Funnybook Babylon

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 13, 2008

Lasting Legacies

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 3:45 am

If you think you can leave any sort of lasting legacy, you’re deluded. And I was deluded for a long time. But we live and we learn.

Mark Waid

I really, really love Superman: Birthright.

More than any other story, to me, it defines what Clark, Kal, the Kents and the House of El represent and the beacon they’re meant to be to humanity; far more than the dyslexic Lois Lane and meek Clark of the 1970s, the overconfident football jock of the 1980s or the po-faced stoic of the 1990s, Birthright illuminated and really crystallized, to me, who and what Superman is. I owe Mark Waid that forever.

So I was pretty damn surprised to see that he feels he hasn’t left a legacy. I don’t know if this is some kind of momentary lapse of reason or what, but dude, snap out of it – who gives a shit if your story got thrown out of continuity a few years later? It’s not like a whole generation of comic nerds didn’t read it, many of whom will re-enter the industry. Remember Len Wein’s Untold Legend of the Batman, perennial favorite of cereal box tie-ins, and how it got tossed out of continuity (just like Birthright!) a few years later by Crisis? And how basically the past two years of Batman stories have centered around reincorporating its “let’s compress the entirety of Bat-history into X number of years” method to dazzling effect?

Nobody’s deluded for thinking people are going to be inspired by a really damn good Superman story, personally or creatively, and that’s what Birthright was. It may not be THE OFFICIAL BACK STORY of the ONE TRUE SUPERMAN OF NEW EARTH right now, but these things embed themselves in the soil of continuity to take root and grow; they’re percolating in the back of the minds of the readership, and a few years from now some guy’s applauded take on Superman is going to be based on this story that’s getting “bulldozed over.”

The short-term decisions can always be short-term with the wave of a magic wand. Nothing is permanent, and the whims of editors will always be overriden by popular consensus in the long run, even if it takes a little bit too long. Perhaps I’m channelling Adam Smith a little bit too much in my vision of the the equilibrum of comics continuity, but I really think that in the end the shit falls to the bottom and the cream rises to the top no matter how long it takes, and if the work is solid – and especially if it’s a highly marketed story that’s likely to remain in print and available, like most of Waid’s material – there’s no telling what effect it could eventually have, or what kind of legacy it could inspire.

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 7, 2008

This Blog is Cancelled!

Torches? Check. Pitchforks? Check. Two-gallon drum of Haterade? Check. Looks like it’s time for Internet rage about comics getting cancelled again.

What’s up on the chopping block this time? One Marvel book (She-Hulk) and a whole lotta DC books (Nightwing, Robin, Birds of Prey, Manhunter and Blue Beetle). Why are they cancelled? Well, that’s a bit more complicated.

Conventional wisdom might tell you that these cancellations are due to today’s harsh economic realities. Other sectors might tell you that it’s about sexism, or subtle racism against minority characters, or a general unwillingness on the part of the publishers to give these books a shot. I’ve seen blame passed around, from the nature of the periodical medium to the willingness of the reader base to accept new characters, a lot of arguments from people who either weren’t reading the books or admitted they didn’t like them. What’s up with that?

Blue Beetle had an astounding 25-issue run that was a slow-starter and is forever kind of hurt by the fact that the opening stages are greatly affected by, and have to refer to, the events of Infinite Crisis where Jaime made his first appearance. As much as I hate to say it, this’ll always hurt its ability to sell in trades. Once you hit issue seven (which is, ironically enough, the most Infinite Crisis-linked of all the issues), it really kicks off, though, and Rogers turned it into what was probably one of DC’s strongest books during the time it was coming out. I’m sure somebody will comment about how that’s damning with faint praise, but this was during 52 and the start of Morrison’s Batman and back when Busiek/Pacheco Superman was cool and it looked like DC might actually keep its momentum.
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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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November 26, 2008

Batman #681 – “Batman R.I.P. Part 6: Hearts in Darkness”

Filed under: Annotations — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 4:47 pm
Batman #681

Batman #681

Yeah, yeah, I know I have shitty reactions sometimes. Full-on notes below the jump, although this issue is way more straightforward than normal.
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David Overreacts A Bit To Batman #681

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 11:22 am

UPDATE: After doing some thought and reading it some more, my initial reaction (which I’ll keep here even though I don’t still agree with everything I said this morning) was regarding my expectations for the issue more than the quality itself, since it’s actually a pretty fucking incredible action comic. My problem was, I thought I’d find out for sure who and what the Black Glove was, so I got angry, even though we have the next issue coming next fucking week. Which is pretty dumb and nerdragey of me so I admit to a decent degree of embarrassment, but still, I was really sure this issue was going to have the huge twist that was promised, even though honestly nobody ever said that for sure and we practically still have two issues left. In three weeks I may very well be feeling like a total asshole, and I’m okay with that, since I like good comics.

ORIGINAL POST I AM SAD ABOUT BELOW

Normally, this is where I’d do page-by-page annotations, but I don’t really know if there’s anything to annotate.

This is what DC promised:

This is it – “Batman R.I.P.” concludes here! The final, heartrending confrontation between Bruce Wayne and Jezebel Jet. The final fate of The Dark Knight. And the horrifying and shocking truth behind the Black Glove. With The Joker, the Club of Villains, Robin, Damian, plus an ending you’ll never see coming – this one has it all!

– From the solicitation

And also to show how strong he is and the way he deals with what happens to him. Bad guys take him down, and I’m thinking, ‘How do I get him back up?’ [Laughs] When we find out at the end who the villain is, it’s possibly the most shocking Batman revelation in 70 years.”

– Grant Morrison, at NYCC ’08

So, what did we get? See below the jump.
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October 28, 2008

Pull List Analysis for October 29, 2008

Ultimate Spider-Man Annual #3 by Brian Michael Bendis & David Lafuente (Marvel Comics): There comes a time in every young superhero’s life when someone decides to do an issue about their sex life. These “very special” issues have come with a range of tasteful comments from the creators:

static25

I understand that teenage sexuality is a difficult subject for a lot of people. And, as is the custom, I won’t even mention black sexuality. But I don’t think that the people who read Static are afraid to explore storylines ground in the issues of contemporary life.

Dwayne McDuffie on the publication of Static #25

petenkitty

I called Bob Harras and said, “Excalibur #90, Kitty Pryde gets fucked.” He went deadly silent, then he said, “Just try and keep it tasteful.”

Warren Ellis on the publication of Excalibur #90

eab1 1 sbl

Where will USM Annual #3 fall along the axis? Who knows, though it has the “added bonus” of being part of the MARCH ON ULTIMATUM, though I’m still not entirely sure what that means besides having a really ugly banner along the top.

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October 24, 2008

Minx Post Mortem: New York Four

Filed under: Blurbs,Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , — Jamaal Thomas @ 3:12 pm

You might be fooled if you come from out of town.
Snoop Dogg

9578_400x600Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly
New York Four
Minx

New Yorkers born in the outer boroughs live in a city unfamiliar to newcomers (in my mind, newcomers are people who’ve lived here for less than thirty years) and most native Manhattanites. To some, it’s a lost dystopia, a place where risk and uncertainty have been replaced by bland commercialism. To others, it’s not a unified city at all, but a loose collection of insular neighborhood tribes. You’ll hear a lot of different visions of New York from natives, but the one you’re least likely to hear from them is the one presented by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly in their contribution to the defunct Minx line, The New York Four.

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October 22, 2008

Pull List Analysis for October 22, 2008

It’s a big week for known quantities at Marvel and DC, as their respective Summer Blockbusters stretch into sweaterweather.

finalcrisis4

After last week’s Rogues’ Revenge and Legion of Three Worlds tie-ins, the fourth issue of the core Final Crisis title by Grant Morrison and JG Jones (and Carlo Pacheco, and Doug Mahnke… what up’s, Jonesy?) drops, its “gap month” extended to ten weeks. We’re also getting Submit, a one-shot by Grant Morrison and Matthew Clark. David will be stepping up with annotations later today.

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October 17, 2008

FBBP #76 – Wishes & Dreams

Filed under: Podcasts — Tags: , , , , , , — Chris Eckert @ 1:06 am

The gang plays God-Emperor a la Spurgeon, discusses a rumored Diamond buyout by DC, and heaps praise on Gilbert Hernandez’s Sloth.

Plus, a public service announcement: give Young Liars another chance. Turns out, they were all really big liars!

October 14, 2008

Pull List Analysis for October 15, 2008

Going to try to skip past the obvious “big books” this week — if you’re following Astonishing X-Men, Final Crisis tie-ins or Amazing Spider-Man I bet you’ll notice the big stacks of them at your local shop tomorrow. Here are some things that might not be so well-stocked:

Are you excited for Halloween? Publishers sure are! Marvel’s gearing up for round eighty-two of ZOMBIE COVER VARIANTS, and DC is putting out the ridiculously titled Superman & Batman vs. Werewolves & Vampires mini-series, and I’m going to be uncharitable and assume the title is the first and last thing you need to read about that book. Here are two slightly more palatable haunts:

monster-hulkHulk Monster-Size Special by Jeff Parker & Gabriel Hardman (Marvel Comics): Yes, this is Superhero Property vs. Universal Monster Property, just like S/BvW/V. But HMSS is a standalone one-shot rather than a six issue mini-series, which gives me hope for a punchy fun story light on exposition and high on goofy slugfests. It also helps that it’s written by Jeff Parker, who has shown a knack for big goofy fun in various Marvel Adventures books. Hopefully everyone will overlook the lack of Red Hulk, who according to Jeph Loeb is “the most popular character since Wolverine”!

Dear Dracula by Joshua Williamson and Vinny Navarrete (Image Comics): Image/Shadowline is rolling out a series of all-ages/children’s graphic novels, starting with Dear Dracula. Everything I know about the book and its creators can be found alongside a preview of the book at Newsarama. Looks cute, and the timing of the release is right.

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September 30, 2008

Pull List Analysis for October 1, 2008

I figured we might try doing these again. Here are some potentially interesting books hitting the shelves tomorrow!

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September 16, 2008

Final Crisis Shipping Schedule: Huh?

Filed under: Blurbs — Tags: , , , , — David Uzumeri @ 9:49 pm
Final Crisis: Submit

Final Crisis: Submit

So yeah, Final Crisis isn’t shipping on time. I’m sure someone, somewhere, is shocked, but I can’t fathom it – #3 was a week late, #4’s three weeks late, and we’ve got an extra skip month in December with a Secret Files. (On a side note, I’m incredibly curious to read that Secret Files, since it sounds like he’s getting Frank Quitely of all people to help him in his quixotic quest to reconcile this with Countdown.) However, despite the considerable delay on #4 and the total lack of a delay on subsequent issues, I’m forced to wonder if this quote from Morrison himself isn’t pretty telling:

Submit is designed as Beyond’s complete opposite number – a straight down the line, street level, Hollywood action book about a family in trouble and on the run in Darkseid’s Hell on Earth. It features Black Lightning, gives us a look at the world in the early stages of Darkseid’s takeover and loops straight back into the first scene on the opening pages of Final Crisis #4.

So wait, if Submit takes place before Final Crisis #4, why was it solicited to come out two weeks afterwards originally? And now, it’s delayed (according to the latest DC Direct Channel) until the 15th right alongside FC #4. People may be annoyed if they don’t put a notice in #4 to read Submit first, assuming this was the reason for the delays. This also leads to a single day with no less than five new Final Crisis books, which, I mean, is sort of a lot of a good thing at once: Final Crisis #4, Legion of Three Worlds #2, Submit, Rogues’ Revenge #3 and Rage of the Red Lanterns. Isn’t this sort of a deluge where major books (like Submit itself) might get lost in the shuffle? I never understood why Paul O’Brien complained about this kind of thing regarding the X-books until now.

So this poses the question: Are #4 and #5 actually coming out two weeks apart? It seems pretty unlikely, but if Submit was the cause for #4’s delay it’s not impossible. It seems odd that they took a month off, and production problems, not JG Jones, were blamed for #3’s lateness, and still couldn’t get the book out on time.

It’s just a theory, so if they announce #5’s being delayed until the end of November or whatever I still won’t be especially surprised.

August 16, 2008

Fun with Solicitations: DC Spoils the Crap Out of Their Books

A message board several FBBers frequent has been embroiled in a debate about what constitute “spoilers”: many posters feel like if something is revealed by official company promotional material (Nick Fury’s “Secret Warriors” will survive Secret Invasion and receive their own book, Darkseid successfully takes over Earth in Final Crisis, Character X will be appearing soon in Title Y) then those plot points don’t really constitute “spoilers”. Usually this sort of thing doesn’t constitute a “twist” or whatever, and so these topics are fair game for discussing upcoming comics. But DC seems determined to test this assumption with their November solicitations, as seen on Newsarama. So be warned, “spoilers” after the jump:

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