Reading comics again

Now that Marvel has finally gotten the proverbial stick out of their proverbial butt and let the X-Men be the frickin’ X-Men again, I’ve found myself back into the foray of reading comics.  And when I read comics, I tend to have lots and lots of opinions about them.  Thankfully, I have a blog for that!

Coming soon will be the restarting of my eXaminations bit where I go through what’s going on in the X-Men world, and I’ll probably do it on an individual issue basis so I don’t let the pile grow to the point where there’s more work than thought.

But I’m not just reading X-Men, dear friends.  I’ve also been sticking my nose into other books that tickle my fancy and I will be sharing thoughts on those as well.  The main one, of course, is the Whatever New Relaunch Blue Beetle book which has the return of Ted Kord!  And why isn’t he dead, you ask?  Because in this world, he never died.

So look for that.  But before I leave, I will give you a little bit of joy I found in my readings, coming from April’s Spider-Man/Deadpool #16 by Joshua Corin and Scott Koblish.  The setup is that Deadpool, Spider-Man and Cami Van Helsing have traveled to Latvia to convince Dracula to lead his Vampire Army against their monster-leading villain.  Unfortunately, they find Dracula uninterested in doing anything of the sort, being perfectly fine living his life down in the basement playing online games while a minion regularly sends him victims to feed upon via trap door slide from the toilet.

So Cami Van Helsing pisses off the undeadman to the point that he’s ready to kill her fabulously, but Spider-Man challenges the gamer in him to a video game fight in which Cami plays as Spider-Man and Dracula plays as, well, Dracula.




Deadpool Review

Deadpool-Movie-PosterAt long last, the Deadpool movie has been released to the masses.  Before I get going with this review, if you happen to be a parent and have stumbled upon this review wondering if you should take your kid to see this movie, the answer is hell no.  This movie is rated R for a pretty good reason.  The PG-13 version that a petition was asking for thankfully did not get made.  So, because other Marvel movies are fine for kids, do not think  this one is.  Your kid may be scarred.  Or may not be.  What do I know?  I am not a parent.  I have a cat.  If your kid has already seen things like Kick Ass, then this will probably be fine for them.  I would probably not keep my cat from watching it, and she is almost 2.

But I digress.  So yeah, Ryan Reynolds finally got his Deadpool movie made and released.  Going into it, I was a bit worried.  Yes, I like the character, but how much exposure to the character would I find enjoyable, and would it reach the point where the Deadpool’s shtick went from hilarious to tiresome?  Would it be like most things I watch with Will Ferrel in them?  Where, if he’s a supporting character or in an SNL skit I find him funny, or would it be like one of his starring roles, where I am just completely tired of him by the end of it?  (more…)

Marvel’s new brilliant plan – “Point One”

It’s not very easy to jump into reading comics, especially so for franchise characters like Batman or Spider-Man.  To combat this problem, publishers will often advertise books as “jumping on” points, usually corresponding with the release of a new movie or TV show.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.  After all, just because a new story arc starts doesn’t mean a new reader will understand why Nightwing is Batman or why the X-Men are living on an island off the coast on San Francisco.

Yet it always seems to be a huge issues for comic fans, which could be considered odd being that fans nerdy enough to complain about the matter on the internet are already well-invested in their fandom.  Tangent aside, Marvel has decided to create a string of jumping-on points in some of their big franchises with their “Point One” line.  Rather than using one-shots or other means, Marvel is instead giving the likes of Spider-Man, Iron Man and others .1 issues.  But that’s not saying there will be Spider-Man #.1, like when Marvel had its ill-received run of -1 “origin” issues a decade ago.  Instead, these will be issues sitting between two issues of the series.  Amazing Spider-Man #654.1 will take place between ASM #654 and #655.

Photo taken in planning session.

Of course, being the cynical blog writer I am, I question the logic of this move.  For one, it doesn’t seem like all of the Point One books will be starting new storylines in their new books.  From interviews I’ve seen, it seems like some of them won’t even be by the book’s regular creative teams (though I don’t know enough to confirm nor deny that claim).  That means that in between two issues of a storyline, you’ll be getting a book that “matters” without actually really mattering if you already know what’s going on with the book.  And for us completists out there, it’s a real awkward thing to have a .1 issue sitting between two other issues, but I suppose that’s just nitpicking on my part.

But the Point One gimmick also seems like it has great potential to confuse readers into skipping the book.  Over the past few years, various printings of big issues tend to have gimmicks included with them in an attempt to get regular readers to buy a second copy of the book.  Usually labelled as “Directors Cuts” (to appeal to DVD aficionados), these issues don’t actually add any content to the story, but usually contain artist sketches, interviews, and maybe a reprint from a tie-in issue.  The price is upped a dollar or two and seen as a “must-have for any fan”, as clearly labelled on the cover.  To me, Iron Man #500.1 doesn’t seem like a new issue, but rather one of these “special edition” variants of Iron Man #500.  Had I not kept up with comic book news and solicitations, I would never have guessed the difference, and I’m really not one to go flipping through comics in the shop at random (which is why I own a copy of X-Force: Sex and Violence #3).

But perhaps my biggest problem with this whole thing mirrors my problem with “jumping-on points” all together.  The mainstream field of comic books is not new-reader friendly, and claiming that someone not familiar with them can hop on with a new story is unrealistic.  Sure, a fan might know Tony Stark’s origin from the movie, but in comics, that happened over 40 years ago.  500 issues have taken place since then.  One single issue, specially marked or not, will not let a new reader get into the mess without feeling overwhelmed.  Marvel tried to fix that with its Ultimate line, but allowed Jeph Loeb to completely rip that to shreds with Ultimatum, and now that line is just as confusing (or more so in some cases) as the main one.  Someone will not be enticed to jump into the comics because of a special “.1” issue, especially if it takes place in the middle of a story in the main book.

11 titles will be getting the Point One treatment (two with Deadpool in them) between February and April.  I suppose I will wait until then and see if my thoughts are justified or simply wrong.  Only two of my usual reads will be there (Uncanny X-Men and Uncanny X-Force).  If nothing else, it will give me a chance to remember when my comics only cost $2.99.

New Comic Day hangover

Let’s get right to it.  This week, we’re looking at…

  • Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #3 in which a lot of talking is done.
  • Justice League: Generation Lost #10 in which we learn what Max Lord is up to.
  • Uncanny X-Force #1 in which the badass team gets relaunched with a not-so badass name.
  • Uncanny X-Men #528 in which Hope does exactly the same thing as the last two issues.
  • And X-Men Legacy #240 in which we get a kidnapping and a wedding.

There will be details past the jump and they will have SPOILERS in them.  You have been warned.