Monday, 24 September 2007

State of the Industry: DC

So, you may have noticed... it is *not* 2 days ago. Sadly, as will occasionally happen, real life gets in the way. First up, before I begin this entry I just want to say a quick thanks to both guys who commented from other blogs. You guys were added because I genuinely think you're the best. Now, on to business...


I read less DC than Marvel but even so...

Countdown- Okay, let's get it out of the way, I don't think anyone's that happy with Countdown so far. I like to remain relatively positive but even I've had a hard time of it. With regards to plotlines, I'm a huge New Gods fan, and I like how they've been handled so far even if I'm wary of killing them all off. I also really like the Rogues plot- but then, I've loved the Rogues since Johns wrote Flash- and I quite like the Jimmy Olsen one. I frankly couldn't care less about the rest. The art has been pretty poor too, except for the reliable Jesus Saiz. (Greatest... name... ever.) I've already identified the pattern- Palmiotti and Grey write a great issue, Bedard writes a good/okay issue, and every other issue sucks. This series CAN improve but damn it's going slowly and the future seems the same as the present- wallowing in mediocrity.

Flash- Flash is one title where I seem to constantly find myself in the majority. I loved the Johns run. I hated the fill-in. I hated the relaunch. And I loved the Guggenheim stuff. I mean *Loved*. I wish, in retrospect, he had stayed permanently. Just as I was convinced Bart could work, they killed him. But DC lying to their customers was more than made up for, I thought, by MARK FREAKING WAID coming back! Booyah! I love Waid, I love Flash... so why can't I get into his first two issues? Maybe it's that I don't like the kids. Maybe it's the lack of good villains. But really, this is such a radical change of direction it'll take me a while to get used to and bad art doesn't help. I'm not sure what I think of this, and I'm not sure that'll change any time soon. It's no triumphant return of glory, but nor is it a particularly bad one either.

Green Lantern and Green Lantern Corps- I do not read GL normally, let alone GLC. I have no particular liking for the Corps, the Guardians or anyone there short of Kilowog. I may have a soft spot for John Stewart, but other than that, nada. I read this solely because of the hype.

Despite this, I think I'm ready to declare the Sinestro Corps War my favourite story of 2007. It's not that other comics are bad, they're not. In some cases, like Cap, they're AWESOME. But this... this is better. Overall, Captain America is a better comic, but for this storyline, this has a better story. Damn, this story kicks more ass than I can say. I don't know how long these two will be on my pull list... but if Johns has his way, they won't be off any time soon.

Justice League of America- Let me get this out of the way, I hate Brad Meltzer. Not the man himself, I'm sure he's lovely, but he writes such painfully godawful pieces of slow moving prose with irritating text boxes and nothing happening that I really really REALLY dislike everything the man writes. It is my firm believe that with the whole DC universe open to it, JLA has the most potential of any title in existence. Meltzer actually made me drop it.

Now in one special, McDuffie's turned that all around. I watched and loved Justice League Unlimited, and I loved everything about the wedding special which surpasses even the great work he's done on FF. I love the Injustice League. I love the light humour. I love the socialising from around the DCU. I love the giant cast. I love the inclusion of John Stewart. I love the Meltzer parody. I love the silver age-esque Hall of Doom and insane Luthor plan. I have a feeling I'm going to really enjoy this run.

Thus endeth the saga of DC books I read. Coming very soon.... Comixforce's very first review! Stay tuned, true believers!

Friday, 21 September 2007

State of the Industry: Marvel

Before I do any actual reviews, I feel it's best to take a look at each company and see what they're bringing to the table at the moment in my view, assessing the titles I read in their current state- starting with the one I read the most of post-Civil War: Marvel. So without further ado...


Civil War-
Since it's the driving force behind so much of Marvel these days, it makes sense to start with the event that will, for better or worse, be remembered as the defining event for either of the Big Two this decade, Civil War. Although it's popular to bash this on the blogosphere, I won't be doing any of that. I loved the main mini to death, and felt that aside from one or two hiccups- most of which centered around issue 4 and the infamous Clor, it was as good and balanced as could be. It's thanks to this I took a pro-registration stance despite Captain America being my favorite character. It just made sense to me. Now the event at the whole is somewhat more mixed. Rather than delving into it in depth now (That's for a future post), I'll just say why some parts of it were very bad, I was very happy with the status quo outlined at the end of it, and very excited. Iron Man: Director of SHIELD? Now there's story potential! The Fifty States Initiative? Captain America dead? Iron Man the figurehead of all heroes? Tiny band of New Avengers? No trust in the hero community? Spider-Man unmasked? There was a MINEFIELD of potential here. Some of it exploited, some of it not. I wanted to get that out of the way. Now I'm going to assess the titles I read at the moment.

Amazing Spider-Man- Was on a high during Civil War after a giant low during "The Other". Back in Black had some wasted potential but wasn't bad overall, just not what it could have been. My breath is held for One More Day, and I have no particular view on the marriage. I'm pretty hopeful for Brand New Day as I love Guggenheim and Slott can be very good. So this prognosis seems bright.

Avengers: The Initiative- An example of wasted potential. Making the Initiative so transparently evil is a fairly boring cliché. That's not to say the book is bad. There's still much potential here, and I like some of the characters. But I want to see Hank grow a backbone and act like Hank again, and I want to see more balance here and less blatantly evil Initiative. This is okay... but it could be great.

Captain America- This is the single greatest comic being published, even moreso with Cap dead. I have nothing more to say. READ. THIS. BOOK.

Iron Man- I think the Knaufs have done a great job on Iron Man and hopefully will continue to do so. They really get Tony Stark and are doing a deep analysis of him in a book which is sadly underrated. Is great now, will be staying so for the foreseeable future.

Fantastic Four- FF is the comic I nurse the biggest soft spot for, as I do love Marvel's First Family. At the moment, McDuffie's telling very solid and enjoyable stories after the abominations JMS fed us, but it feels like killing time before the event I can't wait for: Millar and Hitch on FF!

Mighty Avengers- Ah, MA. The only *real* Avengers book in ways, with a brilliant nostalgic cast and great art. I want to love you, I really do. But we don't see enough of each other- you come so rarely it feels like it's months and months before I see you again. You're so beautiful, if a little shallow, and I could love you again if I saw you more often...

New Avengers- While I wasn't a fan of the Skrulls in the past, I'm enjoying this title okay. As an Avengers book, it fails, as a comic book it succeeds on some levels. I hate Lenil Yu's art, I'm sorry to say, and not blown away by the story but it's passable and will hopefully stay that way- or even improve as we approach Secret Invasion.

Thor- JMS is a hit or miss writer but Thor's been all hit so far. Great development of supporting cast, good grasp of the main character, horrible miswriting of Iron Man but that was a once off. Although it's early days yet if this just speeds up a bit, it could be one of the greats.

Thunderbolts- What can I say that hasn't been said again? Ellis has transformed this into the second best book on the market. It's dark, it's brilliant, it's the most twisted and fun comic in existence, and I can't wait to see where it goes next.

Uncanny X-Men- Brubaker, Brubaker, Brubaker. You write Cap, the best comic in existence, and yet somehow Uncanny X-Men can never live up to it. It's solid enough, make no mistake- but the plot is totally average and the art is poor. I know Brubaker can shine yet, I'm just giving him time. As the only x-comic I collect, it'll be hard to stay through Messiah CompleX yet stay I shall, through thick and thin, to see my boy Magneto in action again!

World War Hulk- This can be summed up in one resounding Meh. It started with such promise after a great issue one, then dissolved into a mindless brawl. At this stage, it seems Hulk could take out Galactus with a punch, and I fear for the Earth as it seems every time there's any sort of threat at all Strange feels it's okay to pop out the old intergalactic cosmic demon. Not to mention the pretence Hulk could be in any way justified was kind of shattered once we reached the whole "making people fight to the death in a pit" thing. A giant green disappointment.

Well that about wraps it up for this blog's first day of existence, a quick run down of how I feel about the Marvel titles I collect. You can see I'm pretty positive about almost all of them- which is kind of obvious, as I wouldn't get a title if I didn't enjoy it. But that doesn't mean I won't crack down on them if they do screw up.

Tomorrow, I run down my (rather shorter) list of DC titles and begin the first review of Comixforce!


So here it is. After all this time of resistance, of trying desperately not to succumb to the urge, I have at last decided to create a blog about comics... by me.

Where to begin... well, the most obvious place would be the beginning. I'm an oldschool comics fan who is admittedly more Marvel than DC, more because I prefer the quality than anything else. Bigtime Avengers, FF and Spidey fan, not so much X-Men. And over at the Distinguished Competition, hardcore Flash fan, also reading JLA, Countdown and Sinestro Corps.

The title of this blog, incidentally, really came from me wanting to find something with the word "Comic/Comix" and then blatantly stealing from Marvel's "X-Force" name to form Comixforce, which I believe sounds cool. Hopefully it does so I don't end up being arrested and deported for nothing. Not that Marvel would do that as they're all wonderful, understanding people of course.

In any case, I'll be getting started almost straight away with the purpose of this blog. And what is this purpose? Simple, to review, blog and rant about comics! Every Thursday (UK over here, lucky Americanskis and your Wednesday comics...) I'll start uploading my summaries and reviews of the haul for this particular week. I'll also comment on any comic news, and very occasionally some non comic news as well. So what sets this apart from all the other comic related blogs out there?

The fact that I'm better.

...No but seriously, this may as well be titled Yet Another Comics Blog. And would have been, if that wasn't already taken by a frankly better blog. But as it is, I'll make do with what I've got! Here's to some good times ahead in the blogosphere....