Month: October 2007

The Weekly Pile

Top of the Pile: Daredevil Annual #1

Last week’s Top of the Pile was Daredevil #101, and this week Ed Brubaker puts out another gem in Daredevil Annual #1. Matt Murdock gets visited by Carlos LaMuerto (a.k.a. The Black Tarantula), just released from prison and looking to turn his life around. Murdock not only gives LaMuerto a job at his law firm but enlists his help in costume as Black Tarantula. Tarantula tries to walk the perfectly straight & narrow but ultimately realizes that he doesn’t have the patience to do things Daredevil’s way. He returns to his old ways, only this time as a force of good instead of evil.

The Rest of the Pile

Countdown #26 – See The Countdown Countdown.

Ultimate Power #8 – The first seven issues of this title were written by Brian Michael Bendis. This issue was written by Jeph Loeb. Odd.


The Countdown Countdown

One Week Left…

Another week on the Countdown, another week of the stories casually milling around. (Jimmy Olsen is still deciding whether or not to go with Forager, even though it appears that was decided last week.) Well, that’s not entirely true. Some of the stories leap forward to another chapter with little or no explanation. (The confrontation between Mary Marvel and Shadowpact that was set up in the last issue is already pretty much over by the time we get to it in this issue.) There’s also the continued trend of characters dropping by to say hi and having no real impact on the story. (Two-face, anyone?) There was one thing that stood out in this issue, though: Jason Todd’s turn. Him turning his back on his travel buddies to join Monarch’s army was an actual exciting twist that came out of nowhere. And not the cheap, illogical “out of nowhere” that a lot of other things in this book have come from. Could this be the thing that saves the book for me? The follow up had better be good since next week is their last chance.

The Weekly Pile

Top of the Pile: Daredevil #101

This book is like Law & Order with a superhero as the main character. The two sides of the book (the stuff in the courtroom and the stuff in the tights) go together so well because Matt Murdock has a strong desire to live both sides of his life. It’s not like Batman, where Bruce Wayne is just a public face he puts on. Both characters seem real and substantial. You can chalk all that up to Ed Brubaker being one of the best writers in comics today.

The Rest of the Pile

Countdown #27 – See The Countdown Countdown

Ultimate Spider-Man #115 – As much as Mark Bagley became synonymous with this book after one hundred and ten consecutive issues, I gotta say I like Stuart Immonen’s work even more.

Walking Dead #43 – After last month’s issue set the stage for the confrontation between the survivors and the people from Woodbury, it seemed kind of a let down for this to be a fill-in issue that didn’t advance the story. But that’s not to say that this issue was bad. It gave some excellent backstory for The Governor, one of the post despicable villains to come along in years.

The Countdown Countdown

Two Weeks Left…

This week’s Countdown #28 was actually a huge improvement over the previous week’s, but that’s not saying much. Aside from a small child using “I’ll be your bestest buddy” to stop a crazed Brother Eye, there wasn’t much to insult the intelligence like last week’s installment. There was even some semblance of a couple stories actually starting to inch forward with Shadowpact looking to take down Mary Marvel and Jimmy Olsen finally having a purpose in investigating the deaths of the New Gods. But I have to say these new developments feel like part three of a story. Part one took place in the first few weeks of Countdown but we never got part two. How is Jimmy Olsen ready to go for a big time super hero mission when we don’t even know why or how he has powers yet?

Could we really be leaving the Newsboy Legion behind so soon after meeting them? Like the Jokester and the majority of the characters from the other Earths, they just seemed to pop their heads up and say “Hi, we’re in this book.” and then fade away.

And would it kill DC give the reader a little heads up on whats been going on in the DCU between issues of Countdown? Marvel uses recap pages at the beginning of many of their books that make it possible to know what’s going on in the event that you missed an issue. If ever a book screamed for that feature, it’s Countdown. At the very least and check list of books you should read before reading this week’s issue would help immensely. Then you wouldn’t be spoiled on things like Big Barda’s death in Death of the New Gods #1.

Countdown Advice

Unlike my distinguished colleague here at Comicdom Wrecks, I am enjoying the series. Don’t get me wrong, I still think it should not have been done, but I’m not gonna stop buying it. Being a weekly series, it is getting compared to 52, but this is an unfair comparison. 52 was a stand alone series, that anyone could pick up and read. Countdown is not. Countdown was not advertised as such. It was advertised as the “spine” of the DCU, meaning that it was going to tie-in to everything. With that being said, there are 3 ways for someone to enjoy Countdown.

1) Buy every book DC puts out. This the most expensive and time-consuming of the ways to enjoy Countdown. If you buy everything, then you are guaranteed of not missing anything.

2) Find spoilers for the tie-in books. Somewhere, someone online is putting up spoilers for what has happened in the tie-in books. It should be DC, but unfortunately, they are not. Not sure why. They did it for Countdown to Infinite Crisis, and Infinite Crisis. But the message boards on DC’s site probably have something. Or there’s always Wikipedia.

3) Just accept it. By “just accept it,” I mean that just accept that there are a ton of books that are connected to Countdown, and accept that what has happened between issues has happened.

Now, if you can’t do any of these 3, then just don’t read Countdown. All it will bring you is frustration.

The Weekly Pile

The Top of the Pile

Justice League of America #14 -4 out of 5- by Dwyane McDuffie & Ed Benes

Dwayne McDuffie’s “Unlimited” story continues. This issue seemed more like an issue of Superman or Action Comics, than JLA. Which isn’t really a bad thing. I just make the comparison because the issue is driven by the drama between Superman and Luthor. Something I haven’t seen enough of in the Superman titles. But the Superman books are a rant for another day. Back to the League. I like the teaming of Black Lightning and Superman in this issue. I think it’s a good thing for a team book like this to pair the minor characters with the major ones. But more importantly, to make them have just as much of a positive role in the action as the major players. This is important to building up the lesser known characters, so that one day, the Big 3 (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) may be able to leave the book.

There’s nothing complex about McDuffie’s writing. It’s just enjoyable. It was also nice having Ed Benes back to draw the issue. However, I don’t think he’s going to be around much longer. Thought I saw someone else solicited for the next story arc.

Rest of the Pile

Countdown #28 -3 out of 5- by Tony Bedard & Al Barrionuevo
See future article.

The Weekly Pile

Top of the Pile: Mighty Avengers #5

It’s a shame this book has been so delayed. With the extended periods between issues it’s hard to keep up any kind of storytelling pace. The most you can hope for, aside from the creators getting their asses in gear and putting the book out on time, is that the issue is good when it does come out. Mighty Avengers comes through in that department.

Bendis’ decent drama and snappy dialog always make his books an entertaining read. His use of random thought bubbles is a great way to give an extra dimension to the characters without having to delve into a lot of expository writing. Frank Cho’s art continues to look fantastic and it’s sad to know he’s the reason the book’s so delayed.

The Rest of the Pile

Captain America #31 – This book was very close to being the Top this week. Ed Brubaker continues to craft a compelling story even though the title character’s been dead for more than six months.

Captain America: The Chosen #3 – Continuing the story of an aging Cap searching for his replacement.

Countdown #28 – See this week’s Countdown Countdown

JLA #14 – The Injustice League, a large gathering of villains who seem to have gotten together just to get together. This may sound weird, but it reads more like a cartoon than a comic book.

Marvel Zombies 2 #1 – Nothing special here, just the same gory fun as the first series. Robert Kirkman continues to be one of my favorite writers.

Ultimate Fantastic Four #47 – I’m torn about this book. It hasn’t been bad, it just hasn’t been interesting.

Wolverine: Origins #18 – Wolverine fights Nazis with Captain America, Bucky, and a young Nick Fury.