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11 Things to Check Out Before Black Panther

The hype is strong out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe‘s newest addition — and not without reason. While I am prohibited from revealing major plot points or spoilers from Black Pantherwhat I would like to provide is a sort of guide to what you’re getting into. Think of it like a wine and cheese pairing list to prepare your appetite before you go into see this next film.

1. Avengers: Age of Ultron / Captain America: Civil War.

The second one may seem obvious — it was the first time we saw Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa on screen, and it tells us at least a little bit about his home country of Wakanda. But we’re also introduced for the first time to Martin Freeman as Everett Ross, who shows up a lot in Black Panther. 

But many of us will have forgotten (or tried to forget?) that Andy Serkis showed up for about 10 minutes in Age of Ultron as Ullyses Klaue, a South African arms dealer who stole vibranium from Wakanda, which Ultron then took from Klaue, along with a sizeable portion of his arm. This becomes important, so it’s worth revisiting at least that scene from Age of Ultron, and then watching Civil War, because Civil War is just so. dang. good.

It’s also worth noting T’Challa’s character arc in the film, especially as it relates to him being on Team Iron Man. In Black Panther, we’re treated to seeing just how much he respects international law and being subject to the Sokovia Accords. . . which is not at all, as we first see him in the film running an operation outside of Wakanda’s borders to rescue a colleague.

Also, note the final scenes he’s in with Zemo, and with Cap and Bucky in Wakanda. Boseman’s character work and scripting is excellent here, and this carries over into our film here.

Oh, and anyone who felt teased by this scene where a Dora Milaje is about to throw down with Black Widow?

“As entertaining as that would be. . .” Well, we get that entertainment in Black Panther. And the wait is worth it.

2. An Encomium To The Black Experience: Why I Am Excited To See Black Panther

This article by our own Troy Powell is a must-read. This is an incredibly thoughtful take on why Black Panther’s vision of afro-futurism is refreshing and exciting. Just go read it. I’ll wait.

3. Fruitvale Station and Creed

Director Ryan Coogler‘s career so far has been pretty well entangled with that of actor Michael B. Jordan and it’s great to see Jordan stretch his wings as the villain of Black Panther, Eric Killmonger. The MCU has often been faulted for relatively weak on-screen villains, but Killmonger is a rare exception.

To see their first collaboration, go back to Coogler’s first film, Fruitvale Station, which he both wrote and directed. It tells the true story of Oscar Grant who was shot by a San Francisco Transit Officer on New Year’s Day in 2009. It’s a heartbreaking story of hope and tragedy, and a film which I first reviewed as being “the best and most important film of 2013 that everyone who truly needs to see it never will.”

Coogler followed this up with the most unlikely of films– the Rocky franchise reboot/sequel Creed, also starring Jordan as the son of Apollo Creed who seeks out the aging champ Balboa to train him. The single shot of the young Creed’s first fight is such a masterwork of filmmaking it’s worth the price of admission alone.

You add onto that really brilliant character work and an intense understanding of the franchise, and you can understand why Coogler was a great choice to take on the MCU. Coogler grows as a visual director, and it’s great to see his growth from a low budget film to a medium budget studio film to using Disney/Marvel money.

4. That Kendrick Lamar soundtrack

black panther soundtrackAnother common complaint about the MCU is lack of memorable music. And especially where the films have tried to pair up with popular music, results have been. . .  mixed. Yes, I love hearing Foo Fighters play Walk in the bar in Thor (and over the credits), but it doesn’t quite mesh with the film overall. And then you have Soundgarden playing some nonsense over the credits to The Avengers — in my mind, the only problem with that film at all. They should’ve just licensed a good Soundgarden song and called it good. (How much better — and more fitting — would “Rusty Cage” have been there?)

But from the moment we heard a hip hop sample of “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” in the first trailer for Black Panther, we knew we were getting something different.

You can listen to the album streaming on Spotify here and now.

5. A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates

a nation under our feet 1

While this current run on Black Panther may not have a lot to do with the movie from a narrative or character standpoint, it shares something incredibly important which is a social commentary. Coates’ opening run on Black Panther may have been set in Wakanda and been about the politics of Wakanda, but it wasn’t hard to see parallels to our current political situation in the US.

This is completely true of the film as well. It’s also clear that Coogler and Coates are of similar minds about presenting a critique of colonialism (and our current neo-colonialist attitudes towards Africa). Our film also hits hard on the oppression faced by black Americans, a struggle Coates has written on extensively and which finds itself woven into the philosophical discussions of A Nation Under Our Feet.

Beyond that, the basic premise of this run is whether T’Challa and Wakanda have some duty to the larger world or only to their country and their throne. That resonates thematically with T’Challa’s growth in the film. It’s also paced similarly– with lots of dialogue and character and less action.

Please also check out our video review of this on Facebook.

On a side note, a quick shout out to one of my favorite podcasts, Funnybooks and Firewater, which covers comics and offers drinking games and custom cocktails to go with your reading. They covered this a few weeks ago, and if you ever wanted to hear four white guys from Utah and California struggle with their privilege and talk about why they love this book so much, this is worth a listen. Also, they’re currently halfway through Watchmen and inching up on their 100th episode, so check them out.

6. Black Panther by Christopher Priest

h/t to my colleague Jon Carroll, who recommended this to me. Starting in his 1998 run on Black Panther, Christopher Priest introduced the Dora Milaje and the character of Everett Ross, whom we see a lot of in this film.

7. Static Shock

Speaking of Christopher Priest, it’s worth mentioning and recommending Static Shock, which he co-created with Dwayne McDuffie (Rest in Power– we miss you still), Denys Cowan, Derek Dingle, and Michael Davis.

For kids of a certain age who will remember this fondly from the Kids WB lineup of cartoons, this was simply the height of early 00’s superhero awesomeness. It was also important to remember how groundbreaking this was at the time to have a superhero show led by a young black hero. Sure, Storm had been on the X-Men cartoon, but only as a part of a team that also included a fuzzy purple demon.

But this was the impetus for creating the character in the first place– greater representation and diversity in the world of comics and tv. Here’s hoping we also see more of him with the upcoming Young Justice continuation on Netflix as his inclusion was a highlight of Season 2.

8. Blade II 

Yes, for all the hype about this being the first time we’ve had a black comic book superhero in a big budget Hollywood movie, we’ve forgotten that Blade was a Marvel comics character before Wesley Snipes took on the role. However, in my opinion, the first film was good, not great. But Blade II is the far superior film.

Directed by Guillermo del Toro, contender for Best Director this year for The Shape of Water, we get Blade teaming up with a vampire clan to take out the Reapers, new creatures that feed on vampires. This also reunites Del Toro with Ron Perlman from their previous work on Cronos, but perhaps more importantly, set up Del Toro and Perlman to make Hellboy. 

The major difference between the Blade movies and Black Panther? It’s missing a broader social conscience. This is something the Blade franchise always seemed to approach but never quite executed on, using vampires as stand-ins for parasitic and oppressive capitalism and the resulting income inequality. You can read that into the first two Blade movies (we dare not speak about the third one), but it isn’t quite there in the same way Black Panther wears its social commentary on its sleeve.

Some have suggested along with Blade, I should also recommend Spawn, which also starred a black superhero. But then I would be recommending Spawn. And I just can’t bring myself to do that. The Summer of 1997 was very cruel to comic books at the movies. I’m still not sure what is the bigger ignominy– nipples on the batsuit or the entirety of Spawn. 

9. Ultimates II

A Marvel animated film based off the second arc of The Ultimates, or the comics themselves, in which the Ultimate Universe versions of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes (which became a sort of meta-blueprint for a lot of the MCU) enter Wakanda and meet Black Panther.

10. Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes

Because one good cartoon deserves another, this cartoon series for some reason met an early death after only two seasons despite some amazing work. Klaue shows up fairly early, and T’Challa shows himself the equal or superior of all of our Avengers.

11. Luke Cage and Black Lightning

Last but certainly not least, these are great tv shows, and certainly Luke Cage is set in the same universe. But I didn’t want to just fall into a trap of just listing every superhero adaptation with a black protagonist. What sets these apart is a clear connection with a strong social commentary on what it is to be black in America right now. It should go without saying that if you aren’t watching Black Lightning every week on the CW, you should be. And if you somehow skipped Luke Cage on Netflix, it’s a good time to catch up, especially before the next season of Jessica Jones comes out in a few weeks.

 

Well, there we go. While certainly not an exhaustive list, this should help you as you wait patiently to see this film later this week.

Did I miss anything? Have a favorite Black Panther tie-in? Leave it in the comments section. Wakanda Forever.

New York Comic Con 2017: Milestone’s Earth M Debuts Spring 2018

After lots of rumors and the feeling like it’d never happen, at New York Comic Con, DC Publisher Jim Lee, writer/producer/director Reginald Hudlin and Milestone co-founder and artist Denys Cowan announced the return of popular characters of the Dakota Universe in a new collaboration called Earth M in spring 2018. Cowan, Hudlin and Lee were joined by Milestone co-founder Derek Dingle and Earth M collaborators Alice Randall, Kyle Baker, Ken Lashley, and Greg Pak to share details of the re-emergence of classic Milestone characters, including Static Shock, Icon, and Rocket, as well as brand-new character creations from Hudlin and Cowan, which will debut in a series of different titles under the Earth M imprint.

Fans also received a surprise visit from The Walking Dead comic creator and writer Robert Kirkman, who stopped by to show a first look at his upcoming AMC documentary featuring the creation and history of Milestone Media. This episode is just one of six parts which comprise AMC Visionaries: Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics—a new series focusing on different, significant chapters in American comic book history. The miniseries is set to premiere on Sunday, November 12, at 11p.m. ET/PT.

The launch book will be titled Milestone, and will create the foundation and over-arching storyline for future Earth M titles. The series, from writer Reginald Hudlin and artist Ken Lashley, will focus on Icon and Rocket and will feature other classic Dakota Universe characters from the ‘90s.

Panelists shared more details on other titles readers can expect:

Static Shock, an ongoing series from Hudlin and Kyle Baker, focusing on 14-year-old Virgil Hawkins, a kid with a love of comics and science who develops dazzling, electric superpowers.

Duo, a new Earth M miniseries written by Greg Pak, introducing the twisted story of a couple sharing one body for eternity.

Love Army, a miniseries with story by Hudlin, about a secret army of women with amazing abilities and super-strength, sworn to protect the planet.

Earth M, a new series from Hudlin and Alice Randall featuring a mysterious new vigilante character.

The Earth M Universe will share Milestone’s dedication to the creation of diverse characters. Moderator Dan Evans, DC Vice President of Creative Affairs, and the panelists also unveiled the new imprint logo and shared exclusive covers, artwork and concept designs from these upcoming series which you can catch below.

Friday Flashback Review: Static Shock: Trial by Fire

StaticTBFFor my first installment to the GP Time Portal that is “Flashback Friday,” I’m going to go back to the 90’s for a re-read of Static Shock: Trial by Fire, originally Static issues #1-4, the name change came with wanting to capitalize on the cartoon from the WB.

This collection is the first appearance of our hero Virgil Hawkins aka Static, a superhero most of us could relate to, a scifi geek making it through high school, battling the bad guys while trying to get the girl and this is only a taste of what the Milestone crew brought to this series.

Co-written by Dwayne McDuffie and Robert L. Washington III, both gone too soon, you would think that something written over 20 years ago would be dated. The writing is able to balance humor and danger like phasers and photons. With the exception of one or two words, the pacing of the dialogue is a master class in writing teens, the issues our hero faces in and out of costume are sadly problems young kids still face today.

static-01-02And let’s not forget the art, the early work of then newcomer John Paul Leon is full of energy and I’m not just talking about Static’s power effect. From fighting to walking down the street, JPL infused a crazy amount of kinetic flow into the movement of the characters, but he doesn’t stop there. His character designs, based off of Denys Cowans work in the Milestone bible, Static is like a snapshot of today’s kids walking around being teenagers, minus the video chatting.

If by this point I haven’t persuaded you to run to your local store to track down this trade. I’ll put it to you this way, if you like Miles Morales and Riri Williams, you can thank Virgil for paving the way. Static is that super smart, geeky kid that shows us how anyone can be a hero and still be cool. This series was that it talked about bullying, dating, gangs and just about everything else a modern teenager faces today and not in a condescending manner, instead it did it in a way that makes you think about how these issues can be fixed.

For more of my money bring back Static, bring back Milestone.

 

George Carmona 3rd is an Artist/Writer, former Milestone Media Intern, former DC Comics paper pusher, current book lover, and lifelong comic geek. You can find his work at FistFullofArt.com or follow him on twitter at GCarmona3.

Another Universe Is Possible?

Valiant-Logo-Red_primary_webRight now Valiant Entertainment and Action Lab Entertainment are each focused on building out shared universes for their heroes to inhabit. This could have lasting positive effects on diversity in comics, much like WildStorm did back in its day. I don’t know how either publisher will fare but I’m excited that they are trying.

The cultural and economic impact of Marvel and DC Comics‘s universes won’t be surpassed in our lifetimes, if ever. But could another superhero U succeed on it’s own terms? In Elle Collins’ latest column she asserts that we should look for depth not breadth in our new U’s and I’m inclined to agree. We can also use new universes as ways to bring diversity in to comics and unbridled experimentation.

My colleague Sarah Rasher has some great coverage of yesterday’s Valiant Summit. What Valiant is embarking on sounds ambitious and interesting. Sarah was excited to report that Valiant is very deliberately baking in diversity as the publisher builds out its new world. I suspect that will contribute greatly towards establishing diverse characters at the core of the stories their readers will care about. The diverse characters won’t end up as tokens or “Smurfettes” as Sarah explains. Sarah and I are n00bs to Valiant but we are both intrigued by what we heard.

Valiant’s new series Faith, staring a plus-size, geek-girl superhero has been a universal hit at Graphic Policy. We interviewed series writer Jody Houser on our podcast and we love her vision for the comics.

FUTURE-OF-VALIANT_007_DIVINITY-III-STALINVERSEWhat Valiant is trying to do with its Stalinverse sounds really creative even if it’s only temporary. It could end up being Valiant’s version of the Age of Apocalypse but with real world historical influences. It certainly sounds like writer Matt Kindt did his homework on Soviet history.

But one ‘verse I truly loved and miss was the WildStorm Universe. Planetary offered brilliant new distillations of heroes from all genres of genre entertainment stretching back to the late 1800′s. StormWatch and The Authority gave us the gay Batman and Superman in love that we always needed (even though as Elle brilliantly asserts in her podcast about Midnighter, Midnighter is actually Wolverine, not Batman– at least as written by Steve Orlando). WildStorm gave me my fictional girlfriend Jenny Sparks– a character who has no analogue because fiction never gave us a woman like her before. The Engineer was Iron Man at its best and also at it’s most latina.

I was sad when WildStorm got bought by DC because I prefer WildStorm standing as its own universe. Folded in to DC it lost a lot of what made it special. Culturally, giving a big two publisher the IP for characters like Midnighter and Apollo was incredibly significant, making it easier to bring major league gay superheroes to the forefront. But artistically, the WS characters will never be as interesting as they were in their own world.

Midnighter #1The exception of course is that Steve Orlando’s Midnighter is FAR better written as a character within his own solo series at DC then he was at WildStorm. It benefited greatly from having fresh talent like Orlando, himself a bisexual man, writing the book and the fact that it was a solo series focused on Midnighter unlike The Authority which was a team book. Orlando even found something interesting to do with Henry Bendix in the DCU, WildStorm’s particularly malicious evil mastermind. But it wasn’t DC comics that gave Midnighter room to grow by having him in a larger Universe, it was the talent on the book that gave Midnighter room to grow.

One experiment we’ve seen of folding new universes in to existing ones is Milestone Media‘s relationship with DC Comics. Milestone was invented to be a black superhero universe by black talent featuring black characters. Static Shock was wildly successful, staring in his own cartoon and really being Spider-Man to a whole generation. Milestone suffered from the comics industry implosion of ’93 and retailers stereotyping it as comics only black reader would by. DC Comics needed to do more to keep this important imprint afloat. While key characters were brought in to the cartoons I’ve yet to see DC market Milestone intelligently.

milestone media logoI was excited to hear announcements that Milestone is coming back. It will continue to be in partnership with DC and it sounds like the characters will be on their own planet, Earth M, but exist within the regular DCU. This would give them space to build their own world without being overshadowed creatively but still enable easy, audience building crossovers. However it’s been a year and a half since that news was announced and the whole project seems to still be in limbo. We need Milestone just as urgently today as we did in the 90s.

I miss the WildStorm Universe being its own universe. I’m not asking to have it back, but it still felt like a loss. Parts of it are a bit of a time capsule of the 90s and 00s mores and aesthetics – these are not my preferred aesthetics but its series did feel very timely.  I’m first to admit Gen-13 is kinda laughable. It was so 90s I couldn’t even stand it in the 90s! I never cared for WildCATS for similar reasons but GP founder Brett has assured me there’s a run that offered sharp commentary on corporate power.

Kurt Busiek‘s Astro City universe is a pleasure to read though I haven’t kept up with the series. It featured loving and intelligent re-imagings of characters like Robin and the Fantastic Four and it continues to build out to this day.

Meanwhile WildStorm served as a place of brutal satire at times. It could be nasty fun and it paved the way for beloved titles like Warren Ellis and Stuart Immonen‘s Next Wave: Agents of HATE at Marvel.

In The Authority, the WSU gave Mark Millar (who I normally can’t stand) the space to point out that if a superhero team really could make a difference The Powers That Be in corporations and governments would do anything to stop them from making a difference. Because if you are in power you like things the way they are. I’ve never seen a mainstream comic make that point as clearly as Millar did in his controversial run which had the whole team killed and replaced by corporate-backed superhero stooges.

Works like Planetary and the best runs of The Authority stand the test of time. I don’t think they could have happened within the Marvel or DCU. They were too experimental. They relied too much on reconfiguring existing superhero worlds to really take place with in an existing property. They weren’t afraid to challenge readers. They were both meta-human and meta-textual.

Here’s to hoping places like Valiant go where the big two can’t or won’t as they build out their own superhero universes. Let’s hope they establish themselves as sites of experimentation and diversity that reflects our real world. If they do this they will have an outsized impact on the comics world no matter how many issues they sell. It will pressure the big 2 to build more diverse and inclusive worlds themselves. And it will make for some awesome reading.

Warner Bros. Announces Static Shock

STATIC SHOCK #1Warner Bros. has revealed some of the details about its digital production unit. The unit named Blue Ribbon Content has unveiled some of its initial development plans, including some more work based on comics.

Already announced is Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles, which will debut on Machinima in 2015 as well as the virtual reality experience, Batman: The Animated Series Experience. Warner Bros. has a stake in Machinima, so the project makes complete sense. Some other projects are tied into The CW, the television network that Warner Bros. is also involved with.

Today brought even bigger news, a project based on Static Shock.

The action series include Static Shock, an adaptation of the Static comic from writer-producer-director Reginald Hudlin (Django Unchained).

That’s a pretty big announcement quietly put out there. Warner Bros./DC Comics was the first to announce a movie based on one of their female characters, as well as an African American character. Now we have Static Shock out of nowhere. Seems like the company that had been receiving lots of criticism is now beginning to fire on all cylinders.

Here’s more details on the comic related projects:

Static Shock — Writer/producer/director Reginald Hudlin (Best Picture Oscar nominee for producing Django Unchained) leads the creative team behind a live-action adaptation of Static Shock, featuring the African-American super hero Static, aka Virgil Ovid Hawkins. Static Shock is based on the Static comic co-created by the late Dwayne McDuffie with co-writer Robert L. Washington III and artist John Paul Leon, which was originally published by the DC Comics imprint Milestone Comics and, later, by DC Comics. Milestone Media co-founder/comic book artist/TV producer Denys Cowan (the original Static Shock animated series) is collaborating with Hudlin on the new Static Shock.

Batman: The Animated Series Experience — As previously announced, Blue Ribbon, DC Entertainment and visual effects pioneer OTOY are teaming up on an immersive entertainment experience that will see the Batcave from the acclaimed Emmy Award–winning Batman: The Animated Series brought to life via interactive holographic video for virtual reality displays. OTOY is collaborating with series producer Bruce Timm on this interactive narrative experience which will give fans the opportunity to explore Batman’s world like never before, allowing them to feel what it is like to be inside the show’s stylized universe on devices such as the Samsung GALAXY Gear VR, the Oculus Rift, and on forthcoming “glasses-free” light field displays that will power future TV and mobile devices.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

Around the Tubes

It’s the weekend!

Around the Blogs:

ICv2 – FBI Shuts Down Major ‘Piracy’ SiteThe difference between this and SOPA?  They had servers in the US and registered here.

Bleeding Cool – Will iBooks Author Revolutionise Comics Self Publishing?Short answer, yes.

CBLDF – First Amendment Center Analyzes Supreme Court Decision on Golan v. Holder – Interesting stuff.

Bleeding Cool – John Rozum Speaks Out Over Creative And Editorial Differences On Static Shock – What a shitty situation.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews:

The Beat – Criminal: The Last of the Innocent

DC Announces Second Wave of Their New 52 and Some Cancellations

Official Press Release

In May of 2012, DC Comics will release a “Second Wave” of titles as part of its historic DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 initiative. Six new, ongoing series will build on the shared universe and bold concepts introduced in September 2011 with the renumbering of DC Comics’ entire line of comic books.

Featuring a variety of different genres and storytelling sensibilities, the titles in the “Second Wave” will be helmed by some of the most legendary writers and artists in the comic book industry, and will also feature the first ongoing comic book series written by acclaimed novelist China Miéville.

“The excitement of the initial launch of DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 was in seeing the re-imagining of these classic characters and concepts,” said Bob Harras, DC Entertainment Editor-in-Chief. “The ‘Second Wave’ is all about world-building.”

DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 “Second Wave” includes:

  • BATMAN INCORPORATED – Writer: Grant Morrison. Artist: Chris Burnham. The acclaimed ongoing writer of ACTION COMICS, Grant Morrison, presents a fresh take on BATMAN INCORPORATED, in which the Batman brand is franchised globally in preparation for a major international threat.
  • EARTH 2 – Writer: James Robinson. Artist: Nicola Scott. The greatest heroes on a parallel Earth, the Justice Society combats threats that will set them on a collision course with other worlds.
  • WORLDS’ FINEST – Writer: Paul Levitz. Artists: George Perez and Kevin Maguire. Stranded on our world from a parallel reality, Huntress and Power Girl struggle to find their way back to Earth 2. Perez and Maguire will be the artists on alternating story arcs.
  • DIAL H – Writer: China Miéville. Artist: Mateus Santoluoco. The first ongoing series from acclaimed novelist China Miéville, this is a bold new take on a cult classic concept about the psychological effects on an everyman who accidentally gains powers to become a hero.
  • G.I. COMBAT – Writer: J.T. Krul. Artist: Ariel Olivetti. Featuring the return of a classic DC Comics series, THE WAR THAT TIME FORGOT, along with rotating back-up stories and creative teams – including THE UNKNOWN SOLDIER, with writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti and artist Dan Panosian; and THE HAUNTED TANK, with writer John Arcudi and artist Scott Kolins.
  • THE RAVAGERS – Writer: Howard Mackie. Artist: Ian Churchill. Spinning off from TEEN TITANS and SUPERBOY, this series finds four superpowered teens on the run and fighting against the organization that wants to turn them into supervillains.

The six new series will replace BLACKHAWKS, HAWK AND DOVE, MEN OF WAR, MISTER TERRIFIC, O.M.A.C. and STATIC SHOCK, all of which will conclude with their eighth issues in April.

“Many of the characters from our canceled books will appear in DC COMICS-THE NEW 52 titles, and in some very surprising ways,” said Harras. “We’re developing stories that reach from cultures around the globe to parallel worlds. We’re just getting started.”

Comic Book Weekly Reviews – 9/7/11

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It’s the first big release week for DCnU.  Was it worth it and how many of these series will be around for the long run?  Find out my thoughts below.

Action comics #1 – The big behemoth of a title of the DCnU launch has a very green and new Superman dealing with a Metropolis and world that’s just discovered him.  The issues here is this Superman comes off as arrogant and cocky and just an overall dick.  He’s not the icon anymore, he’s just another snot nosed punk.  Add in some questionable artwork and a story that doesn’t totally makes sense at times and this first issue just has a lot of issues.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.5 Overall: 6.75

Animal Man #1 – I didn’t know a whole lot about the character, but this excellent put together comic book has enough story to get you caught up on the characters and any powers, put you into a dangerous situation, but the majority of the book is focused on Buddy Baker and his family.  It’s a great comic for that reason.  Quiet, focused and more about a family dealing with the father’s powers more than anything else.

Story: 9 Art: 8.25 Overall: 9

Batgirl #1 – Gail Simone takes over the reigns on Barbara Gordon’s return to wearing the cowl.  There’s some issues of how they dealt with her previous condition/situation, but it’s better than forgetting what happened and adds some depth to the character.  Overall, it’s a decent read and more than enough to get me to come back for more.

Story: 7.75 Art: 8 Overall: 7.75

Batwing #1 – A series I went in hoping it’d be good comes out the other end as a solid read with fantastic art.  The story has more than enough there to make me want to come back, but so far it’s just “Batman in Africa” with not enough there to really make it stand apart.  The art though is fantastic and the comic overall is one of the surprising solid debuts.

Story: 8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.25

Detective Comics #1 – I can’t say everything in this first issue makes sense, but all of the right notes are hit.  In general though, the story is too quick, dumping you in the middle of the action and with no build up.  The highlight of the issue is the end, which goes for shock value more than anything.  I’ve always been a Batman fan, but this comic seems to be more of the same than something really new.  But, more of the same is still entertaining.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

Green Arrow #1 – If there was a write by numbers, this would be it.  The hero fighting bad guys and dealing with personal issues.  The monologue as to why he’s doing just that.  The comic isn’t bad in any way, but it’s also not particularly good either.  It’s ok, it’s average, but worst of all, there’s not much reason for me to come back for the second issue, let along the third or fourth.  This is Iron Man with an arrow, not the character we know.

Story: 6.75 Art: 7.25 Overall: 6.75

Hawk & Dove #1 – The issue’s writing isn’t what I have problems with, it’s Rob Liefeld’s mismatched style.  It doesn’t fit for the book and odd positioning, too many pouches, and a lack of mixed emotions for the characters makes me wonder who thought this would work?  The issue itself sets a lot up, but overall, I kind of feel like this is “white people problems the comic book.”

Story: 6 Art: 6 Overall: 6

Heroes for Hire #11 – The new lame bad guy has a name now, and it’s about as solid as the character itself (not so much) and the fight with Purple Man continues.  I can’t wait for this series to get back on track, cause it’s been derailed since it’s been a part of Fear Itself.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

Irredeemable #29 – Plutonian is back and continues to lose his shit as some of the remaining Paradigm do what they can to plan to take him on.  The remaining world leaders also make a deal to end the madness.  There’s also one hell of a twist at the end.  Mark Waid continues to break down the super hero mythos.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

Jennifer Blood #4 – Jennifer continues her war against the mob and checks off a few other bad guys, but not before she takes care of some paid assassins too.  the series is over the top violence with a strong female lead.  The ending also brings a twist that should make the comic stand out from being a female version of The Punisher.  The comic is so wrong in so many ways, but it’s entertaining.

Story: 8 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.75

Justice League International #1 – The tenuous relationship between the members of the team has made the series somewhat interesting, but it’s not enough to really blow me away to the point I want to come back for more.  The ending also seems like a poor copy of something the X-Men might fight.  Again, this is a comic that there isn’t really anything that’s wrong, but nothing that blows me away either.  The series does seem like it has a lot of potential though.

Story: 7 Art: 7.25 Overall: 7

Mega Man #5 – With the first arc over I wasn’t sure where the comic would go from there.  The original robots have been defeated and Dr. Wiley is in jail, but sure enough, the world seems to be expanding with a fun action comic aimed at kids and their nostalgic parents.  A fun read.

Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8

Men of War #1 – An attempt to update Sgt. Rock, the series has potential but falls a bit short.  The military sends Rock and a squad in to retrieve a Senator when it looks like superhumans get in their way.  There’s also a back up story that’s a bit of a throwback and feels like propaganda.  Both together are just ok.  There’s so much potential in this series, but it doesn’t meet it in any way.  The art even is a bit of a let down with figures that seem too boxy and fat.

Story: 6.75 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

Moon Knight #5 – Moon Knight has to deal with the cops now as his presence on the west coast isn’t appreciated.  Bendis does a great job of a character who has lost his mind, but at the same time has kept it somewhat together.  One of the best Marvel comics on the market right now.


Story: 8.5 Art: 8.75 Overall: 8.5

The New Avengers Annual #1 – The Revengers come calling and put the beat down on this team.  I can’t say that Wonder Man doesn’t have a bit of a point.  What’s more impressive is this is the first annual I’ve enjoyed in a log time.  Just a brutal fight and some great art.

Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5

O.M.A.C. #1 – When you say the name Jack Kirby so many would give you the impression the man could do no wrong.  While I appreciate his contributions and his art style, I’ve never been the biggest fan of a lot of the characters he’s created.  O.M.A.C. comes off as two people attempting to do Kirby, and it’s not done very well.  I’m sure there’s people who will gush over it, but it’s just not for me.

Story: 6.5 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.5

The Punisher #3 – The Punisher versus the Vulture in a forgettable third issue.  There’s nothing horrible with the issue, but there’s nothing that makes it stand out or makes it a must read in this story arc.  The art is really good though, but it’s just one part in a much larger story and it seems like a non-vital one.

Story: 6.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7

Static Shock #1 – There’s some I liked and some I didn’t.  The issue is ok, but the tone, the story just didn’t work for me.  It was rushed at points, not explaining enough and other scenes dragged on for too many pages.  There’s also a few spots that made me pause and linger to figure things out.  This isn’t the launch I’d have hoped for with this series.

Story: 7 Art: 7 Overall: 7

Stormwatch #1 – A first issue that’s all set up.  Characters are set up as to how powerful in relation to one-another they are.  Powers are explained.  Mysteries are thrown out there.  It’s all set up, and for that, it doesn’t really blow me away.  This is 3 or 4 short scenes as opposed to a long coherent narrative.  Even with that though, there’s enough here that I want to see what the second issue holds.  Hopefully, it’s more of a narrative than scenes played out.

Story: 7 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.25

Swamp Thing #1 – See the expand review here.

Thunderbolts #163 – The Thunderbolts in the present reflect on their screw up while the Thunderbolts in the past figure out that’s where they are.  Along comes an interesting pair.  There’s something fun, campy and retro about the comic, like it’s back to focusing on bad guys being somewhat bad.  Fun overall.

Story: 7.75 Art: 7.75 Overall: 7.75

Wolverine #15 – Fifteen issues in and the series is finally getting good.  Logan is dealing with the damage he’s caused and his actions in the last arc.  The story has a lot of heart and ok art.  Hopefully this is the beginning of an uptick in the series.

Story: 8 Art: 6.75 Overall: 7.75

X-Factor #224.1 – If the point one comic’s goal is to introduce new readers to a series, this one does it’s job.  You get a rundown of the team, a good sense as to what the comic is like, but my issue is I’m not convinced it’s enough to bring in a new reader.  Overall, a decent comic, but nothing special.

Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5

X-Men #17 – The X-Men and FF are in another dimension and learn the evil bad guy’s plan.  I yawn.  It’s a pretty average story with some solid art.

Story: 6.75 Art: 8.25 Overall: 7

X-23 #14 – X-23 is still with the FF and weirdness is going on.  There’s some great moments here as she has to deal with the FF and children, but the story overall is only ok.  the art I also think has taken a dip from the beautiful last issues.

Story: 7 Art: 6.75 Overall: 6.75

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After a great night hanging out the the BOOM! crew, Roger Langridge and Garry from The Laughing Ogre it’s off to the Small Press Expo.  Expect some coverage throughout the day through tweets and of course posts and photos after.  Until then, here’s the news you might have missed.

Around the Blogs:

Bleeding Cool – Grant Morrison Responds To GD-Gate – To this I say, god dammit.

Con Coverage:

MTV Geek – Back To The Future With Christopher Lloyd At Dragon-Con

MTV Geek – Dragon-Con 2011: Anatomy Of A Cosplayer

The Beat – Giant SPX Who’s where and what — WOW

The Beat – Nerds Nerds Nerds at SPX 2011

Around the Tubes Reviews:

CBR – Batwing #1

CBR – Punisher #3

MTV Geek – New 52 Review: Green Arrow #1, Justice League International #1, Hawk & Dove #1, and O.M.A.C. #1

MTV Geek – New 52 Review: Batgirl #1, Men of War #1, Stormwatch #1, Static Shock #1, and Batwing #1

MTV Geek – New 52 Review: ‘Detective Comics’ #1 Is The Batman Joker Fight We’ve Been Waiting For

The Mary Sue – New 52 in Review: Week 1

Comics Alliance – ComicsAlliance Reviews Every Comic in DC’s ‘New 52’: Week 1

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