Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates 5

Hmm. More Ultimate Marvel stuff this first week than I was hoping. Oh well, it's heading towards a big relaunch anyway, so I suppose this is to be somewhat expected.

    So, Ultimate Avengers vs. New Ultimates(UAvNU). With Ultimate in the title twice it must be good! Actually it's just kind of okay. For those of you somewhat unfamiliar, this 6 part mini-series details a conflict between The Ultimates(basically the Avengers of the ultimate universe. Yeah, I know you'd think the Ultimate Avengers would be the Avengers, but they aren't.) and the Avengers(a shadow team created by the supposedly dead Nick Fury).  Both teams found intel that the leader of the other team, Carol Danvers and Nick Fury respectfully, are supplying superhumans to North Korea. This leads to an all out conflict between the two teams, with poor Spider-man caught in the middle(See: Ultimate Death of Spider-man).

Despite my previous assertion that I wouldn't say it anymore, I decided to be nice. Spoilers begin here. (Aeris dies, rosebud was his sled, etc.)

   To begin, I don't much care for Gregory Stark. He's a superfluous character, who, like much of the Ultimate Avengers, was created because Mark Millar didn't get to write the New Ultimates, so he invented a bunch of characters so he didn't have to alter his ideas much. Gregory Stark is basically Nemesis(Millar's terrible creation). He has plans within plans and they kick the crap out of your plans. So that tainted the issue for me. As did the revelation that The Spider was just an experiment of his. I was hoping for extradimensional shenanigans, so this wasn't much of a payoff for me. The thing with Cash was okay, except for everybody hulking out, that seemed a little silly. On the plus side, I feel Leinel Yu's art works better for something a bit grittier like this than it did for Secret Invasion.(I also didn't like his tendency to draw strong chins on everyone in a story involving aliens who had chins as a major defining feature).

Overall, the mini isn't bad, the issue is probably one of, if not the, weakest in the series. I'm just kind annoyed all this is needed to bring the universe back to something resembling it's pre-Ultimatum days. I hate Jeph Loeb so much. So goddamn much.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Graphic Novel vs. Comic Book

  After writing on Y:The Last Man, a work many may consider to be a graphic novel, I decided I aught to weigh in on my thoughts on the term. To put it simply, I hate it. I feel it's a weasel word people use to feel less ashamed about something they should feel no shame for, or perhaps to reassure themselves that they are mature adults. They do not read childish comic books, they read graphic novelizations of works that are of an adult nature.

   It makes me feel good to know that this attitude is shared by some of the greatest comic writers of all time, especially since they are the very same writers whose work are often called graphic novels.

Writer Neil Gaiman, responding to a claim that he does not write comic books but graphic novels, said the commenter "meant it as a compliment, I suppose. But all of a sudden I felt like someone who'd been informed that she wasn't actually a hooker; that in fact she was a lady of the evening."-from The Sandman Companion.

   Alan Moore also objects to the term, feeling it's used primarily as a marketing scheme by Marvel and DC,  claiming they just collect a six issue arc and put it in a hardcover, then call it a graphic novel and charge you double for it. He feels comic is an appropriate blanket term.

So, readers, remember, there's a reason this is Comic Critique.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Y: The Last Man

   Today I'm going to do a classic comic critique on one of my personal favorites: Y:The Last Man(henceforth to be referred to as YTLM). Set in the present day, YTLM focuses on a man in his 20s named Yorick Brown. Simply put, Yorick is the last man on earth. Due to reasons I won't spoil for the rest of you, every male creature on the planet died suddenly save for Yorick and his monkey ampersand(&). Y and & team up with 355, and agent of the Culper ring, a secret spy organization the reports directly to the president, and Dr. Mann, one of the planets leading biologists in order to protect and study Yorick. Yorick, not being content with living a secluded protected life, journeys to find his girlfriend Beth, who was in the Australian outback at the time of the event.

   YTLM is in my opinion one of the greatest comics of all time. The story and characterization are superb. All of the characters manage to always feel "real." They act realistically, and they are what propel the story, instead of the characters bending to serve the plot like what happens all too often in modern comics, televison, etc. The dialogue is interesting and always fitting to the characters, after a while, you could probably read just the bubbles and know who is saying what line. The story also takes place over 10 years and 60 issues, giving time for substantial character growth.

   The art, however, is..adequate. I'm not criticizing it at all, but it's simply nothing spectacular. It fills it's role perfectly, but this is simply not a graphics driven story. The most important function the art serves is showing us the post male world. I know many may thing the world would function alright without men, and yes, women are perfectly capable of running the show. But to simply remove all men in an instant, most politicians and CEOs in the blink of an eye, you can understand how the world breaks down. This is why YTLM excels as a comic not a novel. A novel would require descriptions and visualization of this altered world, whereas a comic can simply show you, panel to panel as the story progresses.

   So, in closing, read this comic. I give it my highest recommendation.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ultimate Death of Spider-Man

Ok, so, my first one is going to be a doozy it seems. Wasn't planning this, but it didn't make sense to skip what is probably the biggest comic of the week. Spoilers ahead, and this will probably be the last time I say that in this blog, because, really, if you're reading a review of something you don't want spoiled, you're a stupid.

    I'm going to start by saying I've enjoyed this arc, and really, Ultimate Spider-Man as a whole, save for the art switch after Ultimatum, but even that I got used to once they ditched round head Spider-man. Sadly though, I found this issue...underwhelming. It wasn't a bad issue by any means, but if it weren't in a comic called DEATH OF SPIDER-MAN, I would just assume he was going to wake up in the hospital next issue and everything would be cool. Which I guess may still happen, but dear god I hope it doesn't.

   To break it down, beating all the other villains(especially Aunt May shooting Electro, that kicked ass) to leave this as purely an Osborn vs. Peter duel was a good decision on paper, but in practice it fell short. I think it was primarily due to inconsistent power match-ups. Osborn is stronger and is on fire. Peter can't trade blows with him, to win he needs to finish it with a few deft hits, such as MJ and the van, and Peter with the, uh, van. Waking up the Human Torch to have do to shit felt like a couple pages of filler, and the constant "Aunt May we need to leave oh but I can't he's my nephew oh but we really have to go cuz he told us to" also got to me.

   Still, like I said earlier, on the whole, a solid arc. Not my favorite, that's probably one of the Venom or Carnage ones(and I don't even like 616 Venom/Carnage), but still worth my time, and my interest is piqued for (sigh) yet another relaunch of the Ultimate line.

   Except for Ultimate X. Fuck Ultimate X.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


   I figured that if you're going to get opinions from me, you should at least get some idea of my comics background. I started in about '06, with Civil War. Maybe not a great place to start, but an excellent way to get familiar with lot of characters at once. I suppose because of this beginning, my tastes lie primarily with Marvel, although I'm currently loving anything Green Lantern (read from Rebirth up through Blackest Night and current arcs) as well as some of the stellar elseworlds DC publishes, Red Son and the like. Vertigo also has published some of my favorite series: Watchmen, Sandman(the 2 whores of favorite series) as well as Preacher and Y:The Last Man. I also want to say Image, but in reality, it's just Robert Kirkman.

Howdy Folks

   Howdy Howdy readers! The purpose of this blog will be for me to A: practice my writing, and to B: relay to all you fine folks information about comics. I will primarily focus on current comics, aka the ones that came out in the past week, although I will occasionally post regarding older, well known comics. I plan on updating around 3 times a week, so check back often!