Monday, 31 August 2009

Flip The Page Review: Batman & Robin #3

Well I TRIED. I can say that much. I really tried to feel like I was getting my money's worth each month with Batman & Robin and I FAILED. Issues 1 and 2 just felt like... well half an issue each, with just enough to pique my interest and then BAM out of pages. It might be a pacing issue, there might not actually be that any pages, all I know is it didn't please me and led to me considering dropping the book.

Issue 3 rolls around, concluding the Pyg story and..... Well.... It made up for a lot of the shit I'd been through with the first two issues, but still wasn't enough to make me hold on to the comic.

Batman & Robin is dropped.

Batman & Robin #3 is AWESOME.

conflicting points I'm sure but you have to understand the risk of the issues being that lacking again.

But enough of that let's 'review' this bitch.


I've kinda covered the basics on this series before so all I can say is that the writing is Grant Morrison, so you won't be disappointed, and the art is Frank Quitely, so you won't be disappointed but you'll remember New X-Men fondly.

With that in mind, MOMENTS!

1. Bat... Quad... Bike... Thing?
Yeah the vehicle might be really stupid but the page is pretty and the whole 'dangling fire man into the road' is a great way to catch your attention straight off the bat. A flippin' moment and no mistake.

2. Pyg Dance
Fuck. There are NO words that can possibly describe how fucked up and brilliant this scene is.... Except the ones Damian uses in the bottom right. I mean seriously this speaks for itself. Pyg is TERRIFYING.

3. Pyggin' Idiot
Grayson is so scary that retarded pig-men run into walls. You saw it here first. A genuine laugh moment right there and something to cherish as a life lesson.

4. DOY!
This caught my eye out of some creepy instinct of spotting hilarious retardation and it made me laugh. Pyg having the foresight to label the antidote 'antidote' is a pretty good step towards failure when faced with someone like Batman. A lesson to all again: don't label shit.


6. Red Hood
Our survey says GOOD CLIFFHANGER! Also that we can probably take a safe bet that it's Jason Todd or someone entirely new. Which would be nice.

And that's the issue. Sure I rushed it but who cares I'm in a rush to do things tonight.




Top Ten Writers #8: Brian K. Vaughan

Wow so yesterday was pretty hectic as far as stuff is concerned. Disney bought Marvel for crying out loud (something I'm still sitting on to post more of the interwebs reactions) and I actually posted about things. As such it's time to do yesterday's top ten writer, and today's one later... Wait that seems familiar!

This time around we take a look at someone who wrote a) a series when it was still good, b) a character when he was still good, c) a comic that stayed good and d) a show that had gotten awful and is now quite good.

The show was Lost by the way, a show which Jeph Loeb had just stopped producing. Sure season 3 & most of 4 was awful but it's funny how he keeps cropping up, the prick.

*ahem* anyway, the writers is another example of how baldness or 3 initials make a good writer! (it's not solid, but generally a rule)


BKV has achieved a rare feat, in that everything I've read by him, EVERYTHING, has been brilliant. In fact rather than talk about sophisticated nuances to his work or how he is a champion of character creation (see Runaways and The Hood: Blood From Stones) I'm just gonna straight up say everything I've read by him and why it's awesome.

Marvel Icons: Chamber - Fuck it you didn't even know this existed!

  • Ultimate X-Men - His run was pretty awesome (though I may be the only one who thinks so) with some awesome content, most of all the Longshot stuff.
  • The Hood: Blood From Stones - Here BKV successfully turned origin stories on their head showing how a villain can appear in the same vein as the good guys, through spectacular chance and circumstance (rather than from another bad person or evil group as is the norm. or heck being an obvious villain in the first place a la Red Ghost). The 6 issue limited was brilliant from start to finish and was the comic that actually made me take notice of the man. Of course since then Bendis has character assassinated the hell out of The Hood so this is almost meaningless to most people nowadays.
  • X-Men Icons: Chamber - I love Jono, he's one of my favourite mutants (I need to do that list at some point). Anyone with the sense to write a limited about him is brilliant and the fact that this actually delivered just makes it all the sweeter. Wish I could find this fucker in trade though!
  • Runaways - I just finished reading this up to date and BKV's opening run and second series are some of the best comics I've EVER read. You get so much from what is essentially just a teen series and it'll stick with ya. Of course since then other writers have turned the series into a pile of shit so this is almost meaningless to people nowadays.
  • Y: The Last Man - 60 issues of brilliant comic that pretty much everyone loves. I don't really need to talk about this.

Remember when RUNAWAYS was good? Thank BKV for those good times.

So yeah if you don't believe the man has earned his place... You're wrong. CLASS DISMISSED!

Flip The Page Review: Fantastic Four #570

Okay I'mma crack this sonuva bitch out quick, I've got a lot more to do this evening (including a summary of general net views on this marvel/disney dealio).

I am not a fan of Reed Richards. The guy's a bloated brain, full of so much shit that whatever gold may shine in there is impossible to see... Because of the shit.

HOWEVER! Dark Reign: Fantastic Four finally made me take note about how interesting it can be to see someone so self-assured try and achieve so much. I mean the man now intends to 'solve everything' for crying out loud! That's so over the top that even someone as hateful as me has to stop and take notice.

And of course from there we come to this, the 570th issue of Fantastic Four, with Jonathan Hickman continuing his crazy storyline for all to see.

Is it any good? Will I care about Reed? LET'S FIND OUT!


Apparently the Fantastic Four have been handled by some big names recently with some story I don't care about, so there's not much to recap here or to say about the comic other than that I love Ben Grimm and the old 90s cartoon where Reed was sometimes black and sometimes hispanic. So let's jump straight onto the writing shall we?

Jonathan Hickman is a great up and comer these days, from his brilliant Secret Warriors series to Dark Reign: Fantastic Four to.... um... Nightly News (I haven't read that one) and this is the step up to the pantheon of the future greats that he's needed. The writing is exactly how I remember the Fantastic Four and doesn't miss a note from Reed's ego to Valeria's creepiness (intentional?). I honestly couldn't be more pleased with the writing aspect of this comic.

The ART on the other hand... I'm a bit weird with. Not to downplay how amazing some of these moments from Dale Eaglesham are but WHAT THE FUCK IS WITH REED? MR. FANTASTIC HAS BUFFED OUT AND GOT HIM SOME BEARD! THIS IS REALLY PECULIAR! Not bad, just fucking WEIRD. But then in a comic where there's a Reed made of stone and an Alan Moore Reed you can't expect the norm. Outside of that minor gripe it's stellar through and through.

As such, let's talk flippin' moments!


This is a great opener and actually caught me unawares. I never considered that Reed had ever actually been a child, let alone one that isn't a smug dick. Pretty and interesting scene too.

"Ya know, people might forget what the Fantastic Four can do, so I'll just have a one page spread where they're all using their powers! I'm a GENIUS!" Seriously though this looks awesome.

3. Reed's a jerk pt. 1
"Oh hey I'll just fuck off without telling my family and loved ones where I'm going in the middle of a dangerous situation, that's not douchey at all!"

... I hate you so much Reed, I really do.

4. Creepy Child
Valeria scares the shit out of me. This isn't really a moment, I just wanted you all to know that if she kills EVERYONE in the Marvel U while smiling innocently I FUCKING CALLED IT!

5. Johnny + Grimm RULE!
Seriously funny moment that captures both characters interactions pretty well. How's it a flippin' moment? A) Johnny's face in the bottom right. B) It turns out all the prizes were the same. Awesome.

6. Reed is a JERK pt. 2

"I would go to bed with you my attractive blonde wife who I've lost once before, but I can't get this moustachioed man out of my head, I need to be alone in my lab."



8. And on your right....
Far right. Alan Moore Reed Richards. Except balder. End of.

And that's the issue in moments. What do I think of it? It's a good follow-on to an even better mini and I'll be sure to check it out again. But Reed is still a jerk. A BIG STRETCHY JERK!


JERK! *ahem* READ IT!

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Top Ten Writers #9: Geoff Johns

Well the internet was down for the evening, so instead of it being one every day we have none yesterday and, god willing, TWO today!

The writer I'm delving into and worshipping his ever-lovin' socks off is a man with poor enough taste to share a writing space with a much hated tool over at the empath magic tree house (ugh) and indeed a man who has written a shit-load of DC work. But that's not why people remember him. We all love this man for what he's done reinventing and reinvigorating thousands of green-garbed space heroes. Oh yeah, it's time for


Now I have to admit that I only read ANYTHING by Geoff Johns this year, diving head first into the first two parts of his Green Lantern trilogy (Rebirth and Sinestro Corps War) and expanding slowly outwards, so if there are any massive blips in his work that would mean he doesn't deserve this position someone should really let me know.

Sinestro Corps War: The second of a trilogy and FREAKIN' AWESOME

In recent years Geoff has shown an almost CRAZED amount of control over DC properties, taking them in hand and fiddling as he wants. Now if he were his tree house mate Mr. Loeb this would be an abomination resulting in him KILLING EVERYONE EVER but thankfully when in the hands of the capable Mr. Johns it just means we get retcons and character repair, such as with the critically beloved Green Lantern: Rebirth that successfully brought back Hal Jordan to the centre of the DCU and Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds, which did the same for Superboy (And catapulted much-reviled character Superboy-Prime back to where he came from, with only a grilled cheese sammich to his name).

The decent Superboy's adventures continue in Geoff Johns' ADVENTURE COMICS

I've managed to avoid talking about Blackest Night because I fear that will just make the whole killing everyone sentiment ironic and I fear that it might all go wrong at the last minute, but even with that in mind Geoff has managed to achieve so much in these recent years, especially when you consider that Blackest Night spans the entire DC universe. You just don't get bigger than that. Phew almost forgot to shovel that in.

Blackest Night: Might make this post redundant.

Geoff has earned his place here at #9 simply because of his control over characters, having clear ideas of where everyone is going and delivering at exactly the right moments. One day this will probably backfire against him but until then it's pretty safe to say that Johns is the bright shining future of DC and will one day control us all and change OUR backstories slightly.

Next up: #8 and a couple of reviews I hope

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Top Ten Writers #10: DnA (Dan Abnett & Andy Lanning)

Okay let's totally pretend that the lack of updates from myself is in no way influenced by me attempting to read all of the second run of Runaways in one sitting (Joss Whedon's stuff is still left to read). In fact let's say that it's because I've started coming up with ideas for comics. That sounds more awesome.

In the second ever post on this blog I laid out I was going to do 4.5 Top Tens in July.

That didn't work out. But 2.5 is great when compared to my video output of 0/4.

This lack of Top Tens is mainly because of how ambitious I decided to make the third one, laying out what I would consider a definitive list of the best writers EVARR.... Excluding a helluva lot of DC writers simply because I don't read much DC (seriously on one hand: Power Girl, Batgirl, Detective Comics, Blackest Night and Batman & Robin. And I've dropped those last two!), so it isn't too accurate. Accurate enough though, especially considering the sheer strength of the Ten (eleven?) writers I'm mentioning over these next ten days of straight updates.

First up we have two writers who in their stint at Marvel have managed to take an entire line of the 616 comics and turn them into a series of epics and classic storylines that will stay in the consciousness of Marvel's Cosmic fans for decades to come:



Andy Lanning

I could go into some deep history here of what the pairing have done and where they've come from and to but that'd be really boring. The short of it is blah blah blah 2000AD blah blah blah Various Things blah blah blah ANNIHILATION! ANNIHILATION CONQUEST! NOVA! GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY! WAR OF KINGS! REALM OF KINGS!.... Or something to that effect.

Dan Abnett

The two of them have successfully ridden the wave from Keith Giffen's Annihilation event and their Nova limited series that tied into it. This reopening of the Cosmic characters led to them doing perhaps their most well received and popular series Nova, which has just hit something like 27 issues. Most writers could be content with just having that, a hit comic that will keep them in the comic reader conscience for a long time. But no, DnA are just too fucking talented for that. So they helmed their own event: ANNIHILATION: CONQUEST!

Annihilation: Conquest #1, their step up to brilliance

This is where I finally put on my fancy-pants critical gaze because Annihilation: Conquest was FUCKING AWESOME. Some credit has to go out to the other writers who handled the three tie-in limited series but what DnA achieved here was nothing short of amazing as writing goes. Where Annihilation had successfully plucked minor characters and made you care about them, Conquest made you never want to see them go. Each character had a distinct voice, personality, purpose and fit into the story without seeming like a nod to fans of the characters. DnA collectively managed to perfect character writing! That's a ridiculous feat that they've managed to keep up over their two ongoing series (Nova was joined by Guardians of the Galaxy after this event) and another massive event that has only just concluded (War of Kings).

War of Kings: the recent ground-shattering event comic

The only thing that keeps them from a higher position in this top ten (and a heftier piece of writing) is the tendency for them to have the occasional balancing issue with character's strengths or the one mistake in Conquest (throwing Nova in at the end from his ongoing tie-in story without as much as an indicator of what the hell he had been doing in the main event book. Sloppy).

DnA belong on this list because of all that and more, but for the most part I have to say this: they represent where the promising up-and-comers could be in a year or two, leading events and having a massive influence in the Marvel U. There's nothing more than that you could hope for in a writer.

And that's the sloppy #10. #9 is due up tomorrow at the same time. Expect me to review one of the 2-3 titles I really wanna talk about this week soon too. Oh and expect these top ten things to get visually and verbally better over the course of the ten days!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Archaic Spider-Man Reviews: Number 62

Wow, sorry guys. This is a whole week late; but my scanner is up and running again now, and just in time for the final showdown with the Kingpin. Peter's been promising that he will kill Wilson Fisk for a couple of issues now, and I continue to approach this concept with a mixture of disbelief and amusement. Still, he looks pretty into it at the start of slot 1 (Back in Black part 4)...

WHY ISN'T HE WEARING ANY CLOTHES? Let's just hope he's not that naked after the jump.

The basic idea here is that it isn't Spider-Man who is going to have vengeance and kill Fisk, but rather Peter, so he's taken off the mask and shirt. I just wish his black trousers didn't make him look so much like shadowy naked guy in the picture above. The actual fight with Fisk is pretty cool, because it isn't really two people fighting, more Peter beating the shit out of Fisk. He's eerily silent for the first few clashes, taking Fisk apart with lethal precision. Peter then makes the same point I made last week about Fisk having no real capabilities beyond his massive ego, though he puts it more eloquently than I. Anyway, the fight culminates in a pretty badass moment

'You keep talking like a bitch, I'm gonna slap you like a bitch'

Let's just ignore the fact Peter seems to be picking Fisk up by his skin and just enjoy this emasculation of an evil man. This could only really get better if it finished with a soul punch.

Well, Fisk lies bloodied and defeated on the floor. Now all that remains is for Peter to finally take vengeance like he's been saying, right? Of course not, because this is shaping up to be a typical redemption story - hero falls, hero starts violating his own rules, hero approaches ultimate violation of said rules, hero has a change of heart, hero throws Emperor Palpatine over the balcony into the core of the Death Star... Anyway, here's how Peter rationalizes not killing Fisk.

Yeah, I totally believe you.

That's most of the first slot right there in that fight, so there's not really much to review. It ends with Pete and MJ watching over May as she sleeps. They're running out of money, but I've run out of comic, so time to give Eddie Brock cancer!

Slot 2 is The Last Temptation of Eddie Brock: Part 1. Eddie Br
ock? I thought he was dead from the terminal cancer he got way back when he sold off the Venom symbiote. In fact, in that arc (the first from Marvel Knights: Spider-Man) Brock slit his wrists! He should be dead twice over. Instead, he's just in a pretty, creepy splash page with a skewed panel order.

I could get into this after all.

Brock is crazy, or tripping from his medication, or part of Venom is still hanging around. Whatever the reason, this is quite a cool concept, because Venom's voice is like an aspect of Brock's mind now; compelling him to act and giving him strength. He spots MJ, who has been visiting May, who thanks to the God of comics just happens to be in the same hospital. MJ has been feeling survivor's guilt for not taking the bullet that hit May. A fair point really, and it would certainly please Max, who really hates her. I simply don't get her appeal.

Meanwhile, Peter does something filling before going to visit Madame Web. There's a clever moment here where Peter explains the whole situation to Web and asks her to perform a kind of séance for May. Web is a precognitive psychic, and has already agreed to his proposal; so talking to her is shown to be basically unnecessary. That said, I bet she sure is lonely; she seems to spend her days sitting in her Spider-Chair, waiting for people to turn up and ask for help. Poor lady.

In the last few pages, Brock's inner Venom has been browbeating him into attacking the Parkers. Brock has ordered a black Spidey suit to wear, for no real reason. What, do companies just mail out costumes to anyone that wants one? If this kind of service exists, why does Peter often complain that his suit smells bad or is falling to pieces? He can just buy a new one from the Gap!

Slot 3 is the conclusion of Sandblasted, and Spidey, Sandman and a random pothead are tracking down an impostor Uncle Ben using the helmet they found last ish. There's a nice odd-trio vibe to this, as they compete to be the best characters from Scooby Doo and then squabble about directions. It's not like they have to track down a killer before an innocent man gets electrocuted by the state... Speaking of which, Sandy's dad is getting his date with the chair fast-tracked to that same night. Barring some kind of Deus Ex Machina, it seems hopeless for him. *Snigger*.

They track the Ben killer to Midtown High, and the helmet asks Pete what kind of justice to administer, to which he replies 'poetic justice'. I just know this is going to go wrong. Sandy and Spidey run into the building and find the target; the school principle. All is not as it seems, however, as the 'principle' soon shifts into Sandman, and then Spider-Man 2211. Turns out, this is the Chameleon from 2211. Still, i'm sure he's an ok person really. Oh shit, I made him mad!

The rare shiny red Gyarados!

I'm not sure if this makes me want to play Pokémon, Starcraft or Warhammer. Needless to say, Chameleon 2211 is some kind of big red... thing, but he's only in this form for a few panels before Peter decides it would be a good idea to yank the helmet onto the alien's head and order it to administer justice. And... he's exactly right, because this somehow swaps the Chameleon with Sandman's father just before the electric chair was activated. That's such a bullshit, pulled-out-of-ass ending to a reasonable strip! How can the helmet teleport people? When was this explained? Why didn't the helmet just teleport Spider-Man to the school in the first place? Come to think of it, what will Spidey do with the helmet now? It's far too useful to not use again.

Actually, what was the Chameleon 2211's motive for all this? Was he just trying fuck things up for a few people in a really minor way? Framing one lowlife crook and then hiding for a while is not a grand master plan. This just leaves too many questions unanswered and unanswerable.

Well, that was AstonSpid numbah 62. Next Issue, Spidey protects May from Eddie Brock, discovers the truth about Miss Arrow and takes on the law. Till then, g'night.


Sunday, 23 August 2009

Flip The Page Review: Lockjaw & The Pet Avengers #4 (of 4)

"Hey Max, you can TOTALLY keep up with a reviews blog without it becoming difficult. Who knows maybe you'll do some awesome planned video reviews and successfully build yourself up as a minor thing on the internet worth reading!" said my inner hope.

"Fuck off, you won't update on time and all you'll do is minor news and reviews, no-one will read them and you'll constantly hate on yourself and whinge, which is something you'll never change. Now shut the fuck up and keep reviewing until someone notices and plugs you, rocketing you to a hit count of more than 6 recurring readers." reality utters in response.

"Great now I'm miserable, what am I gonna do about THAT?!" the inner hope responds as it shrivels and DIES.

"Read Lockjaw & The Pet Avengers, it's fucking awesome."

"Oh yeah man I love that!"



Now that THAT horrible attempt at humourous writing is over I can actually address the comic in question. Lockjaw & The Pet Avengers is a brilliant limited series by classic letterer and unfunny Franklin Richards strip creator Chris Eliopoulos and awesome Marvel Adventures artist Ig Guara. It's been a ray of light in a sea of Avengers overexposure, reminding everyone that a Bendis-less Avengers series is a much cheerier and satisfying one (see Dan Slott's Mighty Avengers for further evidence of this).

It might sound like I'm singing the praises of this series a bit much, but it is genuinely brilliant and astoundingly original. The writing is a great insight into the attitudes of animals exposed to the world of superheroes and indeed into the personalities of the eternal background characters that are animal sidekicks. Could anyone say that they even wanted to know these things prior to this series coming out? I didn't, but now I wish we got this insight into all the minor aspects of the Marvel U. Bring on "Chrysler Building & The Architecture Avengers"!

(wow, what a poor quality image)

The art is Ig Guara. I don't know much about the person but Guara could well become one of the best artists for Marvel in a few years. Seriously, place Guara on The Initiative. It's a match made in heaven.

Well my mood is slightly enhanced by all this now so on with the moments.

1. The face-off you never knew you were waiting for!

There's something decidedly epic about Thanos, a character who has WIPED OUT HALF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE, facing off with a group of animals, of which only 4 of which can really be said to have anything resembling powers. But really it's the fresh amount of colours and how decidedly nonplussed Obama's dog Bo is in the hands of such a monstrosity. A flippin' moment and no mistake.

2. Alas Ms. Lion, I knew him well...

This moment actually made me go 'OH SH-' so loud my cat actually got startled. That's how much this stood out as I was going through the comic. Of course being kid-friendly they couldn't kill the mascot of the team (or the Rick Jones as the role is officially know... Wait he's died at some point I think.. Well he got better) so we go from this moment of epic, containing the best animal reaction faces in a Marvel comic, to...

3. THIS is why Niels is my favourite character of the team!

There's not much I can say here. Sure it's Niels showing he cared about Ms. Lion which is a nice moment but really it all comes down to one thing: AWESOME USE OF CRYSTAL. Which of course means it all gets vair pretty and colourful, which is one of the many great things to Lockjaw & The Pet Avengers.

4. "Oh yeah, we haven't ACTUALLY named the team yet!"

In no way does this feel slightly shunted in at the last minute. Not at all. A little... A fair bit. But we forgive it simply because The Pet Avengers are awesome.




Okay it's coming from his collar but tell me that doesn't look like a shoop da woop. Gets your attention with the sheer awesome. Perhaps this is the start of an epic battle that will span the universe.


Ah cool it is. How vibrant and interesting and awesome it is. Honestly if you haven't stopped reading to buy the fucking comic by now you best be waiting on the Hardcover!

8. Lockjaw's kinda like a really hairy multicoloured lantern

Wait, am I just stretching out the previous moment to make it seem even more awesome?

... Yes. Yes I am.

9. The Light Fantastic


10. A perfect ending to a great comic

It really is. Corny as fuck, sure but it really is a great way to round out this corny limited series. If only it was getting a full ongoing...

Honestly you won't find a comic more worth your time this year (except perhaps Nomad: Girl Without A World, but that's obvious) and if you haven't looked at it yet hopefully this review will make you check it out in preperation for the hardcover out in October.

Next up: A brief idea of the history of Flip The Page. Wait what we have a history? Well I certainly do with the title of this blog. It's brief and uninteresting and certainly nothing to do with western comics and may well just be about manga.