff.

Marvel Knights #1 – Marvel – Daredevil, Black Widow, and The Punisher team up to fight a new menace to NYC. Pretty good. Fairly moody, though maybe a notch or two over the top. I’m interested in seeing if Captain America becomes involved down the road with the relaunch of his own title under the Marvel Knights title later this month.

Icons: Tigra #1 (of 4) – Marvel – Solo character update of the orange furred Avenger. Not sure about it so far. The art is only okay IMHO, but the story is fairly good so far.

So, pretty decent stuff really. However, I do have a couple of issues with the way that Marvel is doing things right now. I’ve been a Marvel reader for a really long time and one of the things that I have really always liked about it is that there was a relatively cohesive continuity that flowed through all of the books. If something big was happening in the world and was likely to effect other characters in their own stories, it generally would. I’m not really sure when they abandoned that practice, but I really wish they’d shape the hell up and fix it. Currently, in the Avengers story line that has been going on for the last 9 months the world is entirely enslaved by Kang. Not parts of it, not isolated bits, not even just a few countries. Everyone, everywhere, and everything has been conquered.

Um, is this showing up ANYWHERE else in the Marvel Universe, including the other Avenger solo books? No.

Is this something that could be squeezed into a small time frame so there is some sort of excuse for it happening right now in the Avengers story line but NOWHERE else? No. (Case in point. There is the distinct impression that the events between the previous issue and the one before that were MONTHS. Not days, certainly not hours, and most likely not weeks, but MONTHS.)

There is certainly a point where you have to bend continuity around a little bit so you can work everyone’s pet story project into the world, but abandoning the concept wholesale is not only getting old, but it really degrades the quality and attention to detail that is one of the cornerstones of what I love about the Marvel Universe.

Grow a brain Mr. Quesada. It’s sorely needed right now.

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