Funnybook Babylon

June 3, 2009

Batman and Robin #1 – “Batman Reborn Part 1: Domino Effect”

Batman and Robin #1

Batman and Robin #1

And we’re back after those messages! Finally, the main narrative line of the Batman books returns with Grant Morrison at the wheel aided by the ever-incredible Frank Quitely. And, in an all-new team-up, Alex Sinclair on colors, which leads to such interesting effects as the sky behind Wayne Tower looking like a badly compressed .GIF. While this issue is significantly more straightforward than the past few issues of Morrison’s Batman run, I have no doubt that things will get complex and trippy eventually, and until then it’s probably best to keep up continuity with these annotations, no? Besides, they’re fun.
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May 19, 2009

FBBP #99 – Three Number Ones

Filed under: Podcasts,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 9:48 pm

Just one episode until the momentous Episode 100! This week we take a look at three first issues fresh off the rack:

Final Crisis Aftermath: Escape #1 by Ivan Brandon & Marco Rudi
Astro City: The Dark Age: Book Three #1 by Kurt Busiek & Brent Anderson
Unwritten #1 by Mike Carey & Peter Gross

At least one of these is probably worth your time!
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April 29, 2009

Waited for the Trade(s): Scalped Revisited

Filed under: Reviews — Pedro Tejeda @ 9:25 am

A Trio of Scalped trades
Scalped vol 1: Indian Country
Scalped vol 2: Casino Boogie
Scalped vol 3: Dead Mothers
written by Jason Aaron
art by R.M. Guera, John Paul Leon & Davide Furno
Vertigo

When we reviewed the first volume of Scalped, the story of Dashiell Bad Horse, an undercover FBI agent on an Indian Reservation full of corruption, no one on the podcast seemed to enjoy it.  Even though elements of Jason Aaron’s writing were strong, the book’s violence and sex felt like it was trying too hard to be a premium cable series in comic form. R.M Guera did a good job with talking head sequences, but his work on action scenes were incredibly muddy. I picked up Casino Boogie and Dead Mothers on sale recently, based on numerous reports that the book was picking up. I hoped the book had improved as both Jason Aaron and R.M Guerra got settled into a groove.
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April 8, 2009

Building versus Writing: Geoff Johns, Hal Jordan, Barry Allen and the Rebirth

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 4:40 pm
Flash: Rebirth #1

Flash: Rebirth #1

I was pretty optimistic when I picked up Flash: Rebirth #1 out of the stack. It’s a hefty volume, and I’ve enjoyed almost everything Johns has done since the epic career misstep that was Infinite Crisis, so my expectations were pretty much that I’d at least thoroughly enjoy it – I mean, I’m the target audience here, right? A DCU fan who’s never really read a Barry story, enjoyed his return in Final Crisis, enjoyed Green Lantern: Rebirth, and has a considerable predilection towards epic, whacked-out stories of spacetime travel anchored by metaphor and human emotion. Which is largely what Johns has been doing in Green Lantern, taking the seemingly irrelevant character of Hal Jordan and integrating him into this very post-9/11 superhero parable about the importance of standing ideological and emotional ground and not buckling in to fear. It certainly faltered at times, and Johns’s flair for the bombastic sometimes got in the way of his character arcs, but Green Lantern: Rebirth and the arcs following it clearly did an effective job elevating the Green Lantern mythos into a story that resonated with a lot of people for any number of reasons. It sold a lot of copies, it got a lot of good reviews, and it really raised Johns’s game.
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February 13, 2009

Waited for the Trade: Eternals – To Slay a God

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , — Matt Jett @ 8:43 pm

Eternals: To Slay a God
Collects: Eternals #1-6 and Annual
Writers: Charles Knauf, Daniel Knauf, Fred Van Lente, Jack Kirby
Artists: Daniel Acuna, Pascal Alixe, Jack Kirby
Marvel Comics

eternals1

Only slightly delayed due to NYCC!

The works of Jack Kirby are among the most influential ever produced in the comic book industry. He created characters as diverse as the New Gods, the Challengers of the Unknown, the Fantastic Four, and Black Panther, characters that have remained popular until the present day, though some of them have undergone several iterations. Marvel’s most recent re-imagining of Kirby’s work is the Eternals revamp, started by Neil Gaiman in 2006 and continued in their current series by Charles and Daniel Knauf, previously of Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
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January 30, 2009

Waited for the Trade – Doubleshot!

huntress1Huntress: Year One
collects Huntress: Year One #1-6
written by Ivory Madison
art by Cliff Richards
DC Comics

DC’s Year One concept has become something of an institution lately, with everyone from Metamorpho to Two-Face to Green Arrow getting miniseries under its banner, complete with a “Year One” logo. Each series fleshes out the character’s origin, usually by filling in the details of their pre-superheroic life. Huntress: Year One doesn’t deviate from this formula, following Helena Bertinelli from her 21st birthday through her getting the Huntress costume and meeting Batman and his allies for the first time, what seems to be a period of a few months.
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January 28, 2009

Final Crisis #7 – “New Heaven, New Earth”

Final Crisis #7

Final Crisis #7

Not much preamble to make here – it’s the last issue, I enjoyed it a lot, a lot of people probably think it’s confusing drivel. Maybe I can help you out.
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January 24, 2009

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond – Annotations Epilogue: Mandrakk: A Brief History

For me Final Crisis, is about the type of guilt-ridden, self-loathing stories we insist on telling ourselves and, especially, our children—about the damage those stories do and about the good they could do if we took more responsibility for the power and influence of our words.

Grant Morrison

Before we move on to #7 this week, I just want to take a final look at Superman Beyond and what it meant – and see if I can disentangle the timeline of events, causes and effects Morrison is setting up here.

At this point, how it fits into the larger story is fairly clear – the entire adventure takes place between Lois’s heartbeats on New Earth, due to what’s likely a time dilation between Earth-0 and the rest of the multiverse. The vampire army that Mandrakk will doubtlessly invade Earth-0 with in Final Crisis #7 has its first conscript in the form of Ultraman; I assume Mandrakk has, in his relative timeline, hundreds if not thousands of years to get together his crew.

Zillo Valla

But who is Mandrakk? Let me see if I can figure it out.
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January 23, 2009

Waited for the Trade: Spider-Man – New Ways to Die

New Ways to Die Cover
Spider-Man: New Ways to Die
collects Amazing Spider-Man #568-573
written by Dan Slott & Mark Waid
art by John Romita Jr. & Adi Granov
Marvel Comics

Fair warning: This review contains some spoilers, but nothing that will really ruin your enjoyment of the story. Be forewarned.

I’m in love with Harry Osborn. Not the Harry Osborn of the movies, although James Franco is a pretty funny guy. Not even the old Harry Osborn, the one who died back in 1993. I was seven when that story happened; I bought the comic because it had a shiny cover but the greater significance of it was totally lost on me. Catching up on Spider-Man through Essential volumes has given me a greater grasp on the character, but to be perfectly frank, old Harry pales in comparison to the current Harry written by Dan Slott.

He’s a nuanced character now, with fully realized relationships with Norman Osborn (another resurrected villain), Peter Parker, Spider-Man (in a completely different sense than his relationship with Peter) and the rest of the supporting cast. If you haven’t been following Amazing Spider-Man for the past few years this probably doesn’t mean anything to you, but stay with me.

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January 21, 2009

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2

Final Crisis: Superman Beyond #2

When last we left our intrepid heroes back at the end of August(!), Superman and Captain Allen Adam were facing down Ultraman in Limbo as Ultraman hoisted the Infinite Book and Mandrakk’s Monitor nanomachinery cracked through the sky into Limbo. Meanwhile, Captain Marvel got knocked back to being Billy by the feedback of the end of the Infinite Book, but not before leaving a riddle: “Ultimate evil is ultimate good. The most despised will save the most beloved.” Zillo Valla, their Monitor guide, ends up getting all vampiric and sucking Overman’s blood to power the Ultima Thule, the ship.

So let’s take a look at pages 31-62 of the Final Crisis: Superman Beyond one-shot, which would have eliminated a lot of confusion about the FC timeline if it’d come out in one piece as planned.
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January 16, 2009

Waited for the Trade: X-Force v1 – Angels and Demons

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , — Matt Jett @ 3:22 pm

Spinning out of the events of Messiah Complex, X-Force follows a “black ops” team of X-Men, tasked with missions other mutant superheroes would find morally compromising. These missions invariably end up being incredibly violent, as X-Force is the sort of superhero team that doesn’t stick to the standard “no killing” type of heroics. The philosophy of the team (and the marketing of the title) is probably best summed up by the fact that Marvel issued variant covers for the first few issues that were simply changed to be much, much bloodier than the standard covers.
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January 14, 2009

Final Crisis #6 – “How to Murder the Earth”

They used the title! Yay!

Final Crisis #6

Final Crisis #6

Reaction to this issue:
Oh Shit!
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December 24, 2008

Batman #683 – “What the Butler Saw”

And thus, we end Grant Morrison’s first run on Batman. You’ll be missed. Lots to annotate this time around; lots of stuff referenced that’s more within our lifetimes. Let’s get to it.
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December 10, 2008

Final Crisis #5 – “Into Oblivion”

I think this is was my favorite issue of the series yet, although I can’t imagine the girl-wonder crowd is going to react very favorably to… certain developments with Mary Marvel. Despite the fact that the issue has three pencillers with the addition of Marco Rudy, also known as “the guy who filled in for Ryan Sook on Final Crisis: Resist, but it’s all shockingly contiguous.

Anyway, let’s get to it.
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December 4, 2008

Batman #682 – “The Butler Did It” (A Final Crisis Tie-In) (A Last Rites Tie-In)

Batman #682

Batman #682

Double crossover banners, bitches! THIS ISSUE IS IMPORTANT!

And the title of this post isn’t even a spoiler, I ain’t doin’ my victory dance just yet. Note time. Also, this issue? Less straightforward than the last two.

But first, a note.
If you’ve dug Grant Morrison’s run on this title, and the sort of philosophical psycho-thriller approach he’s taken, then I highly recommend you check out this week’s X-Men Noir #1 by Fred Van Lente and Dennis Calero. It’s a gorgeous book, and Van Lente’s script is incredibly smart and bursting with novel ideas in a way I haven’t seen on an X-title since, well, Grant Morrison. It’s astonishing how well he translates the X-Men’s core themes – and I don’t mean the Claremontian “wah wah we’re persecuted just like real world minority” themes, I mean the themes about evolution and natural selection and the generation gap – into a world without powers, but everything remains intact, and the manners in which this is accomplished are absolutely inspired. It’s a great book, totally worth both the admittedly high price of $3.99 and the considerable amount of hype Marvel’s given it, and may have actually been my favorite book I’ve read this week. (I haven’t hit up Jason Aaron’s Punisher X-Mas Special, though, which Tim Callahan seems to have adored, so that might change. But I doubt it.)

UPDATE: I just read the X-Mas Special. Tim’s right, it really is brilliant, so get that too.

Lo, there shall be… annotations!!
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