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oliverkinne
October 03, 2022
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Town 66 Review

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oliverkinne
September 30, 2022
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Sagrada Review

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Michael Barnes
September 30, 2022
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oliverkinne
September 29, 2022
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Michael Barnes
September 29, 2022
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thegiantbrain
September 07, 2022
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WadeMonnig
September 07, 2022
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oliverkinne
September 06, 2022
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September 02, 2022
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Union Station Board Game Review

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thegiantbrain
September 01, 2022
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Homebrewers Board Game Review

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WadeMonnig
August 31, 2022
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thegiantbrain
August 30, 2022
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oliverkinne
August 29, 2022
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August 29, 2022
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Aquamarine Board Game Review

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WadeMonnig
August 24, 2022
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oliverkinne
August 24, 2022
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Undaunted: Normandy Review

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What COMIC BOOKS have you been reading?

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07 Feb 2013 04:58 #143465 by metalface13
I don't think Brubaker is ashamed of superheroes, I just think he really loves the pulp fiction crime noir and masked hero vigilantes that presided comic books and served as their inspiration more. That passion just naturally permeates everything he does, and he's been successful with it, so why not run with it? You guys are making me want to go back and reread this run, and Brubaker on Daredevil. Daredevil in prison was good stuff.

I just finished New X-Men hardcover vol. 2 last night. Still not sure how I feel about it. I've got the third hardcover waiting for me at the library. And Essex County by Jeff Lemire.

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07 Feb 2013 15:00 #143501 by Shellhead
I enjoyed Immortal Iron Fist while Brubaker and Fraction were writing it. But I tried Brubaker's Cap run, around the time that Bucky came back. It was well-written, but also relentlessly bleak and drab. I think that the colorist invented a new color that was even darker than black, for use in many of the backgrounds.

Captain America is Marvel's most DC-like character, a paragon of flawless good in a colorful and patriotic costume. It's fine for him to be totally serious and delivering moralistic speeches, but his adventures should be somewhat uplifting and energetic, not wallowing in angst. Bringing back Bucky only served to underline that death is a big dumb joke in the Marvel Universe, and the "death" of Captain America was a big second serving of the same kind of stupid. Also, it was disappointing to see Black Widow ending up as somebody's arm candy, once again. She has probably set some kind of comic book record for failing the Bechdel test.

Barnes, your comment about Bucky's Cap costume deliberately looking stupid is very insightful. They got Alex Ross to create the costume, and he is usually pretty good at costume design, so it had to be deliberately bad. Still, the costume bothered me a lot, because Bucky was never as bulky as Cap, but even a variation on the Cap costume calls for a bulky build to fill it out properly, so Bucky always seemed to be drawn heavier in that costume.

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07 Feb 2013 16:26 #143516 by metalface13

Shellhead wrote: Captain America is Marvel's most DC-like character, a paragon of flawless good in a colorful and patriotic costume. It's fine for him to be totally serious and delivering moralistic speeches, but his adventures should be somewhat uplifting and energetic, not wallowing in angst. Bringing back Bucky only served to underline that death is a big dumb joke in the Marvel Universe, and the "death" of Captain America was a big second serving of the same kind of stupid.


Oh yeah, because DC has never killed Superman or anything.

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07 Feb 2013 16:38 #143518 by Shellhead

metalface13 wrote:

Shellhead wrote: Captain America is Marvel's most DC-like character, a paragon of flawless good in a colorful and patriotic costume. It's fine for him to be totally serious and delivering moralistic speeches, but his adventures should be somewhat uplifting and energetic, not wallowing in angst. Bringing back Bucky only served to underline that death is a big dumb joke in the Marvel Universe, and the "death" of Captain America was a big second serving of the same kind of stupid.


Oh yeah, because DC has never killed Superman or anything.


For the sake of completeness, I will say it: death is also a big dumb joke in the DCU.

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07 Feb 2013 16:43 #143520 by metalface13

Shellhead wrote: For the sake of completeness, I will say it: death is also a big dumb joke in the DCU.


I've said it before, but this and publisher-wide continuity are why I generally don't read Marvel and DC stuff.

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08 Feb 2013 15:11 #143601 by Dair
Yesterday, I finally got a chance to read up on Hawkeye (at least to issue 6). It is a fun, light story and enjoyable. I like Aja's art, but Pulido's 2 issue fill-in was subpar to me. Definitely one of the better superhero books out there, but nothing groundbreaking.

I also got to read the first issue of the new Prophet run and Multiple Warheads.

Prophet was great. I was worried that the hype would spoil it for me, as I'm prone to being disappointed when I've been told how good something is for months. I definitely will be picking up the remaining issues.

I'm torn on Multiple Warheads. I will probably re-read it to give it another chance, because I was underwhelmed on my first reading. I like the out there story and most of the art. Unfortunately, I thought the art lacked some storytelling clarity. I was often struggling to make sense of exactly what was going on. Maybe it will be more clear on a second reading, as I will have a sense for the universe at the point.

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08 Feb 2013 15:49 #143605 by Shellhead

Dair wrote: Yesterday, I finally got a chance to read up on Hawkeye (at least to issue 6). It is a fun, light story and enjoyable. I like Aja's art, but Pulido's 2 issue fill-in was subpar to me. Definitely one of the better superhero books out there, but nothing groundbreaking.


I enjoyed Fraction and Aja's work on Immortal Iron Fist, except that Aja works too slowly for a monthly title. So they often used fill-in artists on that run, and Marvel doesn't use good artists as fill-in artists. And then Fraction disappointed me greatly with his Invincible Iron Man run. So even though I'm a big fan of Hawkeye, I'm skipping this title.

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08 Feb 2013 17:08 #143615 by Dair
Shellhead, I understand your sentiment. I was badgered by a couple buddies to finally give in and buy Hawkeye; up to that point I had resisted the urge. I can't say I love it as much as they both seem to, but it is worth the price of admission.

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08 Feb 2013 20:08 - 08 Feb 2013 20:13 #143649 by dragonstout
Hawkeye is not worth going out of your way for.

I've almost finished LOS TEJANOS, and I partly take back what I said before, it's a really fucking sad story, but I'll write more after I finish.

Couple great articles posted today by the reviewers I earlier listed as my favorites:
www.tcj.com/extreme-boy-pizza-party/

hoodedutilitarian.com/2013/02/a-few-word...e-current-situation/

The first is Tucker Stone's and Abhay Kosla's usual shtick, and I was LOL'ing at work. The latter is all about comics criticism and critics in general, so I thought it might be of interest to those of you that label yourselves that way.

I won't keep doing that, but since I didn't have links last time, I figured I should post links.
Last edit: 08 Feb 2013 20:13 by dragonstout.

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11 Feb 2013 21:00 #143823 by dragonstout
Finished LOS TEJANOS. Sad story, but fascinating specifically because of Juan Seguin's decision to join the former enemy and lead an attack on Texas; the book tries hard to NOT make him look as bad as Benedict Arnold, and doesn't completely succeed, which I find far more interesting. To me that's THE fascinating ethical & psychological nugget of the story; everything else is setting and aftermath of that moment, both from his point of view and the point of view of the other Texans & Tejanos.

Throughout the book I continued to irrationally enjoy Jackson's kind of stiff, awkward storytelling, as well as the incredible passion that shone through particularly in the drawing, especially because both of these things reminded me exactly of my Dad's rare comics.

After that, I wanted something less serious, so I decided to read the new PRISON PIT. And since they're fast-reading and I love them, I figured what the hell, I'll re-read books 1 through 3 as well. And god, I really do LOVE these comics. I'd call it a guilty pleasure, except it's not at all; despite having a character named Indigestible Scrotum, I get the same aesthetic ecstasy that I get from more obviously high-minded art. It's powerful, funny, and beautiful, despite the fact that in someone else's hands it'd be utter trash. I can appreciate Gary Panter, and some of the Fort Thunder guys like Mat Brinkman and Brian Ralph, and it's clear that Johnny Ryan is VERY much following in their footsteps here but in a more lowbrow way, but maybe I'm just a lowbrow at heart because I love it more than I loved any of those earlier comics. I did not ever expect to be so impressed by Johnny Ryan (I love his more recent humor stuff too, and should probably revisit the earlier stuff). There are two of the best one-liners yet in the latest book, as well as the two *scariest* monster designs yet.

DEFINITELY a "not-for-everyone", though. If you can read a 30-page sample of it, you should be able to completely tell whether it's for you or not. I will say though that a sample of the first book made me think "this is unusual for Johnny Ryan and interesting", while it took reading the entire book to make me actually LOVE it.

Next up, back to something serious. I liked Alison Bechdel's FUN HOME a lot when it came out, but haven't read last year's less-well-reviewed sequel ARE YOU MY MOTHER? yet, so that's next on the agenda.

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11 Feb 2013 21:39 #143829 by metalface13
I finished Morrison's New X-Men last night. I thought it was a promising yet uneven series that was almost entirely undone by the penultimate story arc.

New X-Men's greatest strength and weakness is that it doesn't really feel like an X-Men book. Which is good, because I like stories and characters going new places and stretching the perimeters of the mutant universe. New X-Men is all about evolution: Secondary mutations, new and radical developing Sentinels, mankind's efforts to fight and contain the mutant threat, the U-Men's obsession with self-evolution. All of that is an effort to evolve X-Men as a Marvel property. It's much more sci-fi than ever before, and X-Men has always been pretty sci-fi for a superhero book.

But it almost leaves too much of what makes X-Men feel like X-Men. New X-Men doesn't give a lot of time to the X-Men standards, well at least everybody together as a team. Instead Morrison fills the pages with the actions of Emma's quadruplet telepaths, Xorn and his Special Class: the freaky looking weirdo type of mutants whose powers don't seem all that useful. Developing the idea of mutant fashion, music and street culture was fun to explore. The student rebellion was fun and fit with the X-Men theme of youthful rebellion.

Almost all of that was completely ruined for me in Vol. 3 with Magneto's big reveal. Simply put, it was awful. Dreadful really. Magneto has been secretly orchestrating this massive plot, and when he reveals himself he's nothing more than the most cliched parody of supervilliany. I almost stopped reading because the dialogue between Magneto, Toad, his new Brotherhood and the mutant hordes was just mind-boggling poor. Magneto, the former leader of the 16-million mutant nation of Genosha needs Toad to explain to him why he's not winning over the crowd? And Ernst constantly asking where Mister Xorn was? Ugh.

Fantomex and the Weapon Plus program also did nothing for me. The whole time I felt Fantomex was a bad combo of Storm Shadow and Deadpool to have Fantomex rant against his creators for setting him up as the "cool, stealth guy" of the Weapon Plus program. Was Morrison forced into creating this character? Was it supposed to be a parody? And then the most powerful creation, Weapon XV escapes in order to ... do absolutely nothing.

I read Morrison's manifesto at the back of Vol. 3, and the goal was to create a continuity-free, tight X-Men comic that could appeal to a mainstream audience that had gotten their first taste of X-Men from the movies. New X-Men doesn't come anywhere near meeting those goals though. There's way more science fiction than in the movies, introduces and dwells on lots of weird, new characters and there's a decent amount of continuity-necessary stuff: the Shi'ar, the Phoenix, even Sentinels. I know you'll cringe to hear this, but Whedon and Cassaday did a much better job of hitting all those goals in Astonishing X-Men.

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11 Feb 2013 22:05 #143834 by Shellhead

metalface13 wrote: I know you'll cringe to hear this, but Whedon and Cassaday did a much better job of hitting all those goals in Astonishing X-Men.


No, I totally agree with you. I read less than half the Morrison run on New X-Men, basically most of the second half, and thought it was very uneven. Whedon clearly liked the Morrison run and built upon it, but definitely did a better job at reaching Morrison's goals.

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11 Feb 2013 22:10 #143835 by Michael Barnes
There isn't really anything mainstream about New X-Men. It's pretty cracked stuff, and Morrisson throws out so many ideas to change the book that I can see where you're coming from in terms of saying that it's not really what you expect out of the title. You've got to remember what X-Men was coming out of when he took the book over though.

THE NINETIES.

Morrison's take is such a volte-face from Age of Apocalypse and all of that junk. It really is more about kids and school...and David Cronenbergian body horror stuff. I think he saw a book that he knew needed to be seriously rehabilitated in order to remain relevant. By 2000-2001, X-Men was a _joke_ apart from the success of the first film and culture's long-standing and pop culture's sort of weird obsession with Wolverine. I didn't read X-Men then. I remember picking up a book probably in the late 1990s and I had no idea what was going on other than that the art was horrifying and shiny.

I also remember eyebrows raising when Morrison was put on the book. I also remember people telling me "no, really- you need to read the new X-men book".

It's definitely experimental in terms of mainstream books...I don't think Morrison was as confident with the characters as he was with Superman and Batman, for example, but he wrote around that by creating new ones. Quentin Quire is one of the best characters X-Men has ever had.

As for Fantomex, go look up Danger: Diabolik. He is very specifically based on the French comics character Diabolik (remember the "fake" French accent"?). He's also drawn from a number of European comics characters, all similarly masked, rogueish figures with questionable morals and motives. I think there is definitely a degree of parody there...he takes a VERY interesting turn in Remender's Uncanny X-Force, in the first story.

I just read the new Lemire Green Arrow book that's drawing raves...hard to say with just one book and a pretty hard reboot...but it seems like it might be really good. I have a soft spot for archery heroes even though they're inherently lame. I admit it.

New Hawkeye was pretty good, the Hurricane Sandy issue. More cool dude stuff.

Reading Wasteland...I don't know. I'm REALLY into it but I don't know if I actually like it. I hate the art. It's extremely derivative. But something about it is compelling. Maybe it's that the writer pretty directly references a bunch of stuff I like a lot- 80s goth (specfically Fields of the Nephilim), the movie Hardware, spaghetti westerns. Pretty typical post-apocalypse fare. It's really well-written, maybe that's what's doing it for me. Writer is Antony Johnston, who I've known mostly as a video games writer (Dead Space, ZombiU, and some other credits).

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11 Feb 2013 22:31 #143839 by metalface13
Yeah, I think I just would have liked it better if it wasn't an X-Men title at all, but rather a new series inspired by it. I find it interesting that Morrison spends a lot of time within his works bashing on continuity, character deaths, etc., rather than doing more creater-owned projects.

I'm going to read Essex County next before I dive into the last volume of Animal Man. My wife picked up and started reading Essex County and likes it so far. She doesn't read a lot of stuff I pick up, but she good taste when she does.

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11 Feb 2013 22:32 #143840 by Shellhead

Michael Barnes wrote: Reading Wasteland...I don't know. I'm REALLY into it but I don't know if I actually like it. I hate the art. It's extremely derivative. But something about it is compelling. Maybe it's that the writer pretty directly references a bunch of stuff I like a lot- 80s goth (specfically Fields of the Nephilim), the movie Hardware, spaghetti westerns. Pretty typical post-apocalypse fare. It's really well-written, maybe that's what's doing it for me. Writer is Antony Johnston, who I've known mostly as a video games writer (Dead Space, ZombiU, and some other credits).


I tried to like Wasteland, but gave up after the third trade, despite the awesome Tricky reference in the title. I didn't notice specific influences like the ones that you identified, but it seemed overly familiar and really predictable, especially the intrigue in the big city.

Good points about Morrison's New X-Men shaking up a stagnant franchise. As far as I'm concerned, the X-Men started sucking after Byrne left in the early '80s, and didn't begin to recover until Morrison came along. It's not that I think that Byrne is an amazing creator, but he had a definite creative synergy with Claremont back then. (So did Dave Cockrum, at least during his first run on X-Men.) After Byrne left, Claremont became insufferable, and yet editors left him on the book for 17 years.

So yeah, Morrison's New X-Men was a breath of fresh air, but I personally found the air to smell a bit peculiar at times. Morrison is a one-man army of creativity, but he doesn't always get complete ideas on to the comic book page. I suspect he has those ideas in his head, but isn't able to successfully communicate the ideas to any artist that he has ever worked with, even including the suspiciously named Frank Quitely.

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